The Forum for Awareness
Full Index of Issues 1 thru 14
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Gurdjieff was a master psychologist who used drama and shocks to "awaken" sleeping humanity.
The author's lifetime of investigation into spiritual movements has revealed a Babel of confusion among seekers. Can the Truth be so complicated?
The East has a science, virtually unknown in the West, of transforming physical energy into explosive mental power.
Spontaneous lunacy by a modern Sufi.
Selections from Magic: White and Black. A classic work about the inner spiritual alchemy.
A penetrating look at the premises of "pop psychology."
Animal protein has its problems.
The paradox of predestination.
Unexplained mental phenomena are evidence that mind is not limited to the brain.
The Law of Suggestion by Santanelli, Sword of Wisdom by Ithell Colquhoun, Magic: White and Black by Franz Hartmann, and Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg by Joseph Chilton Pearce.
Cover: photograph of Gurdjieff courtesy of The Gurdjieff Foundation, New York.
TAT Journal is published by the TAT Foundation, a non-profit, tax-exempt corporation, that was established to provide a forum for philosophical and spiritual inquiry, based upon the principle that cooperation with fellow inquirers expedites one's own search. The TAT Foundation supports workshops, seminars, study groups and related services. The views and opinions expressed in the TAT Journal are not necessarily those of the editors or of the TAT Foundation. Address all correspondence, including manuscripts, to: TAT Journal, P.O. BOX 236, Bellaire, Ohio 43906. Manuscripts will be returned only upon request and when accompanied by a stamped envelope.
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Gurdjieff - Ouspensky - Orage
Black Sheep Philosophers
by Gorham Munson
On October 29, 1949, at the American Hospital in Paris died a Caucasian Greek named Georgy Ivanovitch Gurdjieff. A few nights later at Cooper Union, New York, a medal was presented to the revolutionary architect Frank Lloyd Wright. After his part in the ceremony was over, Wright asked the chairman's permission to make an announcement. "The greatest man in the world," he said, "has recently died. His name was Gurdjieff." Few, if any, in Wright's audience had ever heard the name before, which is quite understandable: Gurdjieff avoided reporters and managed most of the time to keep out of the media publicity.
However, there was one kind of publicity that he always got in Europe and America, and that was the kind made by the wagging human tongue: gossip. In 1921 he showed up in Constantinople. "His coming to Constantinople," says the British scientist, J.G. Bennett, "was heralded by the usual gossip of the bazaars. Gurdjieff was said to be a great traveler and a linguist who knew all the Oriental languages, reputed by the Moslems to be a convert to Islam, and by the Christians to be a member of some obscure Nestorian sect." In those days Bennett, who is now an expert on coal utilization, was in charge of a British Intelligence section working in Constantinople. He met Gurdjieff and found him neither Moslem nor Christian. Bennett reported that "his linguistic attainments stopped short near the Caspian Sea, so that we could converse only with difficulty in a mixture of Azerbaidjan Tartar and Osmanli Turkish. Nevertheless, he unmistakably possessed knowledge very different from that of the itinerant Sheikhs of Persia and Trans-Caspia, whose arrival in Constantinople had been preceded by similar rumors. It was, above all, astonishing to meet a man, almost unacquainted with any Western European language, possessing a working knowledge of physics, chemistry, biology and modern astronomy, and able to make searching comments on the then new and fashionable theory of relativity, and also on the psychology of Sigmund Freud."
To Bennett, Gurdjieff didn't look at all like an Eastern sage. He was powerfully built - his neck rippled with muscles - and although of only medium height, he was physically dominating. He had a shaven dome, an unlined swarthy face, piercing black eyes, and a tigerish mustache that curled out to big points. In his later years he had a large paunch. But in one respect Gurdjieff's reputation followed the pattern of all the swamis, gurus and masters who have roamed the Western world: his past in the East was veiled in mystery. Only the scantiest facts are known about him before he appeared in Moscow about 1914.
Gurdjieff was born in Alexandropol, an Armenian city, in 1866. His father was a kind of local bard. It is said the boy was educated for the priesthood but as a young man he joined a society called Seekers of the Truth, and went with this group on an expedition into Asia. He was in Asia for many years and then came to Moscow where there was talk that he planned to produce a ballet called "The Struggle of the Magicians."
The rest is hearsay. It has been said that the Seekers of the Truth went into the Gobi desert. It has been said that they were checking on Madame Blavatsky's Secret Doctrine, and at places where she said there were "masters" they found none; whereas at places unspecified by her, they did find "masters." It has been said that Gurdjieff found one teacher under whom he studied for fifteen years and from whom he acquired his most important knowledge. It has been said that several times he became a rich man in the East. This is all hearsay.
A better grade of hearsay centers around Gurdjieff in Tibet. Was he or was he not the chief political officer of the Dalai Lama in 1904 when the British invaded Tibet? According to Achmed Abdullah, the fiction writer, Gurdjieff was the "Dordjieff" to whom the history books make passing reference, supposedly a Russian who influenced the Dalai Lama at the time of the Younghusband Expedition. Abdullah was a member of the British Intelligence assigned to spy on this "Dordjieff," and when Abdullah saw Gurdjieff in New York in 1924, he exclaimed, "That man is Dordjieff!" At any rate, when there were plans in 1922 for Gurdjieff to live in England, it was found that the Foreign Office was opposed, and it was conjectured that their file dated from the time of the trouble between the British government and Tibet. According to rumor, Gurdjieff counseled the Dalai Lama to evacuate Lhasa and let the British sit in an empty city until the heavy snow could close the passes of the Himalayas and cut off the Younghusband expedition. This was done, and the British hurried to make a treaty while their return route was still open.
Much more is known about Gurdjieff after 1914. A recently published book by P.D. Ouspensky which the author called Fragments of a Forgotten Teaching, but which the publisher has renamed In Search of the Miraculous, gives a running account of Ouspensky's relations with Gurdjieff over a ten-year period. Of his first interview with Gurdjieff, Ouspensky says: "Not only did my questions not embarrass him but it seemed to me that he put much more into each answer than I had asked for." By 1916 Ouspensky was holding telepathic conversations with Gurdjieff. He also records one example of Gurdjieff's transfiguring of his whole appearance on a railroad journey, so that a Moscow newspaperman took him to be an impressive "oil king from Baku" and wrote about his unknown fellow passenger. The greater part of In Search of the Miraculous consists of the copious notes Ouspensky made on Gurdjieff's lectures in St. Petersburg and Moscow, which give us the only complete and reliable outline of Gurdjieff's system of ideas thus far in print. It is plain from Ouspensky's exposition that Gurdjieff attempted to convey Eastern knowledge in the thoughtforms of the West; he was trying to bridge the gap between Eastern philosophy and Western science.
For us in America the story of Gurdjieff is the story of three men whom I call the "black sheep philosophers." Gurdjieff was the master, and the other two - Alfred Richard Orage who died in the fall of 1934, and Peter Demianovich Ouspensky who died in the fall of 1947 - were his leading disciples. I call them philosophers; others would call them psychologists; many have called them charlatans. Whatever one names them, they were black sheep: they were looked at askance by the professional philosophers and psychologists because of the different color of their teachings. Nor were they accepted by theosophists, mystics, or various occult professors. They stood apart and their appeal was to what I shall call, for want of a more inclusive word, the intelligentsia.
"... Gurdjieff attempted to convey Eastern knowledge in the thoughtforms of the West; he was trying to bridge the gap between Eastern philosophy and Western science."
It is impossible to assimilate Orage, Ouspensky and Gurdjieff into any recognized Western school of thought. The New York obituaries of Gurdjieff called him the "founder of a new religion." It was said that he taught his followers how to attain "peace of mind and calm." This was an attempt to assimilate him. But Gurdjieff claimed no originality for his system and did not organize his followers; furthermore, he did nothing to establish a new religion. As for "peace of mind and calm"... there is the incident of an American novelist who calls himself a "naturalistic mystic." In the middle of a dinner with Gurdjieff in Montmartre, this novelist jumped up, shouted, "I think you are the Devil!" and rushed from the restaurant. The truth is that Gurdjieff violated all our preconceptions of a "spiritual leader" and sometimes repelled "religious seekers."
In my view, the man was an enigma, and that means that my estimate must necessarily be a suspended estimate. The supposition that he was founding a religion will not hold up. And I do not believe he was a devil out of the pages of Dostoevski. There is an old saying that a teacher is to be judged by his pupils, and by that test Gurdjieff had knowledge that two of the strongest minds in our period wanted to acquire. These minds belonged to the English editor, A.R. Orage, and the Russian mathematical philosopher, P.D. Ouspensky. Both surrendered to Gurdjieff. Let us look at the disciples and then come back to their teacher.
Orage, a Yorkshireman, bought a small London weekly, The New Age, in 1906. From then until 1922, when he relinquished the paper and went to Fontainebleau where Gurdjieff had his headquarters, Orage made journalistic history. He was remarkable for finding and coaching new writers. Among these was Katherine Mansfield, who acknowledged her great indebtedness to him as a literary mentor. Another was Michael Arlen, who once dedicated a novel to Orage in terms like these: "To A.R. Orage - slow to form a friendship but never hesitant about making an enemy." Bernard Shaw, H.G. Wells, G.K. Chesterton, Hilaire Belloc and Arnold Bennett debated with each other in The New Age, and Shaw called Orage a "desperado of genius."
The New Age was more than a literary review. It played a lively role in British political and economic movements. It began by being highly critical of Fabianism, then took a positive turn by advocating National Guilds, or Guild Socialism, as the Guilds movement was popularly called. With A.G. Penty and S.G. Hobson, Orage was one of the prime instigators of the National Guilds movement, but he always had a lingering doubt of the practicability of its platform and in 1919 he dropped it and joined with Major C.H. Douglas to found the Social Credit movement. With him went many of the more brilliant Guild Socialists, to the mortification of G.D.H. Cole who denounced the "Douglas-New Age heresy."
To literature and economics, Orage added a sustained interest in occultism, and it was this that finally led him to Gurdjieff's Chateau du Prieure at Fontainebleau-Avon. Nietzsche had extended the horizons of Orage's thought during his formative years, and Orage's weekly became a forum for Nietzscheans. He himself wrote two small books on that grossly misunderstood philosopher which remain the clearest expositions yet penned of the superman doctrine. On the spoor of the superman, Orage investigated theosophy, psychical research, and Indian literature, and he wrote one book, Consciousness: Animal, Human and Superman, which hinted at the mental exercises he practiced to enlarge and elevate consciousness. T.S. Eliot called Orage the finest critical intelligence of his generation, which is an assurance to the reader that Orage was no gull in his excursions into mysticism. In 1922, at the age of forty-nine, he cut all ties in England, went to Gurdjieff at Fontainebleau-Avon, and was set to digging trenches and washing casseroles.
At that time Gurdjieff's Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man was in full swing. With funds provided by Lady Rothermere, Gurdjieff had acquired the historic Chateau du Prieure, once the residence of Madame de Maintenon, the consort of Louis Quatorze, and in latter years the property of Labori, the attorney for the exonerated French officer, Dreyfus. The institute provided a thorough work-out for the three "centers" of human psychology. Its members engaged in hard physical tasks ranging from long hours of kitchen drudgery to the felling of trees in the chateau's forest. Unusual situations, friction between members, and music insured great activity for the emotional "center." For the mental "center" there were exercises that often had to be performed concurrently with physical tasks. An airplane hangar had been set up on the grounds. This was known as the "study house" and was the scene for instruction in complicated dance movements. There were mottoes on the walls of the "study house." One of them in translation read: "You cannot be too skeptical." This was the milieu the brilliant English editor entered to become a kitchen scullion.
In 1924 Gurdjieff came to America with forty pupils - English and Russian - and gave public demonstrations of dervish dances, temple dances, and sacred gymnastics. Orage came along but did not perform the movements, although he had practiced them for a Paris demonstration. Nothing like these dances had ever been seen in New York, and they aroused intense interest. They called for great precision in execution and required extraordinary coordination. One could well believe they were, as claimed, written in an exact language, even though one could not read that language but only received an effect of wakefulness quite different from the pleasant sense of harmony most art produces. When Gurdjieff and his pupils sailed for France, Orage was left in New York to organize groups for the study of Gurdjieff's system, and for the next seven years he was engaged in this task.
Let me call up from memory one of the evenings Orage talked to a group in New York. The place is a large room above a garage on East Fortieth Street. Orage comes in a little after nine. Deliberately, he is always a little late, and often he takes a snifter of bootleg gin in Mrs. Draper's kitchen before entering the big room. He is tall, with a strong Yorkshireman's frame, an alert face, an elephantine nose, sensitive mouth, hair still dark. He is a chain-smoker throughout the meeting. He calls for questions. Someone asks about "self-observation," someone wants to know "what this system teaches about death," someone else makes a long speech that terminates in a question about psychoanalysis. After he has five or six questions, Orage begins to talk - and he talks well in lucid sentences often glinting with wit. A graduate student in psychology at Columbia objects to one of his remarks. Orage handles the objection and goes on until a progressive schoolteacher interjects a question. It is like a Socratic dialogue, with Orage elucidating a single topic from all sides. Every question eventually gets back to "the method," and by eleven o'clock he has once again illuminated the method of self-observation with nonidentification that appears to be the starting procedure prescribed by Gurdjieff for self-study.
Briefly, what Orage has said is that man is a mechanical being. He cannot do anything. He has no will. His organism acts without his concurrent awareness and he identifies himself with various parts of this victim of circumstances, his organism. There is only one thing he can try to do. He can try to observe the physical behavior of his organism while at the same time not identifying his 'I' with it. Later he can attempt to observe his emotions and thoughts. The trouble is that he can only fleetingly observe with nonidentification, but he must continue to make the effort. It is claimed that this method differs from introspection. The nonidentifying feature differentiates it from an apperception. The man who finally succeeds in developing the power of self-observation is on the path to self-knowledge and the actualizing of a higher state of consciousness. This higher state, which Orage calls "Self-consciousness" or "Individuality," stands to our present waking state as the waking state stands to our state of sleep.
This bare summary will not, of course, explain why so many New Yorkers came to hear Orage between 1924 and 1931. Some came only once or twice out of a weak curiosity, like Heywood Broun who listened through one meeting, then asked, "When do we get to sex?" and shuffled off, never to return. Others were fascinated by the charm and keenness of Orage's literary personality and found such epigrams as "H.G. Wells is an ordinary man with a carbuncle of genius" full compensation for the dissertations on psychology they sat through. But the solid core of his group were probably the people who prefer Plato to Aristotle; that is, people who feel that there is some kind of film over reality and respond to the idea that this film can be penetrated.
In 1931 Orage faced a personal crisis. He had married an American girl and had an infant son. Gurdjieff, a hard taskmaster, wanted him to bring his family to the Chateau du Prieure and continue work on the translation into English of the huge book then called Tales of Beelzebub to His Grandson, which Gurdjieff had written partly in Russian and partly in Armenian. Orage neither wanted to leave his family nor to put them in the never-stable environment of Fontainebleau-Avon. He decided to go to London and there founded the New English Weekly. On Guy Fawkes Day in 1934, he who had never addressed more than a few thousand readers addressed hundreds of thousands of B.B.C. listeners with a speech on Social Credit, went home, and died before morning.
The link between Orage and Gurdjieff was originally P.D. Ouspensky, who came to London in 1921 and started groups for the study of the Gurdjieff system. Orage attended these, as did Katherine Mansfield, and both went to the source at Fontainebleau. As explained by Ouspensky, there were three main ways to a higher development of man: the way of the fakir who struggles with the physical body, the way of the monk who subjects all other emotions to the emotion of faith, and the way of the yogi who develops his mind. But these ways produce lopsided men; they produce the "stupid fakir," the "silly saint," the "weak yogi." There is a fourth way, that of Gurdjieff, in which the student continues in his usual life-circumstances but strives for a harmonious development of this physical, emotional and intellectual life - the non-monastic "way of the sly man." The accent was on harmonious, all-round development.
"... Orage has said... that man is a mechanical being. He cannot do anything. He has no will."
Ouspensky was a highly mental type. At his lectures in New York he seemed like a European professor. He was not nervous in manner and he had a peculiar kind of emotional serenity; one felt that it did not matter to him what his listeners thought of him. In his youth he had been fascinated by the problem of the fourth dimension, the nature of time, and the doctrine of recurrence. When only thirty-one, he wrote a book, The Fourth Dimension, which was recognized as a contribution to abstract mathematical theory. He also practiced journalism for a St. Petersburg newspaper. At thirty-four, he completed the book on which his popular fame rests, Tertium Organum. This book had a great influence on the American poet, Hart Crane, an influence Brom Weber has carefully traced in his biography of Crane. But Tertium Organum is a pre-Gurdjieffian work, and much of it has to be reset in a later pattern of Ouspensky's thought, as he implied in a cryptic note inserted after the early editions. Ouspensky also wrote a short book on the Tarot cards, which are surmised to contain occult meaning.
The young Russian thinker attempted to be practical about his speculative thinking. He made trips to Egypt, India and Ceylon in search of keys to knowledge. He experimented with drugs, fasting and breathing exercises to induce higher states of consciousness. When he met Gurdjieff in Moscow in 1914, he was ripe for a teacher.
As the years went on, Ouspensky began to make a distinction between Gurdjieff the man and the ideas conveyed by Gurdjieff. Remaining true to the ideas, he finally decided about 1924 to teach independently of the man Gurdjieff. The last chapter of In Search of the Miraculous deals with this "break," but it is too reticent to make the "break" understood.
Ouspensky held groups in London throughout the 1920's and 1930's, and had a place outside London for his more devoted pupils, some of whom were quite wealthy. When the bombs began to rain on England, he and a number of his English pupils migrated to America and purchased Franklin Farms, a large estate at Mendham, New Jersey. In New York he lectured to shifting groups of sixty or so, while at Mendham his wife supervised the pupils who carried out farm and household tasks as part of their psychological training. Instruction in the Gurdjieff dance movements was also given at Mendham.
Ouspensky's later books have included A New Model of the Universe, begun in pre-Gurdjieff days but revised and completed under his influence, and a novel, Strange Life of Ivan Osokin, which has a flavor that reminds one of Gogol. Although Ouspensky has written extensively on relativity, the professional physicists appear to have given him a cold shoulder; at least, he is never mentioned in scientific literature. However, A New Model of the Universe produced a great impression on the novelist J.B. Priestley, who wrote one of his most enthusiastic essays about it.
Gurdjieff was by far the most dramatic of the trio; in fact, Gurdjieff as a pedagogue was mainly an improvising dramatist, a difficult aspect of his character to explain briefly. Most people believe that they can make decisions. They believe that when they say "Yes" or "No" in regard to a course of action, they mean "Yes" or "No." They think they are sincere and can carry out their promises and know their own minds. Gurdjieff did not lecture them on the illusion of free will. Instead, in conversation with a person, he would produce a situation, usually trivial and sometimes absurd, in which that person would hesitate, perhaps say "Yes," then change to "No," become paralyzed between choices like Zeno's famous donkey starving between two equidistant bales of hay, and end full of doubt about any "decision" reached. If the person afterwards looked at the little scene he had been put through, he saw that his usual "Yes" or "No" had no weight; that, in fact, he had drifted as the psychological breezes blew.
Often, in his early acquaintance with a person, Gurdjieff would hit upon one or both of two "nerves" which produced agitation. These were the "pocketbook nerve" and the "sex nerve." He would, as our slang goes, "put the bee on somebody for some dough," or he might, as he did with one priest from Greece, egg him on to tell a series of ribald jokes. The event often proved that he didn't need the money he had been begging for. As for the poor priest, when he had outdone himself with an anecdote, Gurdjieff deflated him with the disgusted remark, "Now you are dirty!" and turned away. "I wished to show him he was not a true priest," Gurdjieff said afterwards. To go for the "pocketbook nerve" or the "sex nerve" was to take a short cut to a person's psychology; instead of working through the surfaces, Gurdjieff immediately got beneath them. "Nothing shows up people so much," he once said, "as their attitude toward money."
There are legends about how Gurdjieff came by the large sums of money he freely spent. It has been rumored that he earned money by hypnotic treatment of rich drug addicts. There used to be a tale that he owned a restaurant, or even a small chain of restaurants, in Paris. His fortunes varied extremely, and there were times when he had little money. He lost his chateau at Fontainebleau-Avon in the early 1930's. His expenses were large and included the support of a score or two of adherents. He tipped on a fabulous scale. Money never stuck to his fingers but he himself did not lead a luxurious life. He joked with his pupils about his financial needs and openly called his money-raising maneuvers "shearing sheep."
When the Bolshevik revolution struck Russia, Gurdjieff moved south. He halted at various places, notably at Tiflis, to launch groups, but eventually he and his followers crossed the Caucasian mountains on foot and made their way to Constantinople. Via Germany, he reached France where, as related, Lady Rothermere enabled him to found the Institute for the Harmonious Development of Man at the Chateau du Prieure. This Institute, Orage once told me, was to have made Bacon's project for an Academy for the Advancement of Learning look like a rustic school. But in 1924, Gurdjieff met with an automobile accident which nearly killed him, and thereafter he turned to the less strenuous activity of writing. The Institute plans were canceled, and he began the tales of Beelzebub as told to his grandson on a ship in interstellar space. This book is a huge parable with chapters on the engulfed civilization of Atlantis, the "law of three" and the "law of seven," objective art, and many riddles of man's history. It purports to be an impartial criticism of the life of man on the planet Earth. In this period Gurdjieff also composed many pieces of music, making original use of ancient scales and rhythms.
In the last year or two of his long life, Gurdjieff finished with his writings and intensified his direct contacts with his followers. Movement classes were started in Paris, and several hundred Frenchmen now come more or less regularly to these and other meetings. In England the exposition of Gurdjieff's ideas is carried on by the mathematical physicist, J.G. Bennett. Bennett is the author of The Crisis In Human Affairs, an introduction to the Gurdjieff system. It is said that Bennett attracts about three hundred to his lectures and that the class in movements numbers nearly two hundred.
"... Ouspensky began to make a distinction between Gurdjieff, the man, and the ideas conveyed by Gurdjieff."
Gurdjieff spent the winter of 1948-49 in New York, as usual unnoticed by the press. The remnant of the old Orage groups came to him, as did the Ouspenskyites from Mendham and many new people. With Oriental hospitality, he provided supper night after night for seventy and upwards in his big suite at the Hotel Wellington, the supper being punctuated by toasts in armagnac to various kinds of idiots: "health ordinary idiots," "health candidates for idiots," "health squirming idiots," "health compassionate idiots." When Gurdjieff drank water, he always proposed, "health wise man." Prepositions were left out of the toasts; Gurdjieff spoke a simplified English that often required an effort to follow. After the supper, Gurdjieff's writings were read until the small hours of the morning. While he was here, he signed a contract with a New York publisher to bring out in 1950 the English version of the 1000-page tales of Beelzebub, under the title All and Everything. It is also expected that after the book appears, his American pupils will give a public demonstration of the dance movements.
Gurdjieff had passage booked for America last October but fell gravely ill. An American doctor flew to Paris, had him removed to the American Hospital, and made him comfortable. "Bravo, America!" he said to the doctor. "Now we can have a cup of coffee." Those were his last words.
How shall I sum up this strange man? A twentieth century Cagliostro? But the evidence about Cagliostro is conflicting, and the stories you will hear about Gurdjieff are highly conflicting. I can personally vouch for his astonishing capacity for work. Two to four hours' sleep seemed sufficient for him; yet he always appeared to have abundant energy for a day spent in writing, playing an accordion-harmonium, motoring, cafe conversation, cooking. Those who had to keep up with him were sometimes ready to drop from fatigue, but he seemed inexhaustible after twenty hours and fresh the next morning from a short sleep. He was eighty-three this last winter at the Hotel Wellington. He would retire at three or four in the morning. Around seven the elevator boys would take him down and he would go over to his "office," a Child's restaurant on upper Fifth Avenue. Here, as at a European cafe, he would receive callers all morning.
I have sometimes asked myself what our civilization of specialists would make of certain men of the Renaissance - men like Roger Bacon, a forerunner, and Francis Bacon and Paracelsus who came at the height - if they reappeared among us. I think we would find them baffling, and it would be their many-sidedness that would puzzle us. The biographers and historians have never quite known how to take their scandalous unorthodoxy. To me Gurdjieff was an enigma whom I associate with the stranger figures of the Renaissance rather than with religious leaders. He never claimed originality for his ideas but asserted they came from ancient science transmitted in esoteric schools. His humor was Rabelaisian, his roles were dramatic, his impact on people was upsetting. Sentimentalists came, expecting to find in him a resemblance to the pale Christ-figure literature has concocted, and went away swearing that Gurdjieff was a dealer in black magic. Scoffers came, and some remained to wonder if Gurdjieff knew more about relativity than Einstein.
"A Pythagorean Greek," Orage called him, thus connecting the prominence given to numbers in the Gurdjieffian system with Gurdjieff's descent from Ionian Greeks who had migrated to Turkey. Perhaps this appellation, "Pythagorean Greek," is as short a way as any to indicate the strangeness of Gurdjieff to our civilization, which has never been compared to Greece in its great period from the sixth to the fourth centuries before Christ.
"... Gurdjieff was an enigma whom I associate with the stranger figures of the Renaissance rather than with religious leaders... His humor was Rabelaisian, his roles were dramatic, his impact on people was upsetting."
How shall we account for the interest persons of metropolitan culture in the Western world have shown in the Eastern ideas of Gurdjieff and his transmitters, Orage and Ouspensky? One explanation is easy, and it holds for people who seek respite for their personal unhappiness in psychoanalysis, pseudo-religious cults, and the worship of the group (nostrism as manifested in Communism and Fascism). This is the therapeutic interest, and many who have come to the Gurdjieffian meetings have had it. Let us disregard this common interest and ask why Eastern ideas have attracted in these years the interest of sophisticated thinkers like Aldous Huxley who has been remarkable for his typicality. The answer here is that Western culture is in crisis. Ours is a period of two world wars and one world depression. In this period it has been impossible for a thoughtful person not to have been deeply disappointed in his hopes for man. He has seen one effort after another produce an unintended result. World War I made the world unsafe for democracy. The prosperity of the 1920's led to economic drought. World War 2 turned into cold war. The socialist dream flickered into a totalitarian nightmare. Science becomes an agency of destruction. The doctrine of progress gives place to the feeling that Western man is at a standstill. In a crisis one hopes or one despairs. Gurdjieff, Orage and Ouspensky confirmed the despair but simultaneously raised the hope of Westerners whose mood was disappointment over the resources of their culture. It is said that Aldous Huxley, that modern of moderns, went to a few Ouspensky meetings in London. Eventually Huxley settled for Gerald Heard who draws heavily on Eastern philosophy. In Huxley we may find a symptom of a desperate tendency to turn in our crisis to ideas and teachings that stand outside the stream of Western culture. Orage, Ouspensky and Gurdjieff painted a crisis-picture - in one part as black as any school of Western pessimism, in another part so bright as early Christianity. In this balance-by-contrast of the dark and the light is a principal reason for their appeal to moderns.
This article originally appeared in the February, 1950 issue of Tomorrow magazine. Reprinted by permission of Garrett Publications.
Defining the Truth
by Richard Rose
Most serious-minded people talk about the "Truth." But they take it for granted. They never get down to setting up measurements by which to gauge the Truth so that they will realize it when they hear it. They presume to be able to recognize it, and some go as far as to presume to be the fortunate possessors of it.
The Truth is a path more than a realization of measurability. The scientist feels that he is a pursuer of Truth, but the products of the scientific laboratory are more likely to be cannons and culture rather than inklings of the first cause or man's picture of ultimate destiny. And the same scientist who may be trying to crack the atom or split a chromosome, may privately have massive rationalizations about religion, personal definition, or personal destiny. So that he is a mechanical seeker, but not an entire and dynamic seeker,—even though he functions mechanically in his scientific quest much more valuably than most of humanity.
Truth is a path because it is never fully realized, and because many aspects of the search for Truth remain relative. Man is a being whose consciousness depends upon fickle senses and a mind largely capable of witnessing in a relative manner, and largely incapable of direct knowledge.
Truth may well be absolute in nature, but to bicameral man with the necessary bi-polar survey of all things,—a definition of absolute or abstract things or states may be readily seized and accepted in relative form, that is, with relative and possibly equivocal words.
Every last one of us thinks we are right. Which means that we think we have the Truth or that if we do not have it, no one else will do any better. But everyone has a different definition of it. And with this different definition upon the minds of men, we have a subtle, unseen Tower of Babel which stands between the minds of men so that they cannot strive together. There is much talk of the brotherhood of seekers for Truth, but this brotherhood is split up into myriad groups with no common language or understanding. And all of this is because they presupposed, a priori, that which they expected Truth to be, and so defined it, rather than sought it for whatever it might be when found.
The Bible indicates that we should seek if we wish to find. Yet with equal authority Christ exhorts us to believe in Him if we wish to be saved. Now finding the Truth and being saved may be two entirely different projects, but believing is not compatible with seeking. The believer does not seek; he accepts that which another extends.
And with this bit of ambiguity the Christian world, for one, is hampered in honestly seeking for Truth. Lazily each sect rests upon a belief rather than upon a conviction. They comfort one another with the mutual back-scratching, and make decrees to the effect that other religions are worthy seekers also, but perhaps less fortunate. They comfort their congregation and financial supporter by telling them that man was never supposed to learn the True nature of things, and dumbfound the mind with the cliché that the finite mind will never perceive the infinite.
It cannot be that terrible. Absolute Truth is not absolutely inaccessible to us, and relative truth is definitely accessible. We must desire the Truth, and have a capacity for it else we could not receive it even if it came to us by accident.
We cannot shut our mind to any phase of reality, and still have a capacity for Truth in another field. For if we rationalize about one thing, then rationalization may well be a mental habit cooperating with our laziness or desire-thinking, and we are liable to rationalize about vital things. We cannot lie to ourselves in little things, or what we consider little things, and still be competent to receive knowledge of that which we admit to be more vital or more important. The divergences of beliefs among men, whether these beliefs be religious, philosophic, or political, are not an indication of the infallibility of the masses nor of justification for the idea that everyone is correct to a degree. We like to think that the divergent observer is just looking at Truth from another or oblique angle. And rather than solve the problem, the divergent parties democratically vote everyone to be correct.
These procedures make for compatibility and social harmony, but they put the mind to sleep. We are either right or wrong. And if we are honest with ourselves and true to ourselves we do not wish to wait for twenty years to outgrow a religion. It is our sacred right as profaned animals to understand our state. It is our sacred right to doubt and to question. It must remain our valued trust,—that we trust no authority. We must listen and sit down with an occasional book, but any acceptance should be tentative until we have a complete picture.
When I say that we are either right or wrong, I am speaking of relative truth-seeking. In the absolute state, things may well be neither right or wrong, or both. And while we aspire to an absolute state, and to absolute Truth, it remains doubtful if we will ever attain the absolute Truth if we compromise relative truth, or shut our eyes to reality.
Let us not pretend to be seekers while we remain addicted to vanity or enslaved to conventions. Likewise we are living a lie when we dedicate years or decades to the pursuit of pleasure or ambition, when in the honest analysis, we can find no valid gain for our search. And when we are guided by fear or emotion to accept a creed, we have neither a chance for truth nor an honest self-identification.
Many people have found reality for the first time in the depths of alcoholism, or drug addiction, or rather, have found reality after passing through the depths. They managed to become alcoholics because alcohol alone, or drugs alone, made it possible for them to live with massive rationalizations in the form of religion or social mores, from which their inner intuition rebelled.
We live in a cloud of illusions. We cling to them, legislate them in our councils, create and deify them in our religious dogma, breed them into our children, and rarely realize that we are spinning this web of fiction for all the hours and days of our lives unless we are fortunate or unfortunate enough to die slowly. I was shocked the first time I heard a priest at a funeral pray that all of those present might be granted a slow death. For a moment I thought him a barbarian carrying to the extreme his cult of masochism. But perhaps that slow death may be the only moments of reality for the total life of many earthlings. Because a dying man is forced to face the fact that he is about to become zero, and the pseudo-comforts that promised glorious lights, trumpets and escorting angels, now have no meaning. All that the dying man knows is that he is about to begin to rot. Nothingness has more meaning to him, and embodies his world of reality more than all of the religions and clichés of a human-animal philosophy eternally cursed and confounded by language and its deceptions.
This dying man knows too late the value of the doubt, and the foolishness of faith unless that faith be in his own power to solve the problem or cut the Gordian knot. Blind faith is only rationalization. It is the little pig that does not wish to grow up, and procrastinates weaning. It is the weakling-child that replaces sturdy effort with boasting and lies of pretended achievement. The most fanatical and dangerous (that is recriminatory) type of religious zealot is the one that would make a political cause out of his favorite religion, rather than go through the effort to make his life a true religion of Search. There is but one Truth. To equivocate for the sake of social compatibility is to sell our spiritual nature for cowardly bargaining with the herd, when the bargaining is not necessary. For ages the wise men have served notice that we must remain inconspicuous, and this silence will help avert the teeth of the herd. But unless someone occasionally speaks up, the sincere will have no encouragement.
We might ask here, "How shall we know the Truth?" "What is Reality?" We can only know the Truth by teaching ourselves to face the truth in all things. If we encourage our computer to come up with erroneous answers, because they are more desirable, then we are developing a computer that we may never be able to trust.
Let us take examples in social experience. Many of us, and many people we know employ incomplete formulae to govern their lives. After decades of misery they realize that they were lying to themselves. The decades would usually be prolonged but the person's friends become alienated, or they continue until some disastrous climax brings the truth into focus. This distress is usually caused by inadequate or incomplete assessment of the general picture of life.
We have the young bully who thinks that he is invincible. Repeated conquests have led him to believe that kindness is a sign of weakness. He may even believe that he is a gigantic avatar sent by the gods to boot the peasants of the earth into line. He does not bother to find out what line the gods want him to follow, for in reality it is his line.
The bully will eventually be rebuffed. Someone will change his philosophy with the same convincing-force he meted out to others. His sadism will become inverted and he will see that he did not even have half of the picture of his destiny. But he may have rationalized half or three-fourths of his life away trying to be a bully before he relents and admits that he has little sure destiny except the all-conquering grave. And by the time he relents and realizes, it is too late for his brutalized brain to ponder anything beyond the grave.
Everyday we meet people who admit that they have been fooling themselves for years. They are generally up in years, and will be found more frequently in ale-houses than in churches. Instead of group-therapy, the churches specialize in mass-make-believe.
It is difficult to prescribe a conduct of Seekers of Truth. But Truth is that which is. A person who dyes his hair or wears a wig is not truthful. A person who wears clothes other than to cover himself is not truthful. A person who uses cosmetics except for comedy, is not truthful. The naked body with its tell-tale wrinkles, its sagging folds of fat, bowed legs, and collapsing organs, may be much more conducive to Truth than years of church-attendance, if we just observe in it our unglamorous destiny.
I am not advocating nudity since nudity may well be a rationalization or excuse to emphasize the urges of the body. Yet it is hard to tell which would do the worse for our salvation (enlightenment),—a parade of undyed nudes or a parade of vain clothes-horses on Easter Sunday.
Much of our religion is vanity. We clothe ourselves in it and strut about as if to mock the feathers of our neighbors. Too many of us think that we have chosen the true religion by virtue of our better intellect. We even manage to glorify ourselves by manifesting compassion for those who are less concerned with such toys as missionary work and conversion. We will carry a badge to show our superior position. The badge will be a quotation from the Bible, a talisman, a secret word, water on the head, or a missing foreskin.
What do we know for sure? We know very little. We find ourselves to be a rotting body, with thoughts and hope for something more permanent. Yet like children, we deck the body with importance, even as we vainly embalm the corpse to delay the truth. I am reminded of the case of the Narcissist, a woman who always wished to be a nun. She maintained that she was living for God, and that she was remaining pure for Him. In reality she was remaining pure because she abhorred change and aging. But her grand rationalization carried right through until her death. She refused a doctor out of modesty, and the result was a slow death. This woman never seemed to contemplate that God might have intended for her to reproduce. We evince the most blatant egotism when we announce that we are doing something for God. We who are not able to identify ourselves are about to oil the eternal mechanisms.
Let us look at this woman with candor. Let us just see that which she is. We will not presuppose that God created her, or that God is even around or concerned. This we do not know. But we know that she has been born with female organs, and feminine instincts to promote her female functioning. The prompting of those instincts, and the uncontrollable cycles imposed upon her by nature have become evil things or sins. She feels responsible for the hormones that might find their way into her blood, or the consequent thoughts that might find their way into her thinking. She lives a life of self-recrimination and confession in never-ending apology for having a body that she did not ask for, and which may have been created by agencies who are more responsible for it than the sufferer.
Again we do not denounce this unfortunate lady. Her tactic was her only means available to seek a better existence. She saw only a facet of the picture, and thought she had found the only door in the universe. She was a seeker in her own way, and her death-ordeal testifies to her intensity. But we cannot help but feel that her dynamic energy was wasted somewhat, and that the waste lies at the feet of the priest-union that preferred to let her make a life of sincere effort and tangential uselessness, out of what may have been a more articulate and understanding seeker. The priest-union preferred this to making an admission concerning the relative importance of moral teachings.
The purpose of this example is to show that it is possible for persons to follow a diligent tack all through life, which tack is absurd to minds of most other observers. It is possible that similar zealots find themselves on these life-long tangential paths because somewhere early in their lives they formed a fabric of rationalization rather than face reality.
That which is believed by the majority of humanity is not necessarily the truth. This is a common error, man makes. Man thinks that if everyone or the majority of people believe a thing, that popularity makes it the truth. At one time the universal concept was that the sun revolved about the earth. At one time the thinking or scientific world had a "phlogiston" theory which was later dissipated.
Faith can change material things to a limited degree only. It did not render the earth flat nor did it arrest the cycles of the sun. If the sun danced at Fatima it would have involved motions for that star which would not only have been noticeable elsewhere, but would have required that the sun travel at fantastic speeds out of its regular position. So that while millions of people may believe that the sun danced at Fatima, it is equally valid to offer or to believe that the minds of the viewers were simultaneously hallucinated, or hypnotized. I do not mean to imply that the hypnosis was caused by human agency, necessarily. Religious leaders when weary of their theological diggings, resort to edict and dogma. The scientific world, while more laborious, is prone to lean heavily upon its "concepts" and "theories," and much of the engineering in new fields treats these theories as fact by virtue of habit.
Again let us return to the observation of the two apparent' types of truth. There is actually only one real Truth, but too soon we must admit that real Truth is absolute and ideal in nature. We are apt to coin another word, "relative truth," for want of a better word to express our attempts to calibrate validity with a relative and restricted mind. It is better to understand that while searching for the Truth we will believe things that we will later no longer believe to be the truth, and this previous state of appreciation I would prefer to call incomplete truth, leading perhaps eventually to absolute Truth.
The human family is constantly finding things to be more true or less true. It is finding more perfect material formulae, and is discarding inefficient or erroneous formulae. If it can apply this weeding-out process to the vast tangle of metaphysical and religious formulae, it will begin to make progress.
The human family has been in the past in the habit of accepting ideas or spiritual concepts without even a half-hearted attempt to set up a formula. We know nothing of life after death, of the nature of our own essence, or of the motivating agencies of the visible or invisible worlds. The human family for centuries has just accepted that which sounded good or quieted their fears and made the children more tractable.
Our civilization has come to a point where we know about quality and demand that our food contain certain qualities, and that those who handle it do so with clean hands. But that admittedly most valuable food which is spiritual, too often comes from mountebanks, misfits, and often degenerates who know that their pretense may never be challenged, or their venality exposed. Modern society accepts religions that render compatibility, that keep down crime, and that work in harmony with the state.
We are allowing ourselves to be tortured by our clergy, even as the witch-doctor applied the needle of fear to keep his sinecure, in primitive cultures. The clergy maintained darkness for centuries with their "Anti-modernistic Oaths," or equivalents of such. They were not concerned with the laity, who over those centuries were reacting with more mature common-sense. While unable to deny that their function was that of a hammer, they maintained that God was the hand that swung the hammer. Generally if the peasant questioned the identity of the swinger of the hammer, he received a blow from the hammer.
[Illustration: "The Tower of Babel casts its shadow on all levels. We are dissembled and mute."]
A new trend now is growing. The men of science and the beatniks who proclaim their own common sense, have united to admit that God is dead. The new trend has no more validity than the old one. Yet, we may take a note. If the existence of God in the minds of men may be maintained by faith or belief, then denial or belief of non-existence may bring an end to God,—if God has no more existence than in the minds of men. We must seek for that which is, and we will find that such facts are indestructible and not dependent on belief or human acceptance.
There is but one way to begin and promote such a search. It is the sorting of the most likely answer from the oceanic froth of data. It requires courage, diligence, perseverance and an open mind.
The Grand Work of the TAT Society
It has been my privilege to know, at different times in my life, three enlightened people. Besides those three, I know of several more whom I did not meet, but became aware of their depth of Spiritual awareness or their claim to have reached some enlightenment, by writing to them.
I found a common denominator in my association with all of these people, and that was that we could not work together. I considered Spiritual Work to be the most important human function, and I am sure that they did also. But privately all of them knew that we could not find a common language, nor could each find a common ground for working together in what appeared to be necessarily highly individualized systems or paths of teaching, and sometimes we could not even find a good method of just keeping in contact and exchanging ideas.
This knowledge made me feel very desperate and determined to do something about it. After all, are we not all working for the same goal, which is Truth, or for the Absolute, if the Absolute is found through a search for Truth?
There are millions of people looking for the Truth through established religions, and they profess that they are equating Truth with God. And the world is continually dismayed to find religious wars by millions who profess to be killing for the "true God." They do not know that they are killing for the "true God," they merely believe or have faith. And we can probably write off their isms, noting that they will not get anywhere until they quit believing and start seeking.
But there are hundreds of thousands who have turned away from blind faith, and have joined some esoteric, metaphysical or occult group in the hopes that this group will be recognized (by its fruits) as a bona fide method of searching and seeking. And in this smaller group of people we find that it is really a loose conglomerate of many cults, smaller still, each of which has a language and method peculiar to itself. Divisiveness is the chief denominator of these groups also. Some of this divisiveness is caused by financial competition, or the campaign for membership that sometimes involves one movement stating its claims in such superlatives that any future demonstrations for tolerance by its leaders or writers for other movements would imply the other movements might be worthwhile.
We go on to the highest form of Spiritual Work, the Realization of the Essence of Man. The final definition of man. And with this definition,—the realization of ultimate and absolute definitions of the nature of everything visible. This last sentence is included in this level of work because of the testimony of those who claim to have reached self-definition. The claim is that self-definition brings with it the definition of all things, and a realization of the Nature, or Absolute, or God, behind all things.
And this third category, whose membership involves no more than one in a million people if we are to believe Richard M. Bucke, has likewise no harmony between its members. The Tower of Babel casts its shadow on all levels. We are dissembled and mute.
Over a period of many years I tried to do something about this Spiritual Babel. I traveled back and forth across the country visiting people, temples, ashrams, and prelates of established churches. Everywhere I met the same smiles of patient condescension that indicated that I had just not reached their level of understanding yet. I received this attitude regardless of the level from which the person came. They did not bother to ask me about my level; each felt that there was only one church,—one spiritual path,—and one level and that was the one with which they identified themselves.
I did not give up. In 1956 I placed an ad in a magazine that was published for people of occult interests. I received hundreds of answers, and almost each represented a different tangent than the others. It was discouraging, but I still learned a lot from those letters.
For instance, I have just named three major categories of seekers. The first might be called the Believers. The second group, which numbers in the hundreds of thousands, might be called the Investigators. This second group are really trying to use their heads. They are very sincere, usually, but they spend entire individual lives in a single investigative search, such as Magic, Astrology, Trance Work, Yoga, Astral Projection, or in the examination of any or all of the gimmicks that come out of the East packaged as holy merchandise.
The third category we might call the Becomers. These people go in for ways to find the Truth by processes which usually involve a change of state of mind and this in turn leads to a change of being. Those who have reached enlightenment, (the word being synonymous with Sahaji Nirvakalpa Samadhi, an attainment of an Absolute state or ultimate trip) all equate that acquisition or realization with a necessary change of being. Man does not discover the Truth. He becomes the Truth.
I learned that you cannot just put people into these categories and pigeon-hole them securely. They infiltrate different levels and tend to convey naïveté if they are reaching upward into a group beyond their complete understanding, and they convey unwarranted encouragement if they reach down to a group that may use their name and reputation to further the aims of a lesser group.
But the most unfortunate thing that I learned was that truly enlightened people, are still confused about proper communication with those on lower levels, and this communication uses such poor systems or vehicles for conveying their instruction as to proper methods for attaining higher consciousness,—that the general enquirer often winds up doubting that the person is enlightened at all because of the latter's preoccupation with what is often a waste of time.
Paul Wood was one of the men whom I met, who convinced me that he was truly enlightened. However, his system was discouraging to almost everyone he met. He insisted upon having people repeat and study the Lord's Prayer. The Lord's Prayer is basically part of the structure of organized Christianity, which is identified as being in the group called Believers. Now the strange truth is that Paul himself came upon his Realization while clinging to the Lord's Prayer for counsel and guidance. He had an opening of the mind as a result. It seems only fair to assume that if Paul is going to transmit, it will be done by the same leverage that was used upon him. But this is not true... each man blossoms from a different catalyst. The only thing that enlightened men have in common is that which they find. So that it is better to encourage the inward search, without demanding to find for the student an exact formula or discipline. Likewise, we are saying that we should pursue the search, which process may be helped by creating conditions that will help anyone regardless of their unique catalysts. These conditions include the conscious effort to bring people together, and to provide retreats or ashrams for meditative purposes.
Katherine B., a lady who had experienced Cosmic Consciousness, approached me twenty years ago, enquiring as to that which she could do with her Realization. We have another case of genuine Realization, but accompanied by no direction or method. She was overwhelmed with the urge to now become a healer. She knew that no one would listen to her advice unless she met them on some sort of sensational basis, and exuded some sort of dynamic purpose and compelling language. She argued that she would attract attention with her healing, as Christ did, and then give out her advice in the form of a devotional message. I could not find myself in that type of picture and our correspondence ended. She was a living, walking example of a person who has experienced all of life and death, and who is now walking amongst us. But, this person cannot make herself properly understood, nor can she work with people on the "Becomers" level. She too is back in the "Believers" section, because she is talking of healing through faith.
We can see where the highest of levels can become once more entangled with lower levels and lose their importance. There are also many individuals who have reached the highest experience, but who despaired all their lives about communication, and did not ever communicate. I was one of these people until I accidentally met some energetic young people who pledged themselves to work at the grand task
We can add more confusion to the problem when we realize that enlightenment is not the property of any particular level alone. Some Believers, like St. Theresa, and John of the Cross, penetrated their level and transcended it. The Kabbalists are Investigators whose literature gives evidence that some of them may have reached an ultimate formula. And on the other hand, many of those who join a cult aimed at Becoming, often get side-tracked in preconceptions of what they think Becoming should be for them rather than allowing themselves to change in response to the inevitable refinements of Truthfulness, and the parallel labor of constantly retreating from untruth.
And so we, as a group, set ourselves a task. We realize that we must make available, if possible, more advantage than that which brought us forth from ignorance, and uncertainty. The task lies in attempting to find better and better ways to reach into all levels or groups for the purpose of bringing fellows together. The aim is not gregariousness, but the sharing of many experiences that took many lives in the gathering. The aim is also the making available of the function of transmission for those who might recognize the usefulness of such.
The TAT Society undertook this in 1973, to bring together, in a sort of Chautauqua, people from all levels and experiences, so that people could meet other people of like and also of different interests. We speak of a Spiritual Ladder, and a Law regarding it. How can there be a ladder without rungs? While we know that we cannot function expeditiously on all rungs, and also know we can function at best on three, (the one we are on, the one above to which we look for advice and teaching, and the one below where we can help others without too much risk) we can still help someone on the rung below who in turn needs to work on still a more basic rung to help still more people. To provide people for all these opportunities needed to fulfill the Law of the Ladder we must be prepared to bring together people of all those many levels.
Of course, you cannot go out into the crossroads and drag in, or allow in, everyone who wants to mingle. There must be some fundamental purpose in each besides being involved socially. And each must abide by certain simple rules. No one should make a pest of himself, and no one should bring alcohol or narcotics to the meetings, in their body or on their body.
I know that many people who know of this effort of ours will minimize its importance, saying that things like this should be left to chance or gravity, or indicating that we can easily contact fellows of like interest through the many media whenever we wish.
It is true that we can advertise and get large responses. But it is another thing when we try to communicate with hundreds of people for the purpose of sorting out two or three that we can work with. I have been honestly trying to bring these various esoteric factions together for forty years, and in the first thirty-four years was able to meet only about a dozen people, who appeared to be in agreement with the idea of cooperation.
In the last six years I have been fortunate in meeting at least a hundred people who are in agreement. Part of this success has occurred because of a miraculous decade that began around 1965, and is now ending. The pendulum is swinging back into another long era of dormant, established religions, pressing against anything that appears less than that which is currently defined as being conventional. Esotericism has already been assailed as being the pastime of sinners, atheists and degenerates. And many of the cults that herded together under the banner of transcendentalism and esotericism, have rightly earned for themselves, and for the whole field of esoteric investigation, the criticism and disdain of the public.
We are returning to the dark days of forty years ago. The alchemist, kabbalist and mystic must once more become inconspicuous. And this is going to make it harder for mystic to find mystic, or for sage to find students of worth.
The job is upon us and it is worthwhile. The job is to encourage membership in the TAT Society, and to prepare at the farm, a better place for them to meet.
Richard Rose is the founder of the TAT Society. He has spent his life searching for the truth about the nature of man, and investigating religions, philosophies and movements that claim to lead people to the truth. He has been schooled in a Capuchin seminary, initiated into Radha Soami, studied under a Zen master and practiced hatha and raja yoga. He is the author of The Albigen Papers, Psychology of the Observer, and other works on esoteric philosophy and spiritual seeking.
Listen to the confusion of ignorance. For that which is wisdom belongs to the silent.
Are you of the tumultuous masses that agonize for definition? Then of the human babble of voices, can you hear this voice? For this voice speaks words, and all words define nothing.
In the abyss there is a path, that is invisible, that leads to the garden. Oh, what foolishness, to speak to the blind, and to those who hear words.
Only those who believe there is a path will ever find one. Only those with faith will find despair. And those who despair may come closer to Truth.
Now you have seen words with two eyes; for one eye will avail thee nothing. Though it is but one thing that thou seekest.
Two people must thou be, man and woman. Either must thou be, and yet neither.
Thou must lose to have, and forsake love to be Love.
If thy purpose be steadfast and certain, then unto the very goal be sure of nothing. But be certain that the paradox permeates all. For if thou art certain that thou hast eaten the dragon, and thy stomach feels vast, how much greater is thy nausea if thou cannot digest or regurgitate.
That which is important is to know, and to listen to words that will enable thee to know. But logic has only the pretense of knowing.
Then that which is important is feeling, but feeling without testing the feeling, even though it be a feeling of certainty, is but pretense. For even as disease at either end of a nerve renders unreliable feeling, so the subject or object of intuition may be rendered erratically.
So that there is not one without the other. And together they are Being. To know, and to know nothing. To feel, and cease feeling and become.
But before thou knowest nothing, thou must lie with the conceit of knowing. In what bed dost thou lie?
Know thou of salvation? Of Saviours and Adversaries? From what art thou saved? From death? Then know that all men die, even saviours. For it is only by dying that one knows of life. For life has no value until it is lost.
Know thou of faith? Dost thou seize thy mouth that it cry out not against thy ears? To know is to know that which is. To believe is to weave.
Know thou of love? Lovest thou which end of the nerve? Lovest thou thy body or the fat of thy intellect? Hast thou love, or art thou Love?
Know thou of thought? Hast thou proven everything with worded thoughts? Then great is thy vanity. For thou art caught in the whirling hub of the wheel, not in the seat of the chariot.
Know thou of piety? Then thou knowest of right and wrong, and knowing both is sweet sickness, that results from surfeit of impiety. But greater still is he that is both pious and impious, and is neither.
Know thou of teachers? Know that teachers beget teachers, even as words beget words. And if the words of the teacher are kind to the ear, then the ear hears that which it wishes to hear. Then how shall the ear hear of that which IS? For the real teacher speaks neither to the ear, nor the mind, nor the heart, but by circumstance and acts. Yet the real teacher is not a man, and is known only in that circumstances befall us.
Know thou thyself? Art thou the asker of the question or answerer of thine own questions? Thou art not the quest, and yet first must thou find thyself.
To be the quest, oh soul, thou must first be a seeker. To avoid action, thou must first determine for great action.
Peace to the wanderer.
Sexual Energy and Kundalini
by Mark Jaqua
With the importation of much Eastern religious knowledge to the West, the phenomenon of kundalini is becoming more widely known. The East does not have a science of psychology, per se, but the profounder aspects of Eastern religion deal almost entirely with psychology. Perhaps the East has transcended us in this realm to an even greater degree than the West has transcended the East in technology and physical science. The Eastern science of kundalini makes enlightening connections in the areas of genius, psychosis, and sexuality that have not been made in the West. The kundalini is a reserve source of psychic energy which can be purposively or accidentally released to produce dramatic mental changes. This reserve energy manifests similarly to the superhuman strength people are sometimes able to display in emergency situations - as in the many cases when someone is able to lift a car off a trapped victim in an auto accident. In a kundalini experience the magnitude of energy is similar but the energy is released psychologically rather than physically.
Kundalini, The Evolutionary Energy of Man, is the classic account of the kundalini experience available today; I recommend it to all who are interested in the kundalini phenomenon. It is a personal account by Gopi Krishna which is simply overwhelming. Before his experience Krishna knew nothing about the kundalini nor was he in any way trying to stimulate an experience. His experience followed seventeen years of daily meditation which culminated in such an explosion of psychic energy that it almost killed him physically from the effects on the body. The blissful aspects of his experience were no more intense than the equally intense hellish phases.
"Suddenly, with a roar like that of a waterfall, I felt a stream of liquid light entering my brain through the spinal cord. Entirely unprepared for such a development, I was completely taken by surprise; but regaining self-control instantaneously, I remained sitting in the same posture, keeping my mind on the point of concentration. The illumination grew brighter and brighter, the roaring louder. I experienced a rocking sensation and then felt myself slipping out of my body, entirely enveloped in a halo of light. It is impossible to describe the experience accurately. I felt the point of consciousness that was myself growing wider, surrounded by waves of light. It grew wider and wider, spreading outward while the body, normally the immediate object of its perception, appeared to have receded into the distance until I became entirely unconscious of it. I was now all consciousness, without any outline, without any idea of corporeal appendage, without any feeling or sensation coming from the senses, immersed in a sea of light simultaneously conscious and aware of every point, spread out, as it were, in all directions without any barrier or material obstruction. I was no longer myself, or to be more accurate, no longer as I knew myself to be, a small point of awareness confined in a body, but instead was a vast circle of consciousness in which the body was but a point, bathed in light and in a state of exaltation and happiness impossible to describe."
It is important to state that this release of energy was not under Krishna's conscious control. When the kundalini is released it can result in a wonderful spiritual experience or in the most horrible disintegration of the psyche. Sometimes the experience manifests both aspects and this was the case with Gopi Krishna. Krishna experienced the negative side of the kundalini and it nearly robbed him of his mind and life.
"For weeks I had no respite. Each morning heralded for me a new kind of terror, a fresh complication in the already disordered system, a deeper fit of melancholy or more irritable condition of the mind which I had to restrain to prevent it from completely overwhelming me by keeping myself alert, usually after a completely sleepless night; and after withstanding patiently the tortures of the day, I had to prepare myself for the even worse torment of the night... I completely lost confidence in my own mind and body and lived like a haunted terror-stricken stranger in my own flesh, constantly reminded of my precarious state."
Although the use of the term kundalini has only become popular in the West in this century there are numerous Western mystics whose experiences could be classified as due to the kundalini. St. John of the Cross, Franklin Merrell-Wolff, Saint Teresa, Jacob Boheme, and many others give accounts of such experiences. There are also effects that may not prove as profound as some of these experiences. In a book on his kundalini experience, And the Sun Is Up: Kundalini Rises in the West, W. Thomas Wolfe describes how he experienced a persistent feeling of weightlessness, intimate rapport and telepathy with friends, external effects such as loud crackings in walls, and consistent mental illuminations. People in his vicinity also reported definite effects on their own states of mind.
All authorities agree that the source of the kundalini is in an accumulation of physical sexual energy. It seems that in some manner sex-energy is stored in the body if it is not all spent on the physical level. By doing mental work such as meditation or mathematics this sex-energy is, by some mysterious process, changed into a different form of energy - mental energy. Vedantists call this mental energy Ojas. The Vedantist Vivekananda has this to say about Ojas:
"The Yogis claim that of all the energies that are in the human body the highest is what they call 'Ojas.' Now this Ojas is stored up in the brain, and the more Ojas is in a man's head, the more powerful he is, the more intellectual, the more spiritually strong. One man may speak beautiful language and beautiful thought, but they do not impress people; another man speaks neither beautiful language nor beautiful thoughts, yet his words charm. Every movement of his is powerful. That is the power of Ojas.
"Now in every man there is more or less of this Ojas stored up. All the forces that are working in the body in their highest become Ojas. You must remember that it is only a question of transformation. The same force which is working outside as electricity or magnetism will become changed into inner force; the same force that is working as muscular energy will be changed into Ojas. The yogis say that that part of the human energy which is expressed as sex energy, in sexual thought, when checked and controlled, easily becomes changed into Ojas... "
Superficially it would not appear that sexual energy had anything to do with mental power. Experiments by yogis, religious men and even scientific geniuses like Tesla, Newton and Da Vinci indicate that a restraint in the sexual area can reap great benefits mentally. This stealing of sex-energy and using it in other pursuits has been a secret among athletes, warriors (such as the Spartans and American Indians), and modern-day salesmen (see Napoleon Hill's Think and Grow Rich).
The amount of over-all energy your body can generate depends on how much physical work you do as well as on other factors. By doing physical work over a period of time much more personal energy is generated than is actually consumed in doing the work. This can be demonstrated by observing young men who do hard physical work for an occupation. Some can work all day, stay up half the night drinking, and still work hard the next day. They are developing a surplus of physical energy through hard labor. Physical work also gets the body "in tune" so that it becomes capable of producing energy more efficiently.
Some claim that it is possible to tap into a universal store of energy - and that this is what happens in a kundalini experience. I personally do not believe that this is true but that we have no more energy at our disposal than we have generated through work and consuming food. If a person builds up more energy than he spends through dissipation, then he in some manner "stores" this energy. Gopi Krishna claims that it is stored in every cell of the body. This stored energy may be released in a kundalini experience, it may be used to live a dynamic lifestyle, make one a business success, or in insuring health and virility into old age. Most authentic faith-healers also use this stored energy - giving their own personal energy to someone who is sick to cure them. This is illustrated in the Bible when Jesus felt something leave him when a sick woman touched his garment and was healed.
It is possible that an accidental release is causative or concurrent with many cases of psychosis and these people are usually labeled "manic." Some occultists even claim that strokes are an errant discharge of kundalini. We are warned by all kundalini authorities concerning possible mental derangement. This is why it is important not to directly attempt raising the kundalini. Chances are at least equal that a negative experience will result as a positive one. Some "left-handed" schools recommend techniques that are highly dangerous. I had a friend who began using some of these techniques and within a year he became mental wreck.
It is not necessary to raise the kundalini in one leap. The best method is to progressively raise it by mental concentration. Whenever one concentrates on a mental problem somatic energy is being transmuted to the brain, albeit not in a dramatic fashion. Many people experience this as a light-headedness or giddiness. It seems that there is an improvement in the mental power after continual transmutation. Mental yoga authorities claim that raising energy to the head will in time increase intuition and produce psychic abilities. Franklin Merrell-Wolff author of Pathways Through to Space, recommends mathematics for this process.
An explanation of why the kundalini sometimes instigates psychotic experiences concerns the Indian system of chakras. In yogic psychology there is a series of chakras, or nerve centers, on five points of the spinal cord and two points in the brain. The kundalini energy rises like a "coiled serpent" from the base of the spine to the brain and on the way passes through each of these chakras in consecutive order. Each of these chakras is important in a particular area of our psychology. The first chakra is the source of personal energy, the second concerns sex, the third personal power, the fourth desire and affection, the fifth intellectual faculties, the sixth intuition, and the seventh and highest concerns spiritual perceptions. The psychological "domain" of each the chakras is much more complex than what I have presented here. It is also said that there are three channels in the spine along which the kundalini can ascend - the Ida, the Pingala, and the Sushumna.
Each aspect of a person's character development is said to be concerned with a particular chakra. If a person does not have a balanced development concerning each chakra (areas of his character) - then if his kundalini develops he is likely to "blow out" one of these chakras and obsession or psychosis can develop. W. Thomas Wolfe maintains that it is necessary to attain a balanced maturity before the kundalini is awakened:
"There are a number of self-imposed obstacles that delay the Kundalini or prevent it from coming altogether. While I cannot guarantee that removing these obstacles will always trigger a Kundalini awakening in one who expects it, I can say with some degree of assurance that people in who these obstacles are not removed will not experience the Kundalini awakening. Or worse yet, if by some chance they do see Kundalini, it will be through the windows of Hell."
Wolfe also holds that the Hindu chakra system is only symbolic of human psychology and does not represent anything that actually exists in the body. He writes:
"In any event, the Sushumna, Ida, Pingala, Kanda and Chakra systems are esoteric devices that do not exist in the physical body, but are provided through antiquity to explain the unusual internal feelings experienced by people in whom the Kundalini has begun to rise."
I would recommend that it is not wise to become overly addicted to any particular system. Other systems also describe aspects of the Kundalini but in different terminology. Some have compared the Christian "Holy Spirit" with the Kundalini. If one becomes too addicted to a system he can begin to create symptoms which are in accord with the system. He can also develop unnecessary fears and complications because he has read about such possibilities. There seems to be a process of suggestion which causes a person to create whatever he believes in. The consequences can be just as severe even though the creations be only in imagination.
George Arundale in Kundalini, An Occult Experience says that Kundalini "destroys ruthlessly when it is sought to be awakened before its due time." Part of this "due time" concerns moral and mental purity. Arundale writes further:
"Much stress is, therefore, laid on the dangers of arousing Kundalini... First and foremost there is the danger of sexual stimulation so that the individual becomes drained of sexual vitality through sex-obsession. Mental unhingement lies along this line. Sexual vitality and activity are very closely allied to Kundalini, for both are supremely creative in their nature, and the development of the one is bound to stir the development of the other. All sexual urge must be under complete control, at the will of the individual and must be in a condition of what may be called sublimation.... "
The image of Saint George conquering the dragon is a symbolic representation of the man who has gained control of his sexual nature. Saint George does not kill the dragon but subjugates him. If he killed the dragon he would destroy the source of his own life's energy, the kundalini power that is necessary for mental and spiritual development. But the saint (the conscious man) must struggle to win the battle with his lower nature and make this power available for his intentional use.
An unprepared person will have no control of the sudden upsurge of energy in a kundalini experience. It may become so uncomfortable that he will seek to dissipate it in any way possible. The most ready dissipation is sexual and he may embark on a herculean hedonistic binge. The need to discharge this extra energy may approach an obsession. This energy may be directed downward into sex or it can be sublimated upward mentally into a spiritual experience. This may be a very difficult thing for someone not used to a mental discipline, or if he has lived a sordid lifestyle in the past. It is doubly true that moral purification is necessary to a spiritual endeavor. The purification has a double action in that it releases energy to a higher sphere and that it protects one from derangement in a kundalini experience. An impure sexual lifestyle is the core of many mental illnesses, according to some authorities. This is even more so if the kundalini is involved. Gopi Krishna writes in Human Dimensions magazine:
"Research on kundalini is research on bioenergy and can lead to the causes responsible for vitiation of the psychic currents and their cure. Modern psychology clearly accepts the close association of sexuality with mental disorder but the actual mechanism is never signified... The observation of the sexual behavior of the mentally afflicted, belonging to this category, must in course of time yield important clues for the identification of the mechanism responsible for the maladies."
Gopi Krishna intimates that the cause of much mental illness is directly related to sexual practice. In the East these dangers are circumvented by means of yogic purification which is a bodily, sexual and mental cleansing process. M.P. Pandid, editor of World Union magazine makes an observation similar to Krishna's:
"Care must be taken that the bioenergy so freed is not contaminated by impurities - physical or psychological - caused by unrestrained sex indulgence, desires of the animal kind, or other lower movement. A 'toxic condition of bioenergy' can cause serious mental and physical disorder. The writer repeatedly cautions those interested in kundalini against attempting the adventure lightheartedly or without authentic guidance."
It is true that thus far kundalini is a subjective science - if these two latter terms do not contradict. Aspects of kundalini will always remain subjective as they seem to transcend the realm of the physically measurable. It is also true, though, that a great deal of objective and "laboratory" experimentation could be done to investigate this area that so much personal account and literature authenticates. Although psychology has theorized for a hundred years about the relationship between sexuality and psychosis, there have never been any definitive studies in this area. This study would also concern the kundalini. Psychology, by nature, is a subjective science. It is hoped that in time Western psychology may be able to investigate Eastern psychology systems and present some valuable discoveries for the Western mind. Thus far, Western psychology has been a "statistical" failure. There is no conclusive evidence whatsoever that Western systems produce more than chance improvements in their patients (see Martin Gross's The Psychological Society). Investigation into the ancient Eastern psychological systems, especially kundalini and bioenergy, could provide a impetus that is direly needed.
Invitation to Nonsense
by Essa George Hannoush
The Ultimate Utopia
A lunatic went to see a minister. This minister was famous. He was an authority on the Bible, a great scholar, a rational human being, and above all, an excellent logician. He, besides being a religious psychotherapist, was a well-known preacher, heard through every medium available, including TV, radio, and the local newspaper.
It was a warm, humid summer day. The lunatic parked his car in the minister's driveway, and both then sat on the patio.
"Reverend," said the lunatic, "I have lost my mind."
"What's the problem?"
"Well, you see, Reverend, this world is bad! Wars, disease, frustrations, death, unhappiness, taxes, hard work, insecurity - it is intolerable! Isn't there a better place than this?"
"Of course there is! "
"What is this place?"
"It is the Kingdom of Heaven, The Garden of Eden."
"But where is it? In the sky?"
"No, No! It is Paradise on Earth."
"But I looked I didn't find it!"
"Patience, patience. It is to come, it is to come."
"I feel relieved."
"I am happy for you, for there is hope for you."
"Please, Reverend, is Paradise on Earth better than this life?"
"Better? It is much better. It is the best."
"Please, please, describe it to me. My soul is about to jump outside my body. Please tell me about it! "
"Very well, my friend. When the Kingdom of Heaven gets established on Earth, it will be exactly like this: Happiness without sorrow. Pleasure without pain. Health without sickness. Life without death. Light without darkness. Day without night."
Suddenly, as soon as the minister uttered the last word, a ripping flash of lightning shot across the overcast sky, followed by a booming clap of thunder. This was followed by a heavy downpour, as if the clouds were falling down altogether.
The lunatic started to sob and cry. He looked at the sky and said: "Hey, you! Detergent first, detergent first!"
"Whom are you talking to?" asked the minister.
"But don't you see, Reverend, I am praying to God to make it better. My car over there is dirty. All this water is going to waste. If it would rain detergent first, my car would benefit much more than from plain water alone!"
A king once sent his messenger, Juha, with a sealed letter and a present of ten sheep to a neighboring king with whom Juha's king wanted to establish friendly diplomatic relations.
On the way, Juha got hungry and helped himself to one of the ten sheep. The following day he arrived at his destination and gave the message and the present to the king.
After reading the letter, the king said: "Your king says in the letter that he is offering me a present of ten sheep."
"Yes, Your Majesty," said Juha.
"Are these the ten sheep?"
"Yes, Your Majesty."
"But these are nine sheep."
"Yes, Your Majesty, they are nine sheep."
"But they must be ten sheep."
"Yes, Your Majesty, they must be ten sheep."
"But they are only nine sheep!"
"Yes, Your Majesty, they are only nine sheep."
"You idiot! If they are only nine sheep, and your king says that he has sent you with ten sheep, then there must be missing sheep. Right?"
"Right, Your Majesty."
"Now where is the missing sheep?"
"Which missing sheep, Your Majesty?"
"The tenth sheep, you bum!"
"Well, he is over there - the little one, you see him?"
"Listen to me, you idiot. Tell me, how many sheep are these?"
"No! They are nine!"
"Well, fine, they are nine. Where is the problem, Your Majesty?"
"But I want ten sheep!"
"Well, fine, Your Majesty; here are your ten sheep."
The king, now tired, exasperated, and infuriated, called in ten soldiers. "Now listen, you dodo. You said that there are ten sheep, right?"
"Yes, Your Majesty, that's exactly what I said."
"And how many soldiers do we have over there?"
"Ten soldiers, Your Majesty."
The king then ordered the soldiers to grab a sheep each. That done, the king closed in for the kill. "Well, now tell me, you idiot, if there had been ten sheep for ten soldiers, how come this soldier does not have his sheep?"
"Because he's a lazy bum, Your Majesty. All the sheep were in front of him. Who was preventing him from grabbing one??!!"
A lunatic once admitted himself to a mental hospital. The attending psychiatrist started to interview him. "What's wrong?" he asked.
"You see, Doc," said the lunatic, "I was walking alone last night, and the moon was full. I put one finger over one eyeball and pressed a little. I suddenly started to see two moons."
"OK, then what happened?"
"Then, while still keeping the pressure on, I closed one eye and could only see the moon on the left side. Then I closed the other eye and could only see the moon of the right side."
"Fine. This is understandable. You have produced a known medico-optical phenomenon called diplopia, or double vision. But now, what is your problem?"
"But Doc! Which of the two is the true moon?"
Suddenly, the psychiatrist lost his mind!
Wisdom of the Heart
Under normal conditions, the cardiac muscle beats at the rate of sixty to eighty beats per minute. During each cardiac cycle, the muscle contracts (systole) for a fraction of a second and decontracts (diastole) for a longer period of time. Perfect efficiency.
However, modern man is unlike his heart. He believes (in an analogous situation) that if seventy beats per minute is good, then three hundred beats must be much better. And since the heart is actually "loitering" in diastole, then diastole must be abolished! Result? Fibrillation, heart failure, and lung edema (drowning). Yet, stranger than that, he still insists upon calling this state of affairs "efficiency."
Why do you think that tranquilizers and psychiatric consultations are so common nowadays? Huh?
The Truth About Genesis
About 3 million years ago, there evolved a species of animals called mice. The capabilities of these animals for survival were magnificent. They were happy and living in peace.
After about a million years, they got bored with their life-style. They wanted to progress into a higher stage of evolution. Some of the mice, who were endowed with a higher intelligence, started to eat more and stuff themselves with food forcefully. They became different. They became big mice. They were then known by the name of rats.
The community of mice, finding that these few were bigger, started to respect them for their achievement and gave them the privilege to organize the society of mice. The rats became the organizers, the leaders, and the presidents. Rathood came to be regarded as the ideal state. So every one of the mice started to improve himself in order to become rat. The "rat race" began.
However, some of the mice were not satisfied with the rat race and started to eat different types of food. They became cats. The Old Testament ends here. For the New Testament which tells about the conflict between mice, rats, and cats, please read the well-known fable, "How to Bell the Cat." If you are also interested in the Book of Revelation, please read the fable, "The Emperor's Robe."
Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Zero, Ignition!
A very intelligent, sane man, a monotheist by religion, set out to examine people's beliefs and credos.
"Sir, do you believe that God is One?"
"Well, yes and no."
"How can that be?"
"God is three - Father, Son and Holy Ghost - yet He is one... "
"You are a polytheist. You are a blasphemer."
"Sir, do you believe that God is One?"
"No, He is everything, He is many."
"How can that be?"
"He is the Sun, He is the Moon, He is the stars and the Earth. He is Man, He is the Lion, He is the insect and the grass."
"You are a pantheist! You are hallucinating! You are dreaming."
"Sir, do you believe that God is One?"
"No, He is Zero. He is nonexistent."
"You are an atheist. You are a communist! You will go to Hell."
"Sir, do you believe that God is One?"
"I am sorry. I have no idea about Him whatsoever."
"You are an agnostic. You will die in your ignorance."
Then the monotheist approached the lunatic. "Sir," he said, "I have examined all sorts of educated people and found all of them sinners, heretics, and ignorants."
"Well, you don't expect everybody to be a saint, do you?"
"Hmmmm - I think you are wise. Let me ask you, do you really believe that God is One in Three?"
"Good, at least you are not a polytheist. Do you believe that God is many and everything?"
"Good! At least you are not a pantheist. Do you believe that He is a zero or nonexistent?"
"Excellent. At least you are not an atheist. Do you believe that you should abandon the question and give up the search?"
"Excellent. Excellent! You are not an agnostic or a foolish scientist. At least there is one who agrees with me that God is One."
"I don't agree with you."
"But impossible. If you are none of those classes, the you must be a monotheist."
"I don't agree with you."
"But it can't be! We have examined all possibilities."
"Two other possibilities? I don't understand."
"What is it that you do not understand? Ask me your question."
"What are the two other possibilities? How many is God?"
"The first possibility is 0.99863. The other possibility, 1.00264."
"I think you are a lunatic. You will die in your lunacy."
"Zonk! Zonk! "
How to "Bonk" Your Neighbor
Juha, the crazy philosopher, called upon his rich neighbor to borrow some money. "Can you give me a loan of one hundred dinars?" he asked.
"What do you need a hundred dinars for?" asked the neighbor.
"I want to buy a caravan of donkeys."
"But since you do not have any money on you, how are you planning to feed your donkeys? You know, it costs quite lot to feed a whole caravan of donkeys, and besides—"
"Listen!" interrupted Juha, "I came here to ask for a loan, not a lecture!"
I am a Man with Soul
Some people are telling me that the soul starts to exist simultaneously with the body, yet it survives the body at death. But I have always wondered: when does this soul start to actually coexist with the body? At fertilization? At the fourth month of pregnancy? At the sixth month of pregnancy? At nine months? At birth?
If it appears at the moment of fertilization, then how big is it at that moment? Microscopic? Does it grow along with the fetus?
One more question: does sperm have a soul or not? If not, then what makes it wiggle?
Somnambulism and Hypnosis
Many people are fascinated by such psychic phenomena as somnambulism, hypnosis, and post-hypnotic suggestions. They find the subject mysterious, and some even read books about it. But, why? These phenomena are very common, occurring all the time and everywhere around us, and there is absolutely nothing mysterious or mystical about them.
Last week, I was lying on my bed at night watching TV when I suddenly got hit by a volley of commercials which advertised a new deodorant, a new soap, a cake mix, and a new car.
The following day I went out and bought them all.
The Modern Satirical Dictionary
achievement: a state of hard work culminating in a state of ecstasy at the age of 60 to 65 years.
armed forces: our instrument of peace; their instrument of war.
atheism: theism (or deism) upside down.
beer: a device for selling aluminum to those who do not need it.
body [human]: a car made of skin and driven from the inside by a driver called "I."
book: an intellectual chamber pot endowed with authority.
civilization: the conquest of nature; the act of raping the environment.
common sense: a respectable category of collective delusion.
death: an evil which we will eventually conquer through technology.
education: an approved form of hypnosis.
evangelist: a businessman who sells invisible products and/or holy hysteria.
God: the Supreme Bureaucrat who has files on everybody in addition to the ability to bug and monitor our thoughts.
happiness: the state of having a house, two cars, a color TV, plus status.
health: a modern type of business.
heaven: paradise - a form of holy science fiction utopia.
I: a psychological blind spot which knows everything including the qualities of God and the Devil, but cannot know itself.
intelligence: the ability to believe what everybody else believes in.
job: a device for obtaining money.
knowledge: what is printed in a book.
life: a necessary prerequisite for obtaining cars, money, and fame.
logic: a form of absurdity used for proving prejudices.
man: a natural wheel composed of tire (body) and inner tube (soul).
moon: a dumb piece of rock useful for rocketry and marksmanship.
natural resources: free products useful for making money
nature: a dumb entity which lacks human intelligence.
orange juice: a good imitation of orange juice.
patient: a consumer of medical products.
peace: a balance of power and a fair distribution of hydrogen bombs.
philosophy: a device for manufacturing theories that suit our needs.
plastics: a scientific triumph that saved us from washing dishes.
priest [or minister]: a professional Christian.
religious dogma: a useful invention similar to the perpetual motion machine.
sanity: the ability to conform.
school: a device for obtaining jobs.
security: the acquisition of material goods in this world, with a promise of more goodies in the next world.
soil: a device for manufacturing edible merchandise.
space: an empty container containing useful materials.
stars: dumb zombies which obey our mathematical rules.
sun: a potential source of energy useful for solving our energy crisis.
tree: raw material for books and newspapers.
ultimate: the state of being a president.
vegetable soup: the contents of a can marked "vegetable soup."
war: a device for making peace.
woman [liberated]: a good imitation of man.
world: a mixture of earth, sky, I, they, car, house, TV, restaurant, church, cinema, and money.
xmas: a useful device for selling useless things.
yellow: the one who won't fight reds.
zombie: an expert in mechanical intellection.
Excerpts reprinted by permission from Invitation to Nonsense. Copyright 1975 by Essa George Hannoush. Invitation to Nonsense is available from TAT Book Service.
The Wisdom of Franz Hartmann
Selections from Magic: White and Black
We are born into a world in which we find ourselves surrounded by physical objects. There seems to be still another - a subjective - world within us, capable of receiving and retaining impressions from the outside world. Each one is a world of its own with a relation to space different from that of the other. Each has its days of sunshine and its nights of darkness, which are not regulated by the days and nights of the other, each has its clouds and its storms, and shapes and forms of its own.
As we grow up we listen to the teachings of science to try to find out the true nature of these worlds and the laws that govern them, but physical science deals only with forms, and forms are continually changing. She gives only a partial solution of the problems of the objective world, and leaves us in regard to the subjective world almost entirely in the dark. Modern science classifies phenomena and describes events, but to describe how an event takes place is not sufficient to explain why it takes place. To discover causes, which are in themselves the effects of unknown primal causes, is only to evade one difficulty by substituting another. Science describes some of the attributes of things, but the first causes which brought these attributes into existence are unknown to her, and will remain so, until her powers of perception will penetrate into the unseen.
Besides scientific observation there seems to be still another way to obtain knowledge of the mysterious side of nature. The religious teachers of the world claim to have sounded the depths which the scientists cannot reach. Their doctrines are supposed by many to have been received through certain divine or angelic revelations, proceeding from a supreme, infinite omnipresent, and yet personal, and therefore limited external Being, the existence of which has never been proved. Although the existence of such a being is - to say the least - exceedingly doubtful, yet men in all countries have bowed down in terror before its supposed dictates; ready to tear each other's throats at a sign of its supposed command, and willing to lay down their money, their lives, and even their honour at the feet of those who are looked upon as the confidants or deputies of a god. Men and women are willing to make themselves miserable and unhappy in life for the purpose of obtaining some reward after they live no more. Some waste their life in the anticipation of joys in a life of which they do not know whether or not it exists; some die for fear of losing that which they do not possess. Thousands are engaged in teaching others that which they themselves do not know, and in spite of a very great number of religious systems there is comparatively little religion at present upon the Earth.
The term Religion is derived from the Latin world religere, which may be properly translated "to bind back," or to "relate." Religion, in the true sense of the term, implies that science which examines the link which exists between man and the cause from which he originated, or in other words, which deals with the relation which exists between man and God, for the true meaning of the term "God" is Supreme First Cause, and Nature is the effect of manifestation. True religion is therefore a science far higher than a science based upon mere sensual perception, but it cannot be in conflict with what is true in science. Only what is false in science must necessarily be in conflict with what is true in religion, and what is false in religion is in conflict with what is true in science. True religion and true science are ultimately one and the same thing, and therefore equally true; a religion that clings to illusions, and illusory science, are equally false, and the greater the obstinacy with which they cling to their illusions the more pernicious is their effect.
A distinction should be made between "religion" and "religionism"; between "science" and "scientism"; between "mystic science" and "mysticism."
The highest aspect of Religion is practically the union of man with the Supreme First Cause, from which his essence emanated in the beginning.
Its second aspect teaches theoretically the relations existing between that Great First Cause and Man; in other words, the relations existing between the Macrocosm and Microcosm.
In its lowest aspect religionism consists of the adulation of dead forms, of the worshiping of fetiches, of fruitless attempts to wheedle oneself into the favour of some imaginary deity, to persuade "God" to change his mind, and to try to obtain some favours which are not in accordance with justice.
Science in her highest aspect is the real knowledge of the fundamental laws of Nature, and is therefore a spiritual science based upon the knowledge of the spirit within one's own self.
In its lower aspect it is a knowledge of external phenomena, and the secondary or superficial causes which produce the latter, and which our modern scientism mistakes for the final cause.
In its lowest aspect scientism is a system of observation and classification of external appearances, of the causes of which we know nothing.
Religionism and Scientism are continually subject to changes. They have been created by illusions, and die when the illusions are over. True Science and true Religion are one, and if realised by Practice, they form with the truth which they contain, the three-lateral pyramid, whose foundations are upon the earth, and whose point reaches into the kingdom of heaven.
Mystic science in its true meaning is spiritual knowledge; that is to say, the soul knowledge of spiritual and "super-sensual" things, perceived by the spiritual powers of the soul. These powers are germinally contained in every human organization, but only few have developed them sufficiently to be of any practical use.
Mysticism belongs to the vapoury speculations of the brain. It is a hankering after illusions, a desire to pry into divine mysteries which the material mind cannot comprehend, a craving to satisfy curiosity in regard to what an animal ought not to know. It is the realm of fancies, of dreams, the paradise of ghost-seers, and of spiritistic tomfooleries of all kinds.
But which is the true religion and the true science? There is no doubt that a definite relationship exists between Man and the cause that called humanity into existence, and a true religion or a true science must be the one which teaches the true terms of that relation. If we take a superficial view of the various religious systems of the world, we find them all apparently contradicting each other. We find a great mass of apparent superstitions and absurdities heaped upon a grain of something that may be true. We admire the ethics and moral doctrines of our favourite religious system, and we take its theological rubbish in our bargain, forgetting that the ethics of nearly all religions are essentially the same, and that the rubbish which surrounds them is not real religion. It is evidently an absurdity to believe that any system could be true, unless it contained the truth. But it is equally evident that a thing cannot be true and false at the same time.
The truth can only be one. The truth never changes; but we ourselves change, and as we change so changes our aspect of the truth. The various religious systems of the world cannot be unnatural products. They are all the natural outgrowth of man's spiritual evolution upon this globe, and they differ only in so far as the conditions under which they came into existence differed at the time when they began to exist; while his science has been artificially built by facts collected from external observation. Each intellectual human being, except one blinded by prejudice, recognises the fact that each of the great religious systems of the world contains certain truths, which we intuitively know to be true; and as there can be only one fundamental truth, so all these religions are branches of the same tree, even if the forms in which the truth manifests itself are not alike. The sunshine is everywhere the same, only its intensity differs in different localities. In one place it induces the growth of Palms, in another of mushrooms; but there is only one Sun in our system. The processes going on on the physical plane have their analogies in the spiritual realm, for there is only one Nature, one Law.
If one person quarrels with another about religious opinions, he cannot have the true religion, nor can he have any true knowledge because true religion is the realisation of truth. The only true religion is the religion of universal Love: this love is the recognition of one's own divine universal self. Love is an element of divine Wisdom, and there can be no wisdom without love. Each species of birds in the woods sings a different tune: but the principle which causes them to sing is the same in each. They do not quarrel with each other, because one can sing better than the rest. Moreover religious disputations, with their resulting animosities, are the most useless things in the world; for no one can combat the darkness by fighting it with a stick: the only way to remove darkness is to kindle a light, the only way to dispel spiritual ignorance is to let the light of knowledge that comes from the centre of love shine into every heart.
"True religion and true science are ultimately one an the same thing."
All religions are based upon internal truth, all have an outside ornamentation which varies in character in the different systems, but all have the same foundation of truth, and if we compare the various systems with one another, looking below the surface of exterior forms, we find that this truth is in all religious systems one and the same. In all this, truth has been hidden beneath a more or less allegorical language, impersonal and invisible powers have been personified and represented in images carved in stones or wood, and the formless and real has been pictured in illusive forms. These forms in letters, and pictures, and images are the means by which truths may be brought to the attention of the unripe Mind. They are to the grown-up children of all nations what picture-books are to small children who are not yet able to read, and it would be as unreasonable to deprive grown-up children of their images before they are able to read in their own hearts, as it would be to take away the picture-books from little children and to ask them to read printed books, which they cannot yet understand.
"God is a Spirit, and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth." - John iv. 24.
The highest desire any reasonable man can cherish and the highest right he may possibly claim, is to become perfect. To know everything, to love all and be known and beloved by all, to possess and command everything that exists, such is a condition of being that, to a certain extent, may be felt intuitively, but whose possibility cannot be grasped by the intellect of mortal man. A foretaste of such a blissful condition may be experienced by a person who - even for a short period of time - is perfectly happy. He who is not oppressed by sorrow, not excited by selfish desires, and who is conscious of his own strength and liberty, may feel as if he were the master of worlds and the king of creation; and, in fact, during such moments he is their ruler, as far as he himself is concerned, although his subjects may not seem to be aware of his existence.
But when he awakes from his dream and looks through the windows of his senses into the exterior world, and begins to reason about his surroundings, his vision fades away; he beholds himself a child of the Earth, a mortal form, bound with many chains to a speck of dust in the Universe, on a ball of matter called a planet that floats in the infinity of space. The ideal world, that perhaps a moment before appeared to him as a glorious reality, may now seem to him the baseless fabric of a dream, in which there is nothing real, and physical existence, with all its imperfections, is now to him the only unquestionable reality, and its most dear illusions the only things worthy of his attention. He sees himself surrounded by material forms, and he seeks to discover among these forms that which corresponds to his highest ideal.
The highest desire of mortal is to attain fully that which exists in himself as his highest ideal. A person without an ideal is unthinkable. To be conscious is to realise the existence of some ideal, to relinquish the ideal world would be death. A person without any desire for some ideal would be useless in the economy of nature, a person having all his desires satisfied needs to live no longer, for life can be of no further use to him. Each one is bound to his own ideal; he whose ideal is mortal must die when his ideal dies, he whose ideal is immortal must become immortal himself to attain it.
Each man's highest ideal should be his own higher spiritual self. Man's semi-animal self, which we see expressed in his physical form, is not the whole of man. Man may be regarded as an invisible power or ray extending from the (spiritual) Sun to the Earth. Only the lower end of that ray is visible, where it has evolved an organized material body; by means of which the invisible ray draws strength from the earth below. If all the life and thought-force evolved by the contact with matter are spent within the material plane, the higher spiritual self will gain nothing by it. Such a person resembles a plant developing nothing but its root. When death breaks the communication between the higher and lower, the lower self will perish, and the ray will remain what it was, before it evolved a mortal inhabitant of the material world.
Man lives in two worlds, in his interior and in the exterior world. Each of these worlds exists under conditions peculiar to itself, and that world in which he lives is for the time being the most real to him. When he enters into his interior world during deep sleep or in moments of perfect abstraction, the forms perceived in the exterior world fade away; but when he awakes in the exterior world the impressions received in his interior state are forgotten, or leave only their uncertain shadows on the sky. To live simultaneously in both worlds is only possible to him who succeeds in harmoniously blending his internal and external worlds into one.
The so-called Real seldom corresponds with the Ideal, and often it happens that man, after many unsuccessful attempts to realise his ideals in the exterior world, returns to his interior world with disappointment, and resolves to give up his search; but if he succeeds in the realisation of his ideal, then arises for him a moment of happiness, during which time, as we know it, exists for him no more, the exterior world is then blended with his interior world, his consciousness is absorbed in the enjoyment of both, and yet he, remains a man.
Artists and poets may be familiar with such states. An inventor who sees his invention accepted, a soldier coming victorious out of the struggle for victory, a lover united with the object of his desire, forgets his own personality and is lost in the contemplation of his ideal. The ecstatic saint, seeing the Redeemer before him, floats in an ocean of rapture, and his consciousness is centred in the ideal that he himself has created out of his own mind, but which is as real to him as if it were a living form of flesh. Shakespeare's Juliet finds her mortal ideal realised in Romeo's youthful form. United with him, she forgets the rush of time, night disappears, and she is not conscious of it; the lark heralds the dawn and she mistakes its song for the singing of the nightingale. Happiness measures no time and knows no danger. But Juliet's ideal is mortal and dies; having lost her ideal Juliet must die; but the immortal ideals of both become again one as they enter the immortal realm through the door of physical death.
"The truth never changes; but we ourselves change, and as we change so changes our aspect of the truth."
But as the sun rose too early for Juliet, so all evanescent ideals that have been realised in the external world vanish soon. An ideal that has been realised ceases to be an ideal; the ethereal forms of the interior world, if grasped by the rude hand of mortals and embodied in matter, must die. To grasp an immortal ideal, man's mortal nature must die before he can grasp it.
Low ideals may be killed, but their death calls similar ones into existence. From the blood of a vampire that has been slain a swarm of vampires arises. A selfish desire fulfilled makes room for similar desires, a gratified passion is chased away by other similar passions, a sensual craving that has been stilled gives rise to new cravings. Earthly happiness is short-lived and often dies in disgust; the love of the immortal alone is immortal. Material acquisitions perish, because forms are evanescent and die. Intellectual accomplishments vanish, for the products of the imagination, opinions, and theories, are subject to change. Desires and passions change and memories fade away. He who clings to old memories, clings to that which is dead. A child becomes a man, a man an old man, an old man a child; the playthings of childhood give way to intellectual playthings, but when the latter have served their purpose, they appear as useless as did the former, only spiritual realities are everlasting and true. In the ever-revolving kaleidoscope of nature the aspect of illusions continually changes its form. What is laughed at as a superstition by one century is often accepted as the basis of science for the next, and what appears as wisdom today may be looked upon as an absurdity in the great tomorrow. Nothing is permanent but the truth.
But where can man find the truth? If he seeks deep enough in himself he will find it revealed, each man may know his own heart. He may let a ray of the light of intelligence into the depths of his soul and search its bottom, he will find it to be as infinitely deep as the sky above his head. He may find corals and pearls, or watch the monsters of the deep. If his thought is steady and unwavering, he may enter the innermost sanctuary of his own temple and see the goddess unveiled. Not everyone can penetrate into such depths because the thought is easily led astray; but the strong and persisting searcher will penetrate veil after veil, until at the innermost centre he discovers the germ of truth, which, awakened to self-consciousness will grow in him into a sun that illuminates the whole of his interior world.
Such an interior meditation and elevation of thought in the innermost centre of the soul, is the only true prayer. The adulation of an external form, whether living or dead, whether existing objectively or merely subjectively in the imagination, is useless, and serves only to deceive. It is very easy to attend to forms of external worship, but the true worship of the living God within requires a great effort of will and a power of thought, and is in fact the exercise of a spiritual power received from God. God in us prays to himself. Our business consists in continual guarding of the door of the sacred lodge, so that no illegitimate thoughts may enter the mind to disturb the holy assembly whose deliberations are presided over by the spirit of wisdom.
How shall we know the truth? It can be known only if it becomes revealed within the soul. Truth, having awakened to consciousness knows that it is; it is the god-principle in man, which is infallible and cannot be misled by illusions. If the surface of the soul is not lashed by the storms of passion, if no selfish desires exist to disturb its tranquillity, if its waters are not darkened by reflections of the past we will see the image of eternal truth mirrored in the deep. To know the truth in its fulness is to become alive and immortal, to lose the power of recognising the truth is to perish in death. The voice of truth in a person that has not yet awakened to spiritual life, is the "still small voice" that may be heard in the heart, listened to by the soul, as a half-conscious dreamer listens to the ringing of bells in the distance,* but in those that have become conscious of life, having received the baptism of the first initiation administered by the spirit of God, the voice heard by the new-born ego has no uncertain sound, but becomes the powerful Word of the Master. The awakened truth is self-conscious and self-sufficient, it knows that it exists. It stands higher than all theories and creeds and higher than science, it does not need to be corroborated by "recognized authorities," it cares not for the opinion of others, and its decisions suffer no appeal. It knows neither doubt nor fear, but reposes in the tranquillity of its own supreme majesty. It can neither be altered nor changed, it always was and ever remains the same, whether mortal man perceives it or not. It may be compared to the light of the earthly sun, that cannot be excluded from the world, but from which man may exclude himself. We may blind ourselves to the perception of the truth, but the truth itself is not thereby changed. It illuminates the minds of those who have awakened to immortal life. A small room requires a little flame, a large room a great light for its illumination, but in either room the light shines equally clear in each: in the same manner the light of truth shines into the hearts of the illumined with equal clearness, but with a power differing according to their individual capacity.
* See H.P. Blavatsky: "The Voice of the Silence."
It would be perfectly useless to attempt to describe this interior illumination. Only that which exists relatively to ourselves has a real existence for us, that of which we know nothing does not exist for us. No real knowledge of the existence of light can be furnished to the blind, no experience of transcendental knowledge can be given to those whose capacity to know does not transcend the realm of external appearances.
"Each one is bound to his own ideals; he whose ideal is mortal must die when his ideal dies, he whose ideal is immortal must become immortal himself to attain it."
Man in his youth longs for the material pleasures of earth, for the gratification of his physical body. As he advances, he throws away the playthings of his childhood and reaches out for something higher. He enters into intellectual pursuits, and after years of labour he may find that he has been wasting his time by running after a shadow. Perhaps love steps in and he thinks himself the most fortunate of mortals, only to find out, sooner or later, that ideals can only be found in the ideal world. He becomes convinced of the emptiness of the shadows he has been pursuing, and, like the winged butterfly emerging from the chrysalis, he stretches out his feelers into the realm of infinite spirit, and is astonished to find a radiant sun where he only expected to find darkness and death. Some arrive at this light sooner; others arrive later, and many are lured away by some illusive light and perish, and like insects that mistake the flame of a candle for the light of the sun, scorch their wings in its fire.
Life is a continual battle between error and truth: between man's spiritual aspirations and the demands of his animal instincts. There are two gigantic obstacles in the way of progress: his misconception of the nature of God and of Man. As long as man believes in an extracosmic personal God distributing favours to some and punishing others at pleasure, a God that can be reasoned with, persuaded, and pacified by ignorant man, he will keep himself within the narrow confines of his ignorance, and his mind cannot expand. To think of some place of personal enjoyment or heaven does not assist man's progression. If such a person desists from doing a wicked act, or denies himself a material pleasure, he does not do so from any innate love of good; but either because he expects a reward from God for his "sacrifice," or because his fear of God makes him a coward. We must do good, not on account of any personal consideration, but because to do good is our duty. To be good is to be wise: the fool expects rewards: the wise expects nothing. The wise knows that by benefiting the world he benefits himself, and that by injuring others he becomes his own executioner.
What are the powers of Man, by which he may benefit the world? Man has no powers belonging to himself. Even the substance of which his organisation is made up, does not belong but is only lent to him by Nature, and he must return it. He cannot make any use of it, except through that universal power, which is active within his organisation, which is called the Will, and which itself is a function of an universal principle, the Spirit.
Man as a personal and limited being is merely a manifestation of this universal principle in an individual form, and all the spiritual powers he seems to possess belong to the Spirit. Like all other forms in nature he receives life, light, and energy from the universal fountain of Life, and enjoys their possession for a short span of time he has no powers whatever which he may properly call his own.
Thus the sunshine and rain, the air and earth, does not belong to a plant. They are universal elements belonging to nature. They come and help to build up the plant, they assist in the growth of the rosebush as well as the thistle: their business is to develop the seed and when their work is done, the organism in which they were active returns again to its mother, the Earth. There is then nothing which properly belongs to the plant: but the seed continues to exist without the parental organism after having attained maturity, and in it is contained the character of the species to which it belongs.
Life, sensation, and consciousness are not the property of personal man; neither does he produce them. They are functions of the Spirit and belong originally to God. The One Life furnishes the principles which go to build up the organism called Man, the forms of the good as well as those of the wicked. They help to develop the germ of Intelligence in man, and when their work is done they return again to the universal fountain. The germ of Divinity is all there is of the real man, and all that is able to continue to exist as an individual, and it is not a man, but a Spirit, one and identical in its essence with the Universal God, and one of his children. How many persons exist in whom this divine germ reaches maturity during their earthly life? How many die before it begins to sprout? How many do not even know that such a germ exists?
To this Universal Principle belong the functions which we call Will and Life and Light; its foundation is Love. To it belong all the fundamental powers which produced the universe and man, and only when man has become one and identical with God or to speak more correctly, when he has come to realise his oneness with God, can he claim to have powers of his own.
But the Will of this Universal Power is identical with universal Law, and man who acts against the Law acts against the Will of God, and as God is man's only real eternal Self, he who acts against that Law destroys himself.
The first and most important object of man's existence is, therefore, that he should learn the law of God and of Nature, so that he may obey it and thereby become one with the law and live in God. A man who knows the Law knows himself, and a man who knows his divine Self knows God.
The only power which man may rightfully claim his own is his Self-knowledge; it belongs to him because he has required it by the employment of the powers lent to him by God. Not the "knowledge" of the illusions of life, for such knowledge is illusive, and will end with those illusions; not mere intellectual learning, for that treasure will be exhausted in time; but the spiritual self-knowledge of the heart, which means the power to grasp the truth which exists in ourselves.
What has been said about the Will is equally applicable to the Imagination. If man lets his own thoughts rest, and rises up to the sphere of the highest ideal, his mind becomes a mirror wherein the thoughts of God will be reflected, and in which he may see the past, the present, and future; but if he begins to speculate within the realm of illusions, he will see the truth distorted and behold his own hallucinations.
The knowledge of God and the knowledge of man are ultimately identical, and he who knows himself knows God. If we understand the nature of the divine attributes within us, we will know the Law. It will then not be difficult to unite our Will with the supreme Will or the cosmos; and we shall be no longer subject to the influences of the astral plane, but be their masters. Then will the Titans be conquered by the gods; the serpent in us will have its head crushed by Divine Wisdom; the devils within our own hells will be conquered, and instead of being ruled by illusions, we shall be ruled by Wisdom.
"Life, sensation, and consciousness are not the property of personal man... "
It is sometimes said that it does not make any difference what a man believes so long as he acts rightly; but a person cannot be certain to act rightly, unless he knows what is right. The belief of the majority is not always the correct belief, and the voice of reason is often drowned in the clamour of a superstition based upon erroneous theological doctrine. An erroneous belief is detrimental to progress in proportion as it is universal; such belief rests on illusion, knowledge is based on truth. The greatest of all religious teachers therefore recommended Right Belief as being the first step on the Noble Eightfold Path.
The eight stages on the Noble Eightfold Path to find the truth are, according to the doctrine of Gautama Buddha, the following:
The man who keeps these augas in mind and follows them will be free from sorrow and may become safe from future rebirths with their consequent miseries.
"The knowledge of God and the knowledge of man are ultimately identical, and he who knows himself knows God."
Perhaps it will be useful to keep in mind the following rules:
A Guide to the New Age Therapies
by Alan Fitzpatrick
"Get in touch with your feelings." "Stay in the here and now." "I'm O.K. You're O.K." "You do your thing, I'll do mine." Relatively unheard of ten years ago, these strange commands are the calling cards of what I call the "new age therapies." They would be familiar if you had taken Primal Therapy, Gestalt, Transactional Analysis, or some other therapy of the new wave of psychology that has swept the country from college campuses to business conference rooms, and attracted a growing number of people.
Why are they so appealing? The new age therapies claim to offer something unique that we will not get from psychotherapy or psychiatry. Whether it be peace of mind, problem solving or personal growth that we are interested in, the new age therapies promise us a psychology that works, and that leads to a direct experience of ourselves, not an analysis of words. Fritz Perls, the "father" of Gestalt therapy and spokesman for the new psychology, sums up that promise when he tells us that the aim of therapy is to "lose your mind and come to your senses." If we are to take this advice when we sample one or more of the new therapies on the market today, we must be sure that the system that we are embracing indeed works, or we risk stepping out onto thin ice. And to really know this beforehand, I believe that we need to take a closer look at the new age therapies, at what they say, and promise, and most of all, if they really deliver the goods.
What are the new age therapies and what do we know about them? You need only pick up a newspaper or magazine to see the current controversy surrounding the legitimacy of many of the new group therapies. The new age therapies claim to be the answer to the increasing alienation of modern man from himself and others. By their similar use of sensitivity, encounter, and group techniques with a dash of their own spices, the new age therapies have an appeal to contemporary man because they offer him a new way to deal with his problems. And this gives hope to those who have tried other means, such as psychotherapy, psychoanalysis, or psychiatry and found disappointment or failure. Some who have tried the new therapies admit with candor that the experiences were therapeutic and that they were changed for the better.
Yet even with such growing popularity, very little was known about the real nature of the new therapies until recently. I was surprised to find that despite the wide publicity of the many systems and the strong favorable opinions held by professionals in the field no controlled research nor any in-depth study of the movement as a whole has been done to date. A research task force, established by the American Psychiatric Association in 1970 to try and survey the facts of encounter groups in the midst of a growing concern over the use of them by non-professionals, came to the conclusion that no reliable information was available. This prompted three psychologists, Lieberman, Yalom, and Miles, to attempt to evaluate some of the encounter groups and new therapies. In their book, Encounter Groups, First Facts the authors presented their statistical analysis of interacting factors and trends that they observed in seventeen differing group therapies. They concluded that some groups worked for some people, some had little effect, and some produced casualties. Casualties were defined as any individuals who as a direct result of their experience in the therapy group, became more psychologically distressed for a period of eight months after the group experience.
The number of casualties they found prompted these comments: "Their existence and their number alarm us. A casualty rate approaching 10 percent is alarming and unacceptable in an endeavor calculated to foster positive growth. Overall, our impression is that the risk factor in several of the groups was considerable. Furthermore, we wish to underscore the point that our rates may err on the conservative side." For the first time, a reliable study indicated a potential danger, contrary to the claims of many of the advocates of the new therapies. Their final word was one of caution, and of the need for further investigation. This study, while statistically analyzing the composition of the groups, unfortunately did not discuss the theoretical grounds of the therapies, nor the philosophical questions that the casualties raised. Many questions remained unanswered.
What can we find out about the new age groups without joining? I have read all the books that I could find on the subject and have found that they present a rosy picture. For the books are written by the founding fathers or disciples of the different systems, and give us a distinct view that is meant to promote their particular system. This packaging technique is reminiscent of Freud and his coining of the word psychoanalysis, for we now have Gestalt by Perls, Primal by Janov, Reichian by Reich, TA by Harris and many more. It leaves us with incomplete information concerning what happens in the actual therapy beyond the theoretical concepts, and thus makes it difficult for the layman to get a picture of what happens. We are asked to tentatively accept and join, and this experiential mood gives us little to rely on. Why are the new age groups so hard to study?
These therapies evolved out of the decade of the turbulent sixties which prompted a quest by many people inside and outside the field of psychology to revitalize therapy. Traditional therapy was felt to be largely inadequate due to its overly intellectual and analytical orientation that often resulted in lengthy therapy for the patient over a period of years. Its fifty dollar an hour fees excluded many people from the opportunity of therapy and tempted therapists to practice with only a select group of the most solvent patients with whom "prolonged therapy" would be necessary. And most importantly, studies such as those by Eysenck, Gottschalk, and Shapiro in the 1950's showed that the overall results of traditional therapy were debatable. Many patients recovered from their illnesses whether they were treated with psychotherapy or not, and this damaging evidence prompted critics to announce a general failure of psychotherapy, in that it was unessential for cure.
Alternatives to psychotherapy began to spring up in the sixties in the form of seminars, trainings, and encounter groups. Although different in name and form, they shared common roots in their crusade against psychology. Hendrik Ruitenbeek, in his book, The New Group Therapies analyzed the reasons for their rapid growth, and agreed with the advocates that "there is a fatal inbreeding in the psychoanalytic establishment which prevents creative thinking and new and bold steps in the process of both individual and group therapy." The goal of the therapies isn't the same. A revolutionizing of psychology in terms of the attitudes of the "new age" was needed to reach man's unawakened resources, to tap his hidden potentials and to promote his personal growth. Fritz Perls summed up the mood and trend of the movement when he said, "It took us a long time to debunk the whole Freudian crap, and now we are entering a new phase."
What has been the result for the layman? I believe that the movement itself has cultivated a mystique that makes these therapies very difficult to study impartially. For we can find the experiential mood in nearly all the new age therapies, and it acts as a smokescreen for anyone sincerely trying to evaluate them. The new age mystique has a definite anti-intellectual flavor and adepts are advised to leave their overly intellectual minds at home while pursuing experiential discoveries. Thus we can quit thinking and come to our senses in Gestalt, scream away primal pains, flow with our desires, get rolfed, turned on, and titillated by touch and feeling sessions. Thinking, analyzing, and discussing yourself, the therapist and the therapy plays little part, as we are encouraged to be "here and now," get in touch with ourselves and stop analyzing. Thinking is condemned as a "dummy activity," and a dummy activity is worse than doing nothing. The movement as a whole has defied the critics and rigorous analytical examination. We don't know enough to endorse them wholeheartedly just because they are popular nor can we simply condemn all new age therapies as just a passing fad. We are left with little more than pro and con opinions and a host of questions.
Do the new age therapies really work? If so, then why do some of them produce casualties? Doesn't this tell us that there is a potential hazard and how can it be avoided if we are to take part in one of these therapies? Is our only alternative, if we seek their help, to plunge into any one of the therapies and "turn on" as Rasa Gustaitus did to get information for her book Turning On? In her inside look at new therapies and growth groups she reported by sampling first one and then another, and concluded that "anything that will blow your mind, blast you out of your frame of reference and into direct contact with the nature of your being is a trip. Looking at a flower might do it. So might a sexual orgy." Such blasting into reality or non-reality, whichever it may be, is like playing Russian roulette, for our mentality is at stake, and peace of mind is a precious commodity. A safer method is available that is less harsh and it is very simple. With the tools of common sense and intuition we can examine each of the therapies and see which has the most to offer and is the least absurd. We can look for untenable postulations in the therapy and find discrepancies in the practice and separate the systems that seem to have a potential for real therapy from those that do not.
Janov and Primal Therapy
Primal Therapy is a personality theory and therapeutic treatment devised by Dr. A. Janov as a cure for neurosis. Primal Theory leans heavily upon the psychoanalytic method and theory as a basis for method. Janov, a psychoanalyst, conceives that all individuals are born with natural biological needs that need to be fulfilled. If early in childhood, these needs are blocked by parental influence or trauma, the child begins to feel pain and a loss of the ability to feel. Since the central demand of the body is to feel, the blockage of this need produces pain, and forces the child to become neurotic, and split himself from his needs. As a result of these pains called Primal Pains, the person represses his needs and feelings, and creates a false, unreal self or personality for defensiveness. The false personality grows, and the person engages in unreal symbolic behavior to ease and block the Primal Pains and attempt to fulfill the needs by substitution. The Primal Pains remain locked within the physiological body of the individual as stored tension, and this sets up further defenses to block the emergence of these pains and feelings into the consciousness of the person. The aim of Primal Therapy is to help people to become real and whole again by getting below their symbolic and false or neurotic personality and activity, and getting into their real feelings and real self.
Primal Therapy involves the dismantling of the causes of tension, defense systems, and neurotic personality and behavior. It is a process that aims at helping an individual achieve a state of tensionless, defense-free life in which one is completely his own self and can experience deep feelings and internal unity. This is because the defenses of the neurotic personality have blocked the Primal feelings and pain, and stored them in the body of the person. The Point of Primal Therapy is to force the individual to once again experience and feel those pains, and thus unlock the neurosis.
This process begins with the patient discussing his own background and focusing his attention upon those thoughts and memories of childhood unhappiness. As the stored powerhouse of repressed feelings is ignited, and the individual begins to experience his Primal Pains, the person's unreal self and defense mechanisms begin to crumble, and the emptying out of the tank of Primal Pains begins, it takes considerable effort on the part of the therapist to force and guide the patient into the experience of those pains again. Thus, for the patient to become whole, it is necessary for him to drop his defenses, and to feel and recognize the internal split that he is. The Primal Scream is the connection that unifies the person again, and puts him in touch with his real natural self and its needs.
The patient is encouraged to breathe deep and scream intensely, as the more intense the scream, the more intense and intrinsic the unifying experience. The Primal Scream is the overthrowing of the neurosis by violence and force - the force being the years of compressed feelings and denied needs, and the violence being the wrenching of those feelings out of an unreal system.
Janov states in the introduction to his book Primal Therapy that he stumbled accidentally upon the phenomenon of the Primal Scream, and later attempted to explain it in the framework of his psychoanalytic background. I believe that it is evident from the inconsistencies of Primal Theory and unfounded postulations, that Janov devised the Primal Theory and Therapy to fit the circumstances of his observations. His framework is the basic concept of Freud's concept of psychic determinacy or the relationship of cause and effect of repressed elements into a person's mental unconscious. First of all, by all Freudian and Primal standards, every individual, because of his status of being personality and false personality should be deemed totally neurotic since every person exhibits a personality and defense mechanisms which Janov identifies as ample evidence of deep-seated neurosis. Then, to defy common sense, Janov posits that a truly liberated and normal individual would be one who has no defense systems and in effect, no personality. Nowhere does he give testimony to those who have reached such a goal, but rather advises cautiously that the process in Primal Therapy is long and arduous and requires more than one Primal Scream.
Janov fails to adequately define the normal individual, but would have us believe that this postulated goal is the result of Primal Therapy and indicates real self, without clarifying what that is. To the initiate, Primal Therapy, with its emphasis upon destroying the ever-present neurosis manifested by the personality deemed false, is a never ending process as long as the individual is that personality or ego. This is to be accomplished by the singular mechanism of the Primal Scream, a complex and mysterious key which release neurosis and false personalities. Unfortunately, this postulation seems unfounded and highly unlikely as Janov is assuming that mechanistic actions or little psychological twists and turns can unilaterally solve all the problems and nature of the human mind by their simple mechanical application.
For the individual to purge himself in Primal Therapy by screaming, he must first become aware of his inadequacies problems, fear, guilt and pain. He undergoes a process that becomes for him a constant emphasis upon the negative or undesirable aspects of his character. To justify his need for therapy and the necessity of screaming, he comes to believe in the magnitude and severity of his problems, or he would not be there in the first place. It is possible that an individual, caught in such a process of complete negative identification with himself, would not necessarily be free from anything by screaming, but rather become more identified with his negative personality characteristics, and cement these characteristics. This would tend to perpetuate his belief in his problems and his need for future Primals. Such a possibility is actually verified by Janov himself when he tells us that the post-Primal patient should undergo more Primals, and continue the process as much as possible. This might indicate that the Primal Scream itself is nothing more than a therapeutic and temporary release of tension following a period of increasing anxiety that has been carefully constructed through a person's Primal training and insight into his neurotic self.
Neurosis, like the word plague is a word feared most by participants of Primal Therapy, and thus the most easily contracted, since Primal Theory indicts everyone as possible candidates, with perpetual Primal Screams the only guaranteed medicine. The reliance on release of tension techniques only indicates that Primal Therapy believes in naturalistic psychological theories which conceive that the body and the release of tensions within it should produce psychological achievements. This is unfounded since the release of tension in the body only produces sensations of momentary relief, pleasure, and calm. This is a physiological feeling - one of feeling good - and Janov has postulated that feeling good is feeling real, the real self. And the real self as opposed to the unreal personalities in Janov's theory, which he has said is so terribly locked within the bonds of the self over the years and has to be torn out, would hardly be so easily arrived at, through a simple mechanical and physiological technique.
Rogerian or Client-Centered Therapy
Client-centered therapy is a therapeutic system developed by Carl Rogers. It is based on the theory that many individuals, in Psychotherapy, can work through their own problems by "talking them out" in a permissive and supportive atmosphere, where the therapist holds a non-directive position. It posits that the patient has a distorted view of the world, which he believes to be true, but is suffering because of it. Therapy is regarded as a growth process in which the patient gains more and more insight into himself through talking about himself. The patient is encouraged to take control of the course of face-to-face therapy with the therapist, and he is to talk freely about anything that troubles him, and to approach it in any way that he likes. The therapist retains a vitally important non-judgmental position and neither praises nor blames the patient for anything, but accepts whatever is said, perhaps rephrasing it or helping the individual to clarify his own reactions. In the course of therapy, the patient will begin, automatically, to examine more carefully what he is saying and come to see certain relationships between his feelings and behavior. Thus, the patient uses his own potentialities to achieve a more mature level of emotional adjustment. From the beginning, the client patient is responsible for his own behavior and his own decisions. The therapist reflects the feelings of the patient, and listens in an atmosphere that is empathetic and non-authoritarian.
This is a therapy that makes some unusual assumptions. First of all, it assumes that an individual with a distorted view of reality has a potential for accurate insights into himself and his distortion. This would assume that a mentally ill person could accurately assess objectively the nature and degree of his illness from a non-ill position of awareness. This is practically impossible. It is contradictory, since a person who would have such accurate faculties to begin with would have no need of therapy for he would be able to diagnose the problem and the remedy. Second, it assumes that such an individual would be responsible and capable enough to even know what his problems were, and how and when to talk about them in such a free atmosphere. The assumption is that the free atmosphere would cause the individual to talk about his problems in such a manner that would unravel his distortions, and thus give him insight into himself. This assumes that the free atmosphere itself has some therapeutic effect, and that the individual's problems and block to solving them are always inhibited by his being unable to talk them out to another person. Third, the therapist contributes to the atmosphere in that he emphasizes and agrees with everything that is said, thus approving the thoughts and feelings of the patient. Yet this is contradictory since the patient is admittedly out of touch with reality, and the therapist, by his non-judgmental position, does not show the patient or direct him to a point of view that is more in touch with reality. Rather, he agrees with the patient's viewpoint and distortion, by the fact that he accepts everything that he says. If the patient believes that everyone is out to kill him and this is because everyone hates the color of his eyes, the therapist, in his non-judgmental role, has to comply and accept or validate what the patient says, and thus agree with his distortion.
The expression of feelings is very important and empathetic compassionate feelings of the therapist towards the patient create the permissive atmosphere. The goal of this strategy is to show the patient that he is a real human being and, accepted as such, can develop self-confidence to handle his difficult problems of adjustment. The obvious contradiction here is that Rogers thinks that someone who is accepted by others as normal will act normal and be motivated to find insights into himself. But if the problems of his distortion are so great, then this assumption is only playing at normality by the social appearances of normality for the patient, and thus the denial that he has any problems at all. This would be the case where an individual is accepted as normal and given good feelings to support him, when in fact he is neither in touch with himself, his problems, or the exigencies of client-centered therapy. If the patient were to say to the therapist that he was going to commit suicide, then the therapist would have to agree with him and the act itself and allow the patient to go through with the act in his best interests if he were indeed serious. In this practice the therapist plays as if there were no differences nor values attributed to mental states and the overall effect upon the individual, but rather allows him to decide for himself, if this in fact, is possible.
Reality Therapy is a psychiatric, therapeutic treatment devised by Dr. W. Glasser. It contends that the conventional psychoanalytic models of mental illness are inadequate in explaining irrational behavior. Instead, Reality Therapy begins with the concept that everyone who acts inadequately or inappropriately in society, are persons who are unable to fulfill their own needs of feeling worthwhile and being able to love and be loved, which are universal needs of man. Thus people who are unable to fulfill their needs in a realistic way in the context of society, deny the reality of the world around them, and act out deviant behavior. The aim of Reality Therapy is to help those persons to accept reality and the real world and help them to take responsibility for their lives and behavior, so that they will be able to satisfy their needs in an appropriate manner.
Treatment in Reality Therapy focuses upon a therapist becoming involved personally with the patient so that the patient can begin to face his reality and see how his behavior is unrealistic. The therapist must reject the behavior of the patient which is unrealistic, through direct confrontation, but still accept the patient and maintain his involvement with him. The therapist must teach the patient better ways to fulfill his needs within the confines of the social reality. The skill in therapy is to put the responsibility upon the patient and question him as to why he behaves in the way that he does. And change will occur only when he accepts full responsibility for his life and actions and then fulfills his needs in a more satisfactory manner in society.
Reality therapy has both its positive and negative points. I believe that it may help an individual face himself and become aware of his own reality if he has a capacity to do so, and if the aim of Reality Therapy is such. But we must consider some of the basic premises underlying Reality Therapy. It presumes that all mental illness is only the social labeling of deviant behavior and thus unnecessary. In effect, the vast differences in the states of mind of men would not exist. Reality therapy would then ignore the causes of deviant behavior and assumes that there is no essential difference in the treatment of various psychiatric problems. All can be treated in the same manner, and that is assumed to be in the adjustment to the social reality.
The important question is, "What is reality?" Reality Therapy states that reality is both the real world and the real nature of the individual. But upon definition, the real world is assumed to be social normality and conventionality or the beliefs and behavior codes of most of the people, and the reality of the individual is to be his personal reality in adjustment to the reality of society as a whole. And I say that it is assumed to be so, since the opposite may also be true in that the person's own reality may be more real than that of a hypocritical and fickle-minded society. Reality Therapy is at best, a utilitarian tool if it advises the individual to adjust himself to the social norms, for this seeking of reality only serves to better harmonize the unharmonious elements of society for the purposes of that society. This would be inconsistent with the seeking of reality by the individual for the individual.
Reality Therapy sets up the therapist as the model of good appropriate social behavior for the patient to imitate, and the therapist is assumed to be the arbitrator of reality - in this case, social reality. Other assumptions made are that everyone is endowed with certain divine needs without question, and that every individual is endowed with such free will that he can responsibly choose his actions, personality, and mental outlook. In Reality Therapy, this vain postulation remains unproven.
Wilhelm Reich and Orgone Theory
Wilhelm Reich, Freud's most radical psychoanalytic disciple, developed a theory of personality and a therapeutic practice which he called the Orgone Theory. Reich differed from his Freudian Colleagues in that where they defined the personality structure of the ego in a sympathetic manner - coming to its defense in its struggles with desires and conscience - Reich set out to demolish it. He sided totally with the instincts, and equated psychological health with the unfettered gratification of the desires, especially sexual. He only bothered with the ego at all in order to break its rule over instinctive sexual expression. Reich believed that psychological well-being depended upon the free flow through the body of Orgone or sexual life energy which found its full expression in the intense sexual orgasm. Neurosis to Reich was the repression of the emotions and desires of the individual by his ego and the social codes of conventionality, which are internalized by the individual. Reich pointed out that neurosis was not simply a psychic event, but that repression resulted in physiological body armor where the tension from repressed desires and feelings caused the body musculature to become tense and rigid.
Reichian therapy involves the application of physical techniques and exercises to crack the mental and physical armor of the neurotic patient. The center of body armor is believed to be the abdomen area, and therapy focuses upon these centers to release tension. The ultimate goal of therapy is to experience an intense sexual orgasm, whereupon the tension of neurosis is released, and Orgone energy is allowed once again to flow uninhibited throughout the body as well as the mind, thus creating psychological well-being.
Crucial to understanding and evaluating Reich and his therapy is a definition of his ideal, psychological well-being, or the psychological goal of his therapy - the non-neurotic individual. For it is evident that the therapeutic results of Reichian therapy will either substantiate or disprove, according to the idea of mental determinacy, not only the goal, but his theory as well. Unfortunately, Reich poorly defined the goal or outcome of his therapy, and because of his strong emphasis upon the experiential nature of his therapy, I conclude that psychological well-being is a state synonymous with his means to those ends. Thus, one who can release sexual energy through an experience of sexual orgasm, is at that moment, experiencing psychic well-being and thus lacking neurosis. In effect, his therapeutic outcome is uninhibited pleasure.
When we look a little deeper, Reich was unable to find the source of the Orgone energy and assumed it to be a universal constant that manifested itself as sexual energy in the human body. Since neurosis repressed the flow of the energy, the aim of therapy was to release it to flow freely. Yet since he assumed that Orgone was a universal constant operating outside of the laws of physical and biological processes, sexual energy too was an unlimited quantum to be allowed to flow freely, and this flowing, Reich assumed, would have no end to it. Since he had already postulated a unity relationship between the body and mind and that the physical directly affects the mental and vice versa, to Reich, the free flowing of this sexual energy which would have no limits and would involve the constant release of tension that would benefit the mind, would be the therapeutic outcome. What he overlooked was that perhaps sexual energy was not an unlimited quantum, as he had assumed when he conceived of Orgone, and thus the dissipation of this energy might lead to a dissipation of the capacities of the psyche or mind. Furthermore, Reich thought that since any inhibition of the instinctive drives and their immediate gratification on the part of the individual was an act of neurotic sickness, the ego or self had no place of importance in the individual and his well-being, and that therefore, the sacrificing of the ego to the instinctive drives would be in the best interests of the individual organism.
What Reich failed to consider was that by sacrificing the ego and deifying the desires, he would destroy the head or the survival and reasoning or discriminating faculties of the organism, and leave it to own instinctive urges for direction. It is highly plausible that an individual or organism, given free rein to fulfill its desires without restraint, will destroy itself in gluttony for lack of discriminatory or inhibitory functionings. Reich assumed that his therapeutic process would result in only benefit and good for the organism, and that the destruction of the ego or self of the individual would have no detrimental effect upon the person. And Reich, himself a product of his gospel of orgasm, seemed in later life to suffer the consequences of his unfounded assumptions that "do as thou wilt" does not involve a payment.
Gestalt Therapy is a theory of personality rooted in the belief that man is primarily a biological organism, functioning as an individual in the greater systems or wholes, called Gestalt patterns. These systems are natural balances of needs and need fulfillments. Thus every individual seeks to actualize himself and satisfy his organismic desires, and regain his balance in nature, and throughout life. The problem is that society imbues the individual with rules, norms and inhibitions, and prevents the individual from achieving his natural destiny. As the society conditions the individual to control, the ego develops and interferes with the basic wisdom of the body; and then the individual loses touch with the basic wisdom of the body and means to retain his balance, and he becomes neurotic.
Gestalt Therapy uses a number of techniques that help the individual to become aware of his needs and desires and the commands of his body. It aims to help him overcome his rational thinking ego, and fulfill those needs. It aims at integrating those aspects of oneself that have become lost or denied, due to social conditioning. This is considered therapeutic and a process of growth, and the techniques involve an emphasis on the obvious here and now behavior, fantasies, imaginations, and responses of an individual who has lost the authentic self to the grip of the social ego and its analytical functions. It is a therapy that encourages the broadening and accumulation of new experiences, and can be summed up in the words of its mentor, Fritz Perls: "Lose more and more of your mind and come to your senses."
Gestalt Therapy operates according to some preconceived assumptions that are never defined, entirely. First, it assumes that all of the desires associated with the self are necessary, natural, and beneficial to the organism and thus should be fulfilled. Perhaps the satisfaction of certain desires leads to the eventual death of the organism and self. Gestaltists deify the desires of life without questioning the nature of them, in relation to their effects upon the individual and his survival. Gestalt Therapy is essentially a naturalistic and utilitarian psychology, in that it aims at satisfying the needs of the body and emphasizing the wisdom of the body and its natural urges over the ego or rational mind. It is utilitarian in that it serves as a rationale for many forms of pleasure seeking and hedonism. It ultimately proposes that each man possesses an intellectual mind which is really a hindrance to natural functioning and should serve natural functioning. Since each man is considered only to be an animal self, once he realizes this position and comes to his organismic senses, he will yield himself to all desires and experience of those desires without inhibition or question.
This theory is incomplete in that it assumes the purpose of life and psychology to be the maintenance of a vegetative existence for man, and that desire-satisfaction is natural, and all desires must be good for the individual. It does not account for the unperceived consequences of experience and the impact upon the individual and his mind, which may be harmful. In practice, Gestalt Therapy fails in that it complicates and creates personality facets in an individual according to his actualization of desires, rather than simplifying the personality to find the authentic self, if that is the goal of psychology. Gestalt Therapy assumes that the authentic self is a conglomeration of personality urges that have only a utility value in fulfilling desires. And often an individual in such a process, glorifies all experiences at the expense of his rational, intuitive, and discriminative faculties; following the direction of his basic desires and reaping the effects of a "scratch all itches" philosophy.
Transactional Analysis is a personality theory designed to help people understand themselves and their relationships with other people. TA begins with the concept that every individual has a personality made up of three existing ego states called the Parent, the Adult, and the Child. The Adult is a rational, reasonable and computing component. The Parent is the authoritarian and commanding component, and the Child is the emotional and natural aspect. These three states or "tapes" are recorded upon the mind, exist simultaneously, but only play one at a time, so that an individual always exists in one of these three states. The thesis of TA is that everyone begins life as a child with an inferiority complex position called the "I'm Not O.K. You're O.K." position. The aim of TA Therapy is to instill the conviction in a person that he is in a "I'm O.K. You're O.K." position, meaning that no one is really a threat to anyone. This is accomplished by analyzing one's transactions with others and becoming aware of the effects of the Parent and Child influence upon a person in the "I'm not O.K." position. Games result from an inadequate position, in which the individual attempts to conceal his inferiority by posing. This prevents him from knowing himself, and enjoying the intimacy of an "I'm O.K. You're OK" position, as well as receiving "stroking" or love and affection that results from such a transaction, and considered vital for survival.
TA Therapy, in counseling and group therapy situations, attempts to analyze the games that individuals are playing in their transactions with other people, and through feedback and confrontation, breaks down those false fronts, allowing individuals to see their false positions and games, and encouraging them to become aware of the Adult, Parent, and Child states within them. An attempt is made to find a healthy balance between such states and help an individual function in an "I'm O.K. You're OK." position. The group uses peer pressure as a means of facilitating the techniques of TA.
TA as a personality theory and a therapeutic practice, leaves much to be desired. First, in theory it has greatly simplified the vast differences in individual states of mind of men into three universal categories which are determined only by the interpretation of a man's external statements and behavior by others. It presumes that a man can only know himself through his transactions with others and that he derives his identity solely from such relationships. The goal of TA is intimacy and love, and it is assumed that this is the ultimate indication of an individual who knows himself. Thus, TA aims toward utilitarian goals of social compatibility and anyone who cannot relate to others is considered withdrawn and deviant. It assumes that stroking is a divine right and necessity of every man. And in the "I'm O.K. You're O.K." position, it is presumed that an individual should accept all others, without prejudice or judgment, and give them unqualified strokes, regardless of their mental differences. TA legislates an egalitarian normality for people, without considering the true and different nature of each individual. And TA, by identifying the three distinct ego states dichotomizes the individual self, when perhaps this dichotomy is only an unproven postulation. TA would advocate the unilateral dropping of defenses and poses, without determining whether those defenses are necessary for the survival of the individual beforehand. It assumes that a group of people have the ability and sensitivity to determine which fronts to destroy and how to do it, without destroying the reality of the individual in the process.
I believe that the new age therapies miss the mark. The goals of many of the groups are misdirected, and real therapy cannot occur. For example, Transactional Analysis, Reality Therapy, and several others have utilitarian goals, in that their purpose in helping an individual in therapy is to give him something that he wants, rather than what he may actually need. TA would advise that the goal of sanity can be achieved through getting along with others. Reality Therapy would adjust us to real reality, the social reality, to be sane. But do these goals only serve a limited utility value for the individual? And even as such, are they not false postulations of what sanity is and therapy should be?
A goal of helping someone to get along better with others in social situations may make a well-adjusted individual who is broadminded and tolerant of everyone, and thus makes no ripples. But does this really benefit the individual or simply make a more conditioned individual in an easily controlled society where violence is reduced when people adjust to the all-inclusive states of mind. Is not the individual, by seeking rapport with all states of mind in TA, really just accepting all states of mind no matter how bizarre or sick, under the guise of "I'm O.K. You're O.K.," and no one is wrong, sick, excluded, or dangerous? If the utilitarian value of TA is to make a society then the individual is one who suffers because he is too tolerant of others, for the sake of getting along. Getting doesn't mean that he is sane, likable, loving, or understanding. For getting along with the mob may be an actual impossibility that leads to true insanity if you sacrifice your mentality to attempt to reach individuals who are incapable of responding to such egalitarian attitudes. Is a computer engineer equal in mentality to an idiot? Is it necessary to find rapport with all murderers and rapists?
Nor does paying one's taxes and playing by the rules as if they are the only rules promise us sanity as Reality Therapy would have us believe. This is also utilitarian in that it serves the best interests of a well-greased, conditioned society. But what is the mentality of society? Is it not herd-thinking when we do what everyone else does, and go where they go? Does humanity know where it is going and is it safe for us to go with it? When we see the rapidly changing styles in clothing and the fads of behavior and speech that come and go with time, we may come to the conclusion that humanity may be blind. And in times of war when thousands volunteer and kill for the flag, society seems to sacrifice its own members with little regard for the individual's perspective, and little remorse for whatever the outcome. How can adopting the mood of others or of the masses the give anyone real sanity? Any therapy that does not take into account the individual's mood is incomplete and doomed to failure.
Some of the other popular therapies such as Gestalt, Reichian therapy, bioenergetics and encounter groups believe the goal of therapy to be to integrate oneself wholly. This type of therapy is naturalistic at best, and often a justification for all forms of pleasure-seeking. These therapies believe that the individual's problems are the result of his head interfering with his basic needs and desires. The therapies discourage thinking, and rely upon indiscriminate, broadening experience. Since the body has more wisdom that the head, the point of therapy is not to analyze your hang-ups but rather to find your basic needs and satisfy them. Sanity by this definition, is found in a person who is able to satisfy his desires to the fullest. Can we know beforehand whether satisfying our desires in an uninhibited fashion will bring us sanity and not just postulate it?
Most people I know who have serious problems have them because they could not control their desires. They lost their ability to think clearly because their desires and the experience associated with them brought unexpected trauma, as some experiences such as drug use, can damage the mind. If the mode of therapy in these approaches is to experience life and lose your inhibitions, then isn't such therapy extremely dangerous, if we don't know which experiences may hurt us? Should an alcoholic stop struggling with himself and just drop his inhibitions or what is left of them and drink gin as well as whiskey, and more frequently? Should a potential rapist listen to his desires and indulge in indiscriminate rape or murder if the thought arises and the need expresses itself? And if you feel like committing suicide, should you do so because it is just another experience in the therapeutic process? Perhaps it is valid but it won't give us any great wisdom about ourselves. Common sense tells us that if we are going to survive then we need to discriminate our experiences, rather than indulging haphazardly, if the outcome of those experiences determines whether we live or not. We need to know before the damage is done, and we need a mind that thinks clearly to do so. The attitude that life is a playground to indulge in and experience freely usually puts us in the frying pan, and the fire soon after, for it neglects common sense. Hundreds of confirmed alcoholics who have worked with Alcoholics Anonymous freely admit that they lost control with the first drink.
The therapies that hold such an experiential attitude can rarely be successful because they make the mistake of postulating sanity beforehand, and conceiving that satisfying one's physical desires without knowing all the factors will bring sanity. This is an excuse for hedonism, rather than a sincere and common sense approach to problem solving and cure in therapy. Such therapies glorify the appetites at the expense of the head and when they mix encounter, sensitivity and sexual freedom, it is no wonder that large numbers of casualties occur. When we read the biographies of the founding therapists such as Perls and Reich we may be shocked to find them to be sexual libertarians and practicing degenerates; Perls rationalized his own immoral lifestyle to suit his own needs, and gave it the stamp of psychological authority.
I believe that anyone who is intent upon solving his problems or hang-ups will find that some experiences take him closer to his goal and some take him farther away. Some can destroy sanity. Some can promote mental clarity. So for therapy to occur, it must include a path for the individual that allows him to move away from the experiences that cloud or impair his mentality and move toward those that create mental clarity. Morality may have its place in therapy if it is encouraged as a lifestyle, and if such a lifestyle moves one closer to unifying the mind and ridding it of the things that cause trauma and confusion. For it is only with mental clarity that we can find our sanity and ourselves. With mental clarity and peace of mind everything is possible, and no doors in life are barred. It is here that we can live up to our potential, and experience true happiness and inner freedom.
Vegetarianism Has Its Reasons
by Jonathon David Miller
"And God said, 'Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed, which is upon the face of all the earth, and every tree, in which Is the fruit of a tree yielding seed; to you it shall be for meat.' "
The primary controversy in relation to diet is over whether or not to include meat or to eat animal products at all. The evidence weighs heavily against flesh being a natural part of our diet, and there is good argument that dairy products should be excluded as well.
Meat. The formation of our teeth and jaws is obviously not that of the carnivorous animal. Carnivores have sharp claws and teeth for catching and ripping the flesh of their prey. Their jaws are powerful and are limited to an up-and-down movement. Human teeth are designed for biting fruits and vegetables, just as our hands are designed for gathering them. Our molars and sideways jaw motion are for thorough chewing.
Our digestive tract is approximately twelve times as long as our body, and it winds all around inside of us. That of the carnivore is only three times the length of the body and runs fairly straight. When the carnivore eats flesh and bone, the food moves through the system quickly, aided by a strong concentration of hydrochloric acid. In the human, flesh foods digest at a slow pace, usually putrefying in the process. Large amounts of uric acid result from a meat diet. Carnivorous animals have relatively larger kidneys to handle this burden. Furthermore, carnivores, which stalk in the cool of the night, need only their tongues for perspiration. We vegetarians seek food by day. Our bodies are kept cool by perspiration through our skin, a much larger surface area, which itself needs moisture for protection from the heat of the sun.
If we were asked to kill and butcher an animal for eating as hunters did originally for survival in an emergency situation, most of us would feel ill. Nor could we stand to eat it raw as the carnivore does in nature.
Grain and fruit-eating animals group together with their kind, whereas carnivores tend to need more space and to live in greater isolation. The latter are more fearful and violent. They are also relatively short-lived. We are less competitive, more social and loving when we give up meat-eating. We are also better nourished, meat being a second-hand source of vitamins, minerals and protein. It should be noted that nearly all animals eaten by other animals are themselves herbivores. Vegetation is where our nutrition comes from.
Even if we were to obtain organically-raised and prepared meat, it would still be harmful to eat it. First, meat is difficult to digest in the human system. The attempt our body makes to break down and rearrange animal proteins into useable form requires considerable time and energy. Our digestive tract is so long and convoluted that meat being substance from a corpse which starts deteriorating at death due to destructive bacteria, putrefies, toxifying our bodies. Second, the animal may have been recognizably diseased. There are many parasites and diseases that can affect livestock. Even when disease is discovered in commercial animals, they are shipped immediately to market, where the obvious signs of illness are cut out before inspection. Destroying the animal is felt to be too costly. At many chicken farms, the dead are gathered and sent to market first thing each morning. Chicken farmers begged for and received from the government a high tolerance level for chickens with cancer going to market. Packages of chicken parts in supermarkets are especially suspect. Third, meat is too high in protein. The nitrogen wastes from eating animal products form uric acid in amounts which greatly overwork the kidneys, causing kidney disease and contributing to all the rheumatic problems such as arthritis, gout, bursitis and cataracts. Fourth, meat causes nutritional deficiencies. It has little calcium but plenty of phosphorus, which leaches calcium from the cells. High-level meat consumption results in B6, niacin and magnesium deficiencies as well. Fifth, animal foods are high in saturated fats. Fat deposits and cholesterol can build up on arterial walls and cause hardening of the arteries, as can oxygen deprivation from high protein levels in the blood. Sixth, animal fats contain hormones which adversely affect humans in various ways, such as causing imbalances in our sexual/emotional lives and overstimulating certain organs. Seventh, when an animal is killed, the cells continue functioning for a time. They produce wastes, but there is no blood circulation to carry these away, hence the wastes remain in the tissues. Finally, nearly all meat is eaten cooked, which means that its value as a protein food has been greatly diminished. Cooking destroys several amino acids, as well as numerous vitamins and organic minerals. It further deadens the carcass. Cooked meat evokes a high white blood cell count and may lead to leukemia.
In order of worst to relatively better, the spectrum of meat is basically as follows: processed meats; organs; the muscle tissue of pigs, cattle, sheep, fowl and game animals, large and small; and fish and seafood. Gelatin is often made from animal hoofs and bones.
Meat purchased commercially is worse than home-raised, of course. Some of the harmful substances that are routinely found in store bought meats include the following, which are added upon butchering: artificial coloring agents such as sodium sulphite, which restores red color and eliminates the odor of decay; artificial flavors, including MSG; preservatives like formaldehyde, salt, alum, sodium nitrate and sodium nitrite.
There are others which are already present in the animal. Antibiotics are administered by shot as well as in the feed of livestock to curb disease. This practice has the following detrimental results: viral organisms which develop strains resistant to antibiotics; people developing immunities to certain antibiotics; the accumulation of drugs in the human body; and the destruction in humans of beneficial bacteria which help form certain vitamins. Hormones such as stilbesterol are fed to animals to stimulate rapid growth. In humans, this one has been linked with changes in sexual functions and appearance, pelvic and reproductive organ cancer, as well as sterilization in youth. Arsenic, a well-known poison, is also used to spur livestock growth, and is sometimes administered externally to eliminate parasites. Anti-stress drugs are often added to feed in an attempt to deal with the anxiety and perversion of instincts from crowding and deprivation. DDT and other pesticides and industrial poisons are in the feed, including the grass, of nearly all livestock. These are spread everywhere by wind and water, and they remain in the soil for years. Toxins accumulate in the fat of the animal, resulting in a high concentration of them in meat.
Fish foods are no better. Ocean fish pick up a good deal of pollution if they swim anywhere near the coastlines. When caught, fish are often sprayed with formaldehyde on the boat or at the dock. Fresh water fish contain mercury, polychlorinated biphenyls (PCB's) and other industrial wastes that are poured into the waters.
For the most part, it is only bacteria and nutrients that are destroyed by cooking. The effects of these chemicals, such as cancer, deformed babies, damaged children, sterilization, etc., make their use an abomination. The idea we need meat at all is a commercial one; it is not factual.
The cruel, profit-oriented treatment of commercial livestock animals these days causes the meat and other animal products to be worse than already described: chickens and turkeys crowded into confining pens; laying hens cramped into tiny cages for their entire lives. If pigs wallowing in their own filth; cattle fed a highly-drugged high-protein diet to increase and maintain a high level of meat and milk production. It is unusual to find a cow still milking after two years they used to be in the milking line for up to twenty years. This diet and perpetual pregnancies burn them out. Veal calves, a byproduct of the dairy industry, are separated from their mothers within a few days after birth. They are penned into stalls so small they can only stand up or lie down. Fed an iron-deficient "milk replacer," they are kept anemic and unexercised to produce what is known as "prime white veal," which is supposedly tender and sweet. So deprived, these calves become anxious and are kept in the dark to quiet them down. They are grown large in a short time with high fat and chemicals in their food. Artificially bred, abnormally fed, diseased, caged, crowded and slaughtered how could a "meat animal" be anything but nervous and frightened at the end of its life? The animal in the slaughter line can easily sense what is happening ahead. How can it help but pour toxic glandular secretions into its tissues as it approaches its doom?
Eggs. Could the unfertilized eggs of unexercised, toxic, neurotic chickens have enough positive value to offset the negative? Eggs are thought by some to be a complete food. Though they are high in cholesterol, there is a significant amount of lecithin present in the yolk which helps emulsify fat and cholesterol. However, commercial eggs as well as meat and milk are polluted with the antibiotics, hormones, anti-stress drugs, pesticides, preservatives, etc., that are administered to the animals, as well as with the radioactive iodine from fallout that enters all animals, including humans. Commercial laying chickens are crowded into small cages, away from roosters and without any exercise nor the chance to peck for grubs and worms from which they would pick up valuable trace minerals. They deteriorate psychologically and physically throughout their short lives of artificially stimulated egg production. Eggs from such an "egg factory" are unfertilized, lower in nutrition, higher in toxins and much higher in saturated fats than those from free, organically-fed chickens. Cooking eggs, especially the whites, causes the cholesterol to be more of a problem, as is true with cooking fat. If we eat eggs, it is best to eat few of them and to eat them raw or very soft-boiled. Eggs are too high in protein to be part of the regular human fare, and cooked animal protein putrefies more readily in our system.
Dairy Products. Milk has long been promoted as the perfect food, possibly because mother's milk is perfect for her baby. But milk is intended for the very young only. It continues the nutrition from the mother's body to the child that was begun when the baby was in her womb. Her milk contains an enzyme which renders it readily digestible by her infant, as well as important antibodies for protection from infection. Furthermore, human milk is very different from that of other animals. It is relatively high in phosphorus for brain development. It is low in protein, yet the infant grows rapidly.
The milk of the cow or goat is intended for their offspring, which have very different nutritional needs than do humans. Cow's milk is designed for the rapid phase of physical growth of a large animal of low intelligence. The caseinogen (a milk protein) content is many times greater than that of human milk. Caseinogen is glue-like in texture and is hard to digest. Milk has a great tendency to putrefy in the human digestive system, especially when taken with other foods. The putrefaction can often be smelled in the feces. Also, mucus congestion results from over-consumption of dairy products. Milk evokes excessive acid in the stomach, which causes alkalinizing minerals to be leached from the body in counteraction. Cow's milk is high in calcium to support the necessary structural development of an animal that will weigh nearly a ton, doubling its weight in just two months from birth. Cow's milk also contains sugars which are hard to digest and fattening, as are its saturated fats. The hormones in it affect us as well. Goat's milk is more easily digested. It is nearer to human milk in content, being for an animal of similar weight.
The only food as carcinogenic as meat is commercial milk. Cow's contains nearly all the harmful substances found in meat: the hormones, antibiotics, pesticides, preservatives and pollutants. Formaldehyde was added to milk as early as 1906. Synthetic vitamin D is added to milk to aid in calcium absorption but, as with nearly every synthetic, it does not work efficiently. Pasteurization eliminates most of the value of milk, which is not replaced by adding synthetic vitamins. Bacteria are not such a problem that this process should be required. It rearranges the milk's structure and destroys the nutrients, rendering many minerals into inorganic, inassimilable form. Pasteurized dairy products are bad for the eyes. Crustiness of the eyelids in the morning indicates overconsumption. Homogenization, which disperses the fat throughout the milk, further alters the molecular arrangement of milk and makes it even less digestible. Skim milk is better than homogenized. Non-fat dry milk, especially the "instant" type, increases the likelihood of cataracts, however. Certified raw whole milk, especially goat milk, raw milk yogurt and cultured raw milk such as kefir and acidophilus milk, are the least harmful and most beneficial dairy items. The cultured products help to replace certain lacto-bacillus intestinal bacteria that may have been destroyed by antibiotics or putrefaction. The worst dairy product is commercial ice cream which contains sugar and numerous chemical ingredients for taste, texture, color, etc., many of which do not have to appear on the label. Also, frozen animal protein begins to putrefy as it melts.
Most cheese has even more chemicals, especially preservatives and colorings. Even the rennet, the curdling agent in cheese-making often contains chemicals, whether it is of animal origin or not. Some cheese is made with a rennet principally consisting of the stomach linings of starved, anemic veal calves and/or pigs. If you must have cheese, try to get it raw, undyed, with a vegetable enzyme rennet. For an alternative in prepared dishes, nutritional yeast has a cheesy taste. Tofu and tempeh are non-dairy cheese-like foods made from soybeans.
Dairy products result in excessive uric acid in the body, contributing to the rheumatic diseases and harming the kidneys. They are high in protein and saturated fats and they create mucus in the body, all of which can accumulate and congest tissues and blood vessels. Many people are allergic to dairy products. Milk and its products are not needed after weaning, contrary to industry advertising. Try soy milk or nut and seed milks and yogurts as alternatives. People who have cut down or phased out animal foods have reported feeling much better and having lots of energy. A decrease in allergy problems has been noted. There is plenty of good protein in a varied, natural foods vegetarian diet, so no need to worry about that.
In this great zoo on the planet Earth, there are humans who, for money or "pleasure," raise or trap all manner of animals, caging them for experimentation, exploitation or display, or killing them for food or dress. Some of these animals are rapidly becoming extinct. We were developed here neither to manipulate nor to eliminate other life forms, but rather to nurture and live in harmony with them. We must learn to let life be. At the least, please don't eat the animals.
Mainly excerpted from Nutrition, Health and Harmony: A Handbook of Natural Health. Copyright © 1978 by Jonathon David Miller. Copies may be ordered for $3.50 from Morning Creation, __________.
Thinking Astrology—The Paradox of Predestination
by James Wayne
Is man's fate predestined or does he have a will? Most people assume that a belief in astrology is equivalent to a fatalistic belief in predestination. Astrology, however, can serve to point the way to genuine individuality and freedom for a person, for it is an intuitive science that explains an individual's outer personality traits, physical appearance and mental inclinations. Astrology is an observation of the motions of the Sun, Moon, Earth and Planets, and a concurrent observation of the motions and activities of humans. Humans have studied the stars since genesis; the foundation of this science is the axiom, "As above, so below." Movements, angular relationships of lights in the sky, occur simultaneously with movements, mental perceptions of land. Synchronicity pervades.
It does often appear that one's role in life is predetermined that every friendship, every emotion of love, fear, hate, every bold action or helpless reaction, happened just on cue as in a play. The director - an unseen but intuited force - jostles and jolts us in the rehearsing of our lines and allows for a bit of "script adjustment" only by those few actors who devote themselves energetically to sensing the pattern of their lives. It takes persistent work to become one of these few star performers. We must act perfectly to realize the essence of our part; our role is perfect, but this we must discover. And in discovering our own purpose, we may come to know the meaning of the whole play as well: acting and directing.
It seems as if every thing, every thought, that each and every individual ever expressed (reacting to stimuli from all directions) is echoed through eternity. And the echo returns: a voice of awareness beyond the mind, an underground spring. The source, forever impersonal, only rarely is tapped, to water the implanted thirst of the mind. Psychics have tapped this source, their minds becoming channels for vision and revealing sudden thought forms, impressions. These impressions are not the source itself, but spring forth as intuitive mental images communicating "feeling" which any mind may perceive. Charubel was a nineteenth century psychic who seems to have been a channel for visions of this nature. A book called The Degrees of the Zodiac Symbolised was published in 1898 containing his psychic visions. It relates: "Charubel, who is a born seer and normal clairvoyant, has used his psychic faculty to ascertain the nature and influence of each degree of the zodiac, and the record is here presented for the use of the practical astrologer." The twelve signs of the zodiac (Aries, Taurus, etc.) each comprise thirty degrees of a circle. What Charubel did was to assign a symbol and character profile to each of the 360 degrees of the zodiacal circle.
Let us review some of Charubel's symbols with regard to the lives of some well known individuals - our fellow actors - to see how they played out the role designed explicitly for them. These roles are the outer personality - the actor - which we work to perfection to understand our inner reality - the director. Upon entering the earthly stage at birth, we are given distinct capabilities as well as weighty limitations. If we live without any desire to know who we are and what we are doing here, then our destiny is predetermined and our life useless. But if we are shaken at some time in life and fix our desire on knowing the underlying self, then a will is generated and we may grasp a hint that the script can be altered.
From the birthday of each of the following individuals is determined the position of the Sun by degree (from 1 to 30) in the signs of the zodiac. The Sun gives us our breath of life and is the overwhelming influence in each individual being. Remember, however, that the degree ascending on the eastern horizon at birth (ascendant or rising sign), along with the degrees of the midheaven, descendant, nadir and the Moon and other Planets will also play integral parts in determining a person's role in a journey through life.
Walt Whitman, poet, Sun 23 Taurus: A smelting Furnace.
"A LARGE HEARTED PERSON, BUT AT THE SAME TIME PARTICULARLY SENSITIVE TO AN IMPOSITION OR A FRAUD. SUCH TRANSACTIONS RARELY ESCAPE BEING DETECTED. SOUL FORCE IS GREAT."
Walt Whitman lived in Brooklyn, in the mid-1800's, and wrote editorials for a newspaper. He was outspoken, liberal, opposed to the fraudulent bankers of that period, and expressed strong convictions for abolishing slavery. The newspaper fired him for this latter views. He moved on and wrote for another newspaper, and was fired again because of church opposition to his frankly expressed ideas on the sexual problems of the unmarried, abortion, prostitution, and slavery. Later in life, he wrote the enlightening poetry Leaves of Grass, which depicts a symbolic identification of regeneration in nature with the deathless Self. He regarded the book as an instrument of humanity's struggles which arose out of his "life in Brooklyn from ages 19 to 34, absorbing a million people, with an intimacy, an eagerness, an abandon... " A sensitive and passionate humanitarian, he volunteered to work in army hospitals during the Civil War. He was a fierce egalitarian and aware of opposition in America, which he saw as "... pride, competition, vicious willfulness, and abuse to liberty." To Whitman, literature was "a means whereby men may be revealed to each other as brothers."
Francisco Franco, dictator, Sun 13 Sagittarius: Death, with a Scythe in one hand, and a bag of money in the other.
"A MISER. ONE WHO WILL STARVE HIMSELF FOR GAIN, AND ONE WHO WOULD DELIGHT IN SLAUGHTER AND CARNAGE IF IT WOULD PROVE OF SOME MONETARY ADVANTAGE TO HIMSELF."
Franco partook in the Spanish military revolt of 1936 and cunningly fought to power in the fascist party. The regime outlawed all other parties, as Franco ruthlessly slaughtered humans who sought freedom. His repressive totalitarian rule mercilessly butchered human life, as Franco, addicted to power, lost touch with his fellow man. We can only wonder if the spiritual capabilities of the man (as indicated by other points in his birth-chart), did at any time in his life compel him to act in a humane manner. Is it possible that in his youth he was not so diabolical? The point stressed here, is that no one is doomed to a dark destiny, and that each individual ever created has within himself a spark of God - a flame of the Good. Life is a matter of discovering this Truth.
Meher Baba, mystic, Sun 7 Pisces: An extensive plain on which a dense fog hangs, but the fog is low and there is sunshine above.
"DENOTES ONE EVER LIABLE TO FRUSTRATIONS AND CONFUSION WITH WORLDLY MATTERS, AND CONSEQUENTLY EVER LIABLE TO GO WRONG AND COME TO LOSSES; BUT IN THE MEANTIME, HE MAY HAVE ATTAINED TO GREAT HEIGHTS IN MATTERS SPIRITUAL AND TRANSCENDENTAL."
At the age of 19, he contacted a woman, Hazrat Babajan, an elderly Moslem saint, who kissed his forehead and induced divine consciousness. After that, he devoted his life to religious teaching, usually expressed in erratic fashion, involving journeys with disciples which apparently led nowhere, or in searching out eccentric wandering monks of India. At age 27, he established an ashram devoted to philanthropic work. In 1925, at age 31, he entered upon a period of silence, conversing or giving lectures with an alphabet board. He often prophesied in this way that he would one day speak the One Word which would bring spiritualization and love to the world. However, his prophecy may have been symbolic, like his mysterious life itself. He died in 1969. He was regarded by many people as an avatar or descent of divine power.
In all instances we should focus on the psychic symbol, more so than the given interpretation. Referring back to the source book, The Degrees of the Zodiac Symbolised, we find stated in the preface: "In some instances it may be felt that there must be another and a more Spiritual interpretation appertaining to the symbol given than that deduced by the seer. In such cases the intuition of the reader should be allowed full play; for it should be remembered that it is the symbol itself which is of deepest significance, and not the particular interpretation given, which is furnished only as a hint to understanding." A little intuition seems to show that Meher Baba's 44 years of silence, along with his seemingly nonsensical journeys, correspond to the dense fog which hangs low over the plain, shrouding in mystery the spiritual Truth which he taught, as represented by the sunshine above.
Mary Baker Eddy, religionist, Sun 24 Cancer: A small church, but highly ornate, having all the sacerdotal display usually met with in a larger places of that class.
"THIS DENOTES ONE WHO WILL BE VERY RELIGIOUS, A STRICT OBSERVER OF FEASTS, FASTS, AND FESTIVALS; BUT VERY NARROW MINDED."
She was the founder of the Christian Scientists, who believe that disease and sin are caused by mental error and may be eliminated by spiritual treatment without medical aid. Christian Science arose from an early incident in her own life, when poor health led her to seek treatment from the mental healer Phineas Quimby. She became an enthusiast for his system but eventually adapted it to her own ideas, giving it a religious dimension. She also founded the Massachusetts Metaphysical College.
Helena Blavatsky, occultist, Sun 19 Leo: A star surrounded with many rings.
"IT IS A STAR OUTSIDE THE ZODIAC, AND BEYOND THE VISION OF THE OUTER SENSE. IT IS ONE OF THOSE SUNS WHICH REVOLVE ABOUT THE GRAND CENTRAL SUN. ITS RAYS IMPINGE THIS DEGREE, AND IMPART TO IT A VIRTUE. THE NATIVE WHO MAY HAVE THIS DEGREE NEVER NEED BE CAST DOWN. THOU WILT MEET WITH TRIALS, BUT FEAR NOT, 'THY BREAD SHALL BE GIVEN THEE, AND THY WATER IS SURE.' "
One of the trials for Blavatsky was marriage. At age 17, she married a man who was much older than herself and they were separated only a few months later. The next year or so she traveled throughout North America and then on to India. Twice she attempted to enter Tibet; on one occasion she managed to cross its frontier disguise but lost her way, and after various adventures was found by a body of horsemen and escorted homewards. Eventually, however, she got her wish and lived in the Tibetan Himalayas, studying under the mysterious sages of that land. For 10 years, from 1848 to 1858, she stayed in retreat amidst the mountains and later in her life would not speak of this period. In 1858, she returned to her native land, Russia, where she achieved publicity as a spiritualistic medium. In the years that followed, she moved to the United States and founded the Theosophical Society. Theosophy was a combining of her spiritualistic mediumship with legends of Tibetan sages; and she professed to have direct "astral" communication with two Tibetan Adepts. When she died in 1891, nearly 100,000 people had taken interest in the occult teachings of the Theosophists due largely to Blavatsky's sunny command of the group.
Edgar Mitchell, astronaut, Sun 25 Virgo: A golden ball suspended from the ceiling of a circular hall.
"THIS IS VERY MYSTICAL; THERE IS SOMETHING ABOUT THIS PERSON THAT HE NEVER MAKES KNOWN. AT THE SAME TIME IT IS THAT WHICH LENDS A CHARM TO HIS LIFE; IT ENDOWS HIM WITH A POWER TO FASCINATE THOSE WHO MAY BE FAVOURED WITH HIS COMPANY."
An Apollo 14 astronaut who walked on the moon February 5, 1971... He is actively interested in parapsychology, delving into this field in 1967, soon after his arrival at NASA. He was dissatisfied with orthodox theology and began to investigate areas of psychic phenomena and mysticism. Mitchell befriended Arthur Ford, a medium, who suggested an interesting ESP test for the Apollo 14 mission, but Ford died just 27 days before the launch. In 1973, Mitchell founded the Institute of Noetic Sciences for the study of human consciousness and mind/body relationships.
Albert Einstein, physicist, Sun 24 Pisces:
"ONE NOT CAPABLE OF BEING DESCRIBED IN WORDS, BUT THE SIGNIFICATION IS A PERSON WHO WILL POSSESS GREAT MAGNETIC POWERS; ALSO, ONE WHO WILL, IN HIS DAY, DO MUCH BY WAY OF DESTROYING POPULARISED EVILS - A REFORMER, A PHILANTHROPIST."
Einstein was an astrophysicist of absolute genius, who was best known as the discoverer of the theory of relativity. He realized that mass and energy are different manifestations of the same thing. In high school, he developed a deep dislike for formal instruction and began the real teaching of himself, in solitude at home. As a college student in Zurich, he often failed to attend lectures, as he preferred to work on his own. He had been meditating since he was 16 on the fundamental problem concerning the velocity of light as independent of the motion of the observer. He realized that the measurement of motion depends on the idea of simultaneity. He also believed that the past, present, and future co-exist at once... now...
In his later years, Albert was increasingly concerned with the social consequences of science. He took a leading part in attempts to control international use of nuclear energy and warned of the dangers of the development of the uranium bomb during the second world war. He was a prominent pacifist and supported Zionism, on general humanitarian rather than nationalistic grounds. Einstein was noted for his great love of simplicity and truth. He was entirely free from social conditioning and conventional foolishness, but had a robust sense of humor.
W.G. Wilson, alcoholic, Sun 4 Sagittarius: A man walking on the edge of a precipice.
"A VERY RECKLESS PERSON; ONE WHO SCARCELY EVER FORSEES DANGER UNTIL OVERTAKEN BY IT; VERY SENSITIVE; VERY IMPULSIVE; BUT ALSO VERY AFFECTIONATE AND HONORABLE IN ALL TRANSACTIONS."
Wilson and a friend began the Alcoholics Anonymous movement in 1935 to conquer their own drinking problems and to use their experiences for the benefit of others similarly distressed. AA is a fellowship whose members strive to recover from alcoholism through self-help and the aid of recovered alcoholics. The only requirement for membership is a desire to stop drinking. AA stresses a belief in spiritual values as a way toward recovery. Members share their experience, strength, and hope with anyone who seeks help. Wilson became a former alcoholic and through an "inner strength" rewrote the lines for his role in life.
Edgar Cayce, clairvoyant, Sun 27 Pisces: This is an occult degree.
"THE PERSON BORN WITH THIS DEGREE IS SURE TO BE POSSESSED WITH STRANGE INFLUENCES. HE WILL HAVE A FAMILIAR OR A SPIRIT COMPANION AND WILL BE LIABLE TO OBSESSION, THE NATURE OF WHICH WILL BE DETERMINED BY HIS CHARACTER."
As a child he had visions of angels. Once, while in grade school he slept on a history book and the next day could recall the word or photograph of any page in the book. At the age of 12 he began to read the Bible, in its entirety, once a year for every year of his life. At the age of 16, through the influence of a hypnotist, Cayce discovered the ability to put himself in a trance from which he could diagnose ailments of sick people and prescribe remedies for them. This ability worked even when the patient was hundreds of miles away. All Cayce needed was a description and location of the ailing person and his psychic tap would flow forth with a useful remedy. In the course of time his reputation as a healer attracted thousands. A hospital and an Association for Research and Enlightenment were built in 1931 as a direct result of the sleeping clairvoyant's gifted influence. The Association, located in Virginia Beach, has over 30,000 trance readings on file.
Cayce also described the previous lives of individuals (reincarnation), prophesied future events, explored dreams, astrology and the true life of Jesus. He spoke on psychic abilities, diet, attitude and emotions, ESP, Atlantis, and meditation... all while in the trance state. While awake, he had the ability to perceive the human aura. He dedicated himself unselfishly, for the betterment of mankind, during a 43 year span of psychic exploring into the truth of life's mysteries.
Is man predestined or does he have a will?
Reviewing the lives of some of our fellow actors seems to indicate that both may be the case. Certainly Walt Whitman, Meher Baba and Albert Einstein created within themselves a dynamic fire and used all their energies in the pursuit of true wisdom. Helena Blavatsky and Edgar Cayce were born with unusual abilities, and probably put forth the sincere effort needed to understand the essence of existence. Yet, their innate natures led them into a wide variety of curiosities. W.G. Wilson seems to have shown an "inner strength" in overcoming the recklessness of an alcoholic illusion to steer clear of the precipice and aid others in the process. Edgar Mitchell is seeking the mysteries of Man's consciousness for an answer. Mary Baker Eddy played the part - or did the part play her? Francisco Franco: was he ever in touch with compassion, let alone the focused strength needed in order to transcend the rolling wheel of destiny? So that each on the journey travels endlessly. Only a solitary few, STOP, DISCOVER.
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Science Studies Intuition
by Russell G. MacRobert, M.D.
All of us at one time or another have had that unaccountable feeling that something is about to happen. Frequently we regret an abrupt or discourteous dismissal of a premonition that has bolted into consciousness. Stories are told by friends to one another every day of hunches neglected, and the conversation usually begins, "if only... "
The following experience occurred to a woman in April 1949, while she was being given gas anesthesia in the office of a prominent New York dentist. The patient had a dream under the anesthetic and when she awakened she was very upset. In her dream she saw her friend, Mrs. Manuel Quezon, widow of the first president of the Philippines, ambushed and murdered on a lonely mountain road near Manila, half way around the world. Allowing for the difference in time between New York and Manila, the dream occurred ten hours before the crime was committed - a very ample margin of knowing beforehand (precognition) as well as seeing something true at a distance without the eyes (clairvoyance).
"Weird," concluded the dentist's report to me, "especially coming from a very intelligent, two-feet-on-the-ground type of person."
The woman had been instrumental in founding a hospital in the Philippines and was familiar with the country. When the newspapers reported the scene as she had dreamed it, she returned to the dentist's office to learn if, while anesthetized, she had called out any names, hoping she might help identify the unknown assailants. The woman then was greatly disturbed, regretting that she had not relied on the dream as a warning, and immediately after its occurrence radioed to her friend in Manila. She might have been able to prevent the murder. "If only I had known," she said.
People soon may be allowed to speak about their intuitions and hunches without appearing weird or naive. Brain surgeons now with impunity, perform massive amputations of brain parts which psychologists consider essential for thought and memory. In 1922, Dr. Waster Dandy of the Johns Hopkins Hospital informed the medical profession that he had removed large portions of the brain from a patient without any apparent defect in intellectual function. Ten years later, Dr. Wilder Penfield of McGill University described the removal of the whole right prefrontal lobe of the brain. His patient, a woman under local anesthesia, retained consciousness throughout the six-hour procedure and conversed normally during the time about her children and other matters; and toward the end of her long ordeal showed a retention, among other things, of consideration for others by deploring the arduous task she had given the surgeons.
A steady flow of such surgical data has been maintained by neurosurgeons generally. But largely due to the work of Dr. Penfield and his associates of the Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery of McGill University and the Montreal Neurological Institute, it has been proved that there is no area of the brain cortex indispensable to the existence of consciousness.
"Although an individual may be paralyzed, blind or dumb as the result of cortical removal," Doctors Penfield and Herbert Jasper wrote in 1947, "he nevertheless remains introspective, reflective, aware." Furthermore, "Even the anterior frontal lobe may be completely removed under local anesthesia without seeming to disturb consciousness, and isolation of both lobes by the lobotomy guillotine does not abolish it."
The neurosurgeon, cutting away large portions of the brain inadvertently has also removed the anatomical basis essential for the prevailing conception of mind as a manufactured product contrived by the spontaneous activity of the brain substance out of informative data supplied by the five senses, chiefly vision.
To orthodox psychology, mental processes are an organization of quasi-electrical and chemical activities confined to the physical brain - under one name or another, this is the "production" theory. The brain produces thought - secretes it - as the liver secretes bile. Impressions from the outer world come to the sense organs and are transmitted along nerve pathways to the brain and there, in some manner, are transformed into perceptions. The brain is a factory in which perceptions are produced. Memories are regarded as a kind of perception. One of the functions of the brain is to store the perceptions and reproduce them on occasion as recollections.
As for phenomena other than perceptions, such as imagination, reasoning, purposes and meanings, they have no place in this construction of the mind. It is a conception that has left our mental life as the darkest area of biology; and has assigned investigation of such activities as sleep, dreams, hysteria, somnambulism, hypnotism and mental disorders to a field of inquiry that has not paralleled the progress achieved in other directions.
For years this conventional scientific mind, composed of brain cells and fibers, has dictated a summary rejection of all reports of intuition. Because no information could be in a man's thought except what he saw or heard, tales of intuitive experience were held to be incompatible with this mind. Intuition is direct or immediate apprehension, or knowing. Knowledge is obtained without the mediation of the eye or ear or other direct channels of sensation or perception, and without recourse to inference or reasoning.
Even when these tales of intuition were graphically authenticated or when such occurrences were dressed up respectably by the parapsychology laboratory as experiments in telepathy, clairvoyance and precognition, and stamped with the approval of statistical evaluation, nevertheless, they were held as not possible by orthodox psychology. The "production" theory of mind has been the barrier to the scientific acceptance of intuition.
Intuition, in its various forms, is one of those real or apparent types of natural phenomena bearing upon the possibility of mental activity apart from the body. Besides the well-known sudden hunch or spontaneous conviction, intuition may come in various guises. It may appear as pictures in half-conscious moments of abstraction, reverie, day-dreaming or dozing, or like a dream in sleep, or when consciousness is temporarily abolished by disabling the brain with anesthetics and drugs.
Pictorial intuition, or seeing something true at a distance without the eyes, is clairvoyance. Seeing falsely is a visual hallucination. A truth-telling, authentic, or so-called veridical vision is not a false sensory impression, and therefore cannot be called hallucination. It is clairvoyance, even if the process itself does not fit into orthodox or mechanistic psychology which, as has been indicated, is always totally inadequate for all but the simplest reflex processes. Clairvoyance - seeing truly - may be an unusual ability, a supernormal process, but it is not a defective or diseased one. Neither is it a form of sickness nor a symptom of insanity.
The following is a story of intuitive insight, of a direct apprehension of truth, with a change in spiritual outlook approaching a religious conversion. Rather inappropriately, this occurred under "laughing" gas, like the first example.
A sturdy young naval officer who had fought through four years of rugged warfare without injury or illness accidentally dislocated his left shoulder. During the operation to reset the joint, while under gas, he had a vivid, awesome dream, which he kept secret. A short time later his shoulder slipped out a second time, and again under the anesthetic he had the same disturbing vision. The vision recurred whenever he dozed. He became very nervous. After weeks of secret worry, the vision flashed before his eyes one evening as he walked into the darkness from a lighted entertainment hall. He felt that he was losing his mind.
He had graduated from college a confirmed atheist, although as a child he had received religious training. His dream, he confided, was a terrifying revelation of "the significance of all life and the hereafter," and was to him a tremendous and unforgettable contradiction of his atheistic belief.
Dr. Maurice Bucke, a Canadian psychiatrist, describes in his famous book Cosmic Consciousness, the experience of about forty persons to whom a similar vision spontaneously occurred. These were for the most part people prominent in the history of the last 2,500 years. When the patient read Dr. Bucke's classic, all his nervousness departed.
Another case representing intuition as a premonition of death concerns an apparently healthy married woman in her early forties who was brought to the New York Neurological Institute because her family was disturbed by her calm but fixed idea that she was about to die. She seemed well and all examinations failed to reveal any basis for her ominous belief. While still under observation in the hospital, and for no reason that could be determined, she died in bed one afternoon. The family refused autopsy, which does not matter here, for the point is that whatever the cause of her death, her foreknowledge (precognition) supplied a more correct prognosis than that yielded by a thorough medical appraisal.
"Intuition, in its various forms, is one of those real or apparent types of natural phenomena bearing upon the possibility of mental activity apart from the body."
A somewhat similar case history: A medical colleague was called in to see an eighty-year old man, who appeared to be in good health. He agreed that he was well, but explained that on the previous day he had suddenly become convinced that he was about to die, and did not want his family upset by his dying without medical attendance. "You'll not find anything unusual, doctor," the patient said cheerfully, "I am like I have been for years."
Examination showed no cause for concern and the patient forbade the doctor to alarm the family by telling his story. The family called the doctor next day. Before dying very peacefully, the patient had called those nearby, announced that he was going to leave them, and promptly did so. No obvious source of his intuition had been discerned, and no reason for his immediate death was apparent before or after.
Accepting these cases as examples of true intuition - direct knowing - how can they be explained? If we assume that there was no sensory leakage, no minimal sensory cues, orthodox psychology cannot supply the answer, and is obliged to ignore or deny the occurrences, and to deride their possibility.
To Henri Bergson, an extremely acute thinker, this whole orthodox conception of the function of the brain is false. The brain is not a factory of ideas nor a storehouse of memories. According to Bergson, the brain is merely a motor organ, like the hand. It has sensory centers as well as motor centers; but they are all linked up with the physical environment, and the mind is something distinct. Memories are a part of the mind itself; memory is of the nature of spirit. Bergson believes there are no memory centers in the brain, that there is no such thing as a real loss of memory from a brain lesion, and that a pathological change in the brain simply prevents the memories from actualizing themselves. He says that what compels us to suppose that memories are preserved in the matter of the brain (either by being stored up in the cells or by being the molecular paths that perception has traced) is the refusal to recognize the existence of psychical states, to recognize the reality of what Bergson calls spirit.
R.H. Thouless and B.P. Wiesner, two psychologists at Cambridge University, England, seem to agree. In 1947 they published a hypothesis of mind with which to comprehend intuition and other Psychical phenomena. They do not believe in formulating hypotheses from a limited field of facts masqueraded as a total conception of mind or philosophy of life. Consequently, based on their observations of the full range of psychical phenomena to which our American parapsychologists do not seem to have exposed themselves, the Cambridge psychologists postulate the Hebrew symbol "shin" in their thesis to represent spirit or soul. Thouless and Wiesner say that a human spirit can act on, or be acted on by a brain. The human spirit acts on its own brain in all willed activity; it is acted on by a brain in the ordinary processes of perceiving. They further suggest that under certain circumstances one human spirit can act on or be acted upon by another person's brain in the same way as it normally and usually can act on or be acted upon by its own brain.
Dr. Laurence J. Bendit, a London psychiatrist, and his wife Phoebe Payne, one of England's most gifted clairvoyants, in their book The Psychic Sense, claim that the thinker or self behind thought and feeling uses a subtle electromagnetic psychic body - visible to clairvoyants - as well as a dense physical body. This psychic body is the vehicle for the mind and psychological activities, just as the physical body is the vehicle for material contacts and experiences. Whereas orthodox psychology assumes mind to be an activity of the physical structure of the brain without which consciousness and mental function cannot exist, Bendit and Payne are impressed by the accumulated evidence, as well as by their own observations, that this is not so. While the brain is the physical seat of the mind, the mind is a functioning entity which can exist and act independently apart from the brain. These authors say that there are many recorded instances of people who have watched their unconscious bodies from outside when the bridge of consciousness was broken by physical illness or shock, and by anesthetics or deep hypnotic trance. The physical body at such a time becomes an empty tenement with a vague caretaker keeping it just alive. Watching their unconscious bodies from outside, these people have found themselves complete in regard to all aspects of feeling and thinking. The authors cite two cases of this character.
The first is a case of gas anesthesia. A patient found himself standing in the far corner of the room looking at his body in the chair. He saw the anesthetist and the dentist at work. He heard and understood what they were saying to each other. He counted his teeth as they were extracted, although he felt no pain. He knew that he was alive and thinking, although separated in space from his body.
"When he returned to consciousness in his body," say Bendit and Payne, "he mystified the two men by telling them what they had said to each other while he was deep under the gas."
Their second case illustrates a more elaborate psychic activity when the psychic body was displaced by the shock of injury. A physician who was in an airplane which crashed on landing, saw the accident about to happen, felt the jolt, and found himself scrambling out of the wreckage. He saw that the pilot was pinned under the engine. Mechanics rushed up to help. The doctor tried two or three times to make them listen to his advice to lift the engine off the pilot. He failed to make any impression. It was as though the mechanics did not know the doctor was there. Then he saw another man bending over a prostrate body pouring something into its mouth. The physician suddenly came to with his mouth full of brandy. His comment on recovering was "I don't mind dying, because I have already died once and I know what it like."
Dr. Bendit and his wife describe the psychic body as being somewhat larger than the dense physical one, which is like a kernel of heavier matter within. They assume the psychic body to be an electromagnetic phenomenon, a field of force, with energy-matter of various densities. They believe that the dual quality of the field of force as energy-matter is the very thing which enables it to act as a bridge between the material world of dense matter and the immaterial world of mind.
"While the brain is the physical seat of the mind, the mind is a functioning entity which can exist and act independently apart from the brain."
Their belief makes another type of case interesting. "Wandering in the mind" is a common occurrence in persons whose brains are disabled by high fever, alcohol and drugs. It also occurs frequently in terminal illness for varying lengths of time preceding death. The glib explanation, "hallucinating," fails to illuminate the psychic processes involved. The following case is an example which might be duplicated by any experienced physician: E.J., an educated, cultured seventy-four-year-old widower, was admitted to a private room in Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City, on a Friday, seriously ill with arteriosclerotic heart disease. He was obsessively devoted to a daughter, aged about forty, who was with him at the hospital almost constantly until he died the following Tuesday. By Sunday he no longer knew who his daughter was, ignored her presence, and was unable to comprehend where he was. He did not identify his doctors or other visitors. He slept often, but at times his mind was alert and active. He would gaze at empty spaces in the room and behave as though he keenly saw familiar faces. He conversed with these visionary persons and seemed to hear them speak and understand what they said. He named some, and his daughter identified them as dead relatives and friends of former days.
A colleague has reported a brief, similar story to me. "I had a patient," the doctor wrote, "who was just having a stroke, sit up in bed' and call out to five people whom she saw at the foot of her bed. I took the list of names. When she got better, I asked her who these people were. She said, 'Why, they are all dead. They are my relatives.' "
Until recently, science has given religion little support for its belief in the immortality of the soul. However, physics has been developing new concepts in this area. Harold S. Burr and F.S. Northrup of Yale University, advanced the electrodynamics theory of life in 1935. Working with a specially sensitive instrument, a group of researchers, headed by Burr in the Neuroanatomy Department of Yale, found that all living matter is embedded in electrical fields which have a well defined structure extending beyond the physical bodies of the animals studied. At death the "living field" disappears, and the inorganic mater within disintegrates. Burr believes that this electric pattern is primary and, to a certain extent at least, controls the structure and functions of physical organism.
The intricate structure of the brain cannot be the result of its mere inorganic chemical constituents. It has long been known that the activities of the brain are manifested by waves which can be recorded on instruments. Memories persist through a long life, and therefore cannot reside in cellular tissue which is constantly altering. Memories must therefore, be associated with this "field of force" which organizes and stabilizes the matter of which the brain is built.
Although they are far ahead of the academic psychologist in their discoveries, most psychiatrists have ignored, until recently the inferences that naturally flow from the work in brain surgery, and the experimental and electrographic studies, which limit the brain cells essential for consciousness to a minute region in the thalamus. While psychiatry accepted the philosophic abstraction of an unconscious mind, no surmise as to its location has been hazarded, because anatomically there was no evidence. This is their problem: Where is man's unconscious mind which is also a vast repository of instinctive tendencies, hereditary influences, and personality determinants, to say nothing of the host of buried memories possible of recall? Can it be in the thalamus?
The small space occupied by the thalamus (less than one three-hundredth part of the brain) could not possibly contain the billions of sensory impressions preserved from birth onward, as well as carry out the functions of reasoning, feeling, and generally preserving personality. There is a strong possibility that the thalamus holds only the gateway for the ingress and egress of consciousness. Thus, William James' theory of the brain as an organ for the transmission of consciousness and mind, rather than its production, once again becomes important.
The thalamus, or the small gateway area within it at the "crossroads" of the brain - the "pacemaker" section - is but a transformer of electrical potential, a kind of musical conductor of the orchestra of electrical rhythms, and the conclusion is that mind has not been eradicated by anesthesia, hypnotic trance or sleep, alcohol, drug or fever intoxications, nor by the deliria associated with the terminal stage of certain illnesses. Drugs and other intoxicants merely prevent the mind from expressing itself through the brain.
The foundation for the materialistic view of mind has disappeared because no tissue seems to be necessary to preserve memory. Thus, the chief stumbling block to the acceptance of intuition has been removed.
Psychiatrists in the past have been accused of bitterly resenting the existence and validity of psychical phenomena such as intuition and its relatives. But times have changed. A poll of 2,510 diplomats of the American Board of Psychiatry and Neurology and members of the Association for Research in Nervous and Mental Disease, published in the Duke University Journal of Parapsychology in December 1948, showed that 68 per cent of the responding doctors believed that they should look into the truth and significance of these extrasensory and psychical happenings.
Psychiatrists alert to the implications of the advances in brain physiology are now ready to re-assess the import of such phenomena reported as occurring spontaneously in all parts of the globe. Only an exploration and some comprehension of these phenomena will throw light on mental processes which lie now in the most pitchy blackness. Although half our hospital beds are occupied by mentally sick persons, only one-sixtieth of current research funds is devoted to psychiatric problems. Yet, despite this lack of funds, the new neurophysiology now indicates the possibility that the phenomena of intuition will be understood, so that all may speak freely of their intuitions, hunches and premonitions without fear of being regarded queer or naive.
This article is reprinted from the May, 1950 issue of Tomorrow magazine, with permission of Garrett Publications.
The Law of Suggestion. By Santanelli. The Pyramid Press, West Virginia. 176pp. $5.00. Available from TAT Book Service.
I recently saw a psychiatrist being interviewed on television about a patient who had been given a leave from the hospital and who had promptly gone to murder his former wife. In response to questioning about the inability of his doctors to predict and prevent such anti-social behavior, especially in light of the ample warning that had been given about the poor man's homicidal obsession, the speaker quickly admitted that, "Like everyone else, psychiatrists cannot read minds."
Of course not. To the good doctor, reading minds would be absurdly miraculous, and he is content to note and describe patterns of behavior, give them names, and then prescribe a chemical "cure." Unfortunately, this is what we have come to expect from the one profession that claims expertise in the diagnosis and treatment of mental illness - technical mastery of terminology and pharmaceuticals, with no more real insight into human nature and the human mind than a bus driver or a salesman.
We should not be so easily satisfied, because in 1902 a stage hypnotist, J.H. Loryea, who performed and wrote under the name "Santanelli," published a book which contained a complete theory of how the human mind works, how one can understand another person's problems, and how to help a person solve his problems. The theories described by Santanelli in The Law of Suggestion developed directly out of his work in hypnosis, a practical training in which he observed the suggestibility of thousands of subjects.
Santanelli's premise, based upon his observation, is that man is a machine, "his every thought and action forced, possessing no will power, and in no way responsible for his actions." A man's thoughts are forced on him by his environment; thus, he is ruled by suggestion. For Santanelli, this idea is not fatalistic but the seed of hope that people might, by understanding their own suggestibility, learn to control the environment that controls them. Thus, his basic theory provides not only an explanation of psychology, but it also leads to certain sociological proposals that seem sensible because they flow from a sound understanding of human nature rather than from political considerations.
One of the most important elements of the environment is the part you put in your mouth, and Santanelli was blunt in his condemnation of overeating because of its effect on the mind. He was especially spirited in his attacks on the consumption of pork: "The hog is a scavenger, living on filth and transforming filth into its body, which is simply a concentrated form of filth... I have given health to many families by causing them to cut pork and lard from their bills of fare. All fat is filth... I have yet to meet a confirmed pork-eater with an active mentality." Santanelli, in fact, was a vegetarian for several years, but returned to meat-eating because he felt that he needed the more concentrated energy found in meat in order to compete in a highly energetic society.
The real meat in The Power of Suggestion is the long section on hypnosis, in which Santanelli explains how it works and - invaluably - how to do it. Many books have been published on the subject, but most use obscurity to conceal the author's basic ignorance about his subject. Santanelli has no need of obscurity. Hypnosis, he says, is a simulated sleep, the subject having the thought of sleep. Only the voice of the operator can change that thought of sleep the subject is detached from his physical environment, and the operator creates an environment which creates suggestions. These suggestions, in turn, cause the subject to have thoughts which are not supported by physical reality: for example, the subject holding a broom who thinks that he is playing the guitar. The instructions on how to hypnotize are the most complete and detailed to be found anywhere, and a person with sufficient determination (and a willing subject) can teach himself how to hypnotize using this book.
Some parts of The Law of Suggestion are dated and a few of Santanelli's opinions seem, according to modern consensus to be clearly wrong, such as his belief that the male sperm is a mere fertilizer of the egg and that the child inherits nothing from the father. It would be a serious mistake to view this book as no more than a quaint antiquity because of these factors. Santanelli applied himself intensely and with great dedication to an unusual profession. Not only did he entertain with hypnosis from Maine to Arkansas to Wisconsin, but he used it to counsel and to heal and from this work he fashioned a clear picture of the human mind that has not been equaled by Freud or any of his followers in its combination of simplicity, profundity and practicality.
Sword of Wisdom. By Ithell Colquhoun. G.P. Putnam's Sons, New York. 307pp. $5.00. Available from TAT Book Service.
Sword of Wisdom is a very involving book about the inner workings of, and famous personalities surrounding, the almost mythical Golden Dawn. The Magical Order of the Golden Dawn was founded by MacGregor and Moina Mathers in the 1880's. It has been the source of more magical and esoteric information available in the last 100 years than any other organization, except perhaps The Theosophical Society. Its membership included such esoteric authorities as Dion Fortune, A.E. Waite, Israel Regardie and Aleister Crowley, as well as the poet W.B. Yeats. Many of the magical groups practicing today can trace their roots directly to the Golden Dawn as it spawned dozens of dissident groups.
MacGregor Mathers was of eccentric character yet he had supreme insight into the workings of magical evocation and the subtler levels of psychology. Mathers' The Kabbalah Unveiled is widely acknowledged as the most valuable study of the Hebrew Kabbalah. Mathers was also Aleister Crowley's mentor before Crowley became dissatisfied with him and created his own concoction of tantricism and magic. Colquhoun suggests that Crowley may have later become obsessed by disregarding the purifications Mathers thought necessary for all magical rites. This was apparently one of their differences of opinion. Crowley also later published as his own some manuscripts he had received from Mathers. Mathers was very impractical in worldly manners. He lived a hand-to-mouth existence most of his life and often gave his trust where it was not due.
Mathers claimed to get his esoteric information from certain "Secret Chiefs" with whom he was in contact on the inner realms.
[Illustration: Two cards from the tarot deck designed by A.E. Waite, a member of Golden Dawn.]
These Secret Chiefs were, like H.P. Blavatsky's Mahatmas, living masters who could maintain contact with persons on a psychic level. Although the direct manner is not revealed, Mathers maintained contact with these masters through the clairvoyant aid of his wife, Moina. Many persons claim to be in contact with "astral masters" of some nature but most of these claims seem to be delusions rather than actuality. The determinant is the quality of information received from these masters. Both Blavatsky and Mathers received very original and astute communications, which would tend to validate their claims. (Many of Mathers' manuscripts are to be found in The Golden Dawn by Israel Regardie.) Another explanation of the Secret Chiefs is that Mathers was in contact with his inner "daemon" or higher self through which he had direct contact with such information. Occultists claim that one can penetrate to a level of mind in which one has direct contact with any information he may desire. It is a level containing the collective knowledge of mankind.
Colquhoun gives short biographies of nearly twenty different persons connected with the Golden Dawn. It is intriguing reading for a person interested in Esoterica because one can easily empathize with the inner efforts of these past spiritual seekers. Ithell Colquhoun writes in an intimate and sympathetic style that could only come from the pen of a woman. She brings scholars and famous personalities down to earth where one can see their human side. She describes the mysterious death of Dion Fortune (from a toothache) and how the pedantic scholar A.E. Waite was so dependent on his housekeeper that he would have to inquire of her whether he liked mustard or not.
Colquhoun is an insider writing about the magical scene in Europe over the past one hundred years. She doesn't admit to being seriously involved with any magical society, yet she is obviously writing about a subject very close to her heart. Magic commonly raises the image of hocus-pocus and charlatanry. There is a real magic, however, and this is exemplified in Macgregor Mathers and the Golden Dawn. Real magic is an intense method mysterious spiritual becoming and investigation. Its methods are mysterious and cannot be easily and logically "pinned down." Many of the second and third generation dissident groups of the Golden Dawn have deteriorated into fronts for scams and grandiose pretenders but Colquhoun's study of the original Golden Dawn portrays a truly authentic magical society.
Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg. By Joseph Chilton Pearce. Julian Press, New York, 173pp. $3.50. Available from TAT Book Service.
Exploring the Crack in the Cosmic Egg is Joseph Pearce's sequel to his widely proclaimed The Crack in the Cosmic Egg. In this book Pearce expounds further on his revolutionary ideas and gives us additional insights on the way we structure our reality through language and belief. Pearce delineates how children are progressively "indoctrinated" into our world-view and gives hints that one can temporarily escape this conditioning and explore the realm of the "primary process" mode of consciousness with which we are all born.
According to Pearce, the primary process is the substratum on which our ego-consciousness is based. The full human being can exist alternately in ego-consciousness or in the realm of the ever wondrous primary process. The ego-consciousness is individualized while, to a great degree, we all share in the primary process mode of consciousness. This aspect of our consciousness knows many things of which we are not normally aware, but can learn to be. It is the realm of mystic experience, ESP and many puzzling abilities. In the primary process we have assurance of our "being," and death becomes meaningless because we participate in something which is more than individual. In ego-consciousness we are constantly goaded and plagued by the fear of death which always disguises itself under one wrap or another. These disguises may be the need for social acceptance, business success or even that we "smell bad" or need "brighter teeth."
Pearce says that we live in a second-hand reality. What we believe about the world we project onto the world. Our world is in our own heads much more than it is "out there." What is actually "out there" is something which we are seldom in contact with except in what are termed "altered states of consciousness." What we believe has a formative effect on our perceived reality. The Balinese fire-walker can enter a state of mind in which he believes it is possible not to be burned when walking across hot coals - thus, he is successful in not being burned when walking across fire. This is impossible when one is in the world-view that maintains that fire burns. This ability to enter into another belief about the nature of the world Pearce calls "reversibility thinking." Many occultists would label as reversibility thinking what has been called Magic for thousands of years. It is the ability to change reality by entering an alternate state of belief and assurance.
Pearce tries to "strip away the hope that binds us to culture." Culture and ego-consciousness operate on this hope. There is always the hope and ambition that business success, a new car, new home or better relations with other people will quench forever our vague anxieties. The truth is that nothing is sufficient. Nothing within culture and ego-consciousness can eradicate anxiety and the fear of death. These apprehensions are inherent in the very nature of the ego and of culture. Pearce says that while culture and ego-consciousness are necessary, they form only half of our full being. In our other mode of consciousness - the primary process - is to be found the solution to the anxiety of existence.
Magic, White and Black. By Franz Hartmann, M.D. 298pp. $4.00. Available from TAT Book Service.
I first read Magic, White and Black several years ago and was nearly entranced through my first reading. So many important questions I had speculated about were explained by Hartmann with great clarity. Magic, White and Black seems to be an extract of the most valuable constituents of scores of esoteric philosophies and books. Hartmann has explored man's psychology, pondered life's meaning and delivered his discoveries with wonderful sense and lucidity.
This is actually a book on Magick rather than magic. Magick is the study of man's inner psychology and the means by which he can realize his highest achievement - union with God or the Absolute. Magic without the final "k" deals with sorcery and minor manipulation of the forces of nature to achieve certain ends. Hartmann avoids this type of magic as an inferior endeavor and concentrates on the occult psychology of man, his purpose and meaning. Occult means "hidden" and the psychology Hartmann deals with is the hidden and invisible operations of human desire, emotions, will and imagination. Hartmann explains how, through the interaction of these faculties, man can ascend toward "godhood" or, conversely, degenerate into black magic. He gives warnings and advice that can be infinitely helpful to the aspirant on a spiritual path.
[Illustration: The Great Symbol of Solomon]]
Magic, White and Black is the only book I am aware of that deals adequately with the concept of elementals or psychic parasites that are developed through various habits. Hartmann describes the formation of these "psychic ticks" and the means to rid oneself of the irritation. This is only one of the subjects he touches upon that are treated in few other books. He discusses the operations of the mass or "mob-mind," psychic atmospheres, "mental epidemics," psychometry, the "formula for creation," the "Brothers of the Shadow," the true nature of alchemy, and many other arcane topics. One of the most interesting areas touched upon is "direct mental perception." Hartmann maintains that there is a means to communicate with another person that makes no use of language. There is possible a direct mental contact between people that bypasses the senses and that can communicate more in only a moment than can ever be communicated using words. He writes:
"If we want to know the true character of the man, we must be able to realise the nature of his character in ourselves. We may look into his eyes, and when soul speaks to soul, the two will enter into conscious relation with each other, and there will be no deception possible. This recognition of the truth by direct perception is one of the faculties which at the present state of evolution are not yet fully developed in man."
Hartmann says that this direct mind perception is a sixth sense that is developed naturally in some and can be developed through effort by others. The eyes see only the surface of an object or person but by direct mind perception a person can come into contact with the very "soul" of a person or thing. It is much more inclusive than the normal senses because one can get the "whole picture" all at once. A very important aspect of this sixth sense concerns the betterment of human relations. It is impossible to dislike someone once you have had a peek at his soul and thus understand him.
Another topic Hartmann comments on extensively is spiritualism and mediumship. He seems to possess a dim view of it, or at least believes spiritualists are naive concerning the forces they are invoking. He holds that "spirits" at mediumistic sittings are not actually the spirits of the departed but their "astral shells," which is something quite different. When a person dies, his astral "shell" begins to slowly decompose on the astral level just as his physical body or "shell" begins to decompose on the physical level. The astral shell is no more the real person than his physical shell is. The real part of the person, his spirit, ascends to a superior dimension suitable to its nature while the astral shell hovers about the earth until it decomposes. The astral shell contains the machine-like remnants of the person's memory and personality; it is not truly a living thing. A spiritualistic sitting will attract one of these shells, and the shell - by using the life energy of the sitters - can produce a similarity to real life and consciousness by using the medium's voice and body. Hartmann says that the medium puts herself in real danger by allowing astral entities to use her body in this manner. She must cultivate a passiveness to be influenced by them and by developing this passiveness she eventually makes herself liable to obsession. It is a fact that a sizable portion of mediums become alcoholics or waste away by some other sickness.
Hartmann differentiates man's personality from his character. He sees the personality as a transitory and superficial thing which disappears with the death of the body, while the character is permanent and carried into another incarnation. The character is formed of a person's deepest knowledge and understanding. The weightiest lessons learned during life are imbedded in the character and carried into the next lifetime. The changes to the personality may only be superficial while changes to character embody true spiritual becoming which can never be lost. Reincarnation is a basic theme in Hartmann's philosophy and each person is seen on a journey of becoming until he achieves the ultimate realization. Actually, although every person is on a path of progressive becoming, this final realization can occur at any time.
A major reason why Magic, White and Black is such a valuable book is because it is so eminently practical. Most books on esotericism deal with speculation and abstract philosophy while Hartmann has concentrated on the basic of how a person can actually begin to change. It is written for those who are ready to actually make changes in themselves rather than just read about them. The basic premise behind Hartmann's system is that of sublimating the "low" to the "high." He says that it is possible to transmute lower animal and negative qualities into a more "god-like," approaching superhuman, character. This is not an easy task by any means. It is as difficult as the resulting rewards are valuable. Hartmann explains the true nature of Love or self-surrender in this process, he describes the necessary balance between "heart" and "head," and he gives insight into other equally important laws governing self-change. Hartmann describes a science of becoming and removes the unnecessary mysteries from mysticism. Magic, White and Black is an esoteric classic that was published nearly eighty years ago; its value is such that it will undoubtedly be a necessary handbook for the esoteric student eighty years hence.
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