Essays in Freedom
The Drug Problem & the War on Drugs
An Intuitional Review or Phenomenology of States of Consciousness
The Yoga of Synthesis: An Interpretation of the Great Seal
The Beam in the Eye
Religion & Government: Iraq 1991 & 2003
The Drug Problem & the War on Drugs
The drug problem and the problems posed by the "war on drugs" are two aspects of one great problem. On the one side you find over-medication and drug dependency; on the other side you find an excessive zeal in policing the matter, which relies upon unsavory tactics, to say the least. This is a political problem since liberal drug use is based on one political philosophy and repressive police measures are based on another political philosophy.
The definitions of "legal" and "illegal' drugs are based not on any sound scientific analysis but simply on the opinions of legislators without much knowledge of the matter, easily persuaded one way or the other by those with strong opinions or interests.
If we take this whole nexus as a single compound problem, we can break it down into its various aspects.
There is first the question of definition. A substance may be harmful to one user but not to another, harmful under certain conditions but not harmful under other conditions. Potential harmfulness, whether to an individual user or to the society considered as whole, is the only reason for declaring the sale, possession or use of a drug "illegal" or for requiring that a prescription be obtained from a medical authority. The latter requirement presumes the expertise and incorruptibility of the said authorities, which sometimes has to be questioned.
At the outset, therefore, the problem is to understand the value and danger of drugs, whether they are prescription drugs, over-the-counter medications, or "illegal" drugs. Even doctors have only an imperfect grasp of the subject, given the incredible proliferation of drugs over recent decades. Although we bow often to medical authority, we do so either as a matter of trust or because there is no other option. In fact the "expertise" of the experts is quite limited.
The education of the general public (and of those who, as legislators, represent the people) is even more difficult, for in this instance we have no expertise to rely on, merely the common sense of ordinary people. Common sense, however, can be a great source of wisdom, especially as it is buttressed by experience and maturity. It may be that the people cede too much to the so-called experts. Often their common sense is worth more than the coin of the experts.
Our existing laws are derived in part from "expert" testimony, in part from common sense, in part from the corrupt practices of self-interested parties. The policing effort begins from the established laws.
Policemen generally begin with the idea that there is problem (a crime), and that they are called upon to end the problem (put the criminals in jail). This is a rough and simple way of looking at the matter. If established laws call drug "X" illegal, then it is up to the police to arrest those who sell, possess or use "X". This assumes that the laws are enforced impartially, which is seldom the case.
The problem is further compounded. What if modern electromagnetic technologies exist that give the police, or private groups, the power to by-pass the laws and punish drug users apart from the troublesome process of trials and costly imprisonment? To vigilantes this may seem like a matter of efficiency. In the spirit of Dirty Harry, they may feel they are justified if they get the job done. They are less concerned with the technicalities of the law, or with the Constitutional rights of individual citizens.
It is difficult to change the Constitution. But what if the "policing" were done through a covert program and people did not even know about it. Of course those who were "under the system" would know about it. But the general public would remain blissfully ignorant, reaping the benefits of a drug-free society, without realizing how it had been accomplished. Such might be the thinking. Of course it would not actually be a drug-free society, since all drug-users would not be targeted; only specific groups would be targeted. Moreover, some very severe problems arise from the very efficiency of the system.
First, the by-passing of the laws places those acting as pseudo-police outside the law; they are in fact criminal themselves. This is vigilantism run amok.
An Intuitional Review or Phenomenology of States of Consciousness
The following review of seven fundamental states of consciousness is an extract from The Light Supernal: Psychological Perspectives on the Initiatory Process (2007). It gives emphasis to some of the higher states of consciousness. As noted by Abraham Maslow and others, there is a need for western psychology to arrive at a better appreciation of this higher terrain, lest the road to the future be limited by the poor quality of existing maps.
The notion that any phenomenology can be free from interpretation is a logical absurdity. Interpretation is inevitable. The object of such a review is to avoid automatic, pre-conceived interpretations and to discover a root pattern* that is creatively useful, as distinct from those familiar patterns that hypnotize and sterilize the consciousness.
The Seven States of Consciousness
1) erotic consciousness; focused on an individual; animated
2) dreaming consciousness; unfocused or potential eroticism
3) mystic unity sensed as pervasive light; symbolic eroticism or realized soul/personality duality; sublimity; kingdom of heaven
4) void experienced as ejection from the garden of Eden; alienation contrasting with the naive joy of felt unity
5) void experienced as darkness before the dawn; the antechamber of creation; joyful wisdom
6) void as death; the sense of incarnate life as the tomb; the supreme question
7) abstraction, resurrection and samadhi: eternal MOTION, the answer to the question
The foregoing brief summary will serve as our point of departure in delving into this difficult subject. The consciousness is mutable and may pass rapidly through the various states of consciousness, "up" or "down" the ladder, but usually one state will be predominant and characteristic, providing a key to the life and the opportunity before one.
The fourth stage, for example, is that of the "tragic" consciousness. Those who are deeply unhappy may be prone to commit suicide or be disposed to enter into an unnecessary war or become addicted to a mind-destroying drug. If, however, the attraction of the constructive, fifth stage consciousness is realized, the whole tone of the life can be altered.
The first two categories correspond roughly to the experience of the mass of the human race, unconscious and instinctive at the outset of the human journey, and semi-conscious at the second stage. A more advanced application of the septenary classification might hold intelligent purpose as characteristic of the first stage. But in fact a large portion of humanity only arrives at intelligent purpose after a great deal of trial-and-error experimentation. It seems wise to recognize this. The second state may be regarded as merely a confused blending of the first and the third. Such a conclusion is consistent with the idea that the astral plane lacks authenticity. If this confused experience is subtracted from the listing of primordial or distinctive states of consciousness, six remain. The seventh may then be understood as the synthesizing central point. If such a distinction muddies the waters of classification, this may not be a bad thing. The novice in this realm may benefit from "a map" or “received wisdom” provided he remembers the primary value of his own experience.
The third, fourth and fifth categories are the terrain of advanced, modern humanity. The sixth and the seventh are indicative of the more remote prospect. They may be considered theoretically or approached from the angle of the "peak experience."
The third state signifies joy, the fourth sorrow. The fifth is joy balanced by reason and wisdom. The sixth is the transcendence of sorrow. By facing "the tomb" with detachment and by questioning the deep mystery of life itself, one can approach or open oneself to the possibility of resurrection (not merely a cyclic renewal but a lifting up and emergence from the tomb of material life into the life more abundant of the higher, etheric and cosmic planes).
Omitting the first two states of consciousness, which are exoteric, the remaining five may considered more closely:
The third state can be associated with the feeling that heaven is within and with the idea of Brotherhood. Many people are remote from this feeling and don't get it at all, but the feeling of unity is the basis of integration into an Ashram. This implies the relation of the higher astral and the higher mental planes and the realization or recapitulation, on a higher turn of the spiral, of the Garden of Eden experience, a subjective realization of the soul and the world of the soul. This is a tangible experience of Light and is the fulfillment of the ancient prayer: Lead us from darkness to Light. By enabling the Experiencer to begin to understand (in a first-hand manner) the “Plan” of God, it supplies the first building pattern for the externalization of the Ashram.
By contrast with the optimism of the third state, the fourth is characterized by the apparently negative experience of the ejection from the Garden. The positive purpose underlying that ejection is the evocation of the higher responsibility of the fully individualized human being. This requires one to discount the good feelings that seem important in the light of the pleasure principle, and to accept the severity of the light and the pre-eminence of the higher mind. The growth of this higher understanding signifies the rightly oriented direction of energy. It enables the advancing aspirant to play a part in the fulfillment of the second aspect of the ancient prayer: Lead us from the unreal to the Real.
The fifth state is related to the Eternal Now of the creative process. While the basic states of consciousness are related to an instinctive, sensual and emotional response to existence, the higher express increasingly an intelligent, spiritual understanding, oriented toward the mastery of life from the angle of the divine purpose. This involves recognition of and an active participation in the continuity of the creative process. The pre-eminence of the spirit over both the mind and the body enables one to understand the third aspect of the ancient prayer: Lead us from death to Immortality.
The sixth and seventh states have a culminating significance that is suggested by the final act in the story of the Christ.
The sixth state is related to the discovery of the dynamic central energy. The experience of "the tomb" is the recognition of the periphery, the depth of this recognition inviting or evoking the subsequent positive discovery. This is possible only through a non-emotional and unprejudiced cognition of "negative" and "positive" states. The fact that every initiation involves the penetration into and eventual conquest of unknown territory leads ultimately to a stabilized transcendental orientation. The initiate must realize a detachment not only from the “past” but also from every possible “future” since all such are simply transitional states, reflecting the relativity of the creative process. This realization is aided by the technique of “the Observer.”
It permits integration into the greater Whole, based upon the recognition of the initiate that his individual life is simply a fragment of the greater life. The concrete meaning of this integration will be determined by the cycle within which one is functioning. Relatively, cyclic perfection is simply an end that leads to a new beginning. The more profound idea is the resurrection from all states of limitation whatsoever.
Finally, the journey is grasped not merely in terms of one of its stages (even the ultimate stage) but in its entirety; one stands outside one's "individual" journey and sees the universal and relativistic aspect of the same expansions. Thus the Teachers of the race are able to see what men need with great clarity, and to provide the most helpful guidance without infringing upon the free will of any.
Certain conclusions follow from a study of the whole sequence:
First, the sequence itself expresses a progressive abstraction, with the consequent centering of the consciousness in its own subjective essence.
"Death and limitation are synonymous terms. When the consciousness is focused in form and identified entirely with the principle of limitation, it regards freedom from form life as death; but, as evolution proceeds, the consciousness shifts increasingly into awareness of that which is not form and into the world of the abstract, i.e., into that which is abstracted from form and focused in itself. This, by the way, is a definition of meditation from the angle of goal and achievement."--Esoteric Astrology, 615.
Second, phases of apparent light and darkness succeed one another. The third and fifth states of consciousness are phases of evident light. The fourth and sixth are phases of apparent or seeming darkness.
Third, the earlier states are more characteristically emotional.
The third state represents a mystic or naive optimism, compared to the balanced, creative optimism of the fifth state.
The darkness related to the fourth state has a strong emotional coloring, whereas that related to the sixth state is faced with contemplative serenity.
The purposeful tension of the third state or stage is acquired through the successful fusion of the soul and personality. This creates both the possibility and the inherent necessity to approach the higher, spiritual aspect. This is a re-play, on the evolutionary arc (and in reverse motion), of the event that brought about the division of the sexes on the involutionary arc (during the 3rd root-race).
The first effect of this higher tension is apparently negative. The joy of the soul realm and of a realized fusion of soul and personality, up until this point the highest experience of life, loses its luster. This may be understood as a foreshadowing of the higher, more transcendent state. But emotionally it is felt as a genuine loss, not unlike the experience of Adam and Eve (as we imagine it) realizing the consequence of their expulsion from Eden. While this "expulsion" is driven by a higher purpose for the sake of which this temporary loss is considered a small price to pay, one cannot deny the feeling of loss.
It is right here that the contrast between the spiritual life and the sensual life is demonstrated with stark clarity. Prior to this point, it is possible to consider the spiritual life in terms of its material benefits, and even to embrace the spirit for the sake of those benefits. The absurdity of such a position now becomes apparent. It is akin to the idea of physical immortality based on cryogenic freezing and the (hoped for) medical miracle that can sustain or even re-build a decrepit body. Such an idea is only conceivable when the identification of the spirit with its transitory abode is unquestioned and compelling. As soon as the true nature of the spirit becomes evident, the foolishness of such a purpose becomes apparent. The spirit, with its own purpose, looks with a cold eye on the dreams of human vanity.
Lead us from darkness to Light. Thus a man may pray not realizing the full effect of that which he invokes. The first consequence of illumination is the realization of spiritual purpose, as distinct from those "purposes" which arise from fear, misunderstanding and vanity. Recognition of one's essential duality makes one wary of "instinctive" identifications.
As spiritual purpose is clarified, the effect of this clarification is the rejection of those objectives which have their basis in the allure of the unreal.
Lead us from the unreal to the Real.
In contrasting the first and second stages of the spiritual path, we find that the first stage contains much that is pleasant. It relates simply and coherently to the idea that the spiritual life is the good life, and that even the health and physical status are benefited through spiritualization. The light that people talk about at this stage is the light that makes happy. It is like a bright room in which everyone is smiling. There is much that is good and unquestionably right about the ideas that emanate from this point, but in the last analysis they remind us of childhood. There is much that is right and good about childhood, too, but eventually we are ready to move beyond it.
Clarification of purpose produces the tension that leads to the rejection of the idealism of the first stage as feeble and unsatisfactory. This clearing of the stage makes possible real creativity. The true purpose of life, taken to heart, may now be formulated with a reasonable accuracy.
Adam and Eve, after lamenting the loss of Eden, find themselves in a world less hospitable than the one formerly known. Likewise, the problem of life appears to be more far-reaching than had been imagined. But this apparent recession of the goal into the distance, is productive of a wise pragmatism. Muscle is built by toil, and brain-power by problems that bring out the intellect.
Thus good results emerge out of apparent hardship. Similarly, the spirit emerges when the need for it is duly recognized. Man then learns to create not merely what he desires but that which life itself requires. This spiritual realism permits one to dream into being not the unnecessary products of his fancy, but that which embodies the next evolutionary step for the human race. From the dream comes the project, backed by the will of a conscious creator, and one draws closer to the Immortals. Lead us from death to Immortality.
We can consider the concept of immortality under three headings:
1) spiritual immortality;
2) relative or historical immortality;
3) material immortality.
Superficially, it might be said that the success of the spiritual creator qualifies him for immortality. In this merely relative sense Socrates, Plato, Balzac, Tolstoy, Marx, Freud and Einstein are all "immortal." But even this merely historical and relative concept of immortality is a thousand times more significant than the possibility of preserving indefinitely the personality of X, a man not even endowed with qualities sufficient to make him memorable to his ex-wife, and whose physical persistence would be, perhaps, not a good idea.
The immortality of the spirit is an attribute of the detachment of the spirit from materiality, temporality and mortality. It has nothing to do with having an immortal body or a personality that persists endlessly.** The endless persistence of any existing person would be simply a defilement of eternity. On the other hand, the soul of every person has the potential to evolve beyond the limitations of the mortal person, and to realize spiritual identification and immortality.
While the spiritual idea of immortality stands in sharp contrast to the material travesty of the idea, the relative form of the idea provides a key to understanding. Only that which has value deserves to endure. Plato's works have endured for twenty-five hundred years, and therefore we speak of him as an Immortal. But eventually The Republic will go the way of many lesser works and be forgotten. The Temple of Solomon may persist for hundreds of millennia, but eventually it, too, will be no more. Beyond the relative persistence of the highest structures humanity is currently able to conceive, is That which is undying. To be immortal, in truth, is to be identified with That.
* This essay and its concern with the discovery of "progressive patterns" was largely inspired by material that originally appeared in Discipleship in the New Age (1955), Vol. II, Section Three, Teachings on Initiation, 241-439, Alice A. Bailey.
** Cryogenic freezing, an idea that was originally featured in science-fiction magazines in the early sixties, is lampooned by American novelist Don DeLillo in his novel Zero K (2016).
THE YOGA OF SYNTHESIS
An Interpretation of the Great Seal
This little book was written in its original form in 2006, during the second term of the Bush/Cheney administration more than three years after the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Historic events and the author’s interpretation of those events are used to shed light on the Great Seal.
This introduction and one important footnote related to surveillance technology have been added to the current edition. Otherwise only minor changes have been made.
The ideas symbolized by the Great Seal present the hope or spiritual potentiality of a great nation. The extent to which we realize those ideas is dependent on the free will and creative activity of all Americans. Nothing is set in stone.
THE YOGA OF SYNTHESIS
IDENTITY AND CONCENTRATION
TOWARD A SPIRITUAL CAPITALISM
THE SYNERGY OF ACHIEVEMENT
THE FIXED CROSS & THE FOUR FUNDAMENTAL IDEAS
THE GUARDIAN OF EARTH
THE POSITIVE IDEA
THE EYE IN THE TRIANGLE
THE SYNTHESIS OF THE FOUR
THE VORTEX OF LIBERATION & THE CORNUCOPIA
FREEDOM AND MATURITY
THE HIGHER FREEDOM & PUBLIC OPINION
THE LION AND THE SERPENT
THE SERPENT AND THE EAGLE
THE BULL, THE EAGLE AND THE MAN
THE KING AND THE LAND ARE ONE
THE MAGNET OF FREEDOM
THE FUSION OF OPPOSITES
THE SECURITY COUNCIL: IRAN
THE BEAM IN THE EYE
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES
A DARK LEGACY
THE YOGA OF SYNTHESIS
The dialectical path that leads to truth is fraught with peril. Everyone knows the fate of the one who comes between two adversaries. By virtue of his lack of sympathy for small, prejudiced and unjust ideas, and his failure to identify with either side, he attracts the enmity of both.
From such an example we may deduce that truth and justice are not, in themselves, sufficient to define a peace-maker. Considerable patience and tact may also be required.
Patience, the dialectician does not always possess. He is a man on the move. Like one who sets out to climb a great mountain, he looks askance at those who settle down on the plateaus, slopes and ledges. He will not be satisfied until he has arrived at the peak.
The nature of the dialectical process is simple enough, and so is the idea behind it.
As we seek the whole truth, the bits and pieces of truth, taken in themselves, are perceived to be little better than outright falsehood.
Often they are actually worse. A pure falsehood is easily refuted, but a position that contains an element of truth has a stubborn persistence.
The same process that the thinker follows in his pursuit of truth whole societies and nations follow, albeit more clumsily and slowly. Synthesis is not a merely mental event but a fundamental fact of life. The aspiration and mental clarity of the thinker enable him to become an organic reflection of this fact. The value of the thinker's example is the purity of the model he represents. Nations do not, as a rule adhere closely to this purity, but their distance from it will be the measure of prevailing darkness.
IDENTITY AND CONCENTRATION
Given the volatility of the mind-stuff, a single idea is not so easy to hold onto. An idea may change by an almost imperceptible degree into a similar but distinct idea, and such changes may occur with great rapidity, so that in a short time the original idea is lost in a sea of similarity. The similar may be thus the veil of the homogenous.
Where realization is desired, to guard against the erosion of concentration, the distinct idea must be held firmly, a detailed clarity emerging in relation to that one idea, as opposed to the blurring of outline effected when similarity is allowed to displace identity.
Of course we are talking about a free act of mental concentration, and not a case of compulsion or obsession, in which concentration is apparently produced by the fact that one is incapable of thinking of anything other than one thing.
Thinkers typically prefer a clear antithesis to a muddy agreement, and this preference may be attributable, in part, to the love of clarity. But this apparent love of antithesis or combativeness may also be related to a hatred of partial ideas based on the love of justice, wholeness and synthesis—all worth fighting for.
The antithetical spirit frequently represents the missing or under-represented factor. This does not make for popularity—at least not among those wedded to the status quo—but it does give justice a chance.
TOWARD A SPIRITUAL CAPITALISM
We have lost sight of the fact that money is only one of the many forms of capital, and by no means the most important.
It is possible to imagine a fully human world without money. It is not possible to imagine such a world without goodness. Following Plato, we will take this key as the foundation of any decent society.
If people are fundamentally at odds with one another, there is no way they can organize for their mutual benefit. In this divisiveness there is implicit an absence of goodness on the part of some, if not all, of the members of society; and, in the spirit of modern extremism, many assign blame to some other group, while assuming their own faultlessness.
Without denying the existence of a criminal or perverse element, we will nevertheless rest our hopes on the normality of a tendency towards goodness; of a goodwill that, under favorable conditions, is naturally extended to the human race as a whole, and to the whole of the planet.
Together with this innate or latent goodwill, we find its natural practical concomitant: the desire of each to develop and make use of his God-given talents, placing them in the service of life. At any rate, this is the attitude of the enlightened portion of humanity to which we look for example and leadership. If we wish to give a name to this attitude, we might call it spiritual capitalism.
Social organization, based on antiquated models, requires a revolutionary overhaul to bring it into line with mankind's potentiality and needs.
The modern enslavement by the money system is perhaps only the major symptom of a more essential problem, but insofar as one may discover essential reality through the sincere confrontation of those external and manifest problems that provide us with indications of where we are and what we are about, it is not inappropriate for the philosopher and the religious man to seek the consummation of their efforts in the solution of the practical problems of the day. In the last analysis there is no difference between a philosophical problem and a practical problem. It is only the divorce of theory and practice that makes possible such a barren dichotomy.
In a world of abundance, the regular starvation of tens of thousands of children cannot be other than a spiritual problem. If this is the outcome of our economic system, then our economic system requires alteration. We cannot accept that this atrocity is simply a law of nature.
If the planet itself is being destroyed through the forces of irresponsibility and unrestrained greed, we cannot simply rest back on the idea that this is human nature or that freedom is ever and always a good thing. Such ideological devotion is killing us.
Respect for human capital requires an organizing principle larger than that offered by the devotees of free trade. Psychologically speaking, it is an absurdity to imagine that individuals in pursuit of their most greedy ambitions will, by some miraculous interchange, produce paradise on Earth. This is an imagination devoid of ethical substance.
By contrast, a spiritual capitalism implies a responsible attitude on the part of its exponents. It assumes a maturity for which many may not be ready.
Therefore the model must first be demonstrated by those who are capable of living up to it. The rank and file of mankind will follow the example of the leaders.
All—leaders and followers alike—must be uplifted from the charmed circle that leaves the race incapable of solving its most pressing problems: war, starvation and environmental degradation. Without doubt there is an ethical, spiritual or psychological component to this solution; a type of thinking that will succeed, just as there is a type of thinking that will prove inadequate. The latter, well-known, has had its day. The experiment of the old thinking has run its course, producing global imbalances and catastrophes as the inevitable consequence of inherent inadequacies. The new thinking that will succeed is still fighting for the respect it deserves. Respect will lead to new experiments.
There is no contradiction between a spiritual capitalism and a socially creative world community, but both are dependent on a maturity of outlook. Neither is there a contradiction between freedom and justice, when the ethical or spiritual factor is duly emphasized.
Unbalanced, immature thinking underlies the sterile one-sidedness and unbridgeable cleavages exemplified in the debates of the extremists and partisan ideologues, devoted to old forms rather than creative thought. Their assertions and proposals are dressed up by the art of "spinning" but not informed by the love of truth.
THE SYNERGY OF ACHIEVEMENT
Synergy is the organic synthesis of as group of people: be it a symphony orchestra, a baseball team, a business group, or any group whatsoever, large or small.
There are two kinds of synergy: positive synergy based on the psychology of light, love and liberation; and negative synergy, based on the psychology of darkness and enslavement, and leading to disintegration and decline.
At the frontier of education and government, these two psychologies are locked in a struggle that will decide the fate of the human race for centuries to come.
A key battleground, perhaps the most important at this point in history, is America. What are Americans going to do with themselves? What will they decide about themselves and their future? Their answers to these questions will affect not only their children and grandchildren but their neighbors and friends around the world.
Having been given a vivid taste of the fruits of the dark psychology, they may, with due reflection, profit from the experience, remembering that a vaccine protects by eliciting the body's defensive capacity.
The psychology of light can only benefit from the comparisons that will inevitably be made, when the two ways are manifestly clear to those who must choose. For this we can be thankful to the darkness for providing such an effective foil.
What we need today, however, is not more darkness, but the clear example of the better way. We need the evidence of positive synergy, as well as the understanding of the negative spiral. We need clarification of the ways in which the one works for us and the other against us.
The great challenge for the builders is to evoke the positive synergy in more expansive action, manifesting a universal peace and prosperity without violence or tyranny: a vast objective that cannot be achieved quickly. But there is no need for the alert few to await the receptiveness of the whole world. Today they can manifest through small groups and demonstrate the power of benevolent actions based on the newer principles.
There is no need to limit these groups in principle to any particular form. This will be determined essentially by the animating synthetic idea and the nature of the particular enterprise the group has undertaken.
THE FIXED CROSS & THE FOUR FUNDAMENTAL IDEAS
The cross is a powerful symbol. There are many crosses with various meanings. Here we will refer to the Fixed Cross of the Zodiac, and to its four signs: Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius. They can be related to four fundamental ideas:
Guardian of Earth
Yoga of Synthesis
The ideas as presented here may be taken as an interpretation of the symbols found on the back of the one dollar bill. They have their origin in esoteric doctrines and in the Great Seal, which enshrined the high hopes held for the newly created American nation. They deserve a fresh interpretation in the light of current problems and opportunities.
Spiritual Capitalism is an outgrowth of the love of freedom. This includes the maximum of external freedom of action reasonably permissible to all human beings. But it includes also an inner or spiritual freedom.
External freedom is limited by nature and law. Inner freedom is an attainment, a demonstration of the power of the soul within the form.
The opposite of Scorpio is Taurus. The positive opposite of freedom is responsibility or obligation, and the more free a man, the greater the responsibilities he takes on. The slave of personal desires, accepting no responsibilities, lives as a parasite. Hence, among esoteric teachings the theme of liberation is ever united with the theme of service.
As achieved freedom enables one to take on greater responsibilities, service is the greatest tool in effecting the liberation of man from the harmful excesses of egoism. Positively, his virtues and talents are developed through constructive endeavor.
A similar relation is seen between the polar opposites Leo and Aquarius and the themes suggested by the two signs. Divine Humanism underscores the potential divinity and worth of every human being, while the Yoga of Synthesis highlights the benefits of intelligent amalgamation of effort.
When a person is but little evolved he remains either clinging to the mass consciousness or else tends to give almost extravagant emphasis to his own emerging individuality. But the more evolved or freer man, in whom the inner divinity is beginning to demonstrate quality of life, readily appreciates the value and necessity of synthetic enterprise. Conversely, those who respond to the Aquarian note of service and synthesis soon realize that they have little to offer if they proceed soullessly, without inner connection.
Taurus and Aquarius, the 2nd and 11th signs, may be considered as a pair, indicating the Alpha and Omega. The keynote of the new age is given by the World Servers, the universal expression of light and love.
Leo and Scorpio, the 5th and 8th signs, may also be considered as a pair. This pair is more individualistic. The Dragon of Wisdom emerges through the initiatory process.
Initiation represents the great achievement of man. The culmination of a spiritual capitalism, it likewise defines or conditions the process of achievement. Every true achievement has a place in the initiatory process, and each such achievement will tend toward the liberation of humanity from base egoism, irresponsibility, war, hatred, greed and poverty.
Liberty is dependent on light. Without light we cannot even determine our own best interest. Unenlightened capitalism represents merely the external freedom of the banking and trading interest to pursue the motive of individual profit, without much concern for the bigger picture.
An enlightened capitalism implies something more: an elevation of motives and a sensitive response to actual human need.
An elevation of the motives of the participants in the capitalist system means in effect the most efficient deployment of available resources. This is the keynote of a spiritual or enlightened capitalism.
As liberty is dependent on light, life finds its apotheosis through love. Thus we proceed from life to more abundant life. Through an achieved liberation, we learn to identify one with another and, eventually, all with the whole of life. Through love and sharing, the limitations of petty egoism are transcended.
If life and liberty are the bases upon which we stand, light and love crown us and declare us God's children.
Universal love begets a universally shared responsibility for the welfare of the human race and the planet, leading to commensurate actions. The Guardian of Earth signifies this emergent spirit.
The four ideas are like the four sides of the pyramid. Only as they are understood as belonging to single structure does their harmony become apparent.
Many, however, have difficulty seeing around the corner and tend to separate the ideas one from the other. The separated ideas become illusions: ideas without proportion or real value.
Take the idea of freedom. Taken by itself and understood superficially, it signifies nothing more than a complete lack of discipline or restraint. There is nothing wonderful about such a version of freedom.
If we think freedom is important, we should take the trouble to define it. What is it about freedom that is wonderful? When is it not wonderful? Should terrorists be free to blow us up? Most do not believe so. Should we feel free to blow other people up? Some believe so. Some of us believe we need to exercise more restraint. Undefined, the word freedom is about as meaningless as a word can be.
In fact, while one may appreciate the virtues of a society that permits and encourages a rare freedom of action, it is a huge illusion to imagine that we are free solely because we enjoy external freedom—if we do. This is a psychological naiveté.
One may be completely free externally, yet be a thorough slave to compulsions. The compulsive alcoholic, for example, may be free to drink; but not at all free when it comes to choosing whether to drink or not drink.
Americans were free to invade Iraq, but not at all free when it was a question of resisting the brainwashing that led them to give their assent and support to the ill-conceived invasion.
A more enlightened, more rational populace—a freer people—would have laughed in the face of any would-be leader who suggested that miserable Iraq was a threat to the United States. But an ignorant population was easily manipulated—through fear-mongering—into acceptance of just this patent absurdity.
This can be called the freedom to be a fool. It scarcely inclines the world to follow the American lead.
We acknowledge the divinity, usefulness and desirability of human free will, but we take this simply as a basis upon which to build. What we are actually to do with this freedom is the question we have to answer.
Clearly, freedom can be mis-used. Evil, criminality, anti-social behavior and folly, both individual and collective, are as much the expression of human free will as more benevolent constructions.
If we acknowledge likewise that man is inherently a child of God with a divine destiny, then it follows that his free will is given merely to provide the matrix for his moral choices and learning. It has this basic value. Upon this foundation he has the task of realizing that higher order of freedom that expresses his spiritual nature.
The idea of a spiritual capitalism, which arises from this aspiration, signifies nothing less than an evolutionary step: it expresses the spiritualization and refinement of human nature.
This is the crux. Attempts to by-pass this simple, time-honored truth and to achieve the same goals through external agencies such as legislation, military force, technology and manipulative psychology (brainwashing) are bound to fail, because they do not come to terms with the root issue.
One would suppose that the religions would rally around such a proposition. That they do not—with significant individual exceptions—reveals the degeneracy and irrelevance of conservative religion. A large percentage of Americans claim to be Christians. But look at what America has done to Iraq, a small country that offered it no threat. It has brought death and devastation to tens of thousands of innocent people, unleashing chaos and despair throughout that poor land.
Whether this is the result of ignorance or deliberate policy, it is a crime on a far greater scale than the crime of 9/11, with which Iraq and the Iraqi people had no connection. The victims of 9/11 number a mere 3,000. Many times that number have been victimized as a result of the American invasion of Iraq.
In this case one might speak of freedom gone mad. The claims of our President and his supporters that we were bringing freedom to Iraq are on par with their claims that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction, that America was threatened by an immanent nuclear attack; that Saddam was a great threat to the world, that Iraq was implicated in 9/11; that the American invaders would be greeted as liberators, and that the war in Iraq would be a cake-walk and that it would pay for itself. In short, it was a lie—a lie so big, in fact, that people have a hard time getting a handle on it. They are mesmerized by that magic word: FREEDOM. We are bringing democracy to Iraq. More, we are bringing democracy to the whole Middle East!
Meanwhile, Americans are having a hard time safeguarding their own democracy. After two dubious elections, new voting machines now make possible cheating on a grand scale. This follows the determination of the Supreme Court, in 2000, that actually counting the votes was probably too much trouble. The voters, moreover, have discovered that they cannot compete with the lobbyists. Bribes have more weight than "the will" of the voters.
Freedom thus interpreted is indistinguishable from chaos and criminality. The effort to export this to the rest of the world—in line with the Bush plan—if perpetuated, guarantees an unending warfare and the decline of civilization into savagery. Terrorism aimed at America and her supporters finds its justification and appeal in just such policies as these.
At the heart of such thinking is the hypocritical faith that masks a darkened soul. Precisely a lack of spiritual freedom is incarnate in such profound ignorance.
THE GUARDIAN OF EARTH
A mere word or phrase cannot be expected to provide much in the way of light. The power of a word, phrase or slogan in advertising and politics has little to do with the illumination of the mind and much to do with the formation or bolstering of an active prejudice. It is not educational but manipulative.
Our reliance on the instant "understanding" attainable through advertisement and sound-bites has contributed to the creation of a public poorly educated in the major issues of the day. This may be useful to those who rely on manipulation, but it weakens the American democracy. Apart from the impossibility of formulating intelligent policy without intelligence, such a climate contributes to the polarization that thrives where opinion is readily substituted for truth.
Each of the four fundamental ideas requires careful interpretation and understanding. So it is with the idea which we have summarized with the phrase Guardian of Earth. On the dollar bill it is symbolized by the eye in the triangle floating above the unfinished pyramid.
We have already related this idea to an enlightened sense of responsibility and suggested that it complements the idea of freedom. Thus, even without further analysis, we are cautioned against becoming or supporting irresponsible freedom-fighters. Even this much understanding would have saved tens of thousands—now approaching a hundred thousand—innocent lives in Iraq and spared the American taxpayer a one trillion dollar bill for this thoroughly unnecessary blood-letting.
The eagle's talons clutch both olive branch and arrows. Only the light of wisdom and knowledge provides the basis for a just response to an existing situation. In relation to issues of war and peace, any prejudicial predetermination, such as characterizes the pacifist and the war-monger, inherently disables the capacity for judgment.
"Decisiveness" without judgment is what the alcoholic manifests when he "decides" to drink. Of course he cannot help making such a decision. This might not be a Presidential quality, but given a capable PR impresario, even such a limitation can be turned into a perceived virtue.
Careless about the truth, we become the victims of dark substitutions: unsubstantiated opinions, imagination in place of reality, beliefs that are held all the more firmly the less worthy they are of our loyalty—until at last we find ourselves in a maze, without the benefit of a thread leading to daylight.
Where our choices have been poor ones, we have the opportunity to learn from our mistakes. Reality itself has a therapeutic function. When we are going in the wrong direction, it has a way of letting us know. But even then, if we lack humility, we will be unwilling to accept the signs, unable to learn. The light that leads must be above such commonplace errors.
The disjunction of government and enlightenment is a formula for tragedy today as it was in Plato's time. But beyond this sorrowful reaping, where governments are unenlightened, one must seek this leading light in higher places. It exists; it thrives even, in unexpected places. Those governments that fail to grasp it will fall, inevitably. But their failure will be understood to suggest something better and finer than that which they were able to embody.
Eternal truths don't go away. They may disappear, temporarily, from man's psychological horizon. This is particularly the case during a "dark" age. But it is not the truth that is swept away. It is the human world built on falsehood that is swept away. The truth remains, to hover over the heads of a new generation, facing it with more or less the same choices and opportunities.
Americans have been so focused on external terrorists that they have failed to perceive that their more dangerous enemy is within themselves. A narrow, bigoted and self-righteous current of thought has done more to advance the destruction and collapse of the American nation in a few short years than all of our external enemies could have hoped to achieve.
Ignorance is more dangerous to the nation than the enmity of a truckload of bin Ladens.
Where once a great leader told us we had nothing to fear except fear itself, we now hear nothing except how afraid we should be. This itself is a profound symptom of decline. It isn't that we shouldn't take rational steps to protect ourselves, but we need to restore a sense of proportion and sanity, lacking in the current hysterical climate.
We need to realize our actual strengths and weaknesses. We need to realize the extent to which we ourselves have created the terrorists through our own unenlightened behavior. Take Iran. In the fifties we imposed on the Iranian people a dictator, the Shah, who was responsible for terrorizing his own people. Thus the Iranian hostage crisis of the seventies did not emerge out of nothingness.
We continue to act as if we had a monopoly on virtue. We reserve the right to tell the Iranians they can't have nuclear power. Why not?
We're afraid they'll build a nuclear weapon. We have nuclear weapons. Israel has them. Pakistan has them. (The earthquake in Pakistan in 2005 may have been caused by an underground nuclear test.) Have we offered to abolish our own nuclear weapons? We have not.
Let us play fair with other nations. Then they will have little reason to seek or wish for our destruction.
THE POSITIVE IDEA
To understand the positive idea of guardianship one has only to think of a mother or a parent and expand this to its universal aspect.
There is first of all a caring attitude and a protective orientation in relation to something deemed valuable and vulnerable. But additionally there is a social dimension to this idea that gives to it a pan-human significance.
It is this social dimension that is significantly missing from the thinking of the Bush people. This is what creates the partisan narrowness of their agenda, and this in turn leads to conflict—not a conflict against evil, as the advertisements state, but a conflict against most of the rest of the human race.
Expansion of consciousness is a major criterion of enlightenment. What this means, to begin with, is that we all live on one planet and all of us share a responsibility to safeguard it. We all belong to the same human race, and the welfare of our neighbors is an aspect of our own welfare, like it or not.
The Bush people talk as if anyone opposed to the destruction of Iraq and endless, futile war is an isolationist—as if their small-minded policies represented the only possible global outlook. This is an absurdity.
For them all that matters is American power, and the preservation of elite privilege. They project this power into the world, without much caring what other people think. This is called aggression. If you like, you can call it terrorism.
The people who resist this aggression are not, by virtue of this resistance, bad people, although they may become bad people. Resisting aggression is a positive human attribute—even if the aggressor happens to be America.
By pursuing an anti-social agenda, and by relying on the force of arms instead of the force of ideas, America has earned for itself the hatred of a large portion of mankind. To imagine that this hatred is based merely on envy of American success and power is gross self-deception. The fact is, justice is not on our side.
If American power were used in a more benign fashion, it would not evoke so much resentment. It is the selfishness and arrogance of this projected power that creates enemies. Take Iraq. We are acutely sensitive to the loss of a few thousand American soldiers but largely indifferent to the tens of thousands of Iraqis (many of them not even counted in the official tolls) who have lost their lives as a result of America's blundering invasion. This is typical. How blithely we accept these casualties of unknown people! How easily we exonerate ourselves of all responsibility! We meant well!
There was nothing benign or just about the invasion of Iraq. It was based on self-centered thinking, paranoia and fear-mongering. The cant about "building democracy" came after the fact and was never anything more than a fantasy—to give a specious rationale to a war that turned out to have none.
Likewise, the war in Iraq was deliberately confused with the "War on Terror" in order to give the impression that the Emperor was in fact dressed when anyone with a child's clarity could see that he was not.
By providing a clear example of what doesn't work, the Bush people, for all their perversity, have performed a useful service. The darkness frames the light.
The Bush people are disdainful of the world community except when they think they can use it for their own narrow purposes. Their agenda is inherently anti-social and toxic. If pursued, it will guarantee unending warfare and the flourishing of the type of dangers they would have us fear. They see and create a hostile world of rogue states, and re-make America into a rogue state, in the name of a specious self-defense.
The enlightened recognize that an enduring peace is created through understanding and justice, and not through the excessive and unjustified use of military force. They seek a world community based on principles of justice, neighborliness and universal well-being.
They see world cooperation not as an option but as a necessity of our time. They understand that this can rest only on mutual respect, a justly framed and enforced international law, and fraternal relations, and not on the domination of one power.
This is not to suggest that responsibility is exclusively vested in a few well placed and particularly advanced souls. Responsibility is vested in all human beings, to the extent that they are capable of adult thoughtfulness. It might be stated that this sense of responsibility is expressed on three levels:
First, on the common or microcosmic level on which each individual assumes responsibility for his own small affairs.
Second, on the social or cooperative level on which individuals, groups and nations give due attention to their mutual or shared interests.
Third, on the spiritual and initiatic level on which the concerns of the whole take shape, and planetary evolution receives its impetus.
THE EYE IN THE TRIANGLE
While the freedom theme of the sign Scorpio is a centrifugal force, Taurus is centripetal. It is the vision of the builder. Taurus is the dawning light on the eastern horizon that represents tomorrow's reality. If this light is feeble, then so will be the world that emerges from its design.
An opportunity lies in the idealistic realization of the same fact. For the light is strong, if not in governments, in its own true centers of power. And that light is today widely available to shape a new world consensus based on the universal desire for a humane and just world order.
The eye in the triangle floats above the unfinished pyramid; its light is useful to the builders and the approach to perfection. To see clearly is a great blessing. We appreciate the necessity for light after the calamity and suffering produced through blindness become apparent, but seldom in advance. But there are, in all countries, those who do see and understand the better paths, even if they are not in government. We need only identify them and heed them to spare ourselves mountains of grief in the time to come.*
* Today the Illuminati are criticized because it is believed that abusive surveillance practices are an expression of esoteric groups embracing the symbol of the Eye. A symbol may of course be appropriated by those who are unworthy and who fail to understand the symbol, even if they embrace it superficially. We would say that the problem of abusive surveillance derives precisely from the lack of illumination of those groups currently guilty of abuses.
Excesses of surveillance were partly brought to the world’s attention by Snowden’s disclosure of NSA spying. They actually extend far beyond what most people imagine, since there has been in the USA a virtual news blackout concerning this matter. I deal with it at length in Surveillance and Control (2018).
Current surveillance extends even into the most private affairs of American citizens and includes the use of mind-reading technology. Moreover, abusive surveillance is accompanied by a wider pattern of harassment and abuse. In extreme cases American citizens charged with no crime and guilty of none are tortured on American soil.
These practices and the news blackout concerning their existence is made possible by secret prisons and by electromagnetic technologies that permit the targeting of the brain. With the latter an individual can be virtually isolated and attacked in ways unrealized even by neighbors and family members. Such attacks are typically accompanied by the hacking of computers and interference with the individual’s ability to function in society.
My own work as a writer has been hacked. Portions have been deleted from work I have put online.
These abuses have their origin in the same thinking that gave us the unnecessary war in Iraq. Efforts which started out as a legitimate security concern have been taken to excess, simply because the thinking of those responsible is fundamentally unbalanced.
THE SYNTHESIS OF THE FOUR
As Taurus is centripetal and Scorpio centrifugal, Leo is the center and Aquarius the periphery. Thus the four signs and ideas can be seen in terms of physical relationship.
Centripetal force moves toward the center. The light of Taurus comes to life in Leo.
Centrifugal force moves toward the periphery. As the sun symbolizes the center, the individuality; the night sky, studded with stars, symbolizes the periphery, the universe beyond the solar system.
The life centered in Leo blossoms through the liberty of Scorpio. There is much glamor today concerning this idea of liberty, and that has to be faced and overcome before truer ideas can reign. It is as if the centrifugal force were here facing a bottleneck.
Eventually the barriers to the realization of liberty will be shattered, and the life will ascend through increasing degrees of liberation to a more abundant life.
This is the promised love of Aquarius, the synthesis of fulfillment—symbolically, the North Star; as Taurus is the Dawn in the East; as Leo is the South and the Sun at Noon; and as Scorpio is the West, and the dawn of the night.
Love and sharing offer the high road and the straightest path to the goal, for those who can realize it. The best means toward the end of Brotherhood is the brotherly act.
Man, through evolution, assumes responsibilities and acquires powers formerly attributed to God. This implies the outgrowing of certain illusions and mis-conceptions, as the understanding advances beyond a primitive level. It does not imply the abandonment or denial of God; although theologies may be abandoned.
The finite may grow toward the Infinite through an endless evolution, but the Infinite ever remains beyond the finite.
Man, as a being endowed by his Creator with certain divine potentialities, has the opportunity in life to actualize these potentialities. At their center he may discover and realize "his own" Divinity.
In keeping with the sign Leo, his dignity is inborn. At the beginning of life, it has nothing to do with a resume of accomplishment. The regal "Me" may appear ridiculous, or provoke laughter, like the dignity of a cat, but this apparent vanity may be understood as an intimation of all the great things to come.
Corresponding to the three levels of responsibility we indicated in relation to the sign Taurus, we can speak of three Suns in relation to Leo:
The Physical Sun, symbolizing the egoism of the common man and the vitality of self-interest, bringing him into inevitable frictional contact with others.
The Heart of the Sun, symbolizing the blossoming of the soul, leading to spiritual sharing and cooperative group relationships.
The Central Spiritual Sun, symbolizing the spirit that relates man to Divinity.
Each of these three stages represents an evolutionary, spiritual process in the development of mankind. Common egoism represents a development of the intelligence over and above animal instinct; the blossoming of the soul expresses a more subtle evolution; while spiritual evolution crowns and completes the human journey upon this planet. The final stage merges the human intelligence and the Divine. This is exemplified for mankind by figures such as Buddha and Christ, the great Prototypes of the higher evolution.
All three levels of evolutionary activity are simultaneously present. The bulk of mankind is at the lowest level, living close to the base of the mountain; a significant minority is at or growing into the intermediate level.
Only a tiny group of Masters and Initiates is today oriented toward the higher evolution. At a later period, closer to the consummation of the world cycle, the realization of these Masters and Initiates will be the normal realization of the race. Today, they stand as the great Examples, the custodians of the potentiality that is innate, if deeply veiled, in all humanity. They are also the Guides and Helpers Whom man can call upon when he wishes to expedite his progress through the maze of life, fulfilling his destiny without the detours and delays brought on by self-will and obstinacy.
Given an inherent potentiality; given likewise the interdependency of mankind; the development of human potentiality is posited as the supreme factor underlying the solution of all political, social and economic problems. For at the heart of the latter is the nature of Man himself, not an immutably imperfect nature, but one evolving in accordance with a divine design.
The problems themselves are such as to bring Man to himself, or to bring man to God (the two being, in the last analysis, one).
Release the higher nature of man, and the most obdurate problems of government, economy and social life will disappear like a mist before the sun. There will be, then, no "intelligence" problem in government, no useless and expensive wars, no subsidizing of greed, no wallowing in fear, and no exporting of terror to other countries. For all of these mis-guided and harmful activities originate in the lower human nature. They often find encouragement in advertisement and propaganda, but they are not affirmed by philosophy.
The effort to solve human problems while ignoring their ethical or spiritual component is futile. This leads to pseudo-solutions.
By emphasizing, in paranoid and self-centered fashion, their own self-defense, Americans have given themselves a license to bring terror to other countries—to Iraq, as formerly to Vietnam, but also to many other countries. Where has been the concern for justice in these actions?
Little attention is paid to actual facts, either psychological or physical. It is as if a contempt for intelligence were at work, carving out a new world fit only for savages. Such, so far, is the "War on Terror"—a grandiose phrase applied to a very small package of ideas.
In fact, America has merely succumbed to her own lower nature, like an individual on a drunken binge. Like the drunk driver on the highway who wipes out a whole family, we can regret where we have been, but we can't bring back the dead. The best that can be done is to forge a new and better policy.
In the recognition of failed policy—the inevitable failure of a leadership devoid of vision or even common humanity—the opportunity exists to find, once again, the high road. Such a crisis, affording opportunity, occurs normally in the lives of nations as of individuals.
The successful handling of a crisis marks an incremental release of the potentiality innate in mankind. Failure defers that release. Nations and individuals may be strengthened in the good, or fall into corruption and chaos.
The goal of every rational human being is to act in his own best interest. But this best interest is intertwined with the best interest of others. Therefore, those who wish for peace must work for understanding and justice. If there is no justice, there will be no peace.
In conformity with what has already been written, it may be useful here to consider the idea of freedom, and the associated idea of capitalism, in relation to three levels, providing a minimal framework of sophistication for the consideration of this most American idea. Too often we hear the word itself, FREEDOM, uttered as if it required no definition, as if it were self-evident, as if we all understood by it one and the same thing.
Freedom on the ordinary external level of action means that anyone can do whatever he wants to do, if only the doing is within his power. If terrorists wish to fly a plane into the World Trade Center, they can. All they need to do is take a few lessons in flying. If greedy oil executives wish to make larger profits than ever, they can. All they have to do is make sure that the men who make law are in their pockets. If an American President wants to go to war against a country, X, which threatens no one, all he has to do is tell Congress and the public that X has nuclear weapons and is about to use them against the U.S.
While most of us enjoy our external freedom and have no wish to be relieved of it, it is only too apparent that external freedom, by itself, is synonymous with lawlessness and chaos. Freedom as such is simply the opportunity to act; the action taken can be good or bad.
But we believe that the opportunity to act freely is, in itself, a positive value, even if the actual actions that follow from it are sometimes bad. This is because of the educational value of the experiment of life. Man compares the action of light with the action of darkness and learns eventually to prefer the action of light. He gets better results from the action of light. He knows, from his own experience, that "the wages of sin is death." He may be told this, but only when he learns it through his own experience does he truly believe it, just as he believes the law of gravity. Likewise, he learns fastest and manifests most fully his own native capacities, when he himself is invested in an action through his own choice and initiative.
Therefore, a "free" society exemplifies a tendency toward non-regulation. This is an echo of the gift of free will with which God endows humanity.
This explains and justifies—up to a point—the American bias toward individualism, freedom and capitalism.
In the frontier society this rough and ready ethos was self-regulating. For the horse thief there was the lynching. Frontier justice, like all forms of law that are not simply extensions of the privilege of the powerful, made it clear that certain forms of freedom, considered anti-social, would not be tolerated. Such laws were simply the articulation of a social consensus, with the "leading citizens" playing their usual prominent role.
The minimal law that characterized the frontier society expressed simultaneously the common love of freedom together with the equally common recognition that freedom could not be unlimited.
Today we have so many laws that no one can even keep track of them. We no longer have anything akin to a "free society." Try building a house on Maple Street that doesn't meet the specifications of your neighbors. You may not be lynched—merely tarred and feathered and driven out of town.
It is certain that frontier justice no longer works, and neither does the patchwork system that has evolved in its place. Our President stood on the rubble of the World Trade Center and said, "We will get the people who did this." It sounded good. But his aim was poor, and we ended up slaughtering tens of thousands of innocent people who had nothing to do with the crime for which they were made to pay.
The old formulas, upon which we used to rely, don't work in this modern age. This has been the case for some time, but, like sleep-walkers, we have been warding off the facts to the best of our ability. Today we face systemic failure. The root of the problem is our shallow understanding of the idea of freedom itself. Beyond external freedom, which we both value and seek in various ways to limit, is freedom as Spinoza understood it: an inner, spiritual or philosophical freedom. This inner freedom is practically unknown in America.
One reason for this ignorance is our excessive confidence in the sufficiency of external freedom, supplemented by those external agencies designed to protect us from improper manifestations of freedom: the law, the police, the army, the Homeland Security Bureaucracy, etc.
Addicted to external life, we can never finally answer the basic question: Who is to watch the watchdogs? The system of checks-and-balances no longer exists as a substantial reality. The capitalist power has become omnipotent, and it is useless to pretend that the happiness of shareholders is identical with the national interest.
In the absence of real, philosophical freedom, together with the loss of checks-and-balances, we fall under the tyranny of money—a tyranny no less oppressive for being called, anachronistically, FREEDOM. While the major victims of this oppression have hitherto been the exploited third world countries, the materialistic capitalists, incapable of restraint, seem determined, finally, to turn America herself into a third world country. Thus many Americans are beginning to join the world-wide protests against America. They find it easier to identify with the civilians recently slaughtered in the most recent war than the miraculous air-power that finds it so easy to turn cities into rubble. They express bewilderment concerning a nation—their own?—that projects military bases on the moon, but finds it so difficult to build a decent levee for flood-threatened New Orleans.
In these miserable priorities they recognize at work principles and purposes with which they do not identify.
In connection with this dismay, and with the hopes for something more exalted, we identify the two higher levels of freedom so far little seen in America: social and spiritual freedom.
Social freedom highlights the benefits that accrue through cooperative arrangements, an ethos of sharing, consideration of one's neighbors, etc. This type of freedom has been largely reduced over the last twenty-five years through the "success" of the conservative revolution and the exaltation of selfishness.
Spiritual freedom is the fruit of initiation.
It is only in relation to these higher expressions of freedom that one may speak of a spiritual capitalism. The capitalism that flourishes today in America has little to do with spirituality of any sort. It represents—with individual exceptions—the triumph of greed and the mis-management of resources through the exaltation of lower principles.
On the dollar bill the eagle is shown with a banner in its mouth. Inscribed on the banner appear the words: E PLURIBUS UNUM.
The synthesis of interests and the good of the whole emerge only to the extent that the higher freedom is broadly realized. This is a simple idea to understand, but its realization requires always an element of sacrifice. It is the most fundamental of all ethical ideas and the core principle of every religious teaching, including Christianity.
Yet it is largely forgotten in America, where Christianity has not prevented an ambitious government from entering upon a new Crusade. It is as if there had been no Renaissance, no enlightenment, no revolution in psychological understanding. We are invited to return to the Dark Ages, with technology serving the purposes of the barbarians.
This is not freedom—except in its most shallow and brutal form. The countries and peoples who resist the export of this obnoxious, self-centered, and hypocritical nonsense—called American-style democracy—do so righteously.
If the most militant of these America-haters resort to inhuman violence in their turn, that is another story. But it must be remembered that America has herself fostered this hatred.
Israel, for example, was created through terrorism and bribery on stolen land, without the slightest regard for the displaced people, with American backing.
America's role in Iran, in the fifties, was to prop up a dictator who routinely tortured his own people.
Even the hated tyrant, Saddam Hussein, was supported by the cynical people in Washington when they found it convenient to do so. Morality has not always played a large part in American foreign policy.
One could create a long list of American crimes on the world stage: the genocide of the native Americans, the nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, one million dead Vietnamese, the overthrow of elected governments and the support, in their place, of monsters of the ilk of the Shah of Iran and Pinochet in Chile.
At the very least, Americans might realize that they have little right to lecture the world on morality and the way of life. Their own immoral doings stand in the way. It is not that the record is all bad, but these reminders of a checkered history seem particularly relevant now.
Self-defense is the right of every nation, and all people have equal rights to security. In this common interest we have the basis of the United Nations and the reason for the creation of that world body. The UN has served usefully despite the inherent limitation of a Security Council that affirms the principle that some nations and peoples are more equal than others.
Self-defense is also the claim of every aggressor nation throughout recent history.
One must set aside the tissue of lies and hypocrisy to consider the truth, before any sound policy can become possible. The murder of truth through the relentless spinning of the facts related to every issue renders us impotent in the face of a complex world that requires real, not apparent, solutions; while the skillful manipulation of images through public relations simply leaves us in never-never land searching for the way home.
Freedom in the highest measure is a rare bird, an achievement rather than a birthright. It is in the light of this achievement that the real significance of freedom, even in its ruder forms, becomes apparent.
The reason for this is simple. The achievement of the few is the destiny of the many, and the evolutionary trend is to make that which is rare, common. Even the attainment of the Christ may be understood in this light. While the worship of Christ has frequently militated against this understanding, it does not change the facts—for there are facts in the spiritual world just as there are facts in the physical world.
We may be confused about the facts in either case, but our confusion in relation to reality—the intelligence problem—does nothing to alter either the truth or the law of cause and effect. My assertions concerning these higher facts may be taken simply as a statement of my own beliefs. The reader is invited to arrive at his or her own relation to these facts, whether they confirm or depart from the understanding of the writer.
The Christ, the Master of the Masters, also known as the World Teacher, is alive and well and in a physical body (a self-created body) living among men. This is known to many, but not yet by the vast majority.
His emergence, along with a large body of the Masters of the planetary Hierarchy, into a more open and recognized relationship with the human family, is immanent. The Masters of the Hierarchy have, since the days of Atlantis, worked behind the scenes, fostering the spiritual life of humanity. Now they will be working overtly as well, doing the same work.
The implications of this externalized relationship are a more rapid evolution of the consciousness of humanity, with all the ramifications thereof. It is not hard to foresee the broad direction of things to come, but it is difficult to predict the exact timing or the precise steps through which momentous happenings will transpire.
Some of the priorities of the World Teacher we already know:
1) He desires His presence to be more widely recognized. The reason for this is obvious. A more widespread recognition of the Masters along with Their Master will place at the disposal of humanity an indispensable Ally in the effort to solve the seemingly insoluble problems of our era.
2) He desires to make each individual aware of the Divinity within, and to teach the simple techniques for bringing forward that latent Divinity.
3) He desires to eradicate the scourge of hunger and starvation in a world of abundant resources. This is a symptom of human spiritual failure, even more than a material problem. The resources are there; likewise, the wherewithal to distribute them. What is needed is the realization that this is both a solvable problem and a priority; from these will come the will to accomplishment.
4) He desires to inculcate in man a more loving and responsible attitude toward the planet on which he lives.
5) A factually demonstrated brotherhood is the larger goal.
This brings us to the idea of initiation. This is the entering into the mind of the Logos, and the identification, on a certain level, with the purpose of the Logos.
The Christ, both because He is "one" with His Father, and because He holds the office of World Teacher, is also the Initiator for the first two planetary initiations. These are known as the initiations of the threshold, preparatory to the third initiation, the first major initiation, the Transfiguration.
The first initiation is the Birth, the initial awakening to the Christ consciousness. The second is the Baptism. Although there are many higher initiations, these first two are the only ones accessible to large numbers of human beings at this time, given the current evolutionary status of the race. The practical significance of initiation is the enhancement of human nature, and the acquisition by man of powers that facilitate his achievement of higher goals. This is the result of man's own efforts—his initiative—bolstered by the overshadowing Hierarchy. Naturally, this bolstering only occurs when man's initiative is in line with divine purpose.
Hence, the initial step in the training that precedes initiation—called the path of discipleship—consists of the achievement of this alignment.
Alignment is a simple idea, really, with a technical significance. It may be noted that the core teachings of every religion are designed to foster it. For upon this basic achievement all spiritual evolution depends.
The man whose free will is aligned with divine purpose evolves. The man whose free will is not so aligned does not evolve—at least not spiritually.
Where an enlightened and progressive mind-set does not exist—indicating alignment of the human will with the higher will—false solutions, arising out of the lower human nature, and featuring an excessive reliance on the military option, are attempted. The vanity and futility of such efforts—their sheer inadequacy from both a human spiritual point of view and also, ultimately, from a practical point of view—becomes apparent, typically, only after the experiment they entail has run its tragic course.
Liberation from shadows and from the glamor of false solutions is today the real need of America. "Spreading freedom" is a wonderful idea, but it has to begin at home. Freedom must come to mean real liberation and not merely the freedom to wreak havoc, destroy countries, foment hatred, and foster the next generation of terrorists.
Resurrection of the spirit, the human goal indicated by the Christ, is the basis of the achievement of more abundant life. Hence, spiritually understood, it is the supreme capitalistic idea.
In the fallen state, however, in which man lives among shadows, interpreting the shadows as if they were realities, this is understood in the distorted or materialistic fashion that has given birth to the travesty of modern capitalism, along with the concept of man as a consumer.
From the ethos of competition and consumerism comes the confirmation of the petty side of man's nature; and from the extreme expressions of this same ethos, we have the modern manifestations of war, enslavement, and plunder; and, in reaction, resentment and terrorism.
To consider these issues honestly and fairly will be to discover and foster universal standards of justice and humaneness, which benefit the entire human race.
To persist in the prejudicial orientation that characterizes extreme and separative nationalistic, corporate, religious, cultural, class or racial identifications promises only a continuation of the state of warfare into the inevitable bleak future promised by such an approach. For these prejudicial orientations signify a dishonesty that leads to injustice and defends it after the fact.
The natural right to self-defense, a universal right, should not be confused with aggressive actions. Aggressive actions are not justified by the strictly legal defense, by the aggressor, that he thought he was in danger. Such a justification would confer upon every paranoid individual "the right" to kill everyone on the planet.
THE VORTEX OF LIBERATION & THE CORNUCOPIA
Let us imagine this energy of resurrection, created by the fusion of the human free will and the higher divine will, working universally throughout the human race. The consequence will be human liberation on a grand scale.
Liberation may be experienced and understood in terms of something overcome and left behind, or it can be understood in terms of the positive and creative potentiality released as a consequence of liberation. A unnecessary war avoided leaves the budget flush for the meeting of urgent domestic necessities.
The spiral of liberation is initially a vortex of transcendence, but the mind holds a mirror to the first vortex and crystallizes a second: the cornucopia. The conscious focus is the realization of the first spiral, the spiral of ascent. The cornucopia follows automatically and is merely the reflection of the positive energy.
To run after riches in the material sense is to lose the higher focus.
Hence the yogi is advised not to work for the fruit of his efforts, but to remain detached. Not to work for the fruit of one's efforts does not mean working carelessly or without skill, or without the achievement of precisely defined objectives. It means that one remains free in one's heart to pass over and through one's current experience and its results, whatever they may be.
Non-attachment is a particularly baffling idea to the westerner, when first encountered. This may be understood as a psychological correspondence to the encounter with infinity in mathematics. Finite numbers yield one type of mathematics, familiar to the marketplace of desire and attachment, while calculations involving infinity require a completely new mathematics.
Wisdom cannot be ultimately oriented around any relative, partial or limited idea of betterment. It establishes the most progressive path as the sign of transcendence, but it is never altogether absorbed in immediate and passing objectives or hopes.
Nor is the wise one attached to the fruits of his efforts. These are commonly enjoyed by many others: the beneficiaries of the yogi.
While the magnificence of the Great Ones may be beyond the achievement of the little striving one, the example of the truly great provides the direction for all who would rise above littleness.
FREEDOM AND MATURITY
One may usefully compare the chess master, who sacrifices his queen to score an impressive victory, to the mediocre player who, while trying to hold onto a pawn, is lured into a checkmate. One reveals the power of non-attachment and the higher sense of proportion, while the other reveals the glue of dull materiality.
While sacrifice is close to bliss, attachment is close to tears.
But not often is freedom in the west understood in this manner. It is an amazing fact: the idea of freedom is poorly understood in America! We hear so often that we are free that we never think about it. Living in the land of the free, we believe we are experts in freedom. We are bringing freedom to the people in Iraq. So we are told. Actually, we have brought death and destruction to Iraq.
If Americans mean well and have no wish to bring harm to innocent people, the discrepancy between aims and achievements must result from mental confusion.
Confusion, psychological naiveté, arrogance—how should we describe the mental state of Americans? It isn't useful to pin everything on the inept leaders. That they are there in the first place suggests a complicity on the part of the general public.
A better understanding of freedom could have saved us from the folly of the invasion, for a freer people would not have been disposed toward an unnecessary war, and would not have been gullible and supine in the face of a push for war on the part of the war-mongers.
This is an aspect of freedom that is seldom mentioned. The higher types of freedom, which characterize the mature human being, require our thoughtful consideration. They come into being only through a deliberate culture, and generally after we have realized the price that we pay as a result of lacking certain qualities. The gullible public, for example, realizes that it cannot simply trust the so-called leaders to make wise decisions. People have a responsibility for the decisions made by the government in their name.
THE HIGHER FREEDOM & PUBLIC OPINION
The aligned and enlightened human will may still be a subject of dispute, but let it be considered, at least, by those who are in the market for a panacea. Among the manifestations of freedom, this may be the highest.
Toward such an achievement the educational process tends, when it is not warped or reduced to various small by-roads. The higher humanistic education, incorporating psychology, merges almost imperceptibly into the basic teachings related to initiation. So do the higher religious teachings. Hence we have no difficulty conceiving of a Divine Humanism, and we see no basic separation, except on the level of specialized focus, between the interests of religious and secular education.
Savages, of course, will continue to inculcate fear of the dark. They may do so under a religious or under a secular banner.
On the level of the mass consciousness the correspondence to the aligned and enlightened will is the enlightened public opinion.
In the democratic age, with the blossom of individuality becoming universal, an enlightened public opinion is no small matter. It is one of the prime objectives of universal education. This may be considered from various angles:
1) The enlightened public opinion can be relied upon to support rational policies serving the greatest good.
2) The enlightened public opinion demonstrates the embryonic form of the aligned and enlightened human will. It is the sign of evolution at the level of the mass consciousness.
3) The enlightened public opinion is a developing process. It has advanced to a certain stage, but it has far to go.
4) In contrast with the educational process that advances enlightenment and freedom, one may note the processes of manipulation, propaganda and programming, which endeavor not to liberate but to condition and effectively enslave.
5) The meeting of light and darkness generates the controversies and crises of decision in human lives and in the lives of nations.
6) The surmounting of a crisis adds a new wave to the advancing spiral.
7) In the momentum and sum of achievements one may identify a progressive rhythm related to the welfare of humanity and the good of the whole planet.
Since freedom is essentially related to centrifugal force, it must pass away from all bounds and boundaries. This is not simply a negation. The seemingly empty sky of day becomes, with the fall of night, a star-lit heaven.
On the circle of the Zodiac we pass from Scorpio to Aquarius, the sign of the Water-Carrier. On the dollar bill we look up to the banner in the mouth of the eagle.
Stellar wisdom, finding earthly hands, becomes manifest as the Guardian of Earth. But this constructive apotheosis is nourished by the resurrection of the spirit. It rests upon and emerges from the manifested freedom and maturity of the race.
Constructive approaches to the end of a more abundant life for humanity take many forms.
Before the necessary specialization of activity, it is necessary to get the big picture. Security, for example, is a universal desire, not the exclusive concern of Americans.
If security is not always furthered by the Security Council, this is because the nations that constitute it remain parochial in their outlook. The UN is only as strong as its member states make it. Its success or failure is the success and failure of the member states.
Since the spirit of guardianship is a blossoming of the higher freedom, the torch of liberty must be understood in this higher sense. It does not indicate merely the opportunity to seek personal riches, while enjoying the maximum of external freedom. This basic freedom is but a seed-ground for the higher blossoming.
Riches, in the last analysis, include many spiritual qualities: these (spiritual qualities, rather than material riches) are the evidence of human maturity, whereby the human frame becomes a lighted house and a beacon.
THE LION AND THE SERPENT
The affinity of the lion and the serpent is the affinity of Leo and Scorpio, the 5th and 8th signs in a circle of twelve, the 5th being the 8th in reverse, and the 8th the 5th.
In relation to the potentially divine human, the higher freedom is the evidence of blossoming on the soul level. If the basic freedom of the will is itself worthy of celebration, the higher freedom is still more so.
The serpent is a healing symbol as well as a tempter. Tempted to discover a more abundant life, humanity flooded the eastern shores of the "new" continent. For the sake of a new and greater life, the old must be relinquished. Thus, too, for old habits of thought and psychological deadwood. This psychological freedom indicates the capacity for more abundant life.
External freedom presents the opportunity to seek more abundant life. Inner freedom demonstrates the capacity for it.
The healing touch frees us from sickness. This is a true liberation. The patient helps himself by entering the vortex of liberation. A sick nation can do the same.
So may America seek renewal and merit a better fate than the buffeting of catastrophe.
THE SERPENT AND THE EAGLE
Both the serpent and the eagle are related to the human destiny revealed by the sign Scorpio. The serpent refers us to the base energy, inherited from Leo. The eagle refers to the uplifting of that energy, toward Aquarius.
Beyond the basic freedom of the will, and beyond convalescence, is the higher freedom and the life more abundant.
Having materialized—and thus diminished—the ideas of freedom and wealth, we are enslaved by an inadequate interpretation of freedom; and impoverished by a shabby conception of wealth.
The eagle can only live in the unpolluted and pure atmosphere that is found above such diminishing conceptions. Such freedom is rare, but it exists, and man's best destiny lies through it; for it is more economic to realize the benefits of the higher understanding and values, than to attempt to live without them, spawning the detours of the lengthened path, and the whirlpools of lesser destiny.
Given the eagle's rarity, it is not surprising that the banner in the eagle's mouth should be almost incomprehensible. It is not the Latin of the inscription that defies interpretation. It is the spirit that is lacking in the reader.
The U.N. is attacked by some as a useless anachronism. Why? Not because of its failures or corruption. (Naturally, these may and should be addressed.) The virulence of the attacks is based precisely upon the small-mindedness of the critics. It is the vastness of the goals for which the U.N. stands, however imperfectly, that these critics cannot bear. For these, any failure by the U.N. to endorse American foreign policy automatically indicates the nefariousness or uselessness of the U.N., since they assume that America is right and pre-eminent. But is it possible that America is not always on the side of the angels? Is it possible that, although America and Americans have rights, other peoples and nations also have equal rights? Even such simple considerations are beyond the ken of those for whom justice means nothing; and for whom humanity is limited to one's own kind.
THE BULL, THE EAGLE AND THE MAN
While freedom is usually defined negatively or superficially, the higher freedom unquestionably makes possible the blossoming of the higher man. To define that man positively, we say he is characterized by light and love.
Light, or wisdom, is associated with Taurus, the Bull of Light as well as the bull of desire; for desire is rooted in the vision that defines an objective.
Taurus is related to the tamasic guna, the power of inertia and centripetal force. The control of this force demonstrates practical wisdom.
Scorpio is related to the rajasic guna, the revolutionary power and centrifugal force. The control of this force demonstrates spiritual wisdom.
Aquarius is related to the sattvic guna, and to the rhythm that develops through the equilibrium and mastery of the two contrasting forces.
Love, in the universal sense, is associated with Aquarius. As the ordinary lover is capable of losing himself in the interest of the beloved, the Water-Bearer or humanitarian loses himself in the welfare of humanity.
What we call sacrifice is essentially withdrawal from a lesser identification for the sake of a higher. The higher identification makes possible the higher activity.
The highest sacrifices are often made without fanfare, invisibly, but they are no less potent for being unrecognized.
THE KING AND THE LAND ARE ONE
Divinity stands behind its manifestations. The identification of the King with the Land makes possible the prospering of the Land through the reasonable dissemination of the Light of Taurus, the Liberty of Scorpio and the Love of Aquarius.
This idea is ultimately applicable to every individual human being. It is only a question of spiritual evolution. The regal spirit evolves according to a divine-human prototype. That prototype is given by the World Teacher (for Christians, the Christ) and by the Masters of the planetary Hierarchy.
Leo upholds a triple power, and the Sun is said to be threefold.
The King who fails in holding the balance of Taurus and Scorpio is swayed toward inertness and chaos, in turn, as the extremes beget one another. This balance is the key to useful power. Aquarius, like the North Star, points the way of its wise deployment, bringing universal benefit and tokens of more abundant life.
Taurus can be related to the Law of Economy, Scorpio to the Law of Attraction, and Aquarius to the Law of Synthesis, the three major laws governing human evolution.
The Law of Synthesis can only be truly understood when the Law of Attraction has effected those changes in human nature that bring into play the freedom of the higher man.
THE MAGNET OF FREEDOM
The relation of Scorpio to the Law of Attraction is popularly recognized in the magnet of freedom and opportunity that the New World has been for centuries. There is a dynamic pull in the prospect of betterment.
This energy has been responsible for building America into the world's premier power.
Today, even this energy is cynically manipulated by those who would profit from misfortune, injustice and slavery. The flood of illegal immigrants from Mexico, endorsed officially by the Mexican government and unofficially by the American government, follows the magnet of jobs. By manipulating the labor market in this cynical fashion, the lovers of slavery guarantee its persistence within as well as without the borders of the United States.
Underlying the theme of attraction is the theme of freedom. Freedom, in the last analysis, constitutes a higher attraction. This attraction is appreciated at three levels of experience:
1) Freedom of opportunity is celebrated in the myth and ethos of the New World. This may also be called external freedom, or the freedom of nature. It is related to the Law of Economy.
2) Higher freedom, freedom of the soul, or inner freedom confers the capacity of the socialized human being to cooperate with other human beings and contribute constructively to the world in which he lives. It is more closely related to the Law of Attraction.
3) Spiritual freedom confers capacity to work with the Law of Synthesis.
Freedom of opportunity is the natural demand of all human beings, awakening in Leo to the exigencies of individual life. It is the roar of the Lion, now heard as a chorus.
The qualities of the higher man are unfolded as the Eagle unfolds his wings. One of the attributes of the higher man is a relative immunity from deceptive attractions, or glamours.
The spiritual man, expressing the highest aspect of freedom, unfolds the banner of synthesis.
Slavery is at home where the Law of Economy is supreme.
Justice is revealed where the Law of Attraction is effective.
The glory of the future will follow the realization of the Law of Synthesis.
Taurus and Aquarius, the 2nd and 11th signs of the Zodiac, are linked numerically, as Leo and Scorpio are linked. The 2nd is the 11th in reverse order, while the 11th is the 2nd.
The number 11 suggests relation to the higher Self governing all progressive realizations, while the number 2 suggests the second department of the Hierarchy and the Teaching Ray.
The light smites the darkness, and progress follows. This fundamental wisdom and warfare is today only parodied by our government and business elite, light being replaced by public relations, advertisement, "spin," mis-information, and information-warfare. The phrase generated by the military is at least bluntly honest: information-warfare.
Plato's anxiety concerning the more unpleasant possibilities of rhetoric was the response of wisdom to a germinal tendency, which today we see in more full-blown form.
The excessive activity of the lower mind must be succeeded by the quests of the higher.
Light and Love are the essential manifestations of the spiritual Hierarchy. They enter into human life through the alignment and aspiration of humanity. They are not imposed by an impatient and irresistible divine will. They are the flower of human maturity, when man seeks, consciously or unconsciously, to unite his little will with the divine Will.
Love is apotheosized by the Christ. Light, or wisdom, is apotheosized by the Buddha. Love is the North Star. Light is the Dawn in the East.
Attempts to define pathways of progress without the benefit of either love or wisdom are doomed to fail, because they do not take into account or build upon the higher human nature, man's best asset.
The shallow, primarily economic, interpretation of freedom that prevails in America is characteristic. Like the intelligence problem, when the latter is viewed in its larger dimension, this is a symptom of the evasion of the central issue, for the sake of a variety of speciously attractive but ultimately false solutions.
Salvation is sought, absurdly, in “the goodness of greed,” “free trade,” “consumerism,” “the wisdom of the Market,” “technological progress” and “military power.”
The attraction of specious solutions indicates the absence of wisdom, while the satisfaction with cruel solutions indicates the absence of love. The spiral of hatred and terrorism is nourished by this dual neglect.
THE FUSION OF OPPOSITES
The fusion of the opposites is a source of empowerment. In relation to the Zodiac we pass from sign to sign as the seasons change and the Wheel turns. The motion of the Wheel might be likened to the search of the opposites for one another.
Take Leo and Aquarius, the center and the periphery, the individuality and the universal consciousness. Lacking respect for the center, the universal consciousness becomes the stuff of conformity and regimentation. Lacking respect for the periphery, the individuality becomes a source of pettiness and chaos. Neither is, by itself, worth much.
The signs of the Zodiac are like the vocabulary learned by an infant. It is only when the words are put together that adult speech is heard. It is only when the powers and purposes suggested by the signs are fused into a single realization that the accomplishment of grown-up objectives becomes possible.
When summer is passing, can the arrival of winter come as a surprise?
How miserable are our debates! The same half-baked ideas over and over—how tired they make us!
What is lacking is the power of fusion or synthesis, yielding the whole picture, and not merely fragments. Even if someone has a complete idea, no one has the patience to hear it, and we end up with sound-bites—tatters.
THE SECURITY COUNCIL: IRAN
The Security Council was established in the first place as a concession to the great powers, which were unwilling to be subject to the same laws as the lesser nations. The injustice of this structure is patent. However, without this concession, the U.N., a major step toward world reason, justice and peace, could never have been created.
But the injustice remains a major defect of the world body. Think of the ludicrousness of the United States, the world's number one builder and amasser of nuclear weapons, and the only nation to ever deliberately use these weapons against a civilian population, getting on a moral high horse about the potential proliferation of these weapons. Until the U.S. and the other possessors of nuclear weapons (including all the permanent members of the Security Council) agree to abolish their own arsenals, their arguments against proliferation remain hypocritical and basically unjust. They may have their way through force, but their poor relation to equal rights and justice is manifest in their reliance upon and satisfaction with an arbitrary and tyrannical authority.
The U.S. does not, of course, pressure Israel or Pakistan to give up nuclear weapons. Yet, until there is a willingness to take these steps, the efforts toward non-proliferation, spear-headed by the major possessors, is morally tainted and may naturally appear as an effort to preserve the upper hand, rather than an effort to preserve peace with justice.
The recent offer by the Iranian leader to debate this and other issues with our President could have been accepted. The people of both countries would benefit from such an exchange. Instead, we follow a belligerent and self-righteous policy that may lead to another perfectly avoidable war.
If this is the case, once again, justice will not be on our side. Our soldiers will die, not for any rational concept of national and international security, and not for freedom and democracy. They will die to shore up the insecurity of arrogance and power. Worse, many civilians, both Iranian and American, will die senselessly.
Information warfare, the first step on this path, is underway. The public is being programmed to believe that war is necessary, inevitable and righteous.
Certainly an open debate fostering understanding would be far preferable to the subjection of the public to further programming by the very people whose minds are incapacitated by an intelligence problem. But I suspect our President would have a hard time explaining unjustifiable American positions.
The inadequacy of the Security Council is rooted in the parochial aims of the permanent members, the so-called great powers. The interests of these nations, as expressed by their governments, are not precisely the interests of humanity.
It is sad to recognize this at this late date, sixty years after the founding of the U.N. Curiously, with all the criticism of the U.N. that one hears these days, this most fundamental defect is seldom mentioned, at least not in the mainstream American media. Those who benefit from or imagine that they benefit from an injustice are seldom the ones to propose correction. Indeed, they may not even recognize the injustice of their own position.
Identification is a spiritual faculty. Who or what we are, in factual expression, has to do with the nature of our identifications.
On the highest level this faculty was expressed by the Christ when He identified with His Father.
On the level that concerns ordinary humanity it is possible to achieve an expanded identification of interest through the application of the same principle.
This is a normal evolutionary eventuality. The young man marries, and suddenly he has a wife and children. He can no longer afford to think only of himself, without shirking his responsibility to his family.
Likewise, the nationalists of every nation will someday understand that they belong to one world. Many have already understood this.
This identification faculty is a major key to the yoga of synthesis. It can be applied to accelerate the ordinarily slow evolutionary process.
It is simply a question of enlarging the sphere of interest—not in the external manner of conquest and ownership, but in the internal manner of one who identifies with others and their well-being.
While the nationalists and factional spirits are busy threatening one another—and everybody else—those with a planetary consciousness are working to establish the good of the whole.
One group is preparing us for the next war and for a succession of wars, on into an increasingly bleak future, until there is no one left alive to fight. The other group is preparing us for a world in which man has outgrown war as a means to the solution of his problems or the demonstration of his prowess.
For those in the first group, war is an instinct with an atavistic grip on their souls. They identify with the flesh and the fist. For those in the second group, war is a last resort—and one that indicates already extreme failure and defeat. They identify with the higher human nature and the spirit of man's divine destiny.
THE BEAM IN THE EYE
At the corrupt heart of the "War on Terror" is the "beam in the eye" of the beholder.
America sees, magnified, the mote in the eye of "enemy" nations while remaining oblivious of the beam in her own eye.
One of the reasons for this is the extraordinary dis-connection between the American public—the voters—and the actions taken by the American government in their name.
The people feel innocent, naturally enough. They haven't done anything. In many cases—too many—they are not even aware of what those actions have been.
A brief and objective summary of the immoral and frequently terroristic actions of the American government—actual crimes against humanity—would be enlightening. The point of such a summary would not be to blame America for all the problems in the world, but to place her actions on the same footing as those of other nations.
Only a just appraisal of history and a capacity to view the contemporary world without the distorting haze of prejudice, public relations, information warfare, mis-information and fanatic patriotism can provide the public and the policy-makers with the intelligence they need to make wise decisions concerning the destiny of the nation, the community of nations, humanity and the planet itself.
Usually, not much attention is given to a national crime, unless twenty, fifty or a hundred years have passed, and we can enjoy the pleasant illusion that now everything is different and better.
Thus, we are happy to acknowledge that slavery was abolished by Abraham Lincoln. We regret the massacre of the native American population by our European ancestors. Under the "statute of limitations" for national crimes, these crimes cost us nothing.
The perpetrators of the crimes are all dead, and therefore no one has anything to cover up. The hypocrisy and secrecy that operates in relation to contemporary concerns vanishes.
However, even remote events may remain under a shroud, if the chain of consequent effects persists into the present. This is the case today with the history of the founding of Israel, the history of American involvement in Iran after World War II, the history of American involvement with a host of Latin dictators, who worked vigorously to oppose the advance of democracy in their own countries, and the cozy relationship between the American government with Saddam Hussein at the very time when he was carrying out his greatest crimes.
If an objective history were before the American public, rather than the selected facts put forward by "public relations" experts and policy makers, it would not be possible to continue to pursue the immoral policies that have become second nature for the people in "high" places.
Those who sincerely wish to rid the world of the scourge of terrorism must direct their attention to the source of the problem. The bin Ladens of the world are only a symptom, an effect of causes that have their origin in the centers of power.
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES
Truth was not an issue prior to the decisions that precipitated the bloody debacle in Iraq. Because there was little debate and little questioning, we are where we are today, having, belatedly, the debate that could have taken place before the invasion, that would have taken place if Americans had not been so willing to be deceived. The happy fictions of the war-mongers were embraced because there was a will to believe, rather than a will to truth.
Lacking truth, we lack justice as well, inevitably. For it is not what we imagine we are doing that counts in reality, but what we are in fact doing. Thus the world sees us differently from the way in which we see ourselves. While we see ourselves in the light of imagination and wishful thinking, the world sees us according to our deeds.
The death and destruction in Iraq, fruits of a foreign policy shaped by deficiencies of intelligence and goodwill, point out a more pervasive problem. The capacity of the powerful to manipulate perceptions and create opinion, divorced from the will to truth, is the greatest danger to America today.
The capacity of Americans to identify with others is somewhat limited. This is apparent in their willingness to see innocent people in other countries slaughtered. The tens of thousands of Iraqis slaughtered in the chaos we have unleashed count as nothing compared to the loss of a handful of American soldiers.
The apologists for the war are not embarrassed by this. On the contrary, they assert that by fighting the enemy in Iraq, we are spared from fighting on our own soil. In other words, the deaths of Iraqi women and children are acceptable if American lives are saved by their sacrifice. Apart from the sheer ghoulishness of this calculation, there is of course no correlation between these unnecessary deaths and American security.
Of course one cannot say that Americans are devoid of humanitarian instincts. The bright side to the American coin shows itself often enough to reveal the real potential of this rich nation.
If the wealth spent to turn Iraq into a never-ending nightmare were instead channeled into humanitarian efforts around the globe, including the needy places within America, we might find a better return for our investment. We could actually bring benefit to multitudes, instead of devastation. Certainly, then, we would have the right to feel better about ourselves. We would enjoy a better reputation, and many of our security problems would disappear like the morning mist before the rising sun.
It is important that such an effort be based simply on an honest desire to bring the greatest good to the greatest number. Too often our so-called aid is tied to so many strings that, in the last analysis, it becomes apparent that we are simply trying to help ourselves. The good effort is then vitiated, if not completely poisoned.
This is not an impossible dream. The example of the Marshall Plan after World War II, and the outstanding results of that initiative, might easily inspire the necessary re-ordering of priorities.
The way of life based on greed and vanity is revealing its true face of corruption, like Dorian Gray's magic portrait. The prospect held out by the advertisements of an eternal, irresponsible childhood, happily oblivious of world problems—is revealed to be the seduction of a vampire sucking the blood of the spirit.
This corruption is the inner lining of our reliance on the military solution to crush our enemies. In fact we are annoyed by any reminder of the real world, and we resent anything that recalls us from our private fantasies, our self-indulgence, our narcissistic aspirations.
A DARK LEGACY
The retrospect of the past few years is highlighted by three factors, all related, and all revealing a fundamentally distorted understanding of the world; and of American needs and aspirations:
1) the so-called War against Terrorism;
2) the devastation of Iraq; and
3) the Katrina disaster.
The primary focus of the Bush administration, the "War on Terror," had it been conceived in an enlightened manner, might have borne fruit. However, this would have required some fresh and fundamental thinking. Instead, we have acted from the solar plexus, moved by "gut feelings," without much in the way of intelligence. The "War on Terror" was distorted from the very beginning. It was conceived, literally, as a new crusade, as if the intent was to bring back the 11th, 12th and 13th centuries. The main energies of the new crusade were directed into Iraq, leading to the debacle now familiar to everyone, an outcome fully predictable to anyone capable of real thought.
With the focus on Iraq, attention was turned away from the real problems of America. Resources that might have been directed—for example—to the bolstering of a collapsing infrastructure were siphoned away and dissipated in the dessert sands of the Middle East.
The failure before, during and after the Katrina disaster revealed a government that was incapable of dealing with the real world, but the public shares in the blame for these horrendously mis-begotten priorities and policies. Even if the Bush victories in the past two elections have been the result of cheating (as some claim), it is undeniable that approximately half of the electorate voted twice for the Bush team. The unnecessary war was initially supported by a significant majority of Americans.
This is a record of failure on a gargantuan scale. Rhetorical comparisons of the "War on Terror" with World War II, made by Bush apologists, blur and distort the facts by an absurd analogy. Our current problems are self-generated.
Hope springs eternal, but reasonable hopes can only be founded on the disillusionment that frees us from the self-destructive policies generated by inadequate ideas.
Americans must cease to support terrorism in any form. This is the key and missing ingredient in the "War on Terror," without which it is only hypocrisy and farce. The people who lead us into unnecessary wars and beget the slaughter of civilians in their tens of thousands, far from fighting against terrorism, have themselves joined the ranks of the terrorists.
It is in the interest of all rational human beings to eliminate terrorism from the life of the world. But "hatred ceases not by hatred," and terror cannot be suppressed by unleashing even more of it. This is an ancient wisdom, but still requires to be implemented.
Only the concern for truth and justice will create the pre-conditions for the elimination of terrorism. This, too, is an ancient wisdom.
Of course, truth is not to be confused with public relations, and justice is not to be confused with "the American way."
While the idea of a struggle between light and darkness is perfectly valid, the participants of human conflicts are not easily pigeon-holed as warriors of light or minions of darkness. Considerable ambiguity and confusion will be found to be the rule, rather than the exception.
When this confusion is admitted, it becomes possible to make a beginning at untangling the threads, separating light from darkness. This is called discrimination. But for this to occur the presumption of hypocrisy must first be set aside.
This requires an honesty and sincerity rarely seen in public life. If these qualities are child-like, then perhaps they explain the words of Isaiah:
"A little child will lead them.
THE BEAM IN THE EYE
Although the following essay was written in 2007, when the tragedy of the 2003 American invasion of Iraq was already apparent to most Americans, the underlying causes of this unfortunate involvement, and the profound confusion of religious and political ideas at that time characterizing American life, had not yet received due attention.
It is evident that even today, in 2018, this is still the case. Therefore it is not inappropriate to offer a post-mortem at this time. The desire of the writer is not to beat the dead horse of the war, but to focus on the values and thinking that led to this war, and which, without due correction, could lead to similar debacles in the future.
THE JUDGMENT OF THE JUDGES
EXPELLING THE CRITIC
THE CRITICAL CRISIS
DEATH AND REGENERATION
THE BEAM IN THE EYE
THE EDUCATION OF HERCULES
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
RESPONSIBILITY AND PROJECTION
THE RESURRECTION OF HUMANITY
"MEN ARE NOT ANGELS"
THE FIRST CASUALTY
THREE BLIND MICE
THE ORIGIN OF CONSUMERISM
THE CON GAME
THE MODERN SOPHISTS
CORRUPTION IN RELATION TO EVOLUTION
THE JUDGMENT OF THE JUDGES
Certainly the social critic feels usually that his criticism of society is based on a valid judgment; that, if his suggestions were taken to heart, they would result in an improvement of affairs and thus an increase in the general happiness.
When the critical element is emphasized, it implies that something or other might be better transcended. Every death is followed by a new birth. The critic therefore has his eye on the release of this higher potentiality, as he imagines it. However, even if his judgment is accurate (a thing which may always be disputed), others may remain identified precisely with that which he sees as standing in the way of progress.
These others naturally see "the brighter future" in terms of the disappearance of the critic, whence they imagine peace and quiet will reign.
EXPELLING THE CRITIC
We distinguish between valid social criticism based on real insight and the carping of an irritable nature. Without the first, we are doomed to witness the growth of errors that might otherwise be nipped in the bud. The second we regard merely as a personal fault. How are we to distinguish between one and the other?
It is precisely the personal element that is exaggerated in the maladjusted critic, making it apparent that the problem is in the see-er. Even if his criticism has relation to genuine problems of an objective character, the personal element intrudes and distorts the understanding.
Since anyone may be capable of manifesting both sides of this critical coin, it behooves us to become aware of this distinction, and to see it not only in others but in ourselves.
When the critical attitude has become too habitual, it is time to reverse course. We see the critic critically. Instead of identifying with him, we see him objectively, as an unpleasant character. Thus externalized, he is deprived of his place of residence within ourselves. He is, as it were, driven out into the cold, there to perish from a lack of sustenance. This may seem cruel. But the result is a kinder nature.
THE CRITICAL CRISIS
When the urge of the soul is toward the expulsion of the critic, failure to act upon it will result in an unconscious externalization. In this case, because one is identified with the critic (which the soul wishes to expel), one imagines that one is repulsive in the eyes of others. Indeed, one may be actually repulsive, but the essence of the unconscious externalization is the projection of the soul's wish or will (a repulsive force) onto others. This repulsive magnetism is likely to adversely affect others, who will then reject or turn away from the compulsive critic. Thus one experiences a deepening of the experience of the critical crisis, the problem being exacerbated until it becomes so obvious that one must act in accordance with the soul's wish.
DEATH AND REGENERATION
Astrologically, this type of crisis and psychic regeneration is related to the energy of Pluto. It would be useful to consider how many of our wars are simply the outcome of a failure to pass intelligently through this critical crisis (for the same crises that afflict individuals also afflict nations). Certainly the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the War against Terror, generally, might be viewed in this light. Their basis is not, as advertised, an objective appraisal of dangers and opportunities, but rather the intelligence problem itself, a psychological problem. Failing to take the steps toward a necessary regeneration (to experience spiritual death and re-birth), we produce instead actual physical death and destruction.
THE BEAM IN THE EYE
Anyone who doubts this analysis should consider a few facts. The so-called War against Terror, a reaction to the murder of three or four thousand innocent human beings in New York, has led, in Iraq alone, to the destruction of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives. The slaughter of these innocent Iraqis, nearly all of them Moslems, is the outcome of initiatives by American Christians (nominal Christians, at any rate), who explain their actions as a justifiable response to Islamic extremism. The beam in the eye has never been more evident.
Those who have followed the gist of the argument posed in the above paragraphs will have no difficulty grasping both the reason for and the nature of the extreme polarization characterizing red and blue voters, red psychology and blue psychology. The world views of the two camps are so radically different that they find virtually no common ground. These world views are based on distinctive psychological orientations, one emphasizing external enemies, the other emphasizing the enemy within (and the potential friend, as well). A third group of moderates and compromisers is typically despised by both extreme factions, being regarded by both as unprincipled and lukewarm. The moderates, however, have an important role to play, bridging between the extreme camps. But the leading role must be defined not by a mere compromise opinion or response to polls. The leading role must reflect the actual necessity of our time.
If the red psychology has been over-played; if we have relied so excessively on externally driven reactions that we now see enemies in every shadow; if we have lost sight of our own causal power; then it is clear that we must, as a nation, turn toward the blue of the sky overhead and of the soul within. Our leaders must do the same, if we are to see reflected in them that national destiny which is suitable for a great power within the community of nations.
The story of Hercules and the Hydra illustrates the futility of taking towards the War against Terror the direct but naive approach characteristic of red psychology. The terrorists multiply as we exterminate them. More important still, the indirect result of all the thrashing around is the death and destruction of innocent bystanders in numbers that make it clear that our own actions have crossed over a line and may be labeled, without exaggeration, terroristic.
THE EDUCATION OF HERCULES
We do not regard the red psychology as inherently evil, merely mistaken. I recall myself as a twelve year old possessing ideals and values roughly equivalent to the ideals and values currently espoused by our "War President." I was not an evil child. I was merely ignorant. Even today I am not a pacifist and I believe that there are occasions when fighting is appropriate or justifiable. The cases of the first Iraq War, the Bosnian intervention and even the war in Afghanistan may all be debated, but I believe all fall, if not actually within the parameters of reasonable engagement, at least close to the mark. The 2003 invasion of Iraq, having no adequate basis, can only be regarded as an aggressive action that runs contrary to all civilized values. The outcome, readily predictable to those with actual intelligence, illustrates precisely the old computer adage: Garbage in, garbage out. Likewise, many of the policies associated with the "War against Terror" are based on the same blindness.
The essential error of the red thinking is its excessive reliance on appearances, externals, brute power--the club. The red states are the great believers in military power above all, red meat, flag waving ("My country right or wrong"), and conservative religion; that is, religion in the form in which it has congealed after centuries of degeneration; above all, a Christianity divorced from the actual teachings of the Christ through emphasis on the lesser values and the irrelevant or erroneous, while ignoring or downplaying what is most essential in those teachings. Where is the love? It has disappeared beneath the myths of personal immortality and vicarious atonement. It has been replaced by the type of zealotry and superstitious belief that have been responsible in the past for the Inquisition and the Crusades. The exponents of this type of thinking, or rather, absence of thinking, would bring back to the modern world the Dark Ages.
While liberation (rather than mere liberty in the external sense) may be an obvious requirement in the life of a nation as well as of an individual, liberation is never in itself a fully adequate goal. For when that goal has been achieved, what then? For what purpose are we liberated?
Freedom requires a positive content. An exclusive focus on the negative side of the equation is only temporarily valid, when, as in the case of the alcoholic, a diseased condition must be treated with stern counter-measures. Subsequently, however, freedom from compulsion yields the possibility of giving a positive content to life. In this spirit the liberated one may become a liberating force. But since no one can be liberated apart from his own will to be free, we would speak rather of a redemptive spirit, than of one who, by crude force alone, violently effects the liberation of others.
THE RESURRECTION OF CHRIST
If we consider the universality of the need for liberation, we may gain a sense of the evolution yet in store for humanity. All higher hopes and visions rest upon the prospect of such a liberation being achieved not merely by one or by a few but by the many, increasingly. It is this prospect that the resurrection of Christ points toward.
By contrast, the idea of the vicarious atonement can only be based upon a misunderstanding of spiritual psychology; if it not based upon something more nefarious, namely, a conscious effort to subvert and hold back the higher spiritual evolution of the human race. It is, in either case, a doctrine peculiarly suited to restraining the forward motion of the race and keeping it in a state of childish irresponsibility. An ignorant and irresponsible humanity is easily shepherded, controlled and exploited. Thus the teachers of vicarious atonement are in fact, if not in intent, supporters of slavery.
Even in the Bible we are told, "By their fruits ye will know them." This means quite simply that the validity of a philosophy or way of thinking is proved by the effects yielded by application of that philosophy. Nothing is proved about a doctrine because it is written or spoken by someone claiming divine inspiration.
If we note how easily American Christians were shepherded into supporting the 2003 invasion of Iraq, we have before our eyes an interesting piece of evidence, and one that may be adduced among the fruits of the debased form of Christianity that has become widespread in America, particularly in the "red" states.
If there is no vicarious atonement, where does that leave Christians? No doubt they will have to assume a major responsibility for their own atonement, an actual atonement, instead of foisting all responsibility on an imaginary and illogical version of Deity, the creation of theologians. We do not say that the Christ will not be available for the helping of humanity. We simply assert that He has enough to do without doing for man (an embodied soul, a thinking being) what man is capable of doing for himself.
RESPONSIBILITY AND PROJECTION
Those who abdicate their responsibilities project them upon others. It makes little difference whether this burden is projected upon an imaginary version of Deity, a psychotherapist assumed to be endowed with divine characteristics, one's neighbors, or "the terrorists," as identified by those whose vision is impaired by the Biblical "beam in the eye" of the beholder. In each of these cases, evil is certain to result. It will be a greater evil or a lesser evil, depending on the nature and extent of the projection, because, for each such projection, a corresponding irresponsibility will be manifested.
If we set aside for the moment the ubiquitous mechanisms and manifestations of evasion and irresponsibility, and if we allow the imagination to suggest to us the possibilities of a real Christianity and of a surge, generally, in the spiritual life of humanity, we may conclude that the following elements will appear as indispensable:
1) a more universally acceptable and meaningful interpretation of the resurrection idea, based upon an intelligent spiritual psychology, rather than a theology; thus making the idea applicable to the actual life of humanity;
2) the fostering, consequently, of human liberation, this being both psychological in nature and physical in expression; including both the necessary "change of heart" that precedes any change in the way of doing things, and those actual changes deemed appropriate to an evolving race;
3) the growth of the sharing idea, as a result of the above; this sharing being both positive ("supply" side) and negative ("demand" side): a sharing of power and responsibility for the welfare of the planet, on the one hand, and a sharing, through identification, with the needs of the neediest and the problems that face humanity.
THE RESURRECTION OF HUMANITY
The resurrection of the Christ may be related to the spoken words in which He expressed His identification with His Father in Heaven: "I and My Father are one." Taking these events—if we may call them that—as an overarching paradigm for human spiritual evolution, and not merely as an unrepeatable miracle, they indicate primarily one thing: as a son, becoming in turn a father, takes on the responsibility formerly held exclusively by his father, so must humanity, coming of age, take on a more conscious responsibility for the planet as a whole; so must individual human beings and groups extend their identification to include one another; these expansions of consciousness will not only indicate a resurrection of the human spirit, they will in turn enable a socialization of behavior, among nations as well as individuals and groups--which could not otherwise be achieved—that will end physical warfare, starvation and slavery.
"MEN ARE NOT ANGELS"
Pessimists will deny that "human" nature can be altered; they will assert that "men are not angels" and never will be. This point of view is one-sided and extreme, but it cannot be discounted altogether.
We have no wish to suggest, under the encompassing resurrection idea, a fantasy-vision of unlimited and easy progress. Nor would we "make light" of the real obstacles to spiritual evolution and social progress. Of these, the more significant are those attachments and identifications that pertain to the "second nature" of man.
But the "second nature" is a learned nature. That which is learned can be unlearned or developed further into a higher dimension. All educational processes are based on this supposition that the human material, while frequently obtuse, is not altogether intractable.
It would be unintelligent to deny either the higher possibilities that may be opened up through education or the real depth of the problems to be faced by humanity. The "intelligence problem" that led to the invasion of Iraq was not simply a failure of specialists; it was an ideological commitment to mediocrity; a commitment personified by America's "War President," a man clearly unfit for the job for which he was selected. The war-planners had not the least interest in higher human possibilities; nor were they aware of the depth of the problems they would face, or of the disaster they would inadvertently create, in their arrogant attempt to re-make Iraq. The disaster may have been inadvertent, but it was also inevitable, as anyone with actual intelligence could have foreseen.
The resurrection idea may help us to keep in mind both the higher prospect of man—a spiritual prospect—and the depth of his real problems while functioning as an incarnate soul on Earth.
A man in the depth of misery seeks to rise up and out of his condition. This is the major incentive, necessarily, for many. A hungry man wants to eat. A homeless man wants a roof over his head. A jobless man wants work. A lonely man wants a companion or a family. Such incentives, while inherently "selfish," are normal. The fulfillment of such normal desires signifies liberation from the negative condition in which they are based. These conditions are basically material.
Others merely have the habit of selfishness. Although they have everything that they need, they are still dissatisfied. Theirs is a psychic problem rather a physical one. The liberation that they seek, albeit confusedly and frequently through experiments of an unfortunate kind, is largely a liberation from the self-interest that has become ingrained through long experience.
These two types of liberation may seem worlds apart—for they are separated by a gulf, when viewed from the under-side, or the problematic side of the equation. But the solution is a simple one: sharing.
Sharing is the win-win solution that promises the best return on the investment of our energies, for it affords to both human groups, the prosperous and the needy, their best prospect of fulfillment.
The synergy of this solution should be obvious to anyone with the slightest understanding of social psychology; and, likewise, the reverse should be equally obvious: the inverted or destructive synergy that must inevitably arise from the non-solution of greed and destructive competition, ultimately manifesting as the warfare inevitably fostered by greedy ambitions, illegitimate claims and the injustice of the powerful. That such warfare is camouflaged by a rhetoric of idealism should fool no one. It is what it is, not what it is said to be.
THE FIRST CASUALTY
The greatest acts of terrorism have always been committed by the powerful, rather than by disempowered malcontents. But when a powerful nation state commits a terroristic atrocity, it is typically not referred to as such, at least not within that nation; a euphemism is discovered. Truth is buried to make easy the path of injustice.
Since the burial of the truth by the advocates of injustice and crime makes impossible the redressing of injustice; the upholding of the truth, particularly the inconvenient truth, is the primary basis of civilization.
Naturally, the same standards must apply universally. A crime is a crime whether we are the doers of the crime or its victim. Intense partisanship, because it creates a prejudicial climate that subverts recognition of the truth, serves the perpetuation of injustice.
For this reason the primary advocates of terrorism, if they are able to do so, are ever ready to stoke the fires of prejudice and bigotry for the purpose of concealing their crimes or making them appear in a better light. They are happy to underscore the crimes of their enemies, for they have no better justification to rely upon.
Thus, the justification of the destruction of hundreds of thousands of innocent lives in Iraq—caused directly or indirectly by the American-led invasion—is that Saddam was an evil tyrant.
Such reasoning is of course imbecilic. In fact, it is simply an emotional appeal, which succeeds to the extent that the public is not yet out-fitted with the proper armor to resist this type of assault.
In approaching the truth of the resurrection story, we are less interested in the biographical facts of the life of Jesus than we are in the spiritual significance of the idea itself. One approach would lead us to the rind of truth, the other to its essence.
But it is equally necessary to get beyond the poor fabrications of theology and the mystery-mongering of a corrupt church, with its doctrine of vicarious atonement. This doctrine, being so patently absurd, is naturally followed by the dead hand of skeptical science, asking, "Did Jesus really live at all? Where was the cave to which his corpse was supposedly assigned after the crucifixion, assuming the latter event occurred at all?"
Both approaches are sterile. One masks a great essential truth in a fraudulent counterfeit; the other does not and cannot get anywhere near the essence of the story.
This sterility of the two familiar approaches to the resurrection story is based on their common subjection to the blinding bias of the Western attachment to the physical body. For this reason one is more likely to find wisdom on this subject in the East, in India. The continuing presence in that land of so many great yogis makes it clear, to anyone who has investigated this subject with a more than casual interest, that Jesus was not as unique as many Westerners have been led to believe.
Resurrection of the spirit is an aspect of the logoic purpose underlying all life on our planet; it is a universal human destiny. That destiny will not and cannot be realized in a single lifetime; hence the innumerable incarnations of the soul. The incarnated soul typically forgets its high destiny and must, while incarnate, recollect itself. Until it does so, the conclusions it draws concerning God, human nature and destiny are unreliable.
These conclusions will be erroneous, because conditioned by the veil of flesh, rather than by the omniscience of the soul. Materialistic religion and materialistic science suffer in almost equal degrees from the degradation of essential truth, each being consigned to an inferior realm: the realm of materiality, or "the three worlds" of ordinary human experience within "the great illusion." Each is therefore a poor guide to the essential seeker, the blind leading the blind.
Even psychology, that new and hopeful science, only touches the fringe of the mystery here. When psychologists discover and admit the reality of the soul, they will make better progress, forging essential agreement between the upward or inward seeking spirit of religion and the down-turned or outward spirit of science.
THREE BLIND MICE
While the blindness of materialistic religion and science makes each a poor guide to matters of essential truth, the human problem is further exacerbated by the attitude toward truth taken by corrupt government.
The arrogance of power is such that its exponents believe that they can either manufacture truth or adjust it for the convenience of their pre-determined policy requirements. They are great believers in "public relations" or "spinning," or, as it used to be called, lying. Masters of the careful selection of bits of information or mis-information, stitched together to construct a plausible scenario, they know well how to play on the gullibility of the great, uninformed public in the marketplace of ideas, so-called.
Under the guidance of the three blind mice, man's lot is a sorry one.
It is cause for rejoicing when the true statesman appears, the true religious man or scientist. All alike rise above conventional prejudices. Each in his own way will have a great respect for the truth.
The statesman knows that sound policy is based on truth, not the reverse.
The religious man discovers and affirms the truth of the soul. The scientist discovers and affirms the truth of the material world, including the material bodies in which the soul is enveloped while incarnate.
The dual nature of the individual human being is expressed also by nations on a grander or macrocosmic stage. This the statesman must understand, if he is to effectively articulate the best path for his people. He cannot lead if he cannot see.
THE ORIGIN OF CONSUMERISM
The reform-minded critic of the status quo is always inherently an optimist, a believer in education, in higher human possibilities. The defenders of the status quo have a more pessimistic (or hypocritical) view of human nature. They fear the potential of chaos, should the discipline of an existing structure be undermined. Thus they are more tolerant of the evils inherent in that structure.
Those who believe in the higher potentiality are more critical of the existing thing. Those who lack this higher vision or faith tend to be more proud of what has been already achieved.
These psychological biases (which become political ideologies) hinge on an assessment of the human capacity to question, learn, grow, and adapt existing structures in correlation with the development of knowledge, wisdom and understanding.
Consumerism arises out of the victory of the conservative principal, which seeks to limit human freedom to one controllable channel, the market of base desire. The psychological counterpart of this channeling is the inflation of the lowest element in human nature: the self-indulgent, selfish, pandering, greedy and anti-social element.
When we spoke of the three blind mice, we said nothing about the business ideology, out of which consumerism and public relations have developed. These constitute the external form in which the three errors find their quintessential embodiment.
The superficialities of materialistic science, the confusions of materialistic religion and the cynicism of corrupt government coalesce to constitute that amalgamation of many of the worst tendencies of contemporary man: the consumer. In the consumer we have the personification of an ideology of selfishness. In the consumer society we have the full-scale manifestation of that ideology.
The irony is that the resulting condition of human slavery is called freedom.
Mind-control, which serves the convenience or efficiency of a set program rather than human development, is attractive to those who favor the status quo. The human cattle are moved along by means of a pervasive process of hypnotic suggestion, creating a controlled situation in which the prisoners enjoy the illusion of being free.
As slavery is to freedom, so is mind-control to education. Real education, because it implies a lengthier and more uncertain process, is only embraced by the optimistic; that is, those biased toward freedom.
THE CON GAME
The ideal of spiritual service is distinct from the ideal of gain, as exemplified by the material society. The ideal of gain, by virtue of its selfish emphasis, is satisfied with the appearance of serving.
In the absence of a vital educational effort sufficient to endow the population with the discrimination that will enable consumers to distinguish real benefit from mirage, the consumer society becomes a vast confidence game.
It will be apparent, then, that the advocates of real education will have an agenda not altogether to the liking of those who profit from the weaknesses of the consumer. A confusion concerning the distinction between beliefs and facts makes the consumer fairly easy to manipulate; his liberation from this confusion can only be inconvenient for the purveyors of dubious products.
Since today the dubious products sold to the public include not merely drugs of every description—now marketed on television—but elective wars as well as other public policies almost as counter-productive, this is no trifling point. The purveyors of dubious products include many of the most powerful people in America.
The modern sophists are those "educators" who play a supporting role in relation to the whole system of corruption. They achieve this by confusing every issue. Thus they create that uncertainty in which an absolute relativism (a truth-free environment) reigns. By "truth-free" we mean freedom from the annoying handicap imposed by facts: freedom not in the philosophical sense of the word ("Know the truth; the truth will make you free."), but freedom as experienced by the adolescent who has no experience of truth and therefore no responsibility.
If truth and falsehood are seen for what they are, the truth is accepted and the falsehood is rejected. But if doubt can be cast upon the truth, then the falsehood will gain in value by virtue of the obscurity effected by doubt. In this circumstance truth and falsehood may actually acquire equal weight. To be fair and balanced we must cede to each—truth and falsehood—equal respect.
True impartiality, of course, is something else. True impartiality is that unprejudiced attitude which favors the discovery of the truth. But in the world of corruption every genuine value has its counterfeit. We should not be surprised, therefore, to discover that not only twenty dollar bills, but even education and impartiality have counterfeit forms.
Once falsehood has become just as good as truth, it is only a small step to make it even better! From the corrupt, we proceed to the more corrupt still.
News and journalism, for example, used to be the province of people who had a reasonable interest in the truth. This is no longer the case. Today, the "news" is largely filtered through the hired guns of big business, whose interest dictates what will be told and how, and what not told at all. Look for the agenda that lurks behind the "issues" that come to the fore.
Moreover, we live in a world in which we are surrounded, inundated and pummeled with commercial messages that reach us through every possible avenue. Apart from their individual texts, these messages share a common philosophy and convey a pervasive and larger message that is composed by the sum of these miniature messengers, each of them as blithely irresponsible as they have a right to be. It is in this grand totality that one may recognize a social cancer.
CORRUPTION IN RELATION TO EVOLUTION
In order to understand the significance of corruption, it would be useful to take a step back from the immediate social, political and economic phenomena, and to consider the larger scheme of things within which those phenomena occur.
Evolution proceeds in two distinct periods or cycles. First is the involutionary cycle, in which innocence is apparently lost. Paradise is apparently lost, and man finds himself in a cold, harsh world in which he must hustle merely to survive. He is individualized as a result of the efforts he makes: first, to survive, and subsequently to "make something" of himself.
Naturally, he is proud of his achievements in this respect. At the same time, however, he has the unhappy feeling that what he has lost is actually more precious than what he has gained. He feels, consequently, like a man who has made a bad bargain. Moreover, this feeling is apt to come to him in its most acute form precisely when he most enjoys what the world (and what he himself) calls "success." For his success not only does not fulfill him, it reveals to him that he has been chasing a mirage.
At this point he has reached rock bottom, so far as the involutionary cycle is concerned. He is aware of alienation as the principle fact of his existence—aware of himself as the prodigal son, at the turning point.
It is from this point that the conscious evolutionary cycle begins. The involutionary cycle takes place instinctively, so far as the experiencer is concerned. Consciousness and understanding are only developed as consequences of instinctive developments.
The true evolutionary cycle begins with this developed consciousness.
As the involutionary cycle produced a loss of innocence, the evolutionary cycle seeks to restore the original innocence. But in addition to this restoration of an original perfection, there will be added qualities acquired as a result of the sojourn in "the far country."
Native innocence, for example, is completely vulnerable and unable to protect itself. But innocence endowed with conscious wisdom has no such vulnerability.
It is in relation to this conscious evolution that the resurrection idea has application as an overarching theme. This is not primarily the evolution of the material form, as described by the Darwinian theory, but a psychological and spiritual evolution that produces inevitably physical effects. (These effects are of a secondary significance and are not the point of the process.) This conscious evolution is self-initiated.
In the light of this understanding of the great process of human life on planet Earth, we may now understand corruption. Original corruption or "original sin" is simply the effect of the involutionary process: an intended effect, created with a purpose, and therefore not really a sin at all, in the sense that anyone should feel guilt about it.
Having acquired consciousness, and therefore responsibility, man is in a different position. A secondary form of corruption arises when man, knowing better, chooses the worse. Guilt may naturally arise in connection with such choices. Such guilt, or conscience, is simply a healthy sign pointing to a better path.
The horrified reaction and close attention to the loss of American lives through bombings and mass shootings may be compared to the relative indifference evoked, in America, by similar events in Iraq. This might be called the ego-effect. The relativism thus expressed suggests the distorted perspective imposed by a natural limitation of the range of interest. Another expression of the same effect is the constantly re-iterated importance of the American war casualties, while the Iraqi casualties of America's elective war, most of them civilians, receive scant attention or sympathy in the American media.
This is important to note because in this natural phenomenon, experienced by all human beings, we have a primary basis of injustice. This being recognized, the course of wisdom is to take steps to eradicate it. Those steps consist essentially in underscoring the equal humanity of all victims of insanity, violence and injustice.
The opposite course is taken by those who would stoke these prejudicial fires. When we magnify "our own" losses unreasonably and simultaneously discount the losses of "others," we effectively create the climate in which injustice and insanity thrive; we sow, unthinkingly, the seeds of future violence and terror.
RELIGION & GOVERNMENT
Iraq: 1991 & 2003
Religion & Government: Iraq 1991 & 2003, an extract from a longer work, shares many of the same themes as The Yoga of Synthesis: An Interpretation of the Great Seal and The Beam in the Eye.
In the first part of this brief essay, the author treats the problem of religious extremism and notes the similarity beween Islamic extremism and Christian extremism. Both are viewed as degenerate maniferstations and contrasted with the higher or true spirit of both religions.
In the second part the focus is the role of government. The principles underlying the 1991 Iraq War are differentiated from those underlying the 2003 invasion.
RELIGION & GOVERNMENT
Iraq: 1991 & 2003
Since many of the most apparently intractable problems today are related to religion and government, it may be useful to consider them together.
As we witness the fruits of religious extremism, many people are so turned off by religion that they become atheists. They assume that religion is the problem, not the solution.
It would be unfair to single out radical Islam, for the American invasion of Iraq in 2003 could be held up as an example of radical Christianity, as, in fact, it has been in the Islamic world. This is one reason this misguided war has been such a potent source of recruitment for the more extreme and violent Islamic groups; they saw the war as yet another wave of the Christian crusade to conquer the Middle East.
Let us remember that George Walker Bush and Dick Cheney are nominal Christians and that the vast majority of those who originally supported the 2003 invasion are nominal Christians. We can therefore single out Christian groups that are as much to be faulted as those we describe as terrorists and whom we today group under the label “radical” Islam.
In fact we are here pointing out neither Christianity nor Islam but the degenerate manifestation of both religions. There is also a lofty side to Christianity and to Islam and when we speak of religion we should emphasize this, the true expression of the major religions and the positive object of a cultural education. If we look to these positive examples we shall also find that their exponents have no difficulty getting along with one another.
Only the degenerates on both sides are eager to engage in an endless war. This may be attributable to the failure of many of the existing institutions, or to other causes, but there is nothing “radical” about such ignorance or the violence that results from it. It is, rather, the age-old tribal mentality, along with the fear and hatred of the “other”, whomever the other may be. This is not “religion” but its absence.
Government is the organization of the nations based inevitably on the given “material” offered by the citizenry and the existing state of affairs. A statesman or genuine leader makes the best of this situation by evoking from those around him their best possibilities. He may work through a group or party and through selected individuals but ultimately his work must be judged in relation to the nation as a whole and to the community of nations. The failure of religious institutions presents the national leaders with a “material” that is spiritually inert, so that even the best of leaders is handicapped from the start.
Thus, if we want better national executives and more enlightened policies on the national and international playing field, we need the type of education and culture that builds the acceptance of such policies in the citizens of the nations. The religions can and should play a part in building this acceptance, but they cannot do so, obviously, if they are institutionally crippled and reduced to cults of bigotry, hypocrisy and savagery.
To the extent that the religions foster the higher type of man, they will build the basis of brotherhood; the national executives, working in the political field, will then have the possibility of creating an international order that fulfills the ideals originally associated with the United Nations.
Thus, we should not say that religion is the problem, or that religion is the solution, but we should become aware of the quality of the religious education being offered, whether we are considering Islam or Christianity, or any other religion.
Nor should we say that Russia is the problem, or China, or America. All nations have been at fault; those who have had the power have generally been most at fault, having the most opportunity to work their will. It is time for people everywhere to acquire a perspective that is free from national and religious bias, to see life fairly, and to work toward solutions honestly.
Iraq 1991 & 2003
The spiritual government operates from the center of illumined power, with complete justice. Allowing for the free will of man, however, it cannot control all events. It maintains the sphere of life and opportunity and leaves in human hands the responsibility for human affairs.
The problems and disasters besetting mankind are not, therefore, signs of God's indifference but the effects of causes generated by man himself. They are lessons in life on the road to man's higher destiny as a responsible creator and co-worker with the evolutionary process.
Human government approximates the spiritual only to the limited extent that man is aligned with his own higher power. The degree of this alignment is a variable but extremely critical factor. Upon it hinge the rise and fall of nations and civilizations.
The theory of the divine rule of kings implies the perfect alignment of the ruler and the higher will. This is something we scarcely expect today, but the principle lives in the back of the human brain and plays a powerful role in the support given to charismatic leaders who are (rightly or wrongly) deemed to be above criticism.
Beyond the magic of personalities, however, are those principles and policies which affirm and support the growth and welfare of the race, and which we have the right to expect from anyone representing himself as a leader.
Everyone can understand the difference between statesmanship and ordinary politics. The former is related to the educational process, while emphasizing those factors which require immediate attention. It is the high road, seldom taken. The low road replaces education with propaganda, manipulation and the mis-use of psychology in order to mold public opinion along degenerate paths. This was seen in the build-up to the senseless 2003 invasion of Iraq, a country which had nothing to do with 9/11 and posed no threat to America. That the leader of Iraq was a bad man is a moot point. He was terminally ill and, thanks to years of robust international sanctions, he no longer constituted a significant menace to the world community. Manipulative propaganda, like brute force, by-passes the educational process as an extraneous factor, an inconvenience, whereas it is at the heart.
The best recent example of this substitution was seen before the invasion of Iraq in 2003, not a part of the War against Terror, as advertised, but merely a new wave of terror, unleashed this time by America, and justifying future attacks by those who concluded that America is the world's leading sponsor of terrorism.
Our Secretary of Defense told us that we had plenty of money to pay for the wanton destruction. This was before the surplus turned into a deficit and the deficit into a financial crisis. It helps to explain the lack of funds to pay for health, education, or the rebuilding of infrastructure. The flooding of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina may be seen as ample evidence that there are projects more worthy of our resources. Many of the voters in 2008 concluded that the greatest threat to American security was found in Washington, D.C., in the inept leadership that sowed the seeds of discord and reduced the stature of America in the eyes of the world, even as it squandered the nation's resources.
Of course the electorate is equally to blame. A vast majority supported the initial invasion. Only a people living on lies and fantasy would ratify such a travesty. Now the American people must share the responsibility for their choices, including the hundreds of thousands of innocent victims of the American aggression, lives that were as precious as the lives that were lost on 9/11, but which we blithely refer to as collateral damage.
The placement of education above government correlates with the fact that the former is concerned with the purpose of life, while the domain of the latter is the regulation of life processes so that that purpose may be fulfilled.
Minimal government is an ideal that corresponds with the blossoming of a higher humanity. After all, who would need to be regulated? The non-existence of such an ideal situation underscores the need for a culture of liberation and points to the true purpose not only of education but of religion. In the meanwhile, we require an organized way of life that is suitable for the contemporary world, such as may be achieved through wise government.
When it wishes to pursue some specific course for which it requires popular support, government immediately launches an educational campaign to inform the public. True, government-sponsored “educational” campaigns are often only manipulative propaganda, but it is only the low level of the public awareness that makes this possible. A more enlightened, better educated public would not be so susceptible to crude manipulation.
Propaganda may be only the propagation of prejudice, half-truth, or outright lie; it may empower the very illusions and distortions that the seer and the educator seek to dispel. The Jews who were sent to the gas chamber were told it was a shower. The Bush administration told the American public that the invasion of Iraq would be a cake-walk, and that Americans would be welcomed as liberators. Self-deception, like lies, has the effect of facilitating evil actions.
Does it matter if the deceiver believes his own lies? This only makes the deceiver more believable. He accepts his own prejudice or delusion as an incontrovertible truth, and his apparent sincerity disarms like the charm of the confidence man. With prejudice we find stupidity. Alas, stupid people seldom feel stupid, for stupidity thrives on complacency and self-satisfaction. These are the ones who thought of the war in Iraq as a kind of football game. For them it was sufficient to root for the home team. Or they confused the elective war with an action movie pitting black hats against white hats.
As the educational work can be analyzed in terms of a threefold mental bridging, the work of government also has three aspects:
3) Law enforcement.
Statesmanship is related to the understanding and enunciation of ideas. This is a question of right emphasis and timing, implying a clear view of the present need.
Legislation is the passage into law of those ideas that have won acceptance (for better or worse). Law enforcement completes the trinity. Much depends upon an educated public opinion, as well as enlightened statesmanship, and the integrity of those who pass and enforce the laws.
With law enforcement the main issue is one of a judicious and reasonable employment of force, relative to the problem at hand. The same standards are applicable to the use of military force by nations. Force can be either excessive or deficient, like the dosage of a medicine.
The use of force by the international community in 1991 to overturn Iraq's invasion of Kuwait met (or came close to meeting) these standards. The invasion of Iraq in 2003 did not.
Only when there is equality in the enforcement of a rational law, applied to all nations, will there be any prospect of justice, peace and security for the community of nations. Only when there is equality under the law for all within a nation will there be domestic tranquility.
This is no easy thing to achieve, given the uneven development and diversity of standards among nations. It is an impossibility as long as the Unites States and the other so-called great powers refuse to submit to the rule of law.
Not everyone was keen for the 1991 action in defense of Kuwait, given the apparent injustice underlying the creation of that tiny but extremely wealthy nation. Some viewed it as a pseudo-nation and a remnant of the colonial era.
But a wide consensus existed in support of existing international law. The development of such a consensus follows from the reasoning that, if there is established the certainty of a robust international response to any act of aggression, such aggression will soon lose its appeal.
Unfortunately, such a successful affirmation of principle has only been possible when principle has coincided with the interests of the powerful. When there is no such interest, nothing is done, no matter how great the flouting of the law or the disaster to this or that region. The Bosnian intervention was reasonably disinterested, but it would probably not have taken place if the genocidal violence that prompted it had taken place in Africa.
This leads to the charge of hypocrisy, or double standards, a charge that cannot be denied. As the world community grows in maturity, it must be expected that such double standards will, in time, disappear.
The 2003 invasion of Iraq, based on misinformation, was a step backward.
This is widely recognized outside the United States. It remains only for Americans to realize that they have played the fool on the world stage, and that a blind and arrogant parody of leadership, using fear to justify aggression, has shamed the nation.
During the darkest days of World War II, FDR told us we had nothing to fear but fear itself. That was leadership. Today this great truth is inverted and fear is used to drive an anti-social agenda, in line with the purpose of the forces that oppose the evolution of the race.