This website is dedicated to the works of Manly P. Hall, a great occult scholar, philosopher and sage,

as a sign of deep respect and gratitude.

13 лютого 2014 р.

An Invitation to Insight



    Well, we have an interesting problem today and, of course, it's one of those situations that will never be solved to everyone's satisfaction. But we begin with a very basic question, and that is - why are we here? What is humanity's reason for existence?

    Well, there were many schools of thought over the periods of time as to why all this happened. And probably the Greeks had one approach that the powers that be[?] the deities of Olympus, having created a beautiful garden here for the human beings down here to take care of it and to enjoy it as much as possible, to take good care of all values and never to become destructive in their relationships. Something went wrong with the plan... (Laugh)

    A little later, perhaps Aesop answered the question as to why humanity exists, and he took the position that it was a test of stamina, in other words, the gods had as their principal occupation the casting down of the great and the lifting up of the lowly. Well, that had a considerable meaning back in those days, but it isn't as vital now because the lowly do not seem to be coming up as rapidly as they should! (Laugh) So this theory was cast aside.

    Then we came into the conditions that arose with the Protestant Reformation in Europe. The schoolchildren of that time were given a little digraph to recite: "With Adam's fall we sinned as all". They seemed to take care of everything. (Laugh) But again, there were doubters, everyone was not satisfied.

    Then we were here to expiate Original Sin: "With Adam's fall we sinned as all". That hasn't retained popularity either.

    So day by day different periods, and different appointments, and different philosophies have worked with the problem. Science, in a sense, has cut the Gordian Knot: scientific point of view seems to be - there is no reason and we are simply a product of a continuing failure of, we might say, the staying of the growth of humanity. In other words, as some of the friars of the Middle Ages said, "The only answer to this is that everyone will stop propagating their kind, and in one generation humanity will cease - and it will all be over". Well, that had attraction to some, but the outline districts never gave in (laugh), and so that was put aside as one of the speculations.

    So we are left with a series of philosophical and theological explanations, and a scientific situation in which it is all biological, and the inevitable expansion of humanity will continue until the planet will no longer protect or carry them. All of these are unsatisfactory answers, and as far as the books are concerned, we probably will never have an answer that everyone agrees on. But we can, with a certain amount of effort, begin to examine things, and that is [the] reason we have chosen for the subject this morning "An Invitation to Insight". We must each, in a certain sense at least, solve these problems for ourselves. We must come to our own conclusions as to why things are as they are, and what the chances that they are getting better actually can be considered.

    Well, insight is a combination of the use of resources within the individual. Perhaps the answer to it all is that we were put here to learn how to think, to learn how to live well and to reform the mistakes of our own phobias and our own present areas of thinking.

    Insight depends upon two faculties in the human mental equipment. One is the group of faculties which are called the practical, or expressive, faculties of observation. We are given the power to observe what is happening in the world around us. We can observe every type of phenomena that exists within the range of our perceptions. We can also go through life observing all these things and coming to know valid solution to anything. In other words, we can see almost everything there is to see. But to most people what they see does not mean anything - unless it happens to be something they are desperately wanting to see. We do not use the powers of perception which we have in order to find some type of depth dimension in our observations. In other words, we are constantly confronted with lessons - and we are with the same constancy avoiding them, failing to see or accept. We go from day to day living largely upon our own notions: if we like things, they're good, if we do not like them - they're bad. If they require a great deal of thinking, we will pay someone else to do it for us - and as they probably did not know any more than we do, the bill is high and the consequences are very minimal. We do not use the faculties of observation. Everything that happens is more than just a picture moving by; it is a compound of living factors. We see the consequences of badly-run business organizations and the sign of bankruptcy that appears finally on the door. But this means nothing to us except somebody went bankrupt - it has no bearing upon our lives. We do not observe the causes, the reasons and the circumstances associated with the phenomena we observe every day.

    Now, in addition to this we have another group of faculties which are called "the reflectives". These faculties are the meaning-faculties, they are the things within our own structure that induce us to contemplate, to consider and to philosophize upon the common circumstances of the day. The eyes tell us what's happening; the reflective faculties try to explain to us what these happenings mean to us every day.

    Evidently we were supposed to do something in this area - or we would not have been given this allotment of faculties. We would not have powers to see what is happening and to think about what is happening, unless these happenings had some meaning, some value beyond what we commonly consider. So in our daily living as private citizens, it is not necessary for us to depend upon any of the grand solutions that solve nothing. It is not necessary to follow any system which is based upon merely attitudes, rather than reflections and considerations of facts.

    Bacon refers to the "Idols of the Marketplace", and this is a very good observation. The Marketplace is the common world in which we live. The Idols of the Marketplace are the attitudes, beliefs and opinions which we cling to because they are held by those in the Marketplace. We feel that the Marketplace sets the standard which we must all live by. Whatever is believed by the Merchant, must be believed by the rest of us. Whatever is important to the man trying to make money, is important to the individual who would like to try to make money - and that covers most folks before it's over. But the Idols of the Marketplace are the attitudes, opinions, legislations, policies and concepts with which we are constantly bombarded. And these are the idols which are not of any valid significance, but they take the place of ideals. An ideal is a concept that is held with reverence. An idol is something that is worshiped for profit in most cases. So the idols are: we've always done it this way, so we'll keep on doing it. We've had legislations for this, so we'll keep on legislating some more. We have managed to wander through a number of economic crises by old-fashioned policies, so we will continue to wander through - but we won't solve anything.

    So the Idols of the Marketplace become the symbols of the practical policies that we are all trying to live by. And for the most part, these policies result in a series of disillusionments. Every day it becomes more obvious to us that these policies are not sufficient, they are not getting us where we want to go, they are not providing us with any securities, and they are not answering any of the questions that come up to us in the course of human anxieties.

    The recent issue of "The Christian Science Monitor" has a very interesting and informative article on the Himalayan Kingdom of Bhutan. Now, we might not expect everyone to know where Bhutan is - but it is squeezed in in the four hills of the Himalayan mountains, between India and China. It is a country of about 18,000 square miles, with a population of somewhere between 2 and 3 million. It is a Buddhist country, and the last stronghold of Buddhist theocracy, I guess, in the world today. Even here the theocratic aspect has been minimized, and the present King - a young man with very modern attitudes - is desperately trying to bring his country into some form of stability.

    The point of view is very basic. Bhutan is now, according to the official statements, about to join the 20th century, and there are various uncertainties to whether they're gonna survive this joint. Because the moment they come into the 20th century, the Chinese have their eye on them on one side, the Hindus have their eye on them - on the opposite side, and all nations with importing and exporting interests have both eyes on them. (Laugh)

    These people lived quietly in a shelter-little kingdom, they had no money to speak of - but they had no poverty, practically, because everyone was equally indigent but comfortable. They were ruled over by [...] and benevolent young man who apparently was very much interested in trying to keep the country on its feet. And up to that time it had been completely ruled by the Buddhist monks, this was a Buddhist country. These Buddhist monks still have a great deal to say about the management of the country, but it is now a sort of a mutual agreement between the religious and secular governments.

    Bringing this country into the modern world is almost like bringing a new-born baby into modern society: everyone's very happy at the thought, and a little more serious when everyone starts to worry. (Laugh) And this is true: to meet this emergency the Bhutanese people have decided to open the country on the India side, and on building roads they've already received grands from various funds for national improvements and so on, and they are trying desperately to establish an enduring state and hold its independence, although they reasonably and certainly can't do it. But at the same time, being led now by a very young but very optimistic fellow, who is a graduate at the University of California - and he's gone back to help them to plan an agriculture expansion program.

    So there's movement, and anxiety, and trouble. And this little independent country is gradually recognizing that it is about on the edge of being swallowed up by something bigger than itself and against which it will have no protection whatsoever.

    Now, this type of problem makes us wonder a little bit as to the preciousness of entering the 20th century. Very few people have found anything about the century at the moment that is truly enjoyable. We have more than we've ever had before - and still want more than we have! We have bought up and taken over, in one way or another, many independent states, and very few of them are any better off than they were before. They are becoming industrialized, but this is presenting them with another problem: when everybody produces everything - who buys?! When we put all the machinery somewhere else for somebody and he starts manufacturing the goods, who's gonna buy it? Can we buy it simply because we put the machinery in? We're already making more of it ourselves if we know what to do with.

    So all this progress seems to be under the general heading of Bacon's Idols of the Marketplace. The Marketplace is world economics; the Marketplace is "buy-sell-barter". And the Marketplace reserves its greatest benefits for those who are able to dominate on the economic level.

    So we sit back and we think about all these things, and we try to bring these faculties of our own minds into focus - to see what we can make it mean, how we are going to interpret and understand the world that we live in.

    Well, one of the first things we're going to have to do is to escape from the hypnosis of the Marketplace. We're going to have to begin to do our own thinking, whether it would be good, bad or indifferent. We are individuals; each human being has the potential of improving in knowledge and insights. He has the right to fulfill a destiny which will fulfill the faculties that he already possesses. He is capable of more than he is doing. He is capable of solid thinking - but he is too lazy, too frightened or too selfish to do it. He is capable of solving at least his own problems - but instead of that everything is turned over to governments which seldom - if ever - succeed in solving anything.

    Therefore, more and more survival for the individual depends upon his own inner resources. He is going to have to know in his own mind what his job is, why he is here and what he is going to do about it.

    Now, it's not a case of getting all of this out of textbooks. This is one of our difficulties. This again is part of the story of the Marketplace. Our textbooks are all gear to agree with existing policies which themselves have failed. We are being told again and again the importance of doing things as we always have done them. But gradually we wear the policy so thin that it falls apart in our hands. There is very little creative thinking being done, because there are very few people who want to do it, and there are very few who want to listen if anyone else does it.

    So, out of it all, there comes the important problem of taking care of ourselves - not in a selfish sense, not in an egocentric way - but we have been given at birth a body from the infinite. We have been placed here by a power beyond ourselves, and it is our moral duty to do what we can to make this gift that has come - ourselves - make this gift important to the world in which we live. It's not who is going to be the next dictator, it's not the political advancement of the individual that we are primarily considering. The primary consideration is that the individual reach a point where he is a normal human being.

    Now, we have two words that we often use interchangeably: "normal" and "average". "Normal" to a philosophic thinker is a condition of being correct in the face of nature. A normal person is one who is keeping the rules of the game, the rules that are bigger than himself and bigger than any human being.

    "Average" is to try and do it as well as the next fellow does it; and if the next fellow does it badly, that excuses us from doing it the same way.

    "Average" is to be like everyone else; "normal" is to be according to Law - not man-made law, but Divine Law.

    Now, what is the normal state of man? The normal state of man is health, physically. He has remarkable recuperative powers, and the body has been given all kinds of protections against the common ailments that affect the flesh. To keep the body normal the individual has to keep the rules of health. He has to be moderate in his appetites, he must be normal in his activities, he must do things in a way that will protect his own well-being. The moment he goes against his own well-being, his normalcy is damaged. And if he damages it sufficiently, he leaves this world before that which would be his expectancy.

    So in the body we have a problem that no-one else really can face for us. Yes, we can go to the doctor, and we can get the pills, and the first lot he gives us we are allergic to and have to throw them away - and with them the 22 dollars we paid for them. (Laugh) Then we try another group, and something else happens. And help is left to someone who is trying to restore the damage we have committed against ourselves. Instead of trying to get over these ailments, there is a new group rising which has a future: namely the people who believe we should stop well and stay that way, and not permit ourselves to dig our graves with our own appetites.

    So, in a way, the body becomes a symbol of the whole economy. In order to keep the body in a good condition, we gradually have to recognize that it is an instrument. The body is a vehicle, it is a cart, as the Indians called it. And this cart, or vehicle, or car, chariot, bicycle - whatever you want to call it - exists because there is something that it is carrying. The body is not here for its own sake alone; it is here to serve as an instrument for something else. And that "something else" is "the dweller in the flesh", as it was called in India. There is something living in this body. This something is a great mystery also. You ask all the different branches of learning what that something is - and most of them will give different answers. But regardless of what we call it, there is something there, and this something uses the body.

    Now, body is like any other machinery - it's very valuable, it has many uses. And "the dweller in the body" must maintain this instrument, and he must maintain it by guarding its functions, maintaining its equipment, having proper control of its fuel - doing everything it can to maintain the health of that body.

    It was written in a paper not long ago of an automobile that had been driven one million miles - and was still going. Well, somebody or somebodies took a pretty good care of that car - or it wouldn't be here after a million miles.

    There are also individuals who for no reason that we can specifically point out, intentionally or unintentionally, did something right - and they are also getting along, in one way or another; but the majority of human beings, for one reason or another, are ignoring the rules of the game. They do not play life as a serious matter, and at the same time if they try to make a comedy out of it, they are unfunny for the most part.

    So we have the body and the party, or person, or being in the body. Now, the being in the body has to take care of the body, just as we would have to take care of a trained animal, or a pet, or a very small child - we have to take care of it. And the better we take care of it, the more we learn about it. Most people do not know what the body is until it begins to get sick. They do not know what's inside until it hurts. Therefore, the individual growing up has never had sufficient intelligent understanding of the laws governing his body, any more than he has had an understanding of the laws governing the world he lives in.

    But he can learn, and he can learn by observation and reflection. He can learn by noting what he does and the consequences; and if the consequences are unpleasant, he doesn't have to do that thing again. He can be completely indifferent, as in the case of the alcoholic or the narcotics addict - [but in this case] he can simply destroy himself. But this is a very sad thing to have happened, for it has taken millions of years to bring the human being to his present biological efficiency, and the individual himself can destroy all in five or ten years of bad habits.

    Actually, nature, therefore, has a way of punishing the body if it is not well cared for. The punishment is to the flesh, but the inconveniences - to the dweller in the flesh. The body of itself cannot really complain except through pain, but the dweller in the body can see high projects, great purposes, noble aspirations go to pieces if the body becomes ill.

    Now, we have another kind of body - the environment in which we live. The environment determines largely whether a body is going to be properly maintained. And what are we doing to the environment? We are polluting it to our heart's content. We are doing everything we can to gradually make the planet uninhabitable. And we go [...] quietly in our way, absolutely indifferent, assuming, of course, that whatever does happen won't be happening while we are still here. But one of these days it's going to happen while we are still here.

    So the body having its needs, the person in the body looks around to find out how to handle these needs. He tries in every way possible to improve health, and today we probably have a greater emphasis upon health than ever before in modern history. People are trying exercise, diets, nutrition - everything in order to improve health. And this is a very commendable point of view. But pills are expensive, all these things are costly - and why improve health if the individual himself is not going to do anything WITH his health?! If health is just simply going to allow him to drift along making all the false decisions he did before, wasting time and finally anyway descending into the inevitable darkness at the end. If health is worthwhile, it's because it helps people to do things that are important in themselves - a life of significant activity, a life in which we are not living simply to take care of the body, but we take care of the body simply because it makes it possible for us to fulfill a human destiny.

    So we then go on to the emotional side of life, and here we find a serious situation, because, at this time apparently, humanity is largely adolescent. Here pressures and problems arise on every hand, here hates and fears flow forth on almost every part of existence. And yet the individual, through observation and reflection, has got to put these facts in order. We've got to gradually live in a well-ordered world that we have discovered by the use of well-ordered faculties within ourselves. As long as we live with faculties that have no essential training, we're going to live in a world in which we will never notice anything that is too important. But the more we notice, the more it influences us - the better people we can become.

    So this has to do with the problem of insight. "Insight" sort of suggests "inner sight", but we are not referring to a clairvoyance faculty. Insight is the result of the faculties with which we are normally equipped, being used in the way they are supposed to be used. So that everything that happens has meaning, moral significance, intellectual value and spiritual authority. Unless we do things to make these dreams come true or to leave on these levels, we shall continue to maintain a kind of sanatorium which we call "humanity", because nearly everyone is sick in some way.

    So we're gonna start with a little study of insights and see what we can do with them in the time at our disposal. Insight is when you look at the thing or when you see it happen - [and] you immediately ask yourself, "What does this mean to me?" This does not necessarily follow that you have been involved in the happening; but if you have seen it, as you might see the unfolding of a motion picture film, you can always say to yourself, "What does it mean to me? What can I learn that will make me a better person?"

    Therefore, practically, every commonplace incident, pleasant or unpleasant, will reveal meaning. Sometimes that meaning is that it will prove to us that we are unable to handle these activities. The moment some simple thing happens and we are angry, then something is out of control, insight has failed; for when problems are met with despair, with tears, with hysteria or anger - the impulses, the instincts, the attitudes are wrong. Therefore, we have to try to find how integrity is involved in these occurrences.

    Insight will help us to benefit from the experiences of others. And if our insight is strong enough, our insight will help other people to benefit from what we can do to straighten out or clarify problems in their experience.

    Today we have counselors on almost every level, largely due to the fact that people are so interested in doing what they please that they've forgotten entirely to do what they should. And as a result of a series of catastrophes, they are very unhappy about life in general. But everything means something - or it means nothing; it means something if you are awake, and nothing - if you are asleep. Therefore, a broken home - cause upon insight. To most persons a broken home is a disaster; it is - but no disaster occurs without a cause. And to find out the cause changes a disaster into a lesson. And this life, all the way through unhappy situations, must be alchemically transmuted into knowledge, they must become the basis of doing it better next time.

    The Chinese were among the first to realize that the greatest folly of all is to make the same mistake twice. If you make it once, it may be anyone's fault; if you make it twice, it's your own. You have the right, therefore, to learn from everything that happens, to learn from nature. Probably the peoples with the most strongly developed faculties of perception are primitive people. The perceptive faculties which are located in the front of the head, directly above the eyebrows, are particularly strong in aboriginal tribes and are very well marked in American Indians. These perceptive faculties enable the Indian to see long ways, long distances. His eyesight is exceeding the [...], he can do almost as well with his own eyes as we might do with binoculars. But the perceptives are out from himself examining, studying and considering. And it was the Indian's perspective and his perceptive functions that created his theology. The American Indian does not have nearly as complicated a theology as many more advanced peoples, but he does know nature, he does understand what we've put into the Declaration of Independence: Nature and Nature's God. And perceptives have for us this meaning - Nature's God. Everything that we see has meaning in terms of nature. Now, some things in nature, obviously, we have outgrown; other things in nature we have not as yet touched at all, practically. But around us all kinds of natural things are happening, and each one of these is entitled to learn from them, and not to be ashamed to copy the wisdom of simple life, or simple creatures, who have highly specialized faculties which we have neglected.

    So we begin by trying to understand the very basic factors of the world in which we live. So we look out some morning (or any morning) when we wake up, and we see an environment. We know we are in a community - large or small, maybe a farming community, maybe a great metropolitan center. But we are looking out upon a world as it is, but we seldom - if ever - pause to try to figure out what that world means. We are going out into something which perhaps we do not approve of, something we do not understand how it got there in the first place, and we do not know where it is going to go. We can think perhaps that we are hold out until social security sets in, and then about that time there's a question as to whether [there] will be any social security or not.

    Everything is tied up into a pattern of circumstances. Now, if our forefather - our grandfather or great-grandfather - was in this spot, he would act differently - not because he was more learned, but because he had something we are gradually losing, and that is a sense of personal security. He is, or was, of the mind that he would make it work, he would make things do, he would fulfill things in a natural way, he would protect values. One of the things that our ancestors always did was to put away something for a rainy day. For most of the older generation frugality was a virtue. The individual did not overspend himself, he maintained control of his attitudes and his emotions, and did that which was well within a common sense for him. He would not live beyond these means, he would not spend everything he had on things he really didn't want, he would not be lifted, and moved, and twisted, and turned by the fashions and [...] of his time. He was, therefore, a fairly solid citizen and generally died with enough money to pay for his funeral.

    This was a way of life; these people were not dumb, they were not ignorant of values - but they lived very close to basic values, and these basic values can still be lived. It is not necessary for anybody to be foolish, even in a generation of extreme folly. Each person can regulate his own affairs with integrity if he so desires, but what is going to make him desire? Well, he is going to find out by his observations and his reflections the rewards for the various paths that he might take. He is going to know what the probabilities are of any act that he commits. He is going to look around him and see bankruptcies due to extravagance. He is going to see people sick because of bad habits. He is going to find himself impoverished, largely because he has not maintained control of his own values in spending.

    So, with a little thought, he can begin to take out of his life the things that are useless, try to get himself back onto a practical foundation. He won't do as well perhaps as his grandfather, because the times are more definitely against him. But he can gradually learn why he is here. He can see how he can do many things better. He will find out what he can get along without, which the average American has forgotten entirely. He can gradually build a measure of security into his own life. This security is not in his works essentially; the individual is not secure simply because he can make such decisions, he is secure because he has trained the decision-making mechanism in his own mind. He has learned to control his thoughts, he's learned to judge things factually, he's gotten over the mysterious kind of ambition, which enables him to void common sense at the slightest provocation. Little by little, a person gains control of his own life, and by so doing gradually eliminates a great many of the worries and problems with which he is confronted.

    Another point that's important in insight and so on is the gradual elevation of the mind in the search for values. Little by little, the individual must outgrow his mistaken levels of living. He won't do it instantly - he is not supposed to do it so precipitately that he will be miserable for the rest of his life. But he does begin to realize something that is becoming more and more obvious to us all: namely that there has to be something behind us that's stronger than we are. The individual can gather strength, he can be stronger than he is - but there will always be circumstances around him in which he must depend upon laws, principles and truths that are more strenuous and more important than himself.

    Consequently, from the very experiences of insight, from the very testimonies of perception and reflection, the individual begins to see the dim shadow of the World Deity - to discover that somewhere out there there is a power that can veto any decision made by man.

    This is something we have not been willing to accept. We have not been willing to allow that there is something that will catch up with us when we make too many mistakes. We can make some mistakes as children and have minor reprimands - but a world, an individual, a society, a cosmos cannot break its own rules without finally receiving the "Big Veto". Something is going to force the correction of that which breaks the rules.

    Now, some believe that the rules are eternal, that there never was a time when these rules were created, that these rules are simply "in it", in the immense evolutionary procedures of the Universe, that these rules were created or were inherent in the first cells that began to break up into cosmic systems - but that these rules do hold and always will hold, is becoming increasingly evident. There is no way in which the individual can break the rules successfully. And yet nearly everyone, out of the fact that he hasn't thought it through, is breaking more rules than he should. We are not expected to be perfect, but we must begin to take into consideration what constitutes orderly existence. Now, we find this particularly, perhaps, in economics where we have a tendency on the part of industries to go on forever, expanding, and expanding, and expanding - until something happens. And the thing that happens is the Big Veto. One form of this Veto is the exhaustion of natural resources. You can't use them when they're all gone. Therefore, nature places this restriction: if you wanna last longer, conserve resources; if you waste them, you may expect that they will be exhausted and their values will be no longer available to you. Another basic resource is good clean air, and if we pollute it too much, the Veto sets in: you cannot do this and live.

    Therefore, the individual has to decide whether he wishes to do as he pleases and die - or do as he should and live. And a certain percentage choose death, because they would rather die than change their ways. Great industries have the same thoughts, they are going to go right on as they are - until they fall over the edge into oblivion. But they are going to reach a point which everything reaches when it does it wrong, in which the power to further invalidate life is taken away from them, they can no longer do it.

    War is another; no war would ever result in peace - it cannot. It produces only more and more misery. Bur war itself has a great Big Veto on it too, because war demands the exhaustion of man power, the exhaustion of natural resources and hastens the inevitable collapse of life. In peace we might have enough petroleum for 500 years; in a good fast war we can get rid of all of it in three months. Therefore, if we wish to exterminate ourselves, we can - but why should not those in positions of authority think a little bit about the evidence that is brought to them by their own perceptions and could be made real by reflecting upon obvious facts? One of the great delusions is to overlook obvious facts, but most people are willing to sacrifice facts for their own opinions, notions and convictions.

    So everywhere the excess destroys itself. Everywhere the individual who has too much simply becomes a waster. A man earning a moderate salary and taking care of his family moderately, can get along for a long time perhaps. But if he is extravagant, wastes money and overtaxes his abilities, the family can collapse in a few years. Everywhere wisdom gives permanence, ignorance and stupidity destroy permanence.

    These are all facts - you can stand on any street corner and see various manifestations of them. But most of all you realize that in all these areas individuals, human beings are failing to use the equipment that was given to them to help them to survive. Nature was [...] them point in mind, and that point was that the human mind and its accessories were supposed to give the individual the skill to create a noble destiny for himself. He has the right, he has the power - but one by one he has sacrificed his rights, and again and again he has compromised his powers. In order to get [ends?] that are not important, he has sold his own birth right, he has sacrificed his principles for profit - either for himself or for those who employ him. He has lost sight of the fact that this world was not created as an industrial economic system. It was created as an area in which living things could grow, fulfill themselves, in which human beings could develop the potentials that are in them, potentials of incredible beauty and integrity. And we have, some way, kind of forgotten the whole thing, we are perfectly well into letting it drift along in this way.

    Now, we can't break all of the rules, we can't get away from all of the pressures that deflect us - but we can make a start. We can choose what we want to do in life. We can pick a career that is suitable to us. We can say to ourselves, "I want to do something that will pay me twelve-fifteen thousand dollars a year, but I probably will prefer to do something I do not want to do but which will pay me fifty thousand dollars a year". So we do what we do not want to do for fifty. As a result, the individual is nervous, sick, unadjusted, is in danger of broken home, develops extravagant families and spendthrift children - and out of trying to build a life upon income alone comes to grief, because again the Veto is there. Anyone who worships a "golden calf" is going to perish with it. So the individual who makes a decision to elevate material gain over mental and emotional growth will ultimately come into trouble. When he gets into this trouble, he swings in all directions trying to find a way out. But he cannot find the way out as long as he wants to cling to the things that cause the trouble.

    So many people can choose more wisely the things they want to do. And, strangely enough, as you may have noticed, it is that the decision is not as serious as you may think, because the thing you thought you wanted to do that may give you the big salary, may be bankrupt in five years, whereas a steady, sincere occupation, particularly if it has social significance, may go on from one generation to another without end. Everything that is inflated deflates, but the long problem involving the continuing needs of humanity - this type of thing will go on, but that which caters only to the wants of humanity, is in a very fragile condition.

    Education then should largely emphasize the importance of the individual being himself - not in the egotistic sense, but in the sense of the very potential within his own nature. He was put here with a job, and fortunate is the person who finds what his job really is. But he can, if he has integrities, work out some of these things - and moderation helps. And moderation is something that generally comes as a realization of the failure of excess. Moderation is something learned painfully, but it doesn't need to be learned that way. Moderation is to take what you can do well and can do it throughout a lifetime without undermining health, or losing the friendship of your friends, or breaking up your relative patterns or your children. All these things can be worked out, because we were given the instruments to solve the problem. Now, another thing that the instruments nearly always seem to provide, because they are a combination of both emotion and thought, they provide a great deal of strength to beauty. They make things very wonderful, and we look around us and we see the works of art, of music, of drama and dance, we see the tremendous skill of architecture, we see all the grace and glory of the world. And somehow we know that all of these came out of the human soul, as Plotinus tells us in his essay "On the Beautiful": "All the beauty in the world came out of us - that is man-made beauty. Natural beauty is still greater, but it is the service of natural beauty that creates human beauty. It is a combination of understanding natural laws and perfecting nature through art".

    So beauty is important, happiness is important, the joy of living, the doing of things that are kindly and non-profitable are more important than the great profit-sharing enterprises. And every day we find people being hoodwinked who are trying to get more than they can earn by honest and reasonable means.

    So the mind can settle down and think these things through. The individual who left the farm when he was 10 or 12 years old and went to the great city and made his fortune - when he is 65, he begins to have an irresistible impulse to get back to the farm. And he generally does. He discovers that all these different things he went through have only helped him to realize the serene significance of the gentle life.

    They tell the story of an old Indian sitting in front of his [...] down in the southwest. And the young efficiency expert [...] comes along, and he says to the old Indian who is smoking his [...] quietly, he says, "Why don't you work?" The old Indian says, "Why?" And the man says, "Well, if you work, you earn money". - "Why?" - ""Well if you [...] earn money, you gonna have a bigger tipi[?]". - "Why?" - "And when you retire, you gonna have money to rest on, you don't have to work in the later years of life, you can live in leisure". And he looks at him, he says, "Me no work, me live in leisure now". (Big laugh)

    Well, that's a Indian point of view, but there is a certain modercome[?] of integrity behind it: that we are all trying desperately to do things that really do not add up too much when we get them done.

    So we have a lot of jobs in this world that need doing, jobs that have to do with making this a more beautiful world, to make a world that is healthier, a world that is better morally and ethically, and [audio missing], and reflect. We have to decide what we can do, and stay within the reasons of the probable. Now, one of the things we should not do but which we nearly always have a wild intent to do, and that is we should not to try to change other people by telling them what to do. There is no successful way of reforming an individual who doesn't want to be reformed. And many people join organizations or even religions, because these religions and organizations demand very little integrity of their followers. You cannot do it by talking. Nor can anyone else talk you into doing it. The great question is the inner experience in yourself of perception and reflection, of knowing and seeing in your own life what needs doing, and then developing the resources that enable you to do it.

    Now, you can go along and you can say later, "I wish I'd studied the language", then study it. "I wish I could get some kind of work in which I could continue at least part-time development of my artistic instincts". It can be done if the individual wants to badly enough. In every case it is the will power taking over to accomplish what the mind and the emotions tell us is best for us. Now, that combination you cannot beat. But until it is really established, if one fault is - the others fail. So it is very necessary to have the integrity to make a right decision.

    Now, most people do not know with certainty: what is a right decision on all matters? Lots of folks are well-meaning but they do not really know what they should be doing and do not see just exactly how to find out. And this, of course, brings into focus one of the most important faces of human life, and that is religion. If the individual belongs to a reasonable religion, that religion will tell him what constitutes a good life. It will tell him what he should do and what he should not do. It will tell him about the Golden Rule and the Ten Commandments. It will help him to discover what the greatest minds the world has ever known have established as working principles upon which to build life career. Now, it doesn't follow that you have to believe or accept all of these different doctrines or faiths. But if you look around you in society using your perceptives and your reflectives, you will find that most of these great systems of faith have stood the test of time, because they have been supported by irrefutable evidence. We know basically that we should not kill. We know basically that we should not steal. And wherever we kill, we are in trouble, and wherever we steal, we are in trouble. And whether we are caught or not, is not the important point. To break the principle of integrity in ourselves is to get into trouble. Many people have wandered away from their religions or compromised them, simply because they've accepted the religion as a creed. Some have moved from difficult faiths to simple ones. A few have moved in the opposite direction. But the proof of that, again, is through the use of the perceptive and reflective faculties in your own constitution. It is not very long or very difficult to find out that "I shall not kill" is a pretty good law. You can look around you in every direction - national, social, economic, industrial, political - and destruction is not good, and [it is] the power that ultimately destroys itself.

    So these principles can be supported not by the dogmas of a religion, but by the very faculties that man possesses within himself. He can see these things; and if he cannot see them, it is simply because he hasn't looked for them, or because he had some attitude in himself and closed his eyes when they came along.

    These laws, or rules, are obvious and we cannot escape their inevitability. We cannot escape the importance of any ability to face practically all the rules of life. Perhaps first and most of all that we have to have - an enduring faith in some great power, the power that created these things; and if you open your eyes and listen and think, you will see that the Universe in which we live was not created by a fibula, it was not created without understanding, insight and consciousness superior to anything that we know. So whatever it was that created it and created us, it's a good idea to obey its rules, to try if possible to glorify rather than desecrate that which has been given to us.

    So religion can help us to put a foundation under things, but most of all it helps us to tell what direction to look in order to find the rules working. The rules that are working we can see in history, in science, in theology, politics, education and industry. In all of these systems the rule-breakers are always in trouble, and no matter how glorious, and wonderful, and spectacular an area is - in the long run it [...].

    It is therefore possible for the individual to quietly sit down and decide in his own mind - not by the aid of the textbooks, not by political systems, not by atheistic scholars - but determine for himself what he believes about the source of his own existence, because it's his own existence he's thinking about, it's the source of this that is of the most immediate concern to himself. Can he understand the reason for his own being? What is he, why is he, how is he? And he has to somehow decide that type of question in order to get the power to perceive and reflect upon what is happening around him. Once he gets his rules straight and uses his faculties to observe their function in society, he is uncomparatively safe-ground. Many people make misstatements, but nature makes few mistakes. And whatever nature overdames[?], that is correct; and whatever man discovers to be the laws governing natural procedure, those laws are the safest things to stay with that we know, and it is important to keep them, and keep them every day of our lives, so that we really will do probably what we are supposed to do. We're not supposed to sit here planted on benches and chairs the rest of our existence. We are not supposed to live until we die - and then somebody else takes over. We are much more important than this, without being egocentrically important. We are growing things, revealing and releasing a power of the divine through ourselves. We are trying desperately to be good children of the Eternal Plant. We want to know something about the divinity that dwells within us. We want to know how we can serve that and how we can grow in grace and greatness, truly, by obeying the very basic humanitarian rules of existence. And somehow out of it all we know the answer lies that there'll be no solution to this until we really experience the oneness of all religious beliefs and the brotherhood of all peoples, of all races, all nations and all persuasions. The unified world can endure, the divided world will perish. We have already divided it and subdivided it time and time again, one dictator after another has straited across the stage - and still the end is not yet, and now it seems that this [moment?] process of trying to destroy the inalienable rights of human beings is going on a higher temple than ever before. But actually, all of it depends upon a kind of subtle acceptance, the individual passing over it lightly, because it is advantageous to him at the moment to make the most he can of the contracts of this situation's setup. But we cannot validate this attitude.

    So we can become again like children. Children love everything and are always asking questions. They're always amazed and full of wonder. They're always living in a world of great potential, great possibility, and they have a strange and sometimes unreasonable respect for the elders. These children are physical children; we are mental and emotional children. We are not truly mature; when a mature person comes along, we generally assassinate them, because we do not know how to handle the situation. We are still growing through a period of extreme egotism, when we think we know more than there is to know, and extreme selfishness, in which we want to get more than there is to get. These factors are damaging us and will damage us as long as we will do with them.

    So whenever the opportunity comes for the individual to support something that is going in the right direction, this is important. If he has the opportunity to change his own point of view and be better than he is now, it is his duty because, after all, we also like to think of something else. We like to think that the human being has an immortality; that the human being is not something that is going to lie down in the grave and die forever. Many people who have short thinking on these subjects like to assume it makes very little difference, because we are going to be dead - and that's that. Now, if we think, if we use perspective thinking and receptive thinking, we are going to realize that there is something wrong with our attitude toward the continuity of ourselves. No intelligent providence will create something and place it in a condition of constant stress, demand something from it more than is normally expected, and then at the time of age and old witness of faculties simply destroy this thing. There is simply no reason for the existence of the human being if you tuck him away and [force?] long forever. This is not reasonable. Nothing in nature dies, science is beginning to discover this. Everything is changing forms, changing appearances, changing cycles of manifestation - but nothing begins or ends. Space does not begin or end, time does not, life does not. There is an infinite manifestation of life - life going on forever, life vital at today as all creation's primal moan.

    Therefore, the individual looking around and trying to explain himself, comes finally to the realization that any explanation of himself which ends with his own physical decrepitude, frustrates the whole purpose of his existence. If he reflects upon his own mortality, he will lose his own humanity: they cannot dwell together. At the moment we deny the immortality of the human soul, we deny God's creative power. We also deny the reason for anything. Now, if we deny the reason for anything and it was a pleasant situation, we might even exonerate that. If things here were wonderful and happy, we might be saying, "Well, I'm satisfied, I've had my span". But the thing is very difficult here, there seems to be no reason why we should assume that a physical life consummates our growth, releases our potentials, fulfills our destiny or glorifies the divine power that created us.

    So out of the problems of thoughtfulness and reflection upon phenomena, reflection upon that which is perceived, comes the recognition of the immortality of the human soul. It has existed from the dawn of time, and one of man's first adventures was the discovery of the eternality of himself.

    So if we are actually these eternal beings, then we have all the more reason to recognize the infinite potential of growth. If we are really human beings, we're in a kind of school, and in this school there are many grades, and we cannot say, "I've finished my education because I graduated from kindergarten cum laude". (Laugh) I know that there are cases now where they are giving cap and gown to puppy dogs that have really fulfilled their training requirement. (Big laugh) But this is not just exactly what we need at the moment, most of all. What we need is to realize that we're always graduating from something, but to graduate from almost anything we know is to enter in the first grade of something else. The individual who has graduated from the ordinary ways of life, is challenged instantly by a greater way of life. And the fulfillment of any step that we take is the first step towards something better.

    Therefore, we are eternally growing. This makes another important contribution to our well-being, and that is long-range thinking. The moment we stop thinking of life as terminating at some given time, not certain (or uncertain), instead of that we begin to think of ourselves as ever-existing life, moving through an infinite diversity of manifestations - but always and forever growing and unfolding. And that everything we do is a foundation upon which to build something else. If we are lazy here for several lifetimes, we simply set back our own development. We are less than we could be if we are kept on growing thoughtfully and carefully every day.

    Now, thinking about survival in this sense of the word, we can definitely take into consideration that no matter what we do, we will not finish it. The great architect weeps because he needs more time to learn. Hokusai, the great Japanese artist, wept because he could not be a great artist unless he was able to live to be a hundred years, and he didn't make it. All the painters, the musicians, all the great thinkers of the world have had to lay down from their labors, they've had to put aside their tools, they've had to rest for a while - and in many cases they've grudged this interference with the infinite growth of things. But in nature these rest periods are just as useful as the periods of labor.

    So when we begin to grow here, begin to study life and begin to take on more consideration for the values of living, this is because we are just starting on another course. We are going to use what we learned today for the rest of an interminable and unknown existence. We are going to use what we live on now as the basis of our thoughts, our emotions tomorrow and then tomorrow. Little by little, upon the foundations which you start today, the whole future develops, and the individual has a much better reason for living, much happier conviction about self and circumstance if he is able to think in terms of this larger life.

    Now, some think that it's a great penalty to have to live again. That's only because they haven't done so well this time. (Laugh) But there is no need for penalty. People who have really achieved much are not regarding themselves as penaless[?], or penalized. And when a time comes to rest from labor, there is something that happens to these people: they drop off the physical body - yes; but that which they've learned goes on to enrich learning forever. The dreams they have started they will dream again. And the whole of humanity moves forward, because each individual grows a little every day. And that is why we strive desperately to grow a little every day. And in order to do it we have two great examples: we have the examples of the great religions of the world and the messages that they have brought, messages which have stood over the questions and doubts of ages and have survived to our time. And the other message comes to us from nature around us. The outer world we observe through reflection and perception, the inner world - through meditation and prayer. These processes working together help to produce a normal person, they help us to fulfill the needs and responsibilities which are making us grow toward the Infinite Will which we seek to fulfill. We are all just, you know, working along and [...] a big pattern, and every time they invent a new telescope the pattern looks bigger. But the pattern out there isn't as big as it looks - strangely enough - because the pattern out there is not in conflict with itself. What we see through the telescope is getting along all right. It is fulfilling its purpose, we don't hear any reports coming to us of great social objections from anywhere; there is no evidence that the Universe is mad at itself or anything of that nature. It is fulfilling, it is going on, and therefore the whole story of nature, whether it be in mathematics, or physics, or biology - the whole story is one of Law forever fulfilling itself, and that [...] essentially it's very simple, it is simply truth expressing itself in its own way.

    Man, however, is a little more complicated, he doesn't see these things, he doesn't see this clear flow of realities into the environment in which he lives. They're there - but he doesn't see them. And he cannot force other people to see them. but he can begin to discover for himself his own place in everlastingness. The Egyptians referred to this condition beyond what we know as "everlastingness" - that which goes on, and on, and on. And while most of us live here in time, we were created originally to be fulfilled in everlastingness, and everlastingness means the joy of growing forever, the joy of learning more every day, the joy of loving more sincerely and deeply every day - and finally we come to that end in which all virtues are one, and all virtues rest in an unknown but eternal Power which we can never understand until we are returned to it in complete union and foreverness.

    But we all have an opportunity just every day to learn a new lesson. We can learn it from the neighbor and the gardener, we can learn it from the merchant and the shopkeeper, we can learn it in the car - we can learn it anywhere. There are always lessons to learn, and they all point in the same direction - that the individual must fulfill himself, must do all that he can to be that self which is locked within him, and if he succeeds in doing that and fulfilling his own proper place in the Divine Plan, he'll come out all right; he may have a few bumps and a few scars before he gets there - but he will realize that he is the master of his own destiny, he is the captain of his own soul, and it is up to him to start to steer this vessel of himself toward the ultimate harbor which we are all seeking to find. If we do these things thoughtfully, and wisely, and lovingly, we'll get along all right. Oh, thanks a lot.

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