Since I'm sure some of you are interested in inside gossip, let me go ahead and say what I've often hinted at: What I have called This Thing or This Activity could be much more direct and simple than people usually believe; This could be presented more directly and simply than it ever has been, historically. I don't mean in some pseudo-Zen fashion. I'm talking about Real Simple.
Let me tell you a story. There was this elevator -- just a run of the mill elevator with nothing extraordinary about it. The elevator ran to the top floor in an average size building. Periodically, under certain circumstances, the elevator would go even higher than the top floor of the building. When that happened, those who observed the phenomenon were astounded. They were not just physically astounded, or intellectually amazed. Anyone who noticed the elevator going higher than the top floor of the building felt that the elevator took on a "spiritual" quality. They called what happened "spiritual" because they were astounded and didn't know what else to call what had happened.
Now let's get down to real business. What if you were given a task to guard another person. Suppose you are in charge of protecting this person, Fred, as he goes through his daily routine. Fred might go to the park for his morning walk, and you have to watch and guard him from afar. You take up your station in a fancy hotel room above the park, situated so that you can see Fred at all times. You're given a telescope and told this is a very important, a vital job. You have to watch the person -- watch to see that no harm comes to him. Now consider: If that is your job, where do you look?
At the level of ordinary consciousness, in the binary world, you seem to always be dealing either with this or with not-this; you are either watching Fred, or you're not. If you ask ordinary consciousness, "By the way, where are you going to look during the time you're guarding Fred?" ordinary consciousness will tell you, "I'm going to look at Fred." There seem to be only two possibilities: you're watching the person, or you're not. But let me point out a third possibility which is, in fact, the most efficient option: to watch around the person.
Fred comes into the park and starts walking around. In order to do the most efficient job of watching and protecting, would you keep your telescope aimed right on Fred? If the telescope was focused on him, how much warning would you have if suddenly someone rushed up to zap him? How long would you have to react to the threat?
To do the best job, where would you look? You'd have to continually look around Fred, at his immediate environment. Why should you look directly at Fred? He's not going to commit hari kari. To guard someone most efficiently, you would guard the envelope of their personal environment. You would have to continually look around; keeping your subject in the center of your sight would amount to no protection.
Can you take a second, internal view and see what hands-on pertinence this has to the way in which people ordinarily try to deal with -- to guard -- themselves? You try to deal with yourself by staring. You try to protect yourself by keeping "you" always in view.
Many of you have already glimpsed that you will not get anywhere by staring at what you think you're watching. You can't really watch anything while looking right at it. In the City, staring's fine -- insufficient, but fine. At City level, you don't need to look around, but to do This, you have to watch around whatever you're doing.
Another way to describe this is "omnidirectional consciousness." To have omnidirectional consciousness would be to continually scan. Ordinarily, the molecules of your brain end up staring here, staring there. You think, "How true!" and stare right at whatever you're trying to understand. Literally -- physically -- there is no efficient way to watch something while looking at it. You must look around -- not at -- what you're attempting to see.
Have you noticed that the areas of Life's body (planet earth) which are more advanced, more "civilized," all have something in common? In America and other highly developed countries there is an extensive division of labor. Almost no one has a job that could be described as self-sufficient. In the 3-Dimensional world, Life can't advance without the complexity inherent in a society with production mentality. For physical reasons, you could not run civilization on the basis of individuals operating self-sufficiently. So an individual's skill becomes so specialized that it's of almost no significance. What difference does it make if a man knows how to put one type of ball bearing just so into a certain type of car? On the other hand, the cars won't run without him doing that one thing.
If you've reached the point where you feel you have to have a microwave oven to live, remember there is no one person who could go out and make a microwave from scratch. In a sense, a civilized person gives up even the appearance of self-sufficiency -- he limits the exercise of his abilities. The division of labor in a society benefits the larger unit, but from a 3-D relative view, self-sufficiency is taken away from individuals.
An ordinary civilized person gets out of high school or college and goes to work for General Motors or IBM. He knows all he's going to have to do is one job for twenty years, then retire with union benefits. Even if he has an interest in expanding his abilities and talents, this is less likely to mechanically happen now than in the past. The kind of complexity that a farmer -- a less civilized person -- was faced with every day of his life does not face you. You're sacrificing a wider range of individual abilities for the benefit of the larger unit.
Can you see the second area where this description is correct? (Remember everything can be seen twice -- "in here" and "out there.") Can you see that the more civilized you are -- internally -- the more there is in you a kind of division of labor and responsibility? You cannot find within you that old archetype of the self-sufficient pioneer. Consider whether there is, in you, anything at the mechanical level which could be described as self-sufficient. You cannot find in you any self you'd feel safe with -- any person you could depend on to take care of you, as you might have been able to depend on your great-grandfather the farmer.
You can't go back to being less civilized, but you do need to keep an awareness of the fact that due to the needs of larger units ("you" or "society"), there is a division of labor internally. The more man becomes verbal and expands into higher regions of the nervous system, the more the responsibilities seem to be divided. Nowadays you do not find a superior intellect who can function as well physically as professional athletes do; you don't find truly intellectual artists. This specialization does not seem strange to modern people -- the division is accepted as a given. And it is a natural outcome of Life growing "out there."
You need to see that internally you have no choice -- the same thing has happened to you and all of humanity. Inside of you there is an ever increasing division of labor. This goes far enough in some people to be perceived as "neurotic," "psychotic," or even as a "split personality." Can you connect this development with what I started out talking about tonight and see the practical implications?
You're dealing with what amounts to an assembly line -- your own "personality." You can't seem to go in and grab anybody and find out, "What part are you playing in me?" You try to hold somebody responsible for the picture you have of "you" -- but you can't find anyone who's playing a significant leadership role.
In the City, this situation provides more fuel for belief in "unconscious motivations," and so on. What a Real Revolutionist is left with is the urgent need to forge a New Partnership within. Once you see that no one is in charge, even though you have a sensation someone must be, you just have to go on. What are you left with? "I'm me and yet there is no me." "What am I going to think next?" Once you see that going on, just go on.
Ordinary City intelligence won't function this way, but you can look around at what's actually happening. You can get by, hold a job, and still keep an awareness that there is no longer even a sensation of individual responsibility and self sufficiency. In all the areas where you believe you could go up and grab somebody and say, "Are you in charge?" the answer would be "No." So don't go down the assembly line and look at individual people. Look AROUND them.
You've been trying to look directly at things all your life. You look right at whatever you think is most important -- that's the City way. You look at whatever you're trying to see "in here"; you stare at whatever you're watching "out there." Staring doesn't work so you go out and buy a book, "The Real Nature of Life." Then you buy, "Son of The Real Nature of Life."
A City-dweller's motto is, "Accept any and all substitutes." The brain insists, "I want the real thing," when what it wants is to stare. "If I'm going study Napoleon, I want to read his life story, I want to get his diary, I want the real thing." Which means: I want to stare at what I think I'm going to watch. Yet, to efficiently watch somebody -- to guard them -- you must look around them. Why stare at them -- they're not going to kill themselves or spontaneously explode. You would do better to look around them, to scan the immediate environment, continually.
I am disinclined to push this any farther just now. You keep looking at yourself, thinking you're doing yourself some good. You've been staring at you for twenty or thirty years -- what's one more minute going to matter? How can you be that dumb? In the City, everybody's that dumb. And as long as you're still operating that way, we're just sitting here putting frosting on the dumbness.
I've pointed out how no one part of a system ever knows everything about the whole system. Now consider a little further (although this is a flawed 3-Dimensional sound wave with some undertones and overtones): One of the reasons a system cannot know itself completely is that no one part of the system determines what the whole is going to do.
If one part did know the whole, we'd have another situation entirely. Refer back to what people have called gods. The whole flow of man's nervous system which expressed the notion of "god" -- from the Greeks up through modern Christians -- denotes the non-linear possibility that one part of a whole could, not only know it all, but could also determine what the whole did.
Your experience should tell you that in Life as you know it there is no sensation of one force driving everything, of one part knowing and determining what will happen. To use my examples, there is always some combination of the Three Forces (which could be called creative, destructive and neutral) and no one force knows everything about the whole coevally. There is no one force determining what's going to be attempted or what will be accomplished.
As an aside, look at the Grecian and pre-Grecian myths. They had different tiers of gods. The Olympians were the everyday gods of the people, but there were also stories going backward a step to describe gods that created the gods -- the Titans creating the Olympians. Somewhere in Life's body it struck them that even though Zeus was the head Olympian, he was not totally in control. There were these stories about how Zeus got drugged, got caught in someone's bed, was always forgetting what he'd done and not keeping his promises. Those myths carry the nonspecific message that there is no one force understanding and determining what's going on in Life.
Once this struck the Greeks, they had to come up with the idea of Kronos, a higher god. What they were indirectly telling the nervous system is that their god, Zeus, was out of control and didn't know what he was doing. That was an unsatisfactory state of affairs, but once they came up with another tier of gods, they were satisfied again.
Now, back to the present. You would have to be Looking Around and not staring, to realize that all information is not in one spot. There is no one place you can observe, through 3-D sensual means -- no sole force you can observe, think about or even imagine -- that knows it all. As soon as you start Looking Around this becomes quite clear. I talk about "gods" outside the system, hoping that you will stumble upon another possibility. How about "you" outside your own system?
If you could Look Around the right way you would see clearly that there is no one part of Life -- of you, of the race of man, of the mortal drama -- that knows it all. All the information about the whole is not hidden somewhere; it's not lying around in a vault in a Russian church, or inscribed on some tablets buried in Asia; it's not in the hands of the Pope, or anyone.
Life itself has an intelligence. But, inside the intelligence of Life there is no one part that knows everything about the whole. So there is no one place, no one source determining what the whole is going to do. If you can get a glimpse of that it should take care of any ferrets and demons left over from your forefathers' "gods" that may still linger with you. No one source determines what is to be tried next.
All you have to do to see this is observe the life of Man. All you have to do is look internally, in the second area of correctness. Attempt to find one part -- one place in you -- that determines your actions. None of you are that dumb any more; you know that if you could find such a knowledgeable, self-sufficient part, you could tell me what you are going to say next. And you can't. Because there is no single locale in you -- just as there is no one place in the 3-D sensual world -- that determines what is going to be done by the whole.
My map of the Three Forces now becomes a kind of wrap-up of the continuing saga of the division of labor in Life. The map can be described in finer print or drawn in smaller, more detailed pieces, but the synopsis is that you never have just one force operating in Life. No matter whose side you think you're on (and if you are on anyone's side, you are done for), there is no one force. All apparent outcome is some combination of three forces that the ordinary intellect cannot predict. Also remember that although three is the most you can get your hands on right now in the 3-D world, I never said that was all.
What are you going to say next? Once you have considered that, consider that at a certain level, Life knows no more about what it's going to do next than you do. Life just "doesn't know" on a grander scale.
Here's something else to consider. Did you ever see a king develop bad posture, or a bad back from wearing a heavy crown? And no minister ever concludes a sad and heart-wrenching story about how he's toiling in the vineyards of the gods by saying, "I am going to quit preaching and get a job as a mechanic." Come to think of it, you never see anyone all dressed up with a nice suit with a pencil-thin moustache, dancing forward, who ever turns to his partner (be it one or 100,000 persons) and says, "I'd like to dance backwards for a while, would you take over?"
Isn't it a relief that this has no significance to you as an individual? Dance on. "I know I am going in the right direction." Thirty or forty years, dancing the same steps. "Yeah, but I'm so close." What if This is much simpler than I've ever told you -- more so than I could even hint? Then again, what if This is not? Then, what if it is? You might say: "If the secret was that simple, then all those famous guys that died would have said it that way." Guess you got me there.
Think how much more impressive all this would be if you knew I was dead. That gets a laugh, but notice who you listen to, "in here." Internally, intellectually, you play around what amounts to a campfire. You keep trying to reheat food; scraps from yesterday, leftovers from yesteryear. How many times have I told you, "Don't reheat food." It's morbific, it'll make you sick. Yet people continue to do that. Who do you listen to? Where's all the wisdom from? It's from dead people. If they're so smart why are they dead? If you know what you are doing, and you keep talking to you, how come you don't know what you're doing by now? That's a simple enough question. And don't tell me: "I don't want to think about that." I know you don't.
Someone recently asked me an interesting question: "Once, long ago, you mentioned that a person should not mess around with Life or it could or would harm you. What did you mean?" Although I don't know which specific instance the question refers to, this sounds like a fair quote from some of what I've said.
There is a way in which you don't mess with Life. If you're not involved in This Activity and are living a City kind of life, it doesn't matter much what you do. For example, in the City, whether you drink alcohol has no great significance, ultimately. People say that drinking ruins lives, but alcohol consumption does not have the permanent, individual effect that Life has made people say it has. Strict religions opine that alcohol will send you to Hell, across the great river Lethe (for all you Hades aficionados, that is the root of the word "lethal") -- you sip alcohol, and drinking causes you to forget. Life cannot tolerate widespread alcohol abuse, but at any given time, a large percentage of humans are stumbling around in a fog, as if they'd drunk from that great river of forgetfulness. They don't know what they're doing; they can't even get to work. But they're not doomed to eternal torment, by any means.
For someone attempting This, the use of alcohol is a different matter than for City dwellers. I've told you regular drinking will keep you from going anywhere. Drinking and attempting This is like trying to push a car with slick tires up a muddy hill. You can spend your energy any way you want, but I will not waste time dealing with anyone who does not learn to conserve energy in the ways that are possible.
You can't waste your resources by constant drinking or using drugs and do This. You don't need me to tell you that; it's immediately apparent. Similarly, you can't treat people certain ways -- not because of any religious or moral reasons, but because in so doing you waste an opportunity. By mistreating others, you mistreat yourself. You end up hurting Life. Once you reach a certain level of involvement in This, more is demanded of you, and you can no longer "fuck with Life."
If you are truly involved with This, Life's best interest is your best interest. You reach a certain position within the complex division of labor, within Life, where you just cannot do certain things. You understand that you know some things no one around you knows. I'm not talking about what City people call "spiritual" matters or "morals," but about the weight of the laws of physics; the natural flow of the molecular structure of Life.
I cannot adequately describe this, or "prove" it to you. That becomes, in a sense, a fruitless attempt to hurl enjoinders and exhortations. But once you reach a certain point, no one has to tell you what to do and what not to do. You just know that you can't mess around with Life, or you'll get hurt. You see some things that Life has not, in general, allowed or required people to see. You actually observe the level of everyone's intelligence -- what I have called Line Level -- of your own ordinary intelligence -- and begin to see how Life works. Then you know more than everyone else knows, no matter how many degrees they have in specialized fields. You don't know more about installing ball bearings in cars, or about building houses -- but you know more about Life.
Life is alive, from bottom to top. Once you see that, there are many things you've done all your life that you no longer do. Life can lean on you in ways you never imagined. But it's no great burden, not the way ministers and priests and would-be mystics describe "the weight of the world, the pain in my soul." I'm not trying to be melodramatic, but you can get hurt by not utilizing the opportunity you've gained once you know that you must do This.
When you begin to see what you're doing, you simply must live by what you yourself have understand and have seen. At that point, simply living by your own standard is no burden.