Just watched Catch 22, the classic dark comedy of an insane world where the only way out was an insane act. Ahah! Avatar. Jake Sully said that the only way out of the Catch 22 he found himself in where he is caught between two equal but opposite world views, was the insane act of leaping on the Last Shadow, a metaphor for a leap of faith that has no logical outcome, that has no possible gaining idea. And that’s Zen.
Jake Sully was caught between two world views, one objective, one subjective. The Sky People is our modern objective world view where everything is an IT, and the Navi is our subjective world view where I the world and the world is me. For the Modern view, I am separate from the world as IT; for the Navi or Idealism, I am connected to the world as I-thou. These two views are both valid but incompatible, as you cannot view the world as separate and as a unity both at the same time, yet one must. There can only be One World, One Me, but here there are two Me’s, two views, but there can only be One. I am caught in a Catch 22 our dilemma out of which I cannot choose.
As in Catch 22, our hero escapes the Catch 22 by in insane act of leaving the island (world) in a tiny lifeboat, an insane act. But just as Jake Sully, he leaps into the ocean with no logical outcome. The Catch 22 dilemma of opposite but mutually dependent views is the trap of ambiguity, where logic fails us, where empirical science fails us. Sanity has become insanity. When sanity is insane, one has to become crazy in order to be insane.
But the Catch 22 is that if you choose to be crazy to get out, you cannot get out. My favorite Gestalt image of ambiguity is Catch 22 where you cannot choose the view of the Old Woman or the Young Woman because each is the other, the One that is Two.
OK….we are looking at the two views that create the Catch 22, the dilemma where everything you do is lose/lose. At the root is the two centers of our consciousness, of human consciousness. You can experience these two views right now. Look at the mouse on your desk. That is an IT and you are outside of IT perceiving it. This is I-IT consciousness.
Now relax just be aware of the room you are in without focusing on anything. There are no selected IT. You are the center of the room. When looking at the mouse or chair, that IT is the center and you are on the periphery. When you are at the center of the room, awareness as the room, that is the subjective view. When you are looking at something in the room, that is the objective view.
Both views are valid but uncomplimentary but mutually dependent. There are two Me’s here, two centers. But there can only be One ME.
The dominant view of the Western rational world since the Enlightenment has been the objective view because that is the view of science and it works to control nature as IT. But I as. ME, as consciousness has become a ghost in this machine. I am not on the objective map. But I must be because I exist. So I create a Story of reality in which I as a person have value. This Story of Me is created from a selection of facts in the objective world, facts or evidence that proves my story is real and give Me value.
Ah, now we can see Trump as a metaphor for the Subjective View trumping the Objective view in order to make ME the center of the world, a ME that has no second, because ME cannot be divided into two ME’s. When that happens we have a civil war or two tomcats in one yard.
We are caught in Catch 22 when the Subjective View bends objective facts to fits its perimeter. The water of objective facts is bent to fit the story bowl that holds it. Unless everyone is forced to live in that fishbowl story of reality, there is going to be those who don’t see reality according to the fishbowl. But the Catch 22 is that your view and the opposite view of reality is in the same fishbowl. There can be only one reality. The catch is that whatever reality you choose is still in the same reality as that which you don’t choose. The situation is ambiguous. Again I post my gestalt image of ambiguity to make the point. Both views are ambiguous in that both are separate yet both the same. And that cannot be, yet it is. This is the Catch 22 of our human consciousness…a wound from which we must leap in order to heal.