ANIL MITRA, COPYRIGHT © 1982-1996, EDITED February 2013



Document status: February 11, 2013  2

1988  3

Hobo Gulch  3

Design. Educational Systems  3

1992  3

Isolation  3

Evolution and Mind  4

On consciousness  4

Elements of Mind  5

Design. Linear and Priority Models  5

1993  7

What I Learned at the Lake  7

Map of Mind  8

What is Death?  8

1994  8

Nature Sense  8

Hypnotic Shamanism—First Journey  9

Games with symbols: Transformations  10

What I saw   10

Black Bear: Sept 27  11

The Two Hawks  11

Ducks: Emerald Lake  11

1995  11

Identifying my life issues  11

There may be advantages to writing [beginning] EDA as a Work in Progress  11

Death: absolute or contingent 12

October 14, 1995. Rorty and edification  12

The concept of rigor  12

Nature of Being  12

1996  13

Hobo to Papoose  13

Canyon Creek  13


Document status: February 11, 2013

Independent. No action for Journey in Being

This is the journal from 1982-1996. For the years 1982-1992 [except 1988] there is no archived journal; all material has been absorbed directly into other documents, primarily Evolution and Design

From 1992 – 2001, I maintained archived journals and this was productive. In 2002, I stopped archiving my journals and incorporated my notes directly into other documents – primarily Journey in Being. I liked the results: it is nice to have a record of the journey itself but the maintenance of separate journals is cumbersome and for 2002 it would have been inefficient. Efficiency is not what I always want but in 2002, I felt the pressure of time to complete and share my work. Additionally, the decision to directly transfer ideas resulted in an exceptionally creative experience and result: finally, in 2003, I have the answer to my search since 1987 i.e. since Evolution and Design. That document was temporal, mechanistic, material, and scientific in tone and I began, thereafter, to search for a complement to that tone and the result is Journey in Being which is atemporal, indeterministic, non-mechanistic, non-categorical and logical rather than scientific. Of course, we cannot do away with time, mechanism, science and so on and these are embedded within the larger view of Journey in Being. In all phases I sought intuition and poetry that are embedded in the documents


Hobo Gulch

August 10, 1988

“All Descriptive Knowledge is Metaphorical”

This is contrasted to direct knowledge… but is perception so direct? Seemingly; but the apparent immediacy hides the complexity of the learning process [individual and species] with its trials that are suppressed/integrated in actual perception…

Just as descriptive knowledge may be metaphorical for an individual or a social group, so may the tiger’s jaws be a metaphor for its stomach within the compass of the evolution of species tiger - the saber tooth

That all descriptive knowledge is metaphorical… is metaphorical. There is no foundation in the world; but, then, no foundation is or can be necessary. The metaphorical nature of knowledge is a reminder: there is no absolute anchor; and an analytical tool

Metaphorical and direct are not distinct… or exclusive

August 13, Saturday

People who talk a lot about honesty are, in my experience, frequently not truthful. This does not mean that they are dishonest. Here is an explanation. For some reason there is a [hyper] concern with honesty. This could be from childhood, or from with concern with appearance, a means to influence others. This is in contrast to someone who has a normal concern, is not out to deceive others but is not constantly on guard about error. Since this person is not constantly making guarantees, there is nothing misleading about what he or she say. The person who is over concerned with honesty is making guarantees. And, unless they know themselves completely, even if honest in intent are untruthful in practice

Thus the Jungian principle of accepting the shadow; and the Nicomachean principle of opposites: every principle contains its opposite – good contains evil and so on. How? Good derives from knowledge and choice; evil derives from the same place

The integration of dualisms – acceptance of the shadow and the dark neutralizes the inner destruction within the individual psyche

Design. Educational Systems

There are too many academic divisions within universities. In one way, this is good – transition, fecundity. However it also represents mere self-expression, dominance/avoidance at the expense of function. What organization will enhance function and integrity…?



November 4, 1992, Night, Stuart Fork Trailhead

Behind and beyond animal and plant spirits lie the secrets and spirits of the forests, the lakes, mountains, elements [clouds, thunder, lightning, rain...] skies and space

Light at 6 AM. Dark at 5:30 PM

November 5

Hike to intersection of Stuart Fork trail with Alpine Lake Trail. Delightful feeling…

November 7

Hike to Alpine Lake and back [Stuarts Fork]. Low cloud ceiling at Alpine, air 38F and water 48F at Alpine, walk 4 1/2 hrs. View of Shasta [peak obscured by clouds] on walk back

November 8, Sunday: to Morris Meadow

Evolution and Mind

Evolution is the process from beginnings, likely in nothing [ness] that arrives or produces in the world – as it is

Evolution is physical, biological, social, mental… these are, of course, distinct modes as much as distinct modes of description

The individual organism is not only adapted but adaptable. And through adaptability it effects its destiny – and its evolution. This is a characterization of mind: evolution internalized as part of the organisms processes

On consciousness

Then come the questions of consciousness: emergent or original – though perhaps synthetic; expression or being; real or artifactual; essence or derived; generator or result of the real; distinct from or identical to matter – at root; effective or synchronistic… I go with original, being, real, essence, identical to matter, effective… The question of generator vs. result is somewhat difficult and depends on the denotation of “mind”. Mind is not a given thing but, although real in its nature, is very much artifactual in its distinctions, i.e. in its boundaries

[Recall that denotation is what is specified – or the totality of things to which the term applies; connotation is the essential property or group of properties of the thing[s] named.]

November 10, Tuesday: 10 PM. Evolution, design, mind, consciousness

November 9, Sunday

Rain most of the night

November 10, Monday

Morning clear... peaks around the meadow brushed with snow - beautiful... wonderful

Hike up Deer Creek trail to crossing with Granite Lake trail... many stream crossings, valleys, peaks and snow including Siligo Peak... stopped at snow-line, short of Deer Lake

Black night - Lessons from the Bear

“Your power animal is one you fear.”

Elements of Mind

Kant’s categories have largely been explained away [geometry, mechanics] or shown to be evolutionarily based [time, space, causality]

Thus talking of a “wiring in of logic” is not useful

The symbolic capability is the fundamental logical capability

Motion, experience, perception, memory [short, long], and imagery

Design. Linear and Priority Models

Linear Models

…are of the type: Awareness i.e. identify need - define problemsynthesize general or conceptual solution, specify solution parameters – analyze and optimizeevaluate and testimplement

Some further elements in complex, social or large scale projects: acceptance of the problem; information gathering; communication including presentation. Finally, review of impact – reusable elements of design, contribution to general knowledge – science, technology and other disciplines; social and environmental impact; implications for policysocial, economic, political, technology

The linear model is not what is sometimes negatively called linear thinking. “Linear thinking” has negative and positive connotations. In the negative connotation it refers to conceiving a solution and not revising the solution on basis of experience. The linear model, as noted, includes evaluation and avoids the negative connotation

Priority Models

…are a response to the criticism that the linear model is not truly how design occurs in its manifold situations; specifically the sequence and the stages are reasonable but not necessary

Stages or elements are flexible; and there is more than one kind of element:

Design elements

Identify a need

Define problems

These are the “stages” of the linear design model with the proviso: elements may be added, subtracted and modified

Second order elements

Allocating resources for design

Priorities: selecting and acting upon element[s] of current focus; includes design and second order elements; may be formalized with especial distinction between design and second order elements; default: linear design

Reviewing the nature of design, the elements – first and second order

There is no need to define priorities for elements since that is one of the elements

Includes feedback and learning, branching, interaction through priority

Evolution: origin of design

Discussion of origin of design necessarily and automatically includes consideration of design models

The discussion is brief

Evolution includes change and adaptation

The origin of intelligence, mind, is that modeling [the senses, perception, intellect model the world] is more efficient than mere physical exploration; of course, raw physical exploration is never eliminated

Design is a mesh [the mesh is not invented but can be modified by intelligence] of physical and conceptual exploration in which exploration is itself one of the elements of the world

Look before you leap

The linear model is a rather optimized though specialized version of the priority model; the optimality arises from the fact that thought requires less resources than exploration

Evolution of Design

Once we arrive at evolved intellect which necessarily includes “informal” design and its cousin “knowledge,” formal design is not far behind

Evolution builds on what is given…

Evolution of Designs

Design and designs evolve mutually, in interaction but at different levels, rates…


The idea of certainty – justified, true belief – in knowledge does not hold up with realism

The distinction knowledge / design / function may require to be broken, preliminary to real evolution

There is a continuum: Knowledge interacts with Design

The Origin of Symbolic Capability

In the origin, after pure perception and memory: free floating remembered images. This is an approximation – perception, memory and free images are likely bound in origins

The origin of perception is in an elaboration of stimulus-response. The origin of memory is in the origin of the ability of the organism to be modified

Neural systems are a particular physiological framework

Free images that condition action are an advantage over no images; the former allow experiment that, when it succeeds, succeeds in a way that absence of experiment cannot. Therefore, free images allows the creation of new evolutionary niches

Selection now acts upon this system; organisms acquire control over images… originating, perhaps, in the ability to hold an image

With differentiation of imaging ability comes the symbol; and control of control; and the combination leads to language… and to logic

It is the symbolic and the symbolic processing capabilities [“language,” “logic…”] that are built in… and not actual language or logic… this is close but not identical to the innateness/universal grammar ideas

The source of images is not under control: the sub/unconscious

Control is taxing; regeneration is necessary

Control is relinquished in sleep; thus “dreams” are relegated to sleep; thus dreams are access to the unconscious; but the language of dreams is not clear

Originally, there was no language of the free images – images affect mood and life; dreams retain this “function” dreams affect mood and life…

Further, dreams are a direct view into the shadow: the parts of the individual that are uncultivated, suppressed… Hence, dreams as a source of creation… i.e. while individual creative elements are suppressed they may be present in the unconscious…

The unconscious… what is suppressed, what is not developed, what is not expressed in normal symbols – different contexts, pre-language, the framework of perception – intuitive causation, time, space and pre-causation…

But the elements recombine; and functions flow; dreams become a source into that part of the unconscious that is linguistic, “normal” but suppressed, forgotten, repressed… recollection is by association; and therefore this is also one source of elucidation – interpretation

But, from the foregoing – we do not expect every dream to have effect, or meaning. This explains the garbage dump theory of dreams as a possible partial mechanism but does not at all justify it as a complete theory

Hence the chaos and meaning and effectual nature of dreams; the creativity in dreams; the affinity of creativity and disturbance of normal consciousness

The origin of logic has similar explanation

There is common ground with Julian Jaynes in The Origin of Consciousness in the Break Down of the Bicameral Mind…

Are there other ways of accessing dream consciousness?

Hypnotic, trance, mystic, Shamanic, psychotic states of whatever origin


The free model and its developments: dream + holding + associative memory, provides a working explanation of directed, creative-selective thought and design. It goes towards a full account of the evolution of the design – which includes knowledge as a phase…

November 17, Tuesday

… a day…


What I Learned at the Lake

Contact – presence and motion

The name of the lake

There are: light, gloom and dark

The Universal – always present, available

Being… present in the lake-cliff-green-motion-cloud-swirl, and storm

There are answers to all fundamental questions

Map of Mind

What is Death?

Written with cold fingers under a rising full moon. Deer Lake, Trinity Wilderness, September 30, 1993. Beautiful. I saw, aided by artificial optics: first glimmer, peak and sharp tree silhouettes, craters... and so, reflecting on an ancient spirit, was led to the question

Every living cell descends from one primeval living process… and, further back from one primeval atom or potential – consider that

Or consider that further back in history, there may have been one primeval “atom” - and primeval potential

November 13 - November 15

Long Canyon




Bee Tree Gap

Deer Lake cirque

Summit Lake - ice

Origins of Philosophy

Precursors: Original atom -- animal mind – language, word, myth and magic – religion – oracles, fates – prediction, ritual and sacrifice, separation of word and object

Then: the Epics, the flower of philosophy, Unitarianism of Thales and Democritus… and so on


Maintenance of cultural variety as a source of creation, experiment

Nature Sense

[Tom Brown, other sources]

Relaxing, ignoring discomfort, defocus, play. Decrease preconception. Wide-angle vision. Spatter-vision: focus cycles with defocus... dart and sweep. All senses

Animal Signs

Tracks and gaits. Trails and runs. Scents and musk. Push downs, escapes, hides. Beds. Feeding areas. Medium: rubs, nicks, scratches, gnawings and bitings, breaks and abrasions in twigs, sticks and logs. Small: hairs, stone and leaf disturbances, compressions and side heading. Shinings and dullings. Pressure releases

A Night Sit

Spiritual connection to life is a natural capacity which only waits to be awakened. Those who express this spiritual connection are empowered not so much by “their genius as their joyful awareness of life and their ability to see nature as it is...” like the tracks of a grasshopper

Hypnotic Shamanism—First Journey


Eat lightly [if at all] for four hours before

Vitamin C

No drugs [caffeine]

Dark Room, Quiet

Loosen clothes

Lie on floor without pillow

Relax, contemplate the mission

Close eyes to shut out light


Visualize an opening in the Earth; go down

Have drum beat 205-220 a minute: 10 min: four sharp beats signal time to return

Very rapid beat, half minute for return

Four sharp beats signal end

Going Down

If there is an obstacle, go around it or through a crack

At the end of the tunnel, explore the landscape but do not bring anything back this first journey

If the journey is not a success - try again with a different drum speed

Exercises and Practices from Michael Harner

First Journey

Calling the Beasts [becoming aware through danger rhythm of one’s animal level/aspect/substance] Pre-animal

Journey to Recover a Power Animal and:

First: Hunt a power song [includes feeling, through nature-identification, one’s animal self]

Group Ritual/Rhythm/Son to Recover an Individual’s Power... “Group Spirit Canoe”. Group power

Power Practices - uses of Shamanic power for self and other

Consulting a power animal, journey foreseeing, keeping power, big dreams [vivid or repeated], restoring power at a distance, the bone game [power practice] power objects and the quartz crystal

Extracting harmful intrusions, tobacco traps, and becoming the patient

Signs of the Absolute in the Present

I need a Symbol

Games with symbols: Transformations









Perception: forms

Conception: play

Icon: psyche and symbols






Games and reality

Generating a universe from symbols

“Rains Fell on the Parched Plains of India” a metaphor for balance to design…

What I saw


13 shrieks

“Joy”: eating, gathering, sun, morning



“Anger” at other intrusive chipmunk

Black Bear: Sept 27

A warm afternoon, hiking down Rattlesnake Trail toward the North Fork

The lower portion of the trail - broad streambed covered by 8-10 inch rocks from the hydraulic mining days

Every few feet some creature would be surprised by my advance

…a family of quail, a gray squirrel, a rattlesnake, lizards, lizards, more lizards...the turquoise dragon, deer

At one location the crash, crash, crash was louder than usual

I stopped to look. Peering over the ridge of the broad, shallow canyon I saw a black bear and cub

The adult was moving at great speed and with agility on down the rocky bed

The bear was black or deep brown. The strides were long. The rise and fall of the massive shoulders was smooth and powerful

This was an impressive sighting

The Two Hawks

Cooper’s hawk with the thin whistle

Two hawks appeared over a high ridge, synchronized in their pattern of flight:

…one evening – I was treated to an hour of flight display and repeated calls

The background: the high peaks and ridges lit, golden, in the evening sun; the hawks, two of them and then a third above, against the blue sky

Ducks: Emerald Lake

The rush of sound


Identifying my life issues

go where the great minds are

where great events are happening; go home

go to wild places and

recognize unseen faces as your own

There may be advantages to writing [beginning] EDA as a Work in Progress

The Open Text

The inspiration of the process

The power of action

This also applies to getting help, assistance, involvement of others:

Death: absolute or contingent

You say death is final!

Within that paradigm, you have not died and you don’t know anyone alive who has. So your claim is not empirical

Is your claim then conceptual? But the opposite conceptual claim can be made with equal validity as far as empirical evidence is concerned. As far as death is a concept, there is no reason to suppose it to be absolute

So called near death experiences are not death experiences …and there is no way of knowing that they are near death experiences without knowing what death experiences are like. Remember that clinical death is just that… if you came back from clinical death you did not die

Modern man who prides himself on nothing more than his ignorance also loves to con-fuse the proximate and the ultimate. That confusion is sometimes “materialism.”

… and make all kinds of excuses for that confusion. “Oh! I can’t waste my time on ultimate concerns; I have only this one life to live!”

Why not spend 10% of your non-survival time on the ultimate and the absolute? If it’s a risk to spend all the time understanding the ultimate, on how to know and realize it isn’t it also a risk to spend no time on it at all

October 14, 1995. Rorty and edification

On Rortyan edification: can we truly, in the end, separate out passion and poetry from the concept

Academic circles [and certain psychological types] would argue so

[How] to get outside the socio-linguistic circle where there is rational argument but no total vision or total empiric possible... Despite all this:

The fluid field of social being goes on until it stops

The concept of rigor

You can use any level of rigor provided you know how rigorous and the costs and benefits. There is a “penny wise, pound foolish” thing about rigor. Being rigorous in limited areas has the following advantages: if action depends only on the area, it will be right; and, perhaps, the way to build up full rigor is to begin small. Further, done right, rigor is not stultifying. At the same time, to focus only on certainty and absolute rigor is stultifying, is death, ignores “paradise.”

Nature of Being

The discussion which follows is well known

Inasmuch as:

There exist beings which ultimately constitute being, they are proximately distinguishable although not absolutely distinct: distinction, in other words, is a mater of degree – scale of time, space and function

This is the issue of polarity / continuum in concepts – clarity at the center, hazy distinction at the edge

There is flow between beings… matter, energy, information, entropy, meaning, genetic material, insight, knowledge and intention... which constitute their external relation and ultimate unity

There is flow and boundary within being, each proximate being as for external flow. These are possible through distinction and constitute the harmonies

This is in analogy with “to see a mountain as a slow-moving river and a river as a fast-moving mountain”

Whence even the inanimate, mindless, purposeless universe devoid of sentience and god?

If you believe in absolute death... you, your consciousness are absurd, wrong, a contradiction – even of mechanism



Hobo to Papoose

Thursday, September 12. I learn, again, that being here is “the thing,” the first step to attunement, that preparation is never complete

Friday 20 - Tuesday 24. The real foci of this meditation are principles and concepts, not outlines – outlines follow from the principles. I learn that there is always that regrouping at the beginning of a journey, I slowly realize and enter into focus on the real work... and this is why Kierkegaard said “Purity of heart is to want one thing,” but this is also why he was wrong because the center-decenter-regroup process is so vital even if it is a struggle with times of focus - but never for long enough that one is completely comfortable - and with times of being far flung from the center, even from the surface waiting to breathe

Canyon Creek

Regrouping takes a few days

What do I feel no fear recently? Not that I am fearless... but am I avoiding the essential work, risk?

Your ideas are poetic like snow and rain with plastic and torrential flow and rivulets creating a flowing down the ways to land and ocean to air and sky and once more to snow and rain

Which reminds me of “To see a mountain as a river and a river as a mountain”

Is Σ[BRP] a maximal metaphysics…