Tree of Life – reflections on the breakdown of perceptual boundaries

Did you see what the Pittsburgh murderer posted before his rampage?

I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered.

Screw your optics. I’m going in.

Like so many others, this guy believes in a very different reality than most of us reading these words. In his world, the Jews he killed have been helping immigrants to settle in his country, immigrants with the intention to murder his people.

He lives in a different world, a world that is considered fictional by those of us who buy into another consensus reality, the one we call truth, or fact. His reality is consensual too, though a smaller number of people buy into it.

Not long ago, when there were three TV networks presenting news in compliance with the Fairness Doctrine, and just so many print publications available, it was easier to control consensus reality. Propaganda could be labeled propaganda, hate speech hate speech. Those who believed the propaganda and hate speech had to keep to themselves because of the labels applied by the believers in consensus reality. That isn’t happening anymore.

The perception of truth is always problematic. When scripture – writing – is labeled Truth, larger consensual groups form and wars break out. People who hold one Truth supreme clash with those who believe in another.

Now that we have the internet, and apps like Snapchat that disappear after messages are sent, and the dark internet, consensus is rapidly breaking down. Every small group forms its own world, the bubbles we live in. Consensus reality is under siege from all angles.

More than ever, Pittsburgh makes me feel that most forms of resistance are futile. The Tree of Life, primal symbol of all cultures, is under attack by an individual man who feels his kind is threatened. He doesn’t need to be part of an organized group – in fact he’s even more iconic if he’s a loner. To his fellow believers, he’s a hero, a martyr. Can we change what they believe? What resistance can be mounted against a sea change in the nature of reality?

More and more I’m coming to believe that it is only nature, a sea change, that can create a united human consensus: climate change.

Only when we are all pushing against the wall together to keep the sea out will we humans again agree on a reality.

I’m not a great believer in channeled teachings, but I like to think that I have a reasonably good intuitometer (thank you, Joe Abrahams). I do like this teaching:

The Hathors, an interplanetary intelligence channeled by the musician Tom Kenyon, advise that when one’s perceptual boundaries crumble and fail – surely this is what is happening now – not to visualize the future (that vision can only be based in the past), but rather to be still and to await the unknown with eager anticipation – and when action is required, to act in a way that will be of greatest benefit to whatever sphere you find yourself in.

Be still, await the future with eager anticipation, and when it’s time, push against the wall together.

11 thoughts on “Tree of Life – reflections on the breakdown of perceptual boundaries

  1. One or my student friends has recently explored seeking deep conversation with people as different as possible from himself–even people he considers bigots–in hopes of understanding their minds and finding ways to build bridges. From this brave attempt, he has realized that one thing we all have in common in these scary times is a sense of ENDANGERMENT. We all feel it. Some look for someone to blame; others seek the strength of connection, but the perception that leads to whatever action is more or less the same; we all feel a sense that the future is not opening out but closing in. We’re not sure where to go with this insight, but clearly we need to build community in a way that is open enough and inclusive enough that being part of its strength is more compelling than blaming, seeking to wall out, and thus fragmenting the collective strength that could be our only hope. Unresolved is the problem that if “inclusive” includes bigots, those against whom they are bigoted are no longer comfortable in that community. Is there a way to create a warmth that steams the volatile bigotry out of people without making them feel attacked? I don’t know. Meanwhile, we in the New World are sending good energy in the direction of Brazil today, in hopes that their voters pull back from Bolsonaro and his mentality of blaming, dividing, and harming; we hope with all our might that Haddad gets elected so that the people can unite rather than divide.

  2. Eve, your words are more relevant than ever now. What to do? Revel in our loving friendships with one another and keep community healthy and strong and, yes, Joe is right, listen to our hearts!

  3. Thank you for expressing so eloquently what so many of us feel and fear. I’m no longer brave enough to attempt what Eric’s student friend is doing. I have tried to talk with intelligent people holding views different than mine on subjects such as abortion, immigration, religion, etc. It seems that they speak in sound bytes. It is so difficult to get them to look at the other side and then I realize that looking at their side, I become horribly depressed.

  4. Eve, that was beautifully written. I think it speaks to the hearts of all of us who read your words, nudging us to go inward, be still and and breathe life into the reality of a gentler world where we can all work together again for the common good.
    The fear is palpable at every turn these days. It is hard to wait to see how people will vote in the next few weeks. Many of my friends and I have turned off public media in the hopes that our wish-full thinking will help in some small way to push the tide in the direction of loving and not hatefulness.

    Keep writing. It helps us all🙏🏻

  5. Eve, I felt your comments were so beautiful and meaningful to me. My Mother and her
    sisters and brothers lived in Squirrel Hill and went to High school in that Pittsburgh
    neighborhood. It is over one third Jewish and the high school would close for
    the High Holy Days. I have wonderful memories of spending so much time in that
    lovely area of the city. Yesterday, I felt like I had been shot, but your words helped
    me today. My Mom and Dad were married just up the street at Rodef Shalom Temple.
    Thank you for expressing what so many of us feel. We are a community near and far.
    Namaste. Judy J

  6. Dear Eve,

    It may be cited as severity that humanity is moving towards a global entity. It is also a truth that that outcome will be negotiated in a cooperative, but also contentious fashion. We currently see a mobilization, forward and backward looking, in nature. On the basis of the past experience, we can expect the forward to win out over the backwards, but also to fight to the last. That’s how it has been, and within our lifetimes, will be. Such is my intuition!



  7. The Islamic Center of Pittsburgh, co-ordinating with an Islamic organization called “Celebrate Mercy,” started crowdfunding for the families of victims of the attack on the synagogue. They have collected many times their initial goal. Look up the video of the address by Wasi Mohamed of the Islamic Center, standing in support of the Jewish community and remembering how that community has stood with the Islamic community when it has been under attack. Meanwhile, “Bend the Arc,” a Jewish organization, told Trump he is not welcome in Pittsburgh until he ceases to encourage white nationalism and openly states that he deplores it, until he ceases demonizing immigrants and recognizes religious pluralism as legitimate. People of good heart of all faiths are standing together against hate and for community. Let us hope this keeps growing until from shore to shore a rich ecosystem of diversity replaces the monoculture of fear!

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