This Thing: In Horizontal and Vertical Garb
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THIS THING: IN HORIZONTAL AND VERTICAL GARB
Document: 37, August 26, 1982
Copyright(c) Jan M. Cox, 1982
This Thing manifests itself in three describable ways. And for those of you who would cultivate faculties beyond the lateral and rational, I remind you of the Three Forces. In addition, I now give you two maps — two descriptions — of how This Thing takes form in Life: It clothes itself in both Horizontal and Vertical garb. Of course, what I am saying is not an attack on any form of This Thing. Each is part of Life. Each is part of Life’s attempt at expansion.
The Horizontal manifestation includes what I have always referred to as pseudo-forms of This Thing. For example, many religions and psychiatry sound as if they might be part of This Thing. And you can look back along the Horizontal Line of time and find literature — even 5000 thousand years old — that moves you to say, “Well, if that was not an example of This Thing, they certainly missed a great opportunity.” The observation is true in a way. This Thing does exist throughout Life — in the sense that Life IS its OWN continuing attempt at expansion. Each individual person is unwittingly involved in the horizontal expression of This Thing. People who have never heard of This, people who would deny that they had any interest in such strange affairs, are still outlets for Life’s growth. Because on this planet, at the level where growth occurs, only man is an open-ended system. Weasels and fig newton trees cannot continue the upper levels of their nervous systems. But man can, and must: Life grows through man-the-form.
Recall your past attempts at so-called wisdom, enlightenment, self-expansion, or whatever you want to call it. Those pursuits, your mystical and philosophical readings, your wonderful imaginations, represent the Horizontal form — the pseudo-systems. And they can be clearly distinguished from the Vertical form which I conduct by a difference in priorities. The Vertical expression of This Thing is always private and direct. It’s what I’m doing. It’s why you’re here. You’re DOING something specific. By contrast, the Horizontal form is never private and direct. It’s always public and random; accidental. The public form takes place, yes, publicly — “anybody and his brother” can receive and pass on any formed fragment of Life’s general growth.
This Thing, in its Vertical manifestation, cannot tolerate wasted effort. I cannot allow this to turn into some kind of cult. What we are engaged in cannot be made to correlate with astrology, numerology or some other pseudo version of This which are at best poor reflections. You cannot pursue both the Horizontal and Vertical forms of This because the result will be neither Vertical nor Horizontal. Rather, it would be a combination of the fig newton tree and the weasel, which leads only to more imagination.
Another description of the Vertical form of This Thing is that its leaders are always out of time. It was true of all the so-called religious leaders and it’s true now.
I am absolutely in the wrong place within the nervous system of Life. Literally. This is not allegory. The area above Line-level is tomorrow. And everything that humanity imagines regarding an expanded consciousness exists. Above that real Line. It exists tomorrow.
Diagram # 011 illustration
Life is continually attempting to expand its nervous system and, since man is the only open-ended system available to Life at this level, Life grows through man. The location of Line-level consciousness DOES rise. But it does not serve the purpose of the Life-of-Life for it to expand physically within any individual’s lifetime. What the individual experiences is the tension at the point of expansion. You are “frustrated” — or any other word that you might choose. Yet this very tension enables Life to grow. The tension drives people to think, “I must get ahead”, or “I must make a change.” The specific verbiage does not matter. The fact is that no one is at ease, because Life is not finished.
Social critics condemn the “rat race.” They say that if we were all good Catholics or Buddhists or Jews and had the “right attitude” the world would again be like the Garden of Eden. Everyone would be at peace and we’d all love one another. But it’s not so. Progress and growth cannot be calm. If a secret did exist which would put everyone at peace; and if it were possible to state in words, then as soon as you heard it (and were put at ease for the first time) you’d immediately drop dead. It would be the end of everything.
The paradise we dream about is not in the past. The Garden of Eden has not been abandoned. But all these ideas about man having a soul, wherein he knows everything and experiences peace, love and compassion simply have no basis down below Line level. It’s simply the nature of the beast, and you can’t change it. You can’t experience the reality of wisdom and love at the level where the words are used. There is no intensive care unit where you can undergo some form of psychic surgery and rearrange your nervous system below the Line level. All such dreams exist above the Line, always out of reach. They are dreams of tomorrow. And what you are attempting here is to activate areas of your nervous system which will be part of normal consciousness, tomorrow.
I’m going to tell you something that you have no business knowing until the future. Someone who is doing what I am doing must absolutely start from scratch. I have used the English language. I have referred to historical religious teachers and terms that you may have read in books. I am aware of that. I had to begin by using names and descriptions accepted by people who thought they were interested in This Thing. I simply stole coats from the grave. That is always the way it is. The ancient historical teachers, whether they actually existed or not, had to reach down and grab the coat of what had come before.
But some of you with acute I-sight may realize though that even as I used accepted descriptions I have walked a certain line. I didn’t get involved in concocting great symbols, or involving you in useless would-be mysticism and ritual. And that part of you below the Line which feeds on such things, feels cheated. That part hasn’t been nourished. You laugh when I talk about showing up at some public gathering in a turban and arriving in a stretch limo with smoke spewing out the top. You’re not laughing at someone else. You’re laughing at your own areas below the Line which call for symbolism and ritual. And part of what Horizontal forms of This Thing feed humanity through religions, mores, literature,and social structure is fuel for this area below the Line. I tell you again anybody doing This Vertically is out of time. And to assist your Vertical expansion, I must invent new maps from scratch. This is not version one-twenty-eight of mystical system x. And this is what you do not understand. I’m not telling you this so you will sing my praises. You should be beyond that. I’m telling you this so you can learn from it.
There is an absolute Line representing the level to which mankind has developed, but the Line is not straight. It dips and rises as it flows through humanity-at-large and this is why even though we live in an electronic age where it is possible to instantaneously transmit things via satellite to the other side of the world, you cannot take This Thing and make it popular world wide. It is simply not possible. It is not even possible for Horizontal forms of This to communicate from culture to culture. There will never be a world wide version of This. I could go somewhere else and make it work, but I would have to change it. I can not simply transfer what I am doing with you people to another part of the world because I will have moved in time as well as space. And this is also why anyone who was actually involved with the direct Vertical form of This Thing had to start from scratch. No matter how much it may sound as if they simply rejuvenated what came before them, I am telling you that is not true. Anyone involved with the Vertical expression of This Thing absolutely starts from scratch. And those of you who’ve begun to experience This Thing should See that you, too, absolutely start from scratch.
Every facet of the myriad activities and descriptions I have given you came from my own starting-from-scratch. I had to ascertain the elevation of Line level in this time and place, and then invent special tools, treading the fine line between insanity, irrationality, and your normal typical, little selves. And let me remind you that my frequent mention of “tricks” is in no way negative. I am not implying that you are so dumb or deluded that I can in some way trick you. For example, I have often suggested you do something alien to your habits. I might tell you to hang out at the bowling alley, if you’ve never gone there. Dress like the people there. Make yourself look and act just like a group of people you would never have associated with. Talk bowling. You immediately respond (internally at least), “Well, I can’t do that. I know that people do it, but my god! I’d be humiliated. I couldn’t stand it.” But then you actually try such tasks — these tricks — and you discover surprising favor in undertaking them. Some of you describe a feeling of lightness and freedom; you have simply seen something new. And as you continue these “tricks”, you learn that they are not concluded by a period. Quite to the contrary: No matter how great any experience may be, it’s never a conclusion. If you put a period after anything, you kill your potential to see something further on your own; you begin to become a follower, and I’m not going to allow it. When you stop there you start to think that I am a super-psychologist. You say to yourself, “I DO feel better. Now I can see the psychological ramifications of never doing something different and the ultimate significance of this: A man should not be limited by the habits of his own personality (PERIOD).” And that will get you nowhere. All you’ve seen is the superficial side. You’re simply engaged in psychological archeology. Child’s play. As much fun as that seems, you’re not involved with your own Vertical expansion. I create these tricks from scratch based on the needs of this time and place and the Real trick happens when you begin to see past the obvious, past the ordinarily describable. In one sense I am involved with beginning to drive all of you crazy. My maps and verbal picturizations are aimed at loosening some of your habitual, mental connections. At the same time, I keep talking to that one loose wire, that one piece within you that can hear any of this. I seduce it. I trick it. I whisper to it and laugh with it. And as that one loose wire becomes stronger, your habitual connections weaken. It becomes more and more possible to think a previously unthought thought. And for that process to continue in you, I must continually invent this as you go along.
The heart of This Thing (the Vertical, private, and direct growth conducted by one who is out-of-time) must be continuously invented. This Activity is always, at any moment of its appearance, a “moving on.” This assiduous movement and expansion supersedes any personal pleasure you derive from your efforts. And I’m not taking anything away from such pleasures. You should each relish your own new-found freedoms from all manner of fears, habits, and imaginations. You SHOULD be delighted that you’re no longer quaking in your boots. But those pleasures and rewards are not the object of This Thing; they are a by-product.
You should be able to feel that This Thing serves a larger scale than the unraveling of your own “problems.” The private Vertical form of This Thing is the highly concentrated crucible for Life’s growth. And in our day and time, the Vertical process is accelerating; one reflection of that acceleration is the rate at which This Thing now flows out into Life — into the random, accidental forms of This Thing. What begins as an accelerated, direct method of expansion is absorbed by the slower, public system of growth. If you can quickly understand this continuum, you should See new meaning behind the old statement historically expressed as man’s potential to infinitely refine himself. Even at the ordinary level, Life continually raises the stakes. Line-level rises.
The general, random, accidental, public Line level rises through the private and direct efforts of those in This Activity to extend their own nervous systems. Thus the first priority of the direct, private form is — “each person for himself.” While that always remains true and is always the basis for continued forays above Line level, it is also true that each of you here becomes responsible for each other. Not that you can actually conduct this activity FOR somebody else; but you are responsible to create the maximum likelihood that any other person here will have the greatest possibility for continuing his or her own expansion. The best and most absolute example of this is the necessity for each of you to refrain from ANY expression of hostility. Note also that in establishing that rule “artificially,” I’m interfering with the ordinary flows of energy between you. If you could rise above your own Line level, you’d instantly See that your connection with certain other individuals elicits an instant outrage. So your elemental responsibility to yourself and all others here is to absolutely and forever respond to my artificial denial of that ordinary privilege.
If this private, direct form ever reaches the level of becoming its Horizontal manifestation, it becomes random. It becomes public. It puts on a public face. Even if I use the exact same words I use when I speak to you people to address the random public, the effect would be different. This can verbally assume the air of splendid mysticism but I tell you it is simple fact. Present a verbally direct form of This to a random group and it diffuses. I could almost sweat blood talking to the random public and it would have almost no effect. Some people will say, “Hey, that was all right. Will you be here tomorrow? I’ll come back.” And from one viewpoint I could say, “Well I’m not sure I’ll live through the night.”
Once a Vertical form of This reaches a certain point it must acquire a public and random manifestation. It begins to serve a new purpose. The purpose is no longer every man for himself. Neuralize this: The immediate purpose of pseudo, Horizontal forms of This is not to further the individual participants. They may verbally nod that we all need some additional work upon ourselves, but the general thrust of the churches and other examples is this: “Our message is for all of humanity. Come join. Take a pledge. Read a book. Let’s get on with the great task. Let’s get on with the work of the gods. We must go forth and help other folks.” Whenever your attention is directed outward, you are in the midst of the Horizontal. There is no longer any direct, private application. Such forms serve a purpose in Life but have nothing to do with the reality of This Thing. It is not the job of public forms of This to lift an individual man or woman to above Line level.
Direct, personal work is the focus of This Thing. The immediate task of This is not to “help mankind”. Mankind does not need help. And we are not here to redress injustices. You should be able to peek through the cracks and see that everything is just fine. The fact remains there is a kind of debt you must repay Life. Don’t become engaged with this before you understand it. There is no great sky god keeping score. But those who cease to be the mechanical transfer agents for the mechanical pulse of Life inherit a certain kind of debt.
First, you owe yourself if you are attempting to activate yourself above Line level. You must have an Aim. Whether or not you have the ability to formulate that Aim in words. To begin with, Consider your Aim to be that which brought you here and that which keeps you here. And, you must be able to expand the limits of your nervous system. You must be able to see what you need to see. This is the premier obligation.
In addition, there is a second obligation, a second part of the debt, to the vertical expansion of Life. It is the sum of what we are doing here. This debt has nothing to do with some pseudo-religious idea of somehow paying back the gods. If you could rise above your own Life-produced system, you would understand the debt and you would see you have no choice, and nothing to “think about.”
As you struggle to activate the higher areas of your nervous system, you will find yourself more and more stripped of illusions such as, “I am me and I know what I want. I like the idea of being something extraordinary but I also have other Aims. I want to have a couple of million in the bank, a big boat…” It’s not that you can’t still pursue any true interests or talents you might have in Life, but more and more you will find yourself left with the one singular Aim of expanding your own nervous system.
Mechanical reflections of this process of stripping yourself down to one Aim surface in most horizontal forms of This. Religions proclaim everyone should give up the desires of the temporal life. This is the public version of another reality. You’re not going to gain gold stars in any god’s great book by giving up your desire to have a brand-new limousine. You have not experienced some religious breakthrough to be able to say, “I don’t even think about limousines much anymore. Well, maybe every time I see one, I guess, but I don’t sit around plotting how to save money to get one. I’m getting too smart for that. I see that getting one is no big deal.”
Horizontal forms of This operate verbally by employing what I call a back door approach. For example, you’re told that if you can just “live a good, Christian life,” then you would (to use my descriptions) have activated your nervous system above Line level. The simple fact is that if you had the Aim to extend your nervous system — and you COULD be a good Christian, good Jew, the perfect Rotarian, or a perfect anything, then you would have already activated your higher nervous system. Because you can’t simply remain “you” as you were accidentally wired and satisfy the requirements for any religion. Do you see why I call it a back door approach? At the random, public level, it’s assumed you can just change. And change at that level is always construed as behavior. There is no random, public knowledge about changing the nervous system itself.
Thus all such random, public efforts in pseudo-forms of This Thing are always adopted by the practitioners as a matter of improving the already formed “I”. At that level, you always approach the activity as an “I” and you continue to think, “I am me and nobody else. I am me and I know the difference between me and them. There may be a few things I’m still a little vague about, but basically, I know what’s what. Everyone else is just kinda guessing.” Unless you expand your nervous system, you remain divided not only from all of Life but from yourself as well. You will continue to be a living example of my equation, I + Not I = Everything.
Diagram # 026 illustration
The apparent reality of the plus sign is that there always seems to be some difference between you and everybody else. But when you can activate yourself above Line level you discover that while you are still physically separate from everyone else, there is no difference; no real separation. And when you can See that, you can swallow everyone. You have moved in time. What will be natural for the masses tomorrow, is natural for you today.
Remember, it’s the purpose of Horizontal forms to address the masses and to expand Life laterally. And what was once the energy/domain of direct, personal work diffuses in order to aid the random growth of humanity-at-large. Horizontal forms approach from the back door. They announce behavioral directives, such as, “Everyone should learn to be humble!” But only you here can See that if someone could be truly humble, he would not be trapped at Line level. All of you should realize in an objective sense, an “I” can’t learn to be humble. “You” cannot go around practicing humility and learn to be humble. Messages such as, “Everyone should be humble”, are part of the creaks and groans as the machinery of Life announces what is next. All such messages seep through the genes of man. The cries that we must protect the planet, stop all wars, disarm the nations and feed the hungry appear to be spoken by individual men and women — but individual people are not talking. LIFE is talking. We are hearing the rumble of Life’s growing pains, the pops and cracks of muscles and bones expanding. And the audible translation is: We must do better. We must be humble. We are hearing about what will be natural for mankind tomorrow and the reality of the messages exists right above Line level in the land of man’s future.
Your first debt is to yourself but you cannot scratch the peculiar itch which brought you here if you remain captive of Line-level consciousness. You cannot learn to be humble while living only at Line level and being an “I”. It takes more than your deciding, “I’ll be humble. I’ll be famous for being humble. People will come from miles around to stand in awe of my humility.” Humility cannot be faked. It cannot be learned. (Plus, humility is simply a word.) But if you can extend yourself above Line level, you’ll See the reality of true humility.
When you are above the Line you are beyond ordinary time. You’re in Life’s future. You can look down and see the human drama: People condemning you, entire races fighting one another: You see everything for what it is. Then you Understand the reality behind the word humility. You simply See. You are not better than the process. You are not smarter than it is. You are not dumber than it is. You’re neither faster nor slower. But you can See it, and from up above the Line, all of Life, everything which has gone before, becomes irrelevant. Other than your involvement with This Activity, everything becomes irrelevant. It becomes irrelevant on the basis that now you understand. You are freed from all the deadly sins because in one big glimpse you See those sins for what they are. You see why humanity is forced to believe in them. You see the process which is the growth of Life. And now you can be humble.
Consider all of this in light of what I recently suggested about exactly how you should attempt to treat people without thinking about them: Observe and react to the behavior of whomever you’re with — and simultaneously — silently recite your REFUSAL TO THINK about him or her. Now I’ll expand the map that goes hand-in-hand with that attempt, and the word I’ll use is not perfect, but it’s the best we’ve got: Prejudice. You must see prejudice as an everyday acceptable form of hostility, where hostility is one flavor of the frictional energy exchange that bonds humanity. This unseen, subtle, acceptable prejudice is simply people thinking about people. And you’ll never see it for yourself until you struggle to distance yourself from it. (My recent suggestion is an ideal way to achieve that distance.) That tension, that prejudice, augments the continual, ordinary energy exchange between all the individual units of humanity. Remember, at its widest level, this exchange need not be overt: It’s simply people thinking about people.
This hostile tension exists between everyone at Line level. It is present even when someone smiles, slaps you on your back and shouts, “What a wonderful person you are!” Everyone is driven to transfer certain energy. It is as if we have all been thrown in one big closet and the door slammed shut. Everyone inside jockeys for position. Everyone picks everyone else’s pockets. Before the door closed a certain amount of currency, a certain amount of insults, a certain amount of good cheer and every other variation of energy exchange flowed into the closet and it’s still there. It’s always passed around. You pick someone’s pocket and come out with a twenty. While you’re busy bragging about your good fortune someone else steals your shoes. The currency flows back and forth within the closed system of this closet. Everyone describes movement but no one is really going anywhere and that is the reality of what I mean by the tension. I’m not telling you this to give you the blues. When you can See, you find nothing negative in this arrangement. It has nothing to do with “the human mess.” There is a kind of tension present between people, and you should have some taste of this through your own refusal to express any hostility. Absolutely everyone carries this kind of prejudice or hostility in his or her circuitry.
Within the body of Life below Line level overt manifestations of this hostility are recognized but not understood. Attempts have been made to combine people of different races, religions and socioeconomic levels in the effort to eradicate “prejudice.” People believe that if only everyone could be properly educated, no one would be prejudiced. And it’s not a matter of more eduction.
The kind of prejudice I’m talking about cannot be eradicated. You didn’t learn it in the privacy of your home or pick it up in the school yard. It is not your parents’ fault. No one’s at fault. To think about people negatively and to judge them without basis is not morally wrong. It’s not morally right. It is mechanical. It’s as natural as your heartbeat.
What you must See is that you cannot be struggling to activate the higher parts of your nervous system and allow yourself to listen to the necessary badmouthing which is integral to Line-level consciousness. And, you can’t just say, “I won’t listen to myself anymore,” any more than you can put up signs about not wanting a limousine. Oh, you can put up the signs. But you’ll still want one.
It’s no great discovery to learn that you have hostility towards green people. You’re sitting at a traffic light and a limo pulls up carrying a green person. Automatically a little two or three word singsong plays over and over through your circuitry about how a green person could come to own a limousine. You are prejudiced towards green people. Don’t continue to pass that hostile currency but don’t stop there. What you can see at this traffic light is repeated over and over inside your head. Only the names change.
One important thing is to See that many other people pull up to that traffic light whom you never even notice. That is being ordinary. At Line level everyone’s impressions are permanently limited. And YOU notice only green people. It’s your responsibility to react to green people. And the guy behind you is in charge of noticing and reacting to the yellow or the purple people. Only a limited number of people will ever attract your attention, and you must see how you continually react to them.
You cannot continue to engage in prejudice. You cannot place your mental hands on people and think about them. Observe people, react to their behavior but do not think about them. Not even good thoughts. Remember that this is truly a trick. I’m not simply suggesting you do this to show you that you can’t do it. If you belong here, you CAN keep from thinking about people long enough to See something. And then you put a comma after your observation and start learning from not only what you saw but from the voices within you asking, “Why couldn’t I do it longer? Why do I forget to do it?” You should learn something from every aspect of this, including the many I haven’t named.
This attempt to rise beyond your accepted, habitual prejudice is so important that I’m going to describe it again. You are sitting at the traffic light and a green person pulls up beside you. Your internal voices immediately mutter, “Well how did you afford a limousine?” It’s as automatic as your heart pumping blood. Just as your liver functions and does what livers do, in the same sense, the upper part of the nervous system will automatically say, “How did a green person afford a limousine?” Your task is to discover that you CAN stay ahead of this “thinking”. I’ll make it cruder. The thought occurs but you don’t think it. You don’t examine it. It is simply energy spent as noise. But you who have an Aim cannot participate in those natural transactions. You must learn through experience to See the thought coming — to See your natural prejudice taking form. And then, you have to intercept it before the transaction is completed. You have to learn how to refrain from thinking the thought. And it’s not for any moral reason; it’s not because green people need your personal help. You must learn through your own experience that you do — for the first time — have some choice. You earn the choice to not think what you’ve thought.
You’re not attempting to become broad-minded. You’re not attempting to love your fellow man. You are refraining from thinking about your fellow man. You’re refusing to bleed to death. Each time you think about someone you bleed a little more. If you allow this bleeding to continue by the time your blood reaches Line level you are exhausted. You’ve got no energy for vertical growth. You feel exactly as you are supposed to feel. You are totally engaged with what is occurring down below the Line. And you don’t have the energy to question the situation much less struggle against it.
Most of you probably came to the conclusion before you met me that it is not good to be prejudiced. That belief is fairly well accepted now by ordinary people, and it’s a reflection of Life’s growth. And you made efforts to change. Typically what happens in Life is that not only will you make some kind of apparent decision not to dislike green people but you seek restitution for your past acts of stupidity. You begin to sing the praises of green people. And you must abandon this apparently benevolent attitude as well. Because those thoughts are just as mechanical. Above Line level there is no good or bad.
This is not some pseudo-attempt to say that you are free from moral constraints. I am describing the reality of what happens. I’m describing one part of the struggle. Notice that when “thing are going right” you gain energy from me and you must do something with it: Continue the struggle yourself.
You cannot read the headlines about some new famine or children dying and begin thinking, “how terrible.” This might seem to be some kind of gray area, as if it’s o.k. to express concern for humanity. But it is not. People are driven to proclaim, “The world is in terrible shape.” Life groans as it grows. As long as you’re living at Line level, YOU are in terrible shape. It’s proper for everything to appear wrong. You can’t answer questions like: Why is there starvation in the world? Why is there prejudice? Why do people hate each other when I’m such a nice guy? It’s all a form of suffering. There is no safe corner in which to hide and avoid the fact that it is unprofitable to think about people. There is no possible exception. I am not overlooking anything. To suffer, to think about people starving, is not the noble duty of an enlightened person. All you are doing is bleeding internally. You are making no effort to get your energy above Line level. If you can put an end to starvation then put an end to it, but in any case do not THINK about it.
You must also realize that out in ordinary Life you would be a fool to express what I am telling you. When some one stands up and says, “Listen, we’ve got to eradicate prejudice. We are all reasonably educated. We have some money. Let’s mount a campaign to erase prejudice, at least in our community.” You will say, “Yea, I’m all for it.” But internally, you must know prejudice is irrelevant. As long as Life has a need for prejudice, Life will have prejudice. Nobody is going to eradicate it. And nothing is wrong. It is simply the way Life takes form through man.
The simplicity of this often trips people up. There is no excuse that you or anyone else can offer to explain away your prejudices. There is never an excuse. Nothing in your background caused you to be prejudiced towards people x. And it is not the Aim of This Thing for you to descend into your own ordinary nervous system and overcome this hatred. There is nothing to overcome. What you must see is that the thinking of these thoughts is killing any potential you have to rise above Line level. Don’t think the thought. Don’t become the thought. Don’t argue with it. It’s as irrelevant as your stomach rumbling. There is nothing to work on. The impulses to express prejudice will continue. That is the nature of being alive. But you can stop thinking the thoughts.
I’m going to talk a little about what ordinary people call the “generation gap”. As Life grows, each generation’s collective nervous system supersedes its predecessor, and this growth always creates an extended tension between children and their parents; between one generation and another. Each generation’s nervous system is newly imprinted by Life. There is almost a pattern of knots on the spine having to do with music, clothes, literature, and morality. And as each new generation matures, what came before is relegated to the historical society — except, of course, by those of the previous generation. Hence, the tension.
The history of man lives in your nervous system. You can look down your spine and discover the imprints of each past generation. The future of man, also resides in your nervous system. You can look up and be where man is going. And all of this you can do without ever leaving your bedroom.
At Line level you are captive of your generation’s imprint. Real change is impossible for anyone living at Line level. I’ve given you tricks aimed at pointing out the reality of this captivity. For example, let’s say you have some taste in music, and you prefer certain kinds of music. Then, listen to what teenagers are listening to now. Or, switch the example to clothing. You have certain kinds of clothes hanging in your closet; try to dress like the next generation. What you are attempting to do is change behaviors which seem to fall into the same category of acquired tastes. And I’m not simply referring to overt change. I’m talking about moving where you live in your nervous system.
There is a reality behind what is referred to as the generation gap. You can see for yourself that there is a natural, continuing tension between generations. Out in Life, sociologists and psychologists continually try to label and explain this tension. But it is simply the fact that the Line of Line level is constantly moving and that growth creates a continuing extended tension. This tension exists between whole countries, different races, societies, and it exists between generations. The younger generation says to the older, “You people are dumb.” A child tells his parents, “You’re not with it.” And the older generation looks at the younger and worries en masse, “Good grief, they’re nuts.” Everything is just as it should be. And it’s irrelevant. It’s impertinent. Meaningless. It’s fun to look at for a few minutes when you can See it. But can any of you even sense what there is to See when you peer through the cracks?
I want to bring your attention back to my original Xross.
I am going to tell you what I mean when I say that the Future/Now exists right there in that crack just to the right of the Vertical line. To attempt to be in the Future/Now is not the attempt to be conscious of what is happening “right now.” You begin by trying to in some way have a non-aligned, non-associated sense of “I am here” no matter what else is happening, but in the end that is not enough. You’re only attempting the impossible. Because there is no “right now”. What your nervous system takes as being “now” is always back to the left of that little Vertical line in the past. The speed at which your nervous system operates mandates that by the time you can be conscious of anything — it’s gone.
I’ll give you some crude examples. Someone meets you and says, “Oh, it’s you. I’ve heard so much about you. I’ve been dying to meet you.” But before you can even get out a hello, the person has shifted. You are responding to the past. It may simply be that he sighs at the end of his sentence, or perhaps his stomach is rumbling. Or he has to go to the bathroom, or hears someone call his name. Sure, he’s still standing there smiling at you but what was the apparent “I”, the apparent person, the apparent mood or feeling that made the person speak has shifted. Or suppose a car flies down the street and people yell out the window, “Get off the road fatso!” They laugh and drive off. Before you can think, “Boy, if I could get a hold of you, you wouldn’t be laughing,” the car is gone, and not only spatially. They are gone in time. They’re going, “Ha, ha, hey, have you heard that new song?”, while you’re still back there spending your own energy: “Boy, if I could get my hands on them.”
To the circuitry below Line level there is no “now”, and above the Line there is no time. The method of methods is to learn to live in the Future/Now. To stay one second (and second is just a word) — one slice of real time — ahead of what seems to be now. If you can do this nothing can get you. Plus you’d know everything. You’d know the future because you’d be in the future. Whatever happened literally wouldn’t matter because you’d be right ahead of it. I tell you, there is such a place. And that’s what that little loose wire in you is seeking.
I could create a first-class, killer system on the basis that everyone has to fake having their circuitry activated above the Line until they make it. I would have to state dogmatically what a person living above Line level would and would not do. And then it’s up to all of you to fake it until you make it. I would tell you that from now on everyone must act as if they are operating from above Line level. I’d threaten to be watching; “Even when you are getting ready for bed or just sitting around watching TV you have to be on the lookout. Fake it continuously.” This would be possible. It would have to be done under slightly different circumstances and you would have to be extremely dedicated, but it could be done.
Now, see if you can Hear what would be the ultimate back door approach: Fake being the world’s most ordinary person. Not only become part of the great human drama, be one of the instigators. Not only become part of the unwashed, ignorant masses; become the head ignorant. Where others are only slightly deluded and kind of confused, you did them one better. You are absolutely deluded and confused. You get everything wrong. Every time someone made a statement and said, “Don’t you agree?”, and the crowd responds, “Yeah!”, you would say, “Nooo!”. And then look embarrassed, get hostile, be the most ordinary of the ordinary.
Everything that passes for “you” must be questioned. I’m sitting here short-circuiting you. I’m seducing that little loose wire. I’m giving you as much energy as possible. And it’s up to you to make a little more effort. Everything I have said, all of the diagrams, show your position. YOU ARE my drawing of the nervous system. Right there in the spine is everything that you take as being you.
I have given you enough “information”. I cannot drag you over the edge of consciousness. The tricks I give you are not the finished product. They are not the reality of rising above your system, but the reality of everything is right before everyone’s eyes. Above the Line lies the freedom of the irrelevant. But the weight, the arrangement of everything is such that without extraordinary effort, you’ll never See it. At Line level everything is serious. Everything has a good answer and a bad answer. There is some sort of puzzle to be unraveled But the catch is, in the land of Line level you can’t unravel it. No answer is truly satisfying. No answer can be. If it were, it would be the same thing as the sky gods saying, “All right, here’s the answer,” and everyone would be instantly calm and just as instantly, dead. Everything is just as it should be for the masses. And whether or not everything will be as it should be for you — is now up to you.