In this article we will continue our discussion of human nature expanding the focus to encapsulate social dynamics, societal beliefs and various social structures including economics, education, technology, government, politics and law.
As Plutarch put it, “One who knows the higher truths finds the ‘serious’ values of society difficult to take seriously. Eternity is a child at play.”
Common Societal Beliefs
The following are some common societal beliefs:
The world is unsafe, and growing deadly.
The species itself is tainted by a deadly intent.
The individual has no power over his or her reality.
Society or social conditions exist as things in themselves, and that their purposes run directly counter to the fulfillment of the individual.
The end justifies the means, and that the action of any kind of good is powerless in the world.
Furthermore, you have the American belief that money will solve almost any social problem.
The middle-class way of life is the correct “democratic” one.
The difficulty between blacks and whites in particular can be erased by applying social bandages, rather than by attacking the basic beliefs behind the problem.
It shall be noted that all of these are false beliefs and damaging to the individual and the greater social structure.
The Individual & Society
“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 the joining of science with technology and moneyed interests.
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 needed to 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 conscious mind was about to expand its strengths, its abilities, and its reach.
The country was — and still is — brimming with idealism.”1
Disillusionment with Society & Money
“Many young men and women have come to adulthood in fine ranch houses in good neighborhoods.
They would seem to be at the peak of life, the product of the best America has to offer.
They never had to work for a living, perhaps.
They may have attended colleges — but they are the first to realize that such advantages do not necessarily add to the quality of life, for they are the first to arrive at such an enviable position.
The parents have worked to give their children such advantages, and the parents themselves are somewhat confused by their children’s attitudes.
The money and position, however, have often been attained as a result of the belief in man’s competitive nature — and that belief itself erodes the very prizes it produces: The fruit is bitter in the mouth.
Many of the parents believed, quite simply, that the purpose of life was to make more money.
Virtue consisted of the best car, or house or swimming pool — proof that one could survive in a tooth-and-claw world.
But the children wondered: What about those other feelings that stirred in their consciousnesses? What about those purposes they sensed?
The hearts of some of them were like vacuums, waiting to be filled.
They looked for values, but at the same time they felt that they were themselves sons and daughters of a species tainted, at loose ends, with no clear destinations.
They tried various religions, and in the light of their opinions of themselves their earlier advantages seemed only to damn them further.
They tried social programs, and found a curious sense of belonging with the disadvantaged, for they were also rootless.
It would make Americans question the nature of their society, of their religions, their politics, and their beliefs.”2
Fulfillment through a Meaningful Life
“In your society, it is generally thought that a person must have a decent livelihood, a family or other close relationships, good health, and a sense of belonging if the individual is to be at all productive, happy, or content.
Better social programming, greater job opportunities, health plans or urban projects, are often considered the means that will bring fulfillment “to the masses.
Little if anything is said about the personality’s innate need to feel that life has purpose and meaning.
Little is said about the personality’s innate desire for drama, the kind of inner spiritual drama in which an individual can feel part of a purpose that is their own, and yet is greater than their self.
There is a need within humanity to feel and express heroic impulses.
A human’s true instincts lead them spontaneously toward the desire to better the quality of their own life and that of others.
A human must see themself as a force in the world.
An individual can possess wealth and health, can enjoy satisfying relationships, and even fulfilling work, and yet live a life devoid of the kind of drama of which I speak — for unless you feel that life itself has meaning, then each life must necessarily seem meaningless, and all love and beauty end only in decay.”3
The Free Enterprise System
“In [the United States] the free enterprise system is immersed in strange origins.
It is based upon the democratic belief in each individual’s right to pursue a worthy and equitable life.
But that also [became] bound up with Darwinian ideas of the survival of the fittest, and with the belief, then, that each individual must seek his or her own good at the expense of others, and by the quite erroneous conception that all of the members of a given species are in competition with each other, and that each species is in further competition with each other species.
The “laws” of supply and demand are misconceptions based upon a quite uncomplimentary belief in man’s basic greedy nature.
In the past you treated the land in your country as if your species, being the “fittest,” had the right to survive at the expense of all other species, and at the expense of the land itself.
The ideal of the country was and is an excellent one: the right of each individual to pursue an equitable, worthy existence, with dignity.
The means, however, have helped erode that ideal, and the public interpretation of Darwin’s principles was, quite unfortunately, transferred to the economic area, and to the image of man as a political animal.”4
Assembly-Line Society & Its Impact on Creativity
“You did not know that there was a deeper, older, or richer tradition —a more ancient heritage —to which you belonged, because you found no hint of it in your society:
A society in which the entire concept of creativity is segmented, in which the creative processes are often seen as inner assembly lines leading to specific products: a society in which the very nature of creativity itself is largely ignored unless its “products” serve specific ends.
It makes little difference whether you watch the news or not —but it makes all the difference in the world what you think of world events.
Your country faces the results of its own policies—its greed as well as its good intent, but it is out in the open in a new way.
The world will be seen as one, but there may be changes in the overall tax assessments along the way, as those who have not paid much, pay more.
The results of fanaticism are also out in the open.
Never before, in your terms, has the private person been able to see a picture of the mass world in such a way, or been forced to identify with the policies of his or her government.
That in itself is a creative achievement, and means that man is not closing his eyes to the inequities of his world.”5
Wealth & Poverty
“You may believe that wealth is a result of a moral virtue, and comes from “God’s” direct benevolence.
As a result, poverty becomes evidence of a lack of morality.
“God” made so many people poor that obviously no man should dare try to change the situation – that rationale is often used.
The poor, then, following these beliefs, are looked down upon as are the diseased.
What sin did the poor person or the sick person commit? That question, often asked unconsciously – if not consciously – brings you back to beliefs in punishment that have nothing to do with the concept of natural guilt, but with those distortions placed upon it.
There is also a connection with misinterpretation of the Bible.
Christ as you think of him was simply saying that you form your own reality.
He tried to rise above the idea-systems of those times, yet even he had to use them, and so the connotations of sin and punishment distorted the message given.
Some of you will have a contradictory belief that poverty is virtuous, and that wealth is a vice and represents evidence of a spiritual lack.
This belief in your society also harks back to the Bible and Christ’s association with the poor rather than the rich.
In all such cases, however, blanket moral judgments are being applied that involve feelings of guilt in which individual experience is forgotten.”6
“Wealth is Everything”
“Wealth is everything.” Now this idea is far from a truth.
“The person who accepts it completely, though, will be wealthy and in excellent health, and everything will fit in quite well with his beliefs.
Yet the idea is still a belief about reality, and so there will be invisible gulfs in his experience of which he is ignorant.
On the outside the situation will look most advantageous, and while the person seems quite content, beneath there will be the gnawing knowledge of incompletion. On the surface there will be balance.
Our rich man just mentioned may suddenly realize that his belief is limiting, in that he concentrated upon it exclusively so that money and health became his sole aims.
The shattered belief may leave him open to illness, which would seem like a negative experience.
Yet through the illness he may be led to areas of perception he had earlier denied, and he may be enriched in that particular manner.
The shifting of belief may then open him to question his other beliefs, and he realizes that in the areas of wealth, for example, he did very well because of his beliefs; but in those others, perhaps deeper experiences opened by his illness, he learns that human experience includes dimensions of reality that had earlier been closed to him, and that these are also easily within his reach – and without the illness that originally brought them forth.
A new conglomeration of belief might emerge. In the meantime there was stress, but it was creative.”7
To be Poor
“Now: You may be poor. Following the suggestions to change your beliefs, you may try to alter the belief and say, “My wants are taken care of and I have a great abundance.” Yet you may still find yourself unable to meet your bills.
Imaginatively you may see the next bill coming, with you unable to pay it.
“I will have enough money,” you say. “This is my new belief.”
But nothing changes so you think, “My conscious thoughts mean nothing.” Yet upon examination of your beliefs you may find a deep conviction of your own unworthiness.
You may find yourself thinking, “I am no one to begin with,” or “the rich get richer and the poor get poorer,” or, “The world is against me,” or, “Money is wrong. People who have it are not spiritual.”
You may discover, again, one of numerous beliefs that all lead to the fact that you do not want to have money or are afraid of it.
In any case your imagination and your beliefs go hand in hand.
You cannot say, “The poor are poor simply because they chose poverty, and therefore there is no need for me to help them.”
This attitude can easily draw poverty to you in the next experience.
A person who thinks that he is poor will lose or misuse, or badly invest, any amount of money, whether he works hard for it or is given it.”8
“Education in your culture is a mixed bag – and education comes not from schools alone, but from newspapers and television, magazines and books, from art and from culture’s own feedback.
Generally speaking, for the purposes of this discussion, there are two kinds of education – one focused toward teaching the child to deal with the natural world, and one focused toward teaching the child how to deal with the cultural world.
Obviously, these are usually combined. It is impossible to separate them.
Your educational systems, however, for all of their idealism, have largely ended up smothering the natural individual bents and leanings of children, and overemphasized instead the cultural organization.
It became more important, then, for the child to conform to the culture rather than to follow its own individual natural leanings.
Its own characteristic ways of dealing with nature were frowned upon, so that education does not work with the child’s abilities, but against them.
Education then often goes against the grain of the natural person.
This does not mean that some children do not do very well under your system.
I do not mean to imply, either, that children do not need an education, or that some discipline and direction are not beneficial.
Children, however, will concentrate for hours at a time on subject matters and questions that interest them.
They are often taken from such pursuits, and then natural habits of concentration suffer as a result.
Your belief systems must be allowed to mellow and change in the light of new knowledge, rather than to be booted aside with an angry foot.”9
Education & Competition
“During Western years of adulthood, consciousness is focused most intently in one specific area of activity and physical manipulation.
From childhood, the mind is trained to use its argumentative, separating qualities above all others.
Creativity is allowed to flow only through certain highly limited, accepted channels.
Young people are urged to tackle life aggressively, but in the usage of the term this means competitively.
It also implies, and of course, promotes, the direction of individual consciousness in an exterior fashion only.
Not only is consciousness to be focused to the external reality, but within those limits it is still further harnessed toward certain specific goals.
Other inclinations are frowned upon.”10
“The technology of which you, as a social complex, are so enamored at this time is but the birthing of the manipulation of the intelligent energy of the Sun (sub-Logos).
The use of technology to manipulate that outside the self is far, far less of an aid to personal evolution than the disciplines of the mind/body/spirit complex resulting in the whole knowledge of the self in the microcosm and macrocosm.
This means spiritual practices that help evolve consciousness are far more of an aid to the evolution of individuals and planets as are technological devices and gadgets.
To the disciplined entity, all things are open and free.
The discipline which opens the universe opens also the gateways to evolution.
The difference is that of choosing either to hitchhike to a place where beauty may be seen or to walk, step by step, independent and free in this independence to praise the strength to walk and the opportunity for the awareness of beauty.
The hitchhiker, instead, is distracted by conversation and the vagaries of the road and, dependent upon the whims of others, is concerned to make the appointment in time.
The hitchhiker sees the same beauty but has not prepared itself for the establishment, in the roots of mind, of the experience.”11
“In a negative sense many of the gadgets among your peoples, that is what you call your communication devices and other distractions such as the less competitive games, may be seen to have the distortion of keeping the mind/body/spirit complex inactivated so that yellow- and orange-ray activity is much weakened thus carefully decreasing the possibility of eventual green-ray activation.
Others of your gadgets may be seen to be tools whereby the entity explores the capabilities of its physical or mental complexes and in some few cases, the spiritual complex, thus activating the orange ray in what you call your team sports and in other gadgets such as your modes of transport.
These may be seen to be ways of investigating the feelings of power; more especially, power over others or a group power over another group of other-selves [sports teams].”12
“There is nothing wrong with technology.
Man has an innate inclination toward the use of tools, and technology is no more than an extension of that capacity.
Your technology, however, as it stands, has to some important degree – but not entirely – been based upon a scientific philosophy that denies the very idea of value fulfillment.
Therefore, you end up with a technology that threatens to work no longer.
You end up with affairs of great national and world concern.
Man needs the feeling that he is progressing, but technological progress alone represents a comparatively shallow level unless it is backed up by a growth of emotional understanding – a progression of man’s sense of being at one with himself and with the rest of the world.”13
Gyorgy Doczi writes in The Power of Limits, “Of course, we very much need science and technology, but we do not need the fragmentation and separation that have come with the differentiations of our civilization. Perhaps the disharmonies and disorders are with us not because our culture has grown up, but because we have not yet grown up. Western civilization is still in its adolescence. Our violences and worries may be but growing pains.”
The “Spell” of Technology
“Few of us question our growing dependency upon [technology], hardly noticing its background presence in almost every aspect of our lives, and the pervasive influence it exerts on us. We are asleep to the real nature of this power that we have accepted as our most intimate companion. Instead of treating it with the circumspection and respect due to something so lethal, we have allowed ourselves to be seduced by what it can do for us, for it imbues everything it touches with its allure. The electricity-mediated virtual world that glows invitingly from so many screens, from televisions to iPads and smart phones, can seem more appealing than the world of nature to which we really belong, and we witness today a mass migration of people’s desires, affections, and loyalties from the natural world to the virtual. But the virtual world is parasitic upon the real world, and because it presents to us a simulation of reality, there is a danger that we embrace an illusion while turning our backs on reality. Our peril today is that we become spellbound by a relationship that gives us a false sense of power, comfort and reassurance, but does not truly nourish the soul. The danger is that the soul is hollowed out, our relationship to nature devitalized, and our physical wellbeing undermined. And all the while we far too readily fall back on a merely utilitarian attitude, naively thinking that because the technology is so useful to us it is entirely benevolent, despite innumerable studies pointing to the contrary.
A more meaningful knowledge of electricity [and technology] requires that we take into account how we feel about it, for our felt response can reveal to us objective qualities in things that physical instruments may not detect or measure…
We should be concerned less with how it can serve us, and more with what effects it has on us, and on all of nature…
Human consciousness must be understood as interwoven with the world, for what we become conscious of is not simply ‘out there’, having nothing to do with us. The discovery of electricity reflects back to us something that is a part of our own being. We need, therefore, rightly to assess what aspect of our nature is being reflected back to us in electricity, and to bring this into a healthy relationship with the whole…
The human mind increasingly experienced itself as outside of nature, and this served to undermine the previous view that contemplative thinking could gain access to a spiritual meaning intrinsic to creation…
And so the computer was born, concentrating within itself the results of a long historical struggle in the shadow of the machine, which had been cast into the human soul. While the fruits of this struggle now exist outside us in the innumerable devices that fill our world, the shadow has become established within the human soul, as a condition of human existence.”14
“Your television, and your arts and sciences as well, add up to mass meditations.
In your culture, at least, the educated in the literary arts provide you with novels featuring antiheroes, and often portray an individual existence [as being] without meaning, in which no action is sufficient to mitigate the private puzzlement or anguish.
Many — not all — plot-less novels or movies are the result of this belief in man’s powerlessness.
In that context no action is heroic, and man is everywhere the victim of an alien universe.
On the other hand your common, unlettered, violent television dramas do indeed provide a service for they imaginatively specify a generalized fear in a given situation, which is then resolved through drama.
Individual action counts. The plots may be stereotyped or the acting horrendous, but in the most conventional terms the “good” man wins.
Such programs do indeed pick up the generalized fears of the nation, but they also represent folk dramas — disdained by the intelligentsia — in which the common man can portray heroic capabilities, act concisely toward a desired end, and triumph.
Those programs often portray your cultural world in exaggerated terms, and most resolution is indeed through violence.
Yet your more educated beliefs lead you to an even more pessimistic picture, in which even the violent action of men and women who are driven to the extreme serves no purpose.
The individual must feel that his actions count.
He is driven to violent action only as a last resort — and illness often is that last resort.
Your television dramas, the cops-and-robbers shows, the spy productions, are simplistic, yet they relieve tension in a way that your public health announcements cannot do.
The viewer can say: “Of course I feel panicky, unsafe, and frightened, because I live in such a violent world.”
The generalized fear can find a reason [for its existence].
But the programs at least provide a resolution dramatically set, while the public health announcements continue to generate unease.
Those mass meditations therefore reinforce negative conditions.
In the overall, then, violent shows provide a service, in that they usually promote the sense of a man’s or a woman’s individual power over a given set of circumstances.
At best the public service announcements introduce the doctor as mediator: You are supposed to take your body to a doctor as you take your car to a garage, to have its parts serviced.
Your body is seen as a vehicle out-of-control that needs constant scrutiny.
Not only does television actually serve as a mass means of communal meditation, but it also presents you with highly detailed, manufactured dreams, in which each viewer shares to some extent.
Television presents you with a mirror of your society.
It reflects and re-reflects through millions of homes the giant dreams and fears, the hopes and terrors of events in the most private individual.
Television interacts with your lives, but it does not cause your lives.
It does not cause the events that it depicts.
With your great belief in technology, it often seems to many people that television causes violence, for example, or that it causes a love of over-materialism, or that it causes “loose morals.”
In a manner of speaking it does not even distort, though it may reflect distortions.
The writers and actors of television dramas are attuned to the “mass mind.”
They are not leaders or followers. They are creative reflectors, acutely aware of the overall, generalized emotional and psychic patterns of the age.”15
However, the sum effect of television is that of distraction and sleep.
“Think of your own government in ideal terms for a moment.
Its citizens are all individuals, with their own lives and interests.
The government, if it has their loyalty, utilizes their energies in such a fashion that the majority are benefited, as is the government itself.
Yet you cannot really put your finger on “the government”, though you might mention the White House as the seat of its power.
The government is composed of many people, of course, and really extends all the way down the line, even to its least citizen, but the government can direct the use of energies, of goods, commerce, power and so forth.
The people count upon the government to realistically define the conditions of the world, to have proper intelligence so that the activities in foreign lands are known, to keep proper communication with other governments, and so forth.
If the people in power are paranoid, then they overestimate the dangers of any given world situation.
They overreact, or over-mobilize, using a disproportionate amount of energy and time for defense, and taking energies away from other projects.
The reasoning mind acts in the same fashion when paranoid beliefs are in power.
When a government is paranoid, it even begins to cut down on the freedom of its own peoples, or to frown upon behavior that in freer times would be quite acceptable.
Now the people might finally revolt, or they will take certain steps to see that their freedom is restored.”16
The Idea of Democracy
“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 your country, and operated with such vitality in the face of quite opposing beliefs officially held by both science and religion.
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.”17
“The American experiment with democracy is heroic, bold, and innovative.
In historic terms as you 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.
Any man might rise in your democracy from a poor peasant’s one to be the President.
Outcasts might become the socially prominent.
The unlettered might become highly educated.
The idea of achieving greatness, however, was considered highly suspect.
The self was kept in bond.
Great passion, or desire or intent – or genius – did not fit the picture.”18
Political Power & the Individual
“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.
Individuals can — they 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.
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.”19
“In addition,” writes Plato, “when men who are constitutionally unsound live in cities with pernicious political systems and hear correspondingly pernicious speeches at home and in public, and when, moreover, what they learn from childhood onwards does nothing at all to remedy all this, these two factors, which having nothing whatsoever to do with one’s own choice, are responsible for the badness of those of us who become bad. We should always blame the sowers rather than the seed, and the teachers rather than the taught, but we should still do our best to ensure that our environment, our occupations, and our education help us to prefer ‘good’ to ‘bad’.” Timaeus 87b
Secular Law vs. Religious Law
“The law in your country says that you are innocent until proven guilty.
In the eyes of that law, then, you are each innocent until a crime is proven against you.
There usually must also be witnesses.
There are other considerations.
Often a spouse cannot testify against the other.
Opportunity and motive must also be established.
In the world of religion, however, you are already tainted by original sin: “The mark of Cain” is symbolically upon your foreheads. You come from a species that sinned against God.
Automatically condemned, you must do good works, or be baptized, or believe in Christ, or perform other acts in order to be saved or redeemed.
According to other eastern religions, you may be “earthbound” by the “gross desires” of your nature, “bound to the wheel of life,” condemned to endless reincarnations until you are “purified.”
As I have said before, according to psychology and science, you are a living conglomeration of elements and chemicals, spawned by a universe without purpose, itself accidentally formed, and you are given a life in which all the “primitive and animalistic” drives of your evolutionary past ever lurk within you, awaiting expression and undermining your control.
So, dear reader, look at the law as it stands in this country with somewhat more kindly eyes than you have before — for it at least legally establishes a belief in your innocence, and for all of its failings, it protects you from the far more fanatical aspects, say, of any religion’s laws.
Religious laws deal with sin, whether or not a crime is committed, and religious concepts usually take it for granted that the individual is guilty until proven innocent.
And if you have not committed a crime in fact, then you have at least sinned in your heart — for which, of course, you must be punished.
A sin can be anything from playing cards to having a sexual fantasy.
You are sinful creatures. How many of you believe that?”20
The Mind and Society
“Any new law always follows the change in belief. It is not the other way around.
There is no civilization, no system of science, art, or philosophy that did not originate in the mind.
When you give lip service to ideas with which you do not agree, you are betraying your own ideals, harming yourself to some extent, and society as well, insofar as you are denying yourself and society the benefit of your own understanding.”21
- Roberts, Jane, The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1981
- Roberts, Jane, Dreams, Evolution and Value Fulfillment, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1986
- Roberts, Jane, The Nature of Personal Reality, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1974
- Roberts, Jane, The Magical Approach, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1995
- Roberts, Jane, The Nature of Personal Reality, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1974
- Elkins, Rueckert, McCarty, The Law of One, Session 52.2, http://www.lawofone.info/results.php?s=52
- Elkins, Rueckert, McCarty, The Law of One, Session 34.12, http://www.lawofone.info/results.php?s=34
- Roberts, Jane, Dreams, Evolution and Value Fulfillment, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1986
- Naydler, Jeremy, In the Shadow of the Machine, Temple Lodge, 2018
- Roberts, Jane, The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, Amber-Allen Publishing, 1981