It often strikes me that one of the most fascinating conventions in the world is the Proscenium arch. The arch over the stage which divides, so-called reality from play. And extraordinary effects can be produced upon any audience, when the players put them in doubt as to where this art actually stands. As for example, when there was a murder on the stage which is all seems to be part of the play and then suddenly one of the actors calls for is there a doctor in the house. And then of course a prepared actor in the audience steps up on stage and the audience begins to worry as there actually been a minute on the stage or is this part of the play? And it’s very fascinating to notice in how many dramas recently, the convention of the proscenium arch has been played with in this way. But behind that lines, running what is the home test and countered of sanity. In almost any society. A person insane I think if he gets the two news. As to whether rods or action or gesture are intended seriously or intended playfully. And it’s often struck me. That nobody really ever tells us how to interpret those cues. Of course, very often a father on older brother or an older friend takes a child aside and says now listen you mustn’t take that. Seriously he was only teasing you or you mustn’t say that sort of thing people will take you seriously. But taking that advice depends on the child’s part in believing the person who tells and believing that it’s not a lie, believing that what is said to him in this confidential way is set in seriousness and not in play. And a kind of panic can overtake us when we begin to be in doubt as to whether people really mean what they do, and sometimes we can even come to the point of thinking that the whole of life is a play. And get a very very curious sense of unreality. A sense which is as I said, sometimes to some people deeply unhinging. 

 

The more perceptive we become, the more we become aware of what psychologists call our own ambivalence. The more term we become Don’t fall. Of the seriousness of a great many things that we feel and do. The ability of the human being to be divided, to say one thing and mean another or to stand aside from himself as it were and inspect himself. The fact that we possess this kind of feedback, is of the genesis of this whole problem, of wondering whether we are serious or whether we are playing. A lot of people think that animals have no sense of humor. But they’re always serious that is because they are unable. Perhaps to stand aside from themselves and be self conscious. When an animal plays it only. Plays perhaps in the sense of taking exercise or of enjoying meaningless activity. But the division of the split of the human mind. To be able to reflect on our own actions makes it possible for us to question almost everything that we do, as to whether we really mean it or whether we’re only pretending. And this is of course aggravated by the fact that civilization calls on us in so many ways to pretend. To say Pleased to meet you when you’re not. To say well have a good trip when you hope the person doesn’t drowns. I think of that kind. But as we become deeper in our self knowledge. We can very easily come to the point. When we wonder who we really are? A lot of people talk saying I haven’t found myself yet I’m trying to discover what I’m really supposed to do in life. As if somewhere deep down in the center of us there is a real me. That is to say and I gave of ideas that I really meant feelings that are really felt. Well no one has a completely honest call however many mosques that may be overlying it. 

 

And as in the process of self knowledge we start peeling off these masks, there come sometimes the frightful moment when we may wonder whether there is going to be anything inside at all. Whether there won’t be masks behind masks. Until real can of them all off and disappear like a peeled onion into just a set of fragments. 

 

For very many people, the sensation of being in doubt as to whether there is any reality underneath, begins to provoke an extraordinarily strong sensation of guilt. After all, there is supposed to be the see something that we really do intend is something that we do stand for with all our hot. The possibility that there is something to which we could commit ourselves. Although perhaps something a little more than that is involved in the test of true sincerity because there are a lot of people, who will commit themselves to things in which they don’t believe profoundly. There is the person who will feel for example that he’s not. Anything special in the way of a patriot. He doesn’t really believe in the righteousness of his country’s cause, but he may nevertheless quite willingly go to war. And in this sense commit himself in a very very profound way to something in which he doesn’t absolutely believe life often requires that we commit ourselves. Every time one walks out of doors and away you take a risk every time you ride an automobile I’ll go on a plane you commit yourself. But obviously this isn’t always an act of total sincerity it isn’t an expression of something in which you believe with your whole being. 

 

And therefore when the perceptive person begins to analyze himself. And find you know that behind organs there is an ostensibly loving and kind the activity is there’s a very deep self interest when he starts questioning that self interest does he really love himself. And he finds that just because he’s discovered that he always act in self interest it. Makes it very difficult for him to love himself. He may indeed despise himself. And then what is he got left what is the car in which he believes. And so he begins to be guilty. And to be oppressed. This is the course basically the same oppression that afflicted those great Christians like St Paul, St. Agustine, and Martin Luther. When commanded to love God with all the heart with all the soul and with all the mind that is to say to love with an act of total sincerity they found themselves to be unable to do so. Or when urged to repent sincerely of their sins to have what theologians call true contrition. They found that beneath them a contract feelings lay fear of consequences or shame. Damaged pride or something of that kind and not true contrition. Based on the love of God at all. And then for such a person he wonders how can he possibly be saved what is there in him that isn’t false. Is there really any solid core to one’s being at all. But of course it’s in pursuing that line. That there arises the kind of person whom we might call a saint. Because it is just, if he can go that far, it is just at the moment when he discovers that he’s not is sincere about anything at all. It’s at this point that he suddenly able to becomes and see or about everything. And the reason is. That when the point arises when he discovers a sort of total hollowness of his sincerity, he’s also discovered at the same time the hollowness all the unreality of our apparent ability to divide ourselves from ourselves. 

 

In the last broadcast I made I was discussing this problem in some detail. Trying to distinguish between an actual division of the psyche, into the knower and the known. The Thinker and the thoughts, the feeler of the feelings between that on the one hand. And every marvelous feedback system on the other. Which is simply the capacity of a perfectly unified pattern of psychic activity. To contain within itself patterns which represent its own form of states. And these. Memory patterns as we call them are of course inseparable from part and parcel of the total pattern of psychic activity at any moment therefore we are not really divided within ourselves into two entities at all. But when we seem to be so, and therefore, we are unable to doubt ourselves, then the capacity for calling not only for calling in question our sincerity but actually being insincere arises for a mind which is integrated which is not divided against itself, there is really no possibility of insincerity. And it is for this reason you see when, one begins to find oneself as it were only insincere. That the what is actually being discovered is the unreality of this division in the psyche. And so at the moment when the Saint finds that he is shall we say as bad as can be thoroughly. Corrupt through and through, as the prayer in the Anglican provokes as there is no health in us no that is holiness. Then at that moment, a kind of psychic flip occurs. And the person finds himself whole, all of a piece. Because he has, as it were exploded. The reality of his ego by finding that his observing self the self that observes him self has after all nothing in it. It’s only a pretense, an as-if self. It’s as if I could look at myself as if I could separate myself from myself and observe my own motives and judge in a way. But I can only really observe in jobs and way as if motives never real ones. As it was soon as any psychic content any feeling any thought. Appears to be an object of knowledge and we begin to look into it the very act of looking into it as it were born as a whole in it and it becomes hollow by the very act of doing that. This is why one can interest. Specked almost indefinitely one dissolved oneself away and away and away. And if that arises a fear that this point then comes an unconscious block. If we are afraid of this discovery that we are totally hollow we think sometimes at last I’ve come upon something that I really am. And this may you see it just be an unconscious block to investigating any further. Whenever we encounter the solid. Whether we encounter it in the form of what we think is physical substance or psychological substance mind substance. This really means that we’ve encountered something which we haven’t or are not going to investigate, because whenever we investigate the solid, we find structure and form and space inside it however closely in it. 

 

And so in the same way, the person who finds that he has to go through that block and he is not content with the solid inner self which he discovers. And says now that at last is me I have really found myself I am someone. If he doesn’t stop at that point it goes on. He’ll come to the kind of valley of the shadow the dread passage where he seems to have disintegrated to nothing, to be a mockery all the way through to be nothing but masks. And then it’s just in that moment as I said that there is a switch a transformation and. He becomes altogether real. To put it in another way, the distinction between play and seriousness disappears, when we find say that everything about us is play at this moment it becomes the same thing as saying everything about us is sincerity. I prefer perhaps sincerity to seriousness. I think seriousness death’s appears altogether from a really integrated person. I was lovely remark which G. K. Chesterton made in his book orthodoxy. That the angels can fly because they take themselves lightly. Seriousness is having us it arises whenever we think we have hit as it were the solid substance of our psyche in a life. But when we discover that there is no substance there is only form and form in a way is analogous to, or parallel to, play substance to seriousness. And when that substance disappears we find only form isn’t it interesting how we use the word form as the the outward shape the pretended thing the substance of the inner reality. 

 

So when we find there was only the shape. Shapes of nothing, shapes around nothing hollows inside everywhere. However small however minute ultimately just hollows. Then the form itself. Shall I say becomes the substance. And action. Acquires a totally genuine quality. Play in other worlds and genuineness becomes an aim. And this is of course. Probably think inner meaning,the dramatic conflict of Hindu mythology, where the whole world is looked upon as the self-masking of God. The one God, playing the parts being the one acting in everyday life whether human or animal vegetable or mineral or whatever it may be the whole world seen as the leader playing of the Godhead. But of course when many Westerners hear that they think. Do use eyes and stuns phrase he doubted that God plays dice with the universe. Because you see, the something in the attitude of play that taken so far repels us a little. Does this then mean that the Godhead Brahma doesn’t really mean it is he just playing with us is all this life a mockery. That you see, play in the sense seems to have the atmosphere of mockery. Are something deceitful. When it isn’t one hundred percent play. It seems this way to a divided being who thinks that he can sometimes play and sometimes be serious. He doesn’t realize that. There is a kind of play which is identical with total sincerity, where as it were, the proscenium arch of the psyche has altogether dissolved. We find this division. In really two kinds of people: the crazy man, and the profoundly innocent or wise man. 

 

There’s a story about the old Zen Buddhist monk and poet Riokan who really was the most astonishing innocent. He was playing hide and seek with some children one day. And he had to go and hide and he was waiting for the children to call it the children forgot all about it they ran off to their homes for dinner and real con because he really believed they would call him he stayed all night hiding behind a bush until someone discovered him in the morning. Of course, we can be wise and well and say well that’s not very practical. Indeed no. But this is a wonderfully riveting story about an innocent man. Who was playing, you see. Playing a game with children and yet at the same time totally sincere. His playing, his sincerity being one in the same.