“In culture, any culture, we are bound to that which is deemed possible. In the comparative imagination that can relate consciousness to culture and culture to consciousness, we begin to free ourselves for the impossible.”


Language can be seen as one mode of expressing aspects of the unseen. Through definition we divide and separate the world into things. Words, however combined and multiplied, cannot express the true essence of the things they refer to. But words, as referents to the essence of things, serve as portals to what is currently unknown, or impossible, to a future in which the impossible becomes possible.

Erfurt in the 19th century1820 paintings. Letters in art. Trompe l’oeil in Germany

Language not only divides, but conjoins. It’s use becomes a sexy, reproductive participant in creation. Language reveals layers of meaning, expanding awareness through metaphor, imagination and suggestion. Writing becomes an art of being authored, or written, in which we in turn are authoring, or writing the impossible into being. The once impossible becomes possible, not only in the sense of the creation of tools, technology and artifact, but through the discovery of other realms and beings at one time invisible to us. If this sounds far-fetched, think only of dreams and all that you encounter there. But if you write or read as a creative practice, you probably have experienced the power of language, ideas and symbols to expand your awareness.


People in every culture have expressed a cosmological belief of some kind. From stories of the gods and creation myths, down to our modern language of mathematics and physics, cosmology can be seen as culturally dependent expressions of current states of consciousness, or perhaps, expressions as what the cosmos itself is aware of.

Our current understanding of a theory of evolution that believes we are the result of a series of mutations of life forms through a force called natural selection, would disagree that the cosmos is “aware” of anything. The belief that Intelligence or consciousness of any kind is a participant in the creative process is suspect, and so, called anthropomorphic. Consciousness and intelligence are here understood as mere by-products of a neurological brain.

“Krao”, the “missing link” : a living proof of Darwin’s theory of the descent of man : special lectures, 2.30, 5.30 & 9.30… : all should see her : [jungle illustration].
The theory of evolution is also an expression of a culture that believes in a Cartesian duality; seeing with a mind split from the body. If consciousness is a by-product of evolutionary processes, it could not have been a participant in anything prior to its existence, so the story goes.

It is curious to me that there is no current recognition of evolutionary mutations beyond us humans, except allowing for the possibility of alien life forms. If we can’t see it, touch it and measure it, it doesn’t exist. Consciousness as something generated by matter has implications for how we understand ourselves and the nature of reality. But, if consciousness is experienced as an expression of a primary intelligence of the cosmos, than we are also participants in the evolution of a reality that intends to expand the limits of our current awareness.


The sense of separation that we experience may be what helps to bring into being the impossible into the possible. The suffering of separation and division through thought and language, perhaps seeds the cosmos through a dialectic between what is possible and impossible. We are perhaps then, the cosmos creating itself into powers and realms not yet known, or perhaps, not yet existing. This can only be possible when we admit the possibility that consciousness is not a by-product of matter, but a primary aspect of the cosmos.

Jeffrey Kripal suggests that somewhere in the beginning of the 20th century, modern culture began to disdain any notion of metaphysical aspects to reality. His book, Authors of the Impossible, recalls a multitude of modern accounts and stories of people’s adventures in other realms, which we now call dreams, OBE’s, NDE’s, UFO abductions. He says:

“We are magicians all. But as whole cultures extended through centuries of time, we are much more than a collection of knowing and unknowing magicians stumbling about with their consensual spells called Language, Belief, and Custom. We are veritable wizards endowed with almost unbelievable powers to shape new worlds of experience and realize different aspects of the real.”

In closing, I must add that the ideas, except as noted, are my own take on the ideas in Kripal’s book. Although in so many ways, I remain indebted to the ideas of others and those discussed in his book, Authors of the Impossible.

“To author one’s world, however, whether literally or metaphorically, implies the use of language, which is a left-brain capacity. So an author of the impossible is not someone who has shut down the left brain with all its critical and linguistic powers and tender sense of individual identity. I do not mean to be so simply dualistic . Rather, an author of the impossible is someone who has ceased to live, think, and imagine only in the left brain, who has worked hard and long to synchronize the two forms of consciousness and identity and bring them both online together. Finally, an author of the impossible is someone who has gone beyond all of these dualisms of right and left, mystical and rational, faith and reason, self and other, mind and matter, consciousness and energy, and so on. An author of the impossible is someone who knows that the Human is Two and One.”

All quotes: Kripal, Jeffrey J. (2011-09-16). Authors of the Impossible: The Paranormal and the Sacred. University of Chicago Press. Kindle Edition.

31 thoughts on “Expression

  1. theburningheart

    There’s a consciousness that guide us even in unconsciousness, as it seems like never heard, or knew Ernst Cassirer, but on a used book shop on the far fringes of Empire I found a little book by him in Spanish, Essay of Man.

    Animal symbolicum (“symbol-making” or “symbolizing animal”) is a definition for humans proposed by the German neo-Kantian Ernst Cassirer.

    The tradition since Aristotle has defined a human being as animal rationale (a rational animal). However, Cassirer claimed that man’s outstanding characteristic is not in his metaphysical or physical nature, but rather in his work. Humanity cannot be known directly, but has to be known through the analysis of the symbolic universe that man has created historically. Thus man should be defined as animal symbolicum (a symbol-making or symbolizing animal). On this basis, Cassirer sought to understand human nature by exploring symbolic forms in all aspects of a human being’s experience. His work is represented in his three-volume Philosophie der Symbolischen Formen (1923–9, translated as The Philosophy of Symbolic Forms) and is summarized in his An Essay on Man. W. J. T. Mitchell used this term in his essay on “representation” to say that

    “man, for many philosophers both ancient and modern, is the “representational animal,” homo symbolicum [sic], the creature whose distinctive character is the creation and manipulation of signs – things that stand for or take the place of something else.”

    Well excuse to tell you that I totally stumbled into this jewel of a book on a totally happenstance way…

    “it was just happenstance that I happened to be there” Coincidence, or design from an unknown source?

    Debra, you be the judge.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. …and as Stanley Kubrick reminds us, “we live in the layers.”

      Your last point, and question, bring a smile to my face. Sometimes I picture us all as spiraling through the appearances of what looks like a world of many roads, but in reality are fractal in nature…the many is then, the one? So perhaps a happenstance is a seeming coincidence only when that eternal oneness has become lost to us, or simply forgotten, or as you say, an unknown source. A most brilliant disguise, for sure!
      Thank you for the lovely reminder and blessings to you, Brigido!

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Pingback: Story and Fate – Theoria

  3. Hi Debra,
    Wonderful post. I was especially drawn in by Trompe-l-oeuil!

    “The sense of separation that we experience may be what helps to bring into being the impossible into the possible. The suffering of separation and division through thought and language, perhaps seeds the cosmos through a dialectic between what is possible and impossible. We are perhaps then, the cosmos creating itself into powers and realms not yet known, or perhaps, not yet existing. This can only be possible when we admit the possibility that consciousness is not a by-product of matter, but a primary aspect of the cosmos.”

    Perhaps this is an extreme tangent, but for some reason this paragraph reminded me of instances when I have been deep in love and/or deep in the creative process. In both cases, there is an overwhelming sense of merging my being, and helps “bring into being the impossible into the possible.” I have distinct memories of experiencing this realization that when in love and when in love with creative process, that all desire is founded in motivation to reach that state of co-creation or being. I suppose how this relates to your post, if at all, is that in love, creativity and meditation, it is that sense that both hemispheres are balanced, that my left brain and right brain functions are dancing together, it is there that each mmoment seems pregnant with the possibilities of the impossible.

    Always grateful for your fluid, yet complex writing and inspiration..


    1. Hi Amanda,

      I had to look up “Trompe-l-oeuil,” which I failed to do when I placed that image here, but yes, I am drawn too (pun intended).

      I think you’re spot on with your tangent. Kripal goes to great lengths to connect the erotic with the religious, or sacred. His expertise in fact, is the study of comparative religions and mystical or paranormal experiences. Love, to me , is very much part of a deep emotion experienced through any form of immersion. I’d even say that it’s necessary to reach deeper states and begin to sense the essence of a thing, person, place or situation. These states unfold a co-creative aspect yes? I like that idea of yours. Kripal very much sees the cooperation between the seeming very distinct natures of what we call left and right brain as what brings about enhanced states of consciousness. The metaview of seeing social structures for their limitations and arbitrary nature imposed by convention and agreement in any time and place, release one from their grip of being the only way to see and experience life, into a continual flow of seeing both the conventional and the more expansive unfolding view of reality at the same time. Does that make any sense? 🙂

      I think Jung toyed with this idea when writing about the Anima and its affect of drawing a person out of unconsciousness into awareness. Even the messy part of coming out of love’s illusions serve a higher purpose, yes?

      Thank you for your inspirational thoughts!


  4. You had me at the opening. I mean, language, come on. =) I sat in on a doctoral class at Harvard years ago where the professor threw out the starter question, Which comes first, language or thought? Oh, they couldn’t shut me up. Yes, language bears its limitations. Which is why we strive to communicate in other modes incl the visual arts and music.

    “The theory of evolution is also an expression of a culture that believes in a Cartesian duality”

    Very nice job there, the way you teased out the logical implications.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much Diana! Ha ha, yes that question is challenging, and should be thought about. James Hillman said that image is primary. But, by image he did not mean only pictures, but something very primary to our immediate experience. We might refer to it as the something that pops into our head, or is felt and intuited. It’s hard to get at what a primary image is because we translate so quickly, these fundamental imageries into pictures, thoughts, words and ideas. Perhaps they are all aspects to the same unarticulated emmediate experience?

      Visual arts and music and how they express something to and through us are perfect examples of what Hillman meant by primary images, I think. It could take a lifetime or two to articulate meaning of these primary forms and how we experience them. But, that’s what we’re doing, right? It’s not like we had other plans or nothing. 🙂



      1. Hahahaha— I’m sorry, I still speak Navy a lot. A Yeoman is someone who specializes in documentation — a yeoman must be detailed and exacting, and make sure every ‘I’ is dotted. It means you did a marvelous piece of writing. 🙂
        🙂 Please keep it up. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  5. “An author of the impossible is someone who knows that the Human is Two and One” This rather sounds akin to or synonymous with the Nondualism of Classical Advaita does it not Debra? That is to say, reality is not strictly monistic, though is not dualistic in any conventional sense either: “Advaita” meaning “not two”, though expressed as such so as not to overtly imply “one”.

    I think it’s always useful to distinguish between ‘consciousness’ and ‘awareness’. Physicalists and Hard Materialists tend overwhelmingly to support their theories by presupposing that consciousness/awareness must always be ‘with knowledge’ (‘con science’). And of course, this ‘knowledge’ is indeed derived in part by the brain as a representation(s) of sensory contacts. And yet, prior to these representations there remains an apprehending devoid of percepts; this, I think we can reasonably call ‘awareness’ and which is non-local in origin (if it indeed it has any origin).

    What seems to be at the forefront of Consciousness Theory currently is the concept of ‘Integrated Information’ as championed by Giulio Tononi. It is a kind of panpsychism and we do seem to be moving towards an understanding of consciousness as a fundamental element of reality. Thinking along these lines, then notions of what is possible and impossible seem somewhat by the by perhaps, for we are stuck making such judgements with our little ape brains are we not? And yet, as you say Debra, our little brains may still cause us to write and speak, conjuring into existence whatever they may wish to without the constraints of conventional possibility or any apparent referent in reality. Such thoughts appear, both as consciousness but at once also in a non-local awareness. Perhaps this is in part what Kripal means by the non-dualistic phrase “the human is two and one”?

    Many thanks for another challenging and informative article Debra.


    P.S. Linda has it right with pop-psychology takes on brain asymmetry; it’s not so clear cut at all:

    P.P.S. This ‘snow’ is doing funny things to my brain! o_O


    1. Hariod!

      Thank you for your wonderful note. I love your thoughts here and your distinctions between awareness and consciousness. I do tend to use these terms interchangably and also in a more expansive way that includes the totality of intelligence that life forms express. By this I mean, all of our bodily functions, as unconscious functioning of the body. In this sense though, awareness would not include that intelligence. Geesh, I thnk I need to work on clarifying for myself the use of these words!

      You have a wonderful grasp of Kripal’s ideas as I understand them though. Thanks again for sharing here!


      P.S. The snow is wishful thinking for one who lives in the rainy lands of the Pacific NW. At least there’s no shoveling required 🙂


  6. Great post deb… our expression in word and speak shares our consciousness, the essence of who we each are… whether still wrapped up in our human layers or playing with the want of our magician self… Happy days, Barbara


  7. nicciattfield

    So interesting…the language which makes us magical creatures, capable of invention, sharing and expression, is also a form of divide, in a way…between body and mind, and between brain hemispheres…you have to wonder what complexity would exist if people were capable of unity on all levels, and the wonders which would come about then…


    1. Hi Nicci,

      Oh yes! I have been dwelling a lot lately on what you say about our capacity for experiencing unity on, at least more levels, and how that affects our exchanges and understanding of each other and the world we inhabit. Perhaps, ready or not, we’re going there. 🙂

      Thank you for sharing that thought!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. nicciattfield

        Hi Debra, I nominated your blog for a sisterhood of bloggers award. I don’t know if you accept awards, and there is no pressure to participate, but I nominated you and thought you should know. Nicci


      2. Hi Nicci,
        I am flattered that you are honoring me with a sisterhood award. It’s very appropriate at the moment too!
        If I get time to post it on the page I have set aside for awards, I will do so.
        Thank you so much!

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Hi Deb,
    Reading your piece has me musing once more about whether words find us or we find them! Sometimes words will just pop into my consciousness, especially during times of quiet and especially in the shower! Something about the water and lack of distraction. Your article also reactivates me curiosity about what does exist outside of our awareness in terms of consciousness. I got a book today called Quantum Jumping written by one of our blogettes, Cynthia Sue, over at Realityshifter’s Blog, I had no idea you could get regular US mail ( not UPS) on Sunday. Yet I found the package today right by my door.This minor miracle is kind of a cosmic teaser about what is reality and what is not, don’t you think?

    We all influence each other, and I think that is important and ultimately helpful. I have been rather stuck on the duality of left and right brain hemispheres and during a lively Thanksgiving discussion someone said that this theory is outdated. This gave me pause, but then I realized that we know so little about the brain. The brain is quite fascinating and language is part of the equation, yet, the mind ( Divine mind ) is where expression truly originates.

    x0x0 Linda


    1. Hi Linda,

      Maybe its both; words find us and we find them. Quantum Jumping sounds like an interesting read. Maybe you’ll write a bit on the book at some time?

      Ha ha, I just recently discovered the same thing about Sunday deliveries! Who would’ve thought? I had ordered something through Amazon, and sure enough, 2 days later, on a Sunday, it was delievered by USPS! USPS has a bit of competition these days, so maybe they have made changes to accomodate the demand.

      Speaking of left and right brain, the conclusion Kripal comes to is that our ability to use these different modes of awareness called left and right brain, becomes a cooperative in which states of consciousness are tremendously enhanced. I do like that idea.


      Liked by 1 person

  9. Hi Debra

    That is so cool! Sounds like you gathered up and ported your thoughts from the discussion over on PlaneTalk! I think you hit the nail on the head when you express how language both limits consciousness, yet also marks the boundary of freedom for consciousness. What is possible can be expressed. What cannot yet be expressed is impossible. Until it can be expressed, that is.

    Its kind of a quantum mechanical view of things where the observer appears to create reality, instead of simply discovering what was supposed to be there all along.

    Very cool! Thank you for sharing!



    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Don! It is amazing, or not, that the reading of Kripal’s book coincides with our exchanges here and on your blog.

      The writing here, was in part, influenced by reading your blog too.



      1. Agreed Don! I’ve already experienced quite a few with you. I don’t think I mentioned this one yet, but when you responded to my comment on your blog, “Yes,” noting that it was a rock band you liked, at that very moment, I was riding (passsenger) in the car with the radio on and Yours is No Disgrace was playing on the radio. Not only is that a Yes song, but I couldn’t help but notice the play between your last name, DeGracio, and the title. Amazing exactitude!

        Your website,, links to some lucid dreaming research of yours. Have you ever done any writing that’s more descriptive in nature about your lucid dream experiences? Would love to read more… I’ve had a number of them too and still feel I am digesting them. More than ordinary dreams, they seem to transport me to some other place. Maybe it’s an illusion because of their active participatory nature, but they also express, even if sometimes metaphorically, some very interesting cosmological truths.



Your comments welcome here:

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.