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present: it must be less present than the present field. We found, when looking at the leafy bush, that the peripheral fields were perceived in less detail. This provisionally suggests that in comparing two fields the present field will be the one with the greater detail and the absent field will be that with less detail—and this would clearly be a relative matter. The present field, then, might be regarded as some kind of simultaneous synthesis of all its alternative absent fields; and this would still be true at the instant of its changing, since the single alternative field at that instant is no longer absent—the two fields are then one and the same. We may also note that since a field (though not its subordinate fields) remains unchanged so long as it is stable it would equally well be defined by any of its possible alternatives (given the general arrangement of my room from a certain point of view, I can indifferently define the place of the chair by saying it is immediately to the left of the table, to the right of the bed, or below the window). This account, furthermore, would allow us to see how it is that except at the instant of a field’s changing, consciousness of that field is never consciousness of it as consisting of the possibility of being some other field (which would immediately entail its changing). A field is always all its alternatives; but a plurality of alternatives is a contradiction in terms. Consequently, to be conscious of a field as being a plurality of alternatives is no longer to regard those alternatives as alternatives, that is to say, as possibilities. Only when there is one alternative and one only does that alternative appear as a possibility; and only then does a field change. But it does not change to that possibility; for it already is that possibility: it merely ‘changes direction’. Thus to be possible, here, is to be actual. What, now, are we to understand by the expression ‘change of direction’? The present field, so long as it is stable, is surrounded by a multitude—a zone—of absent fields. The present field, in the centre, is detailed; the absent, peripheral, fields are less so. But with the singling out by peripheral attention of one of these absent fields at the expense of the others (which thereupon tend to disappear), the detail of the present field decreases and that of the particular absent field increases. There11 then comes an instant when the degree of detail is the same in each, and at that instant both fields are present. This is to say that they form one field; and this one field is none other than the more general field that we are already acquainted with, which is now explicitly in evidence as the common element in one actual change instead of implicitly so as that in a number of (as we shall see) only probable changes. Upon that the two fields suddenly become separated; 11.  [Referring to this sentence:] Not quite.


Early Writings (Seeking the Path - Ñāṇavīra Thera)  

Part B includes two early essays (Nibbana and Anatta and Sketch for a Proof of Rebirth) as well as notes from a Commonplace Book and Margina...