Provincialism: Cohesiveness by Division into Institutions
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#242 Jan 8, 1987 – 1:34
Notes by TK
Everybody puts themselves at the center of things unknowingly. This is necessary for the human nervous system to operate as an apparently conscious individual.
It is a kind of distortion that limits further growth by The Few. Without this center-view, no opinion or individual emotion is even possible. Everybody is wired up to be provincial, jingoistic, chauvinistic. There is the continual cry in humanity for an “ecumenicalism”, a world-level community; tolerance of others. It is utterly mechanical but viewed by the ordinary as a radical attempt to progress.
Ecumenism is absolutely nothing for The Few; the view must be universal and at a right angle to obvious reality to be of use for The Few. To do This Thing you cannot be provincial; you must be able to look about and not be at the center of things. The Yellow Circuit -centered are farthest removed from the passions of chauvinism. When they speak out against such passion, Red Circuit and Blue Circuit people –the backbone of chauvinism –are enraged by it. They are enraged by what they can’t feel/understand. Life has ‘compartmentalized’ human groups (or attempts to) for purposes of homogeneity, cohesiveness of function/interest/effort .
But note that there is always widespread criticism in humanity against such divisions which are blamed for creating dissension and suffering among men. It is an ongoing process, the attempt constantly to create cohesive, stable, infrastructure units in tension at Life’s level. And of course you do the same thing on your level; you call these units thoughts, beliefs, feelings etc. and take them personally. You call them ‘I’.
“Grammar is a dangerous mistress” -“Language is a devious master”. If you can name it, you’re chained to it. The possible 1987 name for a ‘church’ of This Thing:The Search for the Life of Meaning. Ordinary meaning is devoid of life.
All sentences can be broken down into a subject that is or does something, no matter how convoluted or sophisticated it may be. Is this not interesting? Such tidy categories: Being and Doing; limited to just 2. How is it to Life’s benefit that such is sufficient?
1:10 Epilogue comments re: attendance and photos; continue with task of refraining from programmed script, increase the pressure.
Video greeting from ATL Group.
1:31 TASK: Tripartite variation of “Bombs away”: “Everyone would have 3 guiding lights, 3 principles to live by: , , _.” Fill in your own blanks. ]
Which of the 3 circuits in you have been most stubborn in resisting change? Send in.
PROVINCIALISM: COHESIVENESS BY DIVISION INTO INSTITUTIONS
Document: 242, January 8, 1987
Copyright(c) Jan M. Cox, 1987
I’m going to create a sketchy verbal picture which has great potential. Everyone puts himself at the center of everything. This statement has nothing to do with the common concepts of being egotistical, nor does it support being so mystically humble that you lose your sense of identity. I’m not referring to spiritual attacks on your individual sense of existence, though those ideas reflect something Real. Though it is unrecognized, men place themselves at the center of everything: this is necessary to the normal operations of the human nervous system; for Man to be conscious.
It is not a fault or shortcoming for people to act in this way, but this natural “self-centeredness” prevents the Real Sight necessary when involved with This. It has nothing to do with good and evil, propriety, civilized behavior, or with ordinary concepts of metaphysics and spiritual development: putting oneself at the center of everything physically distorts/cuts up the Infinite Comment into usable pieces reinforces ordinary understanding and consciousness and prevents any further development (as it’s supposed to).
This is not recognized because it is as common as your heartbeat. At Line level your whole sense of being “I”, of being Fred or Mary, is based on you being at the center of everything. This is necessary so that you can have opinions, individual sensations of emotion, or thoughts. You need this feeling that, “I’m thinking so and so. My opinion is so and so.”
I’ll give you an example, which you should examine in depth. Someone is interviewing a writer, or a director, and the interviewer says, “We’re absolutely delighted to have this person here. I’m his biggest fan. His work is more important to me than any in his field. This interview is an opportunity that I’ve lived for, and here he is on my show.” And he starts out, “Welcome, Director X. My wife and I were really moved by your last film. If you remember, I wrote the preface to a book that fully praised your work, and I thought surely that was the climax of your career, but I could not be more impressed with this new film.” Nobody notices that the interviewer’s talking about himself. You can see the same thing in print, such as in a Playboy or Family Circle interview. Sometimes, an editor cuts out the real obvious parts, but the interviewer often talks about himself.
Try to See this in yourself — in your own partnership. You may think that you’re interested in talking with others, but you’re relating with a limited self-centered view. It’s as though you’re looking at Life as a big word instead of a sentence. To get at it you have to move right into the center of the word — get up very close. Your eyesight, whether it be 20/20 or 20/40, must fit into the mold of your individual nervous system so that you know, “I am looking at this.” That’s the only way a person can ordinarily be conscious. But nothing will ever change if you are unknowingly, mechanically letting yourself be at the center of everything that you think you see, hear, or experience.
Now, let me refine this a bit. Molecularly speaking, everyone is wired up to be provincial, jingoistic, and chauvinistic. Everyone is wired up to be a faithful follower of that minion of Napoleon from whence we derive the term “chauvinistic”. Chauvinism is a kind of untoward passion or belligerent upholding of some cause; many times it is used in a nationalistic sense, but it isn’t limited to that. Now, throughout Life’s history there have been periodic cries, statements, pleas from certain quarters that we should be more ecumenical; that humanity should be able to broaden its outlook, be more tolerant, struggle against chauvinism. And, at Line level humanity sees any small expansion of tolerance toward others as earthshaking. But that Line level expansion isn’t enough for someone involved with This. You have to develop (to coin a phrase) a Universal View, which would be the direct opposite (as far as opposites go) to being at the center of everything.
Philosophers and religious thinkers cry out that we shouldn’t be provincial regarding religion, race, or nationality: we should, as intelligent people be able to expand ourselves so that our views, feelings, and interests encompass the world, but a worldly ecumenical view is very limited. You may be able to overcome your own partnership’s innate prejudices and hatreds of other people, but what you need is a Universal View, which runs at right angles to a worldly view. At Line level, your view is based on your interests and is limited to you being at the center of that which you think you’re surveying, pondering, considering, studying: you’re apparently Fred and not Mary nor a carbon copy of Elmer. Your interests are limited by what you are wired to be, and you See only what is made available through your wiring. At the Line you cannot develop a Universal View; you cannot See beyond your own nervous system.
You are provincial, but not because you only care about the future of the United States; or if you’re French, you care only about the Great Republic; or if you’re Australian, the continent down under. You may externally show crude reflections of non-provincialism by respecting other nationalities or by religiously donating to charities, but you are provincial internally, because you still feel yourself to be at the center of the universe. Everything you do radiates at best in three dimensions, from you. All that you see is that which you want to see, that which you can see and that which interests you. That is provincial. It doesn’t matter whether you’re American, French, communist, socialist, or any particular race or religion.
You’re chauvinistic if you’re involved with a kind of excessive, even obsessive and generally belligerent devotion to any cause. You’re placing yourself within the provincial limits of what you genetically were when you say, “I’m Anglo-Saxon and a Republican.” Ordinarily it’s assumed that patriotism is environmentally influenced: “My parents made me proud to be an Anglo-Saxon of this religion,” or, “My father was a minister of this faith. He was a drunk womanizer, and I’m ashamed of it.” But, you are asserting your genetic, belligerent identification with and defense of what you are, what you say you are, and what you believe, when you identify yourself with a cause.
Religions preach humanistic philosophies, but no radical individual change can actually be made. It seems a great breakthrough occurs when someone says, “My family lived in an anti-Catholic country, but I went away to college, and expanded my intellectual horizons. I now realize the folly, if not absolute insanity, of their prejudice and condemn that kind of religious intolerance.” That appears to be an improvement, and over the long run in Life’s body, that is some improvement. But, if evolution worked as fast in the mechanical sense as Darwin and such people believed, cats could learn to open cans by themselves. When involved with This, you can’t wait for the progress of normal evolution. You must look beyond your partnership’s attempted codification and explanation of change, and develop a Universal View.
I’m not speaking of something theoretical or ecumenical: you must move beyond the mere ability to tolerate something not native to your background. At the Line level, the cry for growing ecumenism is quite proper; Life has been preaching such as long as it has been talking through Man. People who become more ecumenical have expanded laterally and are not as routinely chauvinistic. But nothing extraordinary has taken place: this lateral expansion will not produce the necessary molecular change. A Universal View, or the ability to look out and in, while not being at the center of you, is not merely ecumenical, it’s extraordinary. You can simply look around and See that which you normally can’t.
Let me point out something else about the way in which Life works. Those who say we should be more ecumenical (social critics, psychologists, and writers throughout history) are Yellow Circuit oriented people: it is the fairly intellectual people who write and speak about the need to be less provincial in our attitudes, more understanding and tolerant. They are people who are without that kind of chauvinistic passion native to , Blue and Red Circuit centered people, and when a good Blue or Red circuited man hears an intellectual decrying chauvinism, nationalism, etc., he is infuriated. You can hear all of these people in you. While operating at Line level you may have written an intellectually cogent letter to the editor of a paper, or marched proclaiming your opposition to some kind of racial or political injustice in the world. But also feel that at a different time, under different hormonal influences, or after eating a pizza with anchovies, you may have heard somebody attacking an area of injustice that is beyond your provincial interest (or on the contrary, if you listen real fast, it could be right at the heart of your provincial interest in some other area) and you felt a kind of belligerence and hostility toward the person who was writing or speaking. Just one possible way of looking at this apparent dichotomy, these differences in view, is if you look up “chauvinistic” in the dictionary, the definition has an arrow pointing at Red and Blue Circuit people. But it is the Yellow Circuit people that Life uses to verbalize the need to be less chauvinistic.
The Yellow Circuit people stand up and speak about antichauvinism and the Red and Blue Circuit people hear it and get infuriated, and they don’t know why. It is a matter of energy transfer, and the lack of it. These Red and Blue Circuit centered people can’t transmit or process this antichauvinistic information. They hear a speaker talking about something he doesn’t feel or know anything about, and they think, “This person ain’t one of us, a chauvinist. What’s he talking about anyway? How dare he speak out for tolerance when he ain’t even tolerant to start with. How dare he speak up, no matter how literate, how poetic or intelligent his attack on chauvinism, when I can feel that he’s not even chauvinistic.” Life is arranged in such a way that that makes people mad. It’s supposed to. It gets energy stirred up, better than a stock broker churning up your account: it keeps things moving. There are exceptions, but as a rule, the philosophers, so-called religious thinkers, and social commentators in Life are more centered in the Yellow Circuit. They don’t join hate groups and march down the streets calling for the destruction of some racial or religious group. You find them intelligently, rationally, forcefully attacking those who are the backbone of chauvinism and intolerance, and the others are infuriated. What else is new?
Through certain people, Life has also condemned the actual compartmentalizing of humanity into groups. At Line level this resonates through your own nervous system as, “It isn’t efficient to have all of the decent good humans on this planet foolishly divided into opposing camps of religions, races, and creeds.” But what people think they see and feel is two thirds of a shadow of reality. Life itself has divided humanity into these groups in an attempt to create a kind of stable, cohesive intrastructure. And part of Life’s purpose (as I can put it into words) is an attempt for Life to get a whole bunch of people, like a bunch of molecules within itself, to believe the same thing; to stand for the same thing and operate in the same way. “All you spleen cells get together, and SPLEEN. You’re paid to spleen, not clown around!”
See if you can move in a right angle with this. How many times has Life had individuals, including you, ponder the seeming folly, the imperfection of having stable groups, politically, religiously and socially, who argue among themselves and even kill each other? They all claim to be in the same group, serving the same god or political figure, using the same holy book, but put two people together who are from the same country, state or county and they’ll argue over god knows what. They’ll get down to arguing over some obscure scripture in a book somewhere, or a specific political ideology. Now parts of Life’s body, including your own, can look at that and say, “Something’s amiss. What is Life up to? Why are the groups divided into parts, like orthodox and reform?” But if you look at this in a certain way you can See that Life’s creating even these groups (political, racial, religious, nationalistic) to establish little intrastructural units that are cohesive.
You see this process as it is, in it’s growing state. But it is not a noun, it’s a verb, a changing process. The part of Life’s body in charge of passing criticism and cynicism, being terminally hip, says, “My, I’m glad that I’m not so provincial. I escaped. I got away from my family.” Or, “I’m glad I grew up around a bunch of atheists. I’m not caught up in this mind set trap of being a part of a certain religious party, and I don’t care what nationality I am. My mind is international in scope, and I’m closer to what should be the living definition of ecumenical.” But you missed the point if you believe that we should be attacking even these groups of people, those who are chauvinistic.
Life is attempting to establish little permanent cohesive units in its own intrastructure in the same way that you do. You do it continually, minute by minute, it is part of the feeling of being at the center of everything. You create these little, apparent, stable, cohesive, intrastructures and take them as being beliefs, thoughts, and feelings. Then, you take them all as being radiations from you, the little sun god! You thought Louis XIV was dead and gone, but he lives in you; the Court of Versailles is alive. You have every conflicting religion, nationality, and racial group within you. You just don’t call them that, you call them ideas or beliefs, but internally you’re dividing your world into defined groups in the same way that Life does.
Life’s continually trying to make itself more and more cohesive,of course, if it succeeded, things would go off in another direction. But Life’s attempting to join people together, to believe the same thing. Say you holler, “Alright, Christians stand up!”, and all over the planet millions or billions of people stand up and shout, “Yes, we’re Christians.” And somebody can say, “You’re Christians, but does everyone believe that you should not eat kumquats on Tuesday? Is that part of the Christian religion?” And if it were part of their laws they’d all say, “Yes!” All of them! “Now we’re getting somewhere. Do you all believe that a god sent down his literal son for your salvation?” They all say, “Yes!” Life’s working toward a cohesiveness.
Understand that this attempt at cohesiveness is still in process — it is a growth process, and for every group that you call X, there’s going to be a conflicting group Y. And they are going to be provincial and chauvinistic. It is not shortsightedness or folly on the group’s part: they’re doing exactly what Life made them do. Were it not for similar divisions in you internally, you’d have no sense of ordinary sanity, of being you as a person. You can See that beyond the three dimensional view, these disparate groups work to help Life expand by interacting within itself. It works in a way that is not detrimental to the health of Life or to the life of humanity. But as long as you’re operating as you should be, at the Line level, at the center of everything, Life seems amiss and in need of repair. And you are wrong.
Life is operating in a manner that is freed, that is expanded beyond the provincial limits of ordinary time and space. Forming groups of people serves a purpose in creating a passing stability. Your own internal planet is divided into these same kinds of opposing groups, just as Life is on a larger scale. And within you, just as within Life, this is a continuing attempt to create stable, cohesive intrastructural units. Still, the groups have to be in conflict for Life to grow and interact with itself: and you wonder, “Why am I never at peace? Maybe I should take up meditation. Maybe I should have stayed with a church, listened to my mother. Maybe I shouldn’t have given up drinking, or should get a valium prescription.” Being continually at peace is not the nature of being alive: it is not the nature of Life itself staying alive.
A group needs a name for it to be stable, for people to agree on what they believe in. “We believe it’s good to be green or purple, X or Y.” Notice how not naming something affects your efforts. You may name what we’re doing here by calling it “This” with a capital T, but it’s dangerous to name it. You can say something about “This”, and we know what you’re talking about. But if I told you to stop using that term, there’d be no way to differentiate yourself: how would those involved with This know who they are? How can you place “I” at the center of what you’re doing, if there’s no name for the activity? I don’t want to frighten you, but grammar is a dangerous mistress. Language is a devious master. If you can name it, forget it. If you can name it, you’ve been chained to it. If you can name it, the next step is you’re going to like it, and the step after that is you’re going to be in favor of it. And right after that comes what? Provincialism! Followed by chauvinism. You’re being provincial if you have an interest in something, because if you’re interested in it, you have less interest in other important things.
Now, if I asked, someone would say that the ultimate name, the vade mecum, for This would be, “A Search for the Meaning of Life. This would be the real expression of something.” People have been saying that, and trying that since how long?! Well, at least since the grand and glorious days of Greece. And where has it gotten people? They were close, as always they were close — by the word of the gods they were close — verbally. But here is what the vade mecum should be: The Search for the Life of Meaning. Because as far as humanity’s concerned, meaningful things have meaning.
The search for the meaning of Life hasn’t produced anything because the meaning of anything is ultimately meaningless. You can say, “The suffering in Life means that the gods are displeased with us. The apparent injustices in Life, such as the existence of the rich and then the poor, means that Life has yet to reach perfection. Some people are hostile, belligerent, even aggressive, and this means they are underprivileged.” But anything that apparently is meaningful, is ultimately without meaning whatsoever. One of the proper names of such an activity as This should be, “The Search for the Life of Meaning”, because ordinary meaning is devoid of Life. Ordinary meaning is devoid of any meaning because it only illuminates a portion of Life. Everything that has meaning is a piece of the ultimate, Infinite Comment that has been cut and pieced together. The reason that no one is ever satisfied, that no idea expressed grammatically, rhetorically, and rationally is ever satisfying, is simply that there is no life to meaning; you’re only Seeing a small potion of Life. As soon as you say, “This means this,” it’s meaningless. You should be searching for the life of meaning.
If people could see what the life of meaning is, they’d realize that life has no meaning. And you would have a lot of people (I might add, way too many people) who would suddenly be freed from the sticky seriousness of ordinary life. You would have people who’d begin to look very peculiar while sitting in a fast-food restaurant. And assuming you were fairly hip, you’d think that they’d just ingested some well-known, or yet to be known chemical. Or else, they had been turned away from the home too soon. They’re experiencing a freedom from meaning.
Our English version of the romantic languages is synonymous with the way of thinking in our time and place. And all of our sentences consist of either a detailing of a subject doing something, or a subject being something. Do you find that curious? Think of the most convoluted sentences; even those concerning the most esoteric, metaphysical, nebulous, subatomic, astrophysical occurrences or processes, and every one of them talks about a subject being something or doing something. How can it be that a subject doing or being something covers all possibilities? Surely something in your own little partnership should cry out and ask for a placard to march through your own brain saying, “I object to this. I’m not sure why, but I don’t like it. That can’t be true; there has to be an exception somewhere. A subject is something or a subject does something — that can’t cover it all.”
How can it be possible that all necessities from science to religion to philosophy are covered by those two classes of sentences? No matter how complex, a sentence talks about a subject, whether it be the great god Larry, your mother-in-law, or you. You think that surely you’ve had thoughts, and probably will have others that don’t fit into such tidy little categories: “I can have thoughts that would blow those categories apart. I know I’ve had thoughts, probably having one right now, or about to, that will send those authors of grammar books scurrying to think up a new description for a sentence!” Really? Are you sure?
How does Life benefit from having all English sentences describe a subject either being or doing something? No matter how you divide the sentence up, no matter how important or grandiose the matter at hand, the human mind is speaking about a subject doing so and so. And if it gets tired of that, it can spring off into whole new areas and say, “The subject IS so and so.” And now, if you’d like to change that, you can go back to the subject DOES so and so. But those two options seem sufficient to support the boundless quantities and qualities of your mind. What else needs to be said? Neuralize this: how is Life arranged in such a way that this is absolutely sufficient? How can it be that those two possibilities cover all necessary contingencies?
As I pointed out, the way that people talk is simultaneous and synonymous, with the way they “think”, the way that the nervous system molecularly operates. You talk the same way you think, and all your talk centers on a subject. This will come as a shock to those who really See it.