So lesson number two is relativity. Lesson number one, having been the opposites in this course on.

Cosmological. Cosmic gamesmanship.

We were discussing the fact this morning that any manifestation of energy needs an opposition.

In other words, nothing happens. There is no motion. There is no possibility of energy unless there is something opposing it. There is no dancing except on a floor against which you can push and move.

And so I pointed out, therefore, the sense of self depends entirely on the sensation of there being something other, but that this is a kind of a Maya. In other words, the general feeling that one side is definitively split off from and separate from the other is an illusion.

But nevertheless. There is the opposition.

Between energy and inertia.

Motion and stillness. Is something that, as it were, is the bifurcation or two aspects of a single process. And you know, it’s a single process because they can’t do without each other.

If they could do without each other, then it would be a divided process. Radically divided, split down the middle. But as it is.

The interdependence of these two sides of things are two ways of looking at things shows that there is something in common between the two.

And to understand this is the essential key to living in a sane way, because if you’re insane, you are split up an idiot. You know, the word Greek in your TS is means private. Purely private.

Isolated. Out of communication, out of relationship.

And so this is a way of saying that insanity is a lack of awareness of relativity because all existence is relationship. Now, if we can take a very fundamental illustration of this, I want you to imagine a universe.

In which all that exists is one ball. This ball will, of course, have to be floating in space because if there is no space outside the ball, nobody knows that it’s a ball. There’s no possibility of a ball which has no space beyond it, because then the ball itself, the solid material of the ball would be all that was and there would be nothing outside it.

So there would be no way of defining it as a ball. So there has to be our universe, one bowl in space and the space outside the bowl.

Furthermore, must be regarded as depending upon the existence of the ball, the ball and a space go together. Now, then, however, there is no way of telling what this ball is doing, whether it’s moving or whether it is still. It could be roaring through the space at thousands of miles an hour and there’d be no way of proving it will be no air friction upon it. There would be nothing relatively stable with which its movement could be compared and against which it could be measured. So this ball has no energy.

It can’t even be said to be still.

It can’t be said to be in motion.

And of course, this is the situation of the universe as a whole in the beginning.

But one of the things that God said before the Bible started, the first thing, according to the Bible, was let there be light.

But actually there were several former pronouncements, one of which was you’ve got to draw the line somewhere and the other was have a ball. And this is why most objects of celestial existence are spherical. Don’t you think it’s very odd to be living on a spherical rock revolving around an enormous spherical fire with wake up, in fact, itself in that situation?

So he said, I have a ball. Now, this is the fundamental situation. The universe as a whole is presumably some kind of ball. It’s curved space and there it is. And nothing can be said about the whole universe as to whether it is moving or whether it is still. It’s neither. That’s why the Hindus, in trying to make some indication of the ultimate reality, say it is not this.

It is not that. It is not one thing is not the other. It doesn’t exist. It doesn’t not exist. It doesn’t both exist and not exist. It doesn’t neither exist nor not exist.

So you can’t say anything about it. Your tongue is tied up. That’s why it is said in the moment, CON, which is a great Zen text, that when you attained enlightenment, you were like a dumb man who’s had a marvelous dream. Everybody who’s had a marvelous dream wants to tell everybody about it. But if you’re dumb, you can’t say a thing. So in the same way, the moment you realize that you are one with all that there is. Well, it’s this fundamental ball and you can’t say anything about it.

Cost isn’t moving. It is not moving.

You can’t think about it because and the reason you can’t think about it is not because it exceeds you. It’s because it is you. You can’t get at it like you can’t bite your own teeth. So then if we introduce two balls into our cosmos, then we can say something about motion because it is apparent that they can approach each other or get away from each other, but no one can say which one is doing it or whether both are doing it because there is no way of determining it.

One may be still on the other, moving to it or away from it. Both may be moving towards each other or away from each other, but there is no way of saying which one starts. And furthermore, they can only move with respect to each other in a straight line. They have no possibility of moving on the surface.

They have defined linear motion.

Now we will introduce three balls into our system and suddenly we find not only that they can move on the surface with respect to each other, but also that there’s going to be a little fight started because if two balls stay together at a constant space apart and one ball appears to approach them or to recede from them. Well, here is the problem. Are the two standing still and the one likes them or doesn’t like them, so moves closer away? Or is the one standing still and the two moving towards it or away from. Well, there’s only one way in this thing of deciding two balls that stay together constitute a majority.

And according to the majority vote, they will decide whether they are moving away from the other one or approaching it or whether it is standing still or whatever.

Now, then, the third ball, of course, can lick them by joining them. It can always stay if it wants to out a constant space from the other two unless they break up. And go off in different directions so long as they stay together. It can stay with them. And then we are back to the original situation because no one is moving at all. However much they move. Because the three constitute now one constellation, one triangle. All right. Introduce the fourth ball. Now we have the possibility of motion in three dimensions and you would say, well, now this is good because we’ve got an umpire, somebody who stands at the distance of objectivity and looks down upon those three ball and will decide which of them are moving and which of them are still very good. But the problem is, which one of them is the fourth? Who is the umpire? Everyone is in a position of a third dimension to the other three.

So everyone is both involved in the game of three. And could be the external observer who is the umpire of what the three are doing now.

That is exactly your situation as being sensing yourself as an external observer of the world. And this is a simple basic principle in terms of which all bodies in the cosmos may be understood. It’s simply nothing but a multiplication of this situation. It’s. It’s complicated. Yes. So that you have to scratch your head to think about it.

But it all reduces down to this fundamental mutual motion of balls.

So you see from this, what is the meaning of relativity?

So none of the balls, incidentally, have such a thing as a true position.

Because the position of any one of the four is where it seems to be from the the different points of view of each member of the group.

The members of the group can get together and agree upon a theoretical. Positioning of the balls, but they can never directly see. All of the balls, including the one that’s looking. In this theoretical position, just in the same way as you have a theoretical idea of the dimensions of a room which would correspond to an architect’s ground plan and elevation, and you would say, you know, that that corner up there is a right angle, although you see it as an obtuse angle.

Now, this agreement as to what are the true positions of things.

Is very important.

Because upon such agreement depends. All possibilities of human communication.

We have to have a standard of what is north, south, east and west of what is a unit of measure. Of what languages and what words are, what noises are to mean, what experiences. And by constructing this conventional standard of measures. We are able to agree with each other. But one must see at the same time that this is a convention.

There is no reason for driving on the right side of the road rather than the left. Except that everybody must agree what side they’re going to drive. One isn’t really preferable to the other. The point is to agree. So when we agree about certain social conventions. Whether they be legal or moral or.

Description, all aesthetic, whatever they are.

They are a construct. They are an abstraction.

And nobody. Well, let’s say they’re an abstraction and it this abstraction.

Is never directly perceived.

Just as you cannot possibly go up to the ceiling.

To a position where you can see the whole floor as a linear pattern as it would be drawn in an architects blueprint.

Your vision will always be distorted.

If by distortion, you mean departure from the blueprint. So then, except in terms of some sort of convention of this kind. There is no such thing as the true position of the four balls in space.

Because evil must always ask when you ask about truth. Truth for whom? Or truth in relation to what standards?

Now, you see when we measure something by inches. Inch number one is the same length as the inch number two, three, four, etc.. When we measure things by the clock, the clock is a circle regularly divided into 360 or multiples thereof degrees. But I’ve often wondered whether it wouldn’t be interesting to have elliptical clocks. Or Mae West shaped clocks so that certain times of the day would go faster than others. Slower than others.

And might be very convenient to have the evening to last longer.

Slow, slow time down for the evening, you see speeded up at some other time. Why not?

But you see.

We tried to fit everything into an ideal of regularity.

Now, the next point is that if relationship is existence.

We are going to discover from this that the existence of any identifiable thing or event in the whole cosmos.

Depends upon.

And in an opposite sense, is responsible for the existence of everything else but to do that. We’ve got to understand another image.

Which I will illustrate with the parable of a rainbow. Now, you know, there’s an old philosophical conundrum. If a tree falls in a forest and there is nobody around to hear it, does it make a noise? This is a very simple problem, but it has been discussed in ways that make it very confusing. A noise. Is a neurological experience caused by a vibration of air interacting with an eardrum and an auditory nervous system? So therefore, obviously, when the tree falls, it will set up a vibration in the air. But if this vibration in the air does not pulsate upon an eardrum, there will be no noise. You can see it in a simpler way. What will happen if I hit a skinless drum?

There will be a hit, but no sound because the drum has no skin. So if there is no eardrum, the vibrations in the air will not make a noise. I don’t need to introduce to prove this any spook worry about mind as distinct from matter or anything like that.

That’s quite straightforward. But now let’s take the somewhat more subtle case of seeing a rainbow. To perceive a rainbow. There must be three variables present. Three factors.

There must A be the sun B. There must be moisture in the atmosphere.

Then, funnily enough, C, there must be an observer.

At a certain angle relative to the angle of the sun and the moisture. The observer will, in other words, be standing. Shall we say, on a straight line between the sun and the body of moisture and what will then appear to be the center of the rainbow. That’s why the sight of a rainbow is always off to one side. You never see this side of a rainbow directly in front of you. So the position of a rainbow differs for every observer. Just in the same way as that, the position of this table differs for each one of you in the room.

Depends where you’re sitting. That’s the way you see it. Now.

The trouble with this illustration is that a rainbow is a rather diaphanous thing and we tend to accord it a rather low reality status. And he added, fulfills all the requirements necessary for a genuine existence. Oh, it’s true, you can’t grab hold of it.

But neither can you grab hold of the moon. Least not yet.

Now it has these criteria. It isn’t a hallucination. Because everybody standing around will curse and swear and they see that there and such and such a time and place, they veritable to see this rainbow.

It’s not like a ghost or a hallucination, but.

Everybody sees it in a slightly different place. And you see, if there were no sun shining, there would be no rainbow. If there were no moisture in the atmosphere, there would be no rainbow. But let us suppose that the sun is shining and there is moisture in the atmosphere, but nobody is around. We only say with great reluctance that there would be no rainbow. Because that way of looking at things upholds that particular mythology of the world, the world is something independent of us. This is the great superstition of Western culture that the world is independent of you.

That you don’t make any difference to it. Is there something into which you come and it’s going along and allowing us to come in and look at you, look in the box and say, well, that’s the way it is. And then they kick you out again. But now let’s set up the situation in another way. Let’s suppose the sun is shining out on the ocean somewhere and I’m on a ship and I could look over there and I say, my goodness, isn’t this a nice day? If there was some moisture right over there, we would have a rainbow.

Then everybody says, well, there isn’t one. It just does not truly exist that there is a rainbow.

All right. The sun is shining out on the ocean and there is some moisture. If there were a ship sailing near it so that there could be someone to sea, there would be a rainbow. Now, in these two situations, they are both exactly the same. There would be a rainbow if there was some moisture around, but there isn’t, and equally there would be a rainbow if there was someone to see it and there isn’t. Those are two completely equivalent situations because if this isn’t, again, a question of spookily, it’s a question that the existence of the phenomenon rainbow depends on the presence of three factors, like the existence of a human being depends on the existence of two factors a man and a woman. Everybody has to have a father and a mother or have had. And the otherwise it with the exception of that relationship, you don’t exist. One other case of the rainbow. It’s exactly the same case as everything else.

It’s just because a rainbow is rather diaphanous and intangible, although it sure hits you in the eye. And the eye, the ceiling is a form of touching. Seeing as touching at a distance when you find that the table is hard. That is a way of feeling with your fingers, the same thing as that, you cannot see through it with your eyes. So we we are funny about this, purely optical sensations are regarded as having a lesser grade of reality than tactile sensations. When you get hold of something and can grab it and you feel it solid, you feel you are sure of its existence. Then if you merely see it. But it’s all the same thing.

Touch is a sensation, as if your finger hands were full of millions of little eyes.

Every nerve and an eye and they close around this and they find it is not transparent.

There is a limit. Here is something we don’t go through.

But that’s exactly the same as when you see with these eyes here. You don’t see through something.


The the physical world responding to the sense of touch. I mean, it’s another way of saying that the table would not be hard and is not hard except when touched.

It is the touch that evokes the hardness in the table when it has not touched, it’s not soft, it’s not hard.

It has no quality at all.

Nothing, which is not in relation to us, has any existence or I will add in relation to some other kind of responsive creature.

Just in the same way that when light energy goes out of the sun into space, the energy will only be manifested as light.

If there is somebody outside the sun to reflect the light. Otherwise, the light does not in any way illuminate the darkness of space.

You must bring something into it. To.

Manifest the light in space.

So a Zen poem says the tree manifest, the bodily power of the wind, the water manifest, the spiritual nature of the moon.

Because you see, if the wind is blowing. That is to say an energy is moving along and there is nothing to stand in its way.

The energy is not there.

The energy in the situation is evoked only by something standing in its way.

Then it’s manifest.

The water manifest, the spiritual power of the moon. Why? Because in the breaking waves, the moon can be shattered into thousands of fragments. And yet it always remains one. That’s it. Spiritual power.

You wouldn’t see that.

Miracle of the Moon. If it weren’t for the waves.

They divided up like that. All right, you can say it’s a distortion. That’s not the way the moon is. The waves do not reflect the.

But that’s only trying to say that things reflected in a smooth and still surface are reflected more real lives and things reflected in a vibrating surface. OK. If you want us construe it that way, it’s your your privilege.

But you can have any kind of reflect that you want.

So in the same way it is with you. What you see therefore depends on the way your senses are constructed. You have certain kinds of sense organs and these sense organs evoke the kind of universe appropriate to them.

It’s not necessarily the way things are because there is no way that things are. Apart from their impact or better relationship with some kind of perceiver or perceiving organs, because things are only in relation when there is nothing to which they can relate, nothing is happening.

And the so-called existence, which we perceive and that to which it is related, come into being together.

Now, is that to say that before any living organisms existed, there wasn’t any universe, is that to say that all our knowledge of the prehistoric and geological past of the world and the cosmos before life came to it is nothing but an extrapolation? That is to say, all we are saying is that this is what would have been happening if it had been people around to see it.

But since the want since it was no living organism around to witness this, nothing was going on. Now it’s possible to make a very good case for that point of view.

But I would like to be a little more modest and not make it quite that radical. And I would say rather this.

That would never have been a universe.

Before living beings existed. Unless there was going to be a creature called man.

Man living in a future say implies. In the past, a certain state of affairs.

In other words, this planet had to come into being with an adequate amount of temperature, oxygen, gasses, everything else, food supplies for the organism called man to exist.

So let me say then, the existence of man implies a certain kind of environment meteorological, geological and astronomy.

But the other side of this proposition is that such an environment implies man.

Now where you get two sides of the situation where they imply each other mutually. You have, in fact, a truly relational and unitary system.

Well, then therefore, the answer to this problem is.

That prior to the existence of any form of life, the universe at that time is dependent upon the fact that those forms of life are going to emerge. Now, this is a thing that is very difficult for us to understand because we think of reality proceeding forward into the future. But dependent only upon the past. It’s very difficult for us to see that the events that we call past are dependent upon events in the future. That a lot of things would never started unless certain results were going to happen. Again, this is another of those ideas, which is an affront to common sense.


There are a number of ways of showing that it’s quite a sensible idea.

Unless you were if you know you’re flying an airplane.

You leave London. You arrive in New York.

You wouldn’t have started out from London. Unless you had known in advance there was a place called New York where you could land.

So in a very similar way.

The energy system of the universe. Does not start out with certain, say, very primitive, immediate creatures. Until it knows that it can arrive.

I don’t know where where it’s going on beyond man, but at least it’s got to get as far as man.

Because if it’s not going to be able to do that, it won’t even start. Now, you can put this in other terms, an electric current.

Electricity isn’t like water. When you turn on the faucet, the water goes right down the hose and waits at the nozzle. So as soon as you turn on the nozzle, there’s the water.

But an electric current isn’t like that.

When you’ve got two wires. I mean, two terminals, positive and negative, and you’ve got the positive one hitched up and here’s your wire and you leave the end of that wire just an inch away from the negative term. There is no electric electric current moving. It hasn’t slowed down the wire from the positive terminal so that it waits to be ready to jump.

Trouble with is that is that electricity move so fast we don’t see these things. And you can only see it if you do it on a colossal scale. Let’s supposing that we had an electric wire that was. Oh, 300 million miles in length.

Now we connected at the positive end. Nothing at all happens. Connected at the negative end.

So that, too, can have a possibility. See, that’s the other term and then immediately the circuit starts. But the circuit of electric current does not start until there is a place for it to drop to arrive.

See, that’s the point.

So in exactly the same way it makes me, it makes no difference whether the wire be something that is 180 thousand miles and is traversed in one second. Or whether it’s 60 billion miles. That will take a somewhat longer time. In either case, the current will not start until the receptor terminal, the minus terminal is secured.

So in this way, I would say just exactly the same way. Life will not stop. Up.

In a universe. To which it really doesn’t belong.

In which it is can be regarded as nothing more than a stranger.

So if you follow that out, you see this, that is the whole existence of the universe depends on every individual.

It isn’t a question of how long you last that the only universe will only last as long as you do. That’s not the point. The universe is much bigger than you are and you are very small. But at this moment, it depends on you. The universe is much longer than you are and you are very short in time, but nevertheless it depends on you. The universe in the future, long after your dead, will still be depending on the fact that you once existed, the universe in the past existing long before you were ever thought of. Still depends on the fact that one day you would exist. And it depends on each person.

So in other words, there is in everything that happens. Every hold depends on every part because you see, in truth, there are no parts of the universe. Parts are an abstract creation. When we think of someone or something as a part, we are quite arbitrarily cutting him off and saying by convention we will agree that our skins are our boundary. And therefore, since our skins do not include the whole cosmos, we are only a part of it. But there are no parts. Just as in your own when you study your own organism. All of its continuous.

All the so-called parts flow into the others, like the motions of waves. You’re not have detachable parts that you can unscrew inside you.

You see, unless you’ve got false teeth, I mean, not that, then take it out easy when the ordinary way. You can unscrew parts of the human being from another. They are continuous. Well, in exactly the same way you are continuous with this environment. And although we have been habituated to looking upon ourselves as separate things, we are no more separate from what’s going on around us than each of these waves. Here are separate from the ocean. All that mount Tamil pies are separate from the planet Earth. We have great freedom of movement.

So do the waves of the gulls floating in the air. So do the trees waving in the wind. We have a larger degree of freedom than that because we are more volatile. But we are just as much waves in the total process. It depending upon us and we in turn depending upon it.

Now, I understand the meaning of there being no parts.

All parts are. Ideas. We have an idea of a part. We.

Chop things up and say one human being to human being, three human beings and so on, and so think of it as part.

But that’s not the way it works.

You can see this from the most elementary neurology by understanding that it is the way you are as a living body that evokes the kind of universe that you see. It is your body which turns the sun into light, which turns it into heat, which turns water into wet and rocks into hard. And in turn, your body is one of the pulse sessions of nature, along with the sun, the rocks, the water, etc. so there’s a mutual arrangement. It creates you or evokes you or does you whatever word you want to use. And at the same moment you do it and you do all of it.

So this is why. There was some kind of truth in astrology. I.

Say this, but at the same time, I suddenly don’t consult astrologers and plot my life by the crude calculations of horror horoscopes. But because you if you do that, you get into endless tangles of self-deception because it isn’t accurate.

But it has a principle. The astrologer was right when he drew a map of your soul. He drew a crude map of the universe. He drew the universe as it was at the time and place of your birth. The universe as it was, as seen from the point of view where you were born. And that was your soul.

So your soul, you see, is not in your body. Your body is in your soul because your soul is the entire network of relationships in terms of which you live.

Your soul is the whole universe.

But each one of us, as it were, is a different point in it. But all these points in it are the center. We can go way beyond Ptolemy and Copernicus now, and if we think that space is curved, every point of space is the center of the universe, because any point on a ball is the center of the sphere of the surface. See, you could turn any point of a ball. And wherever you look at it, it’s the center, isn’t it? See, so in the same way, take a crystal ball in your hand. A crystal mirror.

And know what I mean, it’s not a Crystal Miller, I mean a spiritual mirror. Look at it. And wherever you turn it, your face will be in the middle.

So in exactly the same way every place in the universe is the middle of the universe from a standpoint of curved space. So we go back to an entirely new Talmudic view of the world beyond Copernicus. Not that the earth is that. Yes, the earth is the center of the universe, but every other place is also the center of the universe. There is no absolute center.

So this is a an astronomical way of saying in Sanskrit. Talk to them, I see you’re at. Everyone is rightly the center. You may think, oh, my mother used to say to me, you’re not the only one. No, indeed. But in it but in a way, everyone is the central pebble and the feeling that you have of being the center, which turns out into selfishness and all this sort of conflict and scrapping is nevertheless based on something true. What we do is we misinterpreted. We don’t realize that everybody else is the center to. In that sense, you are not the only pebble on the beach. You’re not the only center of the universe, and yet there is only one center. And that’s why. Who was it? I think it was an Bonaventure who first thought up the description or the definition of God as that circle whose center is everywhere and whose circumference is nowhere.


This is a poem I seem to remember from Alfred Noyes.

Well, said the king. Oh, well, I have not found it here. Said the dwarf. And music echoed here. This infinite circle hath no line to bounded behold. Its strange deep center everywhere.

So this then you see, as I’m what I’m playing with here is what the Buddhists call the G.G. MLK.

That means a G means a thing event. Can you repeat it twice? That means between thing event and thing event more. There is no mutual obstruction.

This is called the doctrine of the mutual inter penetration of all things and events.

So it would be like those lovely drawings where you take a circle and you can play with this. It’s a nice thing to play with. And you mark out 12 equal points around the circumference of the circle. Then you join every point to every other point. You get that beautiful star. And incidentally, this is the diagram of the notes of the twelve notes of the scale. BLOCK work this out.

And it’s a lovely thing to see beautiful star.

So this is the diagram of the way it all fits together.

Now, if you study that. And by study, again, I mean not just think about it. But feel it out. You will find very strange thing happening.


You will find that the present moment with all its particularity in which you live and are functioning now. Is exactly the same thing as anything you could possibly conceive of as eternity.

You will find that your limited life. And remember what I said about limits. You have to have something to push against your limited life with its frustrations and with its particular problems. At this instant is the same thing as omnipotence. And that your situation in space.

Which is appears to be in Sausalito, California, sitting on a boat which has a rickety old thing. Miles and miles away as China and Russia and England and Mars, Venus and everything.

But this particular point in space you will find in the same way by this law of relativity is the same thing as infinity.

Infinite space because it all goes together. It implies the infinite. The eternal.

All the energy of the universe is implied in any tiny hair on your skin, on your skin. It goes with it. Mutually implies this is the point. Just as the kind of cosmos and atmosphere in which we live. I my my existence implies that kind of an environment, so the environment implies me mutually.

And it all goes together. Now, the only reason for saying this. You see. This is really terribly obvious, but the only reason for saying it is that people don’t know it.

And think instead that they don’t belong, that this. You know, I’m just because of the parents put down, the children’s little children should be seen and not heard. You don’t belong here. Like I read the other day in some paper. Somebody was some young person was addressing a girl and saying.

He was trying to make love to you. He was trying to woo her.

And she said, you you won’t be friends with me because you say, I don’t like your personality. But you said you don’t have to have a personality, a personality is something you had to put on because your mother didn’t love you and you had to make up to her. Really? You don’t need a personality because you’re you. You’re the essential things. And the personality is just a way of.

Performing to.

Ingratiate yourself. Well, we all do it because we put on personalities when we act like clowns and entertain the audience, put on masks, funny faces.

But really and truly.

The mask covers the oneself that we all have. And we all know it.

Only, just like black and white, we are pretending to be as different as possible while remaining the same.