Sunday, September 08, 2013

Swell Rejection Letters

Much of the day here is to reply with our "kindly rejection slip," which pretty much covers things. We often get notes from weary writers about how kindly they are. I know well it's become too infrequent that queriers even hear back from agencies at all. It's a joy, however, when one gets a letter truly worth the time of a thoughtful reply. Here're a couple.)

Thank you, Doctor [longtime prominent psychiatrist],

It’s been too long since an intellectually worthwhile query has found its way into my e-mail. I’m only dimly familiar with the work of [well known cognitive science pioneer] JG owing to the publicity some time back, but I’m familiar with the questions raised through rather breathless pop science articles on the subject which I read from time to time – not that the quality of it reflects upon his work, but on the poor sensibilities of the writers.

I have several scientists, original thinkers that is, for whom I’ve got only rejection for some years now. My biggest disappointment is the steady rejection of the work of a man accomplished in both rocket science and microbiology, who compiled a fascinating original anthology on this subject in an array from crackpots to Nobel Laureate. The reasons for rejection went from “nobody buys anthologies” to “Jill Bolte Taylor’s book didn’t sell” to dead silence, even from Charles Tart, whom one might think would appreciate a work on the biological aspects of consciousness.

Philosophically, it seems to me that there continues a secret battle going on what’s the origin of “us.” Does consciousness form matter or does matter form consciousness? It’s “secret” because most pay no attention to the implications of the question until rocked by some sensational event; and despite the venerable age of the question and its results throughout history, most behave as though this was the first they’d heard of it – despite their daily involvements in it, leaned to one side or the other by habit. I’m not so sure that some innate human terror has prevented widespread discussions on the matter so much as myopic laziness. Maybe on the whole, mankind hasn’t yet achieved the attention span required to perceive it.

It seems to me also that the question of good versus evil is perhaps subconsciously prejudiced by centuries of popular religious distortion, summed up in the eventual formation of a God here and Satan there, never the twain shall meet; the birth of modern schizophrenia for that, among more horrendous results, such as Japan’s Unit 731 and murderous psychotic behaviors dotting the landscape of human events, often posed as righteous action against “evil.” (You’ll note that where I must choose sides, I’m a “consciousness first” proponent, as it’s plain that one’s thoughts alter both bodily and human conditions.)

We find everywhere in nature reactions to pleasure and pain, but not the literal-minded or codified absolutes of Good versus Evil, unique to man. I don’t believe that this is what makes man conscious whereas the creatures of “nature’s God” are not; rather, man is capable of greater imagination – nor is imagination unique among nature’s species, beyond our occasional foolishnesses committed in high zeal.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I believe JG was one of the first to bring the subject up without sounding like a nincompoop. The forgettable names don’t come to mind, and there are too many.

I don’t think that mingling the lawsuit story and the subject proper is a good idea. I have another author who detailed Eric von Daniken’s story that way, and no one was interested in that, either -- except von Daniken himself, a friend of thirty years. Mind you I was as haughty about von Daniken as are most, nevertheless, he’s the largest selling nonfiction writer in history. The author, now dead of a ripe old age, was a prominent professor of linguistics, if there ever was such a thing, he might quip.

Is the excerpt provided below from G’s new work? I’d say the prose needs trimmed considerably. It needn’t be “dumbed down” in any way, but must be more mindful of an audience who don’t recognize the terms and expressions as readily as you involved in it would. Paean and overly expository may be trimmed, but I’m generally impatient to get to the most pertinent.

One of my favorite books was LIFE ON MAN, by microbiologist Theodore Rosebury, 1969. Rosebury was mindful of his audience this way and so wrote a thesis and a layman-accessible book simultaneously. As science goes generally, I thought Carl Sagan was an imbecile, whereas Rosebury’s approach ought to have served as a model. I’ve been entertaining people with a great deal of Rosebury’s book since I read it once at age 17. I did look it over again around age 45 to make sure I was still quoting things right. As the Greek said, entertainment and instruction do go hand in hand.


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To a longtime scholar of religious symbolisms

“For many will come in My name, saying, 'I am the Christ,' and will mislead many.”

Thank you, A, I did expect we would have a bit of a dialogue.

I do not follow Krishna or Christ or Buddha or Lao-Tse or any of history’s Great Speakers, although it seems to me the man called Christ is the figure most possible to emulate, where emulating is necessary, the way a child naturally emulates his parents. This is barring attempts to martyr oneself to get to heaven. The story doesn't seem to have been understood so well, considering the numbers who've charged into misery and death thinking emulating that would get them "up there." Humanity doesn't appear to have done much of a job altogether, does it?

We are not spring chickens. I’d like you to know that a recent client is seventy five years old. Her memoir has, so far, sold half a million copies. Rather than pronouncing fine words and terms, she has simply told the story of life as she experiences it; I believe this is more valuable, and a more direct kind of service to mankind’s struggle for “higher” consciousness than that of a thousand [New Age sideshow barkers].

Forgive me, but there are thousands of those. I hear from them all the time. They do entice with fanciful words and “modernized” concepts which do capture the imaginations of the literal-minded; but they in no way bring anyone to what’s lately called “The Source.” People do take on airs about such things, I see time after time, but that leads them even further away from this inconceivable Source, as they supplant their personal experience, considering it largely unworthy, with someone else’s words and popularizations. It is a sociological phenomenon, but not authentic, intimate inner experience as a rule.

One’s source, or even Source, to the degree such a thing may be consciously comprehended, is intimately entwined and inexorably combined with one’s daily experience, “down to the penny.” It is never not there. Relative to the excitement and overly optimistic speculations about combining the “truth” of science and the often faulty interpretations of ancient tomes, one’s humble daily experience may feel dull indeed.

Christ asked no one to accept symbolisms or academic esoterica over daily experience. He suggested to mankind that each individual is responsible for his daily experience; for each created it and could change it at will, by accepting his own entirely unique source as understood emotionally, intellectually and psychically or spiritually, as the term originally purported. "Love thy God" did not mean love some version handed to him, but his God as he understood it among his own parts. Where “the Kingdom of Heaven is among ye,” God consciousness and its most practical advantages are always right under one’s nose. That’s the challenge.