Saturday, May 16, 2020

Are We More Than Ripples In The Fine Structure Of SpaceTime Geometry?


PCOTG | The other day, at a meeting here, the following lines were read: "Let us take the Sermon on the Mount and try to understand what it means. As was said before, in the last talk, "religion"—as it is called—that is, as the psychological ideas taught by Christ about the individual evolution of man and his transformation into a new man are usually called—is concerned with the development of essence after personality has been formed. A man in whom a rich personality has been formed by experience, education and interests, is a "rich man" in personality. But essence remains poor. For it to develop, personality must become passive." This was not understood, but it is very important that everyone in the work should understand what this paragraph means. It means that religion in the real sense—and we only know Christianity  ourselves—refers to the third stage of a man, the making of personality passive so that essence can grow. I must repeat again that the inner meaning of the Gospels has nothing to do with life. Their teaching starts at the point where personality has been formed already in a man and refers to this third stage of possible development. A man must first of all become developed as regards personality by the action of life.

This work is sometimes called a second education. It is for those who are looking for a second education. The first education is an education that life gives us; and this is absolutely necessary. The better a person is educated by means of life, the more he learns, the more intelligent he is, the more experienced he is, the more he knows about people, and about affairs, the more he knows about manners, the better he can express himself, the more he is able to use the different sides of life, the
better for him. This is the first education. This forms personality. We have said before that man consists of different centres and each of these has different parts; these centres and parts should be well furnished and the better furnished they are with inscriptions on rolls, the better forhim.

But a point comes in a man's development where, as was said before, he feels empty, and it is at this stage that the teaching of the Gospels and all this work comes in. I do not know whether any of you have ever thought about this very deeply. But it is quite possible that some of you who have done your duty in life often wonder what it is exactly you are doing, what the meaning of it all is. Speaking in this personal way for a moment I would like to ask you this question: Do you think that life and the meanings that it affords us are enough and have you felt that in some way life does not quite give you what you expected?

I am not saying that life is meaningless; it has obviously many meanings. But have any of you come to the point of feeling a certain meaninglessness even in those interests that you follow and try to hold on to? Why I am saying this is because if life afforded us our full meaning then there would be no point, in fact, no meaning, either in what the Gospels talk about or in what this system talks about. If you are quite content with the meanings that life affords, quite selfsatisfied, then there is no point in trying to understand what this system teaches, and, let me add, there is no point in your trying to understand what Christ's teaching really means. Now, if man were nothing but a well-formed personality and this were his end, then we might very well believe in all those doctrines of humanitarianism and other scientific ideas that say that man is nothing but a creature turned towards external life and having to adapt himself as intelligently as possible towards it. But if you have followed what has been said in this letter about the idea of man in this system you will see that the development of personality is merely a stage, and an absolutely necessary stage, towards a further stage.

It is directly comparable with the formation of a mass of food round a seed, as in the case of a nut. The nut has an essential part in it—namely, the seed itself that can grow—but it cannot grow until it is surrounded by a mass of nourishing material, just as an egg has a seed in it surrounded by a mass of yolk, and so on. Take the latter example: how can a chicken grow unless it has all the substances surrounding it for it to feed on? And remember that it grows inside the egg-shell and finally emerges a complete chicken and this complete chicken has been made out of the substances that the living germ has attacked and eaten. Now the fate of acorns is one thing, but the fate of oak-trees is a different thing, and, as was said, man surrounded by personality resembles an acorn and suffers, as it were, the same fate as the acorn, unless he begins to grow, and growth in a man corresponds to what we are calling the third stage in a man after personality has been formed round essence. If we take man at this second stage where essence is surrounded by personality he is just like an acorn, maybe a larger or a smaller acorn, but nothing but an acorn. He is perhaps very important; he has learnt many things; he feels he knows; he is, in short, full of personality, and that is his level, and at that level he suffers, not really a proper human fate, but the fate of an undeveloped organism, the fate of a person who is not yet fully-grown, just as an acorn is not a fully-grown tree. And unless we understand very clearly about this third stage—namely, the development of an acorn into a tree by its living essence or seed feeding on the substances formed round it—we shall never understand, as I said before, what this work is about, nor shall we understand what the Gospels are about.