TGU on success

Monday, April 12, 2021

6:50 a.m. All right, guys, open for business. Shall we talk more about success? Or shall we address [my friend] Louis’ question about how I should (can) use the material in my journals? Let’s continue about success, I think.

Yes, because it is timely, because it applies to many besides yourself, and, mostly, because it applies much more broadly than you might think at first. Success is like happiness, or like any state of being: It depends less upon an external state of affairs, and more upon how you look at it, than it may seem. But you have to be looking at the right metric.

“Metric.” Somehow that seems a little foreign for you (and I don’t mean, “As opposed to English measure”!). It is as if we have somebody, or some aspect of somebody, who doesn’t usually participate in this conversation.

We won’t go into it at length, but – of course. What else could you expect? Explore an unfamiliar area of life (whether emotional, intellectual, factual, whatever) and you are likely to draw as your non-3D mentor for the moment someone who lived more in that area. It is only a slight exaggeration of a process that goes on invisibly (or, anyway, usually unnoticed) all the time. If your interlocutors seem to be relatively unchanging, usually it is because your field of inquiry is relatively unchanging.

I see. Same subject matter, same instructors.

This is oversimplified, naturally, but within those limits, yes.

So do continue about success.

Perhaps a series of bullets:

  • “Success” is an abstraction, not a definition. One person’s success would be another person’s nightmare.
  • Nothing – we remind you – happens in an unconnected fashion. The same starburst shell affects different people differently because the equation “shell-person” is necessarily unique to each. The “person” end of the equation is different; the equation itself cannot not be different.
  • Similarly, everything in your lives is a connection between the individual and the shared subjectivity. This applies to what does not manifest, no less than to what does.
  • “Which you?” refers to more than matters of your view of things. It is a way of seeing that your internal contradictions actually stem from group adjustment (or maladjustment, or lack of adjustment) rather than from whim or chance or “unfortunate circumstance.”

Interesting. Spelling out those items leads me to a place where I almost get where you’re going, but not quite. Tap the kaleidoscope, please?

Why do you think everyone’s fortune in life is different? It isn’t only a matter of where they start in life. It isn’t exactly a question of what internal and external resources did they have, nor of what opportunities presented themselves or were created by the person’s own efforts. All of this matters, but it would be a mistake to think of it as itself determinative. As the professor whose words you half-remember said, you can accomplish anything in life if you are sufficiently determined, but you have to be born determined.

I can’t remember where I read that, nor who it was, but I don’t think that is quite what he said.

In any case, it is what we are saying now. The pattern of your lives is not random, nor is it entirely determined by your choices. (“Which you?”)

Okay –

Well, take Hemingway as a familiar example. He was born with the gifts. He was born into an advantageous position. He was born “lucky,” in that throughout his life he was in the right place at the right time to reap unimagined benefits. He was born single-minded. None of this assured a “happy” life, nor a successful one in any terms but that of writer, but for that calling, he was superbly well-equipped.

What makes any of you think it is any different for yourselves?

Only – I get it – just as we can’t expect to be Hemingway in the externals of his life, neither should we expect to have his make-up or his drive or his abilities, gifts, or flaws.

That’s half of it, and the less important half, at that. The more important half (which won’t seem like much to you, perhaps, until you think about it) is that neither could Hemingway expect to be any of you.

We’re all unique windows on the world. We’ve heard that often enough.

Yes, and maybe at some point it will sink in. You are the unique intermediary between a specific bundle of traits “working out its salvation” in a 3D life, and the shared subjectivity it necessarily participates in.

This has nothing to do with fame.

Nothing to do with power.

Nothing to do with status, or achievement, or (in a sense) even with personal self-creation as the achievement created by a lifetime of choices.

It is an unchanging fact of 3D life: Each life is unique (however similar to others it may appear to be); each life has its own problem to live – or, we should better say, is its own problem to live. Each is unique, and – history books to the contrary —  one is not more important than another. An anonymous French peasant woman was not less important than Napoleon; neither was a beggar or a thief or a monk or a scholar, or anybody. With the religious sides of your minds, you know this, or at least you want to believe it. The historical sides, though, and the experiential side that reads the newspaper and walks down the street, finds it all but impossible to believe.

Both are true because either view is based more on the yardstick we use than on any inherent differences.

Well – what you say isn’t wrong, but it lets slide something important to say. By any yardstick a Napoleon or a Hemingway is going to be special, because of the breadth of their effect on the shared subjectivity. It takes a heap of illiterate peasants to match the impact of a Napoleon. So, to say “All men are created equal” or to say each individual is inherently unique and therefore adds value, may be less persuasive to people who are unaccustomed to thinking in ways that do not assume the primacy (perhaps the unique reality) of the 3D world.

I am not sure you are saying much more than, “Be content with your lives. They didn’t occur, nor play out, at random.”

That wouldn’t be a bad message, in fact. But we are saying a little more than that, or anyway we are trying to. We are trying to give you the context through which to see something very practical, which is: You really can’t fail.

Because anything we do is okay?

Because anything you do can’t be judged by any criterion you can think of. A life is not “better” or “worse” according to some external scale; it merely seems that way to you.

Because we ate the apple.

Well, judgment as good or bad doesn’t help, but even without that, 3D limitations would assure that you never have the full picture.

So we are back again to, “Stay in closer touch with your non-3D.”

You see any downside to that?

Does it look like I do? But what is the “something practical” you said you wanted to provide?

To the degree that you can remain aware of promptings and can sort them out, and can distinguish productive from reflexive ones, you cannot fail to steer your ship to success. Only, remember (in your life, not merely in theory in one isolated chamber of your mind) that you will not know in advance. You won’t know your course, nor your goal, nor your composition (that is, your full quota of resources), nor your place in the larger scheme of things – and there is nothing wrong with this state of affairs.

Which is why we should live in faith.

It’s why your life is easier, smoother, if you can live in faith. Everyone could, in theory; not everyone can, in practice.

And there’s your hour.

Our thanks as always.


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