Let's talk about evil, for a bit.
I would like to do this for two reasons.
First, to assure you, in this class, that I am well familiar with most dimensions and kinds of evil, and consequently speak about it as someone with direct acquaintance with its effects.
(Or so-called effects.)
Second, I want to make it perfectly clear that understanding and progress are not the result of one's own goodness, or virtue.
They are the result of his open-mindedness.
What has to be dispelled is the belief, held by so many so-called "Christians" today, that they have the understanding of God they have because of some kind of goodness or virtue on their part.
This is false.
As their lack of understanding amply demonstrates.
And to prove that it is false I am going to show you that whatever understanding I possess is not mine by virtue of any other quality of mine but my willingness to listen.
Wherever, and however that search has carried me through the pathways of life in the middle of American Society, during the 50's, 60's, and 70's.
As I hope to show you, the normal conception of "goodness," one of getting dressed up like a Barbie Doll and going to church and getting your mind obliterated by incoherent, mindless, superstitious, destructive, self-righteous piety is not the way to God's heart.
Jesus, and the disciples, first brought the teaching to the faithful of the day in Israel--the Pharisees.
But the Pharisees were so much more impressed with their own goodness, and the doctrine that made their own goodness quite apparent for all to see, that they turned away from his teaching.
Recognizing the great moral distance that it put them away from true righteousness, (which is nothing more, and nothing less than right thinking).
Eventually, they, the leaders of the Pharisees, had Jesus crucified.
This they did on the charge of "blasphemy."
He was proclaiming himself the Son of God.
What they couldn't see was that he was trying to get the message across that Man was the Son of God, and that he (Jesus) was the representation of what happens when that fact is understood.
Their own moral blindness was the direct result of their infatuation with their own goodness: which is an abomination in the sight of God.
Human goodness in general is something, at its best, that is only weak and grasping.
This is the meaning of the wheat and tares parable.
Because "human" goodness is based, at least partially, on a material conception of Life.
As opposed to the purely divine.
And to be "human," is not yet to have worked your way out of the material beliefs, misperceptions, and misconceptions that becloud and limit our happiness and freedom.
One step at a time.
And, of courses this includes our sense of morality.
Which can be as material and murky as our thoughts about God.
The human conception of morality is an abomination in the sight of God.
Just as the "human" sense of goodness is in general.
It is something to be worked out of.
Step by step.
This does not mean that you should not pay attention to and obey strictly the highest sense of morality that you have worked out or found in life.
Indeed, it is by following the lead of that sense of morality, or goodness, or rightness, in spite of the material consequences to your belief and action, that will lead you straight to the doorstep of heaven.
But, it does mean, that old conceptions of morality are to be put off when newer, and better, and higher ones have been found.
How this works is something that each of us must "feel" his way through as we go through life, as part of the general requirement that each of us must work out our own "salvation," or freedom from the assault of materialism (material thought) that would hinder our ascent each and every step of the way.
Until we have "achieved" perfection, or, more accurately, "found" perfection. Or, more accurately still, had the perfection that has been ours all along "revealed" to us, in return for our willingness to seek it and search for it.
Or, more accurately still: what is going on here is not the conscious, deliberate, initiated activity on the part of any human being. It is the activity of the "truth within," that Jesus spoke about.
"The truth is within you and the truth will set you free.
It is not the initiated activity of any human being that will do the "saving" here; it is the activity of the "truth within," that looks like a human being doing the seeking and the searching. But it is really only the activity of the Truth (Christ) within that comes to save you when you are really ready to let go of the materialism.
That leads to the grasping at materialism as the solution.
The "Christ" is this inward activity, this Truth, that "saves" the human, when the human yields and gives up its own sense of goodness, its own definition of goodness, and surrenders to the liberating power of God.
Any and every situation.
Knowing this, being this, is what a human being can do, that does the healing work.
That is all that Jesus did.
That is all the greater and lesser prophets did in their healing work, or "miracles."
And, that is all we can do, at this stage of progress, toward our own salvation.
But, think, here, of the stakes involved, if what I am saying is true.
If the teaching that Jesus brought is true.
Man is the Creation.
What may look like a tiny speck of insignificance, from a material, fly's eye perspective, when you look out at night at the Milky Way, that white streak that goes across the sky, and you realize that that is the edge, or the middle of one galaxy turned on its side, and that all those "stars" out there are really other galaxies.....
And Man is the Creation.
Hard to believe.
"What manner of love is this that we are the sons of God?" says John in his first letter.
Hard to believe.
And that is just the material universe!
At it's best, just a hint of the good things to come.
That are just being revealed to us.
In return for our eager, sincere, seeking and searching.
Or, what looks like us, seeking and searching, and finding.
No wonder Jesus said, in the Sermon on the Mount, Chapters 5, 6, and 7 of Matthew, that a Father wouldn't give a child a stone when he sought bread, or a serpent for a fish.....
God planted the (spiritual) desire there in the first place, and, constantly cultivates that desire to make sure it is healthy and strong and vigorous.
No matter how much things seem to resist it.
In fact, if you turn the material perception of things right side up you can see that what looks like disaster, suffering, and debacle in our lives is the perfect cultivation of harmony, by leading us to perfect, healing truth, that we are ready to receive.
The insight that heals!
Healing of a spiritual kind is really a revealing.
What looks like a cataclysm is, of course, the breaking up of old beliefs this is what is outlined in the Apocalypse, or the Book of Revelation.
All of the "break up," of course, is bad, just awful to human sense.
And, it would be perfectly unjustified if that were the nature of what was going on.
But, it's not.
Because, like Hegel, if we turn material perceptions on their head, we can see the spiritual truth that is unfolding, and being revealed to us.
At the precise point of revelation, where we see what it was we have been led down this path to understand, the breakup of human beliefs has ended and there follows, what in "human" life is called a "healing." And the bad dream ends.
I ask you: do you think that a Good God, in a perfectly constructed Universe, could possibly tolerate the presence of evil? Of any kind?
Cancer, death, unfaithfulness, betrayal, boredom, purposelessness, sweaty and mindless labor, or no labor at all, disease of any kind whatsoever, including old age decrepitude.
No evil of any kind could possibly be permitted in a perfectly created Universe.
And God says, in the first chapter of Genesis: it is finished. Done. The perfection, completion, are there. Already done.
So what do you suppose is going on?
The highest source of evil, that I have known, mixed in with the highest source of good is the academic world.
I have spent thirty years of my life in school.
I received my Ph.D. in Philosophy from Washington University in St. Louis.
I majored in Philosophy and Psychology as an undergraduate.
My dad spent all his working professional life teaching English at the University of Montana.
I was raised in the academic world.
I know a great deal about it.
The one thing that the academic mind seeks above all else, is an explanation.
This is its greatest strength.
And, of course, the central, pithy, rottenness that causes its ultimate failure as a means to truth.
Because truth is not the sort of thing that can be "reasoned out" from the premises acceptable to the (limited) empirical requirements of professional academic thought.
'Empirical' means 'material'.
It's as simple as that.
And as long as the academic mind limits itself to the use of empirical methods, which it always will, it will at best only be able to hint at reality.
In a poetry class.
Or a Philosophy class.
Where "wonder" is still taught.
The mechanics and scientists and dogmatists have completely taken over academia today.
It is one of the last places on earth that you can find "truth" in any measure.
Or, certainly, an honest search for truth.
All is all pretension, now.
The "pretension" or appearance of looking for truth.
Not the substance.
And, the reason, my friends, is very very simple.
They will not let the spiritual dimension into the classroom.
They are afraid of it.
You can't measure it, quantify it, see it, taste touch smell or feel it.
Hence, you cannot control it.
According to the whimsical willfulness of 90% of the instructors teaching in the academic world today.
Academic people are fundamentally scared, frightened all the time.
Of anything that might upset the little intellectual nest that they have built around themselves.
Their lives and their pursuits are dedicated, not to pursuing truth, although this is the appearance in the classroom and this is their strength, as a force for progress in the social mileau: their lives and pursuits are dedicated to protecting themselves and their students from ever seeing the spiritual dimension of Life.
Which would make them grow.
Academics are caught in the worst kind of choice, worse even than preachers, who are typically so stupid that they are totally unaware that the choice even exists: the choice is between their own security, which is very secure and very comfortable, and growth.
They call it "intellectual" growth; but it is really a kind of spiritual growth with all kinds of intellectual ramifications.
Secure until the tenure crisis came along, that is.
Fuck you academia.
Thank you God.
The time has come for a revolution in the academic world.
Academicians are, in the beginning, back in their sophomoric philosophy classes, before they get totally corrupted by the demands of empirical (scientific) methodology and presupposition, interested in truth.
I know these guys.
I grew up with them.
I have known them through every state and phase of their progress and development, through the Ph.D. program, through retirement, through old age and death.
My dad's best friend in Missoula, Montana was a guy named H.G. Merriam, who is credited with being single-handedly responsible for bringing culture to Montana.
H.G. went to Oxford.
And fought the anti-intellectual establishment in Montana most of his professional career.
I got to watch that fight.
Part of it.
And I have seen the goodness in the intellectual heart, when it fights well and gracefully for what it knows to be right.
I was in St. Louis, from 1965 to 1970, during the height of the anti-war campaign being waged by the campus intellectuals.
My best friend there, a guy named Jerome Schiller, our department's Plato and Aristotle man, was a leader in that city's peace movement.
And people from our department went to Wisconsin to help McCarthy in his campaign there.
And won, what they called, "the miracle of McCarthy."
These things were done while the Church was largely sitting on its very large ass, supporting the war, or getting people into large lengthy discussions about the legitimacy of killing people.
I am proud of academia.
I am proud of my association with it.
I am proud of my society and my country for having so steadfastly supported, with its hard-won wages and profits, and its idealism, the one social institution that might have led us out of the causes of the suffering of human life.
It's too bad that the academic institution is as committed to materialistic values, ambitions, and goals as it is.
Toward the end of the 19th century, along with the explosions of discoveries in what we now call "technology," and along with the advances of thinkers like Darwin, Freud, and Einstein, came the development of a cancer, something that epitomized the ugliness, theoretically, of what was called the "scientific revolution."
This was called 'logical positivism'.
Logical Positivism began with some philosophers, who were interested in Physics, and some physicists, who were interested in Philosophy, getting together and "discovering," or declaring, that the methodology and substantive assumptions of materialistic science were the only criteria for what is real.
For what is real.
This they did by the disingenuous little technique of proclaiming that statements that weren't strictly empirical (scientific) were meaningless.
In their content.
Talk about God, (or ethics and morality to some extent) was literally talk about gobbledygook.
It was non-sense.
It didn't mean anything.
Nothing for it to refer to.
That we could possibly see, taste, touch, feel, or hear, with our five material senses.
Hence, such talk referred to no-thing that we could ever possibly experience.
Hence it was non-sense.
Well, this belief, the core of scientific material methodology, without which, it was recognized, science as an enterprise would theoretically fall on its face, has gradually infiltrated all the ranks of academic life.
Except the farthest reaches of poetry and philosophy.
In the most remote backwaters of the intellectual community.
Like Walla Walla, Washington.
Where there are (were) still some idealists left.
Who knew the ugliness of the effects of logical positivism, even though they couldn't identify it or name it.
Teaching out their lives.
Unwilling to join or capitulate to the tidal wave of scientific terror: Prove thyself! Show me: I'm from Missouri! Prove it to me in objective terms that we all accept: the sense data of material sense!
It got to be worse than the (Joe) McCarthy era.
If you couldn't prove or explain what you were trying to say or think about in terms that were scientifically acceptable, that is, in terms that limited your thought to the structure and behavior of the material world, you were (are) a card-carrying lunatic.
I went to a paper one time, read at a Philosophy convention in the Northwest, the only place such a paper would be permissible, where the guy was trying to compare the notion of existence in Existentialism to the notion of "creativity" in Genesis.
Coming out of the reading one of the audience was shaking his head at what he called "the lunatic fringe."
1984 has come.
But it didn't take the form that George Orwell pictured.
That was much too coarse, and obvious.
The 1984 that is here is gripping the human mind by what seems to be its best friend--natural science.
And that grip is ensured and protected by the frightened people controlling the classrooms today.
Last summer I spent with the old man. In Missoula. Montana.
He has moved, from the East Rattlesnake to the West Rattlesnake. His new house overlooks the Creek.
You can hear the water rushing by.
I love that sound.
The new house is better built for older people. He and my stepmother, Margo, have an ideal circumstance now, for his retirement.
Except that he is laid up.
He made the infinitely perceptive decision a couple of years ago, to put himself in the hands of the doctors.
He has a congenital spine problem. So that his spinal column crimps his cord, because the passageway is too narrow.
He also has otosclerosis, high blood pressure, and pernicious anemia, for which he has to get a shot of vitamin B-12 every month or he dies.
His father died of pernicious anemia.
They didn't have the B-12 back then.
His house is a very nice suburban home.
It also has one very special, and, I think not so very coincidental feature: it has built on to it an apartment.
With sliding glass doors, that go right out on the lawn.
Beside the main part of the house.
Tall pine trees.
Cottonwoods that speak to you in the wind.
Perfect view of the mountains.
Perfect air. Coming right down off the hundred thousand square miles of pine forest.
Last summer a bear spent some time in the back yard.
I had gathered up the fallen plums under the plum tree, and the bear was out there, about 7:30 in the morning, lying down--that's right--lying down under that plum tree gobbling up the fruits of my labors.
I just watched him.
From the windows of the apartment.
About six feet away.
He was having such a good time.
And he would get caught, soon enough.
Give him a half hour of freedom and playtime.
He kept looking around, waiting to get caught, so he'd have to run.
But he didn't.
He sat there about half an hour. Stuffing himself with my plums.
I had locked the dog in the bathroom.
The dog's name was Skooks.
That was my name for him, anyway.
The old man called him "Beowulf."
Because he had taught Chaucer all his professional life.
Can you imagine, walking down the street, "Here Beowulf, come on boy. Go get um. Eat um up Beowulf."
Beowulf (Skooks, if you please) is a wirehaired terrier. Thirteen years old. Psychotic.
My first mother called him "Angus."
My brother called him "Shithead."
Each of us hated him in our own way.
Mother hated him because he chose the old man when they broke up.
Marko hated him because Marko never understood him. Marko never understood love; and that's all there is to a dog. Love.
In fact, Marko hates dogs.
Dogs just "grovel," he used to say. They slobber all over you.
Marko liked cats.
Anyway, I used to haul Skooks around the mountains on my Tote Goat, a contraption built just before the advent of good Japanese motorcycles. It had a Briggs and Stratton engine, attached, by way of two gears (one high and one low) to a centrifugal clutch, and a big fat rubber tire on the back.
We went all over the place.
I made a little bed out of a box and a blanket for him on back. And we went all over the mountains together.
To alpine lakes.
To the top of peaks.
Listening to the elk bugle.
The only problem with this dog--and it was my father's dog, not mine--was that it was psychotic.
It developed a taste for barking.
Continuous, constant, hysterical barking.
From the moment we got on the scooter till we got off.
He wouldn't stop.
He was so excited.
It got so bad I had to wear my noise protectors, for my ears.
You know, the kind the airplane refueling guys have to wear around the big jets.
They were developed for protecting your ears from the muzzle blast of guns.
Which was why I owned a pair.
Skooks continued to ride back there, with me, long after I would have left the psychotic son-of-a-bitch at home.
But I did it for the old man.
He dearly loved the dog.
He loved him more than me.
I think he loved the dog--I know he loved the dog--because as they got older together, the dog increasingly took on more and more of the old man's character and characteristics.
As dogs do.
The hysterical tension and energy that characterized both of them in their youth trailed off into eccentricity as they got older.
The old man had a chair, or a kind of chair, I guess, we called the "Shaggy Dog."
It was a huge recliner, that sort of looked like a two-man chaise lounge on rockers.
Like the dog.
Like the old man.
Well, I had made arrangements to come "home" to Missoula, and stay with him (them) last summer.
The guy who had built the house had built the apartment right onto the main part of the house for his sister-in-law.
So it was made for one who was part of the family.
With shared utilities.
It was ideal for me to come home and lick my wounds.
Me, and Skooks, and the old man.
Margo was to go down to San Francisco to be with her brothers while they fixed up her mother's estate.
Her mother had recently died.
So it was a perfect arrangement.
Kathee would be set up in Seattle, preparing to teach in her newly-found suburban teaching position.
I would babysit my cranky, self-indulgent old man, and the remains of his psychotic dog.
And I would get to quietly study and walk and think, back in my native hunting grounds, where my heart and spirituality will always be.
From the first day, from the moment I began walking up the front walk, the old man said, "So you really decided to come?"
Meaning: "I really wish that you hadn't laid the burden of my having to tolerate your presence on me."
All summer long.
Without the exception of a single day, he didn't let an opportunity slip past without indicating that he wished that I would leave.
How he wished I wasn't there!
Oh God did he wish I would find some compelling reason that I would have to go!
Each day he would come up with a new idea.
First it was how my stepbrother was coming. With his friends!
And how we couldn't all possibly fit in that little apartment.
These guys were jocks.
Bicycling up from California.
And I was putting him in the uncomfortable, almost unforgivably uncomfortable, position of not having enough room for us all.
With him (and the dog) over there in that great big house all to himself.
I respected his privacy.
I didn't want anybody to move in with him.
I just wanted to let him know that it was just fine with me if the kids stayed with me.
And that was the point of dispute.
He was trying to show me that it was an imposition, a real imposition on him, one that on three different occasions brought tears to his eyes, it was such an imposition on him.
Then there was his dear old best friends coming.
And my brothers.
My brother had found his arrogance so intolerable that he hadn't come to see him for eight years.
Anyway, it was a constant state of finding any conceivable reason to tell me how uncomfortable my presence made him, and how he wished that I would leave as soon as possible.
Margo came back.
He sent her over twice to ask me to go.
Once he wrote me a note, setting August 15th as the absolute deadline.
Now normally, a guy with a little pride and a little dignity would get the message here, don't you think?
But I had this feeling, this intuition, if you will, that I should hang around Missoula, the birthplace of my growing up, to prepare for this Course that I am giving you now.
I felt that wandering around my childhood and adolescent memories might trigger some stuff that would help me find the metaphors and images that would enable me to get across this business that I know to be true.
I had that little intuition, that "still small voice" that I have learned always to follow, no matter what the consequences to my dignity.
Besides, I was broke.
And the old man was giving me a roof.
I couldn't beat that.
All I had to do was eat his vomit.
And I knew how to do that.
I grew up with it.
Maybe it's like your own vomit, or a dog's.
When he returns to it.
And eats it.
He doesn't seem to mind it so much; and we don't either, if it's our own.
Maybe it's the same, or similar, with a family member's.
It isn't quite so bad if it's theirs you have to eat.
Anyway, here is the old man, all summer, laying these heaps and heaps and heaps of what is for me the most intolerable kind of humiliation and indignation while I am trying to study.
And love the world, and all mankind, and try to find, to know the truth that there is only Love present, that there is only One Mind at work in the whole seemingly nightmarish charade, that there is only One Thing Going On, and that this has to be good, heaven on earth in fact.
And, above all, for present purposes, to counteract the material appearance that my father was this loathsome wretch, involved in an infantile, self-destructive Freudian relationship with his son, I had to know, I mean know that all men are brothers.
I mean brothers.
And, whether we know it or not, we are reflecting God in precisely the way that is needed at the time.
We have to.
There is no other power.
Whether we know it or not.
There simply is no other power.
Whether we know it or not.
There simply is no other power to do or be the reflecting.
This knowledge, of course, is what does the healing.
The knowledge that this is so brings to bear on the situation a power that is utterly irresistible: that is so incandescent, unseen to human eyes, that it utterly dispels every trace of darkness, which has been created by the material sense of things.
So it is important, it was important, for me to use this power, or rather, my knowledge of this power at all times during my stay there, to protect what I saw was the highest good to be achieved.
Not my relationship with my father.
The writing of this book.
Which had the implication of protecting my relationship with my father.
So I could roost and work there.
He knew this and I knew this.
It drove him nuts.
Which made my work (prayer) all the more intense.
Frankly, from a human point of view, I didn't care if I ever saw the son-of-a-bitch again.
He was the incarnation of the red dragon mentioned in the 12th chapter of the Apocalypse: he was, for practical purposes of the moment, the red dragon, swollen with self-righteous rage, ready to devour the spiritual baby as soon as it was to be born.
Actually, the old man was my friend, compared to my mother, my first mother, my so-called "real" mother.
When I first got the notion that I was going to write this course up and deliver this baby in the most effective way that I could, it was my mother, bless her dear little heart, that occurred to me as being the single most dangerous element I would have to deal with.
My mother would be the human representative that would do everything in its "power" to destroy (devour) what I am trying to do.
She hates Christians.
Hates Christ, or "Keerist," as she pronounced it in her last letter to me.
She calls Christians "Kristers" (long "i") as a term of uninhibited contempt.
So, compared to what I had faced growing up with her, the old man was a fairly mild menace.
I just had to control him.
By eating his vomit.
Let's talk about sensuality.
In the late 1950's a movie came out that began what we call the sexual "revolution."
(I put "revolution" in quotes here because what is happening has happened many times before in history, and, I might add, with a great deal more class and subtlety and finesse.)
Do you remember the movie?
It came to the Wilma Theater in Missoula. The deputy sheriffs literally surrounded the building, trying to keep us little devils out, who were under 18.
The movie that started the "sexual revolution" in America was And God Created Woman, with Brigitte Bardot.
The reason that it was a dirty movie, and "started" the revolution was because it was the movie that made the first legal breakthrough, and successfully showed some bare tit.
In the name of freedom.
Which was correct.
And, worth fighting for on the part of artists.
There is nothing so repressive as Victorian prudentry to the free spirit of man's search for love and truth. Not even sensuality.
Prudentry heightens the belief in the power of sex and sensuality.
It doesn't diminish it.
Note here that we are using the term 'sensuality' to cover all sensual pleasure, not just sexual.
This includes all gratification of the "physical" senses.
There is some popular impression that the book that really started the "revolution" was Lady Chatterly's Lover. But I don't think so.
I think it was Henry Miller's Tropic of Cancer, which was banned in the United States as a "dirty book," until, I think, the late forties.
Tropic of Cancer was the first "legitimate" book to use the word 'fuck' in such a way that it was the main point of the book.
Since then we have had breakthrough after breakthrough, leading up to what might become the collective popular Orgasm of the United States of America.
Going back to that famous breakthrough in television: what we called "jiggling" in Charlie's Angels.
Each step, like the crucially important move of getting bare tit on the legitimate screen, which was very effectively done in The Pawnbroker, has been marked by the appeal to very good spiritual laws of growth like the need for artistic freedom.
Each step has been licensed, by good people, like the members of the Supreme Court, (one of whom was William 0. Douglas, who graduated from my little college).
The reason the steps are licensed is because the advocates appeal to principles which men of good will cannot, in good conscience, deny as being valid.
Even though they are as revolted by the apparent implications of these principles as would be Mary Baker Eddy, the founder of Christian Science.
But, being men of good will, educated, strong, and, above all, believers in the principles of constitutional democracy, and the Bill of Rights, the men of good will yield to what in the popular eye looks like the second coming of the Roman debauchery that is associated with the second coming of Christ. At least this ignorant perception is promoted by the "preachers" of the land, men of not so good will.
In fact, exactly the opposite is true.
Atomic power, or what looks like "atomic power," as defined by the Physicists in terms of material so-called "laws," would not have been given to us if we were not ready for it.
To handle it.
Not that "atomic power" is power.
A material force.
It is not.
Like everything else: it is all and only the power of God.
But, we are ready to handle it, as an idea.
Ready to use it, as a toy in the playpen.
While the real business of life goes on: spiritual business.
Similarly with this "sexual revolution," I think.
The reason we are being dealt this massive onslaught of sensuality is because, one way or another: we are ready!
Our degree of moral culture has reached a fine enough point of tuning that we are ready to handle this assault on our moral sensitivity.
Without being destroyed.
Or, in fact, without anything really being the result of it but pure moral growth.
And, consequently, spiritual growth.
Which is what the whole game is about anyway.
Since the only power that is operating in the Universe, (including the withinness of us as individuals) is God's power, the power of Life, Truth, and Love.
Although all kinds of other things are going to get tested to make sure they aren't real.
And this includes, most especially, the power of the five "physical" senses, to give us pleasure.
That is a lot of power.
The reality of.
A lot of power.
But, nonetheless, it is true.
They have no power.
They are part of a dream, called the "belief of life in matter," that seems to be going on while what is really going on is going on.
That's all there is.
And, the sooner we recognize this, and acknowledge it, and admit it to ourselves, the sooner we can get on with what is really going on and really start to enjoy it.
It's a lot more fun to climb mountains going frontwards than backwards.
Even though we will climb them backwards, if we choose to do it that way.
But we in this class won't do that, will we?
Because we're too smart.
And when we recognize what is going on we'll start going about it the right way, won't we.
Good, then let's go.
Remember, that everything that looks like sensuality and ugliness is really just God, proving to us that it is not true.
It is just the crud of our own thinking, mistaken thinking, mistaken beliefs, about the power of life in matter, that is coming to the surface and being proven to be unreal, by being shown to be what it is.
As a claim to power.
For example, I remember going into a dirty place in Tijuana once in my mid-twenties. We were we were watching a movie and I had to take a leak. I went to the "bathroom" and there were three used rubbers on top of the toilet.
There was a mattress on the floor.
Evidently the rubbers had been placed on the toilet to make room for the next couple using the mattress.
When I was growing up and discovered the entertainment of flogging my you-know-what, well, you could stand the quilt on my bed up in the corner.
Which my mother did when she made my bed.
She enjoyed telling her friends about it...for years after.
And then there was my dearest old friend, Bill MacLean, who taught me most of what I know about vice, before the seventh grade, and who is now working for the railroad.
As a brakeman.
And sometimes conductor of the train.
He travels, usually, from Missoula to Helena, called the "East End."
A distance of about a hundred miles.
MacLean has a beautiful wife, Delores, and three stunning little kids, Brittany, David, and Allison.
Brittany gave me a little poster that she did in crayon last summer, that I keep in my bedroom on the wall while I am here in Frazer.
It says, "To Jeff, Love, Brittany," with flowers and Indians all over it.
Beautiful, beautiful child.
Well, anyway, old MacLean, or "Cleanest" as we called him in grade school, because he could get away with anything, had and still has a very simple philosophy: if it feels good, and it doesn't hurt anybody, do it.
He said to me, and to his wife for that matter, that he can't "see" anything wrong with sex.
"The reason I like it so much," he said, "is because there isn't anything else that feels so good."
A very simple and harmless philosophy, don't you think?
This he said to me as he was trying to give his wife to me.
Which was just after he was musing to us about the attractiveness of what we now call "head;" that is, that he would like to try it out.
"Is she a spitter or a swallower," he once asked me about a lady I knew well.
MacCleanest had a fleet of girlfriends.
When things went poorly for him at home he simply jumped on a train and headed for Helena.
Where there was waiting for him a motel room, a swimming pool, and a 1959 Cadillac.
('59 was the year that Cadillac had its most dramatic fins--the ones with the little circle going through the uppermost tip.)
Nobody could say MacCleanest didn't have class.
I loved him, from the first day we went to see Blackboard Jungle together in the summer after the sixth grade, to the moment when he handed me that fateful bar of soap in my bathroom, to last summer, when his daughter gave me that picture of Love, that will get me through this winter.
Bill MacLean is one of the finest men I have ever known.
He works on the railroad because, as he puts it, "it is a blue collar job that I like."
Meaning, that he can see no way in the professions, especially academia, where you can earn a living and be your own man.
And he's willing to pay the price.
And I love him for it.
And recognize that his hypnotic attraction to matters of the flesh are not the real him, and will pass in time.
Certainly it is not why his wife loves him.
Although she is equally spellbound by matter.
She is one of the most beautiful women--probably the most beautiful woman--I have ever known well.
Needless to say, this little attraction of my old friend Cleanest's has put something of a strain on their relationship.
And he can't understand why.
To human sense, and to a well-reasoned theory of human sexuality, it shouldn't put a strain on their love relationship.
Let's wind up our discussion of evil by talking about betrayal.
The kind where people let you down, and you feel like you have been abandoned by everything in the world.
Which you probably were.
Since, that is the way of the world.
Unless, of course, you are able to see that what looks like "the world" is really just God, reversed, or looked at, distorted, by human, material sense.
In which case He gets kind of hard to recognize.
Unless you know what is going on.
And can respond to reality, instead of the (seemingly) barbarous circumstances at hand.
In which case you know that the only thing that is going on is a change in point of view, which raises holy hell as far as you're concerned, since personal sense, clinging to the material perceptions "it" feels comfortable with, will do anything to try to persuade you that what is going on is evil, and should be stopped at any cost.
Because "it" "knows" or "senses" that the coming of the spiritual awakening will mean the end of "its" own old material illusions.
"It" would have you persuaded that this "death" is unbearably uncomfortable, unjust, and evil: so much so that "it" tries to put off the birth of the Christ idea, or spiritual rebirth, until "it" finally collapses from the weight of "its" own inner structure of rottenness and lawlessness.
I have to put all these references to "it" in quotes, I hope you understand, because the whole thesis here is that "it" is not a reality: "it" is an illusion, the "personal" and "material" belief that evil is a reality, or that life is in "matter," with all of the consequences of "evil" that that little hypnotic dream has for our conscious experience.
As we are gradually, step by step, brought out of this dream by the emergence of the Christ idea--Truth--the reality of immortality becomes clear to us as a conscious waking fact of existence.
We fight this dawning with everything we've got.
Or, rather, as I hope you can see, it isn't really us doing the fighting: we wouldn't mind at all having this fact proven to us as a conscious waking fact of our existence.
Rather, it is this peculiar "thing"--material sense--that would try to keep us from seeing the facts at hand.
The facts are already present.
Our own immortality--freedom--peace--joy--and all the good things from "heaven" that Jesus promised us.
Are present right now.
It is just a state of consciousness.
Not a place.
That we are growing into.
So, you can see that the English language wasn't exactly set up to talk about this stuff.
Here we are, talking about the greatest "force" on "earth," that would keep us from "seeing" our rightful heritage as the "children" of God; and we have to talk about this "force" as if it were a dream.
A hypnotic nightmare.
That we are awakening from.
That has no identity, no place, no time, no name.
It is just a liar.
And the father of lies.
It's not even a li-ar.
It is just a lie.
That seems to have reality, in our experience, only and exactly so long as we believe in the lie.
Until it is burned up.
By the dawning of Truth.
When we are ready to receive it.
When we have had enough of the lies.
And come earnestly and longingly looking for the Kingdom.
All of this, I hope you can see, is the work only of a Good God, preparing His Children for the truth concerning their rightful heritage, in the Kingdom.
Preparing them so that they can "bear" what that reality is.
It is so incredibly awesome and wonderful.
The "it" that seems to be the evil isn't really an "it" at all.
It is a hypnotic dream, a myth, that functions in our consciousness as a belief only to help us get rid of that belief in the most effective way possible.
By destroying it as a matter of conscious experience.
One way or another.
So, even the "it," turned right side up and seen properly, is all and only the actuality of God, helping us to free ourselves from the illusions that would blind us, that seemingly do blind us, from seeing, from being, the incredible reality that is right at hand, that Jesus was preaching about and operating from within.
(As if spatial metaphors could be used.)
So, although we have to talk about evil as if it were a reality, for purposes of exposing it for the lie it is, please understand that not for one minute, not for one fraction of a millisecond (as if time were a reality) do I in any way take evil, or personal sense, or matter in any way whatsoever to be a reality of any kind.
There is only God.
And the identity of His Children.
As His Creation.
Perfect, pure, whole.
The work is already done.
We are just waking up to it.
In the experiences of "this" life.
And we can do that the "hard" way.
Or the easy way.
We can walk backwards, or forwards.
Depending on whether we want to know what is going on or not.
If we do, and we seek, strive, for this knowledge, this understanding, we shall be protected from every experience that happens to us in "this" life.
(We shall be protected anyway; it's just that we won't feel as protected; personal sense will be more agitated, if we don't know that it is what we are giving up.)
The rude events, the painful experiences in our lives happen, one and all, to wake us up. To the reality at hand.
By shaking. And jolting. Us.
Sometimes out of our trees.
It takes a lot, sometimes, to get us to let go of the material dream that we have grown comfortable with.
Or the notion that we are persons, running around in bodies.
With minds of our own.
As little independent forces for good, or evil, in the world.
Or the notion that there is evil, as a force, acting in addition to, and independent of the Only Power in the Universe.
Remember, to personal sense, to third-dimensional consciousness, it is going to look like the very devil is going on.
But right there, where the worst thing possible seems to be going on, right there the spiritual rebirth is actually the only thing going on.
It has to be.
Because that is the only thing ever going on.
As we let go of our fetters and chains and hypnotic illusions, so that we can see the reality that is God.
So, then, what do you think about betrayal?
What is going on?
When somebody puts that friendly old knife in your tender, vulnerable back?
Great feeling, isn't it?
One of the best.
Let me tell you a story.
I worked all my life, to achieve a goal. A modest, humble goal. Within my limited talents. Just barely. But clearly within them.
I wanted to be a college professor.
Like my dad.
I wasn't as bright as my dad, or my brother, or my mother, but, with work, and perseverance, I could compensate and make it. I thought. If I put everything possible in my little store of mental reserves into it.
I made it.
I got through a Ph.D. program, at a respectable school, through five years of tedious, boring, terrifying drudgery.
And before that I got through four years of sheer competitive horror, competing with students, who, back in the early 60's, fought like cats in a bag to get the grades to get into graduate school.
I had a 'C' average my Freshman year, actually 2 C's and a B'.
Which I prayed for, and got.
By a miracle.
Because I was flunking, bottom man, in two classes going into the finals both semesters.
God what horror.
Just to become a college professor.
Like my dad.
Who got his Ph.D. at Berkeley.
Or my brother, who got his law degree at Harvard.
Or my grandfather, who got his law degree at Harvard.
Or my great uncle, who also got his law degree at Harvard.
After he finished at Oxford.
Or my uncle who had had a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford.
Or my cousin, who was working on his Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford.
I just wanted to finish my little Ph.D. in Philosophy and go back to my little college in the Northwest, or one like it, and search for truth.
Not a big search.
Just a little one.
On a farm, maybe, with a wife who loved me.
And a dog.
And some kids.
And make ends meet.
And it worked!
I got my dream!
Just as I was graduating from Washington University, a position opened up at Whitman College.
The faculty, in its wisdom, largely at the prodding of my old major professor there, Bill Soper, decided that they were going to expand the faculty by one man--a new position in the Philosophy Department--and I was going to be it.
This was it!
All my work and slaving and self-denial was paying off, coming true, everything I had wanted, worked for, carefully planned for, and achieved had arrived at just the end I had so preciously conserved in my heart.
I had not over-anticipated.
I had judged just exactly right.
Even down to the timing.
I had not missed a year.
Four years of high school.
Four years of college.
Five years of doctorate work.
I even promised the Dean of the college, a man named Kenyon Knopf, that I would have my degree in my hand when I interviewed with him for the position in the Spring of 1970.
I had not yet finished the first draft of my dissertation.
But I did it.
That same Spring.
I finished the damn thing up, with considerable help from my Department, and arrived at Whitman College, degree and hat in hand, ready for work the following Fall.
That was my dream.
In the Spring of 1973, following an astonishingly successful teaching experience, I found myself in a solitary confinement cell in the County Jail, waiting to be shipped off to the nut house.
Or, at least that is what my wife, my friends, and my colleagues would have had me believe.
Even my mother and my brother.
Everybody, with one exception, said I was nuts, and should be carted off to the looney bin to get straightened out.
The one exception was that arrogant son-of-a-bitch, my old man. A shaky friend in the crunch.
But a friend nevertheless.
The President of the college, a fine man and a good friend, named Donald Sheehan, told my wife that I'd lose my job if I didn't voluntarily go and let the doctors check me out.
For appearances sake if nothing else.
I told my wife that I would push a broom for a living. I didn't care.
I would hang out a shingle, that said, "Philosophy Done While U Wait."
Knowing what I knew, what I had seen demonstrated that I knew, I was sure I would get plenty of business.
My students were for me.
They were a little frightened for me, because they knew I was on to something powerful, as did everybody else, but they saw it as good and liberating.
While the faculty saw it as threatening and uncomfortable.
And the students knew that.
And so they were worried for me.
Except the more liberated ones.
Who saw (sensed) that I was going to blow (mentally) my way out of the horribly confining and restrictive atmosphere of a small liberal arts college, and that small liberal arts college in particular.
They were right.
For the moment, however, I was sitting in my prison cell, talking to my attorney about going to court, because I knew I could win in court.
I simply hadn't been that weird.
I had been as cool as possible.
The only reason the D.A. had gone with my wife's complaint, and agreed to have me picked up by the police, was because she showed him some bruises.
I had hit her, not hard, twice, on the back!
It was nothing.
Which she acknowledged.
But she bruised extremely easily; and, as she said it was only by showing him those bruises that she could get him to lock me up.
That was the law.
I simply had not been acting weird enough for there to be any other cause to have them come and get me.
Meaning, that a justification had to be invented, legally, to get them to stow me in the nut hatch.
Where they could work on me.
And get me "restored" again.
To my good old "sane," normal, third-dimensional self.
The self of greed. Sensual pleasure.
A devotee of the sanctity of material laws.
A non-believer in the power and reality of real love.
And, above all, a subscriber to the belief in personal existence, as outlined by the scientific conception of what it means to be a so-called "human being."
Well, I knew that that conception was full of shit.
I had studied it all my professional life.
I had seen the paradoxes, incoherencies, and absolute confusion that that little theory, going back as far as Aristotle, had let to in human affairs.
Furthermore, I had written my doctoral dissertation on the concept, and theories behind the concept, of Psychological Normality and Abnormality.
For two solid years I had researched and written about that.
And I knew god damn well that the concept of Psychological Normality was equally full of shit.
And I had taught people like R.D. Laing, Alan Watts, Herbert Marcuse, and Normon 0. Brown in class to further explore the idiocy of what we call "normal" human life.
As well as Plato, Aristotle, Sartre, Kant, Freud, Jung, Kierkegaard, and Nietzsche.
I knew that normal American Civilization had somewhere, somehow, been hypnotized by an intellectual can of worms, and was dreaming a dream.
It was just a question of what the dream was.
And what the reality was.
Which, as I had been professionally taught all my academic career, was The Philosophical Question.
And I knew I was close to the center of it.
I was close.
And willing to risk, and bet everything on it.
Which my wife saw.
And, allowed herself to get caught up in the same hypnotism that was spooking my relatives, and friends, and colleagues.
The lust for power.
And, above all, fear of the unknown.
Don't mistake me. She is still the purest woman I have ever known.
She just slipped. Once.
And let herself fall for the jealousy and envy that trailed in her own sense of what she was about to lose.
Which, in reality, was going to be, is going to be, in its own good time, that personal sense of things, that is pure, unadulterated limitation in our lives.