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Summary by TK
Jan Cox Talk 82, Sept 15, 1963, runtime 00:39
[J’s personal comments to Group.]
[More on Responsibility in The Work. Only the Few are truly responsible. The ordinary are not, but feel like they are and constant failures at being responsible. You are responsible to make the extraordinary effort to change/awaken. ]
[Do anything new. Do anything you want to "put off". Do it.. Don't think/talk to yourself about it. Do it! ]
[Discussion of the setting up of classes for Group. Photography, law, flying, electronics, etc. ]
[Personal comments to Group. Lifting of ban on drinking and meat: but you are now held responsible for your efforts in This Thing. ]
[Replay of Sep 8 tape on responsibility.
Document: 82, September 15, 1983
Copyright(c) Jan M. Cox, 1983
I want you to focus your attention on the general area of "responsibility". From your own experience you must have a fairly clear view of the fact that everyone (apart from a few soreheads here and there) claims that they are "responsible"; responsible for their own actions; responsible for, and to, other people. This sense of responsibility is reflected at all levels of humanity: groups of people, entire nations are "responsible". Cast your gaze inward at the ordinary level, you too feel responsible. This all-pervading feeling is not a psychological phenomenon; it is part of the physical circuitry of the human nervous system.
Your own nervous system demands that you feel responsible. Can you see the necessity of this? Can you see behind the Line level notions of morality and justice and glimpse the fact that "feeling responsible" is necessary to the operation of Line-level consciousness, that it is a physical mechanism for the transfer of energy within Life itself? As a simple illustration, consider what might happen if this universal sense of responsibility suddenly disappeared. In such a scenario, no one could be held responsible for their actions, nor could anyone expect responsible behavior in others. As a result, no one would wake up to go to work; the leaders of nations would spend their days playing scrabble; there would be no pep rally at the local high school, etc. In short, the normal operation and flow of ordinary existence would quickly grind to a halt.
I remind you, this is not a depiction of some psychological malaise. The sense of responsibility is a physical mechanism which promotes the transfer of energy between and within individual nervous systems. It can be seen in morning rush hours on the highway; it can be heard in the closing bell on Wall Street; it can be felt when you get out of bed to answer the telephone. The ordinary need to feel and act responsibly keeps energy moving and circulating through the most refined expression of Life on this planet: humanity itself. Without it, men would cease to be an outlet for Life's growth. Can you now see, within your own nervous system, the hard-wired, physical necessity of "responsibility"?
Of course, despite the built-in "feeling" of responsibility, the truth is that at Line level human beings are not responsible, self-willed creatures. People are energy processors. Your own nervous system is a specialized transfer station in the vast energy grid of Life. Energy (whether its form is the screech of brakes on the exit ramp, or the soft murmur of your lover) is processed by your internal circuitry and exhibited as apparent reactions and behavior, which in turn is received and processed by a fellow nervous system. Your circuitry dictates that you feel responsible, and so you behave (react) accordingly. All very mechanical, all very necessary. Yet, therein lies the truth for you to see; people are not responsible for their actions.
Very few people can see this truth. Consider the preceding scenario: if you could somehow force humanity to see that no one is responsible for anything, then ordinary life would simply shut down. That is why only the Few are involved in This Thing. However, it is not enough to simply admit that people are indeed mechanical systems. It is irrelevant whether you are relieved or horrified by this new knowledge, you cannot remain at the level of your mechanical reactions. For here lies the great, upside down opportunity: it is only when you See that you are a mechanical system that cannot explain its own actions, it is only at this point that you can begin to attempt to act in a truly responsible, nonmechanical manner. Can you glimpse the beautiful, upside-down justice of This?
The reality of acting in a willful, nonmechanical manner does not mean performing miracles, destroying enemies, and righting all the wrongs in the world. There are no enemies, and there is nothing fix. Leave the larger reality to its own devices, for there is an abundance of energy relationships within your personal sphere that you can learn and profit from. Your daily existence is filled with interactions with other people -- co-workers, friends, etc. Each interaction is a transfer of energy, whether it is kissing your mate in the morning or raising you eyebrow at the parking lot attendant. Each transfer of energy is a physical, mechanical transaction between electrically charged systems. It is irrelevant whether you like or dislike a particular person; at the ordinary level, you are simply not responsible for your feelings and actions towards other people. As a quick example of the mechanical basis of human interaction, simply observe that you (and everyone else) have a marked tendency towards doing and saying the same things with the same people day in and day out. There is nothing wrong with this; it is part of what keeps Life flowing at the ordinary level. And once you see it, you can use it.
Within everyone's sphere of personal interaction, there are apparent "problems": personalities you don't like, emotional sore-spots, and physical mannerisms in others which irritate you. All these "problems" are sources of endless internal complaints and self-recriminations within you. "I hate it when she does that...Why don't I tell him to shut up, etc." In endless repetitive cycles, these internal voices mirror the mechanical, habitual nature of the "problem" itself. For example, let's say that there is at your workplace a large and loud Red Circuit based individual who, every morning as you arrive at the office, comes over and greets you with a roaring laugh, a big slap in the back, a punch in the arm, and then proceeds to tell you in a voice loud enough for all to hear that you aren't looking too healthy and ought to exercise like him and, "Doesn't your wife feed you enough?", and so on.
Let's say this little ritual happens every day, and every day you get embarrassed and do nothing more than nod meekly throughout the ordeal. You dread coming to work in the morning because of it, and you continually make elaborate plans to retaliate, but you never do, and you always feel guilty and frustrated as he finally leaves you with a parting shot. There are many such examples, big and small, but you must realize that all such "problems" are not problems. They are simply energy transfers between mechanical systems. In this example, neither is in the position to change it. It is an exchange of energy and, despite all appearances, at the level of the ordinary circuitry, both systems are satisfied with it. In spite of your elaborate plans of revenge, you cannot and will not change the situation, because your dreams of revenge are a part of the transaction itself. The transaction will always proceed smoothly; there is no problem.
Once you see this you are again confronted with an upside down opportunity, because only then are you in a position to actually, physically do something about the situation. You have to ignore all the Line level voices and simply act in a manner that is not normally "you". It does not take any planning; you must simply force yourself to do something outside of your normal pattern of behavior. It does not matter what you do as long as it is not generated by your mechanical system; there is no wrong way to do it. Picking up the example: as you come into work, force yourself to walk up to your daily tormentor before he knows you're there -- slap him on the back, punch him in the arm, punch him in the belly and ask him when he last went on a diet -- it doesn't matter what you do as long as it is not the normal transaction, as long as it is not coming from the mechanical you. You will find your apparent "problem" has become irrelevant and you will never be tormented by this individual again, because you have physically changed the energy structure of the exchange.
The story of the man at work is merely a broad example -- you should begin to see that the specific situation is of no consequence; if you find yourself in an unprofitable position in some exchange, all you have to do is force yourself to act outside the pattern of the normal, mechanical you, and the situation will change. It has to. You do not have to act in an extreme fashion, as in the example; your change in behavior does not even have to be outwardly perceptible to the other system. It is enough to alter your behavior to the minimum degree wherein you feel that you are not being you -- a slight change in posture will do. It doesn't matter; you will have acted in a non-mechanical manner and the unprofitable situation will change.
It takes a special kind of effort to act in such a manner, since it opposes the inclinations of your own nervous system. But there is a kind of secret payoff that is only awarded when doing This. Whatever apparent complaints you had about the given situation will be cured. Every nonmechanical act is profitable for you. The particular situation may simply crumble and end, but you will never be dissatisfied or displeased. All your internal debates and complaints concerning the situation will become irrelevant, because you are no longer in a mechanical position.
You must realize how infrequently you take advantage of these upside-down opportunities. Even if there is no apparent problem confronting you, there is serious insight and energy to be gained by simply forcing yourself to do something new. This includes anything that you have been continually putting off doing. Perhaps you have been putting off painting the shed in your back yard for years. Every year you tell yourself that you should paint it, and you never do. There is nothing mystical about it, yet you must learn how to simply Do Things regardless of your internal voices. For example, it strikes you that it is time to paint the barn and immediately your system generates all the reasons why you can't do it right now -- the cost of paint, the inclement weather, your old football injury -- they are the same voices which pop up each time you think about painting the barn. You cannot stop these voices, but you must learn to not entertain them. Do not think about it, just buy the paint and paint the barn. You will find that this produces a unique kind of energy within your system, and I guarantee you will learn from it.
Your internal voices will never go away, they are a physical part of your system. And yet, the only possibility other than the voices acting for you is to act for yourself, nonmechanically. If you force yourself to act in this way, the voices simply become irrelevant background noise. You will have experienced what is ordinarily meant, though never realized, by "willful, independent, responsible behavior". You are then living in a new land. In a sense you have to do everything the voices don't want to do, and this is why attempting to do This Thing takes a special kind of bravery. Now, you still have to live in this life and obey traffic laws and so forth, yet you must see that you cannot accept anything the voices say. You cannot let your mechanical system speak for you, and it is not good or bad; it means nothing. You must realize that humanity has been saying such things throughout recorded history. No mechanical system can do or say anything new. It has all been said and done before. Nothing that operates at the ordinary level of consciousness is of value to one attempting This Thing.
Any behavior that is prompted by your Line level, mechanical system must be willfully changed by you; changed to the minimum point where you internally feel that it is different. If you force yourself to do this, you will have no complaints, because at that moment you are truly, physically, a new person.