Wednesday. January 3, 2018
6:50 a.m. Yesterday’s session has sent me back to E.F. Schumacher. Re-reading Small is Beautiful.
There is an entirely different way to dissect societies, and this one follows more closely the idea behind the question.
Yes, I’ve been thinking that. Yesterday’s answer sort of surprised me, it seemed superficial next to the real problem.
Superficial viewed one way. Necessary scaffolding, viewed another way. People’s first view of society tends to be economic or social or both.
Or political, you mean?
Social, political, doesn’t matter. The point is that before you can show people the deeper roots of anything, usually you have to show them that what they think are the roots are only a surface layer. The way to do that is to address those ideas first and show why they can’t be the basic problem.
As Joseph did in the sessions that became Chasing Smallwood, discussing the roots of the challenge of our time. [2-17-2006]
So first we point out that the economic model has alternatives. Next we might show that the various forms of political structure all have virtues and vices, advantages and disadvantages. Then, a reminder than ideology is, as you sometimes say, for idiots, because to believe that any ideology is going to lead to perfection is to believe that one size fits all. When you get through these layers of analysis – and they can be gotten through, only it is tangential to what really concerns us, so we will leave people to do it on their own – you come down to the fact that what people get, what they will stand for, depends primarily upon the shared Zeitgeist [spirit of the times] in the largest sense. That is, what people want relies ultimately on what they think is true. When their idea of what is true changes, so does their society, because society reflects the beliefs, it does not shape them.
Some fairly broad-brush painting, here.
Necessary. All this has been gone into time and again. We can’t be continually recapping “for those who tuned in late.” You don’t have that many years left.
Which I’m taking not as a dire prediction but as a statement of a lot more ground left to cover.
Nobody does much pioneering by continually retracing their steps. Anyway, the point, as you well know, is that the form of your social organization isn’t nearly as important as the ideas behind it, the view of reality people hold.
Because that’s what limits their world.
Let’s say, that’s what bounds their horizons. Everybody is surrounded by a horizon beyond which they cannot see. Large or small, it’s always a circle with you at the center, and no matter where you go or how fast you move, you’re still in the center and always will be. So, you can’t get to see everything, but what you do see – what your circle includes – will be set by where you stand at any given moment.
This is true of individuals. It is also true of communities. And, as usual, individuals are communities at another scale, and communities, at another scale, are individuals. As above, so below, and don’t ever forget it. It is the key to so many conundrums.
A community that believes in materialism believes in many things whether it knows it or not: chance, death, disconnection, either the separation of physical and non-physical or the nonexistence of the latter. It is likely to be oblivious to psychic forces as an everyday fact of life; unlikely to believe in spirits and therefore in the possibility of communication with spirits. It is likely to be atheistic in effect if not in theory. And all these unconscious beliefs have so many consequences!
If you believe in chance, can you believe that everything has meaning? If you believe in death – death as a final end to life, of course we mean – can you avoid a sense of desperation of at least of loss? Can you easily resist temptations to greed of one sort of another? If you believe that you and everyone else are disconnected rather than all part of one thing, is it easy to resist temptations to selfishness, fear, isolation, meaningless, ennui? If you don’t believe that life continues beyond the 3D world as you experience it, the meaning you find in life will have to come from the things of life, and what when they are not enough? Will you even know why they are not enough? Most of all – though it may not seem to be “most of all” – a sense of the material and spiritual world being separate will lead either to what you might call a superstitious religion or no religion at all.
Broad-brush? Certainly. But it is a broad topic. Any single statement we made (or will make) could be examined and found incomplete or provisional or sloppily put, but remember, you are learning to see words as provocations, not as law. Use them to get the underlying sense of what we’re saying. In your wrestling with the material, quarrel with the sense of it, don’t quibble with any given expression of it.
Now, realize, communities are no more consistent in their beliefs than are individuals. (Now why should that be, we wonder.) It is as common for communities to hold incompatible beliefs in separate pockets, so to speak, as it is for individuals. So, in both cases, you will have sub-communities organized around beliefs that other sub-communities regard as superstition or left-over primitive belief. You know.
It really is true, isn’t it, how very much we as individuals are the same makeup as communities. One hand doesn’t necessarily know what the other hand does, or let’s say one group of neurons doesn’t necessarily know that the other groups believe.
What is warfare, what is inter-cultural exchange (and the need for them) but the result of imperfect communication between entities believing different things?
I’d have to think about that one.
While you’re thinking, ask yourself, what is work on yourself, what is psychiatry, what is any attempt to gain control, but an attempt to establish diplomatic relations among previously unconscious sub-communities?
So, if you want to create a new society, you go about it not by organizing and politicking and warring and propagandizing and all the other activities that make so much noise in the world, but by changing how you experience the world.
And that’s how the monasteries and hermitages have always done it! I never thought of it just that way.
Of course. Now, if you believe in separation (regardless whether you believe in spirit or not), you will be inclined to see these isolated communities or individuals as powerless, isolated (as they appear), irrelevant. But if you see them as feeding their modulated input into the Zeitgeist via the group mind – and it will take effect seemingly slowly, seemingly diffusely – then you see that the true struggle for a society’s values is fought in secret, or let us say in the darkness.
We’re running out of time and you have many questions. This is a case where the right questions will materially assist in exposition.
I shall encourage our friends to pose them, and to continue to pose them. Meanwhile, one question: How are you relating this to our coexistence with “vast impersonal forces”?
The short cryptic answer is that it is these forces, contending, that manifest in your lives as individual strife, community strife. Now one tendency prevails, then another. The universe as you experience it has tides and eddies, as the compilers of the I Ching well knew.
And there is your hour.
Okay. Many thanks.