Friday, 24 August 2018

Bilocation as 'no there there'.

I have been reading recently about bilocation chiefly from a mathematical point of view. It’s an interesting approach that carries within it the source of its own Bergsonian nullification. Treating time and motion as a series of point instants as though this were ultimate is the crux of the impossibility of motion paradox. That this treatment is extremely useful and a practical device does not make it ultimately true.

Here in this note I ask what evokes bilocation or what is its occasion. I am taking it to be a fact well attested in the annals of the saints and the sages and adepts of all traditions. Does it happen sportively as a frolic with perturbations of the continuum and run the hazard of paradoxoi for fun? My view is that it is chiefly the answer to the prayer of the devotee. A cry starts a sympathetic resonance in the mind of the saint who may go to the devotee in an apparent physical form even though that may be far away. How can this happen? To quote Gertrude Stein - ‘there’s no there there’. It is the sphere of the imaginal.

Henry Corbin writes:

What is it like to enter into Nakoja-abad (the country of not-where). It is precisely the crossing of this limit, where the pilgrim no longer finds himself in the place, but is himself the place. To leave it (to pass beyond the Ninth Sphere) is to no longer be in the world, but to henceforth have the world in oneself, to be oneself the place where the world is. This is the imaginal space, the space where the active imagination freely manifests its visions and its epics.

(from: The Theme of the Voyage and the Messenger)

This world has also affinities with the world of formation of Kabbalah. It is next door to the world of 'action', the normal empirical domain. Introducing a passage from the Talmudists Adam Steinsaltz's 'The Thirteen Petalled Rose' Harold Bloom (Omens of Millenium) remarks: “Steinsaltz charmingly emphasizes, as does Corbin in his account of the Sufi imaginal world, that our perception of angels can be quite as ordinary as if such messengers dwelt entirely in the world of action”:

(Steinsaltz) "Similarly, the angel who is sent to us from another world does not always have a significance or impact beyond the normal laws of physical nature. Indeed, it often happens that the angel precisely reveals itself in nature, in the ordinary common-sense world of causality, and only a prophetic insight or divination can show when, and to what extent, it is the work of higher forces. For man by his very nature is bound to the system of higher worlds, even though ordinarily this system is not revealed and known to him. As a result, this system of higher worlds seems to him to be natural, just as the whole of his two-sided existence, including both matter and spirit, seems self-evident to him. Man does not wonder at all about those passages he goes through all the time in the world of action, from the realm of material existence to the realm of spiritual existence. What is more, the rest of the other worlds that also penetrate our world may appear to us as part of something quite natural."

As an archetypal world it is presented to us with the forms and usages of our own tradition. Those mansions are many and various and are not in time and space though they may appear to be so to the devotee. The cosmic mind of the siddha knows consciousness as instantaneous and omnilocated but the devotee experiences that immediacy as a bustle of dramatic business.

1 comment:

skholiast said...

Corbin's quote is like an inverted (& far more interesting) Clarke's Law. Any sufficiently supernatural phenomenon appears natural.