06 April 2007

After a higher level

On a higher level* everything is determined by the presence of the inconceivable significance. Staying on a higher level means not allowing anything to occlude it, and this is very easy, as it is very obvious, and it does not occur to you to want to do anything that would occlude it, although it is possible to see that certain kinds of things would, if they were to present themselves and you identified with them.

It is a lot easier than, say, remaining lucid in a lucid dream, because in a lucid dream you have to remember to keep checking up on whether you are still aware that you are dreaming, and it is quite easy to forget to do this and to become emotionally involved in the storyline of the dream.

Post-higher level one focuses on where the significance would be, if it were there, and one goes on avoiding anything that would be occlusive, so that no resistances get set up to make it more difficult to return to a higher level. This is still fairly easy, as one goes on having a definite sense of direction and it is clear what ways of thinking would not be compatible with the actual presence of the significance.

All psychology is about risk-taking although this is only obvious in higher level psychology, and centralised psychology enables you to act against total opposition, with no support at all, and no expectation of a positive outcome.

This was most obvious when my plans were opposed for setting up a research organisation in Oxford, which I had been making while I worked for a would-be D.Phil., which became a B.Litt. Everyone appeared to find the plan threatening as it approached realisation, and all the promises of support fell through. I had no way back into any sort of academic career, and there was no other way I could support myself. I had, as yet, very little capital saved up, and I would not be able to draw anything from social security, as they like to call it, for reasons already explained. So long as I stayed at the SPR I had at least a miserable pittance of a salary, out of which further savings could be made.

I perceived that the only way of using any leverage I had on the situation, arising from Sir George Joy’s and W.H. Salter’s recent memories of the support they had expressed and the promises that had been made, was to resign quickly and appeal for funding ostentatiously; if I delayed, their memories of promises would dim and they could assume that I had sensibly given up on my plan.

So I resigned, and siege conditions of my research unit in Oxford commenced. It was clearly my only hope of salvaging anything from the SPR situation, but perhaps I had no hope at all; however it did feel right on higher level terms, and any alternative plans to hang around waiting for something better to turn up felt distinctly wrong.

My appeals for money brought in peanuts; everyone knew I was to be given no support. The agony should not be prolonged, as Rosalind Heywood told everyone. Sir George and Salter were a bit uncomfortable but inertial.

So I employed an expensive fundraiser in order to expose them to some semblance of publicity. The fundraiser was hostile as well, and the meetings were evasive. I was throwing money at the problem and did not have much to throw. I certainly would not get into debt. Nevertheless, it did feel like the right thing to do, and in a certain way was unconflicted. The only likely outcome was that I would spend all my tiny capital and be left even worse off struggling to survive under siege conditions.

But, after several gruelling meetings at the fundraiser’s office in London, Sir George vouchsafed the information that Cecil Harmsworth King had approached the SPR, wishing to give money for some research to be done.

I said to Sir George that I would write to Cecil King and say that I would do the research. None of the SPR’s Professors were keen to have anything to do with it, they were well enough financed for squabbling and backbiting.

Maybe Sir George thought that if he let me get an absolute minimum of money from Cecil King, he and Salter would be let off the hook and I would not go on pestering them about making approaches to Coombe-Tennants, Balfours, and other potential supporters who had been mentioned. At a later fundraising meeting Sir George tried to persuade me to apply for a certain amount of money, approximately equivalent to three postgraduate research scholarships, i.e. about enough to support three people in the most constricted way. Sir George happened to know, he said, that this was just the amount of support Cecil King had in mind to give, and it would not be advisable to ask for more. I did not believe him.

So eventually it came off, at least to the extent that I got a very modest amount of money, but more than Sir George had wanted me to have.

It was a very nerve-racking process which depended entirely on my appearing to have senior supporters who would act as Trustees, although Sir George and Salter did their best to scupper everything by their prevarication and lack of enthusiasm. Nevertheless Cecil King signed the seven year covenant before Rosalind Heywood got wind of what was happening. I did not place much reliance on Sir George’s discretion and I was on tenterhooks in case he told Rosalind before the covenant was signed, but he cannot have done, although as soon as the covenant was public knowledge, she got on the phone to Cecil King. He thought she was a wonderful person and I was all washed up with him. However, he had signed the covenant so I did get seven years of very modest financial support from him, but she had put the kybosh on his giving me any more support than that.

Seeing that I could not now be absolutely squeezed into non-existence, at least for seven years, Rosalind set about mobilising Professor Hardy to set up a rival establishment in Oxford, as similar as possible to mine, to deflect any publicity or finance that might otherwise have reached me, in spite of her energetic and efficient networking.

And that is how the Hardy Religious Experience Research Centre came into existence. Initially it was to be an exact replica of mine, but Hardy, who did not really want to do anything anyway, decided that warm and woozy religiosity would be more congenial.

* state of existential awareness