Re-reading Plato’s “cave allegory” from The Republic in preparation for tomorrow’s class, I’m struck again by the distinction drawn by Socrates between “that which is coming into being” and “that which is” (Bloom translation, p. 197). Because of what I’ve been reading lately, however, (especially various mystical texts, including Ram Dass’s Be Here Now), I’m tempted to interpret “that which is” as another name for what Terence McKenna called “the transcendental object at the end of time.” As I imagine it, this object or divine being would possess the power to operate upon the dimension or construct we call “time,” pulling toward it those who allow themselves to be pulled. The spiritual journey, then — the climbing of the Holy Mountain, the ascent toward the true and the just and the good — all of this would involve the rediscovery of what we once knew and will come to know again. Plato, of course, refers to this process as “anamnesis.”
Feeling a bit like a child that got lost in the woods. That, for me, is the archetypal event, the shape and substance of my life. Our earliest stories, I tell myself, are the ones that spin our worlds. Today, on my birthday, I feel again like the lost boy. Isolated, distant, unloved, particularly in relation to my parents and my siblings. Perhaps the love I fail to receive, though, is the love I fail to give. A quote from French writer René Daumal hits me like a ton of bricks. “I have brought you this far,” he writes in his book Mount Analogue, “and I have been your leader. Right here I’ll take off the cap of authority, which was a crown of thorns for the person I remember myself to be. Far within me, where the memory of what I am is still unclouded, a little child is waking up and making an old man’s mask weep. A little child looking for mother and father, looking with you for protection and help — protection from his pleasures and his dreams, and help in order to become what he is without imitating anyone.” Perhaps I should read Edwin Bernbaum’s book, Sacred Mountains of the World. Or perhaps I should make a pilgrimage to the Sangre de Cristo mountains (Spanish for “Blood of Christ”), a subrange of the Rockies located in southern Colorado and northern New Mexico. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.