Bernard Baruch on three industrial revolutions

Thursday May 4, 2006

All right, for what it’s worth – that is, assuming this is real and not only imaginings, regardless if it is real within imaginative trappings – I should like to talk to Bernard Baruch[1] about our times. Mr. Baruch, is that agreeable to you?

It is, and the fact that you know so little about me may help you to overlay less and hear more.

Well, that would be good. Certainly it is what I prefer. Tell me what is going on politically and economically. I have a view of it – how much of that view is inexperience, overgeneralization and group-think?

Most of it. You are ready to be a trader!

That’s a joke, and yet it isn’t.

The scale of the problem – seen as an intellectual problem first, then as a practical problem – is such that no one can be better than comparatively informed, comparatively thoughtful, comparatively insightful. This is good news and bad. It means you succeed merely by being not quite so dismal as your competitors, and that isn’t so difficult! But it means there is precious little wisdom to be had.

Now in your particular case, you have a specialized expertise – at least, it may be looked at this way – which is an absorption in history which produces a sort of “feel” for the larger currents of your time. You have not been maximizing the advantage of this because you have not until recently been keeping abreast of the day’s news – the news other people are seeing, and so your rhythm is far out of sync with theirs without your realizing it. In other words you are exchanging your one-eyed vision for their one-eyed vision rather than enjoy the advantages of binocular or even of alternating vision.

Other successful investors have their own area of expertise, you have yours. It only takes one to give you an edge, a separate place to stand so that you don’t get blown with the wind.

Now those who have two areas of expertise, or even three, have their vision enhanced so much the more. Note that I am not discussing vocations there – although that is usually where one gets such expertise.

Mostly it involves understanding men and understanding at least the broad outlines of the way things are going – which in turn involves at least some knowledge of how things really as opposed to theoretically work. Your conspiracy theorists may go as far wrong as your uninformed patriots here, or perhaps more, or less.

I presume you did not ask me to be your personal financial advisor. What I would do is very different from what you would accept, because you like to invest in things you approve of, only, and I liked to invest in things that increased my personal freedom to do as I wished.

Here is one way to make your investment decisions in the context of the larger currents of whatever times you find yourself in. Your investment decisions are made – everyone’s are – in the context of a greater understanding of life. If you think the world is coming to an end soon you don’t go long!

All right, let me trace this out for you as I see it, and you can pass it to your friends, and for some it will have meaning and for some it will not. “I” am of course being translated through your mind, your mental habits, your linguistic habits, your accustomed channels of association. That is what makes all of your contacts sound more similar to each other, and to you, than they would on their own. So – caveat emptor, except the advice is free.

Where are you now? You have the imminent data – the urgent, the latest, the “breaking news” – and you have the overwhelming volume of so many sources of information and misinformation and disinformation – TV, radio, internet, magazines, newspapers, private-subscription advice of various kinds, inter-personal resource-sharing and a new source of information entirely (in that it allows so much access to quickly and so easily; its power sets it apart from its early incarnations as library and reference desk) which is the historical, geographic, and cultural context provided by relatively instant relatively unlimited access to information that is the web’s search facility.

With all that information pouring in, it is harder and easier to see what is really important and for that matter what is real.

Harder – because the noise overwhelms the signal. Just because “everyone” is concerned about a problem doesn’t mean anything, necessarily. It may be a set-up for someone’s agenda, it may be sincere but mistaken, it may be real and urgent but actually trivial, it may be real and important but entirely misperceived because of the context of the times, as the Shah’s overthrow was misperceived in the context of the Cold War.

Easier – because when you do get on the scent, you have so many resources to check your intuition and logic – resources undreamed of in my day, and immensely powerful. The very existence of these new resources fundamentally change the dynamics of even the most established games. (Think for a moment of the role of the telephone in the stock market of the 1920s. The telephone, the radio, the newsreels, the gossip columns – none of them may seem to have anything to do with massive stock speculation but I assure you that they did.)

So – to get the advantages of the new factors and dampen or compensate for the disadvantages, again you need an independent place to stand. For you personally, it will be history, plus your inner guidance, plus your sense that the old ways are coming to an end in a fundamental, not a superficial, way. For others it might be, say, a profound technical or social understanding of the impact of certain new technologies; for others, intuitive accord with fads, so that they naturally know what other people would be attracted to – provided they stayed aloof from that knowing, rather than merely being led by it!

So, to sketch where you are. A broad, oversimplified sketch. Any sketch of whatever detail is going to be oversimplified: that is what a map is!

You are at the end of the second industrial revolution and at the beginning of the third. First came the mechanical revolution, and it came infinitely slowly by your standards. Perhaps you should define its beginnings in the 1200s with the water mills. Certainly following windmills, then the systematic pursuit of mechanical advantage; a great spurt with the harnessing of steam power, culminating in the mid to late 19th century. Second came the electrical revolution, redefining all this mechanical advantage in ways unforeseen but now coming to their culmination; having passed it slightly, in fact. Electricity took the mechanical advantage and performed the same tasks more efficiently and more smoothly – hence more powerfully; and this improvement became a transformation in kind. It is a long way from the telegraph to the cell phone, and the electric motor, and the computer, and it took less than 200 years. Now you are in the third revolution and because it is qualitatively different from its predecessors, and in its infant stages, and scattered in what seem to you different fields, you recognize it not.

 

Your third industrial revolution – or your third phase of the one revolution – looks at first glance to be a fusion of the mechanical and the electrical revolutions: the world of electronics speeds and makes more powerful all interactions; the onset of nanotechnology and robotics makes the process of manufacturing even more different from what it once was even 50 years ago, or 100, let alone 500 or 1000.

But this is not the key to the third phase. The third phase moves away from separation and mechanization and moves toward magic. Startling?

Well, not so much startling as sort of impenetrable, so far. I know that Arthur C. Clarke famously said that any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Yes, but I’m talking about real magic, not merely the appearance of magic. If you define magic as the use of consciousness to shape reality in conformance with desire – magic is the third phase of the revolution, and you will find eventually that it restores humanity to relation to the world around it, after the long separation imposed by the first two phases.

Can you make that a little clearer? With examples, perhaps?

If you can turn on a light bulb by thinking, or if you can nourish your body by a certain attitude, let us say, or if you can assist your plants or purify your water by directed desire, what is this but magic? Yet this is but the merest child’s play, the thinnest edge of the wedge.

The mechanical revolution began a process of seeing the world differently. Rather than beings with their own rights and rightful place, everything around mankind came to be seen as potential tools to be used; as potential riches to be won. It started with minerals and sources of energy; it expanded to animals; it did not cease at the boundaries of the human, and so people came to be seen as factors rather than as children of God. And as to any existence that could not be fitted into a scheme of utility, it was disregarded in practice; given lip service or treated as an inconvenience.

(These things don’t to be consistent to be true. You could and did have devout Christians running vast enterprises that silently assumed the irrelevance of spiritual forces to everyday life. Perhaps it was easier for me as a Jew to see the inconsistency of the Christian position – but my life was not significantly different. In my time, it could not be. Yet I was different enough to have a place to stand.)

The electrical revolution proceeded from where the mechanical phase stood, but although its executors did not intend anything different from the executors of the mechanical phase, these things have their own logic, and so electrics brought the world into closer communication – which speeded up the strife that speeded up the change – and in due course electrics were superseded, unnoticed, by electronics, which are now so much a part of your day as to be scarcely noticed. That electronic revolution is founded, theoretically, not in Newton’s world but in Einstein’s. and although practitioners may or may not be aware of it, increasingly the theoretical end of electronics has gone through the rabbit hole, and the conventional view of the world exists for it no more. The reasons why will never penetrate the public mind to any extent but the effects will not be delayed or reduced by a jot or a tittle because of that.

Once the practical men of business and industry realize that consciousness is central, rather than matter or energy – you are into your third phase of the revolution, and everything changes once again. So perhaps we may call the third phase the reintegration phase.

Mechanical – brute force, more intelligently applied.

Electrical – power reduced to convenient personal size.

Reintegration – consciousness as the lever that multiplies.

This third phase begins as the other two began – it is seen as an acceleration and multiplier of forces for the same ends that began it. But in fact just as with the first two, so in the third phase the use of the new force – or the newly harnessed force, we should say – changes the ends for which the means are used.

Now to bring this inadequate overview sketch back to its context – how does this help you to invest? How does it help you to understand your times (which is or ought to be the basis for investing, of course)? It gives you one more place to stand, and you – anyone – can never have too many.

Keep this simple sketch in mind as you read each day’s noisy signals in whatever form you keep up with the news. Test each bit of information by fitting it into the model. The Chinese are building the Three Gorges Dam? The South Americans are forming a common market? The Europeans are inching toward an armed force separate from American-dominated NATO? Information technology jobs are flowing out of the United States? Oil is now moving from abundance to relative scarcity over time? The educational system is broken? The political parties dissatisfy, and offer no meaningful cooperation or vision? Pollution of various kinds threaten life? Species are going out of existence? The climate seems to be changing? The dollar is depreciating? Religious fanaticism is growing and tolerance may be decreasing?

It all looks different from whatever viewing point you stand at. So – I just gave you a new place to stand. For that matter, this experiment that you are conducting – in the open, live on stage as you might say – needs to be factored in as well, from that same perspective.

Investors – and anyone attempting to make sense of the times – always have and always will face the problem of distinguishing signal from noise. Nothing does that so well as context. And nothing potentially misleads so drastically as the very same process! So – don’t get stuck in one point of view if you can help it. Look at the data from a point of view – see what it seems to mean – then change points of view (as many times as you are able to) and see what it seems to mean from each new point of view as if it were your only point of view. Not half-heartedly, in other words. What if fundamentalist Christians are right? What if materialists are right? What if ideology is key? What if hidden agendas drive events? What if history is the result of the chance collision of forces? What if military might determines? What if economic, or technological, or social cohesion?

That’s enough for you to be going on with.

It sure is. Thank you. (10:50)


[1] Bernard Baruch is defined thus in the Wikipedia: Bernard Mannes Baruch (August 19, 1870 – June 20, 1965) was an American financier, stock market and commodities speculator, statesman, and presidential adviser. After his success in business, he devoted his time toward advising a range of American presidents including Woodrow Wilson and John F. Kennedy on economic matters for over forty years; this is why Baruch was highly regarded as an elder statesman. Described as a man of immense charm who enjoyed a larger-than-life reputation that matched his considerable fortune, he is remembered as one of the most powerful men of the early 20th century.

 

Emerson on scripture and redemption

Monday May 1, 2006

Reading Emerson even in Bliss Perry’s mutilated version – I mean no discourtesy to Mr. Perry – I see how it is as Dion Fortune said, or Carl Jung – the gods do not reinhabit their old dwellings when they once abandon them. We hear of Jesus or religion in a certain context and it leaves us unmoved. We hear of them in some true, living, context and we are again set afire. But there is no way to send the advance columns into the old houses, for there is nothing there but stragglers, clinging to what is familiar rather than setting out on their own voyages.

Maybe there is nothing wrong with that. We can’t all be explorers in every field, and those who are called to explore in one area must of necessity leave other areas unexamined, and take other people’s word for it all.

[My brother] Paul made the startling suggestion that I could contact Mr. Emerson, which had not occurred to me. I have not yet adjusted entirely to this new state of things. Mr. Emerson, if you would like to say something I’d be very glad to hear it.

If you wish to know your own heart, look to what moves you in the words or recorded deeds of others. How could you resonate to a string tuned to a different note? We will leave the musical analogy as neither of us is musical, but you do get the meaning of it. It is nothing more nor less than what I said all my life: Trust what you sympathize with. There is a reason why you were made the way you were made. Your strengths, your weaknesses, your talents, your inabilities – you judge them all and you cannot rightly judge any, because of all mankind you have the worst vantage point of judgment – which implies a little distance, after all. But you have the best, and the only, vantage point for reflection and action.

When you just sent out that email quoting me on the origin and nature of religious impulse – though that is not how it was phrased – what were you doing but the same thing I did? It is startling to people – “men,” we would have said stylistically, in my day, but as you know we used “men” as you might use “human” – it is striking to people to hear someone speak of God, of spirit, of Jesus, in a context devoid of cant, of “piety,” of artificial separation from the rest of life.

It is this lack of a living faith that is killing the civilization you were born into, for what seems to your time to be a great divorce – between Christians on one side and secularists on the other – is a disagreement only when seen from the one angle of what does either side believe, or think it believes. When you look at how either side acts when it is not thinking of religion, you see that in each the same mainspring moves them in the same way toward the same goals.

Christians that are afraid to die! Christians that are afraid of accidents, that live by purchasing insurance and live their religion as a sort of insurance against eternal death! Christians that are afraid of free inquiry into religious impulses!

And their counter-pole, the materialists. What practical difference can be found? And is not “a distinction without a difference” one of the elementary fallacies in logic?

A people afraid of life is not a people to whom God is a living reality. A people afraid of God is not a people in whom God is a felt presence.

None of this is new, it is but the working-out of tendencies that have been operating for centuries, if not forever. Every generation must face the dilemma of condemning the old books, the old wisdoms, or reverencing them and living them without being imprisoned by them.

You call the Bible not a book but a library, and this is one way to loosen the bond without rejecting the value. But an entire generation has been raised up – again! – most of them dead to the living presence.

They cannot be redeemed by Jesus’ life and death. They can be redeemed only by the effect of that life and death within themselves. But what effect? Guilt? Obedience to church officials and church doctrines? Fear lest they say or do or think or suspect something they shouldn’t? Mindless – that is, unmindful – reverence of what they do not comprehend, without a corresponding faith that God will have given them the means of distinguishing truth from error?

It boils down now to what it boiled down to in the past and boils down to in the future: If you cannot trust the voice within, you are reduced to accepting outside authority. But – given that we must each decide what we believe and what we cannot believe, a moment’s thought shows that even those who accept outside authority over their own inner voice use the inner voice to decide which outside authority to obey! How else could it be?

Now, there is a difference in temperament that ought to be noted. One man – one person – will search his inner nature and follow what the inner voice prompts. Another will find an outside authority to accept and will accept it.

This is not a matter of faith or of intellect, though it may look like either; it is a matter, one might say, of style. One may go wrong or go right following either path. If the one side offers closer connection and greater confidence, it risks what you call Psychic’s Disease – unwarranted certainty. If the other side offers greater consistency and an immunity from individual error, in that the community is the keeper of the group’s conscience, one might say, it risks petrifaction and bigotry. No path is all right or all wrong. One might say no path is right or wrong in any degree – for the person in question. But the social, cumulative effect of too many people on one path may call out for compensating numbers or intensity representing the complementary approach.

Your time tends to think of the nineteenth century as Christian and settled, where in fact it was far less Christian even in name than the America of the 1700s, and that of the 1700s less so than the America of the 1600s. And all this progression had good and bad effects. We weren’t hanging witches in the 1800s, and we gradually ceased to use scripture to justify human slavery. There was a decline of the fanaticism that always accompanies a religion that has come to rely on numbers and uniformity of utterance to outface the times and the inner doubts that the times produce. Yet the more secular mode of expression was not uniformly an advance over the grim-visaged Puritans we had been. How could it be? Life is less a matter of truth and falsehood than of a prism, showing now this color, now that one, each in its turn attractive beyond all others.

I have been saying for some years now that I believe the crisis of our time is a matter of greater consciousness. It occurs to me, perhaps that sounds to some people as though I am saying it is a matter of more thought.

You will never say a sentence that cannot be misunderstood. And if it were not for the occult sympathies and ties that bind individuals outside of their sight and beyond their thought, no one would ever understand another even slightly, even so much as they do. That is why God in his mercy made man with an infallible detector of a true thing – if he may be persuaded to listen to it!

Bob Dylan says, “it’s a wonder we can even feed ourselves.”

He also says “it’s a wonder that we still know how to breathe.” But it is more a wonder that we ever learned it. It is a wonder that we come into the world, and inhabit it, and leave again unscathed, shaped, enriched by the experience.

Your life was a great inspiration to people, and we thank you for it.

My life was an experiment like anyone else’s, and reasonably successful. I had honor, achievement, family, affection – even reputation. Quite an accumulation for someone who early on cast his respectability to the winds and dared to live by faith. This of course is the tie that bound me to Henry Thoreau. His path was not mine, but he too lived on faith, and in faith, and there can be no greater gulf fixed than that between those who live on faith and those who cannot. He and I were on the same side of the divide, and we knew it. And if after a time the strain of our various inequalities became almost too great, still we helped each other and I believe we never ceased to be glad that the other was in the world.

Well, it meant a tremendous amount to him that you were there to recognize him and help him early on.

I merely showed him his soul in a mirror and suggested that it came also from God. And he lived each day what I had only imagined.

I have thought that the strains between you were mostly differences of externals: you half a generation older, famous, of an old established family, and more conservative for all of those reasons; he younger, relatively unknown, always the unfavorable end of the comparison between you, and he more radical.

True enough but of course none of those differences were accidental, and none determinative. The truth is that he and I were in very loose harness and had different kinds of lives to lead. It was only in times that we forgot and sought to make the other think and feel and be like us that the awareness of difference became irksome. Otherwise it was merely spice.

I have tired and must go. My thanks.

My thanks as well, as my best wishes.

 

Emerson: both dynamite and the breath of life

Sunday, April 30, 2006

My friend Dave Garland stops in, on his way to do the Guidelines program at TMI, and delivers me a great gift, Bliss Perry’s The Heart of Emerson’s Journals, read so long ago as to be again new. Browsing it – how nice. Emerson wrote, “One thing is certain: the religions are obsolete when the reforms do not proceed from them.” Reading in it reminds me of brother Smallwood’s description a while ago of Emerson’s effect on the young men of his day.

Emerson was an ordained minister, the son of generations of ordained ministers, born into the very highest levels of society in Boston – which then meant New England . From this position conscience and circumstance dynamited him into a new and wider orbit.

His first wife – his first love — died of TB after only a couple of years of marriage. And, after a bit, Emerson, still a young man, felt obliged by conscience to resign his position with his church. He went off to Europe at age 29, spending several months there. Aboard ship, coming home to neither wife nor profession nor settled place, Emerson wrote “[I] wish I knew where and how I ought to live. God will show me.” A couple of days later, in September 1833, age 30, he wrote this:

“I believe that the error of religionists lies in this, that they do not know the extent or the harmony or the depth of their moral nature; that they are clinging to little, positive, verbal, formal versions of the moral law, and very imperfect versions too, while the infinite laws, the laws of the Law, the great circling truths whose only adequate symbol is the material laws, the astronomy, etc., are all unobserved, and sneered at when spoken of, as frigid and insufficient. I call Calvinism such an imperfect version of the moral law. Unitarianism is another, and every form of Christian and of Pagan faith in the hands of incapable teachers is such a version. On the contrary, in the hands of a true Teacher, the falsehoods, the pitifulnesses, the sectarianisms of each are dropped, and the sublimity and the depth of the Original is penetrated and exhibited….”

That is what he meant by self-reliance! Not ego and self-assertion, but finding the place within us in which to stand, and standing there, and not being swayed by the opinion of all mankind if it meet not resonance from within.

Ten years later he says (and not just about Calvinism, of course):

“It is not in the power of God to make a communication of his will to a Calvinist. For to every inward revelation he holds up his silly book , and quotes chapter and verse against the Book-Maker and Man-Maker, against that which quotes not, but is and cometh. There is a light older than intellect, by which the intellect lives and works, always new, and which degrades every past and particular shining of itself. This light, Calvinism denies, in its idolatry of a certain past shining.”

A dozen years later, in 1855, nearly 52 years old, he makes this entry:

“Munroe [his publisher and friend] seriously asked what I believed of Jesus and prophets. I said, as so often, that it seemed to me an impiety to be listening to one and another, when the pure Heaven was pouring itself into each of us, on the simple condition of obedience. To listen to any second-hand gospel is perdition of the First Gospel. Jesus was Jesus because he refused to listen to another, and listened at home.”

Can you perhaps see just from these fragments why this man was dynamite to whatever was old and rotten, and seemed the very breath of life to the young at heart?

TGU on necessary conflict

Wednesday April 26, 2006

(3 pm) More? (Or so I sense.)

It is natural to feel a sense of unease, given the conflict between the motives you ascribe to those who have the power to create wars and the motives you ascribe to those opposing the wars. The conflict is real. The question is what is the tack you can take that will best got where you want to go, given that neither you nor anyone can judge events that have not yet occurred.

Yes, exactly. If our forces and the empire are going to be defeated in any case, that’s one thing. But if the forces can be undefeated and the empire defeated (as in Vietnam) that is a second thing, and if it possible for neither to be defeated, a third. Ideally I would like to see the empire voluntarily retreat but not be replaced by something worse. Is that possible?

Ideally, then, you wish to control once you have ceased controlling. For in specifying “worse” or “better” it is of course in your judgment.

Well I guess I don’t know where to go with that.

Give over control to the other side, and live in faith. We are well able to turn men’s minds to our purpose – given that “we” are “they” as “we” are “you.”

Then whence come cross purposes?

Your lives are expressions of your threads, your values. Conflicts play out “here” and “there” – but there is nothing inherently wrong with conflict; it is just that you are tired of it. That is because the wrong conflicts are manifesting. Some conflicts are productive and some are obstructive, and which is which fluctuates according to the times and tradition. In your time, endless ideology finally devolved to a stalemate just as endless conflict about religious establishment did in the 1600s, and this present flare-up is the false dawn that is actually a sunset. We assure you no one will care about right-wing and left-wing in a hundred years, any more than they care about Catholic versus Protestant. You will have moved on to other problems. They won’t be (aren’t, from our viewpoint) arguing over nationalism, either. All sides of all current issues will be represented. None will have “won” or even lost. Is history or philosophy or English the “winner” in academic circles? Is algebra or trigonometry the “winner” in math circles? It is a matter of appropriate beliefs, appropriate priorities. Various things have to appear and be settled – if only be fatigue and indifference – before other issues can rightly arise. Are you exercised about republican versus monarchy? Or feudalism versus capitalism? Or industrialism versus tradition? Issues become settled, one way or the other.

The coming issue involves consciousness.

Of course. But it will come disguised in the leftover issues of the past, because that is where people’s mental habits remain. So, nationalism, theology, economics, ideology, power games among imperial forces – it is all distracting natural camouflage – not conspiracy, just forward-blindness. The real issue is, what shall be the new form of consciousness? Or, to put it another way, how shall the new houses of the gods be constructed? (For as Carl Jung wisely put it, the gods do not return to homes once abandoned.)

 

 

TGU — two questions on how things are

Monday, February 4, 2019

3:45 a.m. All right, questions. Hanns Oskar Porr asks (on Jan. 30) about people who are murdered.

[So here is a question to TGU/Rita, which I think would help a lot of people in a similar situation, that is, the kin and friends of people who were murdered: does somebody who is murdered choose to be murdered?  Is it part of any greater plan ( call it a life-plan, probabilities, test, an exit strategy, etc.)?  And here is the important one:  if it is a choice, is it always a choice or are there also freak accidents?]

Their choice? Part of a greater plan? Freak accident sometimes? I, looking at something he quoted in his email, am inclined to think the quotation contains the answer:

[“A change of angle of viewing will show entirely different relationships that are no less and no more true. in other words, there is no one way of seeing things; there is only every way, and this of course no one in 3D can ever stretch to encompass.”]

But – is that right? Would you comment, please, to a sincere question?

The quotation is apt in a way that is beyond what you were thinking. It is more profoundly true. not only does a different viewpoint reveal a different aspect of a given situation – it alters what is possible, what is true.

That is a truism, I think.

Only from a certain point of view! From another, it may appear to be fantasy, or debatable, or disinformation.

So I guess you’re going to go into it a bit more.

When you see life as fluid rather than static – as a dream rather than a collection of objects to be moved around – the ground-rules seem to change, but in fact they don’t only seem to; they do change. What you believe is directly connected to what is true (and possible) for you. You know this from experience, many of you, but not all who have experienced it realize what they have experienced.

Your beliefs bound your experiences; your experiences expand or limit your beliefs. As usual, a reciprocating process. Someone who will not be convinced is impregnable in his unbelief, and thus from one viewpoint, he is firmly rooted in fact, and from another viewpoint he is trapped in his own limiting beliefs. This is not an either/or – it is a both/and, as well as a neither/nor.

Choose your beliefs, change your life.

Yes, except that stating it that way implies a firm platform from which to choose. Your life is not as simple as a 3D mind making its decisions rationally and fairly.

Unless that is our ideal, I suppose.

Not exactly one’s ideal; more like, one’s firm idea of how things are. You understand, there isn’t really any point in thinking one or another person can set out the rules of life as they are. The best you can do is to set out the rules of life as they are for you. Again, looking at life more as a dream than as a staged event will bring you closer intuitively to the reality. Only – some will be unable to adopt that view!

I see it. So your definitive answer to Mr. Porr’s question is, “The rules of life depend upon how you see them, so there isn’t any way to answer this question, except arbitrarily.”

That isn’t wholly representative of our answer. But perhaps it is best to pause there and wait for reaction. On to your second question.

All right. Alex Bee, citing the case of Canadian investigator Joe Fischer, asks if Fischer killed himself or was murdered by malevolent beings. More specifically, he asks how to protect against malevolent beings.

[1. Why Joe Fischer, author of The Siren Call of Hungry Ghosts died? Was it suicide or murder by malevolent beings, who for example possessed his body and threw it from the cliff?

[2. How to protect against contact with malevolent non-corporeal beings when using for example Gateway exercises. Is the Robert Monroe’s affirmation enough (this part, that I deeply desire help of beings which are on the same or higher level of wisdom, development)?  Just saying it, thinking it, or thinking it in non-verbal-communication enough?]

The two questioners are linked in more than the accident of chronology, you see. They illumine each other. Let us think for a moment about luck, and divine protection, and evil or malicious spirits, and intent.

Oh, I see that clearly enough. Again, what we believe is what is true for us.

With an implied caveat, always, that no one in 3D knows fully who or what he is, and so never fully knows his own mainsprings.

Well, spell it out for us a little?

If you believe you need a ritual of protection, you will. If you don’t, you won’t. However this is not as simple as deciding to decide. Again, what you are in various aspects of the community that is you will determine your range of choice. You may consciously think “I am not afraid” and unconsciously cower. Or vice versa, for that matter. But – subject to that very important reservation – it is true that life will serve up what you expect.

Surely “what you expect” isn’t right.

Well, it is, provided you remember that people do their expecting at various levels, not all known to one another.

I have never felt a need to ask for protection, but perhaps that is foolhardiness. So far, so good, anyway.

But in your external life you do the same, and again, so far so good.

Although I do hesitate to make recommendations to others, for fear I may be wrong, or may be pushing my luck, only to discover one day that it runs out.

But regardless, this is your experience, your (inner and outer) world in conformity to your expectations.

So I suppose the answer is, if you think you need protection, act as if you do, otherwise not.

Let’s say who and what you are determines the need or non-need for protection, because malevolent forces do exist, in a way, and don’t, in a way. That is, what is within your limits seems real to you, and other things do not, can not. But again, don’t confuse deciding that you believe something with actually believing.

So in practical terms?

It’s always the same prescription: Get into close touch with all levels of yourself. Stay in touch. Reconcile to the degree possible, while remembering that you while you are in the body have the opportunity and responsibility to choose. That’s what you are doing here, choosing.

Or at least, that is my/our take on things.

Yes, very good. Everyone lives in a different subset of the world tailored for them, of necessity. That is the opportunity; that is the predicament.

Thanks. Any more on this?

This should do for the moment.

Okay. Till next time.

“We were fighting for you!”

[On Monday, April 24, 2006, after my posting about Missionary Ridge, my friend Walt suggested I see Missionary Ridge. But it is too far and I’m not all that interested. Instead, suddenly I decided to see Gettysburg. Well, “I decided” it the way we commonly see it, but by this time I can tell guidance when I feel it prodding me. I went up and back the same day, Tuesday.]

7:25 a.m. Wednesday April 26, 2006

Wheezing a little this morning – just as I was wheezing, very slightly, on Cemetery Ridge. Just enough for me to note for later significance – for it is tied in to Joseph’s experience, I think.

I can feel that someone else is in the wings for the next part of this little demonstration. Come on ahead.

[Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain:] Your tramping around the position at Little Round Top, and your buying a book about that part of the fight specifically, is as important as your recovering your emotional memories of the charge on the ridge. Your reading about my life – starting with The Killer Angels but continuing recently – ought to tell you that your connection to New Englanders like me needs still to be further explored.

I’m trying to sort out my feelings: do I believe that Joseph Smallwood knew Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain? Not that you are intimating that he did.

That was not the point, but it did provide a point of contact. Our theologies did not concur, but our temperaments were agreeable to each other, and our backgrounds had points of comparison and our wildly different lives made it interesting to each other. He was a little older but for that matter I was in my thirties, not so young for that army.

You know my mystical inclinations. I have sensed your mild amusement over what you consider my high-flying rhetoric, though it was suited to my day, and I know you recognize that too. You need to do your best to remind people that it really was a good cause, and it really did have great effects, and it wasn’t all corruption and politics and piling up of wealth.

You remember when you went to the cemetery in Concord, Massachusetts, and saw the stature for the four sons killed in the war, how you realized that New England had poured itself into the war, life’s blood, treasure, influence and all. We didn’t do it precisely to free the slaves, though we came to that. We did it to save the Union. You were impatient with the ranger’s talk about Abraham Lincoln’s address there. Use your impatience to remind yourself what it is that people don’t see about it. We were fighting for you! Your world is as it is because of the men who died rather than give up the dream of self-government. But that struggle is never won. It never can be won, because until human nature becomes united with that something that is beyond individuals – some have called it God’s purpose, others call it destiny or whatever word does not scare them – until then, human nature will be such that some will seek for themselves rather than for all.

Your life’s task is slowly clarifying, is it not? Some battle in politics, some in wider culture, but you are among those who battle in the highest, least comprehensible of fields – the very field of human nature. And what goal could be more far-reaching or as intangible? Yet it is not chimerical. It can be done, and it will be done, or humans will perish and the experiment will continue elsewhere.

You say “you” and I presume you don’t mean me alone but rather me and any who share my preoccupation with bringing us to a new level of consciousness.

It is well to have it on the record, of course. Those who read this will know themselves – but they knew it before we said it so explicitly!

Perhaps I’m just defending against the accusations of grandiosity and self-deception that I can all but hear.

Hear, from part of your own nature. Some of your threads, you would say.

Mr. Chamberlain – “General” Chamberlain would be accurate but somehow doesn’t seem to suit you, at this moment – you seem to me to be one of those lives that one can hardly believe actually occurred. Like Mr. Lincoln, in fact. You know how people already feel about you, and I suspect that as time goes on your importance will continue to mount as people see that not only were you a model citizen-soldier but a model.

We are all models, one way or the other.

Well, thank you all the same.

You’re welcome. And I give my thanks on behalf of all my fellow citizen-soldiers to all those who continue the work – in my time, in your time, and beyond to times you cannot yet see.

(8:40 a.m.)

2:30 p.m. My brother forwards, without further comment (what further comment would be needed?) this from Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain.

“In great deeds something abides. On great fields something stays. Forms change and pass; bodies disappear; but spirits linger, to consecrate ground for the vision-place of souls. And reverent men and women from afar, and generations that know us not and that we know not of, heart-drawn to see where and by whom great things were suffered and done for them, shall come to this deathless field, to ponder and dream; and lo! the shadow of a mighty presence shall wrap them in its bosom, and the power of the vision pass into their souls. 

–Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain

Announcing the latest — and final? — Rita book

 

My author’s copies arrived last night.

Available from Square One books, or online from Amazon, and hopefully soon from the TMI bookstore, though they don’t yet know it’s out, this book was slated to be published last September. The delay makes the final line of the acknowledgements, “Particularly Bob Friedman, who sees the value in the material, and sees these reports through publication,” both more pertinent and more poignant.

Herewith, some info. :

 Change Your Viewpoint, Change Your World

 You know the questions:

 What’s the meaning of life? Does our life matter to anyone or anything beyond this world?

What follows death? An afterlife? If so, what can it be like?

What is it all about? What’s it for?

These are religious questions. The world’s scriptures are, among other things, models of interaction between the physical and the non-physical aspects of the world. people have been bringing back descriptions of the afterlife for uncounted thousands of years, but the descriptions don’t match. Why? Because what we can report depends upon our particular mental processes.

But can we make sense of mankind’s often contradictory religious traditions, without jettisoning our intellectual and critical functioning? Unfortunately, in our time neither science nor religion gives us a credible picture of the meaning and nature of life, nor a picture of the afterlife that we can relate to. How do people in an afterlife spend their time? What is it they do, and why do they do it? What (if anything) is their relationship to us?

Wouldn’t it be nice to be able to ask these questions of someone there? Or, wouldn’t it be nice to be able to listen in, while someone else did? This book is a record of just such communication. It is the fourth volume of conversations I have had with my old friend Rita Warren after she died. First came Rita’s World, in two volumes, then Awakening from the 3D World.

It’s All One World reorients our ideas of life and the afterlife, or the natural and the supernatural. It consists of four sections: who and what we are; life and the afterlife; the limits to the reality of the world we experience, and – shortest but perhaps most important – where we go from here. This little book gives you everything you need to see life not as it appears but as it really is, which means seeing yourself not as you appear to yourself, but as you really are. And this is not the end of your journey, but the very beginning.