When the Writer is safely hidden away in her office where the Doctor can keep his eye on her, which is most of the time, Watcher Two, Watcher Three, and I watch the internet news. We spend many hours a day browsing from site to site to keep our eye on events down here on the blue and green ball, to try and see the world as it is, unhampered by our own preconceptions and prejudices. This attempt at seeing the world as it is is our primary esoteric work.
We have been doing it now day in and day out for nearly two years. Every day of the week, fifty-two weeks a year. It is a curious crucible. It can be mind-numbing as well as invigorating, provoking rage as well as incredulity. All in all, it is a chance for us to watch ourselves while we watch the news. How am I reacting today? Is it an effort to stare down the same bloodthirsty acts, the same stupidity on the part of the Christian Right in the US, the same horror as yet another ten year old Palestinian child is butchered by an Israeli soldier who will not only go free but will be patted on the back for a job well done by his superiors with a sly wink as they watch yet another report on the US news that carefully explains that the IDF will investigate and that it was most assuredly “just an accident”.
That is what I see when I watch the world. When I watch myself, is it any better? Do parts of me wink at each other as I become complacent? As I forget that one's mind cannot be trusted?
I notice that I operate in waves. There are periods when I feel up for it, when I have something to say, a new relationship to draw between disparate elements, when as nonsensical as it all is from any sane person’s perspective I am able to see the real sense behind it. At other moments, it is a Sisyphian task to put together a series of articles even with no commentary whatsoever -- because we produce a daily news site that brings metaphyics and esoterica to the world news, that is, we are looking for the underlying energy dynamic that is pushing the planet to its destruction. And here, please note, I am not speaking of a Christian-type “end of the world”, but rather the end of what we would know as modern life. There may once have been a chance for a different outcome, for the happy ending, but I don’t think it is possible any longer. The world is beset by too much ignorance as we are all the while convinced that we are the sharpest thing on two legs. We even think we may be alone in the universe, the pinnacle of God's creation! If there are an infinite forms between the smallest object and Man, why should there not also be an infinite number of forms between Man and God?
What guarantees that we are anywhere near the top?
As I look out on the world, I see a train without brakes hurtling out of control down the mountain side and towards the valley. There are too many hair-pin turns to think that the train will make it safely to the flatlands.
When it finally goes over the precipice, it is not the whole world that will go with it, only the club cars, the dining cars, the engine and the baggage, but take out the major sources of energy, transportation, and food production and put large portions of the globe under snow and ice, and you’re looking at something that in a few hundred years might well come down to our descendents in story and myth as something resembling the “end of the world”. But we fool ourselves into thinking that somehow we have evolved beyond that possibility, that with all of our technical prowess, it is an impossibility that we could kill ourselves off, or at least a large portion of the planet’s population, and destroy the technological underpinnings of our modern life.
But didn’t humanity feel that way in June 1914. And after the Great War was over, didn’t Europeans believe that it could never happen again? For sixty years the wars have been fought elsewhere, as in, not in our backyard, but fought we have for all the same wrong reasons our ancestors fought. Are we so different from our grandparents or great grandparents? Have two or three generations really been enough time to permit us to evolve into something new, something less aggressive, self-interested, and emotionally dominated?
Let's put it differently: Is there any society on the face of the planet that is not motivated by the three basic desires of fear, food, and sex?
Gurdjieff said the following about evolution:
“This is the basis of the correct view of human evolution. There is no compulsory, mechanical evolution. Evolution is the result of conscious struggle. Nature does not need this evolution; it does not want it and struggles against it. Evolution can be necessary only to man himself when he realizes his position, realizes the possibility of changing this position, realizes that he has powers that he does not use, riches that he does not see. And, in the sense of gaining possession of these powers and riches, evolution is possible. [...]
“In speaking of evolution it is necessary to understand from the outset that no mechanical evolution is possible. The evolution of man is the evolution of his consciousness. And ‘consciousness’ cannot evolve unconsciously. The evolution of man is the evolution of his will, and ‘will’ cannot evolve involuntarily. The evolution of man is the evolution of his power of doing, and ‘doing’ cannot be the result of things which ‘happen.’
“People do not know what man is. They have to do with a very complex machine, far more complex than a railway engine, a motorcar, or an aeroplane—but they know nothing, or almost nothing, about the construction, working, or possibilities of this machine; they do not even understand its simplest functions, because they do not know the purpose of these functions. They vaguely imagine that a man should learn to control his machine, just as he has to learn to control a railway engine, a motorcar, or an aeroplane, and that incompetent handling of the human machine is just as dangerous as incompetent handling of any other complex machine. Everybody understands this in relation to an aeroplane, a motorcar, or a railway engine. But it is very rarely that anyone takes this into account in relation to man in general or to himself in particular. It is considered right and legitimate to think that nature has given men the necessary knowledge of their machine. And yet men understand that an instinctive knowledge of the machine is by no means enough. Why do they study medicine and make use of its services? Because, of course, they realize they do not know their machine. But they do not suspect that it can be known much better than science knows it; they do not suspect that then it would be possible to get quite different work out of it.”
We are machines. Right there most people will get up and storm out. They feel slighted. Their self love has been abused. They react in a mechanical way and run away. Fight or flight, very basic.
The evolution we see around us is the evolution of the machine in its natural mechanical habitat. Our cities, homes, and workplaces are built for machines, from the cars that transport us (we can no longer walk anywhere), to the computers on our desks. We come second in our own society. How can it last? How can it not all come crashing down upon us?
Meanwhile our interior life, what is left of such a thing, rots. It smells of rancid beer and the bag of half-eaten burgers on the table in front of the TV. Can we even imagine what it would be like to BE something more than a lump on the couch or the cog at the office?
Until we take a conscious decision to do things differently, nothing will change. Certainly, our environment can deteriorate. But the decision, the choice to change oneself, to master the machine, can only be taken in the depths of one’s nascent soul. The soul knows that a way out exists, even if the exact and precise character of that road remains to be discovered. But the seed of divinity within us knows that the road is there, somewhere. Sincere searching brings help.
Once we know it is possible to get on the path, we need to be convinced that we can no longer go ahead living in the old way. This is where most people hit the wall. They are not ready to give up their old lives. Things are not bad enough yet. They have not yet suffered enough, been driven beyond all reason to seek a new way of being, to look at things in an entirely new way.
And that is why the world is lost. In order for the world to awaken, it will take an amount of suffering that we have not seen here for probably thousands of years. And after the twentieth century, that is certainly saying a lot. And when that suffering comes, when people are pleading for someone to come and take that burden off of their shoulders, how many people will there be who know what to say, who know what to tell them, who know the truth? For the only answer that can help will be the truth, that truth that is staring everyone in the face today while they go about their daily lives with the illusion that they will live forever, or that, at least, this world that they are part of, this society of inhu-man, will live forever.
Fragile are the links of man with another, hard is his heart, and suffering alone is the only certain chemical of change.