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Summary by TK
Jan Cox Talk 19, Apr 21, 1982, runtime 00:34
[That which has an effect in life is not The Work. The Work actually does nothing. ]
[Forgiveness. Traditional concepts: man is sinful and god forgives him for it anyway. Yet in The Work's view: there is no such thing as a 'person' to be forgiven. To be 'born again'--converted by forgiveness--is an energy transfer and a behavioral change only, not a change in Understanding. Everybody is looking to be forgiven and accepts the illusion of same for something other than what it is: mere feeling of a satisfying renewal; the feeling of behavioral change. But what is the nature of Real forgiveness? Can a man forgive himself? The below-the-line mechanism can not be forgiven--is not made to BE forgiven. Rather it is made to cry out FOR forgiveness. To actually provide forgiveness would be to kill it. There is nothing to forgive. Contemporary religious forgiveness always involves forgiveness by a dead and gone entity or removed god; priests are mere agents, go-betweens. Answers are always from the past.
Document: 19, April 21, 1982
Copyright(c) Jan M. Cox, 1982
I would like you to attempt to Neuralize a certain interesting fact about modern Western religion. It is now accepted in general that there is not only a sky-god, but that he has clearly identified the enemy of man, the root cause of human unhappiness and feelings of dissatisfaction. It is the inability of man to live according to the great teaching; to live as the gods want him to live. But the important part is that, despite this unhappy situation, the gods forgive him! Merely admit your state of sin and your helplessness to correct it, and you are forgiven!
Can anyone see that if I were to expand this into a public forum we would have to use a similar approach? "Yes, you are engaged, you're in a very low state, a disorganized state psychologically, but I forgive you." Attempt to Neuralize what the reality of forgiveness would be. According to present day Western religion, man is sinful, and the gods forgive you if you'll admit that you're no good. Consider what happens to somebody who goes to church. He says he feels better, that he's a renewed person because he has been born again, but in fact he .pahas not really changed. His behavior may change a little bit, but he has not changed.
Consider the idea of forgiveness vis-a-vis a man who says he has become reborn through some great revival meeting and therefore now he no longer drinks. No conscious, willful action transpired; the gods have not taken him into their bosom and forgiven him. Energy was transferred: he was a drunk, and now he's a teetotaler. If you stop there you are isolating reality in a form outside any understanding. You can't be satisfied with this information: "He went to church last night for the first time; his wife talked him into it, and he gave his heart to god, and today he quit drinking." All of you intellectually know at the high end of your nervous system that that's not saying anything. Even if you heard a longer explanation, such as, "He was just leading up to not drinking: but that's not the end of the story." You're just listening to a version of some T.V. drama, a movie (and it never says he took up drinking again two weeks later).
But beyond any apparent behavioral change, which has nothing to do with understanding anything, please note that throughout the world this story has such an appeal that people search for it. It may not always be called forgiveness, it may not always be called some form of religion, as you might identify it with a Western mind, but all over the world this has always been true. There is a great demand for it; there is a great supply of it; everyone fits right in. There are people who'll look you in the eye and their little eyes sparkle, and they'll say, "I feel so .pamuch better since I quit drinking, I tried to treat my children better; I couldn't do anything, but now I feel better."
Now if that walking nervous system could tell the objective truth, and you grabbed him and said, "Do you treat your children any better?" The truth is, "No." Of course, to treat your kids any better would require activating the nervous system above the Line and interfering with that which is mechanical. But if that nervous system could be forced to tell the truth, and you said, "Well, all right, you said you quit drinking. Are you aware of the kind of pressure which made you want to drink? Do you still feel it? You still think about it?" "Yeah, I do." The point is nothing has changed in the level of understanding in that so-called person, and yet the world is filled with people who are constantly seeking out somebody to forgive them.
Of course Western religion has a story that the gods in some way cursed man -- not enough to kill him, but enough to give him 60 years of misery. He lets you get born, and then you catch it for 60 years. In his great, great plan he made man so that he could insult god. So god put the curse on him and then turned back around and decided, "Well, I'll give him a partial way out." And that is what I am referring to tonight by using the word "forgiveness."
There are people all over the world, including some of you, who have experienced what they call a conversion. They experience a form of renewal, some sort of satisfaction they did not previously have. It does not, of course, completely satisfy the nervous system or they would be dead. The point is, people claim they feel better. They claim to have escaped their worst problems. They recommend the experience to you. And now I'm asking you: What really happened?
And now to get to the dirty part, since everything is a reflection of something, what would be the nature of Real forgiveness? The dirty part is -- is there a reality to one person forgiving himself? Line-Level consciousness is what's dissatisfied. Line-Level consciousness is the "sinful" part which all religions have always addressed. Ordinary people say they're looking to the gods to forgive them and of course what they're really looking for (unknowingly) is to ignite the higher areas of the nervous system. Without knowing it, they're looking for a further completion of their system. If there is any possibility of a person forgiving himself, it would have to come from above Line-Level: it would have to come from what you understand.
But this nervous system is not made to be forgiven. People want to be enlightened (each person wants it to varying degrees, of course), to be forgiven, but they can't be forgiven. You cannot be forgiven for being what you are, and what man is, is a piece of unfinished business. He's just as he should be. There is no such thing as a real conversion; there is no such thing as somebody giving his heart to the gods or becoming enlightened. There is only the continual hunger of people looking. That's why churches continue to have revivals and people say, "Well, I strayed from the path, and I went back and admitted again that I'm no good. I raised my little hand and the minister told me again, 'Well, god will forgive you 4,449 times,' and you know I'm lucky, because this is only about the twelfth time." But it will not work. It will not work, because the nature of man is to be unfinished, unsatisfied, and to be in a continual struggle for what can't be achieved. To truly, totally forgive him would be the same as killing him.
This also applies to those feelings of "Well, I cannot continue to observe myself; I can't remember the kinds of things that I can see sometimes very clearly; I get back in life and I can't remember, damn me." That is the same voice, again crying out, "Forgive me."
The nervous system itself can't be forgiven. It can only be Seen. There is nothing to forgive. But there is no way to teach anybody to forgive himself. It cannot be done. Consider where people look for forgiveness. They attempt to find an external source. Throughout the world there are people called priests, ministers, gurus, who in some way seem to be in charge. They always claim that they are in some way inspired by the gods, and all this mystical energy or secret information has been passed to them.
But don't trust that kind of history. Use your own knowledge. You can go to a church. A minister does not say, "I forgive you." He will say "I am a representative of god; god called me," or, "I graduated from the proper school; I have the right to tell you about this. This is my profession; I work for god. Now I know you people pay my salary, but I work for god, and I'm here telling you, it says right here in Matthew -- 'trust in god and he will forgive you.'" Notice its NEVER THE MAN STANDING THERE who says, "I forgive you."
There is only one way to actually forgive someone: it must come from one who Knows. There would have to be people who want to Know, and then there would have to be somebody who Knows.