Thus far, we have discussed two of the four attitudes of the human predicament. Characteristics of religions and methods of spiritual development. The attitudes of repentance and of resignation. Now let me repeat that the premise of this whole discussion the first premise is that existence is a game. In the in all senses of that word the best sense and the worst senses. That it’s a pattern of dancing. The principle of which is now you see it now you don’t. Or hide and seek or lost and found. And that we, as members of Western culture in the twentieth century, inherit a way of playing this game, where even we pretend. That we are each one of us an isolated individual. Who comes into the world as a stranger. We do not know in the ordinary course of events, that that is not true. And that each one of us is a way in which the whole fullness of ultimate reality pretends that gets lost. In an individual life situation and endures the adventures of pain and death. And endures all the critical efforts and decisions connected with practical and moral problems. The fact that this is the case is of course the content of certain kinds of experience which are extraordinary. That means simply, not necessarily rare, but outside the usual order of things.
The types of experience we call cosmic Consciousness, mystical vision and so on. Where in sometimes as the result of following a yoga but sometimes simply as a consequence of a spontaneous change of gears you might almost call it, inside the brain. Or some anomaly of switching, we get let into the secret. And in such a moment a person feels that the scales had dropped from his eyes. And that he was awakened to the true state of affairs. That we do not know this to be the case in the ordinary way, is because we are…you could say in a certain sense of the word, hypnotized. In the sense of the word that is applicable to the technique of a stage magician. Almost all stage magic consists in misdirection of attention. So that the magician makes you watch something that will distract your attention from the trick he’s going to pull on you. And we are almost all distracted in just such a way. Because we have so specialized in the powers and properties of conscious attention to things that we have identified our very selves with that faculty alone. We are therefore unaware of a much more inclusive and diffuse kind of awareness, which underlies the possibility of conscious attention. And which characterizes every single nerve end in our bodies. We screen out, that is to say, we pay no attention to, most of the information or to use electronic terms input that our organism receives. It is possible however, to,as I say, slip switches so that we become aware of the inputs. I won’t say of the total in part because that would be shattering. But we’ve become aware of a great deal more than we ordinarily notice, and it is in those moments that the experiences of cosmic consciousness occur. Because it is in those moments that we become aware of the fact that what is inside your skin goes together with what is outside your skin in just the same way as your head go together with your feet. Though the two..obviously, it’s physically impossible for your inside of them to exist apart from the outside universe. And then you would just simply wouldn’t have an air to breathe for one thing. The simplest possible case of it but it’s far more complexly related than that. And the going together of these two worlds constitutes. A Unified Field of process of being. And we are not ordinarily aware of it because of the tricks of the game of pretending that we are the inside of the skin only.
So then, under the conditions of this game. And I’m not saying it’s a bad game, that we shouldn’t play this game. I’m only pointing out that it is a game. And that if sets up in other words all game sets up it sets up some formal rules. But these formal rules of the game should not be identified with the laws of nature or with the state of affairs of reality. There the rules of games are conventions. That is to say, agreements about how we are going to carry out a certain operation like the rules of dancing or waltz are game rules. So also are the rules of marriage, of political elections, of how we measure time and distance. And all sorts of things there are conventions. And convention is a word that translates exactly one of the meanings of the Sanskrit term Maya. Which is the all inclusive word that the Hindus and Buddhists use for the world illusion. It is therefore a convention to think of nature as divided into separate things and separate events. That is a convention that corresponds exactly to the mathematical operation of the calculus whereby a curve is measured by pretending that it is a discontinuous a series of points or of tiny tiny straight lines. It isn’t so, the curve is continuous, but by pretending that it could be a series of point-instances we can count them, work out their positions in reference to some kind of a standard scale. And so we get a measurement of the curve. Just as one does that in mathematics so in everyday life, we count every human organism as a thing-unit. And we count all kinds of things as a thing unit but sometimes a child will surprise you by asking you for the name of something which you never thought I was a thing.
We don’t for example have a word which specifies the inside of curved surfaces like the inside of a part. Of the inside of a pipe. Or the inside of a a tin can. We don’t have a word that specifies dries space. Or a dry surface [sic]. Now, other languages have words for those because to those people for some reason or other this concept is important. Aztec language has one word which covers rain. Ice hail snow. Whereas the Eskimos have five words to differentiate different kinds of snow alone. So our child will often ask about something and say What is that? And the parent is not clear what that signifies. And it is because you see things and events are the units of experience. And they are those parts of experience that we notice. And when you’ve noticed something, you apply to it a notation. You notice by making notations and notations are words, numbers and such symbols as musical notes, or algebraic signs, or astronomical symbols. Or whatever. It is a way of dividing up the world, so as to be able to discuss it with each other. And so to control our environment. But don’t be deceived by noticing and notation. The world in which we live is not really divided. It’s like taking a sieve and passing it through water. The wires of course cleave the water, but the water doesn’t stay neatly sliced into the square lengths you see, as if it were something like being on the water close again and so in the same way although the intellect constantly slices the world into units the world. Well the slice that does not mean that the real state of the world is something like bean curve or junket. Completely formless. It means that the world is full of the just those various forms that we see. But it’s real of a lot more forms than we see.
First of all, the waveband upon which our senses are responsive to, the electrical going around outside our skin, is quite narrow. And if we had a wider. Range of sensitivity let’s imagine that we had some additional sense organs. That were as different from the five that we have, as sight is different from hearing. Then we should be aware of all kinds of connections and phenomena that we don’t see in the ordinary way but even with the eye out without the addition of extra senses of that time it is possible to increase human awareness. So that we can see all kinds of things that we ordinarily ignore. The simplest example of this is that when we look at other people’s faces, we see the human face in a formalized way. We see faces as painters and beauticians have taught us to see them. There are many characteristics of the human face that we block. Now supposing you are a so-called white caucasian. You are supposed to have you see a very very pinkish smooth skin. Well you don’t have anything of the kind. You have a highly differentiated many colored blotchy skin. Only if you put on heavy makeup like a pancake makeup of course you reduce the color variations. But even then, your face moves constantly through an interplay of lights that are altering all the time. And we choose, unless you are a painter or a photographer who is trained to look at these details, you ordinarily ignore them altogether. Our faces have all kinds of hairs on them and pimples and little funny jiggles and it’s all there. Only we don’t consider that those details are significant. And so we screen them out of everyday consciousness.
So this Maya, this calculus of dividing up reality into units which are presumed to be disconnected, but somehow related to each other in more or less the same way as billiard balls, that interact by banging each other around, becomes the commonsensical view of the world. And is, just a convention and nothing more. Now in that circumstance, in the circumstance of the person, the human being feeling lonely. And feeling that he confronts an alien world, one of the possible tactics and the games that he can play is the highly aggressive game of dominating the environment by the power of His will. And this game is what I’ve indicated here by the word rebellion. Now, I’m using that word in a very loose and inclusive sense to cover not only formal rebellion, that is to say, the criminal way of life. But also, even official rebellion. That is to say, a US Marine sergeant might represent in some way an official rebel, since his attitude, his whole way of life, is based on guts. And the exile Taishan the gutsy attitude seems. Of the strong arm of muscle of brawn as against brain. And you can carry this attitude to such an extreme. That it can become a way of realisation just in the same way as these others repentance resignation and I which will see, reincarnation.
In a certain sense, Jean Genet is an example of the rebels. Are Big over such as put forward the view that Genet is a Holy Criminal. And this idea has had great popularity in modern times in France. And is part of the mystique of criminal young people in the United States. And it has to be understood, because otherwise, one doesn’t really deal with it. To be, in other words, delivered wrong the egocentric predicament by carrying egocentricity to its extreme. Now, first of all. The idea that we are egos, although I have described it as a convention, and as something that is not fundamentally so. Nevertheless, the idea that we are egos does exist. There was a faith healer of deal who said although pain is not real when the point of the pin goes into my skin I dislike what I fancy I feel. But you see, the fancy is there. Little the same way the imagination. The illusion the Maya, that we are separate egos is something that does exist. And that fact, that our fancy is so is not a bad thing. It is a form of game. If you would imagine life. As a dump, a choreographic pattern. You might say that the imagination of being an ego is a very far out curlicue. You know how people do from design so you get. A front like this. And I want to hear. Another one here. And so. And then say Well now come on let’s go. In the smaller one, drawing the tendrils on the vine and then in the bidding temple come out of the other. Three and they make it more complicated and more interesting. And so, in that in that way. The development of the sensation of the ego is a very far out curlicue on the extremities of life.
So, the fact that you and I imagine we’re egos, is the same sort of thing as you will observe in any complex pattern. Of crystals. Or surface tensions in foam, or anything like that. It is very very natural. And so, there is then a legitimate way of following this fancy through to its logical conclusion. The yoga of egocentricity. This is a very difficult yoga. For many people to follow. Because we’ve been brought up so as not to have the courage of our convictions about. To be a consistently egotist. Perhaps Nietzche was a great example our philosophy. To be a consistent egotist requires a tremendous amount of nerve. Because everybody is trying to put you down. And say to you you should be unselfish. You should go. Operates with us and that requires doing things that you may not not like to do but it does for the common good that you should do these things. But the difficulty about all this is, that I’m talking about a quite superficial level of this descent. I’m talking about here. When people pretend to be unselfish and cooperative, they confuse others horribly. If you give somebody else the impression that you’re going to be their loyal friend and you’re going to really knock yourself out for them, and they rely on you to do that and then you let them down because that wasn’t really what you meant to do you create a great deal of trouble.
So in marriage, if you have vowed to be faithful and constant to some girl in a moment of intense passion. And then after a while your affections cool off. And you lead her to believe that you will always be reliable and faithful, there’s an awful crash coming. So it’s terribly important to be emotionally honest. It’s very difficult, because we don’t always know what our emotions are. But to say to someone that I will love you forever and ever is a very very serious dishonesty and deception. So in the same way, to give the impression to all those around you in your society your community. That you will put the community before yourself can be relied upon to do this is a dangerous thing to do. You may have the fullest intention of carrying this out. But I find in practical relationships that I am much more comfortable with people who tell me frankly what their feelings are. In other words if I’m not welcome, because they’ve got other business to do and they’re all tied up with things it’s much better that a person would say I’m sorry but I don’t feel in time to see anybody right now I’m busy and so on. Then I can rely upon that person that when they tell me you are welcome that I really am. One of my best friends is a woman who is totally frank and if she is even if for purely irrational reasons she doesn’t want to come along with something or do something she just says I don’t feel like it. And so we understand each other perfectly everybody understands her. Because then they know when she says Please come, that she really means it.
So, a proper egocentricity. If you feel like an ego, you see, is essential in good human relations. And to be guided by your real wishes as far as you can make them out know what they are, is on the whole. A safer bet in human relations than to be guided by abstract principles. Now the abstract principles are all very well, and we should know what an ideal pattern of human behavior might be. One has to keep as it were one’s eye on that. To see if you like it. You see, the game of existence is not isn’t this not very simple. If I could say you know rely entirely on your feelings act on impulse never do anything except what you would really want to do. It isn’t that that would be oversimplification. Because, among the things that most of us really want to do there is a certain concession we would like to make to an ideal pattern. So sometimes when a person does do something which is an act of self-sacrifice. Or described as such it really is something he wants to do somebody gives away some of his the money. [He] doesn’t do it because this is a sacrifice and a masochistic spirit that the cars go to heaven I would really like to see what would happen when this guy gets the money. What fun to see this enterprise stuff even if I don’t get anything back from an. Hour of the entertainment.
So, an ideal pattern of how human relations might be is always something to be worked out thought about and kept in mind. For we are all as always possible we might want to that way. But basically, to do what you really want to do is a more secure gamble than pretending all the time about a lot of oughts and shoulds. A friend of mine with a very brilliant mathematician once told a story that in the beginning of the ages. God was making up a dictionary of all the words that would be used in language. And one day he visited the Archangel Gabriel, and they left the Dixie dictionary in the taxi. And while he was in with talking to Gabriel the devil got into the taxi and rode into the dictionary to work. Out and should.
Well, as a result then our pretenses. Of not being honest about what we want. Untold confusion arises. You know the proverb. Be very careful of what you desire. You may get it. But we live in a culture, where the almost the whole economy depends upon the creation of artificial desires. Upon giving you desires the two. Might never have had in the ordinary way. And therefore thinking that you want that simply aren’t want to bore. A lot of people for example, when they feel miserable, depressed, simply go out shopping. Because somehow purchasing something, seems to be a lot of fulfillment of life. I mean I know of a lot of a wives whose husbands are engaged in business and leave them alone most of the day when there’s nothing to do except they regularly go and go shopping. And they shop every day as if it was something I had to do every day like having breakfast. And of course, that keeps things buzzing and. Critics are only going to ask. If it means you’re misinterpret your own feelings. And so there’s always after a shopping spree a sense of letdown. Same thing happens every Christmas Day with children. You know that toys are increasingly phony. They are a method of propitiating children. I was saying yesterday about the educational system being a method of preventing children from growing up too fast so that they won’t come on the labor market in one huge blotch.
So in the same way, children who are not allowed to participate in human activities such as cooking and hunting and so on have to be given so many activities. Toy cooking stoves dolls dolls houses, guns, anything, but the real thing so that they will be kept amused and kept out of the way. Because any real child you know, likes to play with pots and pans and all the things that the adults use and are doing. But toys prevent them from doing that. Now then, what happens is the children are given an immense artificial desire to tolerate. A toy shop seems paradox. When on Christmas Day, the suitable tree in all the fills all in all the stuff and package is wonderfully wrapped you know the wrappings are better than the content. More beautiful. They get all these things out and the room is to room with guns and buses and dolls and all that stuff by four o’clock in the afternoon they are screaming frantic. Because actually the whole thing was a terrible letdown. And that happens again and again, but that happens to the other up to. The outside merely repeating for the children what they’re doing they’re acquiring all this kind of pretentious junk and thinking that’s the answer and it’s a let down. Because they didn’t find out that they don’t really want it and they don’t find out what they do really. Because everybody has to pretend that it’s good to work for what you don’t want. So that’s the initial difficulty, that is the mere Guardian dog at the gate on this part of the city. But so there I mean just simply an initial step here is to be honest with yourself. And to be unashamedly eager to. See I like people. Who are supposing they have a certain accomplishment don’t be blushing Violet about it, but say I can do that. I know how to do that and I do it well and I can exact therefore a fair price for it. I feel happy with a person like that. Especially if he’s someone say like a doctor. I show him the know that he is good at is job. And if he is confident about it like that and says as I know what to do then I have that essential faith in him which everybody has to have in their doctor in order to be able to be healed. And but we say the community says to a person who does that you are immodest. You are too big for your boots, you’ve got a swelled head. Now, a person has a swelled head, and when his opinion of his accomplishments is excessive. The when a person’s accomplishments are good he ought to be proud of them. And be delighted that he can do it so well everybody says if you can dance well don’t you love to do it. Are you a show-off? Yes, you are a show off you know but but build a show off please please like to see it but. This is part of the willies into why we all go around and grab colors. Nothing so off a meter can pick. You know kind of a clergy look to you. [laughing]
Because you see, people have thought in the past. If you’ll show off, the enemy It will notice you. So a chameleon disappears into the background. And doesn’t show off, so that the birds or whatever want to eat that chameleon won’t notice it. But when you live in a reasonably protected community as we do, we are still carrying over from the past all kinds of camouflage habits, which really aren’t necessary anymore you can’t branch out a little. When it’s extraordinary that our society doesn’t really tolerate eccentricity. Even though it was based on what it thought was rugged individual. But you see, that’s because we are half hearted about individuals. And if you are going to go the way of the ego you must go it’s far away. That was true of all these ways. If you’re going to chop off somebody’s head. And that really is the decision somehow or other it’s necessary, you’ve got to do it with determination. For a half chopped off head is very bad. To use a blunt axe. This is the philosophy underline Bushido which is the Japanese philosophy of chivalry based on Zen, where they decided that if there are going to be soldiers and if there is going to be fighting at all then it must be done supremely well. And if you’re going to fight supremely well, you’ve got to have a sword like a razor. You know a Japanese sword is a letter that literally every razor. And you’ve got to know how to go on to have what we call follow through. So the whole notion of Bushido swordsmanship is based unhesitating, going ahead, going ahead. It’s called in Chinese Mo chir Chu. Are going straight ahead-ness. Which is an added field of never pausing if for example if you drive a car on a freeway here you have to have a little mo chi chu. You mustn’t hesitate. It’s true, even more true driving a car in the room. Where these Italian drivers fast but very subtle. And there are tremendously aware of each other much more so than here the worst drivers are in England but. In Rome this is very fast beat driving but that instantly responsive and you just have to go ahead and get into the traffic and. That’s the only safety that is if you hesitate and fiddle around and so on you’re done for. So this is absolutely the capitation. With sudden swift speed. If the, what you’re going to do is wrong do it well. As Luther put it check out a fortitude if you’re going to sin make it a good one if you’re going to make a mistake make it a good one. But don’t nimble mountable them suffer them as they say and then. Walk or stand as you will but whatever you do don’t wobble. Them. So that realization is about here. You know, we have the first one there we’re about here now.
Now then, keep on going, when in the Divine Comedy, Dante accompanied by virtue of his guide explore how. They pass through a gate which says All Hope Abandon. You who enter here. You never never get out. That means you can’t retrieve your step. There is a way out. If you have to go down to the bottom. And they. Finally come to the place where Satan himself is encased in ice, brooding over a new vast field of ice. And gnawing on Judas and Brutus and someone else Cassius the great traitors. And our very is utterly malignant, and every now and then his bat-like wings close together and open those together open. Now about those wings are the symbol of the active door. The active door in all mythologies in some way or other and it is. The gate through which. In passing you go through the critical moment of initiation. And to get through the active draw. You’ve got to go without hesitation, because if you hesitate you’re too late. It crushes you. Jason assailing the Argo has to go through the simplicity of the clashing rocks but this use has to get between skill and character. In the, one of the Arthurian legends …is it Sir Gawain and the Green Knight? I forget. but there’s somebody who has to charges cost. Across the drawbridge and into the park colors. And just as he gets in the park colors crashes down and takes up the rear end of his fall. He’s got it. All sorts of stories like that so the wings of the devil think this is it they have to get quickly through those wings and they climb down the devil back on the great tuff but he has very heavy. Then suddenly they get a strange sensation. That they are no longer climbing down but climbing up. Because they passed the midpoint of the earth. And then they come where they hear a stream. By following the sound of the stream they find the secret passage which leads them out again to the vision of the stars. So what it means all hope of than when you enter here is you can’t go back. You can only go on.
And so in this thing, this egocentric situation. Once you’re in ego. Or think you are. There is no way out but on. Now you see what’s happening here. People who repented of being ego. Were trying to go back. And by trying very hard to go back, to relent. They know now I should never have got into this, they found they couldn’t go back. And that they were phoning. The people who said we resign from being the go down, they couldn’t resign. And now we’re getting a little bit warmer aren’t we. We found it couldn’t go back, and so you’ve got to play the ego game to the limit.
And, so comes a point, where the person plays this to an extreme and he may. Maybe in a very odd situation he may play it by being a real criminal. And end up in the penitentiary. But he’s going to end up in a situation which is symbolized by three great myths. One is the myth of the tar baby. The other a giant sticky hair, and the other, the crucifixion. We found the crucifixion again didn’t we, when we went along this way. But you know the tar baby is. You get stuck there are going to be a topic. And giant speaking here comes in the Jaffa tale about the photo in one of his previous incarnations attract a certain giant. Who would have a sticky and everything that hit him got stuck. Under a giant used to eat. The people of a certain village. And a prince came there one day and heard about it consider he would go and clobber the giant. So he fled for the Giants and you struck him with his left arm half pound and it got stuck he struck him with his right hand and that got stuck he kicked him with his left foot that got stuck think there were this right foot and that got stuck his head banged it with his head and that got stuck in the giant’s that Aha Now I’m going to eat you. And the prince said that that’s all very well but you will find if you leave me that inside my belly is a thunderbolt. And if you swallow that it will blow to pieces. So the Giant really is the prince and promise not to eat the villagers any more.
So when you follow your ego to the limit, you’ll get stuck., when you find suddenly powerless in your efforts to play again the world. But you realize that the reason for this is that, in fighting the world you’re fighting yourself. You are like a person who picks up a dagger in each hand. And the left hand says to the right, I’ll take you on. Let’s fence. You ever try it? Fascinating. You know, be careful. But, you can have this strange thing and what happens is this: you meet a moment of total paralysis. Because each hand knows perfectly well what the other one is going to do. It just always. So, by following your ego to its most intense point you reach stalemate in the same way because suddenly the left hand discovers what the right hand is doing. And at that point the Oh ah oh oh oh oh. After all, I wasn’t a separate ego. So let’s have an intermission.