Something different?

“The secret of change is to focus all of your energy, not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” — Socrates

Font Size

SCREEN

Profile

Layout

Menu Style

Cpanel
You are here You are here: Home Study Psychology & Mind Fourth Way Reference 4th Way — War References

4th Way — War References

In Search of the Miraculous

(36) instances of War in In Search of the Miraculous
Page No. # Instances Page No. # Instances
Pages 27-29 3 Page 122 1
Pages 30-31 3 Page 150 3
Pages 43-47 2 Pages 351-352 3
Page 81  1 Pages 367-368 1
Pages 110-111 17 Pages 369-370 2

The Fourth Way

(18) instances of War in The Fourth Way
Page No. # Instances Page No. # Instances
Page 204-205 1 Page  402 1
Page 207 2 Pages 404-406 5
Page 214 3 Pages 408-409 1
Page 251 1
Page 439 2
 Page 256-257  1 Pages 440-441 1

In Search of the Miraculous

pp. 27-29

There is another talk which has remained in my memory.

I asked G. what a man had to do to assimilate this teaching.

"What to do?" asked G. as though surprised. "It is impossible to do anything. A man must first of all understand certain things. He has thousands of false ideas and false conceptions, chiefly about himself, and he must get rid of some of them before beginning to acquire anything new. Otherwise the new will be built on a wrong foundation and the result will be worse than before."

"How can one get rid of false ideas?" I asked. "We depend on the forms of our perception. False ideas are produced by the forms of our perception."

G. shook his head.

"Again you speak of something different,"' he said. "You speak of errors arising from perceptions but I am not speaking of these. Within the limits of given perceptions man can err more or err less. As I have said before, man's chief delusion is his conviction that he can do. All people think that they can do, all people want to do, and the first question all people ask is what they are to do. But actually nobody does anything and nobody can do anything. This is the first thing that must be understood. Everything happens. All that befalls a man, all that is done by him, all that comes from him — all this happens. And it happens in exactly the same way as rain falls as a result of a change in the temperature in the higher regions of the atmosphere or the surrounding clouds, as snow melts under the rays of the sun, as dust rises with the wind.

"Man is a machine. All his deeds, actions, words, thoughts, feelings, convictions, opinions, and habits are the results of external influences, external impressions. Out of himself a man cannot produce a single thought, a single action. Everything he says, does, thinks, feels — all this happens. Man cannot discover anything, invent anything. It all happens.

"To establish this fact for oneself, to understand it, to be convinced of its truth, means getting rid of a thousand illusions about man, about his being creative and consciously organizing his own life, and so on. There is nothing of this kind. Everything happens — popular movements, wars, revolutions, changes of government, all this happens. And it happens in exactly the same way as everything happens in the life of individual man. Man is born, lives, dies, builds houses, writes books, not as he wants to, but as it happens. Everything happens. Man does not love, hate, desire — all this happens.

"But no one will ever believe you if you tell him he can do nothing. This is the most offensive and the most unpleasant thing you can tell people. It is particularly unpleasant and offensive because it is the truth, and nobody wants to know the truth.

"When you understand this it will be easier for us to talk. But it is one thing to understand with the mind and another thing to feel it with one's "whole mass,' to be really convinced that it is so and never forget it.

"With this question of doing" (G. emphasized the word), "yet another thing is connected. It always seems to people that others invariably do things wrongly, not in the way they should be done. Everybody always thinks he could do it better. They do not understand, and do not want to understand, that what is being done, and particularly what has already been done in one way, cannot be, and could not have been, done in another way. Have you noticed how everyone now is talking about the war? Everyone has his own plan, his own theory. Everyone finds that nothing is being done in the way it ought to be done. Actually everything is being done in the only way it can be done. If one thing could be different everything could be different. And then perhaps there would have been no war.

"Try to understand what I am saying: everything is dependent on everything else, everything is connected, nothing is separate. Therefore everything is going in the only way it can go. If people were different everything would be different. They are what they are, so everything is as it is."

This was very difficult to swallow.

"Is there nothing, absolutely nothing, that can be done?" I asked.

"Absolutely nothing."

"And can nobody do anything?"

"That is another question. In order to do it is necessary to be. And it is necessary first to understand what to be means. If we continue our talks you will see that we use a special language and that, in order to talk with us, it is necessary to learn this language. It is not worth while talking in ordinary language because, in that language, it is impossible to understand one another. This also, at the moment, seems strange to you. But it is true. In order to understand it is necessary to learn another language. In the language which people speak they cannot understand one another. You will see later on why this is so.

"Then one must learn to speak the truth. This also appears strange to you. You do not realize that one has to learn to speak the truth. It seems to you that it is enough to wish or to decide to do so. And I tell you that people comparatively rarely tell a deliberate lie. In most cases they think they speak the truth. And yet they lie all the time, both when they wish to lie and when they wish to speak the truth. They lie all the time, both to themselves and to others. Therefore nobody ever understands either himself or anyone else.

Think — could there be such discord, such deep misunderstanding, and such hatred towards the views and opinions of others, if people were able to understand one another? But they cannot understand because they cannot help lying. To speak the truth is the most difficult thing in the world; and one must study a great deal and for a long time in order to be able to speak the truth. The wish alone is not enough. To speak the truth one must know what the truth is and what a lie is, and first of all in oneself. And this nobody wants to know."

pp. 30-31

I remember another talk about the war. We were sitting in the Phillipov's Café on the Tverskaya. It was very full of people and very noisy. War and profiteering had created an unpleasant, feverish atmosphere. I had even refused to go there. G. insisted and as always with him I gave way. I had already realized by then that he sometimes purposely created difficult conditions for conversation, as though demanding of me some sort of extra effort and a readiness to reconcile myself to unpleasant and uncomfortab-2le surroundings for the sake of talking with him.

But this time the result was not particularly brilliant because, owing to the noise, the most interesting part of what he was saying failed to reach me. At first I understood what G. was saying. But the thread gradually began to slip away from me. After several attempts to follow his remarks, of which only isolated words reached me, I gave up listening and simply observed how he spoke.

The conversation began with my question: "Can war be stopped?" And G. answered: "Yes, it can." And yet I had been certain from previous talks that he would answer: "No, it cannot."

"But the whole thing is: how?" he said. "It is necessary to know a great deal in order to understand that. What is war? It is the result of planetary influences. Somewhere up there two or three planets have approached too near to each other; tension results. Have you noticed how, if a man passes quite close to you on a narrow pavement, you become all tense? The same tension takes place between planets. For them it lasts, perhaps, a second or two. But here, on the earth, people begin to slaughter one another, and they go on slaughtering maybe for several years.

It seems to them at the time that they hate one another; or perhaps that they have to slaughter each other for some exalted purpose; or that they must defend somebody or something and that it is a very noble thing to do; or something else of the same kind. They fail to realize to what an extent they are mere pawns in the game. They think they signify something; they think they can move about as they like; they think they can decide to do this or that.

"But in reality all their movements, all their actions, are the result of planetary influences. And they themselves signify literally nothing. Then the moon plays a big part in this. But we will speak about the moon separately.

"Only it must be understood that neither Emperor Wilhelm, nor generals, nor ministers, nor parliaments, signify anything or can do anything. Everything that happens on a big scale is governed from outside, and governed either by accidental combinations of influences or by general cosmic laws."

This was all I heard. Only much later I understood what he wished to tell me — that is, how accidental influences could be diverted or transformed into something relatively harmless. It was really an interesting idea referring to the esoteric meaning of "sacrifices." But, in any case at the present time, this idea has only an historical and a psychological value. What was really important and what he said quite casually, so that I did not even notice it at once, and only remembered later in trying to reconstruct the conversation, was his words referring to the difference of time for planets and for man.

And even when I remembered it, for a long time I did not realize the full meaning of this idea. Later very much was based on it.

pp. 43-47

During one conversation with G. in our group, which was beginning to become permanent, I asked: "Why, if ancient knowledge has been preserved and if, speaking in general, there exists a knowledge distinct from our science and philosophy or even surpassing it, is it so carefully concealed, why is it not made common property? Why are the men who possess this knowledge unwilling to let it pass into the general circulation of life for the sake of a better and more successful struggle against deceit, evil, and ignorance?"

This is, I think, a question which usually arises in everyone's mind on first acquaintance with the ideas of esotericism.

"There are two answers to that," said G. "In the first place, this knowledge is not concealed; and in the second place, it cannot, from its very nature, become common property. We will consider the second of these statements first. I will prove to you afterwards that knowledge" (he emphasized the word) "is far more accessible to those capable of assimilating it than is usually supposed; and that the whole trouble is that people either do not want it or cannot receive it.

"But first of all another thing must be understood, namely, that knowledge cannot belong to all, cannot even belong to many. Such is the law. You do not understand this because you do not understand that knowledge, like everything else in the world, is material. It is material, and this means that it possesses all the characteristics of materiality.

One of the first characteristics of materiality is that matter is always limited, that is to say, the quantity of matter in a given place and under given conditions is limited. Even the sand of the desert and the water of the sea is a definite and unchangeable quantity. So that, if knowledge is material, then it means that there is a definite quantity of it in a given place at a given time. It may be said that, in the course of a certain period of time, say a century, humanity has a definite amount of knowledge at its disposal.

But we know, even from an ordinary observation of life, that the matter of knowledge possesses entirely different qualities according to whether it is taken in small or large quantities. Taken in a large quantity in a given place, that is by one man, let us say, or by a small group of men, it produces very good results; taken in a small quantity (that is, by every one of a large number of people), it gives no results at all; or it may give even negative results, contrary to those expected. Thus if a certain definite quantity of knowledge is distributed among millions of people, each individual will receive very little, and this small amount of knowledge will change nothing either in his life or in his understanding of things. And however large the number of people who receive this small amount of knowledge, it will change nothing in their lives, except, perhaps, to make them still more difficult.

"But if, on the contrary, large quantities of knowledge are concentrated in a small number of people, then this knowledge will give very great results. From this point of view it is far more advantageous that knowledge should be preserved among a small number of people and not dispersed among the masses.

"If we take a certain quantity of gold and decide to gild a number of objects with it, we must know, or calculate, exactly what number of objects can be gilded with this quantity of gold. If we try to gild a greater number, they will be covered with gold unevenly, in patches, and will look much worse than if they had no gold at all; in fact we shall lose our gold.

"The distribution of knowledge is based upon exactly the same principle. If knowledge is given to all, nobody will get any. If it is preserved among a few, each will receive not only enough to keep, but to increase, what he receives.

"At the first glance this theory seems very unjust, since the position of those who are, so to speak, denied knowledge in order that others may receive a greater share appears to be very sad and undeservedly harder than it ought to be. Actually, however, this is not so at all; and in the distribution of knowledge there is not the slightest injustice.

"The fact is that the enormous majority of people do not want any knowledge whatever; they refuse their share of it and do not even take the ration allotted to them, in the general distribution, for the purposes of life. This is particularly evident in times of mass madness such as wars, revolutions, and so on, when men suddenly seem to lose even the small amount of common sense they had and turn into complete automatons, giving themselves over to wholesale destruction in vast numbers, in other words, even losing the instinct of self-preservation. Owing to this, enormous quantities of knowledge remain, so to speak, unclaimed and can be distributed among those who realize its value.

"There is nothing unjust in this, because those who receive knowledge take nothing that belongs to others, deprive others of nothing; they take only what others have rejected as useless and what would in any case be lost if they did not take it.

"The collecting of knowledge by some depends upon the rejection of knowledge by others.

"There are periods in the life of humanity, which generally coincide with the beginning of the fall of cultures and civilizations, when the masses irretrievably lose their reason and begin to destroy everything that has been created by centuries and millenniums of culture. Such periods of mass madness, often coinciding with geological cataclysms, climatic changes, and similar phenomena of a planetary character, release a very great quantity of the matter of knowledge. This, in its turn, necessitates the work of collecting this matter of knowledge which would otherwise be lost. Thus the work of collecting scattered matter of knowledge frequently coincides with the beginning of the destruction and fall of cultures and civilizations.

"This aspect of the question is clear. The crowd neither wants nor seeks knowledge, and the leaders of the crowd, in their own interests, try to strengthen its fear and dislike of everything new and unknown. The slavery in which mankind lives is based upon this fear. It is even difficult to imagine all the horror of this slavery. We do not understand what people are losing. But in order to understand the cause of this slavery it is enough to see how people live, what constitutes the aim of their existence, the object of their desires, passions, and aspirations, of what they think, of what they talk, what they serve and what they worship.

Consider what the cultured humanity of our time spends money on; even leaving the war out, what commands the highest price; where the biggest crowds are. If we think for a moment about these questions it becomes clear that humanity, as it is now, with the interests it lives by, cannot expect to have anything different from what it has. But, as I have already said, it cannot be otherwise. Imagine that for the whole of mankind half a pound of knowledge is allotted a year. If this knowledge is distributed among everyone, each will receive so little that he will remain the fool he was. But, thanks to the fact that very few want to have this knowledge, those who take it are able to get, let us say, a grain each, and acquire the possibility of becoming more intelligent. All cannot become intelligent even if they wish. And if they did become intelligent it would not help matters. There exists a general equilibrium which cannot be upset.

"That is one aspect. The other, as I have already said, consists in the fact that no one is concealing anything; there is no mystery whatever. But the acquisition or transmission of true knowledge demands great labor and great effort both of him who receives and of him who gives. And those who possess this knowledge are doing everything they can to transmit and communicate it to the greatest possible number of people, to facilitate people's approach to it and enable them to prepare themselves to receive the truth. But knowledge cannot be given by force to anyone and, as I have already said, an unprejudiced survey of the average man's life, of what fills his day and of the things he is interested in, will at once show whether it is possible to accuse men who possess knowledge of concealing it, of not wishing to give it to people, or of not wishing to teach people what they know themselves.

"He who wants knowledge must himself make the initial efforts to find the source of knowledge and to approach it, taking advantage of the help and indications which are given to all, but which people, as a rule, do not want to see or recognize. Knowledge cannot come to people without effort on their own part. They understand this very well in connection with ordinary knowledge, but in the case of great knowledge, when they admit the possibility of its existence, they find it possible to expect something different. Everyone knows very well that if, for instance, a man wants to learn Chinese, it will take several years of intense work; everyone knows that five years are needed to grasp the principles of medicine, and perhaps twice as many years for the study of painting or music. And yet there are theories which affirm that knowledge can come to people without any effort on their part, that they can acquire it even in sleep. The very existence of such theories constitutes an additional explanation of why knowledge cannot come to people. At the same time it is essential to understand that man's independent efforts to attain anything in this direction can also give no results. A man can only attain knowledge with the help of those who possess it. This must be understood from the very beginning. One must learn from him who knows"

p. 81

"If instead of religion in general we take Christianity, then again there exists a Christianity number one, that is to say, paganism in the guise of Christianity. Christianity number two is an emotional religion, sometimes very pure but without force, sometimes full of bloodshed and horror leading to the Inquisition, to religious wars. Christianity number three, instances of which are afforded by various forms of Protestantism, is based upon dialectic, argument, theories, and so forth. Then there is Christianity number four, of which men number one, number two, and number three have no conception whatever.

pp. 110-111

"There was a question about war. How to stop wars? Wars cannot be stopped. War is the result of the slavery in which men live. Strictly speaking men are not to blame for war. War is due to cosmic forces, to planetary influences. But in men there is no resistance whatever against these influences, and there cannot be any, because men are slaves. If they were men and were capable of 'doing,' they would be able to resist these influences and refrain from killing one another."

"But surely those who realize this can do something?" said the man who had asked the question about war. "If a sufficient number of men came to a definite conclusion that there should be no war, could they not influence others?"

"Those who dislike war have been trying to do so almost since the creation of the world," said G. "And yet there has never been such a war as the present. Wars are not decreasing, they are increasing and war cannot be stopped by ordinary means.

All these theories about universal peace, about peace conferences, and so on, are again simply laziness and hypocrisy. Men do not want to think about themselves, do not want to work on themselves, but think of how to make other people do what they want. If a sufficient number of people who wanted to stop war really did gather together they would first of all begin by making war upon those who disagreed with them. And it is still more certain that they would make war on people who also want to stop wars but in another way. And so they would fight.

Men are what they are and they cannot be different. War has many causes that are unknown to us. Some causes are in men themselves, others are outside them. One must begin with the causes that are in man himself. How can he be independent of the external influences of great cosmic forces when he is the slave of everything that surrounds him? He is controlled by everything around him. If he becomes free from things, he may then become free from planetary influences.

"Freedom, liberation, this must be the aim of man. To become free, to be liberated from slavery: this is what a man ought to strive for when he becomes even a little conscious of his position. There is nothing else for him, and nothing else is possible so long as he remains a slave both inwardly and outwardly. But he cannot cease to be a slave outwardly while he remains a slave inwardly. Therefore in order to become free, man must gain inner freedom.

"The first reason for man's inner slavery is his ignorance, and above all, his ignorance of himself. Without self-knowledge, without understanding the working and functions of his machine, man cannot be free, he cannot govern himself and he will always remain a slave, and the plaything of the forces acting upon him.

"This is why in all ancient teachings the first demand at the beginning of the way to liberation was: 'Know thyself.' "We shall speak of these words now."

p. 122

Then a great deal was elucidated for me by the idea that each center was not only a motive force but also a "receiving apparatus," working as receiver for different and sometimes very distant influences. When I thought of what had been said about wars, revolutions, migrations of peoples, and so on; when I pictured how masses of humanity could move under the control of planetary influences, I began to understand our fundamental mistake in determining the actions of an individual. We regard the actions of an individual as originating in himself. We do not imagine that the "masses" may consist of automatons obeying external stimuli and may move, not under the influence of the will, consciousness, or inclination of individuals, but under the influence of external stimuli coming possibly from very far away.

p. 150

"Let us take some event in the life of humanity. For instance, war. There is a war going on at the present moment. What does it signify? It signifies that several millions of sleeping people are trying to destroy several millions of other sleeping people. They would not do this, of course, if they were to wake up. Everything that takes place is owing to this sleep.

"Both states of consciousness, sleep and the waking state, are equally subjective. Only by beginning to remember himself does a man really awaken. And then all surrounding life acquires for him a different aspect and a different meaning. He sees that it is the life of sleeping people, a life in sleep. All that men say, all that they do, they say and do in sleep. All this can have no value whatever. Only awakening and what leads to awakening has a value in reality.

"How many times have I been asked here whether wars can be stopped? Certainly they can. For this it is only necessary that people should awaken. It seems a small thing. It is, however, the most difficult thing there can be because this sleep is induced and maintained by the whole of surrounding life, by all surrounding conditions.

pp. 351-352

The situation at this time was beginning to become defined. On the one side were the bolsheviks, as yet not fully realizing the incredible success which was awaiting them, but already beginning to feel the absence of resistance and to act more and more insolently. On the other side was the "second provisional government" with many serious people who understood the situation in the minor posts and with altogether insignificant babblers and theorists in the major posts; then there was the intelligentsia greatly decimated by the war; then the remains of former parties and the military circles.

All these taken together were divided in their turn into two groups, one who, in the face of all the facts and common sense, accepted the possibility of peace parleys with the bolsheviks who very cleverly made use of this while gradually occupying one position after another; and the other who, while realizing the impossibility of any negotiations whatever with the bolsheviks, were at the same time not united and did not come out actively into the open.

The people were silent, although never perhaps in history has the will of the people been so clearly expressed — and that will was to stop the war!

Who could stop the war? This was the chief question of the moment. The provisional government did not dare. Naturally it could not come from the military circles. And yet power was bound to pass to whoever should be the first to pronounce the word: "Peace." And as often happens in such cases the right word came from the wrong side. The bolsheviks pronounced the word "peace." First of all because it was a matter of complete indifference to them what they said. They had no intention of meeting their promissory notes, therefore they could issue as many of them as they liked. This was their chief advantage and chief strength.

There was something else here besides this. Destruction is always far easier than construction. How much easier it is to bum a house than to build one.

The bolsheviks were the agents of destruction. Neither then nor since could they or can they be anything else notwithstanding all their boasting and notwithstanding all the support of their open and their hidden friends. But they could and they can destroy very well, not so much by their own activity as by their very existence which corrupts and disintegrates everything around them. This special property of theirs explained their approaching victory and all that happened much later.

We who were looking at things from the point of view of the system could see not only the fact that everything happens but even how it happens, that is, how easily everything goes downhill and breaks up once a single impulse is given to it.

pp. 367-368

On one occasion while talk was proceeding on these subjects, to which we were constantly returning, G. began to talk in a somewhat different way to what he had done before, because he had previously always insisted on the fact that outside the ways there was nothing.

"There is not and there cannot be any choice of the people who come into touch with the 'ways.' In other words, nobody selects them, they select themselves, partly by accident and partly by having a certain hunger. Whoever is without this hunger cannot be helped by accident. And whoever has this hunger very strongly can be brought by accident to the beginning of a way in spite of all unfavorable circumstances."

"But what of those who were killed and who died from disease in the war for instance?" someone asked. "Could not many of them have had this hunger? And how then could this hunger have helped?"

"That is an entirely different thing," said G. "These people came under a general law. We do not speak of them and we cannot. We can only speak of people who, thanks to chance, or fate, or their own cleverness, do not come under a general law, that is, who stay outside the action of any general law of destruction. For instance it is known through statistics that a certain definite number of people have to fall under trams in Moscow during the year. Then if a man, even one with a great hunger, falls under a tram and the tram crushes him we can no longer speak of him from the point of view of work on the ways. We can speak only of those who are alive and only while they are alive. Trams or war — they are exactly the same thing. One is merely larger, the other smaller. We are speaking of those who do not fall under trams.

pp. 369-370

"People of the objective way simply live in life. They are those whom we call good people. Particular systems and methods are not necessary for them; making use of ordinary religious or intellectual teachings and ordinary morality, they live at the same time according to conscience. They do not of necessity do much good, but they do no evil.

Sometimes they happen to be quite uneducated, simple people but they understand life very well, they have a right valuation of things and a right outlook. And they are of course perfecting themselves and evolving. Only their way can be very long with many unnecessary repetitions."

I had for a long time wanted to get G. to talk about repetition but he always avoided it. So it was on this occasion. Without answering my question about repetition he continued:

"It often seems to people of the 'way,' that is, of the subjective way, especially those who are just beginning, that other people, that is, people of the objective way, are not moving. But this is a great mistake. A simple obyvatel may sometimes do such work within him that he will overtake another, a monk or even a yogi.

"Obyvatel is a strange word in the Russian language. It is used in the sense of 'inhabitant,' without any particular shade. At the same time it is used to express contempt or derision — 'obyvatel' — as though there could be nothing worse. But those who speak in this way do not understand that the obyvatel is the healthy kernel of life. And from the point of view of the possibility of evolution, a good obyvatel has many more chances than a 'lunatic' or a 'tramp.' Afterwards I will perhaps explain what I mean by these two words. In the meantime we will talk about the obyvatel. I do not at all wish to say that all obyvatels are people of the objective way. Nothing of the kind. Among them are thieves, rascals, and fools; but there are others. I merely wish to say that being a good obyvatel by itself does not hinder the 'way' And finally there are different types of obyvatel. Imagine, for example, the type of obyvatel who lives all his life just as the other people round him, conspicuous in nothing, perhaps a good master, who makes money, and is perhaps even close-fisted.

At the same time he dreams all his life of monasteries, for instance, and dreams that some time or other he will leave everything and go into a monastery. And such things happen in the East and in Russia. A man lives and works, then, when his children or his grandchildren are grown up, he gives everything to them and goes into a monastery. This is the obyvatel of which I speak. Perhaps he does not go into a monastery, perhaps he does not need this. His own life as an obyvatel can be his way.

"People who are definitely thinking about ways, particularly people of intellectual ways, very often look down on the obyvatel and in general despise the virtues of the obyvatel.

But they only show by this their own personal unsuitab-2ility for any way whatever. Because no way can begin from a level lower than the obyvatel. This is very often lost sight of on people who are unable to organize their own personal lives, who are too weak to struggle with and conquer life, dream of the ways, or what they consider are ways, because they think it will be easier for them than life and because this, so to speak. Justifies their weakness and their inadaptab-2ility. A man who can be a good obyvatel is much more helpful from the point of view of the way than a 'tramp' who thinks himself much higher than an obyvatel. I call 'tramps' all the so-called 'intelligentsia' —  artists, poets, any kind of 'bohemian' in general, who despises the obyvatel and who at the same time would be unable to exist without him. Ability to orientate oneself in life is a very useful quality from the point of view of work. A good obyvatel should be able to support at least twenty persons by his own labor. What is a man worth who is unable to do this?"

"What does obyvatel actually mean?" asked somebody. "Can it be said that an obyvatel is a good citizen?"

"Ought an obyvatel to be patriotic?" someone else asked. "Let us suppose there is war. What attitude should an obyvatel have towards war?"

"There can be different wars and there can be different patriots," said G. "You all still believe in words. An obyvatel, if he is a good obyvatel, does not believe in words. He realizes how much idle talk is hidden behind them. People who shout about their patriotism are psychopaths for him and he looks upon them as such."

"And how would an obyvatel look upon pacifists or upon people who refuse to go to the war?"

"Equally as lunatics! They are probably still worse."

Fourth Way

pp. 204-205

Very little of planetary influences comes to us as individuals. Generally planetary influences are only felt by masses of people; thus they are responsible for wars, revolutions and things like that. An individual man is very little under planetary influences, because the part that can be affected by them is undeveloped. This undeveloped part is essence.

p. 207

Q. You were saying that we come under cosmic laws to the extent that wars are caused by planetary influences. Is it fate?

A. When I answer about what fate means, I take only what can really be called fate, but for many people fate is much more extended. When they are taken up by some big movement, such as political movements, wars, revolutions, for them this becomes fate.

It must be understood why we spoke about planetary influences, why they were mentioned and in connection with what. The chief idea is that planetary influences may be very different. Our state attracts and repels planetary influences. We cannot know what they are, we can only know our state. If you remember yourself, you can attract good planetary influences; if you are mechanical, you attract wrong influences.

p. 214

Q. Did you say that planets affect situations — wars and so forth?

A. Yes, they may create wars. The whole solar system is a unit, so everything in it is connected with cosmic causes and it all affects life on earth. Causes of things that happen on earth are often outside the earth.

But when there are causes that can produce wars it depends on the state of humanity at a given place and time. People can show more resistance or less resistance. If people at a certain time in a given country are in a better state, they show more resistance.

Q. Does the earth affect the moon and other planets as well?

A. Yes, but we are only interested in what affects organic life and, through organic life, ourselves.

Q. How can we test the arbitrary statements about the role of organic life and about the moon being the youngest in the Ray?

A. There are no arbitrary statements — it all comes from the system. It is not my system, I have not invented it. Just as a theory it presents no interest: it is interesting only if we realize that it comes from higher mind. I started with the psychological side to give you a possibility to acquire valuation of these ideas. If you have got it, you will be patient with this side.

p. 251

Q. Sometimes I have found that, with a little extra effort, you can make a great difference to other people in ordinary life. Isn't it doing?

A. It is an illusion, because if a thing must happen you will make this extra effort; if it is not to happen, you will not make this effort. You think you can make or not make this effort, that you can 'do' or 'not do'. But try to think in the right way, that you can 'do' nothing, that things happen mechanically. One thing comes after another and just happens or does not happen, and you cannot help it.

Q. But if you help a poor person to make his life tolerable?

A. If you help a poor person, it happens. If someone takes from this poor person what little remains to him, this also happens. One person will give him a penny, another will take away the last he has. It is first necessary to understand the principle that nobody can 'do' anything. If you think of life, not personal life but the life of humanity, wars, revolutions, you will see this clearly. You must try to find a right case for observation, because if you find something too small you will not see it. But if you find the right case, right conditions, right circumstances, you will very soon see whether you can do something or not.

The simplest thing is to try and remember yourself. Can you do it or not?

People think they can 'do' because sometimes they make certain plans and really get what they wanted. But this only means that they have got into a certain stream of events and things happened to coincide with their plan. When things happen like that we think that we did it, that we made a plan and did everything according to this plan. In reality it does not mean that we did it on purpose or knowingly and it does not mean that one can choose one stream of events or another stream; it is just accident. In every kind of work, in business, in travel and so on, it sometimes happens that things go successfully, but this only means that at a given moment, in a given place things went mechanically in a certain way — nothing more.

It is difficult for us to realize, for example, that when people build a bridge, that is not 'doing'; it is only the result of all previous efforts. It is accidental. To understand this, you must think of the first bridge that Adam built and of all the evolution of bridge. At first it is accidental — a tree falls across a river, then man builds something like that, and so on. People are not 'doing'; one thing comes from another.

pp. 256-257

Q. Would you say that the sense of responsibility that one ought to do something useful in the world is imagination, since you say we cannot "do"?

A. It may be imagination or imitation, or it may be right. But in that case we must consider what and how, and bow is more important than what. Most people think about what to do but not about how. Often the things they decide to do are impossible, like stopping wars and other such things.

p. 402

Roughly speaking, man's situation can be described like this: he is a machine governed by various currents coming from the big machines that surround him. What are these big machines? All big events, wars, revolutions, civilizations, religions, science, art, inventions of the last century — all these things produce different influences that act on man.

pp. 404-406

Try to concentrate on the question of what is important and what is unimportant; we must learn to distinguish these things.

So far, with the help of the work, we could define good and evil in relation to ourselves. Now we must come out of our shell and try to look around, using the same methods and the same principles. If we use one type of principles for ourselves and another for external things, we will never get anything out of it. We do not think sufficiently of the relation of this work to life in general, we do not give account to ourselves of the position it occupies as regards life. I do not say you can answer this question, but you can think about it, see it from one angle or another angle. Unless you think about it, things will not be in their right perspective for you and you will not understand the work in the right way.

The work is a small thing, and enormous things belong to life. I do not mean by this wars and revolutions and things of this kind, but things belonging to everyday life. You will see that it occupies no position at all and need not exist from the point of view of life.

At the same time the work is the most important thing for those who understand it. So we must make it go on and not expect any help from life. We must go against life, do everything ourselves. We cannot think that there is plenty of time, that if we do not do something now we will do it next year, for next year things may be different.

Analysis of events in life can be based on the idea of influences A, B and C. We can ask ourselves, how many influences of the third kind, that is, influences conscious both in their origin and action, do we see? We must admit that we never see them. If we are looking for something, we meet only with certain manifestations of influence B, and every influence B is surrounded by all possible dangers and all kinds of forces trying to destroy it. Many influences B are disappearing under our eyes; things that could be found not so long ago cannot be found any more. How many influences B of the past reach us? They do not live long, they have a short life, with the exception of two or three which are surrounded by such a tangle of mechanical adaptations that they almost become influences A — they survive only in this form. All mechanical forces tend to destroy them because in their origin they are opposed to mechanical forces.

Q. What is the connection between civilization of the world and personal evolution?

A. We do not realize that the beginning of many activities in life is the work of conscious people. We think that all the work we see was begun and continued by people such as we are, by sleeping people. But sleeping people can only accidentally invent something useful, and they invent both useful and harmful things with equal pleasure — they cannot distinguish the one from the other. If we accept the word 'civilization' — it is the work of sleeping people, so there is no guarantee: there may be civilization today and barbarism tomorrow.

Supposing that what you or someone else calls civilization destroys influences B and you find yourself surrounded by influences A, you will have no chance. And, indeed, what we ordinarily call civilization does destroy influences B. Revolutions destroy, wars destroy, civilizations destroy — everything destroys esoteric influences. For instance, schools have always been destroyed by wars; that is a well-known fact. Schools cannot be established permanently. It is not exactly that wars intended to destroy schools, they did it by the way.

War is one of these institutions in the life of humanity which make work impossible and destroy schools. School-work needs a certain amount of normality in life; if life becomes too abnormal, school-work becomes impossible, and a school disappears.

pp. 408-409

Q. Have the people in the inner circle any control over people in the outer circle?

A. Yes, but with many reservations. The conscious circle cannot act directly, but only through B influences. Influences C can appear only if influences B are accepted and if people look for them.

Men in the inner circle cannot have control over people who do not wish to know them.

They cannot use violence, because it would mean a wrong triad, a wrong activity.

For every kind of result there is a special triad. For instance, if people wish to acquire control, they can achieve it only in one way. If they act in another way they will get the opposite result.

Wars, revolutions and so on never give the desired results, but always the opposite results, because wrong triads are used. If people of the inner circles wish to influence other people, they can produce good results only if there is understanding, and only with people who wish it. This is a useful question. Try to think about it.

p. 439

Q. Is it right to think that we cannot go on living for ever, that is, dying and being born again?

A. Quite right. People with a quite mechanical life have a longer time, and people who become conscious have a shorter time; that is the only difference. It looks very unjust, but at the same time mechanical people can get into very unpleasant circumstances. Suppose that through some external accident connected with historical events, such as wars or something like that, somebody dies very young and continues to die young every time, then only a very exceptional combination of circumstances can introduce a change in his case.

Q. In a case when an accident affects one's whole life, does it recur?

A. Yes, the same kind of accident may repeat itself. You must not forget that we speak only about a theory, but a theory may be better or worse, nearer or further from possible facts.

In mechanical life even things which happen do not bring any practical change. Things are important only when a man begins to awake. From this moment things become serious. So are you asking about mechanical recurrence or about the beginning of awakening?

Q. I had in mind the possibility of meeting a school next time.

A. As I said, schools are more free from recurrence compared with things in life.

Many things may be repeated exactly as they are now, and some may change. It is the same as when you go about you see different things: people, trees, buses, cars, houses, lamp-posts; some things stand still and some move.

Wars, revolutions and other such things are like lamp-posts, but conscious things are like the light from passing cars. If you go out, you will always see the same lampposts, but you are not likely to see the same cars.

pp. 440-441

Q. Do all events in history come again, such as wars and revolutions?

A. We are now speaking about individual recurrence; we cannot pass straight from that to historical events. At the same time we can say that these things will repeat. They are produced by mechanical forces and mechanical people, so those people will be in the same conditions as before externally. The thing we must understand is that if nothing changes now, nothing will change again. Suppose there are some people who remember; what can they do? Others do not remember, and they are more sure of their opinions and less inclined to listen to reason. And remembering events depends on self-remembering. If you become conscious now, then if there is a next life, you will remember what happened. If you do not remember yourselves, how can you remember things and events?

Contents - 4th Way Reference