Impulses provide impetus toward motion

Impulses coax the physical body and the mental person toward utilization of physical and mental power.

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They help the individual impress the world — that is, to act upon it and within it effectively. Impulses also open up choices that may not have been consciously available before. The cells precognate, and that at that level the body is aware of vast information, information not consciously known or apprehended. The universe and everything within it is composed of “information,” but this information is aware-ized containing” — information concerning the entire universe is always latent within each and any part of it.

The motive power of the universe and of each particle or wave or person within it it the magnificent thrust toward creative probabilities, and the tension that exists, the exuberant tension, that exists “between” probable choices and probable events. This applies to men/women and molecules, and to all of those hypothetically theorized smaller divisions with which scientists like to amaze themselves. Divisions or units.

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In more mundane terms, impulses often come from unconscious knowledge, then. This knowledge is spontaneously and automatically received by the energy that composes our body, and then it is processed so that pertinent information applying to us can be taken advantage of. Ideally, our impulses are always in response to our own best interests — and, to the best interests of our world as well. Obviously there is a deep damaging distrust of impulses in the contemporary world, as in our terms there has been throughout the history that we follow. Impulses are spontaneous, and we have been taught not to trust the spontaneous portions of our being, but to rely upon our reason and our intellect — which both operate, incidentally, quite spontaneously, by the way.

When we let ourselves alone, we are spontaneously reasonable, but because of our beliefs it seems that reason and spontaneity make poor bedfellows.

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Psychologically, our impulses are as vital to our being as our physical organs are. They are as altruistic, or unselfish, as our physical organs are. And yet each impulse is suited and tailored directly to the individual who feels it. Ideally, by following our impulses we would feel the shape, the impulsive shape of our life. We would not spend time wondering what one’s purpose was, for it would make itself known to us, as we perceived the direction in which our natural impulses led, and felt oneself exert power in the world through such actions. Impulses are doorways to action, satisfaction, the exertion of natural mental and physical power, the avenue for our private expression — the avenue where our private expression interests the physical world and impresses it.

Many cults of one kind or another, and many fanatics, seek to divide us from our natural impulses, to impede their expression. They seek to sabotage our belief in our spontaneous being, so that the great power of impetus becomes damned up. Avenues of probabilities are closed bit by bit until we do indeed live — if we follow such precepts — in a closed mental environment, in which it seems we are powerless. It seems we cannot impress the world as we wish, that our ideals must always be stillborn.

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In the case of the Jonestown tragedy, for example, all doors toward probable effective action seemed closed. Followers had been taught to act against their natural impulses with members of their families. They had been taught not to trust the outside world, and little by little the gap between misguided idealism and an exaggerated version of the world’s evil blocked all doors through which power could be exerted — all doors save one. The desire for suicide is often the last recourse left to frightened people whose natural impulses toward action have been dammed up — intensified on the one hand, and yet denied any practical expression.

There is a natural impulse to die on the part of men/women and animals, but in such circumstances [as we are discussing here] that desire becomes the only impulse that the individual feels able to express, for it seems that all other avenues of expression have become closed. There is much misunderstanding concerning the nature of impulses, so we will discuss them rather thoroughly. I always want to emphasize the importance of individual action, for only the individual can help form organizations that become physical vehicles for the effective expression of ideals. Only people who trust their spontaneous beings and the altruistic nature of their impulses can be consciously wise enough to choose from a myriad of probable futures that most promising events — for again, impulses take not only [people’s] best interest into consideration, but those of all other species.

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I am using the term “impulses” for the understanding of the general public, and in those terms molecules and protons have impulses. No consciousness simply reacts to stimuli, but has its own impulse toward growth and value fulfillment. It seems to many of us that impulses are unpredictable, contradictory, without reason, the result of erratic mixtures of body chemicals and that they must be squashed with as much deadly intent as some of us might when we spray a mosquito with insecticide.

Often the insecticide kills more than the mosquito, and its effects can be far-reaching, and possibly have disastrous consequences. However, to consider impulses as chaotic, meaningless — or worse, detrimental to an ordered life — represents a very dangerous attitude indeed; an attempt that causes many of our other problems, an attempt that does often distort the nature of impulses. Each person is fired by the desire to act, and to act beneficially, altruistically, to practically put his stamp, or her stamp,upon the world. When such natural impulses toward action are constantly denied over a period of time, when they are distrusted, when an individual feels in battle with his or her own impulses and shuts down the doors toward probable actions, then that intensity can explode into whatever avenue of escape is still left open.

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I am not speaking of anything like “repression,” as it is used by psychologists, but a far deeper issue: one in which the very self is so distrusted that natural impulses of any kind become suspect. We try to inoculate ourselves against ourselves — a nearly impossible situation, of course. We expect our motives to be selfish because we have been told that they are, and so when we catch oneself with unkind motives we are almost comforted, because we think that at least we are behaving normally.

When we find oneself with good motives, we distrust them. “Surely,” we think, “beneath this seeming altruism, there must indeed be some nefarious, or at best selfish, motives that escape me.” As a people we are always examining our impulses, and yet we rarely examine the fruits of our intellects.

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It may seem that impulsive actions run rampant in society, in cultish behavior, for example, or in the behavior of criminals, or on the part of youth, but such activities show instead the power of impulses denied their natural expression, intensified and focused on the one hand into highly ritualized patterns of behavior, and in other areas denied expression.

A particular idealist believes that the world is headed for disaster, and that is powerless to prevent it. Having denied his or her impulses, believing them wrong, and having impeded his/her expression of his/her own power to affect others, he/she might, for example, “hear the voice of God.” That voice might tell him or her to commit any of a number of nefarious actions — to assassinate the enemies that stand in the way of his/her great ideal — and it might seem to him and to others that he/she has a natural impulse to kill, and indeed an inner decree from God to do so.

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According to conditions, such a person could be a member of a small cult of the head of a nation, a criminal or a national hero, who claims to act with the authority of God. Again, the desire and motivation to act is so strong with each person that it will not be denied, and when it is denied then it can be expressed in a perverted form. Man and woman must not only act, but he must act constructively, and he or she must feel that he or she acts for good ends.

Only when the natural impulse is denied consistently does the idealist turn into a fanatic. Each person in his or her own way is an idealist.

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Power is natural. It is the force, the power of the muscle to move, or the eye to see, of the mind to think, the power of the emotions — these represent true power, and no accumulation of wealth or acclaim can substitute for that natural sense of power if it is lacking. Power always rests with the individual, and from the individual all political power must flow.

A democracy is a highly interesting form of government, highly significant because it demands so much of individual consciousness, and because it must rest primarily upon a belief in the powers of the individual. It is a tribute to that belief that it has lingered in our country, and operated with such vitality in the face of quite opposing beliefs officially held by both science and religion.

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The idea [of democracy] expresses the existence of a high idealism — one that demands political and social organizations that are effective to some degree in providing some practical expression of those ideals. When those organizations fail and a gulf between idealism and actualized good becomes too great, then such conditions help turn some idealists into fanatics. Those who follow with great strictness the dictates of either science or religion can switch sides in a moment. The scientist begins tipping tables or whatever, and suddenly disgusted by the limits of scientific knowledge, he/she turns all of his/her dedication to what he/she thinks of as its opposite, or pure intuitive knowledge. Thus, he/she blocks his/her reason as fanatically as earlier he/she blocked his/her intuitions. The businessmen or businesswoman who believed in Darwinian principles and the fight for survival, who justified injustice and perhaps thievery to his/her ideal of surviving in a competitive world — she/she suddenly turns into a fundamentalist in religious terms, trying to gain his/her sense of power now, perhaps, by giving away the wealth he/she has amassed, all in a tangled attempt to express a natural idealism in a practical world.

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How can we trust our impulses when we read, for example, that a man or woman commits a murder because he/she has a strong impulse to do so, or because the voice of God commanded it? If some of us followed our impulses right now, for example — our first natural ones — it might seem they would be cruel or destructive.

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How do our impulses affect our future experience, and help form the practical world of mass reality?

 

 

 

Paranoid views are not based on mass fact

No one is as fanatical, and no one can be more cruel, than the self-righteous. It is very easy for such persons “to become [religiously] converted” after paranoid episodes, lining themselves up once more on the side of good, searching for “the power of fellowship,” turning to church rather than government, hearing in one way or another the voice of God.

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So how can the well-meaning idealist know whether or not his good intent will lead to some actualization? How can he know, or how can she know, whether or not this good intent night in fact lead to disastrous conditions? When does the idealist turn into a fanatic?

Look at it this way; If someone tells us that pleasure is wrong and tolerance is weakness, and that we must follow this or that dogma blindly in obedience, and if we are told this is the only right road toward the idealized good, then most likely we are dealing with a fanatic. If we are told to kill for the sake of peace, we are dealing with someone who does not understand peace or justice. If we are told to give up our free will, we are dealing with a fanatic.

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Both men and women and molecules dwell in a field of probabilities, and their paths are not determined. The vast reality of probabilities makes the existence of free will possible. If probabilities did not exist, and if we were not to some degree aware of probable actions and events, not only could we not choose between them, but we would not of course have any feelings of choice. We would be unaware of the entire issue.

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Through our mundane conscious choices, we affect all of the events of our world, so that the mass world is the result of multitudinous individual choices. We could not make choices at all if we did not feel impulses to do this or that, so that choices usually involve us in making decisions between various impulses. Impulses are urges toward action. Some are conscious and some are not. Each cell of our body feels the impulse toward action, response, and communication. We have been taught not to trust our impulses. Impulses in children teach them to develop their muscles and minds [each] in their own unique manner. And as we will see, those impulses of a private nature are nevertheless also based upon the greater situation of the species and the planet, so that “ideally” the fulfillment of the individual would automatically lead to the better good of the species.

We use a vocabulary that automatically scales down greater concepts to fit its rigors

In other words, such attempts further compound the problem of considering a seemingly objective universe, and describing it in an objective fashion.

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The universe is a spiritual or mental or psychological manifestation, and not, in our usual vocabulary, and objective manifestation.

There is presently no science, religion, or psychology that comes close to even approaching a conceptual framework that could explain, or even indirectly describe, the dimensions of that kind of universe.Its properties are psychological, following the logic of the psyche, and all of the physical properties that we understand are reflections of those deeper issues. Again, each atom and molecule — and any particle that we can imagine — possesses, and would possess, a consciousness. Unless we accept that statement at least as a theory upon which to build, then much of my material would appear meaningless.

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That statement, therefore, must be the basis for any scientific theories that hope to accomplish any performances at all leading to an acquisition of knowledge.

Since I must use an objective vocabulary I am always seeking for analogies. By objective I refer to the use of language, the English language, that automatically sets up its own screens of perception — as of course any language must do to some extent.

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The universe expands, as an idea expands; and as sentences are built upon words, in our terms, and paragraphs upon sentences, and as each retains its own logic and continuity and evidence within that framework, so do all the portions of the universe appear to us with the same cohesiveness — meaning continuity and order. Any sentence is meaningful. It seems to fall in order by itself as we say it. Its order is obvious. That one sentence is meaningful because of its organization of letters, or if it is spoken, its organization of vowels and syllables. It make sense, however, not only because of the letters or vowels or syllables that it excludes.

The same applies to our universe. It has meaning,coherence and order not only because of those realities that are obvious to us, and that appear, but also because of those inner realities that are “unspoken,” or hidden. I am not speaking merely of hidden variables, in scientific terms, nor am I saying that the universe is an illusion, but a psychological reality in which “objectivity” is the result of psychological creativity.

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It is not just that our view of reality is relative to our position within the universe, but that the universe itself is different according to our position within it, and that spiritual or psychological rule apply. The universe deals with different kinds of order, perceptions, and organizations, each dependent upon the others, yet each separate in its own domain.

In our realm of reality, there is no real freedom but the freedom of ideas, and there is no real bondage except for the bondage of ideas, for our ideas form our private and mass reality. We want to examine the universe from the outside, to examine our societies from the outside. We still think that the interior world is somehow symbolic and the exterior world is real — that wars, for example, are fought by themselves or with bombs. All of the time, the psychological reality is the primary one, that forms all of our events.

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It is not to say that we cannot understand the nature of the universe to some extent, but the answers lie in the natures of our own minds, in the processes of individual creativity, in studies that ask questions like: “Where did this thought come from? Where does it go? What effect does it have upon oneself or others? How do I know how to dream, when I have never been taught to do so? How do I speak without understanding the mechanisms? Why do I feel that I have an eternal reality, when it is obvious that I was physically born and will physically die?”

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Unscientific questions? I tell you that these are the most scientific of all. To some extent the attempt on the part of science to consider such material may possibly bring about those qualities of true scientific intuition that will help science bridge the gap between such divergent views as its own and ours

 

 

Fanatics believe they are powerless

The fanatic does not trust his/her own self-structure, or his ability to act effectively. Joint action seems the only course, but a joint action in which each individual must actually be forced to act, driven by frenzy, or fear or hatred, incensed and provoked, for otherwise the fanatic fears that no action at all will be taken toward “the ideal.”

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Through such methods, and through such group hysteria, the responsibility for separate acts is divorced from the individual, and rests instead upon the group, where it becomes generalized and dispersed. The cause, whatever it is, can then cover any number of crimes, and no particular individual need bear the blame alone. Fanatics have tunnel vision, so that any beliefs not fitting their purposes are ignored. Those that challenge their own purposes, however, become instant targets of scorn and attack. Generally speaking in our society, power is considered a male attribute. Cult leaders are more often male than female, and females are more often than not followers, because they have been taught that it is wrong for them to use power, and right for them to follow the powerful.

We have religious and scientific cults, and the male-oriented scientific community uses its power in the same way that the male Jehovah used his power in a different arena, to protect his friends and destroy his enemies. Some of our sexual beliefs affect our behavior.

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The male scientist considers the rocket his private symbol of sexual power. He feels he has the prerogative to use power in any way he chooses. Now many scientists are “idealists.” They believe that their search for answers, however, justifies almost any means, or sacrifices, not only on their parts but on the parts of others. They becomes fanatics when they ignore the rights of others, and when they defile life in a misguided attempt to understand it.

Women make a grave error when they try to prove their “equality” with men by showing that they can enter the armed forces, or go into combat as well as any man. War always makes us less as a species than we could be. Women have shown uncommon good sense in not going to war, and uncommon bad sense by sending their sons and lovers to war. To kill for the sake of peace only makes us better killers, and nothing will change that. In any war, both sides are fanatical to the extent that they are involved. I am quite aware that often was seems to be our only practical course, because of the set of beliefs, war will seem to have some practical value — a value which is highly deceptive, and quite false.

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Fanatics always use ringing rhetoric, and speak in the highest terms of truth, good and evil, and particularly of retribution. To some extent capital punishment is the act of a fanatical society: The taking of the murderer’s life does not bring back the victim’s, and it does not prevent other men from [committing] such crimes. I am aware that the death penalty often seems to be practical solution — and indeed many murderers want to die, and are caught because of their need for punishment. Many, now — and I am speaking generally — are in the position they are because they so thoroughly believe what all of us believe to a large extent: that we are flawed creatures, spawned by a meaningless universe, or made by a vengeful God and damaged by original sin.

Criminals act out those beliefs to perfection. Their “tendencies” are those that each of us fears we possess. Science and religion each tell us that left alone we will spontaneously be primitive creatures, filled with uncontrolled lust and avarice. Both Freud and Jehovah gave us that massage. Poor Darwin tried to make sense of it all, but failed miserably.

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Fanatics cannot stand tolerance. They expect obedience. A democratic society offers the greatest challenges and possibilities of achievement for the individual and the species, for it allows for the free intercourse of ideas. It demands much more of its people, however, for in a large manner each must pick and choose from amid a variety of life-styles and beliefs his and her own platform for daily life and action.

There are periods in which it certainly seems to some that all standards vanish, and so they yearn for old authorities. And there are always fanatics there to stand for ultimate truth, and to lift from the individual the challenge and “burden” of personal achievement and responsibility. Individuals can survive without organizations. Organizations cannot survive without individuals, and the most effective organizations are assemblies of individuals who assert their own private power in a group, and do not seek to hide within it.

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Organized action is an excellent method of exerting influence, but only when each member is self-activating; only when he or she extends individuality through group action, and does not mindlessly seek to follow the dictates of others.

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Fanatics exist because of the great gap between an idealized good is projected into the future, while its exaggerated opposite is seen to pervade the present. The individual is seen as powerless to work alone toward that ideal with any sureness of success. Because of his/her powerlessness [the fanatic] feels that any means to an end is justified. Behind all this the belief that spontaneously the ideal will never be achieved, and that, indeed, on his/her  own man and woman are getting worse and worse in every aspect: How can flawed selves ever hope to spontaneously achieve any good?

Creativity has feminine connotations in our society

While the power has masculine connotations, and is largely thought of as destructive.

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Our scientists are, generally now, intellectually , believing in reason above the intuitions, taking if for granted that those qualities are opposites. They cannot imagine life’s “initial” creative source, for in their terms it would remind them of creativity’s feminine basis.

In the framework of this discussion only we have a male’s and female’s universe. It is a universe endowed with male and female characteristics as these appear in the male-female orientations of our history. The universe seems to have no meaning because the male and female “intellect” alone cannot discern meaning, since it must take nothing for granted. Even though certain characteristics of the universe are most apparent, they must be ignored.

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We must understand, that the terms “male” and “female” here are being used as they are generally understood, and have nothing to do with the basic characteristics of either sex. In those terms, the male-oriented intellect wants to order the universe, name its parts, and so forth. It wants to ignore the creative aspects of the universe, however, which are everywhere apparent, and it first of all believes that it must divorce itself from any evidence of feeling. We have in our history than a male god of power and vengeance, who killed our enemies for us. We have a prejudiced god, who will, for example, slay the Egyptians and half of the Jews to retaliate against previous Egyptian cruelty. The male god is a god of power. He is not a god of creativity.

Now, creativity has always been the species’ closet connection with its own source, with the nature of its own being. Through creativity the species senses All That Is. Creativity goes by a different set of rules, however. It is a sources of revelation and inspiration — yet initially revelation and inspiration do not deal with power, but with knowing. So what often happens in our society when men an women have creative bents, and good minds to boot?

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The Catholic Church taught that revelation was dangerous. Intellectual and psychic obedience was much the safer road, and even the saints were slightly suspect. Women were inferiors, and in matters of religion and philosophy most of all, for there their creativity could be most disruptive. Women were considered hysterics, aliens to the world of intellectual thought, swayed instead by incomprehensible womanish emotions. Women were to be handled by wearing down their energies through childbirth.

The trance itself has feminine connotations, though we conveniently forget {several excellent male mediums].

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The art the old masters escaped such connotations, largely because it involved so much physical labor — the making of colors, canvases, and so forth. That work, providing the artist’s preparation, now belongs to the male-world manufacturer, so as a male in our society the artist is often left with what he thinks of as art’s feminine basis, where it must be confronted, of course.

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I want to make it plain that such ideas are rampant in society, and are at the basis of many personal and national problems. They are behind large issues, involved in the Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant nuclear fiasco, for example, and in the scientist’s idea of power and creation. Some of us, highly creative, find our creativity in conflict with our ideas of sexuality, privately and in our stances with the world. Much of this is involved with the unfortunate myths about the creative person, who is not supposed to be able to deal with the world as well as others, whose idiosyncrasies are exaggerated, and whose very creativity, it is sometimes said, leads to suicide or depression. No wonder few numbers of creative people persist in the face of such unfortunate beliefs!

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We run into many contradictions. God is supposed to be male. The soul is sometimes considered female. The angels are male. Now let us look at the Garden of Eden. The story says that Eve tempted the male, having him eat of the tree of good and evil, or the tree of knowledge. This represented a state of consciousness, the point at which the species began to think and feel for itself, when it approached a certain state of consciousness in which it dared exert its own creativity.

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This is difficult to verbalize. It was a state when the species became aware of its own thoughts as its own thoughts, and became conscious of the self who thinks. That point released man’s and woman’s creativity. In our terms, it was the product of the feminine intuitions (thought, as we know, such intuitions belong to bothsexes). When the [Biblical} passages were written, the species had come to various states of order, achieving certain powers and organizations, and it wanted to maintain the status quo. No more intuitive visions, no more changes, were wanted. Creativity was to follow certain definite roads, so the woman became the villain.

 

Is “good” an absolute?

When discussing the nature of good and bad, we are on tricky ground indeed, for many — or most — of man’s and woman’s atrocities to man and woman have been committed in misguided pursuit of “the good.”

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Whose good? In our arena of events, obviously, one man’s and woman’s good can be another’s disaster. Adolf Hitler pursued his version of “the good” with undeviating fanatical intent He believed in the superiority and moral rectitude of the Aryan race. In his grandiose, idealized versions of reality, he saw that race “set in its proper place,” as natural master of humankind.

He believed in heroic characteristics, and became blinded by an idealized superman version of an Aryan strong in mind and body. To attain that end, Hitler was quite willing to sacrifice the rest of humanity. “The evil must be plucked out.” That unfortunate chant is behind the beliefs of many cults — scientific and religious — and Hitler’s Aryan kingdom was a curious interlocking of the worst aspect of religion and science alike, in which their cultish tendencies were encouraged and abetted.

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The political arena was the practical working realm in which those ideals were to find fruition. Hitler’s idea of good was hardly inclusive, therefore, and any actions, however atrocious, were justified.

How did Hitler’s initially wishy-washy undefined ideals of nationalistic goodness turn into such a world catastrophe? Hitler’s daydreams became more and more grandiose, and in their light, the plight of his country seemed worsened with each day’s events. He counter its humiliations over and over in his mind, until his mind became an almost completely closed environment, in which only certain ideas were allowed entry.

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All that was not Aryan, really , became the enemy. The Jews took the brunt ,largely because of their financial successes and their cohesiveness, their devotion to a culture that was not basically Aryan. They would become the victims of Hitler’s fanatical ideal of Germany’s good.

Hitler preached on the great value of social action as opposed to individual action. He turned children into informers against their own parents. He behaved nationalistically, as any minor cult leader does in a smaller context. The Jews believed in martyrdom. Germany became the new Egypt, in which their people were set upon. I do not want to simplify here, and certainly I am nowhere justifying the cruelties the Jews encountered in Germany. We do each create our own reality, however, and en masse we create the realities of our nationalities and our countries — so at that time the Germans saw themselves as victors, and the Jews saw themselves as victims.

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Both reacted as groups, rather than as individuals, generally speaking now. For all of their idealism, both basically believed in a pessimistic view of the self. It was because Hitler was so convinced of the existence of evil in the individual psyche, that he set up all of his existence of evil in the in the individual psyche, that set up all of his rules and regulations to build up and preserve “Aryan purity.” The Jews’ idea was also a dark one, in which their own rules and regulations were set to preserve the soul’s purity against the forces of evil. And while in the Jewish books [of  The Old Testament} Jehovah now and then came through with great majesty to save his chosen people, he also allowed them to suffer great indignities over long periods of time, seeming to save them only at the last moment — and this time, seemed, he did not sane them at all. What happened?

Despite himself, and despite his followers, Hitler brought to flower a very important idea, and one that changed our history. All of the most morbid of nationalistic fantasies that had been growing for centuries, all of the most grandiose celebrations of war as a nation’s inalienable right to seek domination, focused finally in Hitler’s Germany.

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The nation served as an example of what could happen in any country if the most fanatical nationalism was allowed to go unchecked, if the ideas of right were aligned with might, if any nation was justified in contemplating the destruction of others.

We must realize that Hitler believed that any atrocity was justified in the light of what he thought of as the greater good. To some extent or another, many of the ideals he held and advocated had long been accepted in world communities, though they had not been acted upon with such dispatch. The nations of the world saw their own worst tendencies personified in Hitler’s Germany, ready to attack them. The Jews, for various reasons — and again, this is not the full story — the Jews acted as all of the victims of the world, both the Germans and the Jews basically agreeing upon “man’s nefarious nature.” For the first time the modern world realized its vulnerability to political events, and technology and communication accelerated all of war’s dangers. Hitler brought many of man’s and woman’s most infamous tendencies to the surface. For the first time species the  species understood that might alone did not mean right, and that in larger terms a world war could have no real victors. Hitler might well have exploded the world’s first atomic bomb.

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In a strange fashion, however, Hitler knew that he was doomed from the very beginning, and so did Germany as far as Hitler’s hopes for it were concerned. He yearned for destructions of his earlier ideals. This meant that he often sabotaged his own efforts, and several important Allied victories were the result of such sabotaging. In the same way, Germany did not have the [atomic] bomb for the same reasons.

Now, however, we come to Hiroshima, where this highly destructive bomb was exploded (on August 6, 1945) — and for what reason? To save life, to save American lives. The intent to save American lives was certainly “good” — at the expense of the Japanese this time. In that regard, America’s good was not Japan’s, and an act taken to “save life” was also designed to take individual lives.

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At what expense is “the good” to be achieved — and whose idea of the good is to be the criterion? Man’s and woman’s pursuit of the good, to some extent now, fathered the Inquisition and the Salem witch hunts. Politically, many today believe that Russia/Iran is “the enemy,” and that therefore any means may be taken to destroy that country. Some people within the United States believe fervently that “the establishment” is rotten to the core, and that any means is justified to destroy it. Some people believe that homosexuals and lesbians are “evil,” that somehow they lack the true qualities of humanness [and therefore need not be treated with normal respect]. These are all value judgements involving our ideas of the good.

Very few people start out trying to be as bad as possible. Al least some criminals feel that in stealing they are simply righting society’s wrongs. I am not saying that is their only motive, but in one way or another they manage to justify their activities by seeing them in their own version of the good and the right.

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We must realize that fanatics always deal with grandiose ideals, while at the same time they believe in man’s and woman’s sinful nature, and the individual’s lack of power. They cannot trust the expression of the self, for they are convinced of its duplicity. Their ideals then seem even more remote. Fanatics call others to social action. Since they do not believe that the individual is ever effective, their groups are not assemblies of private individuals come reasonably together, pooling individual resources. They are instead congregations of people who are afraid to assert their individuality, who hope to find it in the group, or hope to establish a joint individuality — and that is an impossibility.

True individuals can do much through social action, and the species is a social one, but people who are afraid of their individuality will never find it in a group, but only a caricature of their own powerlessness.

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Hitler’s espousal of a German-Aryan superrace is an excellent example of how a leader can subvert history to his own ends. Anthropologists do not assign any validity to “Aryan” as a racial term. In Nazi eyes, Aryans were the non-Jewish, Caucasian, “Nordic” descendants of the prehistoric peoples who originally spoke the hypothetical parent language of the Indo-European language family. The Aryans flooded into India, the Middle East, and Europe from southern Russia and Turkestan. Hitler idealized their waves of conquest in his own racist philosophy, attempting to trace German origins back to Aryan ancestors.

 

 

 

The many forms of idealism

Sometimes it is difficult to identify idealists, because they wear such pessimistic clothing that all we can see are the patterns of a sardonic nature, or of irony. On the other hand, many who speak most glowingly, in the most idealistic fashions, underneath are filled with the darkest aspects of pessimism and despair. If we are idealists, and if we feel relatively powerless in the world at the same time, and if our idealism is general and grandiose, unrelated to any practical plans for its expression, then we can find ourselves in difficulties indeed. Here are a few specific examples of what I mean.

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One man from another part of the country, begins to speak about the state of the nation, largely condemning all of his countrymen and women for their greed and stupidity. People would do anything at all for money, he said. He expresses his opinion that the species itself would almost inevitably bring about its own destruction.

He cites many instances of nefarious acts committed for money’s sake. A lively discussion results, but no countering opinion could enter this man’s mind. Paul, let us call him, is an idealist at heart, but he believes that the individual has little has little power in the world, and so he did not pursue his personal idealism in the events of his own life. “Everyone is a slave to the system.” That is his line of belief. He took a routine job in a local business and stayed with it for over 20 years, all of the time hating to go to work, or saying that he did, and at the same time refusing to try other areas of activity that were open to him — because he was afraid to try.

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He feels he has betrayed himself, and he projects that betrayal outward until betrayal is all that he sees in the social-political world. Had he begun the work of actualizing his ideals through his own private life, he would not be in such a situation. The expression of ideals brings about satisfaction, which then of course promotes the further expression of practical idealism.

Paul speaks the same way in any social group, and therefore to extent spreads a negative and despairing aura. I do not want to define his existence by those attitudes alone, however, for when he forgets the great gulf between his idealism and practical life, and speaks about other activities, then he is full of charming energy. That energy could have sustained him far more than it has, however, had he counted on his natural interests and chosen one of those for his life’s work. He could have been an excellent teacher. He had offers of other jobs that would have pleased him more, but he is so convinced of his lack of power that he did not dare take advantage of the opportunities. There are satisfactions in his life that prevent him from narrowing his focus even further.

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If we want to change the world for the better, then we are an idealist. If we want to change the world for the better, but we believe it cannot be changed one whit, then we are a pessimist, and our idealism will only haunt us. If we want to change the world for the better, but we believe that it will grow worse, despite everyone’s efforts, then we are a truly despondent, perhaps misguided idealist. If we want to change the world for the better, and if we are determined to do so, no matter at what cost to oneself or others, no matter what the risk, and if we believe that those ends justify any means at our disposal, then we are a fanatic.

Fanatics are inverted idealists. Usually they are vague grandiose dreamers, whose plans almost completely ignore the full dimensions of normal living. They are unfulfilled idealists who are not content to express idealism in steps, one at a time, or indeed to wait for the practical workings of active expression. They demand immediate action. they want to make the world over in their own images. They cannot bear the expression of tolerance or opposing ideas. They are the most self-righteous of the self-righteous, and they will sacrifice almost anything — their own lives of the lives of others. They will justify almost any crime for the pursuit of those ends.

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Another example: Two young women. They are exuberant, energetic, and filled with youthful idealism. They want to change the world. Working with the Ouija board, they received messages telling them that they could indeed have a part in a great mission. One young lady wants to quit her job, stay at home, and immerse herself in “psychic work,” hoping that her part in changing the world could be accomplished in that manner. The other is an office worker.

There is nothing more stimulating, more worthy of actualization, than the desire to change the world for the better. That is indeed each person’s mission. We begin by working in that area of activity that is our own unique one, with our own life and activities. We begin in the corner of an office, or on the assembly line, or in the advertising agency, or in the kitchen. We begin where we are.

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If Paul, mentioned earlier, had begun where he was, he would be a different, happier, more fulfilled person today. And to some extent or other, his effect on all the other people he has met would have been far more beneficial.

When we fulfill our own abilities, when we express our personal idealism through acting it out to the best of our ability in our daily life, then we are changing the world for the better.

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My friend Sophia has abilities , and she is banking on them, developing them in a practical way. She believes that she forms her own reality. She quenched doubts that she was not good enough to succeed, or that it was too difficult to get ahead in the fitness business. The satisfaction of performance leads her to more expansive creativity, and to her natural sense of personal power. Through developing those abilities personally, she will contribute to the enjoyment of others. She is an idealist. She will try to bring a greater sense of values to the fitness/health industry, for example, and she is willing to do the work necessary.

Youth is full of strength, however, so she find a way to give her own abilities greater expression, and hence to increase her own sense of power. Tho sometimes she is dealing with dark periods of despair.

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Idealism also presupposes “the good” as opposed to “the bad,” so how can the pursuit of “the good” often lead to the expression of “the bad?”  For that we will have to look further.

There is one commandment above all, in practical terms — a Christian commandment that can be used as a yardstick. It is good because it is something we can understand practically: “Thou shalt not kill.” That is clear enough. Under most conditions we know when we have killed. That Commandment is a much better road to follow, for example than: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” for many of us do not love ourselves to begin with, and can scarcely love our neighbor as well. The idea is that is we love our neighbor we will not treat him/her poorly, much less kill him/her — but the commandment: “Thou shalt not kill,” says we shall not kill our neighbor no matter how we feel about him/her. So let us say in a new commandment: “Thou shalt not kill even in the pursuit of our ideals.”

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What does that mean? In practical terms it would mean that we would not wage war for the sake of peace. It would mean that we did not kill animals in experiments, taking their lives in order to protect the sacredness of human life. That would be a prime directive: “Thou shalt not kill even in the pursuit of our ideals” — for man and woman has killed for the sake of his/her ideals as much as he/she ever killed for greed, or lust, or even the pursuit of power on its own merits.

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We are a fanatic of we consider possible killing for the pursuit of our ideal. For example, our ideal may be — for ideals differ — the production of endless energy for the uses of mankind and womankind, and we may believe so fervently in that ideal — this added convenience to life — that we considered the hypothetical possibility of that convenience being achieved at the risk of losing some lives along the way, that is fanaticism.

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It means that we are not willing to take the actual steps in physical reality to achieve the ideal, but that we believe that the end justifies the means: “Certainly some lives may be lost along the way, but overall, mankind and womankind will benefit.” That is the usual argument. The sacredness of life cannot be sacrificed for life’s convenience, or the quality of life itself will suffer. In the same manner, say, the ideal is to protect human life, and in the pursuit of that ideal we give generations of various animals deadly diseases, and sacrifice their lives. Our justification may be that people have souls and animals do not, or that the quality of life is less in the animals, but regardless of those arguments this is fanaticism — and the quality of human life itself suffers as a result, for those who sacrifice any kind of life along the way lose some respect for all life, human life included. The ends do not justify the means.

The American experiment with democracy is heroic, bold, and innovative

In historic terms as we understand them, this is the first time that all of the inhabitants of a country were to be legally considered equal citizens one with the other. That was to be, and is, the ideal. In practical terms, of course, there often are inequalities. Treatment in the marketplace, or in society, often shows great divergence from that stated national ideal. Yet the dream is a vital portion of American national life, and even those who are unscrupulous must pay it at least lip service, or cast their plans in its light.

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In the past, and in large areas of the world now, many important decisions are not made by the individual, but by the state, or religion, or society. In this century several issues came to the forefront of American culture: the exteriorization of organized religion, which became more of a social rather than a spiritual entity, and joining of science with technology and moneyed interests. William James’ books would be good background material here, particularly the sections dealing with democracy and spiritualism. In any case, on the one hand each individual was to be equal with each other person. marriages, for example, were no longer arranged. A man no longer need follow his father’s vocational footsteps. Young adults found themselves faced with a multitudinous number of personal decisions that in other cultures were made more or less automatically. The development of transportation opened up the country, so that an individual was no longer bound to his or her native town or region. All of this meant that man’s and woman’s conscious mind was about to expand its strengths, its abilities, and its reach. The country was — and still is — brimming with idealism.

That idealism, however, ran smack into the dark clouds of Freudian and Darwinian thought. How could a country be governed effectively by individuals who were after all chemicals run amok in images, with neuroticism built-in from childhood — children of a tainted species, thrown adrift by a meaningless cosmos in which no meaning could be found?

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Organized religion felt threatened; and if it could not prove that man had a soul, it could at least see to it that the needs of the body were taken care of through suitable social work, and so it abandoned many of the principles that might have added to its strength. Instead it settled for platitudes that equated cleanliness with virtue — hence, or course, our deodorant advertisements, and many other aspects of the marketplace.

In public mind, it made little difference whether the devil or tainted genes condemned the individual to a life in which it seemed he/she could have little control. He or she began to feel powerless. He/she began to feel that social action itself was of little value, for if man’s or woman’s evil were built-in, for whatever reasons, then where was there any hope?

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There was some hope, at least, in looking for better living conditions personally. There was some hope in forgetting one’s doubts in whatever exterior distractions could be found. Idealism is tough, and it is enduring, and no matter how many times its is seemingly slain, it comes back in a different form. So those who felt that religion had failed them looked anew to science, which promised — promised to — provide the closest approximation to heaven on earth: mass production of goods, two cars in every garage, potions for every ailment, solutions for every problem. And it seemes in the beginning that science delivered, for the world was changed from candlelight to electric light to neon in the flicker of an eye, and man and woman could travel in hours distances that to his father or grandfather took days on end.

And while science provided newer and newer comforts and conveniences, few questions were asked. There was, however, no doubt about it: Exterior conditions had improved, yet the individual did not seem any happier. By this time it was apparent that the discoveries of science could also have a darker side. Life’s exterior conveniences would hardly matter if science’s knowledge was used to undermine the very foundations of life itself.

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The various potions taken faithfully by the public were now often found to have very unfortunate side effects. The chemicals used to protect agriculture had harmful effects upon people. Such situations bothered the individual far more than the threat of nuclear disaster, for they involved his contact with daily life: the products that he/she bought, the medicines that he/she took.

Some people looked, and are looking, for some authority –any authority — to make their decisions for them, for the world seems increasingly dangerous, and they, because of their beliefs, feel increasingly powerless. They yearn toward old ways, when the decisions of marriage were made for them, when they could safely follow in their father’s or mother’s footsteps, when they were unaware of the lure of different places, and forced to remain at home. They have become caught between science and religion. Their idealism finds no particular outlet. their dreams seem betrayed.

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Those people look to cults of various kinds, where decisions are made for them, where they are relieved of the burden of an individuality that has been robbed of its sense of power by conflicting beliefs. At one time the males might have been drafted into the army, and, secretly exultant, gone looking for the period before full adulthood — where decisions would be made for them, where they could mark time, and where those who were not fully committed to life could leave it with a sense of honor and dignity.

In the past also, even in our country, there were convents and monasteries for those who did not want to live in the world as other people did. They might pursue other goals, but the decisions of where to live, what to do, where to go, how to live, would be made for them. Usually such people were joined by common interests, a sense of honor, and there was no retaliation to be feared in this century.

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Cults, however, deal primarily with fear, using it as a stimulus. They further erode the power of the individual, so that he is frightened to leave. The group has power. The individual has none, except that the power of the group is vested in its leader. Those who died in Guyana, for example, were suicidally inclined. They had no cause to live for, because their idealism became so separated from any particular actualization that they were left only with its ashes.

The leader of Jonestown was at heart an idealist. When does an idealist turn into a fanatic? When can the search for the good have catastrophic results, and how can the idealism of science be equated with the near-disaster at Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant, and with the potential disasters that in our terms exist in the storage of nuclear wastes, or in the production of nuclear bombs?

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People who live in tornado country carry the reality of a tornado in their minds and hearts as a psychological background.

To one extent or another, all of the vents of their lives happen punctuated or accented by the possibility of disaster. They feel that at any time they might be caused to face the greatest challenge, to rely upon their strongest resources, their greatest forbearance, and faced by a test of endurance. They use — or they often use — such a psychological and physical backdrop to keep those qualities alive within themselves, for they are the kind of people who like to feel pitted against a challenge. Often the existence of probabilities and their acceptance does provide a kind of exterior crisis situation that individually and en masse is a symbol of independence and inner crisis. The crisis is met i the exterior situation, and as the people deal with that situation they symbolically deal with their own inner crises. In a way those people trust such exterior confrontations, and even count upon a series of them, of varying degrees of severity, that can be used throughout a lifetime for such purposes.

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Those who survive feel that they have been given a new lease on life, regardless of their circumstances: They could have been killed and were not. Others use the same circumstances as excuses for no longer hanging on to a wish for life, and so it seems that while saving face they fall prey to the exterior circumstances.

 

 

 

Psychological Fallout

Characteristics of a cult; There are fanaticism, a closed mental environment, the rousing of hopes toward an ideal that seemed unachievable because of the concentration upon all of the barriers that seemed to stand in its way.

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Most cults have their own specialized language of one kind of another — particular phrases used repetitively — and this special language further serves to divorce the devotees from the rest of the world. This practice was also followed by those at Jonestown. Loyalty to friends and family was discouraged, and so those in Jonestown had left strong bonds of intimacy behind. They felt threatened by the world, which was painted by their beliefs so that it presented a picture of unmitigated evil and corruption. All of this should be fairly well recognized. The situation led to the deaths of hundreds.

The Fukushima Daini Nuclear Power Plant situation potentially threatened the lives of many thousands, and in that circle of events the characteristics of a cult are less easy to discern. Yet they are present. We have scientific cults as well as religious ones.

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Religion and science both loudly proclaim their search for truth, although they are seemingly involved in completely opposing systems. They both treat their beliefs as truths, with which no one should tamper. They search for beginnings and endings. The scientists have their own vocabulary, which is used to reinforce the exclusive nature of science. Now I am speaking of the body of science in general terms here, for here is in a way a body of science that exists as a result of each individual scientist’s participation. A given scientist man act quite differently in his family life and as a scientist. He/she may love his/her family dog, for example, while at the same time think nothing of injecting other animals with diseased tissue in his/her professional capacity.

Granting that, however, cults interact, and so there is quite a relationship between the state of religion, when it operates as a cult, and the state of science when it operates as a cult. Right now our cultish religions exist in response to the cultish behavior of science. Science insists it does not deal with values, but leaves those to philosophers. In stating that the universe is an accidental creation, however, a meaning less chance conglomeration formed by an unfeeling cosmos, it states quite clearly its belief that the universe and man’s existence has no value. All that remains is what pleasure or accomplishment can somehow be wrested from man’s individual biological processes.

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A recent article in a national magazine speaks about the latest direction of progress in the field of psychology, saying that man and woman will realize that his/her moods, thoughts, and feelings are the result of the melody of chemicals that swirl in his/her brain. That statement devalues man’s and woman’s subjective world.

The scientists claim a great idealism. They claim to have the way toward truth. Their “truth” is to be found by studying the objective world, the world of objects, including animals and stars, galaxies and mice — but by viewing these objects as if they are themselves without intrinsic value, as if their existence have no meaning.

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Now those beliefs separate man and woman from his/her own nature. He/she cannot trust oneself — for who can rely upon the accidental bubblings of hormones and chemicals that somehow form a stew called consciousness — an unsavory brew at best, so the field of science will forever escape opening up into any great vision of the meaning of life. It cannot value life, and so in its search for the ideal it can indeed justify in its philosophy the possibility of an accident that might kill many many people through direct or indirect means, and kill the unborn as well.

That possibility is indeed written in the scientific program. There are plans, though faulty ones,of procedures to be taken in case of accident — so in our world that probability exists, and is not secret. As a group the scientists rigorously oppose the existence of telepathy or clairvoyance, or of any philosophy that brings these into focus. Only lately have some begun to think in terms of mind affecting matter, and even such a possibility disturbs them profoundly, because it shatters the foundations of their philosophical stance.

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The scientists have long stood on the side of “intelligence and reason,” logical thought, and objectivity. They are trained to be unemotional, to stand apart from their experience, to separate themselves from nature, and to view any emotional characteristics of their own with an ironical eye. Again, they have stated that they are neutral in the world of values. They became, until recently, the new priests. All problems, it seems, could be solved scientifically. This applied to every avenue of life: to health matters, social disorders, economics, even to war and peace.

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How did such scientific gentlemen and gentlewomen, with all of their precise paraphernalia, with all of their objective and reasonable viewpoints, end up with a nuclear plant that ran askew, that threatened present and future life? And what about the people who love nearby?

 

Man/woman deals with a kind of dual selfhood

In that he’s/she’s presently thinks of himself as an uneasy blend of body and mind. He/she identifies primarily with what I call a limited portion of his/her consciousness. That portion he equates with mind or intelligence. He/she identifies with events over which he/she is aware of having some control.

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Man/woman thinks of acts, for example, and acting and doing, but he does not identify himself or herself with these inner processes that make acting and doing possible. He/she identifies with what he thinks of as his/her logical thought, and the abilities of reasoning. These seem to suggest that he/she possesses and elegant, cool separation from nature, that the animals for example do not. He/she does not identify, with the processes that make his/her logical thinking possible. Those processes are spontaneous and ‘unconscious,’ so it appears that anything outside of his conscious control must be undisciplined or chaotic, and lacking in all logic.

Both religion and science are based upon such beliefs. Anything that happens spontaneously is looked upon with suspicion. The word seems to suggest elements out of control, or motion that goes from one extreme to another. Only the reasoning mind, it seems, has any idea of order, discipline, or control.

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Man/woman is therefore set against his/her nature in his/her own mind, and he/she thinks he/she must control it. The fact is that man’s and woman’s consciousness can indeed become aware of — aware of — those spontaneous processes. But he/she oneself has largely closed the door of comprehension, so that he only identifies with what he/she thinks of as his/her rational mind, and tries to forget as best he/she can those spontaneous processes upon which the mind rides so triumphantly

He or she has often become frightened of his or her own creativity, then, since he or her has not trusted its source.