"Do not believe on the strength of traditions even if they have been held in honour for many generations and in many places; do not believe anything because many people speak of it; do not believe on the strength of sages of old times; do not believe that which you have yourselves imagined, thinking that a god has inspired you. Believe nothing which depends only on the authority of your masters or of priests. After investigation, believe that which you have yourselves tested and found reasonable, and which is for your good and that of others." ~ Buddha
Note: Please keep in mind that I am not asking or expecting you to believe or agree with anything that I am presenting. Indeed, I would be dismayed if you took anything I speak of at face value. The very most I can hope for is that you give yourself permission to look at these concepts and allow yourself to ponder them without prejudice or, in the case of something being offensive to your belief system(s), without the compulsion to attack. Also, since I'm already annotating, this is as good as time as any to add… throughout this series I've been using the words; mind, consciousness, subconscious, unconscious, thought and thinking. These words, like all words, are symbols to represent something that they are not. However, unlike the case where the word 'apple' is a symbol for a tangible object in physical reality i.e., an actual apple, the particular words I'm referencing, are symbols for that which is inherently abstract and ineffable (beyond words, images, space and time). In truth, from a point of view that is based in a 3D reality perceived and interpreted through five senses, we cannot possibly conceive of what the mind, consciousness, subconscious, unconscious, thought and thinking actually are or exactly how they operate. Yet, through exploring our own thoughts and the mechanics of how we seem to think, we can formulate some transitory but viable understandings that can encourage us and help us in our explorations into this place that is not a place and, with high probability, does not actually exist within the skull between our ears. Personally, I strongly suspect that "I" and "We" are all 'in' the abstract i.e., the mind and not really in the physical at all. We very much seem to be in a physical reality but we are not of the physical. We are actually of…well, I'll let you finish this sentence for yourself just as I have completed it (although the answer is under constant revision) for myself.
In the previous part we took a look at the three conditions of existence…Be, Do and Have… and their relative seniority (their cause and effect relationship to one another). In our expedition into the collective mind of Fort Smith, we are not much interested in the Doing and Having of Fort Smith (the physical experience) except as they point to particular aspects of the Be of Fort Smith. The Be of Fort Smith is its identity, its personality, its self-concept and it appears to be the source/cause of the city's behavior and what the city has (its Have). However, Be is not source/cause. It too is an effect. The relative seniority of Be, Do and Have is actually the relative seniority of a progression of effects (like the ripples caused by dropping a stone into a pool of water) not a progression of causes and effects. The source/cause is not in the tangible physical experience it is in the abstract. It is in the mind. Due to the indoctrination most of us have had throughout our lives, we consider the mind and brain to be one and the same. Obviously, though, the brain is physical. Here's a good rule of thumb to go by…If it vibrates, if it can be perceived, if it can be measured, it's a physical reality. The mind, which is thought, cannot be perceived and cannot be measured. It is an abstract. All physical form is a symbol for a thought in the mind.
The city of Fort Smith has the nickname: Hell on the border. This is a Have and it points directly to an aspect of the Be (the identity) of the city. Fort Smith has the motto: "Life is worth living in Fort Smith, Arkansas." This too is a Have and it also points directly to an aspect of the city's personality. As mentioned in the previous part, the incredible contrast of concepts as represented between the city's nickname and its motto, if it weren't so revealing of the conflict that must exist in the collective mind of Fort Smith with regard to its concept of self, it could be the basis for a very funny joke. Indeed, I suspect that people who happen to see the city's nickname and motto juxtaposed like they are on Wikipedia, more likely than not, see it as humorous and naturally assume the nickname is out dated. For those of us on this expedition, though, the two primary conflicting identities as represented in the nickname and motto, explains to some and hints to others why Fort Smith is an almost city. But, it doesn't explain how the city has come to have a split identity. For that explanation we need to look into the collective mind of Fort Smith.
I happen to think its unfortunate that on Wikipedia there is not a backstory given for the city's nickname and as well as for its motto. Nor is there any indication given that the nickname is antiquated. Perhaps it's just reasoned that people will assume that it is. Personally, it doesn't seem at all antiquated to me. I definitely perceive a "hell on the border" persona still very active in the city. If you have any stories to share about either the nickname or motto or both, I sure hope that you do share them in the comment section. It would be much appreciated.
Okay. What about you…what do you think? Leaving aside all the complexities, all the "depends on…" all the other variables that will certainly come up…in present day, according to your perception, is the city of Fort Smith being more a reflection of its nickname or its motto?
Even though the stark contrast between the city's nickname and its motto presents us with a portal, a portal whereby we can possibly journey through the vacillating identity of Fort Smith and into its collective mind…before we attempt to traverse that portal, I would like to delineate a few aspects of the mind that could possibly help us see what we're trying to see (whatever the hell that is). These "aspects" are suppositions not facts and are far from being complete. Indeed, the contrast between these suppositions and the actual truth is probably so radical that we couldn't possibly conceive of that degree of contrast. But, in lieu of our being able to actually conceive of what the mind is or its mechanics, these suppositions can give us some sort of "footing," albeit precarious, in the abstract. They can be a transitional step in learning just like Newtonian physics has proved to be a transitional yet viable step to Quantum physics. That said, let's save it for the next part. This post is plenty long as it is.
In closing, you recall how I stated in an earlier post that I had disabused myself of any expectations as to the outcomes of this expedition. Well, turns out that's not exactly so. I did spot an expectation that I missed tossing out with all the others. It had been hiding out of sight in a corner behind a group of confused thoughts. It seems that I expect we will, at the very least, gain some insight from taking this expedition. As far as what the insight will pertain to…I couldn't begin to even imagine.