ARE WE TRIED MORE THAN WE CAN BEAR?
text of a talk given by Eugene Halliday to a meeting in
We have a very sticky problem tonight that has been worrying us for thousands of years, the question of whether we are tried more than we can actually bear. According to the best theologians, we are never tried more than we are able to bear the trial. The question has been raised, how does this apply to the suicide? Has he been tried too much?
We will start off with a circle to represent the tabula rasa of the scholastics, the man with a
blank mind which is the hypothetical individual coming into being for the first time so that his mind is presumed to be a kind of blank sheet on which anybody may write. There, the first stimulus, on entering, finds no opposition whatever. Let us pretend for a moment that this is a possibility. It is not actually, a possibility at all, but we will pretend that it is. Imagine a being who comes into the world with no internal form whatever. He is just pure substance. This substance has only one power, the power that scientists call irritability. Irritability means the ability to respond to a stimulus, to react to it and to retain a trace of it, a memory trace, to retain the memory of both the incoming stimulus and its own reaction. To this, the biologist applies the word, irritability. Irritability means the power to react to an incoming stimulus and to retain the traces of the incoming stimulus and traces of its own response.
Let us pretend that we have such a being whose record level is zero, and we have here, simply this plain being so that, when a stimulus comes in, the stimulus enters into a zero characterised field. So, there is no formal capacity to react to it at all. Let us call this the first level of testing. When this first energy comes in it enters a non-characterised field. That being so, there must be no resistance whatever to the incoming stimulus. Let us pretend for a moment that the incoming stimulus, the first one is the first of the temporal series. We will call it 1TS, the first of the temporal series. When it comes in, it comes in to a being of zero characterisation. That is, the being is formless on the inside. Consequently, the incoming stimulus cannot have a formal reaction. The first temporal stimulus is its first temptation. Temptation simply means the presentation of temporal stimulation. When you are tempted it really means, that in a given time, a situation is presented to you and you are to respond to it. The mode of your response is your reply to the temptation. If you have zero characterisation you are formless and when the stimulus comes in (X) it just goes straight through the being and writes X within the being. If this is so, this mysterious X, the experience form, cannot be evaluated at all because there is nothing to evaluate it against. It is the first formal presentation and it is coming into a formless field. As the being is formless it cannot judge at all. Consequently the first stimulus simply writes its own name inside the being. Its first temptation is quite simply one that it meets innocently.
The purpose of temptation is the dispensation of innocence. If you read the theological development in the Bible, you will find that Adam, in the Garden of Eden, prior to the Fall, is said to be in the dispensation of innocence which means, when the temptation comes to him for the first time, that he cannot possibly know anything about it. Consequently, his reaction to it is nil. It simply means that the incoming stimulus writes its own name inside the protoplasm. So, his first temptation, he responds to innocently. Now, how about the second temptation? He has not judged on the first one because he had nothing to judge it with. The symbol of judgement is simply a pair of scales, a balance. In the first place he had nothing in the pans at all so he has not got a weight. So, if we put X on one side, suddenly, that is the incoming stimulus, it means that X weighs down the scale. The arm tips and one pan goes up. It can't help going up because there is nothing to weigh against the X. It responds to its first temptation by simply accepting it. This is what happened to Adam and Eve when the first temptation whether they would eat of the tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. When the temptation was presented to Eve, she had not got a reason to refuse. After all, God did not tell Eve not to eat it, He only told Adam. As Adam happens to be Eve's husband, there is no reason at all why she should take any notice of what hubby has said. Consequently, she listens to the serpent, which means the external stimulus and the external stimulus, going in, simply writes its name on her and says a three-fold thing. It says, "This knowledge of good and evil is a fruit good to look at, pleasant to eat and confirming knowledge like the gods have." So, she eats, innocently. They have not yet been in trouble so they have not got anything to judge it by. Adam does as his wife says and then they are both in trouble.
So the first temptation is simply the presentation of a stimulus into a state of formlessness. The formlessness cannot formally react and therefore it simply accepts. The response to the first stimulus is the acceptance which is the letter aleph, א or the Greek alpha ά . Because the infinitely formless accepts any stimulus whatever, therefore the first character is simply the character of the incoming stimulus.
The statement is that a being is never tried more than it can stand, and, when the first stimulus comes in, certainly the being is not being tried more than it can stand because it assimilates the incoming energy. It simply becomes characterised by the incoming stimulus.
Now, let us pretend that another stimulus comes. This time it is not X, this time it is Y. The incoming stimulus comes in and it writes a letter Y inside the being. The being now looks at the X inside the self and at the incoming Y, and it can feel that X is not Y. At this point, it has two forms, one that has been in for some time, that it has adjusted itself to, and a new one that it has not adjusted itself to in the same degree. As it comes in it can then evaluate where the new stimulus energy is either similar to or different from the first stimulus. You can see from the letter Y that it would fit the top half of the X quite nicely, vibrate with it, harmonise with it, but the descender of the Y would not fit the X. So we would say that the being would now respond by saying this Y fits the top part of the X but it does not fit the descender on the Y. It now feels a peculiar form in the centre of the descender of the Y as a new thing.
At this point, it can, if it wills, say, "I don't like it," and proceed to suppress it or it can say, "I do like it," and proceed to enhance it, to maintain it in existence. If we look at it we find this new descender introduces a new formal interest into the being. It gives a three-fold mark, upside down, something like the mark of Cain or the mark of Her Majesty's postbags and criminals, the three nails of the Cross or the bow and arrow. Then we can see that the introduction of this letter Y to the already engrammed X situation, produces the possibility of a greater enrichment of form. It introduces several new angles which we can examine and which produce new harmonics and new experiences. But, the being is actually presented with an occasion of choice because it can, if it wills, press on this Y and try to stop it vibrating, try to reduce it to its minimal form. It cannot eliminate it completely. It can reduce it to a very low level. Whether it does so is entirely within the will of this being, and, because it is within the will of this being to either repress or augment the vibration of the incoming stimulus, therefore we talk about the responsibility of the being to make a choice in a situation where choosing is presented.
Here then, we see, on the presentation of the second stimulus, that the being , having experienced X and now experiencing Y can choose to repress either the X or the Y or to maintain them in equilibrium. Nothing can constrain it not to do either of these two things or force it to do one at the expense of the other. It can respond within the stimulus framework so that in the second stage, it is no longer innocent because it is characterised by the first stimulus, so, it has some mental furniture to which it refers when it is making a choice.
Viewed as Hebraica, it doesn't, perhaps seem very concrete. In fact, if we change X for one person and Y for another person and call our original being A, A is presented with X and Y. That is Albert presented with Xenophon and Yetta. (Yetta is the girl with the curly hair from the delicatessen shop.) Presented with both at once, he will have a certain kind of complex response pattern but here again we can see the occasion of choice is quite simple. This being is not being tested beyond its power to respond. It has got form within it and it does know the form that it has and it can evaluate the incoming stimulus with the stimulus it has already assimilated inside it. So, it is not being presented with a stimulus situation that it cannot react to adequately.
Once we have understood this principle, you can see that no matter how many new stimuli we have put in, we are always putting them into a being already characterised, which being, has actually assimilated the first one innocently. The next stimulus has not quite so innocently been assimilated but in a very simple judgement based on the comparison of the two different stimuli and therefore quire simple. According to the way it chooses, so at each level it is presented with another choice and the choice at each level is simply the resultant of all its previous responses to given situations. No matter how tense the situation may be , later on, when it is fully characterised, the situation is exactly the result of the choices made and it is the inevitable result of those choices made. Consequently it cannot be said that something has been imposed upon it that it did not ask for. This means there is no injustice. A mysterious, omnipotent God behaving in an arbitrary manner and imposing tests on people that they should not be subjected to is just not true. When a test is put upon a subject, the subject has to, progressively, put himself in the position to get precisely that test and not another because he has, in fact, made the necessary choices beforehand to get that.
We had this when a patient quarrelled very bitterly about being put in a position of choice by his parents. He said that he had not done this himself, he had been put in the position of this choice and it was unfair that he should have visited upon him the necessity of making this choice. I said, "Let us look at a very simple diagram," because this man is an architect and he draws plans. I said, "Let us draw a circle and say this is a given human being. We know, if this human being multiplies, it must divide, so that in order to have a child, it must cut itself. It may cut off a little bit or it may cut itself a big lot of, but it cuts some off. What we call sex cells inside the being are simply portions of the original pattern in the protoplasm, the living plasm of that being, cut off specifically to make a child. Before it is cut off, before this division into the somatic or body cells and the sex cells, the whole thing is one protoplasm.
The little worm in the lowly worm experiment, was subjected to an electrical shock and an electric lamp was switched on. After repeated electrical shocks and switchings on of the lamp, the worm jumped when the lamp was switched on even though there was no electrical shock. Subsequently, the division of this worm and the progeny of this worm reacted in the same way the original worm did. That is, after several generations, when you switched on the light, they all jumped. Now why did they all jump? Did they jump because they were individuals, unjustly imposed on by that wicked jumping worm ancestor? No. In fact, each one of those worms was a tiny bit of the original protoplasm that had received the shock. It was not another worm. It was, in fact, the same protoplasm. It was the shocked protoplasm that had, again, jumped.
In exactly the same way, the whole human being, before the process of cell division within the egg, the egg is a whole egg, with no divisions, and we say that it responds protopathically, that is, it feels in the original mode, that life field, utterly without discrimination. Prior to the wall being built inside the egg, it is responding totally, non-discriminatingly. That is protopathically. In so doing, it is reacting as if it were an innocent. As soon as we get a form inside it, the form of the first wall, before the others have appeared and it divides itself into many millions, on the appearance of the very first wall, if a stimulus is now inserted, it goes through the protoplasm, hits on the wall and is reflected. Thus the stimulus is confined to half the egg. if it goes on dividing itself more and more, progressively, when a stimulus comes, it is confined to a smaller and smaller area. So, in the process of this internal division there is the isolating the stimulus to one particular point and the relative freeing of the rest of the protoplasm from the reaction.
Any one of those given cells can become a child of the next generation, but whatever it is, it is still the same protoplasm of the so-called preceding generation. It is the same protoplasm and at this point, no child can say to its parents, "I should not have had this inflicted upon me by them as if, in fact, they were separate. They are not. This existing child, the existing protoplasmic masses in the room are all continuations of previously existing masses of protoplasm, and they are all engrammed, formally charged and emotively charged by the experiences the same protoplasm has had in the previous generation. So, there is no conceivable excuse for any generation pretending that it is suffering unjustly.
There is a rather tricky problem raised in the New Testament where the rabbis say, trying to catch Jesus, "Which has sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind." It is a trick question. They want to say to him, "Has this man sinned? If so you are teaching Old Testament justice. He is a re-incarnating soul, he has sinned in a previous existence and now he is blind and that is our Old Testament justice. Therefore do not talk to us of forgiveness, that is injustice." On the other hand if he says it was not this man who sinned but his parents, then this man is paying the price of his parents and it is still Old Testament law because it says the sins of the fathers shall be upon the children to the third and fourth generation. So if he answers the question in either of the two ways they want him to, he will support the old dispensation. This he has no intention of doing and therefore he says, "Neither this man nor his parents caused this man being born blind, but he was born blind that the works of God may be made manifest."
What is happening? "That the works of God may be made manifest." Let us start with the biggest sphere we can conceive, the one that the theologians used to prove the existence of god and we will call this the big work of God. This is His Magnum Opus, the Cosmic Logos. This is the cosmic body of the Christ and inside this cosmic body, again there are divisions. In my Father's house are many mansions. So, we have to draw many mansions inside it. Here is the progressive in-working within the universe of God, that is the spiritual power having circumscribed the big sphere, any subsequent working He does is going to be inside the sphere. Imagine that this sphere contains within itself, in perfect dynamic equilibrium all the forms of all the activities whatever and all forms, therefore, of any conceivable individuality whatever because an individual is simply a type of actuality. Individuals are actualities. That is, they are ways in which power is acting and the characteristic form of any individual is simply the characteristic formal way he has acted and is acting.
Now, one man is born blind and the rabbis want to know, did he sin or did this larger chap, of which he is a bit, sin? The thing about that question is revealed in not to go far enough back. They are thinking in a very short time sphere about this man and his mother and father, possibly his grandmother and grandfather, but they are not thinking back out of the time process into eternity. Eternity means the He trinity or three-fold spiritual power. The whole sphere of Cosmic Being is the work of God and to manifest that whole sphere there must be, at least, one of every possibility. There must be a blind man, a crippled man, a crazy man and so on, within this universal sphere, because without them we can never comprehend all the possibilities of being. If there is a blind man inside there, he is only blind in order that all the works of the whole macrocosmic sphere may be made manifest. Manifest means made fast in order to be evaluated. The word man means to evaluate, to count. This man is called blind, and by means of this blind man, all the other men who are about can look at this blind man and meditate on the meaning of eyes. Perhaps, here is Lazarus and he has died and he is an occasion whereby it is shown that death is not a final state, because he can be lifted up. Did Lazarus sin that he died in this way? Was he saved from his sin or was the whole situation simply another way of manifesting the totality of cosmic possibilities?
As soon as we allow that God is omniscient, we say that He knows everything and He does not only know good things, He knows rubbishy things too. He knows every conceivable aberration that ever invaded a schizophrenic's brain, but to Him they are not things that are wrong, they are all right. Everything He knows including the silliest joke, is valid, not as a good thing but as a good-bad thing. So, if there is an apple going rotten, it is not a rotten apple, it is a good example of a rotten apple. When we can understand that everything that does occur in the universe as a so-called good and a so-called bad, are all good, especially the bad ones, then we can understand that any given thing, like a man being born blind or another man smelling four days in the grave and annoying his relatives in order that there can be a resurrecting, when we can understand this, then we are raised to the level where temptation becomes just another means whereby we exercise ourselves more efficiently.
We have seen where the original or protopathic state of a being is such that when a stimulus comes in, nothing happens except that the stimulus records itself so that the innocent, that is the person with no formal knowledge at all, responds simply by accepting. When the next stimulus comes in he does not have to respond simply by accepting, he can respond by comparing the old stimulus, accepted in his innocency, with the new one, and as he chooses to stress one or the other, or to equilibrate both, or try to repress both, so he moves on to his next stage of development. But, at each stage he is presented with a concrete situation in the time process and this concrete situation in the time process is called a temptation. It is called a temptation because the tempt in temptation means time. When we come into the situation, we see the man born blind, or anything whatever that we do not like, we have to evaluate it against the existing forms within us or we have to refuse to evaluate it. We can refuse to evaluate it either negatively, that is, in a repressive manner and create a neurosis for ourselves, or we can say, I refuse to evaluate it serially at all, I have not sufficient data to evaluate it thoroughly, but I comprehend that ultimately it must be evaluated within the whole sphere of universal actualities. When we go into it at the universal level we say we accept the thing, no matter how bad it is.
If we learn the lesson of this, we find that any given individual who is just a little snippet of the Super Individual, the Cosmic being, any little individual who is complaining of what is happening to him is unjust, is misconceiving his real relation with the universe. He is a portion of the universe and in so far that he is a time being, he is the embodiment of all the previous choices of this same protoplasm when it was in the ancestor's bodies. Thus, if Abraham made a certain choice about Isaac and then Isaac breeds and has babies, those babies are a portion of the same protoplasm that was very nearly sacrificed and escaped. So, they have a sort of engrammed pattern in them, - when they are being sacrificed there will always be a ram to appear to save them. This gives them a positivity to the idea of being sacrificed. They believe that when they feel somebody is trying to sacrifice them, they will immediately sit down and wait for the ram to appear, and they expect the ram will appear. Now people that have been sacrificed and no ram has appeared and they have been killed, they do not breed in the time process and their energy returns to its original focal centre. Then, if it is lucky, it may get back into the time process elsewhere, plus the memory of the fact that when sacrificial rites descend, lo! it really does descend, and this modifies their behaviour. But, each time they are presented with an occasion of choice, they are never deficient in the form within themselves that can enable them to solve the presented problem. This means that no being can actually get into a position that is unjust for him to be in. This means that when a so-called innocent baby, let us take Siamese twins born, and the surgeon separates them and one dies. Is it unjust that one dies and the other one lives? Not really, because this particular protoplasm which became these twins, was obviously needing this separation process in itself. Otherwise it would not have joined itself together in this way. There is an excessive stress on the saturnine process. There is too much clinging in the beings that are generating. They are the same protoplasm that was in the parents and these parents are the same protoplasm as the grandparents, and so on. The psyche of the one that dies thus returns into its prior equilibrium, beyond the time process and waits it time for re-entry, plus its own lesson. If we can accept all these things properly, simply as occasions whereby we assess our own position in relation to the whole, then we are alright and we can survive any kind of test whatever.
But if we pretend that really any one of these single houses was in big macrocosmic dominion, if we pretend that any one of these houses is separable, separate from the others and has a vacuum round it and is independent, then the sense of injustice arises within it because it cannot account for the peculiar way that it suffers experience. With the erroneous concept that it is a separate being, evaluating itself from this concept, it will always get into progressively more trouble. It must be driven inevitably to the point where it can feel its identity with the very thing it has rejected, because, ultimately, when it separates itself from the rest, it does so egotistically to lift itself above the rest and dialectically the end result of that is that it must be overthrown. Any given individual, whether it is a Hitler or Mussolini or even a more tolerable fellow like Churchill, climbing up to a certain level, in separating from the rest, in so far as he conceives himself to be really separate and triumphing by himself by means of his separativity, by that measure he will be brought down to realise that he is not separate, not separable, and must have a reaction back onto his own centre from every portion of the Cosmic being.
We see then, very shortly, that no being can be presented with a stimulus situation for which he has not got adequate internal form to respond to. No matter how bad the situation may appear, no matter how much injustice the partial view may see it, the wider view will always see that precisely this individual and not another one, has moved inevitably, step by step from generation to generation into just that position.
There was a case of digging up an old murder trial again and the psychologist tried to show that this given murderer had been badly repulsed as a young man, by a girl. He tried to show that if this girl had been less obnoxious in the way she got rid of him, he would not have resented so much as to start killing one later on. If the analysis is true, when he started killing ladies and hiding them under the wallpaper and so on, he was, in fact, simply responding to an energy input from one of the beings of the same order he was killing. In other words, he got a mental picture of a woman as a repulsive thing that pastes you under the wallpaper. He impresses this thing and later on he finds himself in a stimulus situation with large supplies of wallpaper and women and he gets the brush out and pastes them. He does this quite mechanically because he has no awareness of his real position. In the purely mechanical sense, this kind of thing does happen.
You have had other occasions we have known about with murder mysteries and so on, where the particular type of the crime has indicated the mental state of the person committing it. By means of a study of the type of a crime it has been possible to isolate the characteristics of the murderer and eventually run him down and find him. Whereupon, he, who has really been scape-goated by the persons releasing the forces that caused him to do it, now has to pay the price and send back to them the lesson of pursuing him. of course, if they had any mercy, they would not pursue him in any case. Then, if they had any mercy in the first case they would not be doing it.
So we find, whatever the initial form put into a being immediately conditions the nature of that being's responses. So, the next stimulus coming in must be evaluated over against the first one, or, the first one must be suppressed and the new one reacted to as if it were the first. This is always an occasion of choice. It is a very simple thing but if we absorb the meaning of it properly we will never resent what happens to us, no matter how bad it may be. And, when something horrible happens to us we will know that we have wangled ourselves into that position, no matter how many generations it has taken us to get there. It is this protoplasm that has taken those steps one by one, that has put us in the position in which we have found ourselves and therefore, absolutely, there is no injustice at all.
One of the things raised was whether the gentleman who fell in the sea after doing a bit of orbiting today, whether he had, in fact, been treated badly. Supposing all the men who were doing the calculations, miscalculated. Was it an injustice that this man fell in the sea? Supposing he had drowned, would it have been bad for him to drown? Would it have been wrong for him to drown? Would it have been unjust for that volunteer to drown? The answer is it could not be unjust because he got himself in a position. He put himself in that position. No matter how weak a person is they can put themselves in the position by choosing. Whether they choose to go under the surgeon's knife or under electric shocks or simply under the state of marriage. Whatever it is they put themselves under, they will suffer it because they have actually evaluated their own form in a certain way and this has led them inevitably, to a new occasion of choice.
Can we say any more about it?
Question: Does the X, in any way, condition the Y? Is the nature of the next stimulus partly influenced by the initial forms attraction.
Answer: We have actually said this except that it is not the X that conditions the Y that is coming in. Let us draw two men with a big circle to represent the woman. Man number one is her first experience. He is what the characterologists call the picnic type. he is a tolerant fellow and the woman is characterised by this experience. He is a very tolerant fellow and she has twenty years of delightful existence with him. Then he suddenly blows a fuse and dies, as this type tends to do. So, the next time she is presented with a situation it might be that the next man is a sphenic type with a long body, dangly arms that hang down, and a ling nose. She is presented with an occasion where she will say to herself, "This one is not like my first one which I enjoyed and therefore I reject it," or she can say, "this one is not like the first one I enjoyed, I wonder if it is possible that this one could be enjoyed in another way. The first one could roll about, perhaps this one could stand up and be run around." In any rate, the being with the experience is in the position of either seeing it positively as a new opportunity for further characterising experiences or it can say it is not like the old pattern of my joys and therefore I am not going to have it. It is not that the first form, the picnic man, is determining the response to a second one. That is not so. If that were so, the whole universe would be entirely mechanical.
If the first form put in the experience, were the determinant to the attitude to the second form, then all behaviour would be purely mechanical and the word freedom would be meaningless. What actually happens is that when the experience is had, in this case, with the picnic type, when this experience is had, all that happens is the type of being having the experience, chalks up the characteristic of this particular experience, but the will of the being can say to itself I would like more of this or it can say, well, maybe I've had enough of this and I should try another type. This is entirely within the free choice of the being itself, it is not in any sense, mechanically determined by the first stimulus. We have to be quite clear about this because if a person believes that it is characterised by the first stimulus, he will suffer from self-hypnosis. He will actually respond mechanically to a stimulus situation because he has said to himself, my first experience conditions my second one, so the way we view our experience, the way we verbalise them and specifically we suggest to ourselves, the way the response will go is really a super-imposition of a former experience by a being upon itself. There is no mechanical determination about the form of experience quite independently of the will of the being. All the form of the situations can do is record whether it was pleasant or unpleasant and in what way. It cannot, of itself, force the reaction to the next stimulus. But, if the will of the being is very strongly orientated towards that old pattern, it is the will and not the pattern that determines what will be the response to the next situation.
I know a woman who has been married five times. She is a very positive woman. She wore out four husbands. that was because she was a very strong woman and they were weak husbands. She has never felt at all guilty about this although her unmarried sister felt that she should have felt very, very guilty about it because she could have used any one of the four dead ones. In this kind of situation the positivity of this much married lady shows itself to be what it should be, namely, life, unconditioned by its previous experiences and this is the real message of religion. Whether we talk about Christianity or Buddhism or Taoism, any kind of religion is talking about freedom and how to attain it. Freedom is freedom from something. There is a freeing and there is a doming and there is a self-determination within freedom, and what we have to free ourselves from is our past judgements, based on our past experiences so that we can evaluate now in the light of this presented situation, not determined by the past one, so that we are forced either to reject or accept the new one but to evaluate the new one simply as a new kind of experience. If we like to look at the characterisation of ourselves derived from previous experiences and then write a little note about it in relation to the present experience, that is alright, but, if we allowed our past experience in any way to condition our present response, we are to that much irreligious, in a real sense.
Spirit is free. When Jesus says the Spirit blows where it lists and you can't tell where it goes to or where it came from, he is talking about what the Zen Buddhists call immediacy. You must respond immediately in the present situation, to a stimulus. if you allow yourself to be conditioned by your previous experience, it simply means your previous experience has locked you up and reduced you to a type of machine. It has only done this with your consent because nothing can lock you up unless you will it to do so.
If we remember that the word 'important' means what it says, in-carrying, the letter N becomes M before a labial, P is pronounced on the lip and the N is not, so economy says either renounce the P where the N is, in this case it will not sound like a P at all, or renounce the N where the P is in which case it will become an M. It is more economic to say import than to say in port. This is because when you say inport, your tongue has to go just behind your teeth and when you say import you say it on your lip. So, N changes to M before a labial sound. Inport, in-carry changes to import and that is important into which we carry our will. This means there are no importances whatever in the whole universe or in any world whatever, other than the simple fact, wills are carrying themselves into the situation.
Not very long ago, a woman whose husband died, said to me, "I am not going to die, I am going to dig the garden instead." Funnily enough, she died very quickly. She died because she wanted to let her husband know, very, very strongly, that she was digging in the garden, and it seemed to her, terribly important that she should let him know. So, off she went. But, if she had really thought the garden was more important than the husband she would have stayed to dig. In fact she was thinking he was more important than the garden so she went to find him.
This very often happens with people who are related together, closely, emotionally, but it is not a necessity at all. It is simply that the world of A has will to go to B and there is no other bondage in the universe, or any world whatever other than this. The will creates importances and it does it by willing in carrying itself in, to the situation. So, if anybody says, "Are you aware of the importance of this?" one should say, "Who is carrying in his will into this situation?" because there is no other importance other than this. If you see a notice marked IMPORTANT and an arrow pointing to some way, it probably means that the fellow who arranged for the printing of this notice wants you to carry your will into the situation and is giving you a directive. You might think it is not important and write a strange symbol underneath it. If you do so it will it will be an index of how important you think something else is. The important thing to realise is the will is the sole/soul creator of importances. Therefore there can be no injustices whatever because the will has willed every step of it own evolution and has retained, by the law of the irritability of its protoplasm, the characterising forms of its experience. Consequently, when it wills to refer to its experience and to act upon the basis of its experience it is willing to act like a machine. It must then, mechanically, go on, calculating what to do next on the basis of what it has already done. This is bondage, this is slavery.
simple word of the Indian philosophers, Karma, means action /reaction or action
on the basis of experience and trying to relate to the present situation in
relation to a past situation. It does not mean anything else because it is
made, if we remove the R, from the word
If you find yourself in any position, no matter what it is, pleasant or unpleasant, if you then look backwards into your experiences and look for similars, then, on the basis of previous pleasures or pains, you select from the present a given response, insofar as you do that you are acting exactly as a machine and you might as well be one! But, if you say, "When I look at my past experiences, I can see the inevitability of them developing in that way because I was looking backwards. So I can see that at thirty I acted just like that because at twenty I had an ambition which I hoped to realise by twenty-one and it took till twenty-two, twenty-three, twenty-nine, and at thirty it was not realised, but the inertia of the twenty year old decision carried on. I felt impelled, foolishly, to justify myself, that is to equilibrate myself about actually fulfilling this most comical, youthful and foolhardy plan that I had fabricated in the dawn of my awakening mind." If this pattern of behaviour that is seen at an early stage is willed into, and one then becomes egotistically determined to establish it, so that one can witness oneself, one is actually behaving like a machine. But, if, on reaching a certain level, where it is seen that to act in the present in the light of the past is to be entirely mechanical and that the only way to escape mechanics is to wipe out the whole of the past, including every relation with any other being, no matter how personal, how intimate, if it is past, it is past - time and therefore to be utterly transcended and one's life to be lived NOW, in the immediate moment. To do that is to be non-mechanical and to be spiritual.
It is precisely this power to see, in the present, nothing except what is present, so, if I were to look around the room now, I would say, "Who are these people, I don't know them." But if I were to go unspiritual, I would say, "Well last Thursday I think some similar forms were here," and I would start counting them up in my memory, in the irritable protoplasm that I have got, names which I could append to forms here. If I were actually to do that which appears, at the moment, I am doing, insofar as I am doing it I am being mechanical. If one of you, while I was rushing to get out, trod upon my toe and hurt it, I might find a little mnemic twinge in my toe and cross that person off as a human being. But to do so would be mechanical. In fact, if I look at you, and I actually do look at you, and this is hard to believe, I don't know who you are. I've not the faintest idea who you are. There is not even a vague reminiscence in me unless I deliberately conjure one up. You are entirely new and because you are entirely new, I am interested. I am interested in your viewpoint, in your opinion. I want to know what you think about each other, I want to know what you think about yourself, because if you told me about somebody else you would be telling me about yourself. Save time. If I can keep this entirely new look all the time, to the extent that I do that, I am spiritual and I don't know who you are. But, in not knowing who you are I can adjust to you absolutely and I can inquire, out of the depths of your soul, what there is there, and if you are not that good, I can only infer that there must be some dark secret not yet to be revealed. The essential thing of the spiritual, that is the free life, is that it literally does not have a past at all. It has no reference to time or past.
This says a very peculiar thing. As every event in a now is simply inserted into a now, at right angles to the so-called time line, every form is an eternal. This means that every form in the room is an eternal which means that even if I ignore my past, I still know who you are, as to your eternality, and if I go directly, not to your past but to your eternality, which is either the height and the depth of your soul, according to whether you are standing on your head or your feet, and penetrate to the meaning of that, I am getting real value which I am not getting if I try to get into your past. This is tremendously important because it is the key to all proper relations.
All real relation is immediate and now and felt and enquired. It is a quest. The question is its instrument and it has nothing to do with what has happened in the past. This means that if there is a married man in the room, and he has a wife, he should actually feel he does not know who she is. If he succeeds, he will not be so mad at her. He might even think she is a nice girl and bring himself into relation with her because he does not know her. He might actually find that he can bring himself into relation with her precisely because he does not know her like he used to do when he didn't know her. Whereas, if one believes that one knows any particular person to the extent that one believes so, there is that much less importance, because importance just means carrying in of the will. If you exhaust the meaning of any given being by carrying your will into it and then chalk up the record of experiences and believe that those experiences, as recorded, constitute that individual and that you have exhausted the meaning of those records, you have no further interest in the individual. If you can actually tell yourself that you do not really know this person and whatever records you have made in the past are simply the records of an undeveloped being with insufficient data, then you can relate more fully and more richly in the immediate present and to do this is the meaning of the word, Spirit.