Cooperation Beats Competition, Pun Intended: Seth Explains Why–Part 4

evenWhen we left off at the end of Part 3, human consciousness had developed enough to be firmly focused in the physical. We discussed how natural guilt–an internal checks and balances system to prevent violation against others–had gone awry. At this stage, tribal myths and cultural stories as well as various pagan religions arose, which attributed both good and bad events to outside forces. For example, a drought could be due to an unhappy storm god. So could a flood, for that matter. What made the storm god unhappy was something people had done. They were guilty, in other words, and the gods would punish them for their transgressions. These myths involved an intrinsic understanding of nature; its just that the people projected the inner knowing onto exterior reality.

Seth says that these mythologies were an attempt by humanity to regulate itself without natural guilt. They represented beliefs that were shared by peasants and the wealthy alike. Humans projected all kinds of feelings and fears onto these spirits, gods, and goddesses, and even on the natural world and its creatures.

. . . There was a spectacular range of good and bad deities, with all gradations [among them], that more or less ‘democratically’ represented the unknown but sensed, splendid and tumultuous characteristics of the human soul, and have stood for those sensed but unknown glimpses of his own reality that man was in one way or another determined to explore. (Dreams, ‘Evolution,’ and Value Fulfillment, Volume 2, p. 400)

Eventually–over many centuries–these pagan religions gave way to the monotheistic religions, such as Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

Jehovah and the Christian version of God brought about a direct conflict between the so-called forces of good and the so-called forces of evil by largely cutting out all of the intermediary gods, and therefore destroying the subtle psychological give and take that occurred between them–among them–and polarizing man’s own view of his inner psychological reality. (Dreams, ‘Evolution,’ and Value Fulfillment, Volume 2, p. 400)

These organized religions which emphasized evil, sin, guilt, and punishment, served to separate people even further from their own inner guides and inherent connection with All That Is.  We were here on Earth and God was someplace else, completely removed. Even some of the Eastern philosophies, like Buddhism, taught that all of reality was nothing but illusion and should be rejected for some future state of nirvana.

All such dogmas use artificial guilt, and natural guilt is distorted to serve those ends. In whatever terms, the devotee is told that there is something wrong with earthly experience. You are therefore, considered evil as a self in flesh by virtue of your very existence. (The Nature of Personal Reality, p. 235)

So, we can see that as evolution proceeded, the memory of our cooperative relationship with all of creation diminished. I don’t want to leave you with the impression that Seth criticized these developments. He described them as understandable steps in the development of human consciousness. All mythologies and religions, he said, gave meaning and some organization to people’s lives. Myths were the basis for their societies, whether tribal or civil, and they were the basis of knowledge and participation in the world at those times.

Seth is an equal opportunity critic of worldviews. For example, he mentions how early civilizations often believed that illness was sent by evil spirits who had to be mollified with various gifts or incantations. This seems ridiculous to us now. But Seth says,

It is easy enough to look at those belief structures and shrug your shoulders, wondering at man’s distorted views of reality. The entire scientific view of illness, however, is quite as distorted. It is as laboriously conceived and interwound with ‘nonsense.’ It is about as factual as the ‘fact’ that God sends illness as punishment, or that illness is the unwanted gift of mischievous demons. (Dreams, ‘Evolution,’ and Value Fulfillment, Volume 1, p. 204)

On that note, let’s talk about the waning of the religious worldview and the rise of the scientific one.

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Cooperation Beats Competition, Pun Intended: Seth Explains Why–Part 3

According to Seth, those CUs that would eventually become human consciousness as we know it existed during pre-history in a kind of pseudo-form which Seth called a dream body. The dream body, in turn, operated in what might be best thought of as a dream world, also formed by consciousness.

Seth called these pre-humans “Sleepwalkers” and their main concentration was still in the dream world, even though they were beginning to experiment with physical reality. The Sleepwalkers had bodies, some of which looked like ours, but they operated perfectly and effortlessly, were not diseased or defective in any way, and had some abilities that surpassed ours.

This state was one in which pre-humans could try out different ideas, create environments, interact with various species, and learn how they would work together. If things didn’t go the way they planned, they could try something else, without the physical consequences.

The Sleepwalkers did not age anywhere near as quickly as we do and did not need to procreate; gender was not important and these beings had what we would call both male and female qualities. In Seth’s recounting,

While men [and women] had their dream bodies alone they enjoyed a remarkable freedom . . . for their bodies did not have to be fed or clothed. They did not have to operate under the laws of gravity . . . They did not yet identify themselves to any great degree as being themselves separate from either the environment or other creatures. (Dreams, ‘Evolution,’ and Value Fulfillment, Volume 2, p. 222)

During the time of the Sleepwalkers, matter was impermanent; Seth said it pulsed in and out of existence. “What you really had in the beginning were images without form, slowly adopting form, blinking on and off, then stabilizing into forms that were as yet not completely physical. These then took on all of the characteristics that you now consider formed physical matter.” (Dreams, “Evolution,” and Value Fulfillment, Volume 1, p. 179)

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Cooperation Beats Competition, Pun Intended: Seth Explains Why–Part 2

You will remember from previous posts or from reading the Seth material yourself, that a nonphysical, hidden reality preceded physical reality. Every possibility or probability that could ever exist was thought of all at once by All That Is and became “Divine Fact” in a different framework–one that is completely mental, not physical.

Before anything that is part of our physical world becomes physical, Seth says, it passes through various stages. The most important thing to know about these stages is that what propels them into being is consciousness. Everything is made up of consciousness.

Consciousness is the agent that directs the transformation of energy into form and of form into energy. (Dreams, ‘Evolution,’ and Value Fulfillment, Volume 1, Amber-Allen, 1986/1997, p. 137)

Seth describes consciousness units or CUs as the “building blocks” of matter. Fifty years ago we were all taught that the atom was the smallest building block of matter. Today, most physicists think of some yet undiscovered sub-atomic particle as the smallest building block of matter. Seth claims that ultimately humanity will realize that consciousness units are what they have been searching for.  You can read a bit here about the physicists who have already come around to this idea: http://www.collective-evolution.com/2014/11/11/consciousness-creates-reality-physicists-admit-the-universe-is-immaterial-mental-spiritual/

Seth says that CUs act as both particle and wave at different times. When CUs act like particles, they experience their reality from the center of those forms, they focus on unique specifications, and they become individual. When they act like waves they do not set up boundaries for themselves and they can be in more than one place at a time. Think of a vast ocean in relation to a drop of ocean water to get an impression of this concept. And Seth says that CUs act as both particle and wave (or matter and force) all the time. So literally everything in our reality, even space, is made up of consciousness and results from consciousness.

Metaphysically, they [CUs] can be thought of as the point at which All That Is acts to form [your] world–the immediate contact of a never-ending creative inspiration, coming into mental focus . . . the CUs represent the spectacular foundations of the world in value fulfillment, for each unit of consciousness is related to each other, a part of the other, each participating in the entire gestalt of mortal experience. (Dreams, ‘Evolution,’ and Value Fulfillment, Volume 1, p. 170)

This word, “gestalt” is one that Seth uses frequently. A gestalt is a unified whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Seth says that CUs all have a propensity for exploring possibilities and they form into units of all sizes based on the qualities that are significant to them.

Certain units would settle upon various kinds of organization, find these significant, then build upon them and attract others of the same nature. So were various systems of reality formed. The particular kind of significance settled upon would act both as a directive for experience and as a method of erecting effective boundaries . . . The units can and do intermix, yet because of the propensity for selectivity and significance, whole groups of them will ‘repel’ other whole groups, thus providing a protective inner system of interaction. (The Unknown Reality, Volume 1, Amber-Allen, 1977/1996, p. 48)

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Cooperation Beats Competition, Pun Intended: Seth Explains Why, Part 1

As someone immersed in Seth’s philosophy as a way of life, I can’t help but interpret current events through this lens. Frequently, something I see or hear makes me think, “Seth said something about that.” Then, when I dig deeper, I find that indeed there is a great deal Seth said about that particular topic. When I consider how long ago his words were written, it often amazes me how prescient they were, especially when they can be applied precisely to something happening now or when they foretold of scientific discoveries that came much later into public awareness.

Today I want to talk about Seth’s thoughts on cooperation versus competition. A couple of things going on in the world got me thinking about this topic.

First, the Summer Olympics in Rio just wrapped up. Like anyone else, I can get excited and patriotic when the medal winners are from my own country. But I also feel bad for all the athletes who compete but don’t win a medal, because they have dedicated much of their lives to athletic excellence and have accomplished great things, yet sometimes, in just minutes, their dreams are dashed.

Although many things are good in moderation, we often take them too far. It’s part of the “more of a good thing must be better” school of thought that is often regarded as an American invention. So instead of celebrating all of the talent on exhibit at the Olympics, a certain segment of people will boo athletes from other countries. Certain governments will put their talented athletes at risk with doping, just to win. And certain officials will get selfishly involved in corrupt activities, just for the big money.

A different kind of competition is going on closer to home and also on my mind lately. It is the U.S. Presidential campaign, which was recently on display, in all its gross and glorious aspects, during the Republican and Democratic conventions. Beyond the polarizing campaign rhetoric and media coverage throughout, I suspect the same animosity will carry right through to the actual governing at congressional, state, and local levels. This is competition at its most discouraging and damaging.

I’ve been thinking about cooperation recently as well. Just this week I enjoyed a Ted Talk by Suzanne Simard called “How Trees Talk to Each Other, ” which was based on decades-long research on communication that exists among trees and their environment The talk was fantastic and uplifting. You can watch it here: https://www.ted.com/talks/suzanne_simard_how_trees_talk_to_each_other

Simard’s presentation called to mind some of Seth’s comments so I did a little research. I found a specific reference to trees in which Seth said, “One tree in a forest knows of the entire environment and its relationship in it.  Its tree-ness can merge with soil-ness, for example.” (The “Unknown” Reality, Volume 1, Amber-Allen, 1977/1996, p. 119) But this comment occurs within a broader explanation about how communication and cooperation carry on “beneath” or “behind” the reality we are aware of.

Seth asserts that we would not exist at all if not for cooperation. The cells of our bodies cooperate to keep us alive and to heal us when necessary. Civilizations and social institutions are all based on cooperation. And of course there are limitless examples of complex and interdependent systems within nature.

The living world consists of a spontaneous cooperation that exists between the smallest and the highest, the greatest and the lowly, between the atoms and the molecules and the conscious, reasoning mind. (The Nature of Personal Reality, Amber-Allen, 1974/1994, p. 3)

Why don’t we realize this? Well, some people do. And some believe it about nature, but they forget that nature includes human beings.

Seth says,

It has been fashionable in the past to believe that each species was oriented selfishly toward its own survival. Each was seen in competition with all other species. In that framework cooperation was simply a by-product of a primary drive toward survival. One species might use another, for instance. Species were thought to change, and ‘mutants’ [mutations] form, because of a previous alteration in the environment, to which any given species had to adjust or disappear. The motivating power was always projected outside. (The Unknown Reality, Volume 2, pp. 286-287)

Of course, this is a description of Darwinism. And, today, we have taken some of the concepts attributed to Darwin and applied them to other disciplines such as business, finance, sports, healthcare, education, and others. However, Seth argues, this interpretation of the world as inherently competitive is incorrect.

Today, there are many scholars who say that Darwin’s observations were misunderstood and skewed by prevailing attitudes at the time. You can read more here: http://proutglobe.org/2012/10/is-human-nature-competitive-or-cooperative/ and here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/kindness-emotions-psychology/

Were humans ever aware of the inner, primal connection that Seth speaks of? If so, how and why did we lose that awareness?

Find out in Part 2