I said that one of the aspects of cosmic gamesmanship that we were going to deal with was B group theory. And of course, I don’t mean exactly by that sort of mathematical meaning, but the the relationship that’s tremendously important and that is not sufficiently recognized between in groups and out groups. You know how you’ve heard about little birds where they’re cold and they’re all huddling together.
The idea being to see who can get most inside and human beings are just like that. And so also is everything else.
Because, this is a an absolutely basic requirement of having an identity.
To have an identity is in some way or other to be in. I often try the experiment in giving a lecture and drawing a circle on the blackboard and asking the assembled multitudes what I have, what I have drawn, and people will almost invariably say that I have drawn a circle, a ring or a ball.
Only very rarely it some bright person suggest that I have drawn a wall with a hole in it.
Because the dished out theory of perception. It shows us that our attention is captured by enclosed areas as against open areas and by moving objects rather than still.
And so always, therefore, we tend to prefer the in the situation. That is something you see the the star is in THE SITUATION ROOM with respect to space, the space, the art situation. And so we feel that space is not important. It is nothing. It is just unimportant in a way. But the end situation is something. So then whenever human beings get into an out situation, like being a rejected minority, living on the wrong side of the tracks, they will find reasons for convincing themselves that their situation is the truly in one and that the people who claim to be in are really out.
So as I’ve sometimes said before, I hope this doesn’t bore too many of you, but in Sausalito we have exactly that situation. We have the hillbillies with the old time people who regard themselves as in because they have the money and they live in the fancy houses up on the hill, and then we have the waterfront people whom they regard as out as a nefarious bunch of beatniks and bohemians and scallawag.
And so the people of the hill top fortify themselves at their cocktail parties with conversation about how awful the people are down on the waterfront and at the cocktail parties down in the waterfront. People fortify themselves by discussing the squares on the hill.
And we believe down here that we have the true way of life, that we are not beating our heads out, making money to buy pseudo rocket ships. Although I do own a pseudo rocket ship, but it was wished on me because you see, I tried to be a bridge person.
That’s what’s called a pontificates one who between opposed classes points out the connections because the connection is that neither class would know who they were without the other. So it’s tremendously necessary to have an outgroup in order to know that you’re an in group.
In other words, if you belong to the church, which is the assembly of the elect of God, or if you belong to the synagogue, which is to be a member of the chosen people, an outsider, all those guys, then you know, you are in the sea.
But you must have the outsiders to know that you’re in. There must, in other words, be beyond the pale of the village. The howling waste. Then you feel cozy. You feel protected. You feel you’re there.
And so in that way, bodies have skins. Eggs have shells and so on. All through nature. Inside versus outside. About this versus must be understood as a form of symbiosis. And this is the crucial matter. This is absolutely of critical importance to anyone who wants to understand politics or military strategy or any of the real hard, tough games of life, that social conflict. Or conflict between the various biological species is a form of symbiosis.
Now, ordinarily, we consider the symbiotic relationship to be one of mutual support, as is obviously the case between bees and flowers. Which came the first be your flower. This is the same question as which came the first day. Go ahead. Because where there are no flowers, there can’t be bees. And whether I know bees or other fertilizing insects, that cannot be flowers. So the truth of the matter is that bees and flowers, different as they are in appearance and separated as they may be in space, they constitute a single organism.
This is the real lesson of the bees and the flowers, and the same must be said truly of man and woman. There are no men without women. There are no women without men. Because it always takes a man and a woman to produce a human being. So we are our man woman arrangement, a woman man arrangement. Whichever way you want to look at it.
And so although you see, therefore, we move and look as if we are individuals. And separate from each other. This is not the case at all.
So now this is what I want to point out, is that the same sort of relationship exists between groups that would seem to be hostile to each other.
Now what are some of the bases of hostility? The real basis of hostility is that the biological order is a mutual eating society.
It’s a very curious game indeed. And if you are philosophically inclined, it is one which might bother your conscience when you realize that you as an organism are a compound of murders. You are actually a bag of water because the human organism consists mostly of water.
And this water is held together and presented from slobbering, prevented from slobbering all over the floor by a very complex arabesque of tubes and cells and films, the material of which was invariably belonging to some other being before you got it. You had to kill a chicken, a cow or a cabbage or an apple in order to get that tensile film of tube or whatever, to hold the water in you and as you.
And so we are, as human beings, a predatory creature. In fact, we are more predatory than anything else in nature. The sharks are supposed to be predatory, but they stay in the ocean. The piranha fish are supposed to be very predatory, but they stay in the Amazon.
The Eagles are predatory, but they stay in the air and on the land.
Only man ranges the whole range of elements earth, air and water and preys on things. And he eats like a swarm of locusts. Not only does he prey on the living beings he play preys on the minerals. And someone recently described ARC our civilization as a lot of people sitting in the middle of a sewage dump shooting rockets at the moon.
Because if you you read get Playboy magazine for. September and read about the use of water or rather the misuse of water in our civilization. And it is absolutely horrifying. We’ve got to get that atomic power bringing this water from the ocean in nothing flat. Or we’re going to be very thirsty. And you can see how we use water in the most amazingly uneconomical ways. So we are a predatory monster eating up the planet. And I have seen, say, a sorrow plant in the country covered with green fly one day. It is full of little green, succulent bodies having a ball a day or two later, stock with gray dust all over it. They’ve eaten up. They multiplied to the point of eating up the plant. And so they turn into great dust. Human beings could do just exactly the same thing.
And the reason why human beings are in danger of this is that they have refused membership in a mutual eating society.
They want to be top and only eater. And do not want to be eaten.
So that instead nowadays of returning what you aim to the earth.
We return our remains to the earth in an unassimilated form. Our remains include not only mummified formaldehyde in bodies, courtesy of the morticians encased in concrete so that no worms even get in, but also the fact that many things that we return to the earth are no longer in the organic cycle. For example, rust does not assimilate properly. All sorts of chemicals, all sorts of gases that we give off do not return into the organic cycle.
And we are ruining. We are we are actually abolishing animals. Wild animals have less and less of a prospect of living. Wild birds are being greatly reduced in numbers. Whales have almost are ceasing to exist because the whaling industry is getting rid of them.
And what is more, some of the animals we farm like chickens are no longer chickens. They are strictly non chickens which lay pseudo eggs because they are raised in enormous wire cellblocks and fed on chemicals under the superstition that anything fed to a chicken will turn into chicken. And it won’t. That is why you may have noticed that the chickens you buy don’t taste like chickens could taste, especially those that have been allowed to run around in the sunlight and scratch, those can become real chickens. Because you see, the necessary thing about any species that you live on is that you must love it. I love you so much, I could eat you or I eat you so much, I could love you, but where you get things raised without love, you cannot love a whole cellblock of chickens.
You cannot love wheat when it is grown in vast wastelands or out of any trees and it is sheared off the earth and then winnowed and reduced to pancake makeup, and then chemicals are added to it and it is converted into the Styrofoam material called bread. Now, you know, like one converts milk into KAZIN so one converts wheat or rye into a plastic material, which is a kind of universal solvent, which is nothing at all and tastes of nothing at all. In fact, you know, when you feed babies that kind of nasty white pablum and you feed it and there was spit it back into the spoon. Well, our white bread reduces itself to that instantly on the contact with liquid and becomes a miserable paste. It’s not bread at all. So if you are unwilling, you see to join the mutual eating society and you want to conquer everything and not be eaten by anything, the penalty you pay for this is the annihilation of your species and you eventually annihilate through eating things that taste like chalk and string.
That’s what it will come to because you don’t love what you eat. You have no respect for the raw materials.
So what we haven’t understood then is that all groups need an enemy group, but that the enemy group which preys upon it is actually a kind of friend. Because the. Enemy group prunes your own group. It keeps your population at a reasonable level. And it keeps you on your toes. Because you have to defend yourself against it so you don’t become flabby.
But you see in. We have lost the meaning of chivalry in all war situations and all conflict situations. Chivalry is indicated, for example, still in such customs as that the partners to a fight salute each other before beginning to fight and salute each other again at the end. You shake hands before boxing. You do these various things, you bow before judo contests and so on. And that means that you recognize the opponent. As an honorable opponent. Somebody with whom a fight is a really important matter.
And that is really one of the most essential laws of survival to recognize that enemies, unless they are predatory locusts who have no respect, who do not, in other words, farm the species that they prey upon. That’s the essence of the thing. You must cherish the species you prey upon. You must see like for example, in in lumbering, you must read. So you must plant a tree for every tree you take.
That is cherishing the species.
And few farm cows, you don’t treat your cows, you often treat them better than you would your servants because the servants can go hang about, the cows are valuable, and so you nurture them because they’re going to sell as beef and they’re going to provide milk or whatever it is.
So the. The perception of the fact.
That is absolutely necessary to have an outgroup for your having an in group and that you cannot do without it is the beginning of sociability.
And so what you get then in that case is a situation of contained conflict. A conflict gets out of hand when an in group does not realize that it needs the outgroup. Then it says, let’s get rid of the outgroup. Get the dirty communists off the face of the earth. But do you realize what a fix we’d be in without communists? The whole economy would fall apart because there would be no external threat.
And the communists are in exactly the same situation. They are kind of politics would fall apart unless there was some wretched capitalistic imperialists with whom they could contract contrast themselves and against whom they could organize their energies. Because it is a curious thing that is very difficult to get human beings to organize their energies for something pleasant. It’s only under the fear, the external threat to their life that human beings will really get busy and cooperate. So the solidarity of any group of human beings. Depends to an enormous extent on an external menace, and therefore that menace is friendly to the solidarity and the cooperative enterprise of the group. And this will be true of big groups as well as of small groups.
Even people who say, say in matters of religion, that religious exclusive ism is bad. That bigotry is terrible.
Those same people are actually playing a game called I’m More Tolerant Than You and so constitute an in group of the tolerant opposed to the outgroup of the bigots. There’s no way of getting away from this except by transcending it with a sort of humor. When you see that the two groups need each other, you start laughing. When, for example, if I have people who argue with me with contrary opinions and who belong to different religions, I can’t get mad about it because I realized that I wouldn’t know what I thought unless somebody disagreed with me. And therefore your disagreement is necessary to the preservation of my opinions.
And this is this is the secret of humor.
When you realize that. You are given one of the most important clues that there is.
To the nature of yourself.
Now, you see, we are all brought up in a huge historical, cultural, linguistic background, which has a very powerful influence upon the way in which we experience self. And we experience self as an enclosed island confronted by an enormous outgroup called the universe. Within me, within my body is a palpitating, soft, sensitive reality.
There is the self, but outside.
I don’t feel when I hit you, you suffer. But I don’t. It’s the outside is therefore somehow alien. And it has been drilled into us, therefore, that.
The world as a physical entity of process.
Is an organization that goes on and on and on probably through all eternity, but that the individual.
Is in it as a brief occurrence.
And is furthermore, as man, a tiny little germ living on an obscure rock revolving around an unimportant star on the fringe of one of the minor galaxies.
And that the other galaxies are much bigger and that there are more of them than you can think of.
And so this puts us in this extremely remote position. As if to say you don’t really belong at all. Now, I explained yesterday a new cosmology where we can surely say that any point in the universe can be regarded as the center of it. There is no absolute center, but all points are the center. And so in the same way, if we can see that, we can make a very curious psychological readjustment to our life situation.
And learn how. What it is that we call I. It is not. A poor little puppet.
But that the situation of I.A., that is to say, are feeling central to all things. Is a kind of distortion.
Of the true situation.
Which is that I anus and being anus and.
Existence all the same thing.
Only just as the sense of self requires the sense of other.
The sense of being here requires also the interval.
Of apparent nothingness, which we call this.
Life goes with death in the same sense of self goes with other we saw there has to be this yang in rhythm, the crest of the wave and the trough of the way. The crest is the life. The trough is the death, the interval.
Someone has asked me what I think about. The survival of the individual personality. And so you see this problem of death. It’s very critical to us.
But you have to understand it and approach it by seeing that the real you is not the individual. If, for example, we draw a circle. And that circle represents the universe. Then we draw rays coming from that circle in such a way that you are drawing. Tangents to the circle which meet at points outside it. So making a star in which each ray is a point which focuses the entire diameter of the star.
Now turn it inside out.
So that the rays go inwards into the circle. So that inside the circle, the whole circle focuses itself at innumerable points within it. And then you have something like what we are. I said, using the astrological illustration that the soul is not in the body, but the body is. And so the soul is the whole universe. Focused at a particular time and a particular place, a here and now. And that is what you really are. In other words, those galaxies that are immensely far off and which you could think would have nothing to do with you, would all.
All that’s in you.
And what you call your body or brain, your nervous system and so on is in you to.
Now, you can never get out, just as we can’t get at the whole universe in the sense that if there is only one ball in space and that one ball constitutes the whole universe.
I showed you that we couldn’t say whether that ball was moving or standing still because there is nothing else in relation to which it moves or stand still. So there’s something about the universe as a totality which is always indescribable and get out of article. Now, that is the same indescribable ability and, um, get at ability as your own mind. There is no way, in other words, just as we cannot find a name for the color of vision.
The color of the lens of the eye. And so we call it transparent. No color. Of course we have to, because in the same way a mirror is has no color. Otherwise it would not be able to reflect colors. So at the root of all experience whatsoever, there is the non experience, which is fundamental to it. It can never be described in terms of any of the experiences within it, but its basic. And it lies between light and darkness coming and going. Life and death.
But there is no way of your as it were, possessing it.
And you have to realize that there is no way of your possessing it for the very simple reason that it is you.
Of the invisible and intangible nature of this reality.
One tends to forget all about it.
And to become fascinated instead with subsidiary features inside it.
Because it has no color, no shape, at least none that could be defined because it would have to get out, it’s outside itself to define its shape. Now, for all practical purposes, it doesn’t have any shape.
Therefore, it slips out of attention and especially out of conscious attention, because as I’ve pointed out to you, conscious attention always is a concentration on figures in contrast with backgrounds. And so naturally, the total background of everything that’s going on. This is again what tillage means by the ground of being escapes attention. It is the very first thing we fail to notice. And so in this way, we’ve become absolutely fascinated with all the things going on inside it. And we start identifying with them and taking sides as if, for example, again, when you read the newspaper and you read out about all the terrible things going on, you find you get worked up, you get mad about this, that and the other. And before you know where you are, you’re completely absolved. That’s just in the same way as going to a play or in the cinema. You know, you get infuriated. You get excited. You get somebody you’ve identified, you see with the contest going on. If you could look with at your blood with a microscope and see all the different kinds of creatures in your blood eating each other up, you would think that you were in grave mortal danger.
If that side is going to win. Well, we look at that poor thing. And that’s part of me.
And so you get absorbed, you’d get partisan in that quarrel. So we’re all in this way, absorbed in the daily events going on, the conflicts and everything like this. And we’re taking sides not realizing, you see, that you can’t actually take sides because you need both sides. You are both sides. You are self and other, you are inside and outside. How can you take the side of the outside against the inside? Cause if you won, you wouldn’t be outside. You wouldn’t be inside either. So then the project of ways of liberation, like Hinduism and Buddhism and Daoism is to restore to the fascinated individual and awareness of his eternity.
And his Infiniti.
Not necessarily in terms of what we ordinary ordinarily call personal immortality, a system in which we would be able to go on into a future life with memories of all the past lives through which we have lived or past times in which we have been. So that I could address myself to the pleasures of heaven in the person of Alan Watts. I think there might be something mutually exclusive about that.
But in another way, I’m much more interesting way, because, as you well know, if you think it through that, if you remembered forever and ever.
And it had a kind of continuous cumulative experience that after a while you would want to forget things that had happened.
You see, forgetting is as important to remembering as elimination is to assimilation.
Just as you don’t simply eat food, but you let out the excrement. So in the same way in ones that we were discussing this morning while somebody brought it up, an analogy between the mind and the digestive system. So forgetting is tremendously important to one’s mental functioning.
That’s why we sleep. That’s why we have these intervals of unconsciousness and unconsciousness renews things. You remember, don’t you, your childhood when the world was new to you and how extraordinary it was and how very beautiful.
Well, if you want to go on being an adult for always and always and always, you can never have that experience again.
Because you’ve got to die first.
And see it all anew. And that is why all initiation ceremonies involve a symbolic death.
What you call dying to yourself in various rituals, people are put in coffins and all books of the dead, like the Tibetan Book of the Dead and the Egyptian Book of the Dead actually are coded references to initiation rites and initiation processes whereby you die to come alive. And that is for this reason. Thinking about death is extremely productive. You you know, it’s so difficult to think about death, isn’t it? Imagine what it would be like for consciousness to cease and never occur again.
To go to sleep and never wake up.
This is a consideration which teases you out of thought.
What would it be like to start out of nothing at all, as it seems that you did when you were born, that equally teases you out of thought? What is outside space? You see all these questions which are beloved of children. Bring you to a point where you have to stop thinking you can’t possibly imagine. And that is a creative moment. When Salt is nonplused. Because what you have got to at that point is yourself. Just in the same way as you cannot conceive yourself in its vastness sense, in the sense of being one with the universe, so you cannot conceive these particular questions that I have raised.
And you will find, if you think long enough about death, about the possibility of your total disappearance and which will, so far as you’re concerned with the total disappearance of everything else, there’s a clue in that you see as to who you are.
If you think long enough about that, that will occur. A curious flip yang leads to yin. You will realize that the infinite nothingness into which you will disappear when you die was the same infinite nothingness out of which you came when you were born. Do you remember not existing for millions and millions of years before you were born? You see how it flips, and so you will see the rhythm of this that, you know, of course, from objective observation that after you are dead there will be babies born baby humans, baby snakes, baby beetles, babies, Biden’s baby fish.
Billions of babies.
You’ve watched people die and you’ve watched babies born later. So then you will be every one of those babies. Only one of the interesting properties of being a baby individual is that you can only experience yourself one at a time.
That’s the game.
There would be no point in experiencing yourself as many eyes simultaneously because the nearest thing to that would have cost of being the self of all the cells in your body, which are coagulated into one individual.
But you are all of those ones that are born.
But each one, of course, experiences itself in the singular. So you can expect very well after your dad to have the same experience in general as you had when you were born. Now it may be that you are born again as a human being. Or you may be reborn as a fish.
But if you are a fish, you will be in a situation where you feel that you’re a human being and that people are fish. I mean, there are something else. They are another species. You are the center species, which is the human situation. So it will be like it is now. It keeps repeating itself only it does it with variations on a theme. That’s the reason for the many different species, many different kinds of consciousness. So you do not need if you understand the sense of this, you do not need to believe in any secret supernatural information which I might have access to and you don’t. It is perfectly obvious what’s going on. You would say, but there is no connection between me and somebody else living later. My dear friends, there is no connection between the molecules composing your hands. There are no strings joining them together. There is nothing but space between. There is, as I talk, no connection between the sounds I am uttering because they are vibrations. And if you magnify the sounds, I’m saying that means you would have to slow them down on a recording system. You would eventually get something that go.
Ah, ah, ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah ah.
And you see, I can goggle that a little so that you can I get a deep bass enough.
You can actually hear the texture of the sound. That is to say you’re beginning to hear the spaces in the vibration. What is the connection between these things. Well you say as you listen to it while I’m talking to you, it makes perfect sense.
Or is this one sound. Sounds like it’s one sound continuous, but it’s not.
But when you look at it from far enough away, it looks like it’s continuous.
So it is with connections between lives. With connections between anything whatsoever. There are no connections. You could look at the universe from it, the prickly philosophy. Point of view and see it as purely discontinuous particles.
Pop up, up, up, up, up, up, up machinery. But if you are a good type person, you see it as all continuous to relay these themes that are. But. But, but.
But both points of view are correct.
So if you want to be continuous, you go a little bit to go. If you want to be discontinuous and some people would much rather be dead when they’re dead, then you can go over the particles about you must realize you see that the differentiation between particles and waves is a differentiation that is necessary to both sides of the difference. You’ll always find this is so whatever kind of duality you make, you will never be able to escape non duality, which is what holds duality is together. So cheer up, the whole system is rigged.
Laughter You’re it, only you. You learn to be bugged. Yes, to be bugged, to be phased by eventualities.
See? Well, suppose when you’re a baby. See, this is pushed into you by the whole society. The baby know and see when they first arrive in the world. The babies know that. They can’t say because they don’t have any language. They know who they are. They have what Freud calls the oceanic experience. I don’t know really how he found this out.
See, the problem of a child psychologist is that we would just love to teach an infant to talk so that it can tells it how it feels not to be able to talk about how things are before you get any concepts. And so we have a kind of a theoretical notion that a baby experiences the whole world is its own body and that makes no differentiation between itself and its mother.
And so on may be very probable. As a matter of inference, cause none of us remember quite how it was. We don’t we can’t remember because we didn’t have any words to put our memories into no notation. Memory depends to a large extent on such notation.
Well, you can get regressions by hypnosis and maybe they tell us something, maybe they don’t.
But at any rate, what happens is that as you start to grow up.
Let me put it like this. I think I can get this across to a baby.
Nothing has any special value. Life is just a thing that you knew you.
Dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee dee.
See, there’s something just happening. There’s just the play of energy, see, and there’s nothing to say in it that this is the right noise and that’s the wrong noise.
This is the right shape and this is the wrong shape. It’s all just shape. It’s jazz with no discriminations to what ought to happen, what ought not to happen when the baby is in pain.
It hasn’t yet been taught that pain is bad. The baby just squawks and squawking isn’t necessarily bad. Until mummies teach babies that they ought not to squawk, then squawking becomes bad.
Now when you get enlightened at the other end of the road, you will once again see that everything that’s going on is just going yo, yo, yo, yo, yo, yo.
And all kinds of ways. Marvelous. It has no value. There’s no it doesn’t have to go on. But as a matter of fact, if it stops, stopping means going on later.
It’s just an interval.
There’s nothing except intervals. You can’t just dismiss. There’s nothing outside space. You can’t stop permanently.
Supposing you take the theory that the universe is called the explosion theory of the universe, that there was a big bang some time or other, and that all these galaxies were flung into space and they are systems of falling energy and eventually they’ll fade out.
That’ll be that. Well, then we’ll. Well.
But then how did it ever get to start? I mean, presumably before it all happened, there was nothing going on, which will be the way it is when it stops. Anything that happened once can happen again.
So, I mean, you may say I can’t prove that. You may say that is my metaphysical leap of faith, that anything that happened once can happen again.
But I would like to be able to bet on it if I could find some way of collecting the winnings, cos if I lose I’ll never know I lost.
But I think this is the way it works because everything works that way. Only the thing is that you don’t don’t worry about not retaining your personal identity because you would get absolutely bored with it if you could.
Enough of it would kill you.
And indeed does so in that far eastern philosophy.
Human life is looked upon very much as one looks on the seasons. And spring, summer, autumn, winter.
And as that is felt, especially in Japanese poetry, it would be an absolutely essential rhythm in the rhythm of the seasons.
So to that is felt to be this marvelous rhythm in the biological cycle, in the life cycle. And you will disappear. But she will reappear. And the interesting thing about it is this.
You could reappear in a form very like what you are now, just in the same way as two performances of a given musical piece are different performances and yet the same composition.
And there are all possibilities of making this energy system.
Go into every conceivable kind of complexity. Differences of shape and differences of games and every conceivable sort of possibility.
And it’s going wow, well and all the time.
Now, the moment you see this is an essential step.
You might call it in the meditation process is to see this is to see everything as nonsense, as completely meaningless.
That being just what it is, is what Buddhists call seeing things as of one such ness. The words such as this in Sanskrit is cathartic. And that means Dada.
See it like this, when you get to seeing everything like that where nothing matters, it doesn’t matter if you die this instant because that would be one kind of a jazz. You go on living a long time, it’ll be more kind of jazz if this happens. If that happens, it’s all just kind of jazzy. You get to being able to see that. And simultaneously with seeing that, it becomes perfectly obvious that you sitting here are a continuous life with everything else all around you.
But that the jazz, which is called feeling that I am myself as a way of going, Billy, believe me, we will be this way and then feeling that something other is a thing because of rapid and rapid, rapid, rapid like that. You see. But it’s all, as it were, banging on the same drum.
And he was a drum.