As a geographer, I am perhaps inordinately concerned with where I am at every moment. Situating myself in space, defining the place of my inhabitance, is an automatic and referential habit which also solidifies my position in time. The space-time continuum being one of the core aspects of physics as defined by Einstein and so many others seems to me to be a formalization of what we all intuitively know, although we rarely articulate it in a conscious fashion.
I tell my students constantly that we all are natural Geographers. Each of us navigates the world with a mental map of our own specific creation that highlights what is important for us in our lives, as wel as what is not important. And what are all of the many variations of maps that we see all around us today except someone’s visualization of a particular version of reality, usually created with a specific purpose in mind?
A road map highlights important highways and byways, mainstreets and thoroughfares. A political map highlights boundaries and borders, states names and inceptions. A weather map highlights fronts and streams, high and low pressure zones, a contour map elevations and amounts. Being thusly subjective and prone to relative interpretation, what has been considered to be firmly scientific and beyond dispute is proven to be culturally relative and prone to manipulation by individuals and groups bent upon conveying certain perspectives, beliefs, and realities to others based upon their own questionable agendas.
The mental maps that we carry around in our heads possess a similar form of adaptability, although we’re not always conscious of it. Let’s say you take a certain route to work everyday and do so for years. And then, one day, in conversation with a friend, you learn of a shortcut. Although you’ve been happy with your route for a long time, just the knowlede of this new route acts as an irritant in your mind and you are not satisfied until you take the route, try it out, in order to determine, to your own satisfaction, whether or not the route lives up to its hype or not. Imagine how you’d feel upon determining that the new route actually takes longer, and that your own route was superior in time and space savings all along.
Time and space. The Infinite and the eternal. Encompassed by the twin disciplines of Geography and History. Geography being concerned with space, history being concerned with time. Antagonistic in a disciplinary fashion, Geographers utilize history and Historians utilize geography without giving full credit where it’s due, due to the natural antogonism stemming from the competitive nature of western academia, and the codification and compartmentalization which resulted in the creation of individualized disciplines, here in the United States, back in the late 1800s. Geography being a latecomer to the battle, has continued to struggle at self-definition, exclaiming and pontificating upon its importance and integral character amongst the chorus of competing voices and interests in the scuffle for research funds and university acclaim.
Both disciplines mirror natural human tendencies. It is safe to say that they represent a split within the individual’s consciousness that characterizes our sojourn though life. Every experience we have occurs in space, through time. It is at this juncture that the split between science and mysticism becomes murky, that we begin to see the deepest, darkest shadows of irrationality that haunt academia, that whisper dreaded secrets to the heart of rationality and logic, promising inevitablity, destabilization, deconstruction, anarchy and chaos.
Space and time are experienced subjectively, as we all know. Two people experience the same space differently, influenced by the very real effects of emotion and perception, as well as by varying external stimuli determined by their own individualistic foci upon specific aspects of reality. Time also passes in a subjective manner, which is further exascerbated by the scientific acknowledgement that time and space bend, stretch, conditionally, based upon their relationship, one to the other. The famous example of astronauts traveling light years, returning to find everyone dead and civilization progressed hundreds of years into the future, or the phenomena by which time at different elevations passes faster or slower depending upon a location’ distance from the extreme density located in the center of the earth.
As above, so below. A phrase that always holds meaning. In this case, time and space, both external to the human body, possess internal characteristics which can be denoted as conditions of consciousness. Time corresponds to the dimension of the Now, of the infinite character of awareness and consciousness through which each second is experienced in a visceral and aware manner, lived fully in an awakened state. Space, then, corresponds to the depths of awareness which can only be reached by intense inner exploration, through prayer, meditation, visualization, a seemingly endless abyss of a singular nature through which our own nature can be gleaned by the discerning third eye.
The experiential nature of spiritual exploration will probably never receive it’s full due from Academia, and probably for good reason. Two diametrically opposed manners of observing and interpreting the world and it’s many-splendored phenomena can hardly be reconciled. The nominally objectified world of the scientist, based upon experimentation and codification, repetition and verification, is mirrored by the same tendencies in the nominally subjective world of the spiritualist, and yet, the nature of the exploration of one, is the subject of a visceral and subconscious denial by the other. Scientist categorically deny the validity of the experience of the spiritualist, and vice versa. One based upon the impossiblity of objectivity, the other based upon the improbability of subjectivity.
Both objections reek of fear, the bastard child of which is, of course, anger. Anger, categorical denial, rejection based upon an internal conviction of certitude and, perhaps, an iota of irrationality connected to the inability to change one’s position, challenge the dominant paradigm, risk one’s career by exploring the gap between rationality and irrationality, science and soul, the worldly and the otherworldly. And yet – as determined by Siddhartha and innumerable sages and scions of the conscious path through millenia and across the varied landscapes of the human experience – the Middle Path of studied observation and direct experience is the only true path proven by time’s remorseless march and by spaces undeniable similiarity of experience and conclusion as documented through multitudinous oral histories and countless material relics of both pictoral and written evidence.
Eastern and Western philosophies collide in the crucible of the Global Village. The New World Order has presented us, its Denizens, with a table laid out with a sumptious banquet of information, viewpoints, tools and contexts within which to synthesize information, seek holistic solutions to global and local problems, to view our own lives through the lense of a wider, more humanistic viewpoint. And, while the ills of humanism as a philosophy tend to obscure the prescient value of the individual, the undeniable fact is that we all are One, dependent upon each other whether we realize it or not. The perhaps eternal battle between Self and Society as exemplified by the objective nature of society and the subjective nature of the individual express themselves contextually through time and space, resulting in singular experiences written indeliably into the Akashic record, impressed upon the waters of Amenta, the Book of Life, the Seat of the Soul.
What if, in truth, there is no dichotomy? No fundamental disagreement of principle or philosophy, because all of these are conditions of incarnation, of experience upon this worldly plane? The acceptance of the possibility of such is conditional to the acceptance of a host of other beliefs, all possessing their own wealth of experiential evidence subject to the belief or disbelief of the individual perusing the data, and yet, beyond belief lies certain knowledge, awakened by direct experience of information deemed by some as-yet-to-be-determined locus of consideration within us all, evidenced by a gently thrumming vibration in the chest, spreading throughout the extremities dependent upon the strength of said truth and the individual’s connection to that aforementioned Truth Center.
The infinite and eternal exist. Predate existence, in fact. And, as expression of such, energy neither created nor destroyed is transformed, and that transformation is the necessary condition of existence and evolution of body, mind and soul, be you staunch scientist or devout spiritualist. The end goal is written on a map of the soul, and is, truly, the same.