THE CONCEPT OF ETERNAL RECURRENCE
Notes from a talk given at Liverpool by Eugene Halliday. Tape 421 from Tan Y Garth.
Can you talk about the idea of eternal recurrence in a simple way?
We will draw a clock face and mark on it the hours. Inside we can put a mechanism and then put on the fingers. These indicate the numbers as the shaft in the centre is rotating. This means that the finger will go round and point successively to all the hours on the clock face. We have two fingers, a long one and a short one and they are related together in such a way that the large one will go round the clock face fully while the small one is travelling just one twelfth of the distance. This is showing you two cycles on one face. It recurs as often as you wind the clock up and the clock does not wear out.
We can take this general idea and say, if we liked, we could put a square inside this clock face and we could write on it Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. We could then time the clock so that it kept in phase with the seasons. In the same way we could make another clock and we could put a different shape inside it, a five-pointed star and we could say we use our five senses. They tend to be used in a recurrent manner. We can make any number of clocks with special faces for any kind of activity whatever that tends to repeat itself. Women might keep a special clock for the number of times they feel the need for a new hat or any other of their needs. Wherever, in nature, there is a recurrence, it is possible to design a clock to keep in phase with the elements of that cycle. If it should happen that there could be a motion which was not a cycle, then we could say that was a possibility of a non-recurrent process, like a rectilinear series which just went on in a straight line and therefore could not constitute a cycle of events. Even at the level of modern science, there is no room in Einstein's curved space-time continuum, for a straight line.
We know that the word 'straight' means twisted. If you want a bullet to travel through the air in what is called a straight line from the gun to the target, the best way to make sure it gets there is to cause the bullet to spin. This gives it a gyroscopic effect. This is done by rifling the inside of the barrel of the gun so that it actually comes out of the barrel already spinning and the spin steadies the bullet. If it does not spin, it does not get this kind of gyroscopic stability. So, in the production of a so-called straight line, all we are actually doing is stabilising a progression by rotating the object that is progressing.
In nature we have never yet seen a straight line. All the lines that we see are curved in some degree. Our straight line, the horizon, stretches visually around the earth, and, it is straight, providing that the bit you look at is sufficiently restricted by the structures on either side of your field of vision, like buildings, mountains or trees, to give you apparently straight Lines. Yet, if you stand on the globe itself and look towards the horizon, and rotate on the spot where you are, you draw a circle which itself is the horizon. If we turn a tap on, the water which comes out always twists as it is coming out. If you let it come out slowly the twisting is quite obvious. If you make it come out very fast you simply lengthen the wave of the twist. It must twist because of the Law of the Inequality of Finites. That is to say that as soon as anything moves at all, if it is an existent thing, it cannot be equal in stress in all its parts. Even if we take a thing like a ball-bearing which has been turned w0ith the utmost care by machine, it shows different electrical resistance’s through different parts, through different diameters, and so on. It cannot be a perfect sphere. A perfect sphere is not an existential fact, it is a conceptual limit. Consequently, if we try to roll one of these ball-bearings along a plane which we have done our best to make flat, to millionths of an inch, as it rolls along it will start to turn. It will twist because of the inequalities of the surface of the plane on whi0ch it is riding and on the surface of the ball itself. Thus we get a slight kick on the right which does not occur on the left. It will thus be asymmetrically stimulated and will respond accordingly. It will start to turn and as soon as it starts to turn the mass inertia of it will cause it to react to the next inequality by continuing to turn in the same direction.
Take a bowl and put a couple of tubes down the sides of the bowl diametrically opposite, connect those tubes to the water tap so that when you turn the tap on, water rushes down and goes through both tubes and squirts into the bowl. As accurately as you can, measure so that both these tubes are as in line as you can get them. When you turn on the water and the water squirts into the bowl, it always rotates. You can't stop it rotating because of the inequalities in the motion of the water itself. For one thing, water travelling along the pipe is already rotating and when it comes out it is twisting, so when it meets in the middle it does not just spread out but it also begins to spin. We can say that forces in opposition, existentially, always create a zone of rotation. This means that there is nothing in existence, nothing except cyclic behaviour of forces. It doesn't matter if the periodicity of the cycle is one millionth of a second or a million years. It is still the same thing, it is a rotation, like the hands of the clock going round the face.
Consequently we can say this, by the very nature of the thing, in so far as power manifests itself, actualises itself, there is a great rotation. The greatest rotation we can conceive is the LOGOS in the Gospel of John. This means to say, there is a repetition of formal manifestations. If we like to represent this in the old way we draw a circle. We can intersect this with any number of circles we wanted and cover the whole page. We don't need to do this, we can confine ourselves to one of these circles and remember it signifies a rotation of forces. All the existential things are actually recurring in this way.
Every kind of behaviour whatever, is cyclic and it doesn't matter, metaphorically, whether you talk about the cycle of life and death or the rotation of a gyroscope. They are all fundamentally the same thing. The fact that power, when it manifests itself, must oppose and in the opposition arises rotation. If we draw a circle and say, conceive that this is the biggest circle we can possibly conceive, then, by its very nature of being, universal being is a rotating structure. Because of this and not for any other reason, because being is an eternally rotating structure and therefore eternally recurrent, therefore, salvation is possible. If it were not recurrent it would not be possible because there would be nothing to say.
Let say for a moment, that the circle we have drawn represents the macrocosmic Logos. That is the big orderly system of rational, formal behaviours of Sentient Power referred to in the Gospel of John. Now, in itself, it is simply power, by impulse transference, producing a sphere and the behaviour of that sphere constitutes universal being. To be is to be circumscribed, to be made spherical. This being is already, because this is part of the verb 'to be', and implies a positing of a point, no matter how big. Point means, 'power in it, power in crucifixion' and the macrocosmic Logos is a very large point within the Infinity of the Godhead. This point is an eternally recurrent fact. From its own point of view it is self-identified so that it is wholly presented to itself and this is the same thing as the seamless garment of Christ. It is wholly itself, it is simply the Infinite Power Field that has here rotated and produced this rational cosmic order, the Universal Logos. It is eternally recurrent because it is kept in being by the flight of forces of the Infinite Power continuously spinning. That is the ground of its recurrences, - World without end, Amen means, eternal recurrence.
We have said before that any sphere, no matter how small or how large, contains within itself, by implication, all the formal possibilities of all beings whatever. So, if we draw a little sphere inside the big sphere, at any point, and we can draw any number of them, these little spheres are simply the same as the big sphere except in space coverage. If the big sphere is called God them the little spheres are quite legitimately called little gods. Christ says, "Is it not written, ye are gods". In so far as you are a rotation of the only power that absolutely is, you are essentially one with that God and you are a spirit. As you are a spirit, therefore you are a power and that power is behaving in the manner we have just described, by spherical rotation and this rotation is the process of ensouling spirit. To ensoul spirit is simply to rotate spirit so that spirit circumscribes itself and thus becomes a being. In this sense, every man, in a very peculiar way, makes himself because it is his will in the place where he is that keeps him in being, but his will is one with the Spirit of God. Apart from the Spirit of God there is no will.
How are we to reconcile the eternal recurrence with the once for all time? The answer is quite simply, the idea of eternal recurrence viewed by a finite sphere within the big one because of the teleology of purposive nature of the finite, it tends to orientate itself and to look out and always to look in one direction and see one segment of the whole sphere. Thus, one of the peculiar marks of the human being is that his eyes are on one side of the head, not on all sides, and this indicates that he has orientated himself in a direction. In the same way the front of his body is soft and more sensuously disposed than the upper part of the back where the spine is. Consequently we can say that the man shows, like most animals show, orientation or direction of will, in the finite sense. But, to look in a finite sense is always to abstract a portion of the Macrocosmic Logos from itself and then to respond to the particular bit that one has looked at.
In this way, a being coming into existence, being born in the time process, that is, in the internal rotating system of the Logos, within that time process, he comes in vectored, directed and empowered in specific ways and is formally inclined to see the universe in a particular way. Each being tends to see a different sector of the Universe and the lack of agreement between human beings is caused, primarily, by this fact that they don't look at the same fact. It is quite obvious that if we concentrate on a small sector of the Cosmic Logos, when we have exhausted it we will have to move. Imagine we are shining a beam of a torch on a little bit of reality and when we examined that bit, we don't spread the torch out over the whole sphere, at least we don't tend to. When we do that we are practising either occidental mysticism or oriental yoga. To become peripherally aware of the total Macrocosmic Logos, what ordinarily happens is, when one particular zone has exhausted its interest, you point the beam into the next adjacent zone. So you tend to scan, systematically the adjacent areas of this Macrocosmic Logos. As we have said, once a particular direction is established in a billiard ball or a ball-bearing, it tends by its mass inertia, to keep the fact that he does this, will tend to scan the Macrocosmic Logos in a specific way determined by the particular world view with which he starts.
We can show empirically, that people are conditioned by their first impressions. From birth this is fairly obvious. From pre-natal considerations it becomes even more obvious. If we can show empirically that a person's mental processes, insofar as he has not released himself by some contemplative process, always stand on the basis of his prior percepts. That means we are always seeing the universe through spectacles coloured by previous experiences. Consequently, we tend to pass round the sphere of the Macrocosmic Logos in particular way. Each person tends to pass round that sphere in its own way. The result is the totality of existential finite beings tend to scan, between all of them, all the possibilities of the Macrocosmic Logos but each one of them is only seeing his own world line. The world line of any given individual on the Macrocosmic sphere is restricted to a series of associated forms which he calls ideas. Serial thinking again. To him these ideas appear to follow logically, one from the other, because they do, except, he is seeing serial logic instead of pan-logic. Instead of seeing the pan- logistical fact, the whole word, he sees a serial, abstract, temporal word.
Consequently we can draw this same sphere and we can draw any number of equators at any angle on the sphere. We might call them great circles. Each one of these is a world line for a given individual. We know that when individuals ordinarily talk, without full awareness of what they are saying, that they come back, very quickly, to where they started. We say that logic is tautologic, it is turning round, back upon itself because of the definition we have given before: - Subject, that is S, equals predicate extended to the nth plus subject. We start with the subject and say something about it. What we say about it is called the predicate. If we extend the predicate fully to exhaust the subject, at the end of it we have to repeat the name of the subject we started with. So it is S = Pn to + S at the end. (S = Pn + S) Subject equals the predicate fully extended plus the subject again at the end. This completes the cycle of experience.
Any person who is not aware of this is going to repeat the same thing over and over again. It didn’t take many years for psychologists to formulate a law about this because it became quite apparent, from patient’s behaviour, that they were committing the same error that had been previously explained to them as an error and which they themselves had agreed was an error, and not to be done. And yet they would go on doing it. The psychologists then formulated this into the Law of the Persistence of Error. If a thing keeps on happening you had better dignify it by the name of law. The law, in that sense, scientifically, does not mean what must necessarily happen. It means what statistically happened so far in a given zone of experiment.
Any given person tends to travel, because he is serially thinking, along a particular line. Supposing we draw all the lines to completely fill the sphere, and observe that each line belongs to an individual and that each individual tends to go on his own line and to go round it and round it and repeat his tricks for ever. Suppose then, we come to the intersection of two lines. That is a point where two people come into relation, where two people discuss the Subject together and the differences between their world lines are the differences between the arguments they they present and the point of intersection is the common term that led them to discuss at all. It is quite obvious that if a person can break identification with his own world line at an intersection point, he can get off the particular circle with which he is identified, onto any other world line. This is of tremendous importance because it means that a person can begin to break identification as all these lines are intersected. Otherwise, a non-identified person can, at points of similarity of symbol, jump of the line he is on, on to another line. By so doing, he can, if he wishes, spiral through the whole system and scan it and thus become it.
But, if he can spiral and scan all of it, he can then identify with the Cosmic Logos. This Cosmic Logos is a One, a unity and it is once for all time. Time is simply what occurs to us serially within this sphere of Logos. The serial presentation of elements in the whole simultaneously existing Logos, this is what we call time.
So, once for all time means to say, one big unific sphere internal to which are all the little rotations and serialisations of equal time. Once one big sphere is made, for all time, for all little internal rotations and serialisations of form, once, for all time. So we see here that it is quite compatible to say, "The Eternal Recurrence" and to say, "Once for all time." Not only is it compatible, it becomes a necessity of logic. Once we have established this Macrocosmic Sphere and observed that Power, in order to exist, in order to come to be, necessarily rotates, and having come to be, then it must maintain itself. Therefore the Macrocosmic Logos itself, is a self-maintaining being and is an eternal being internal to which are all other beings.
and it is the one travelling in that direction and to respond to any stimuli by assimilating it into the established direction. Thus, if a man is very fond of studying football and you mention South America he says, "Yes, they are not very good players," or, "they were brilliant in 1943." Whatever he studies, every stimulus is caught into the direction of his will and interpreted by the direction. This means that any individual man who is unaware of being, internal to which, are all other beings.
Does that mean that life is repeatedly lived out in a particular environment, a particular world? If so, the fact that I cannot remember any of my previous occurrences is not of any value to me. There is not any value in eternally recurring unless I can gain from previous occurrence experience?
Nietzsche deals with this very thoughtfully. He pointed out that if the eternal recurrence is a fact, you might as well choose something worth recurring. The eternal recurrence is the whole sphere of being and any great circle upon it is a world line for any individual and any small circle upon it is a world line for any sub-individual. It was pointed out that is the great danger of eternal recurrence and the explanation of why you don't understand you have done it before.
Let us take a great circle and make a mark on it and call it birth. It is a death to the previous state and the death is a birth to the new state. This mark on the great circle we can call birth/death. As you die at the end of that life, you are immediately reborn on the same circle. Constant stimulation equals no stimulation and consequently your eternally recurrent life can make no impression of newness on you. Consequently you cannot understand that you have done it before because it hasn't got the differentiation stimulus power that it would have if it were not recurrent. In other words, if you were asked, "Is this the world we recur in?" the reply is, "Yes, this is the world that you have persistently recurred in and always will recur in until you break identification, and the moment of death would be your re-incarnation at the point of your same birth, from the same parents in the same place.”
This is such a frightening concept that Nietzsche thought it worth serious consideration. A lot of other philosophers thought about it too. There might be a very small circle inside our big circle, perhaps a thing like a May Fly with a very short life span. You don't notice that the psyche of that little fly, at the moment of its death has re-entered an egg, immediately, and it is going through exactly the same pattern that it went through before. The psalmist knows that there is something of the nature of time as rotation. We are so used to thinking of time past as non-existent and time to come as non- existent, only now is. We don't notice the inconsistency of this. That NOW, in the time sense, is nothing whatever because it is continuously disappearing into the past out of a non-existent future. You cannot put your finger on the temporal now because it has fled before you can put your finger on it. So, whatever you are going to point at does not exist, and it came into existence, if it did, out of a non-existent future.
Suppose you said the NOW does not mean that. Suppose NOW means total awareness of the whole Logos. Total awareness of the whole Logos means NOW, that is to say, you have won the battle. You have won the battle for total, simultaneous, non-serial awareness and this places you in the position of a NOW that is an eternal NOW not a temporal now. The temporal now is a fiction because everybody knows they have never seen it. As soon as you try to look at it, it has gone. Prior to looking at it, it did not exist. So you have a non-existent past, a non-existent future and a non-existent now slipping from a non-existent future into a non-existent past, and as soon as you allow that there is an eternal NOW, namely the totality and wholeness of the Macrocosmic Logos and stand upon that as NOW, then you can begin to see that really the past and the future can exist in the NOW. This is because the past and the future are no more than little segments, focussed as a beam of light shone upon them by a finite being, and his temporal now that he is looking at is something that is sliding all the time and it has no real existence. But, the eternal NOW is entirely in being, it is a whole being. So, the eternal NOW is supremely real and the temporal now is a fiction. Consequently, if we can spread our awareness, we have increased the coverage of time past and time future. This we do by ascending, we climb up the mountains.
Let us draw a mountain and a man at the base, starting to climb up. If he is at the base he cannot see the other side of the mountain from where he is. But, if he gets to the top and stands up there, so that he can see all round, he can see all the other climbers with the difficulties they have to face. Going high up on the mountain is the same thing as retiring from serial presentation. When you go up a very high mountain and you look down, you see lots of little cars the size of scale model Mini cars, rushing about. You realise each of them has got a man in with someone else's wife in it. They are tearing away rapidly and you realise that they do not know that somebody is watching that little bug creeping along with its ulterior motives well packed in it. They are on serial time on a roadway. You are looking at the Saracen's Head where they are going to finish up in half an hour only there are not there yet and you are. In exactly the same way, you can spread your awareness across somebody's world line to see where they will be, not in an hour or a few days or a few weeks, but in a few years. Spread it further and you will see where they will always be, that is by the pattern of their identified life. They are going to repeat the same pattern again and if they get killed in a car crash they get reborn at the same point on the same world line from the same mother, because all these things are eternal existences. The past does not cease to exist, nor does the future come to be. All is an eternal fact, which means your mother and your father, at every age that they have been manifested, co-exist as a pattern of events through which energy can go and thus cause their appearance in manifestation over and over again, and that these things are going on now.
Suppose we apply this to the Solar System. There is the Earth's orbit. The earth is standing in a certain place that is Monday. It turns round and as it rotates on its axis, it translates a little
distance round the Sun, a 365th of the orbit will shift every day. The result is that we can draw all the days of the year round this orbit and each day is in its own place in the Solar System. The Sun also is travelling through space and taking with it, all the planets of the Solar System so that when the Earth has gone round to the same point relative to the Sun and the fixed stars, say the first point of Aries, the Sun has shifted a bit so that the Earth is spiralling through space with the travelling Sun. The result is, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday Saturday and so on, throughout the year, all have their own places. This 'own' is what Christ meant when he said, "Every man goes into his place and his works follow him."
A man's life is expressed from his appearance in time to his disappearance in death as simply the superstresses placed on a serial line, of forms, which appear to him as serial behaviours which are simply abstracted out of eternal actuality by superstress. Consequently, every single little deed that is done is done in a different place.
For example, I tap this pencil now. When I have tapped it I am going to tap it again in the same place. I look for the place, there and do it again. But, I haven't done it again in precisely the same way because the Earth has turned a bit since I did it, and because of this, in the infinity of Sentient Power, is a complete record, each element of which stands in its own place absolutely as an impulse pattern, which never changes place. Once you have understood that every conceivable deed that is ever done, or can do, is an eternal fact, each element of which is in its own place, then we see the way out of it, what salvation means.
The thing which keeps us enchained on any given cycle is simply the logic of serial events. As long as we are serialising, we are tied to the formal linkages presented along the world line that we hatch upon. If a particular circle represents a world line of ideas, it has got the name of a subject on it. I talked to a man whose chief interest was opera. After speaking to him for a while it became apparent that was his chief interest. Why was as it opera? Because he thought life should be lived operatically. By which he meant to say we should sing and not talk, we should wave our arms through great degrees of arc with plenty of little arcs and that we should develop a large diaphragm and plenty of lower rib expansion. All these were in terms of opera. I agree with him in this view, largely, with some slight modifications. While he is on his world line, the fact that he has written 'opera' on his life means that whatever he sees will have to fit this governing concept. But, that governing concept is the property of one of the cycles, one of the closed circles, one of the recurrent circles within the Macrocosmic Eternal Logos. So if he starts off with a governing concept, the governing concept that he has will, itself, select the order of events with which he will be presented, which means that a man is enslaved by his governing concept. So, if a man does not know his governing concept, he cannot get off the particular cycle he is on.
When Christ was talking about this he said, well get a decent governing concept. Here is a good one. He said, “The Spirit bloweth where it listeth. You don't know where it has come from, you don't know where it is going to. So is everyone born of the Spirit.” The essential part of that definition is, you don't know WHERE it has come from and you don't know WHERE it is going to and it is eternal. So you have immediately, the concept of the eternal NOW as opposed to the temporal now. You have 'I don't know where I have come from' that means I have no memory and, 'I don't know where I am going to' that means I have no purpose. To have no memory and no purpose is called ‘Being a fool for Christ's sake.’ You act always within the eternal NOW, spontaneously, immediately. You do not refer to your memory because that would keep you on the world line and guarantee your eternal recurrence on an abstract cycle. You deliberately break the tyranny of your memory and you do not allow it to project your future.
We discussed Prometheus and Epimetheus and we pointed out that Prometheus, fore-thinking, can only occur on the basis of Epimetheus, after-thinking. In the temporal process, man experiences things. If they are unpleasant, when he looks at them he is determined to dodge them in the future, so his past is dictating his future and in so doing is cutting across his temporal now and reducing it to nothing. Whereas, if he can see this eternal Now embraces the past and future, then he cannot worry about either his past or his future because all the elements of both are eternal.
If we take this super concept, beyond concept, it is a peculiar concept because it says no concept is any good. We have a concept that says that concepts are no good. That is a super concept because it refutes all concepts. It says, "Spirit," that is the Infinite, invisible Sentient Power, cannot be stated to have come from anywhere or to be going anywhere, has no memory and no purpose. It is absolutely undefinable and therefore utterly beyond all concepts whatever, and yet we are talking about it. We know something about it because this we are talking of is nothing other than reflexive self-conscious Sentient Power itself. This is the real being-Self, the substantial power of the Infinite, which is being aware that it does not have to bend itself on any finite circle whatever. For that matter, not even on the biggest, Macrocosmic Logic circle. It can merely see that, as it’s super sun or objectification, whereby it controls the chaotic tendency to precipitate fantasy. It precipitates logical order in order to control fantasy that would otherwise be there. But, when it has precipitated it and is aware why it has precipitated it, then it is released from slavery to the object which released from the fantasy.
This has been said before. If you are in a very deep nightmare, supposing you are fortunate enough to have them, and therefore understand what they are about, know that you may be pursued by the seventeen and a half feet Tyranosaurus and know that it is just about to eat you and you are striving valiantly to shout in the wife's left ear, "Wake me up!” But no voice is coming out, your body is absolutely rigid and you can do nothing about it, you are just about to be utterly devoured, absolutely and forever, - when you wake up. You wake up because of the tremendous tension generated in your objective physical body by the fear. Because you have a body you can wake up. If you had not got a body you might be eternally chasing about in that stupid nightmare. The body gives you an objective, orderly reference. You open your eyes and you look at the familiar ornaments and you are glad you are back.
In exactly the same way, God has made the objective Logos, the purely self-defining, logical structure of macrocosmos. By means of this He has made it possible to escape the infinite fantasy of Sentient Power that would exist as an eternal ocean of fantastical form if it were not for the objectification of macrocosmos. But once it can be seen that the purpose of the objectification is to release you from the fantasy then it can be seen that this Macrocosmic Logos is only the Earth upon which God stands firmly in order to dare to look at the fantasy. The Earth is God's footstool. That means to say you stand upon the objective world but you don't need to bury your head in it unless you are an empirical scientist. You stand with your feet upon it and then you dare from your objective standpoint to look at the subjective. You dare, with the objectivity of your gained body of order, and that does not mean the food that is in your body, it means the body of order in you, with that gained body of integrated elements inside it, you dare to look at the flux of your own will which can produce absolute fantasy, and thereby, by means of the Absolute Logos we are saved from a nightmarish infinite ocean of fantasy. Yet, we dare look at them and draw upon them for artistic concepts, for creative activities, for opera, for painting and so on.
All the things that we could possibly invent are not new to the Absolute. There is no new thing under the Sun. What is new to a finite person is a superstress placed upon his organism by some external stimulus by some relation of the time process. But, whatever it is that that he comes to see, or to experience, is an integral part of the Absolute macrocosmic whole.
Another point we are discussing is the question of ignorance. What is this for? What does it do for us? Adam was created in innocence. Innocence is innocuousness. It means he is not poisonous. It means he has not locked up any power in such a way as to damage himself. He does not know anything and he has no concept of the past or the future. Consequently, in the real sense he is not yet in the time process. When the external stimulus comes and stimulates his will, or Eve, and that will corrupts his intellectual Adam and they are both dragged into the external world, then the time process starts.
When we see what happens we find that this is based on ignorance destroying innocence because God said to Adam, do not eat of that tree of the knowledge of good and evil because if you do you will die and Adam wilfully disregarded the command. Wilfully to disregard is called to ignore. Ignorance is the state of a person who is wilfully disregarding something. Adam has disregarded it for defined purposes. He says it is good to look upon, it is pleasant to eat and it confers knowledge. That will make us like God. So they have a quite definite, clearly defined purpose and in the name of this purpose they are wilfully disregarding the command, "Do not eat of that tree." The tree they are told not to eat of is the tree of dualism, the tree of the knowledge of good and of evil, the separation of ultimate reality into two categories, one called good and one called evil. Wilfully to ignore means deliberately to stop information from one zone or another, getting into a particular one that might stop the established direction of the private will.
We must distinguish very carefully between wilful disregard and concentration. If I want to examine the pencil I am holding and I concentrate very, very hard on it and look at the wood and the lead within it and the lettering on the side of it, I am not wilfully disregarding the people in the room. I am deliberately looking at the pencil. So, to concentrate attention on the pencil is not the same thing as wilfully to ignore something else. Wilful disregard, wilfully ignoring something else is for the specific purpose of excluding anything whatever that might impede the work we are trying to do. If we succeed in this, by the simple law of mass inertia, we will impose upon ourselves a state of ignorance. Once we have initiated any given act with a certain amount of energy, the energy involves into the form of the act. As soon as the act has been formulated, the tendency is for the formulator to feed it, because he has made it. Just in the same way a woman tend to feed her own baby. If you go into a maternity home you see a lot of babies with tags on them and lots of mothers in beds. Suddenly it is feeding time and you pick up a baby at random from the end of the ward and you rush down the middle of the ward and give it to a woman and say, "There you are," and she says, "That is not mine," and you say, "What's the difference, it is a baby." "Oh no, I can only feed my baby." This is the key to the whole process, - I can only feed my baby. If it comes out of me and witnesses me then I must feed it. If it comes out of another being whom I consider to be separate then I must not feed it because if I feed their baby I am not feeding my baby. In exactly the same way, if I give birth to an idea, because that is my idea, no matter how rubbishy it may be, even if the baby is cross-eyed and twisted in the middle toes, it does not matter. If it is mine, I must feed it.
A man in a pub, in the middle of 18 pints can actually give birth to an idea and it can be proved to him, within a matter of minutes, to be complete poppycock, does he immediately say, "Sorry, old boy," and withdraw it? Or, does he not begin to twist, to explain how he meant, by this idea, precisely that which has emerged to be the case? We see the continuous unbarring of more and more energy of will into a position which was entered into precipitately to try to establish one's baby. It is exactly the same way the baby is fed that the baby in the physical world is fed. So there are children of the mind, ideas, and they can be quite stupid children but they are going to get fed because they are mine, and we will have to pay, like Humpty Dumpty says, if we misuse a term. They become insubordinate and we have to pay more and more into them to cover up their inconsistencies.
This mode of self-equilibration of egotism, is the chief cause of people remaining on their cycles of eternally recurrent patterns because they cannot let go because it is their baby. They have written their name on this baby therefore they will carry on feeding it to justify it. Justification is the same thing as equilibration. When a man puts one of his brain children into the world he expects everyone to come along and say, "What a beautiful child. Did you make it yourself?" and he says, modestly, "I did. I tossed it off and there it is." He feeds this structure and in the process he is selling his whole freedom for nothing but opinion, his own opinion of his self first and the opinion of other people needed to feed his opinion.
It is a very strange and horrible thing that there is a power in this world greater than the power of the Welsh philosopher, greater than the power of sex, greater than the power of food is the power of self-opinion. It is greater than either of these other powers because it happens to be rooted in the essential power itself. Once that essential power has rolled itself up into a sphere it has made a self and the way in which it rolls itself up must be unique to itself because of the Law of the Inequality of Finites. As soon as it comes into existence it is characterised by the mode in which it twists itself on the way in. So, from that moment, it is now going to try to equilibrate the pattern it has entered into existence. Whatever it now says is an attempt to produce internal equilibrium but, because what it says is determined by the finited character in which it has vested itself, so other beings do not agree with what it has to say and as soon as their contradiction reaches it, it again produces a modifying statement to try to re-balance itself in the presence of the attack from outside. Self-opinion is the same thing as the very deep experience of self-justification which is the same thing as self-equilibration.
A soul is a power. It is an ensphered spirit and in coming to be, it is a certain amount of sentient power, characterised by the mode in which it seeks existence. It is a self-will and it is willing to balance itself with the particular forms with which it has appeared in existence. Consequently, number one thing for it is personal equilibration. But, this is personal self-justification and this means, in the serial process, continuous attempts to restate good opinion in oneself of oneself. So that one sues, in the second case for external opinions only in order to bolster up one's own opinion. The strange fact is that we find that people do not will to be good or even be bothered to define what good is. They will to be thought to be good. So there is more energy in appearing to be good than in being it and all that men are afraid of in desiring to be good is the condemnation from outside that will cause them to condemn themselves.
Every power wants to be efficient and his picture of himself is as potentially the most efficient being there is. If anybody else from outside indicates a point where he has fallen below efficiency level, he immediately feels awful because he has not fulfilled his own self-image. He then begins to indulge in equilibrating activities, throws out new stimuli to the other beings round about all of which is known as explaining the particular error and trying to show it is not an error, it is a special kind of super subtle adjustment to indicate precisely what he meant. It is just this process which keeps in being the serial recurrence of form, so that the original shape we take on coming into existence, conditions the equilibrating techniques.
"What was your original face before you came to exist?" What is your face when you first came to exist isn't quite the same problem. Your original face before you came to exist is another and it is highly characterised. The mode of its characterisation is such that you do not dissociate from it. You will be committed to a serial line of experiences with self-equilibration attempts all the way along the line. It is the self-equilibration which keeps you on this world line and guarantees your eternal recurrence and your immediate entry into the body of the baby that you left and grew up in order to die. If we accept this fact that within infinity, every element of possible existence is an eternal fact and that every form of a man, from the time he is an egg, fertilized, embryo, baby child, youth and so on, right up to the time he is a corpse, everyone of these phases exists in eternity. Each one of these is a closed system, birth right round to death, turning round to death again, they are all little circles on a big circle, so that if you try to justify your finite individual self, you are guaranteeing your re-entry on the same line.
Would that be what I would understand by the term 'pride?
Answer: Yes, certainly because pride is a dividing fire, wheel the same as self-equilibration, and all the psychological terms like opinion are simply terms for self-equilibration.
What sort of term was Christ referring to when he said the meek shall inherit the earth?
Answer: The same earth mentioned in the Book of Genesis. Before the firmament was formed, there was an earth which was dark and void and formless. That earth is the substantial aspect of Absolute Sentient Power. When the big rotation occurs, that is the firmament. Inside it, the substance within the firmament, in the sphere, is called the waters below the firmament and this is again sub-divided into waters and then dry land. The dry land being the condensation of it to the point of liquifaction disappearing in that zone, so that the terrestrial earth, the terra, is the turba centre. But all this is simply a particular zone of high condensation of energy, whereas, in the earth proper, that is the substantial aspect of Absolute Sentient Power, there is none of the mechanical grinding process of the terrestrial globe. It is this earth that Christ is referring to. If he meant any other earth, it would be a very poor hope for us because we know as a fact that everything comes into existence, finitely, and has a finite end. Materialists cannot understand what he is talking about there because they think metaphorically and take their material metaphors for facts. The thing he is talking about is the substantial aspect of Absolute Sentient Power.
This Absolute Sentient Power occupies infinite space as well as being the infinite cause within this space of infinite motion and as substance it is called the Earth, and that substance is the substance that will be inherited by the meek. We know what are not meek, all those beings who try, by arrogation, by taking to the finite self what does not properly belong to that finite self. All those are not, in any sense, keeping themselves in subjection, they are not meek, me - eke, they are not being me in the corner and keeping quiet. They are grabbing things and trying to pack them into their own zones.
The essential thing about all acquisitive men of violence, historically, we see that they progressively eliminate each other. Until the man who can actually stop this process of finite grabbing of power will find that he truly understands the meaning of the word meek, he will discover that he is one with the substantial aspect of the Sentient Power of the Absolute. In other words, his substance, he will feel, which is his body, will be the same substance as God's substance, because, absolutely, in the very highest sense, philosophically and theologically, there is nothing other than God. Consequently, whatever we are, we are Him and whatever He is not, nothing can be. So, in our substantial aspect, we are the cause of the motion of this earth, in our formal aspect we are the idea structure within this earth. However many aspects we take we are only dealing with one ultimate, Macrocosmic Logos form which has a dynamic aspect - power, cause, a formal aspect - the way in which it modally operates, and a substantial aspect - the mass energy occupancy of space.
Are there any implications to and for the Absolute if the energy on a world line, a person, manages to slip off? There is a possibility of breaking that identification. This means the particularised energy is then disturbed.
Does that world line then cease to exist? If so, has it absolute implications?
It does not cease to exist. What it does is have its superstress removed. Remember what the Gita says about this. Whatever is can never cease to be. Whatever is not can never come to be. A world line that is, is an eternal world line. It is only the tension of individual purpose upon it that superstresses it in the manner we call temporal existence. When we take the superstress off it lapses out of the temporal scene. Insofar as other beings require it to exist, it will persist for them, but not for the person who takes the stress off.
If there is an existential problem in one person's life, if identification is broken, what happens to the vehicle as the product of parents?
Nothing. It is an eternal fact in all its ramifications and if you, that is, the self-observer in that place, take off the superstress from it, you have lost nothing, you have merely gained the rest. Christ says if you get the Kingdom of heaven, the Macrocosmic Logos sphere, you will not lose but you will gain. If you try to preserve your finite superstress, you will lose your whole life and if you prepare to lose your finite superstress, you will gain your whole life, which contains in it that which was superstressed in pure being.
There is a curiosity as to what happens in the material, existential situation.
Externally, nothing, because by the needs of other beings there, they will hold the external form that they need for the continuance of their world line in existence. You can see them do it when you transcend that superstress, but you are not of it and when it comes to the end of that process, it will still go on recurring. But you, that observer, who was previously identified will not be with it but will be kept in being by the cosmic logic sphere itself.
If I break my identification, or, bring it into harmony to Absolute Self, that is presumably, the same as breaking the world line.
Yes. Observe this. You can't do it without GRACE. If you want to do it when it is so painful for you that the serial game is not worth the candle, but you haven't got the power to break it until it is given to you, this is a matter of GRACE. Supposing somebody is on the world line and they have fed that world line with so much mass inertia that they shall not escape until they have paid the uttermost farthing. That is the uttermost far thing, the last implication of their committal into that thing must be paid. Long before that is reached, a man wishing he had not committed himself, so he is praying like hell to get out of that ridiculous identification, but he has not got the power to get out in the individual because the individual is a mass inertic structure. All that can be done is that the consciousness in that place can reflect upon itself, look at the inertia and stop feeding it. It will still go to its term but it will not go beyond the term like it would do if he kept feeding it.
Will you define term again?
Any given act you have is a defined purpose. Suppose I decide to throw this pencil at the door. I throw it. When it hits the door, that is the end of that purpose. That is the term of that amount of energy. If I said I am only throwing it at the door to show how good I am at aiming pencils at doors, then when it hit the door, that would not be the term of the thing because it would have been, "in order to." So then I would have to have looked round to see if you had all been impressed by my marksmanship and if you hadn't I would have to go back and throw it again. So, going to the term means according to my defined purpose internal to myself. Ultimately, the defined purpose in the original existential situation for any being is self-equilibration over against all other beings so you cannot complete the term of your activity until you have gained that equilibration. But, that equilibration is the same as self- justification before God and that cannot be once you have committed yourself into a finite situation until you stop feeding it, and you have really got to stop feeding it.
The story of the man who gets thrown into the river and calls to a man on the bank, "Drag me out of this river and I will give you half my fortune." So the man drags him out. When he drags him out, he says, "I meant ten per cent." As soon as he gets to a safe position, he tends to modify a bit. So, when men are crying out to be delivered totally, from serial presentation, they are crying out to be delivered from the painful bit that is pinching now, and because it is only that bit that they are crying out for, they are not fulfilling the conditions of grace. The conditions of grace are that you shall give yourself wholly, not partially, to the eternal. There are very few people who manage to do that. They ordinarily only cry out for the particular pinches that appear in the time process.