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 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

Hate, Violence, and Evil: What’s Fear Got To Do With It? Part 1

It’s been on my mind for some time, on account of all the violence, terrorism, and fearfulness in the world, to delve into Seth’s ideas on topics like these. Doing the research was tricky since Seth talks about all of these topics , in practically every book he dictated through Jane Roberts.

Like most of Seth’s remarks, though, there are layers of information rather than straightforward, one-dimensional definitions. So, one has to be very careful to avoid misunderstanding. In the case of the topics of hate, evil, and fear, there has to be a foundational understanding of the nature of reality according to Seth. Otherwise, one might think that Seth blames the victims of violence or that he denies the experience of evil in our lives, both of which are incorrect.

So, here in a nutshell, is Seth’s basic description of reality:

  1. We experience ourselves here in a physical world as separate beings at the mercy of cause and effect, as well as random events. Seth calls this level of reality Framework 1.
  2. Beyond or behind this reality is a hidden reality, mostly unknown  to us, except in uncommon instances, such as in near death experiences. This is called Framework 2. Framework 2 is responsible for all the physical effects and laws of Framework 1.
  3. The essence of this unknown reality is Consciousness. In Framework 2, all possibilities and probabilities exist simultaneously in one timeless present and everything is connected to everything else, rather than separate or isolated.
  4. From each moment in Framework 1 we call forth probably events out of Framework 2 and this is what we experience as our life.
  5. This is done through our thoughts, beliefs, desires, and expectations. The intensity of our desire or emotion determines how quickly or easily things materialize in our reality.

Although greatly summarized, this definition will do for our purposes. While this view of reality may seem theoretical, if you stop and think about it, you will be able to find many examples that suggest how it might be accurate.

Think about an athlete who has just won the Masters Golf Tournament. In the interview that follows, he says, “I dreamed about this since I was a little kid . . . I actually saw myself walking up the 18th fairway and heard the applause.” That is  a positive example. But the inverse can be just as likely. Imagine a woman whose mother died of cancer at the age of 52. The daughter believes and fears that she will have the same fate. And she does. In both cases, they created their realities through their beliefs, one driven by desire, the other by fear–both very powerful drivers.

Ok, with that refresher on reality creation behind us, let’s get back to the main topics of evil, hate, and fear.

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