dreams, evolution, value fulfillment: Session 907
Chapter Six. Now: Any real discussion of genetic heritage must also bring up questions involving free will and determinism, and to some extent those issues must also lead to questions concerning the nature of the reasoning mind itself.
Reasoning, as you are familiar with it, is the result of mental or psychic processes functioning in a space-time context, and in a particular fashion. To some extent, then, reasoning – again as you are familiar with it – is the result of a lack of available knowledge. You try to “reason things out”, because the answer is not in front of you. If it were, you would “know”, and hence have no need to question.
The reasoning mind is a uniquely human and physical phenomenon. It depends upon conscious thinking, problem-solving methods, and it is a natural human blossoming, a spectacular mental development in its own framework of activity.
Your technology is one of the results of that reasoning mind. That “reasoning” is necessary, however, because of the lack of a larger, immediate field of knowledge. Thoughts are mental activity, scaled to time and space terms so that they are like mental edifices built to certain dimensions only. Your thoughts make you human.
Other creatures have their own kinds of mental activity, however. They also have different kinds of immediate perceptions of reality. All species are united by their participation in emotional states, however. It is not just that all species of life have feeling, but that all participate in dimensions of emotional reality. It has been said that only men have a moral sense, that only men have free will – if indeed free will is possible at all. The word “moral” has endless connotations, of course. Yet animals have their own “morality”, their own codes of honor, and their own impeccable sense of balance with all other creatures. They have loving emotional relationships, complicated societies, and in a certain sense at least – an important one – they also have their arts and sciences. But those “arts and sciences” are not based upon reasoning, as you understand it.
Animals also possess independent volition, and while I am emphasizing animals here, the same applies to any creature, large or small: insect, bird, fish, or worm; to plant life; to cells, atoms, or electrons. They possess free will in relationship to the conditions of their existence.
The conditions of existence are largely determined by genetic structure. Free will must then of course function in accordance with genetic integrity. Genetic structure makes possible physical organisms through which life is to be experienced, and to a large extent that structure must determine the kind of action possible in the world, and the way or ways in which volition can be effectively expressed.
The beaver is not free to make a spider web. In human beings, the genetic structure largely determines physical characteristics such as height, color of eyes, color of hair, color of skin – and, of course, more importantly, the number of fingers and toes, and the other specific physical attributes of your specieshood. So physically, and on his physical attributes alone, a man cannot use his free will to fly like a bird, or to perform physical acts for which the human body is not equipped.
The body is equipped to perform far better, in a variety of ways, than you give it credit for, however – but the fact remains that the genetic structure focuses volition. The genetic apparatus and the chromosomal messages actually contain far more information than is ever used. That genetic information can, for example, be put together in an infinite number of ways. The species cares for itself in the event of any possible circumstances, so that the genetic messages also carry an endless number of triggers that will change genetic combinations if this becomes necessary.
Beyond that, however, genetic messages are coded in such a way that there is a constant give-and-take between those messages and the present experience of any given individual. That is, no genetic event is inevitable.
Now besides this physical genetic structure, there is an inner bank of psychic information that in your terms would contain the “past” history – the reincarnational history – of the individual. This provides an overall reservoir of psychic characteristics, leanings, abilities, knowledge, that is as much a part of the individual’s heritage as the genetic structure is a part of the physical heritage.
A person of great intelligence may be born from a family of idiots, for example, because of that reincarnational structure. Musical ability may thus appear complete with great technical facility, regardless of family background, genetically speaking, and again, the reincarnational bank of characteristics accounts for such events. That inner reincarnational psychic structure is also responsible for triggering certain genetic messages while ignoring others, or for triggering certain combinations of genetic messages. In actuality, of course – say that I smiled – all time is simultaneous, and so all reincarnational lives occur at once.
Perhaps an analogy will help. An actor throwing himself or herself into a role, even momentarily lost in the part, is still alive and functioning as himself or herself in a context that is larger than the play. The character in the play is seemingly alive (creatively) for the play’s duration, perception being limited to that framework, yet to play that role the actor draws upon the experience of his own life. He brings to bear his own understanding, compassion, artistry, and if he is a good actor, or if she is, then when the play is over the actor is a better person for having played the role.
Now in the greater framework of reincarnational existences you choose your roles, or your lives, but the lines that you speak, the situations that you meet, are not predetermined. “You” live or exist in a larger framework of activity even while you live your life, and there is a rambunctious interplay between the yous in time and the you outside of time.
The you inside of time adopts a reasoning mind. It is a kind of creative psychological face that you use for the purposes of your life’s drama. This psychological face of our analogy has certain formal, ceremonial features, so that you mentally and psychologically tend to perceive only those data that are available within the play’s formal structure. You cannot see into the future, for example, or into the past.
You reason out your position. Otherwise your free will would have no meaning in a physical framework, for the number of choices available would be so multitudinous that you could not make up your mind to act within time. With all the opportunities of creativity, and with your own greater knowledge instantly available, you would be swamped by so many stimuli that you literally could not physically respond, and so your particular kinds of civilization and science and art could not have been accomplished – and regardless of their flaws they are magnificent accomplishments, unique products of the reasoning mind.
Without the reasoning mind the artist would have no need to paint, for the immediacy of his mental vision would be so instant and blinding, so mentally accomplished, that there would be no need to try any physical rendition of it. So nowhere do I ever mean to demean the qualities or excellence of the reasoning mind as you understand it.
You have, however, become so specialized in its use, so prejudiced in its favor, that your tendency is to examine all other kinds of consciousness using the reasoning mind as the only yardstick by which to judge intelligent life. You are surrounded everywhere by other kinds of consciousness whose validity you have largely ignored, whose psychic brotherhood you have dismissed – kinds of consciousness in the animal kingdom particularly, that deal with a different kind of knowing, but who share with you the reality of keen emotional experience, and who are innately aware of biological and psychic values, but in ways that have escaped your prejudiced examination.
To some extent that emotional reality is also expressed at other levels – as your own is – in periods of dreaming, in which animals, like men, participate in a vast cooperative venture that helps to form the psychological atmosphere in which your lives must first of all exist.
All creatures of whatever degree have their own appreciation of esthetics. Many such creatures merge their arts so perfectly into their lives that it is impossible to separate the two: the spider’s web, for example, or the beaver’s dam – and there are endless other examples. This is not “blind instinctive behavior” at all, but the result of well-ordered spontaneous artistry.
Art is not a specifically human endeavor, though man likes to believe that this is so. Art is above all a natural characteristic. I try to straddle your definitions – but flowers, for example, in a fashion see themselves as their own artistic creations. They have an esthetic appreciation of their own colors – a different kind, of course, than your perception of color. But nature seeks to outdo itself in terms that are most basically artistic, even while those terms may also include quite utilitarian purposes. The natural man, then, is a natural artist. In a sense, painting is man’s natural attempt to create an original but coherent, mental yet physical interpretation of his own reality – and by extension to create a new version of reality for his species.
You are still learning. Your work is still developing. How truly unfortunate you would be if that were not the case! There is always a kind of artistic dissatisfaction that any true artist feels with work that is completed, for he is always aware of the tug and pull, and the tension, between the sensed ideal and its manifestation. In a certain fashion the artist is looking for a creative solution to a sensed but never clearly stated problem or challenge, and it is an adventure that is literally unending. It must be one that has no clearly stated destination, in usual terms. In the most basic of ways, the artist cannot say where he is going, for if he knows ahead of time he is not creating but copying.
The true artist is involved with the inner workings of himself with the universe – a choice, I remind you, that he or she has made, and so often the artist does indeed forsake the recognized roads of recognition. And more, seeing that, he often does not know how to assess his own progress, since his journey has no recognizable creative destination. By its nature art basically is meant to put each artist of whatever kind into harmony with the universe, for the artist draws upon the same creative energy from which birth emerges.