home    meditation training    service    study work    thoughtline    about us 

Series 2:

THE COMING ONE


Study Set 10

Preparation for the Christ


Contents

1) Seed Thought
2) Reading Assignment
3) Work to be Completed
4) Letter from Teaching Staff (on real service)
5) Examples of Thinking of Speakers and/or Writers
  
1. TODD GITLIN, president of Students for a Democratic Society 1963-4
   2. THICH NHAT HANH, Buddhist Monk
   3. SIR HERBERT READ. British poet and interpreter of modern art.
   4. STOKELY CARMICHAEL, field secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee
   5. THE CASE AGAINST THE DRUG CULTURE
  
6. ROBERT MAYNARD HUTCHINS heads the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.


SEED THOUGHT

There exists no circumstances in which the spirit of man can be defeated or in which the aspirant cannot meditate, think, talk and prepare the way for the coming of the Christ, provided he cares enough and knows the meaning of sacrifice and silence."


WORK TO BE COMPLETED

1. What sacrifices can and should today's spiritual aspirant be making in order to help prepare the way for the Coming One?

Please be specific in your answer.

2. Section (d) Of this study set presents for your consideration, the thinking of influential speakers and/or writers. According to the example presented here, which, if any, do you consider to be forerunners of the Coming One? By that we mean which of these persons do you see as contributing significantly to preparing the minds and hearts of men to be responsive to the next world teacher?

3. Quoting from INITIATION, HUMAN AND SOLAR, p. 25

".....all true occultists are distinguished by the characteristics of knowledge, dynamic will, courage, and silence. This leads to their silence when the average man would speak and their speaking when the average man is silent."

What is the average man likely to talk about that the true occultist would keep silent about?

What is the true occultist likely to speak about that the average man would not speak about?

 


Dear Fellow Students:

As you now realize, Arcana bases its esoteric training on three aspects: meditation, study and service. Each is equally important and each is dependent on the other two. They might be likened to a three legged stool; with one leg missing, the stool falls down. Meditation brings in energy which is useful only in service. Study provides the incentive to practice meditation; study stimulates service intent. Service points up the need for further study and deeper meditation. And so it goes, round and round the triangle, each aspect of the work feeding and strengthening the others.

Let us examine one of the three aspects, -- service. What is REAL SERVICE from the point of view of a disciple-in-training? It seems that service is a word that covers a wide area of effort and it should be clarified for our purposes in the esoteric field.

Traditionally, we tend to think of spiritual service as healing the sick, feeding the hungry and teaching the word of God. This is necessary and important work, but it is not what we mean when WE speak of service.

Our work is serving CONSCIOUSNESS, not FORM. Spirit and matter are inter-related through the agency of the soul which is the consciousness factor. The form aspect responds, via the soul, to the life which animates it. Life dwells in form; soul reveals that life. In man the life is the monad; the consciousness is the soul; and the form is the three-faceted personality. The personality is composed of the mental, emotional and physical vehicles.

In order for the soul to reveal the spirit or monad to the personality, that soul must be released from bondage to its form nature. Those souls who are free from the demands of the triple form are able to aid other souls to obtain their freedom. It is from these liberated souls, the Masters of the Wisdom, that we receive the teaching which liberates us from the hungers, wants and demands of our three bodies. As soon as we are able to recognize the soul quality in ourselves and others, we are able to start the work of liberation.

The soul, by its nature, sees life grouped or patterned. The soul recognizes that human life is made up of associated groupings of those who share similar experiences and thereby have the same basic problems to solve. When we as an esoteric training center encounter individuals who have similar problems, we do not work with them primarily as individuals because that would be working at the personal level and would be a misuse of soul energy and might tend to augment the problem. We would be stimulating the personality and not the soul of that individual. For example, a heart surgeon seeks to help those who have heart ailments by concentrating his efforts on studying THE CONDITION RATHER THAN THE INDIVIDUAL. In this way he is able to aid many people. Therefore we as spiritual servers work with groups or areas of life that are striving to solve the same problem. For instance, if we inject the quality of clear thinking, either by speech or writing, into an area of muddled thinking, we will benefit many lives.

Bringing in the energy to heal is one of the powers of the soul. Healing is one of the results of soul contact. On the emotional level there is much need for healing. Fear and hatred abound unchecked throughout the world. The Law of Love, working through the soul of humanity, can heal all destructive emotions thereby releasing mankind's emotional resources into the creative work of which the imagination is capable. Purifying the emotional atmosphere is a desperately needed service to humanity.

On the mental plane there is also much healing work to do. Men are divided by confusion, muddled thinking, half truths and deliberate distortions of truth. Shining the clear light of the soul into areas of mental murkiness has a two-fold effect: it shows men the futility and worthlessness of murky thinking, and it enables them to see the truth of the situation. When dark areas are lighted, their contents are clearly recognizable. Only in darkness can mistrust and deception be nurtured. Only in the light can truth grow and flourish. Clear thinking helps men to see situations as they really are and as they ought to be. Clear thinking paves the way toward cooperative ventures and mutual accomplishments.

Relationships are a major concern of the soul. The exploration of right human relations is a new area of life which offers much service opportunity to willing souls. As our communication systems improve and our planet becomes more crowded, the need for right relationships becomes more and more apparent. We are rapidly being pushed to find satisfactory solutions to our relationship tension and discomfort.

The enlightened serving soul makes the inner side of life real to others. The soul that has been liberated from form knows a great deal that the average person does not know. It can lead those in its environment into new areas of consciousness. It lights the way for those who are looking for the way. It cannot be restricted and held down. It is free to soar to limitless heights and thereby encourages others to do likewise. A liberated serving soul, by the quality of its daily life, rather than by what it says and does, throws a beam of light on other peoples next step upon the way. The enlightened soul, living in light, is light, and by its presence others are able to SEE.

The liberated soul knows the Plan or a part of the Plan. It uses its creative personality to create some new form through which the Plan can manifest.

The serving soul recognizes other souls who are enough in control of their own forms that they can serve and manifest the Plan. It aids and strengthens these other servers in their work.

Service, then, is strengthening, aiding, encouraging and liberating other souls, letting the inner beauty and wonder of life shine forth.

Sharing service,
The Staff of ARCANA


Example 1.
TODD GITLIN, president of Students for a Democratic Society 1963-4

…The basic liberal misapprehension about America is that power is dispersed among competing institutions which balance each other. The national interest, or the "best for all concerned," is supposed to emerge from orderly conflict among government, business, unions, interest groups, on down to the PTA. Individual liberty is supposed to be guaranteed because there is always room for one more interest.

But the brute reality is that for most Americans the reins of power -- control over elemental life decisions -- are remote. Most of us are reduced to apathy, sensing that the world is indifferent to us.

Political free enterprise is as illusory as the economic, largely BECAUSE the economic model is a fraud. The dual engines of industrialization and war have created a tightly-planned corporate complex that dominates the economy. Its power extends over work, information and policy, colossal in degree and unchallenged in kind. The New Deal institutions intended to circumscribe that power do so marginally if at all...

Much of the sham of pluralism stems from the unchallenged domination of the values of the marketplace, the fact that profit still motivates production, communication, education. If the sheer bulk of goods is all-important, who needs democracy? How can the New Deal prevail against the Fast Deal?

Yet it would be a mistake to cast government in the role of helpless bystander, for it too is a mechanism of irresponsible power, almost as free of democratic control as are the corporations, and as comfortably respectful of business as business is of it...

Locally, take urban renewal: a revealing example, because mass powerlessness grips the poor most of all, and the quality of society must be measured by the way it treats its outcasts... In the white ghetto of Chlcago's Uptown, where I live and work, private developers plan to convert the neighborhood into still another stretch of luxury apartment buildings. Neither City Hall nor Washington will interfere: renewal would be good for the city tax base, good for the burgeoning middle class. But who asked the welfare recipients, the migrant Southerners, the day-labor hirelings who live here? (What do they know about the intricacies of urban planning? Who do THEY know?) Of course, if they wait long enough, they may be admitted into public housing -- where they will be treated like caged animals.

The special powerlessness of the poor derives from the same welfare state that was intended to remedy the excesses of unbridled capitalism. While the poor have been kept alive, they have been subjected to a new set of institutions that extort elementary freedoms as the price of sustenance. This all-or-nothing humanitarianism pays a husbandless mother not quite enough to live decently, she must submit to a battery of regulations, not of her own making, which keep her on welfare.

Her dependency derives from class structure, not personal fault. In a supposedly fluid America, it is class that apportions a man's share of justice, health, culture, education, ordinary respect - as any visit to a jail, an emergency room, a theater, a college or a municipal bureau will illustrate. And class perpetuates itself. Material poverty generates inequalities that income alone will not alter, at least at first.

The war on poverty, while acknowledging the fact of class stratification, is irrelevant at best and inimical at worst to the standard of democracy...... The assumption is that the rest of us are OK, so we know what the poor need: they need what we have. The arrogance may be wrapped in good intentions, but it is there nonetheless.

So deep lie the distempers of the society that they are barely scratched by the traditional liberal instruments of change: gradual legislation and the ballot-box. The liberal faith in additive progress mistakes quantity for quality, or, where it hazards innovation (as in the civil rights bills and the war on poverty), fails to come to grips with powerlessness, inequality, human waste.

It is not slowly that choices turn out to be echoes, though this is certainly true. Worse, elections have been irrelevant because the public issues of control -- foreign policy, militarism, economic power, decentralization -- have been defined OUT of politics by an elite's appeals to free enterprise and exclusive expertise. Then too, the personalized consequences of mass impotence -- boredom, conformity, inconsequentiality, violence, indifference -- are mostly immune to changes in nominal power.

The same blindness arises as liberalism addresses the hungry majority of the world..... Vietnam is thus no tragic mistake: it is the logic of American "law and order."

The New Left is said to be longer on critique than on prescription. The charge is rather accurate on its face, but we have had good reason to be tentative and skeptical about blueprints. For one thing, we have learned that blueprints tend to freeze. But rigid agnosticism too can be and is being transcended. Values and experience generate certain guidelines.

1. POWER MUST BE SHARED AMONG THOSE AFFECTED, AND RESOURCES GUARANTEED TO MAKE THIS POSSIBLE.
This formula is quite precise. It means for example, that slums should be rebuilt according to plans adopted by the residents, with capital provided from public funds and labor from the neighborhood. Welfare programs should be supervised by the recipients, until welfare becomes superfluous because a decent income is guaranteed for all who will not or cannot work. The mass media should be opened to all comers, with no restrictions except a bias toward dissent. Political candidates should be publicly subsidized. The university's curricular and extracurricular decisions should be up to students and faculty alone. The great corporations should, somehow, be made responsible to workers and consumers. (Here we are in special need of fresh thinking and honest experimentation.) New political institutions are needed to localize an distribute as much power as possible: police forces elected by residents, neighborhood courts with authority over the quality of goods, the availability of loans, the behavior of municipal, state and federal agencies, etc.; computerized referenda on national issues like war and compulsory health insurance; and so on.

2. THE INSTITUTIONAL PROPS OF RACISM MUST BE EXTIRPATED.
This would entail not just the vigorous enforcement of existing laws and the Constitution but the guarantee of income, the razing of the ghetto by its unemployed and the founding of new, integrated communities, the provision of land and crop allotments for sharecroppers and small farmers, the extension of serious federal presence in the vigilante South, fair jury legislation, and more along these lines.

3. AMERICA MUST PUT DOWN THE BIG STICK AND TAKE SELF-DETERMINATION SERIOUSLY.
Revolution must at least be tolerated if not embraced -- then we may earn the right to be critical. Foreign investments must be withdrawn unless invited by governments committed to their people. Disarmament is imperative, and this means rapprochment with China. Overall, whatever progress the comfortable make must not be at the expense of the miserable.

But a great deal depends on how change takes place. The top-down facsimiles of these proposals would amount to little, if anything. Far more than any particular program, America needs a movement dedicated to remaking America at the roots. The solid and decisive changes must be the burden of the people who see the need and organize, wherever they are, to demand and create a society that would honor men. Only the experience of movement confronting institutional power can generate the issues now submerged in rhetoric and helplessness.

There are stirrings of this new politics:

--in a civil rights movement beginning to grapple with the hard issues of sustenance.....and dignity.....and power;

--in the SDS-catalyzed "community unions" of poor whites and Negroes in the North, concerned with welfare, housing; the police, cooperatives and a political voice for the poor;

--in university reform movements and teach-ins and a scattering of independent Free Universities..... where student-faculty community emerges;

--in outbreaks of low-level union agitation over working conditions and shop control, and migrant worker strikes;

--with artists and writers who are not only seeking truth and spirit but are finding and fashioning audiences who care about truth and spirit.

--with doctors who not only support Medicare but are organizing to plan the institutions of equal medicine; lawyers and law students who enlist with those most in need of justice.....

--and with the many who refuse to countenance the war in Vietnam, and try to stop it.

If the whole seems puny when matched against the requirements of its vision, that is simply a measure of how powerful the powerful are, and how beaten -- or comfortable -- the powerless. Yet in this movement's variousness and its growing coherence there is a strength that will not be easily drowned, or purchased, or sloughed off. There IS a chance. Let democrats and humanists seize it while we can.

Excerpted from "Power and the Myth of Progress"
THE NEW REPUBLIC 12725/65


Example 2.
THICH NHAT HANH, Buddhist Monk

"I have come to America to describe to you the aspirations and the agony of the voiceless masses of the Vietnamese people, of all faiths, who have no means to speak for themselves," a Buddhist monk called Thich Nhat Hanh said a few weeks ago, upon arriving in the United States.

"I must speak out for peace." Since then, Nhat Hanh (Thich is a religious title) has traveled widely here, and last week, on the eve of his departure, we had tea with him..... and asked him how his mission had turned out.

"Before I came here, I imagined I would be booed, and they would throw eggs, but there was none or that," said Nhat Hanh..... "I confess I have more faith in the American people than I had. I feel a sense of humanity and love -- not just words. I am deeply moved by the response of many people I talked to. While travelling, I got very touching letters, and the students I met showed their sympathy and concern. The Vietnamese can't imagine that there are people like this here; I wish the Vietnamese could see these things, and gain courage from them. But the peasants can only listen to our government radio, and it reflects the government feeling."

Nhat Hahn is, in Vietnam, the editor of a Buddhist weekly, has published ten books, is well known as a poet, has helped found a university in Saigon, and is the leader of a social-service organization that works in the villages with the peasants.....One of his princpal stops was in Washington, where he met Secretary McNamara, Senator Fulbright, Senator Edward Kennedy, and several other people in the government..... "I had the feeling, waiting in the Pentagon, that it is very difficult here to imagine what the war is like in Vietnam, and to feel the anxiety of our people. I was supposed to meet with Secretary McNamara for fifteen minutes..... he had become interested.....and we talked for another fifteen minutes. I told him about the effect of the bombing: the more you destroy, the more you create opposition. I said you cannot lose the war but you can win only by destroying all of us, because the Vietcong are mixed with the peasants. I said you should stop and let the workers go into the country to help the people. But the social-improvement program of the United States and the Vietnamese government is looked upon by the peasants as political propaganda -- like candy for children. The pacification program has a political purpose -- to denounce Communists -- so people are afraid; they have had bitter experience with government agents. When the pacification people ask for a piece of land to build a school on, they hardly get it, because the people hate them. Secretary McNamara asked about our own way of approaching the peasants, and I told him that in our social program -- we have several pilot villages in Gia Dinh Province -- we come into the village with nothing. We work hard, and we get the sympathy of the children, and then the adults. There is always a young nun or monk to prove we are not the government. If there is a small pagoda in the village, we will live in it, and work, and pray every day for the villagers .... Once you are accepted by the peasants, the opportunities for social improvement are more than you expect. You need only a third as much money as expected, because each family will give bamboo and brick, and they will give land for schools, and they will help. And -- most important -- they look on the work as theirs. And they will protect it from the Vietcong and from the government. I felt a kind of relief after talking to McNamara. I felt I must tell him the most important things. I believe it was a real conversation."

....."I think the Vietnamese problem is partly psychological, and we have been neglecting that aspect of the war," he said. "During the past twelve years, there has been no policy concerning religion, and the Vietnamese are more religious than anything else. My impression is that if religious groups are helped to send thousands of people into the countryside in the name of their faith -- not to denounce anyone but just to help -- the Vietcong couldn't do anything. But the government policy is negative -- trying to keep the religious groups quiet. Everyone has become very suspicious. Promises have been made but not kept. Religion is the only thing that can unite the people and give them faith in the future. I mean ALL religions..... It must be proved that the Americans want peace. They should stop the bombing. I don't plead for a complete, sudden withdrawal of troops, but I believe they should stop attacking and stand in a position of self-defense. An announcement of intent to remove troops within eight to ten months should be made, and an international project to help Vietnam should be started. The Vietnamese are very tired. If you can prove you are working for peace and reconstruction, the people will support you -- both sides, including many non-Communist Vietcong, who have nowhere else to go. Without the support of the peasants, no one can win. But in Vietnam now we are not allowed to speak of peace and reconstruction."

Nhat Hanh plans to return to Saigon this summer, after a trip to Europe, and will, he hopes, resume his efforts in the field of social service. "I am very much interested in social work, and not for the sake of charity at all," he said. "I feel it meaningful. In Saigon, a different milieu, I am more inclined to live a simple life. From time to time it is good to live in comfortable conditions, as I have here, but only for a few days. I would like to be in permanent contact with the life of the poor people. It is not a morality, or ethics, but the art of living. Just art -- no principle. I am not unhappy at all when I live that way. It helps you keep lucid. I feel happy, and not because I think I am doing something good -- I don't believe that -- but sometimes you get rewarded being among people who express themselves in a very simple and natural way. You feel yourself more related to others -- the way sometimes a mother or a sister feels that she cannot be herself without worrying about the others in her family. A while ago, I lived in the United States for one or two years, as a student and as a teacher, and I thought; Problems come if you live too comfortable a life, and sufferings arise. When you focus on yourself, you find many more problems. Not realizing the suffering around you in the world -- I don't think that is a happiness. You feel loneliness and emptiness, and these are more unbearable than other kinds of suffering." He paused, then said, "The most effective medicine is an experience of the suffering around you. Then you heal."

Excerpted from THE NEW YORKER, 6/25/66


Example 3.
SIR HERBERT READ. British poet and interpreter of modern art.

.....An experience that may be said to have redirected the course of my life..... occurred during the second World War. A Fine Arts Committee was formed to "project" British art abroad, and in the years that followed it was to prove very effective. But while the war lasted it was impossible to send valuable works of art across the seas, and as an interim measure it was decided to substitute collections of drawings by British children which could be packed in light parcels and framed when they reached their destination. I was given the task of selecting such drawings, and for this purpose visited a number of schools throughout the country.

In the course of collecting such drawings I came to a small village in Cambridgeshire and was there shown a drawing by a girl five years old which she called SNAKE AROUND THE WORLD AND A BOAT. It had been drawn by the child at home and was entirely spontaneous in origin. I was deeply moved because what this child had drawn was one of the oldest symbols in the world -- a magic circle divided into segments and known as the Mandala: the symbol of the self as a psychic unity.....

There are many interpretations of this symbol, many of them having to do with time and eternity, but symbols are never meaningful in the rational sense, and of course this child could not attach a meaning to the symbol she had drawn... I, with my more sophisticated knowledge, could recognize the drawing as a symbol that was archetypal and universal. Such knowledge on my part had been acquired largely from my reading of Jung's works, but what had been an interesting hypothesis had suddenly become an observed phenomenon, proof. This child of five had given me something in the nature of an apocalyptic experience.

This was not the only experience of the kind. Symbols are present in children's drawings everywhere, and at all ages. But on the basis of the material I collected for the British Council during the war I made a close study of the subject which was published in 1943 as EDUCATION THROUGH ART. The more I considered my material the more convinced I became of the basic significance of the child's creative activities for the development of consciousness and for the necessary fusion of sensibility and intellect.

...This does not mean that its claim -- that art should be made the basis of education -- has been widely recognized. It conflicts too directly with the technologically motivated education of advanced industrial societies. But the progress of this simple idea in twenty years has been amazing, and I believe that it may yet conquer the world.

It may -- I do not express any confidence, for mankind seems to drift toward self-destruction in blind disregard of all that its wise men have said or can say. We know what we should do, but we do not do it. We prefer to remain not so much in al1 outer darkness -- for the lights of wisdom blaze round us -- but in a bemused euphoria of masterly "progress" which offers mankind a high standard of living in exchange for his spiritual freedom.

Tolstoy recognized that the pursuit of power, whether by the individual or the state, is the root of all the evil we endure, and against power only a spiritual weapon can prevail. "This weapon is but this, a devout understanding of life, according to which man regards his earthly existence as only a fragmentary manifestation of the complete life, and connecting his life with infinite life, and recognizing his highest welfare in the fulfillment of the laws of this infinite life, regards the fulfillment of these laws as more binding upon himself then the following of any human laws whatsoever."

...for Berdyaev something more is necessary -- an awareness of "the significance of the irrational processes of life that permeate us, get hold of us, imperil us, and thereby transcend our rational and moral aims and ends...... True, no one perhaps had experienced the horror of evil, particularly when it parades in the guise of the Good, with such intensity as Tolstoy, but he remained blind to the dark, irrational, metaphysical source of evil." That too, was Jung's opinion, not of Tolstoy particularly, but of all social reformers who think that the world can be changed by rational means.

And so we come to the spiritual void that opens in my own path. I have read Berdyaev and many other Christian apologists, and have been moved especially by two of them, Kierkegeard and Simone Well .....The difficulty I experience with all such Christian apologists is that they rely, for their final argument, on the necessity of grace.....

In desperation, we have recourse to the science of the self, to individual psychology, which teaches us surely enough that reason alone no longer suffices. In particular, reason cannot deal with the problem of evil...... What we need is the peace of mind that comes with self-knowledge, which implies the knowledge of the unconscious processes that cause fear and aggression, envy and crime. This self-knowledge may in rare cases come from inner illumination, and happy are those who are vouchsafed it. For mankind at large it must come from what we must call education, ambiguous as the word is: an education that above all takes into account the symbolic needs of the unconscious --therefore, an education through art. The ideal to be achieved might be called serenity.....

Education is perhaps a poor and misunderstood process on which to rely for the salvation of mankind, but I know of no other. It we remember its literal meaning, then it does imply bringing to consciousness what is undeveloped, unrecognized, misunderstood, or despised. We must become whole men, and we cannot become whole so long as we leave the foundations of the psyche on tremulous ground. I agree with Jung that the process of education (which he called the process of individuation) may lead the individual back to God -- or, as he would have said, bring God back to the individual. But these are questions for the future, and largely questions of nomenclature. The present and urgent necessity is to admit the sickness of man's soul and take practical measures to cure it. I would emphasize the word practical, and even substitute for it the word pragmatic, for it is no longer a question of moral exhortation or of religious revivalism; it is a question of having faith in a few simple ideas, for only such simple ideas have the power to transform the world.

Excerpts from, Whatever Happened to the Great Simplicities?
SATURDAY REVIEW, 2/18/67


Example 4.
STOKELY CARMICHAEL, field secretary of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

One of the main reasons for [our] criticism of American society is that our society is exclusive while maintaining that it is inclusive. Although automation has prompted some rethinking about the Alger myth and upward mobility, few people are realistic about the ways in which one legally can "make it" here -- or who can make it.

The panacea for lack of opportunity is education, as is the panacea for prejudice. If every 16-year-old in the nation was motivated to attend high school, he could not: there are not enough schools, not enough physical space. As for college, less than one-quarter of the population ever gets there. Even the cheapest state college charges fees which are impossible for the poor. Scholarships serve only the gifted. For the Negro, there is an additional problem. Society has taught him to set short sights for himself, and so he does.

Hard work was once considered [another] way to climb the ladder. Automation should have buried that once and for all. Think now of the Southern Negro, driven off the land in increasing numbers today, coming to the Northern city. Is he to pick cotton in Manhattan? He finds the menual work automated and the "little shop" gobbled up by supermarkets. He is, in fact, unemployable -- from the Mississippi Delta to Watts. Civil rights protest has not materially benefited the masses of Negroes; it has helped those who were already just a little ahead.

Racism is real enough in the United States, but exclusion is not based on race. There may be proportionately less Negroes than whites among the included; and Negroes are, of course, "last to be hired, first to be fired". But the number of excluded whites is vast.

Let me make one thing clear: I am not saying that the goal is for Negroes and other excluded persons to be allowed to join the middleclass mainstream of American society as we see it today. Aside from the fact that at least some Negroes don't want that, such inclusion is impossible under present circumstances. For a real end to exclusion in American society, the society would have to be so radically changed that the goal cannot really be defined as inclusion. "They talk about participating in the mainstream," said a Brooklyn College faculty member recently at a teach-in on the antipoverty program, when they don't realize that the mainstream is the very cause of their troubles.

After the Watts uprising, committees were assigned to study the causes and make recommendations. These were composed of the "experts on Negroes," the "qualified." I am not opposed to the presence on such committees of intellectuals and professionals, or merely making a parallel objection to poverty boards which don't include the poor. My objection is to the basic approach, which excludes the unqualified.

When SNCC first went to work in Lowndes County, Alabama, which is 80 percent Negro by census figures, I -- a "qualified" person by virtue of my college education -- used to say to the black people there that they should register to vote and then make their voices heard. They could assert their rights, take over the power structure. This was the prescription of the qualified. But these people didn't want to do that; they did not think they could; they did not even

want to enter a machine headed by George Wallace. Entering politics meant, until last summer, confronting the tools of Wallace: the county registrars who had flunked Negroes consistently for years. They asked if something different could not be created. They wanted to redefine politics, make up new rules, and play the game with some personal integrity. Out of a negative force, fear, grew the positive drive to think new.

SNCC's research department provided the tool: the possibility, under an unusual Alabama law, of a group of citizens in any county becoming a political party in that county by running candidates for county offices and getting 20 percent of the vote. Having done that, the county party can go on to become a state party by running candidates for state office and polling 20 percent of that vote. Thus, educated people (SNCC research) suggested an answer by providing the

information. But the Alabamans had known what kind of way they wanted to take. They needed to be given confidence and to be told how to do it. Alabama Negroes are beginning to believe they don't need to be qualified to get involved in politics. People long accustomed to self-contempt are beginning to believe in their own voice.

I have hope for this nation. But it is not based on the idea of an American consensus favorable to progress; James Baldwin's idea of the Negro as the conscience of the country is closer to the truth. The majority view is a lie, based on a premise of upward mobility which doesn't exist for most Americans. They may think the government is at least dealing with basic problems (racial injustice, poverty), but it cannot solve them when it starts from the wrong

premise. The status quo persists because there are no ways up from the bottom. When improvements within the system have been made, they resulted from pressure -- pressure from below. Nothing has been given away; governments don't hand out justice because it's a nice thing to do. People must struggle and die first.

Excluded people must acquire the opportunity to redefine what the Great Society is, and then it may have meaning. I place my own hope for the United States in the growth of belief among the unqualified that they are in fact qualified: they can articulate and be responsible and hold power.

Excerpted from an article WHO IS QUALIFIED?
THE NEW REPUBLIC, 1/8/66


Example 5.
THE CASE AGAINST THE DRUG CULTURE

In June, 1966, in San Francisco, a big conference was held on LSD and the other hallucinogens. Since people evidently find the subject titillating, the yellow press gave it more space than wars, revolutions, and other things that one might suppose were really more important. This conference was sponsored by the University of California, and, like almost everything else under the aegis of that institution, it seemed to me utterly to miss the essential point.

Not a single one of the experts flown in from all over the country seemed even to hint at this point: the big question with LSD, as with marijuana, peyote, mescaline, morning glory seeds, glue-sniffing, and all the similar devices, is not whether they are useful in treating alcoholism; whether they are addictive; whether they should be legalized or outlawed; whether people under their influence occasionally run amok, stab other people, commit suicide, and so

forth. The big question is: are they a diversion, a distraction, a siphoning off of energies desperately needed elsewhere, a way of opting out which is heartlessly unfair to those who are left?

To be sure, if everybody in the world -- all the Communist and other ideologues, all the hungry agricultural workers of this nation and every other nation, all the Negroes in ghettos in this nation and the Union of South Africa and everywhere else -- if everybody were to renounce his economic and political and other grievances, and take the LSD route, then the problem I am speaking of would not exist. Personally, I doubt that I could bear to live in such

a world...... Obviously, everyone is not going to agree to opt out. And short of that, those who take the psychedelic way out are, in effect, adding that much more to the burden of those who choose to stay in "middle space", and fight its evils and try to make it livable and try to keep it going for the benefit of everybody -- including those who are doing nothing to help, and, indeed, are known to jeer at hardworking reformers and call them "squares."

Among the other values at stake, besides transcendental experiences, is simple human justice. It seems to me damnably unjust for some people to be flying around on psychedelic trips, while other people are down below, stuck in dehumanizing kinds of employment, stuck in dehumanizing cities, being killed in wars.

What is needed is not more people blasted out of their minds. There are more than enough people out of their minds already. What is needed is more people in their minds -- in their right minds.

I believe that people "drop out"..... to a culture of fantasies, the drug culture, for negative rather than positive reasons: not so much because they truly find their fantasies fulfilling, as because they are totally alienated..... from any other culture which seems available. They do not see..... any legacies worth preserving in Western civilization -- including

the concept of personal expansion and fulfillment and liberation.

..... For bona fide liberation..... there is a vision which may be matched more than favorably against that of the tripsters. What is really fresh, really revolutionary -- perhaps the only authentically twentieth century revolution -- is the hypothesis that it is possible for a person to live a whole, rounded, aware, productive, creative, responsible, self-realized life, personal yet inter-personal, with peak periods and periods of rest, on the strength of his

own powers, his own insight into his needs for fulfillment and what it takes to meet those needs, his own will, his own effort, without leaning on some Freudian or Marxian or other dogma, or computer programming, or any other kind of crutch -- including drugs.

Excerpted from an article in MANAS, Nov. 16, 1966
which was adapted from a KPFA, Berkeley radio commentary
by Henry Anderson, June, 1966


Example 6.
ROBERT MAYNARD HUTCHINS heads the Center for the Study of Democratic Institutions.

A university has to be an intellectual community because nothing can be understood in isolation. The university's aim is to draw the circle of knowledge. Its great role is to tame the excesses of the experts by forcing them to consider their disciplines in the light of the others. The lawyer, historian, scientist or whatever, who aims only at technical proficiency, is necessarily isolated from everybody outside his own field because nobody outside his own

field can -- or should -- have any possible interest in what he is doing. Interdisciplinary studies in a multiversity are a sham: the aim is not to draw the circle of knowledge, but to increase the supply of helpful hints available to the technician by bringing in some from other disciplines.

When you try to meet miscellaneous, immediate, low-level needs in a university, you get the multiversity, because these things require little intellectual effort and give your constituency the illusion that you are grappling with "real" problems. The ease and popularity of these activities mean they will overwhelm the essential purpose of the university, which is the search for understanding, an undertaking neither easy nor popular. The multiversity is not merely a non-university, a pseudo-university; it is an anti-university.

Since the multiversity is a conglomerate merger, the form of the business corporation is appropriate to it, with directors, executives, employees, a product, a balance sheet, and "growth". But an intellectual community must be small, and, if it is small enough, its senior members can know all about it. They can take their turns in administration, and the class of professional administrators, to which I have belonged all my life, can be abolished. Boards of trustees and regents can become boards of visitors, criticizing, interpreting, assisting, but not controlling the work of the community, the direction of which must be in the hands of its members.

The essential elements of liberal education are the liberal arts, which are language and mathematics. They are the indispensable basis of understanding. Everybody can learn them, and everybody should. The elimination of triviality from the elementary and secondary schools and concentration on giving everybody a liberal education should make it possible to bring everybody to that pitch of liberal education which would enable him to function as a citizen and a man. It should also fit him for that type of independent study to which the university should be confined. This could be accomplished through a six-year elementary school, a three-year high school and a three-year college, graduation from which could take place at approximately the age of 18. Those college graduates interested in and qualified for independent study, and only those, should be admitted to the university.

The university must assume that the period of instruction, of schooling, is past, that the student is prepared for independent study, that he has the ability and willingness to think, and think for himself. Since I propose liberal education for all, I propose the college for all. I propose the university only for those who have the interest and capacity to join in its work. The aims of the two institutions are different, and it will cause nothing but confusion to make one part of the other.

We have more information and less understanding than at any time in history. What power can accomplish, the United States can do. What prosperity can give, the United States can enjoy. Power and prosperity are good things to have if you know what to do with them. At the moment, the United States is the most powerful, the most prosperous, and the most dangerous country in the world.

Yet surely the mission of the United States is to help make the world a decent habitation for mankind. For this we need that understanding which leads to wisdom. If education can come into its own, if the ideal university, the incandescent center of independent thought, can arise, we may have the intellectual means for the effective discharge of our responsibility. The material means are at our disposal.

Excerpted from THE UNIVERSITY AND THE MULTIVERSITY
Published in THE NEW REPUBLIC, 4/1/67


Printable Version
 

Study Series

The Coming One Series Index

home

home    meditation training    service    study work    thoughtline    about us 


copyright
2003-2014 Arcana Workshops

send questions or comments to arcanaworkshops@gmail.com