I like the “drop off” metaphor because that happened to me once. I walked into a library at the Edgar Casey Institute and when my eyes met with the receptionist, an older woman, my social-ego dropped off like ice from a spring roof. We were occasional friends for a year before I left. She was like an oasis for me, a place where I was innocent and free. But I remember most vividly that moment when the ego dropped off. But back in the world the cultural identification that was the known me came back.
Direct knowledge has no memory, no names and forms that are stored in the dictionary, which is objective cultural knowledge. I remember in the peak of the “knowledge” seeing a horse. I can remember that horse vividly to this day. It was the eternal horse, a thing in itself that had no reference to culture or my experience of horses. But even “eternal” fails in describing the mystery and luminance of that horse. In direct experience there is no mediator of culture and its memory of what things are, a semantic memory that is locked in language. Our acculturated minds see only the defining words of things. We don’t see the Horse, we see the word horse and its connotations and associations that all reference the past.
Well, I was in the world during my “direct experience” (since that what we are calling it now). I was teaching high school and I went to class that morning, and everyone in the halls of the school had glowing eyes. As far as I could see down the hall, just glowing eyes of consciousness. I threw the text in the trash and began to teach from direct experience. Half the class retreated to the back of the room and the other half rushed down front and began taking notes franticly. I only had three weeks before the end of school, so I didn’t get fired, but I quit teaching that year.