Humanize the Earth

The Inner Look

I. Meditation

  1. Here it tells how the non-meaning of life can be converted into meaning and fulfillment.
  2. Here are joy, love of the body, of nature, of humanity, and of the spirit.
  3. Here sacrifices, feelings of guilt, and threats from the beyond are rejected.
  4. Here the worldly is not opposed to the eternal.
  5. Here it tells of the inner revelation at which all arrive who carefully meditate in humble search.

II. Disposition to Comprehend

  1. I know how you feel because I can experience your state, but you do not know how to experience the things I am speaking of. Therefore, if I speak to you without self-interest of that which makes the human being happy and free, it is worth your while to try to comprehend.
  2. Do not think that you will arrive at understanding by arguing with me. You may argue if you believe that through opposition your understanding will become clearer, but it is not the appropriate path in this case.
  3. If you ask me what attitude is appropriate, I will tell you that it is to meditate profoundly and without haste on what is explained here.
  4. If you reply that you are busy with more urgent things, I will answer that since your wish is to sleep or to die, I will do nothing to oppose it.
  5. Nor should you argue that you dislike my way of presenting things, for you do not criticize the peel when you like the fruit.
  6. I state things in the way I consider appropriate, not as might be desired by those who aspire to things remote from inner truth.

III. Non-Meaning

After many days I discovered this great paradox: Those who bore failure in their hearts were able to illuminate the final victory, while those who felt triumphant were left by the wayside like vegetation whose life is muted and diffuse. After many days, coming from the darkest of darkness, I arrived at the light, guided not by teachings but by meditation. Thus, I told myself on the first day:

  1. There is no meaning in life if everything ends with death.
  2. All justification for actions, whether these actions are despicable or admirable, is always a new dream that leaves only emptiness ahead.
  3. God is something uncertain.
  4. Faith is something as variable as reason and dreams.
  5. “What one should do” may be thoroughly discussed, but in the end there is nothing that definitively supports any position.
  6. The “responsibility” of those who commit themselves to something is no greater than the responsibility of those who do not.
  7. I move according to my interests, and this makes me neither a coward nor a hero.
  8. “My interests” neither justify nor discredit anything.
  9. “My reasons” are no better than the reasons of others, nor are they worse.
  10. Cruelty horrifies me, but neither because of this nor in itself is it better or worse than kindness.
  11. What I or others say today is of no value tomorrow.
  12. To die is not better than to live or never to have been born, but neither is it worse.
  13. I discovered, not through teachings but through experience and meditation, that there is no meaning in life if everything ends with death.

IV. Dependence

The second day:

  1. Nothing that I do, feel, or think depends on me.
  2. I am mutable and depend on the action of my surroundings. When I want to change my environment or my “I,” it is my environment that ends up changing me. Then I seek the city or nature, social redemption or a new struggle in order to justify my existence. In every case it is my environment that leads me to choose one attitude or another. In this way, my interests and my surroundings leave me here.
  3. I say, then, that it does not matter who or what decides. I say on these occasions that I have to live since I am in the situation of living. I say all this, but there is nothing that justifies it. I can make a decision, hesitate, or remain where I am. In any case, one thing is only provisionally better than another; ultimately there is no better or worse.
  4. If someone tells me that those who do not eat die, I will answer that this is indeed so, and that, spurred by their needs, they are compelled to eat. But I will not add that the struggle to eat justifies one’s existence—nor will I say that this struggle is bad. I will simply say that all of this concerns an individual or collective fact related to the need for subsistence, but that it has no meaning in the moment that the last battle is lost.
  5. I will say, moreover, that I feel solidarity with the struggle of the poor, the exploited, and the persecuted. I will say that I feel “fulfilled” in this identification, but I understand that these feelings do not justify anything.

V. Intimation of Meaning

The third day:

  1. At times I have anticipated events that later took place.
  2. At times I have grasped a distant thought.
  3. At times I have described places I have never been.
  4. At times I have recounted exactly what took place in my absence.
  5. At times an immense joy has surprised me.
  6. At times total comprehension has overwhelmed me.
  7. At times a perfect communion with everything has filled me with ecstasy.
  8. At times I have broken through my reveries and seen reality in a new way.
  9. At times I have seen something for the first time yet recognized it as though I had seen it before. And all this has made me think. It is clear to me that without these experiences I could not have emerged from the non-meaning.

VI. Sleep and Awakening

The fourth day:

  1. I cannot take as real what I see in my dreams, nor what I see in semi-sleep, nor what I see when I am awake but in reverie.
  2. I can take as real what I see when I am awake and without reveries. Here I am not speaking of what my senses register, since naive and dubious “data” can arrive from my external and internal senses as well as from my memory. Rather, I am speaking of the activities of my mind as they relate to the “data” being thought. What is valid is that when my mind is awake it “knows” and when it is asleep it “believes.” Only rarely do I perceive reality in a new way, and it is then that I realize that what I normally see resembles sleep or semi-sleep. There is a real way of being awake, and it has led me to meditate profoundly on all that has been said so far. It has, moreover, opened the door for me to discover the meaning of all that exists.

VII. Presence of the Force

The fifth day:

  1. When I was truly awake I scaled from comprehension to comprehension.
  2. When I was truly awake yet lacked the strength to continue the ascent, I was able to draw the Force from within myself. This Force was present throughout my body. All of the energy was present even in the smallest cells of my body, and it circulated more rapidly and more intensely than my blood.
  3. I discovered that the energy concentrated in certain points of my body when they were active and was absent when they were not.
  4. During illness the energy was either lacking or it accumulated precisely in the affected areas of my body. But if I was able to reestablish the normal flow of the energy, many illnesses began to recede. Some peoples knew this, and through various procedures that seem strange to us today, they were able to reestablish the flow of the energy. Some peoples knew this, and they were able to communicate this energy to others, producing “illuminations” of comprehension and even physical “miracles.”

VIII. Control of the Force

The sixth day:

  1. There is a way of directing and concentrating the Force that circulates through the body.
  2. In the body are points of control on which depend what we know as movement, emotion, and idea. When the energy acts in these points, it gives rise to motor, emotional, and intellectual manifestations.
  3. Depending on whether the energy acts more internally or superficially in the body, the states of deep sleep, semi-sleep, or wakefulness arise. Surely the halos that surround the bodies or heads of the saints (or the great awakened ones) in religious paintings allude to this phenomenon of the energy which, on occasion, manifests more externally.
  4. There is a point of control of being-truly-awake, and there is a way of bringing the Force to this point.
  5. When the energy is led to this point, all the other points of control move in a new way. Upon understanding this and hurling the Force to this superior point, my entire body felt the impact of an immense energy. This energy struck powerfully within my consciousness, and I ascended from comprehension to comprehension. But I also observed that if I lost control of the energy, I could descend to the depths of the mind. Then I remembered the legends of “heavens” and “hells,” and I saw the dividing line between these mental states.

IX. Manifestations of the Energy

The seventh day:

  1. This energy in motion could become “independent” of the body yet still maintain its unity.
  2. This unified energy was really a sort of “double” of the body, corresponding to the coenesthetic representation of one’s own body within the space of representation. The sciences that deal with mental phenomena have not paid sufficient attention to the existence of this space or to the representations that correspond to the internal sensations of the body.
  3. The energy duplicated in this way—that is imagined as if “outside” of the body or “separated” from its material base—either dissolved as an image or was represented correctly, depending on the internal unity of the one carrying out this work.
  4. I was able to confirm that the “exteriorization” of this energy—which represented one’s body as “outside” of one’s body—could be produced even from the lowest levels of the mind. In these cases, a threat to the most basic unity of the living being provoked this response in order to safeguard the one who was in danger. That is why, in the trances of some mediums whose level of consciousness was low and whose internal unity was imperiled, these responses occurred involuntarily and were not recognized as being self-produced, but were attributed to other entities. The “ghosts” of certain peoples, like the “spirits” of some fortunetellers, were nothing but the “doubles” (the self-representations) of those who felt themselves possessed. Having lost control of the Force, their mental state was darkened in trance, and they felt controlled by strange beings who at times produced remarkable phenomena. Doubtless this was the case of many who were said to be “possessed.” What was decisive, then, was control of the Force. All this changed completely my conception of both daily life and of life after death. Through these thoughts and experiences I began to lose faith in death, and now I no longer believe in it, just as I no longer believe in the non-meaning of life.

X. Evidence of Meaning

The eighth day:

  1. The real importance of an awakened life became evident to me.
  2. The real importance of eliminating internal contradictions convinced me.
  3. The real importance of mastering the Force in order to achieve unity and continuity filled me with joyful meaning.

XI. The Luminous Center

The ninth day:

  1. In the Force was “the light” that came from a “center.”
  2. In withdrawal from the center there was a dissolution of the energy, while in the unification and evolution of the energy that luminous center was at work. It did not strike me as strange to find a devotion to the Sun-god among various ancient peoples. And I saw that while some worshipped this heavenly object because it gave life to the earth and to nature, others recognized in that majestic body the symbol of a greater reality. There were those who went still further and received innumerable gifts from this center, gifts that at times “descended” as tongues of fire over the inspired ones, at times arrived as luminous spheres, and at times appeared as burning bushes before the fearful believer.

XII. The Discoveries

The tenth day: Few but important were my discoveries, which I summarize this way:

  1. Though the Force circulates through the body involuntarily, it can be directed through conscious effort. Achieving an intentional change in the level of consciousness grants the human being an important glimpse of liberation from those “natural” conditions that seem to impose themselves on the consciousness.
  2. Within the body are points that control its diverse activities.
  3. There are differences between the state of being truly awake and other levels of consciousness.
  4. The Force can be led to the point of true awakening (understanding by “Force” the mental energy that accompanies particular images and by “point” the location of such an image in a certain “place” in the space of representation). These conclusions led me to recognize in the prayers of ancient peoples the seed of a great truth—a truth later obscured by external rites and practices, making it impossible for them to develop that internal work which, realized with perfection, puts human beings in contact with their luminous source. Finally, I observed that my “discoveries” were not discoveries at all but arose from the inner revelation at which all arrive who, without contradictions, search for the light in their own hearts.

XIII. The Principles

Different is the attitude toward life and things when inner revelation strikes like lightning. Following the steps slowly, meditating on what has been said and what has yet to be said, you may convert the non-meaning into meaning. It is not indifferent what you do with your life. Your life, subject to laws, is open to possibilities among which you can choose. I do not speak to you of liberty. I speak to you of liberation, of movement, of process. I do not speak to you of liberty as something static, but of liberating yourself step by step, as those who approach their city become liberated from the road already traveled. Thus, what-one-must-do does not depend upon distant, incomprehensible, and conventional morals, but upon laws: laws of life, of light, of evolution. Here are the aforementioned “Principles” that can help you in your search for internal unity:

  1. To go against the evolution of things is to go against yourself.
  2. When you force something toward an end, you produce the contrary.
  3. Do not oppose a great force. Retreat until it weakens, then advance with resolution.
  4. Things are well when they move together, not in isolation.
  5. If day and night, summer and winter are well with you, you have surpassed the contradictions.
  6. If you pursue pleasure, you enchain yourself to suffering. But as long as you do not harm your health, enjoy without inhibition when the opportunity presents itself.
  7. If you pursue an end, you enchain yourself. If everything you do is realized as though it were an end in itself, you liberate yourself.
  8. You will make your conflicts disappear when you understand them in their ultimate root, not when you want to resolve them.
  9. When you harm others you remain enchained, but if you do not harm anyone you can freely do whatever you want.
  10. When you treat others as you want them to treat you, you liberate yourself.
  11. It does not matter in which faction events have placed you. What matters is that you comprehend that you have not chosen any faction.
  12. Contradictory or unifying actions accumulate within you. If you repeat your acts of internal unity, nothing can detain you. You will be like a force of Nature when it finds no resistance in its path. Learn to distinguish a difficulty, a problem, an obstacle, from a contradiction. While those may move you or spur you on, contradiction traps you in a closed circle with no way out. Whenever you find great strength, joy, and kindness in your heart, or when you feel free and without contradictions, immediately be internally thankful. When you find yourself in opposite circumstances, ask with faith, and the gratitude you have accumulated will return to you transformed and amplified in benefit.

XIV. Guide to the Inner Road

If you understand what I have explained so far, you can, through a simple exercise, readily experience the manifestation of the Force. It is not the same, however, to search for the correct mental position (as if this were a question of approaching a technical task) as it is to enter the kind of emotional tone and openness that poetry inspires. The language used to transmit these truths, then, is intended to facilitate an attitude that makes it easier to be in the presence of internal perception rather than in the presence of an idea of “internal perception.” Now follow attentively what I will explain to you, because it concerns the inner landscape you may encounter when working with the Force and the directions you can imprint on your mental movements. On the inner road you may walk darkened or luminous. Attend to the two roads that open before you. If you let your being cast itself toward dark regions, your body wins the battle and it dominates. Then, sensations and appearances of spirits, of forces, of memories will arise. On this road you descend further and further. Here dwell Hatred, Vengeance, Strangeness, Possession, Jealousy, and the Desire to Remain. Should you descend even further you will be invaded by Frustration, Resentment, and all those dreams and desires that have brought ruin and death upon humanity. If you impel your being in a luminous direction, you will find resistance and fatigue at every step. There are things to blame for this fatigue in the ascent. Your life weighs; your memories weigh; your previous actions impede the ascent. The climb is made difficult by the action of your body, which tends to dominate. In the steps of the ascent you will find strange regions of pure colors and unknown sounds. Do not flee purification, which acts like fire and horrifies with its phantoms. Reject startling fears and disheartenment. Reject the desire to flee toward low and dark regions. Reject the attachment to memories. Remain in internal liberty, indifferent toward the dream of the landscape, with resolution in the ascent. The pure light dawns in the summits of the great mountain chains, and the waters-of-a-thousand-colors flow amid unrecognizable melodies toward crystalline plateaus and prairies. Do not fear the pressure of the light that pushes against you with increasing strength the closer you draw to its center. Absorb it as though it were a liquid or a wind—certainly, in it is life. When you find the hidden city in the great mountain chain, you must know the entrance—and you will know it in the moment your life is transformed. Its enormous walls are written in figures, are written in colors, are “sensed.” In this city are kept the done and the yet-to-be-done. But for your inner eye, the transparent is opaque. Yes, the walls are impenetrable for you! Take the Force of the hidden city. Return to the world of dense life with your brow and your hands luminous.

XV. The Experience of Peace and
the Passage of the Force

  1. Completely relax your body and quiet your mind. Then, imagine a transparent and luminous sphere that descends toward you until it comes to rest in your heart. In that moment you will recognize that the sphere ceases to appear as an image and transforms into a sensation within your chest.
  2. Observe how the sensation of the sphere slowly expands from your heart toward the outside of your body, while your breathing becomes fuller and deeper. When the sensation reaches the limits of your body, you may stop there and register the experience of internal peace. You may remain there as long as you feel is appropriate. To conclude the exercise, calm and renewed, reverse the previous expansion until arriving, as in the beginning, at your heart, and finally releasing the sphere. This work is called the experience of peace.
  3. Should you instead wish to experience the passage of the Force, you must increase the expansion rather than reversing it, allowing your emotions and your whole being to follow along. Do not try to pay attention to your breathing; let it act by itself while you follow the expansion outward from your body.
  4. Let me repeat: Your attention at such moments must be on the sensation of the expanding sphere. If you are unable to achieve this, it is advisable that you stop and try again another time. In any case, even if you do not produce the passage of the Force, you will be able to experience an interesting sensation of peace.
  5. If, however, you go further, you will begin to experience the passage of the Force. The sensations from your hands and other areas of your body will have a different tone than usual. Later you may notice increasing undulations, and in a short while vivid images and powerful emotions may arise. Allow the passage to take place…
  6. Upon receiving the Force you will, depending upon your habitual mode of representation, perceive the light or strange sounds. In any case, what is important is that you experience an amplification of consciousness, among whose indicators are a greater lucidity and disposition to understand what is taking place.
  7. If this singular state has not faded with the passage of time, you can bring it to an end whenever you wish by imagining or feeling that the sphere contracts and then leaves you in the same way it arrived in the beginning.
  8. It is interesting to recognize that many altered states of consciousness have been and are almost always achieved through the use of mechanisms similar to those described. These may be disguised, however, by strange rituals, or at times reinforced by practices involving extreme fatigue, unbridled motor activity, repetition, and postures that alter the breathing and distort the general sensation of the intrabody. In this domain you should also recognize hypnosis, mediumistic activity, and the effects of drugs—all of which, though they act through a different pathway, produce similar alterations. Characteristic of all these cases is an absence of control and a lack of awareness of what is taking place. Do not trust such manifestations, and consider them nothing more than “trances” such as those through which the dabblers, the ignorant, and (according to legend) even the “saints” have passed.
  9. Even if you have followed these recommendations, you may still have been unable to produce the passage of the Force. This should not become a source of concern, however—simply take it as an indicator of a lack of internal “letting go,” which may reflect excessive tensions or problems with the dynamics of the images—in sum, a fragmentation of emotional behavior—something that will, moreover, also be present in your daily life.

XVI. Projection of the Force

  1. If you have experienced the passage of the Force, you will be able to understand how, based on similar experiences but without understanding, various peoples went on to develop rites and cults that later multiplied endlessly. Through experiences like those previously described there were some who felt that their bodies had “doubled,” and the experience of the Force gave them the sensation that they could project this energy outside themselves.
  2. The Force could be “projected” to others and also to objects particularly “suited” to receive and conserve it. I trust it will not be difficult for you to understand the function filled by the sacraments of various religions, as well as the significance of those sacred places and priests supposedly “charged” with the Force. When certain objects were surrounded with ceremonies and rites and worshipped with faith in temples, surely they “gave back” to the believers the energy accumulated through repeated prayer. Since fundamental internal experience is essential to understanding in these matters, attempts at understanding based, as is normally the case, solely on externals, reveal a limitation in our knowledge of human realities—no matter that these externals are culture, geography, history, or tradition.
  3. “Projecting,” “charging,” and “replenishing” the Force are subjects to which we will return later. For now let me say that this same mechanism continues to operate even in secular societies where leaders and others imbued with prestige are surrounded by a special kind of aura in the eyes of those who would like to “touch” them, acquire a scrap of their clothing, a fragment of their possessions, or even just to see them.
  4. This occurs because all representations of the “heights” extend from eye level upward, above the normal line of sight. And the “higher-ups” are those who “possess” kindness, wisdom, and strength. There, in the “heights” above, we also find the hierarchies, the powers that be, and the flags of State. And we, ordinary mortals, must at all costs “ascend” the social ladder in order to draw closer to power. What a sorry state we are in, still governed by these mechanisms, which coincide with our internal representation in which our heads are in the “heights” and our feet stuck on the ground. What an unhappy state we are in, when we believe in these things, and believe in them because they have their own “reality” in our internal representation. What a sorry state we are in, when our external look is nothing but an unacknowledged projection of the internal.

XVII. Loss and Repression of the Force

  1. The greatest discharges of energy occur through uncontrolled acts, including unbridled imagination, unchecked curiosity, immoderate small talk, excessive sexuality, and exaggerated perception—looking, listening, tasting, and so on in an aimless and excessive manner. But you should also recognize that many act in these ways because it allows them to discharge tensions that would otherwise be painful. All things considered, and given the function served by these discharges, I am sure you will agree with me that it is not reasonable to repress them but rather to give order to them.
  2. As for sexuality, you must interpret this correctly: This function must not be repressed because that will only cause torment and internal contradiction. Sexuality directs itself toward and concludes in the act itself, and it is not useful that it continues affecting the imagination or obsessively searching for a new object of possession.
  3. The control of sex by a particular social or religious “morality” has served purposes that had nothing to do with evolution, but the contrary.
  4. In repressed societies the Force (the energy of the representation of the sensation of the intrabody) turned back toward the crepuscular. In those societies, cases increased of the “possessed,” of “witches,” of the sacrilegious, and of criminals of all kinds who rejoiced in suffering and the destruction of life and beauty. In some tribes and civilizations the criminals were to be found among both the accusers and the accused. In other cases all that was science and progress was persecuted because it opposed the irrational, the crepuscular, and the repressed.
  5. The repression of sex still exists among certain so-called “primitive peoples,” just as it does in other civilizations that some consider “advanced.” It is evident that although the origins of these two situations may differ, both are marked by great destructiveness.
  6. If you ask me to explain further, I will tell you that in reality sex is sacred, and it is the center from which all life and creativity springs, just as it is from there that all destruction arises when issues about its functioning are not resolved.
  7. Never believe the lies of the poisoners of life when they refer to sex as despicable. On the contrary, in it is beauty, and not in vain is it related to the best feelings of love.
  8. Be careful, then, and consider sex a great wonder, which must be treated with care, without turning it into a source of contradiction or a disintegrator of vital energy.

XVIII. Action and Reaction of the Force

Earlier I explained to you: “Whenever you find great strength, joy, and kindness in your heart, or when you feel free and without contradictions, immediately be internally thankful.”

  1. “To be thankful” means to concentrate these positive moods and associate them with an image, with a representation. If you have previously linked positive states in this way, you can, upon finding yourself in a difficult situation, evoke that representation, and along with it will arise the positive quality that accompanied it earlier. Furthermore, since this mental “charge” has been increased through previous repetitions, it is capable of displacing the negative emotions that certain situations impose.
  2. Thus, whatever you ask for will return from within you amplified in benefit—as long as you have accumulated within yourself numerous positive states. By now it should be unnecessary to repeat that this mechanism has long been used (though in confused ways) to “charge” external objects or persons or to externalize internal entities, believing that they would respond to prayers and supplication.

XIX. The Internal States

You must now gain sufficient insight into the various internal states you may find yourself in throughout the course of your life, and particularly in the course of your evolutionary work. I have no way to describe these states except by using images, in this case allegorical ones. These seem to me to have the virtue of “visually” concentrating complex states and moods. The unusual approach of linking these states to one another as if they were distinct moments in a single process introduces a departure from the typically fragmented descriptions we have become accustomed to from those who normally deal with such things.

  1. As I mentioned earlier, in the first state, known as Diffuse Vitality, non-meaning prevails. Here, everything is oriented by physical needs, though these are often confused with contradictory images and desires. Here, both motives and all that is done are shrouded in darkness. In this state you simply vegetate, lost among changing forms. From this point you can evolve only by following one of two paths: the way of Death or the way of Mutation.
  2. The path of Death puts you in the presence of a dark and chaotic landscape. The ancients knew this passage and almost always located it “underground” or in the depths of the abyss. There are those who visited this kingdom, to later “resurrect” in luminous levels. Understand well that “below” Death lies Diffuse Vitality. Perhaps the human mind relates mortal disintegration to subsequent phenomena of transformation; perhaps it associates this diffuse movement with what takes place before birth. If your direction is that of ascent, Death signifies a break with your former stage. By taking the path of Death you ascend to another state.
  3. Arriving here you find yourself at the refuge of Regression. Two ways open from here: One is the road of Repentance; the other, which you used for the ascent, is the road of Death. If you take the first road it is because your decision tends to break with your past life. If you go back along the road of Death you will fall again into the depths, with the sensation of being trapped in a closed circle.
  4. Earlier I told you that there is another path you might take to escape from the abyss of Vitality: it is the path of Mutation. If you choose this road it is because you wish to emerge from your unhappy state, but are unwilling to abandon some of its apparent benefits. It is, then, a false road known as the “Twisted Hand.” Many are the monsters who have emerged from the depths through this tortuous passageway. They have wanted to storm the heavens without abandoning the hells, and consequently have projected infinite contradiction into the middle world.
  5. Let us suppose that by ascending from the kingdom of Death and through your conscious Repentance, you have now reached the dwelling of Tendency. Two narrow supports, Conservation and Frustration, maintain your dwelling. Conservation is false and unstable; walking along this path you delude yourself with the idea of permanence, but in reality you descend rapidly. Should you take the path of Frustration, your ascent is arduous, but this path is the only-one-not-false.
  6. After failure upon failure you can reach the next resting place, called the dwelling of Deviation. Take care in choosing between the two roads now before you. Either you take the road of Resolution, which carries you to Generation, or you take that of Resentment, which causes you to descend once more toward Regression. Here you face another dilemma: Either you choose the labyrinth of conscious life with Resolution, or you return to your previous life through Resentment. There are many who, at this point, unable to surpass themselves, cut off their own possibilities.
  7. But you who have ascended with Resolution now find yourselves at the dwelling known as Generation. Here you face three doors: one called the Fall, another known as Intent, and the third called Degradation. The Fall carries you directly to the depths, and only an external accident can push you toward it; it is unlikely that you would choose that door. The door of Degradation, however, carries you indirectly to the abyss. On this path you retrace your steps in a sort of turbulent spiral in which you continually reconsider all that you have lost and all that you have sacrificed. This examination of consciousness that leads you to Degradation is surely a false examination in which you underestimate and evaluate disproportionately some of what you are comparing. You compare the effort of the ascent with those “benefits” you have left behind. But if you examine things more closely, you will see that you have not abandoned anything for the ascent, but rather for other reasons. Degradation begins, then, when you misrepresent those motives that were not really related to the ascent. I ask you now: What betrays the mind? Perhaps it is the false motives of initial enthusiasm? Perhaps it is the difficulty of the undertaking? Perhaps it is the false memories of sacrifices that never were, or that were made for other reasons? Saying this I ask you now: Some time ago your house burned down, and because it did you chose the ascent; or do you now think that because of this ascent, your house burned down? Have you perhaps noticed what has happened to the houses around you? There is no doubt that you must choose the middle door, that of Intent.
  8. Climbing the stairway of Intent you will reach an unstable dome. From there, take the narrow, winding passageway known as Volubility until you reach a vast and empty space like a platform, which bears the name Open-Space-of-the-Energy.
  9. In that open space you may be frightened by the immense, deserted landscape and the terrifying silence of this night, transfigured by enormous and immobile stars. There, directly over your head, you will see set in the firmament the suggestive form of the Black Moon, a strange, eclipsed moon located exactly opposite the Sun. Here you must await the dawn patiently and with faith, for nothing bad can happen if you remain calm.
  10. You may, upon finding yourself in this situation, want to arrange an immediate way out. However, should you try to leave instead of prudently awaiting the day, you could end up blindly groping your way anywhere. Remember that all movement here (in the darkness) is false and is generically called Improvisation. If, forgetting what I tell you now, you begin to improvise movements, be certain that you will be dragged by a whirlwind down paths and past dwellings to the darkest depths of Dissolution.
  11. How difficult it is to comprehend that the internal states are linked one to another! If you could see what inflexible logic the consciousness has, you would recognize that those who blindly improvise in this situation inevitably begin to degrade themselves and others. Then, feelings of Frustration arise in them, and later they fall into Resentment and finally into Death—forgetting all that they had at one moment managed to perceive.
  12. If, in that open space, you manage to reach the day, the radiant Sun will rise before your eyes, illuminating reality for the first time. Then you will see that in everything that exists there lives a Plan.
  13. It is unlikely that you will fall from here unless you should voluntarily choose to descend to obscure regions in order to carry the light into the darkness. It would not be useful to develop these subjects further, because without experience they can only mislead by transferring to the field of the imaginary something that can actually be achieved. May what has been said here be of service to you. If you do not find what has been explained here useful, to what could you object, since for skepticism nothing has any basis or reason—it is like the image in a mirror, the sound of an echo, the shadow of a shadow.

XX. Internal Reality

  1. Take note of my considerations. In them you will not only intuit allegorical phenomena and landscapes of the external world, but you will also find true descriptions of the mental world.
  2. Nor should you believe that the “places” through which you pass in your journey have some sort of independent existence. Such confusion has often obscured profound teachings, and even today there are some who believe that the heavens, hells, angels, devils, monsters, enchanted castles, distant cities, and the rest have visible reality for the “enlightened.” The same prejudice, but with the opposite interpretation, has been maintained by skeptics without wisdom who take these things to be simply “illusions” or “hallucinations” suffered by feverish minds.
  3. I must repeat, then: You should understand that all this deals with real mental states, even though they are symbolized here by objects that correspond to the external world.
  4. Remember what I have said, and learn to dis-cover the truth behind the allegories, which on occasion lead the mind astray, but at other times translate realities that would be impossible to grasp without such representation. When they spoke of a city of the gods, which the heroes of many peoples strove to reach; when they spoke of a paradise where gods and humankind lived together in transfigured original nature; when they spoke of falls and floods, great internal truth was told. Later, the redeemers brought their messages and came to us in double nature to reestablish that lost unity for which we yearned. Then, too, great inner truth was told. But when all this was spoken of but set outside the mind, it was an error or a lie. Conversely, the fusing of the inner look with the external world forces this look to travel new paths. The heroes of this age fly through regions previously unknown toward the stars. The heroes of this age fly outward from their world and, without knowing it, they are impelled toward the internal and luminous center.

The Internal Landscape

I. The Question

  1. Here is my question: As life goes by, is it happiness or suffering that grows within you? Do not ask that I define these words; answer instead according to what you feel…
  2. Though you may be wise and powerful, if happiness and liberty do not grow in you and in those around you, I will reject your example.
  3. Accept, instead, my proposal: Follow the model of that which is being born, not that which takes the path toward death. Leap over your suffering, and it will not be the abyss but life that grows within you.
  4. There is no passion, idea, or human deed that is not linked to the abyss. Therefore, let us turn to the only thing that deserves our attention: the abyss and that which overcomes it.

II. Reality

  1. What is it that you want? If you answer that it is love or security that is most important, then you are speaking of moods—of things that you cannot see.
  2. If you reply that it is money, power, social recognition, a just cause, God, or eternity that is most important, then you are speaking of something that you see or you imagine.
  3. We will be in agreement when you say, “I choose this just cause because I reject suffering! I want this because it brings me tranquillity, and I reject that because it disturbs me or makes me violent.”
  4. Is your mood, then, at the center of all aspiration, all intention, all affirmation, and all denial? You might reply that whether you are sad or joyful, a number remains the same, and that the sun would be the sun even if human beings did not exist.
  5. I will tell you that the same number differs depending on whether it is something that you have to give or to receive, and that the sun fills greater space within the human being than in the heavens.
  6. The radiance of a spark or of a star dances for your eye. And though there is no light without the eye, on other eyes this radiance would fall with different effect.
  7. Therefore let your heart affirm, “I love this radiance I see!” But may it never say, “Neither sun, nor spark, nor star have anything to do with me.”
  8. Of what reality do you speak to fish or reptile; to gigantic animal, tiny insect, or bird; to a child or an old person; to one who sleeps or one who keeps watch in cold calculation or feverish terror?
  9. I say that the echo of the real murmurs or resounds according to the ear that hears, and that for other ears what you call “reality” would play a different song.
  10. Therefore let your heart affirm, “I love the reality that I build!”

III. The External Landscape

Look at this couple slowly walking. While his arm gently encircles her waist, she rests her head softly on his welcoming shoulder. They stroll on while the autumn of leaves that fall around them is crackling and dying in yellows, reds, and violets. Young and beautiful, they continue, inevitably, into the gray overcast afternoon. A cold drizzle begins to fall on the children’s toys, abandoned in deserted gardens.

  1. For some this scene revives a gentle and perhaps pleasant nostalgia. For others it awakens dreams, and for still others, promises to be fulfilled in radiant days to come. Before the same sea one person becomes anguished, while another, inspired, feels exhilarated. And a thousand more are overawed in contemplation of those frozen crags, while still others gaze in admiration at those crystals carved on such gigantic scale. Some are depressed, others uplifted before the same landscape.
  2. A single landscape, then, may be very different for two people, but wherein does the difference lie?
  3. The same occurs with what we see or hear. Consider, for example, the word “future.” It sets one person on edge, while another remains indifferent, and still others would sacrifice their “today” for it.
  4. Consider for example, music, or words with social or religious significance.
  5. There are moments when a multitude or an entire nation will condemn or embrace a certain landscape. But does that rejection or acceptance lie in the landscape or in the hearts of that multitude or nation?
  6. Between doubt and hope, your life is oriented toward landscapes that coincide with something that is within you.
  7. This entire world, which you have not chosen but which has been given for you to humanize, is the landscape that most grows as life grows. Therefore may your heart never say, “Neither the autumn, nor the sea, nor the ice-covered crag have anything to do with me.” Instead may it affirm, “I love the reality that I build!”

IV. The Human Landscape

If even the most distant star is connected to you, what should I think of the living landscape, where deer slip between ancient trees and even the most savage animals gently lick their offspring? What should I think of the human landscape, where opulence and misery are found side by side, where some children laugh while others cannot even find the strength to cry?

  1. For if you say, “We have reached other planets,” you must also declare, “We have massacred and enslaved entire peoples. We have filled our jails with those who cried out for liberty. We have lied from morning until night. We have falsified our thoughts, our affections, and our actions. We have assaulted life at every turn, for we have created suffering.”
  2. I know my way in this human landscape, but what will happen if we pass each other going in opposite directions? I renounce every faction that proclaims an ideal higher than life and every cause that, to impose itself, generates suffering. So before you accuse me of not being part of any faction, examine your own hands—you may find on them the blood of complicity. If you believe it valiant to commit yourself to those factions, what will you say of one whom all the murderous bands accuse of being uncommitted? I want a cause worthy of the human landscape: a cause committed to surpassing pain and suffering.
  3. I deny the right to make accusations to any faction that, whether recently or long ago, has figured in the suppression of life.
  4. I deny the right to cast suspicion on others to any who conceal their own suspicious faces.
  5. I deny that anyone, even someone arguing the extreme urgency of present circumstance, has the right to block the new roads that the human being must travel.
  6. Not even the worst of what is criminal is foreign to me, and if I recognize it in the landscape, I recognize it also in myself. So it is that I want to surpass what in me as in everyone fights to suppress life: I want to surpass the abyss! All worlds you aspire to, all justice you demand, all love you search for, all human beings you would follow or destroy are also within you. Everything that changes within you will change your direction in the landscape you inhabit. Thus, if you have need of something new, you must surpass the old that dominates within you. And how will you do this? Begin by realizing that even if you change your location, you carry your internal landscape with you.

V. The Internal Landscape

  1. You search for what you believe will make you happy. This may not, however, be the same as what another is searching for. It might happen that you both desire things that are in some sense opposed, and you may both come to believe that the happiness of one opposes the happiness of the other. Or you may both long for the same thing, and if this thing is unique or scarce, you may again come to believe that the happiness of one opposes the happiness of the other.
  2. It seems, then, that you can argue over the same object as much as over objects opposed to one another. What a strange logic beliefs have, that they are capable of producing similar behavior toward both an object and its opposite!
  3. There, in the heart of your beliefs, lies the key to what you do. So powerful is your fascination with what you believe that you affirm its reality, even though it exists only in your mind.
  4. But returning to our theme: You search for what you believe will make you happy. What you believe about things, however, does not reside in the things themselves but in your internal landscape. Gazing at this flower, you and I may agree on many things. But if you go on to say that this flower will bring you utmost happiness, it may become more difficult for me to comprehend, for you are speaking no longer of the flower but instead of what you believe it will do within you. You speak of an internal landscape that perhaps does not coincide with mine. It would be but one more step for you to try to impose your landscape on me. Consider well the consequences that could follow from such a deed.
  5. Clearly, your internal landscape is not only what you believe about things, but also what you remember, what you feel, and what you imagine about yourself and others, about facts, about values, about the world in general. Perhaps we can now understand how: External landscape is what we perceive of things, while internal landscape is what we sift from them through the sieve of our internal world. These landscapes are one and constitute our indissoluble vision of reality.

VI. Center and Reflection

“External landscape is what we perceive of things, while internal landscape is what we sift from them through the sieve of our internal world. These landscapes are one and constitute our indissoluble vision of reality.” And it is by this vision that we orient ourselves in one direction or another.

  1. Yet it is clear that as you go forward your vision is modified.
  2. There is no learning, however small, that you achieve through contemplation alone. You learn because you do something with that which you contemplate. And the more you do the more you learn, for as you go forward your vision continues to change.
  3. What have you learned of the world? You have learned what you have done. What is it that you want of the world? You have come to want according to what has happened to you. What is it that you do not want from the world? What you do not want also follows from what has happened to you.
  4. Hear me, rider galloping astride time: There are three paths by which you can reach your most profound landscape. And what will you find within? Place yourself in the center of your internal landscape and you will see that every direction reflects this center.
  5. Surrounded by a triangular wall of mirrors, your landscape is reflected infinitely in infinite hues. There, depending on how you orient your vision on the path of images that you have chosen, all movement is transformed and then restored, time and again. You can come to see your own back in front of you, and when you move your hand to the right, it will respond to the left.
  6. If you aspire to reach something in the mirror of the future, you will see how, in the mirror of today or of the past, it runs in the opposite direction.
  7. O rider galloping astride time, what is your body but time itself?

VII. Pain, Suffering, and Meaning in Life

  1. Hunger, thirst, sickness, and all bodily injury are pain. Fear, frustration, despair, and all mental hurt are suffering. Physical pain recedes in the measure that society and science advance. Mental suffering recedes in the measure that faith in life advances, in the measure that life gains meaning.
  2. If, perhaps, you imagine yourself to be a fleeting meteorite that has lost its brilliance upon falling to earth, you will accept that pain and suffering are simply the nature of things. But if you believe you have been thrown into this world to fulfill the mission of humanizing it, you will be thankful to those who have come before you, who have built with great labor the steps that allow you to continue the ascent.
  3. Namer of a thousand names, maker of meanings, transformer of the world, your parents and the parents of your parents continue in you. You are not a fallen star but a brilliant arrow flying toward the heavens. You are the meaning of the world, and when you clarify your meaning you illuminate the earth. When you lose your meaning, the earth becomes darkened and the abyss opens.
  4. I will tell you the meaning of your life here: It is to humanize the earth. And what does it mean to humanize the earth? It is to surpass pain and suffering; it is to learn without limits; it is to love the reality you build.
  5. I cannot ask you to go further, but neither should it offend if I declare, “Love the reality you build, and not even death will halt your flight!”
  6. You will not fulfill your mission if you do not apply your energies to vanquishing pain and suffering in those around you. And if through your action they in turn take up the task of humanizing the world, you will have opened their destiny toward a new life.

VIII. The Rider and His Shadow

As the sun tinted the path red and the shadow of the rider lengthened along the rocks and thick underbrush, he slowed his pace until at last he stopped by a newly lit fire. An old man, rubbing his hands at the flames, greeted him. The rider dismounted and they spoke together for a time. Then the rider continued on his way. When the shadow of the rider shortened and fell beneath the horse’s hooves, he halted for a moment to speak with a man who hailed him from the side of the road. The rider did not slow his pace as the shadow grew long behind him, and a young man who wanted to stop him was only able to shout, “You’re going the wrong way!” Finally, nightfall caused the rider to dismount, and he saw the shadow only in his soul. Then, sighing to himself and to the stars, he said: “On a single day an old man spoke to me of loneliness, sickness, and death. A middle-aged man spoke to me of the way things are and the realities of life. And finally, I came upon a youth who did not even speak to me but only shouted out, trying to alter my course to an unknown direction. “The old man feared losing his things and his life. The middle-aged man feared he would not be able to gain what he believed were his things and his life. The youth feared being unable to escape from his things and his life. “Strange encounters these, where the old man suffers for his short future, seeking refuge in his long past; the middle-aged man suffers for his present situation, seeking refuge in what has happened or what will happen, depending on whether he grasps before or behind him; and the youth suffers because his short past nips at his heels, spurring on his flight toward a long future. “And yet I recognize my own face in the faces of all three, and it seems to me that all human beings, whatever their age, can move through these times and see in them phantoms that do not exist. Or does that offense of my youth still exist today? Does my coming old age exist today? Does my death already dwell here today in this darkness? “All suffering steals in through memory, imagination, or perception. But it is thanks to these same three pathways that thoughts, affections, and human deeds exist. So it is that even while these pathways are necessary for life, if suffering contaminates them they also become channels of destruction. “Yet is not suffering the warning that life gives us when its flow is inverted? “Life can be inverted by something that is done with it, perhaps unwittingly. And so it is that the old man, the middle-aged man, and the youth must have done something with their lives for them to have become ‘inverted.’” Then the rider, meditating in the darkness of the night, fell asleep. And upon sleeping he dreamt, and in his dreams the landscape became illuminated. He found himself in the center of a triangular space walled with mirrors. The mirrors reflected his image, multiplying it. Choosing one direction he saw himself as an old man. Choosing another his face was that of a middle-aged man, and in a third that of a youth. But in the center of himself, he felt like a child. Then everything began to grow dark, and when he could distinguish nothing but a heavy darkness, he awoke. On opening his eyes he saw the light of the sun. Then he mounted his horse, and seeing his shadow growing longer, he said to himself, “Contradiction inverts life and generates suffering… The sun hides itself so that day becomes night, but the day will be according to what I do with it.”

IX. Contradiction and Unity

  1. Contradiction inverts life. The inversion of the growing stream of life is experienced as suffering. Thus, suffering is the signal that warns us of the need to change the direction of the opposing forces.
  2. Those who through repeated frustration find themselves detained on their way only appear to be detained; in reality, they regress. Time and again their past failures close off their future. Those who feel frustrated see the future as a repetition of the past, even as they experience the need to distance themselves from that past.
  3. Those who seize the future a prey to resentment, what intricate retaliation will they not attempt in order to avenge their past?
  4. And in their frustration and resentment they do violence to the future, until it bends its back in suffering return.
  5. At times, wise men have recommended love as a protective shield against the blows of suffering. But this deceptive word “love,” what does it mean to you? Does it mean getting even for the past, or instead a fresh, new, untainted adventure launched toward an unknown future?
  6. Just as I have seen solemnity grotesquely cloak the ridiculous, just as I have seen an empty seriousness cast its pall over the grace of talent, so have I recognized in many loves a vindictive self-affirmation.
  7. What image have you of the wise? Is it not true that you conceive of them as solemn beings, slow of gesture; as beings who have suffered enormously and with this merit beckon you from on high with gentle phrases in which they repeat the word “love?”
  8. I have seen in all the truly wise a child running playfully through the world of ideas and things, creating generous and brilliant bubbles, only to burst them. In the sparkling eyes of all who are truly wise I have seen “the light feet of joy, dancing toward the future.” And very seldom have I heard them utter the word “love,” for the truly wise never promise in vain.
  9. Do not believe that you will purify your suffering past through revenge, or by using “love” as an incantation or as the bait for a new trap.
  10. You will truly love only when you build with your gaze fixed on the future. And if you remember a great love that is no more, let the memory be accompanied by a soft and silent nostalgia, with gratitude for all it has taught you until today.
  11. You will not break with your past suffering by falsifying or degrading the future. You will break with it only by changing the direction of the forces that provoke contradiction in you.
  12. I believe you will know how to distinguish a difficulty, which is welcome for you can leap over it, from a contradiction, that lonely labyrinth that has no exit.
  13. Every contradictory action that you have done in your life, whatever the circumstances, has the unequivocal flavor of internal violence and betrayal of yourself. Why you found yourself in that situation will not matter, but only how—at that precise moment—you organized your reality, your landscape. Something shattered then, and changed your direction. And this, in turn, predisposed you to a new rupture. In this way, all contradictory actions orient you toward repeating them, just as all unitive actions seek to reemerge later on.
  14. In daily actions difficulties are overcome, small objectives are achieved, little failures reaped. Whether pleasant or unpleasant, these acts accompany daily life like scaffolding accompanies a great building; it is not the structure itself, but it is necessary if it is to be built. It does not matter what material this scaffolding is made of, as long as it is suitable for its purpose.
  15. As for the building itself, where you put defective material, the defect will grow; where you put solid material, you increase the structure’s solidity.
  16. The essential construction of your life is built of contradictory or unifying actions. You must make no mistake at the moment you find yourself faced with your actions, for if you do you will jeopardize your future and invert the stream of your life—and how then will you end your suffering?
  17. But it happens that at this very moment your contradictory actions are already many. And if everything from the foundation up is false, what can be done? Would you pull your whole life apart to begin anew? Let me tell you that I do not believe that everything you have built is false, and you should abandon any such drastic thoughts. They will only bring you greater misfortune than is already yours today.
  18. A new life is not based upon destroying previous “sins” but upon recognizing them, so that from now on it will be clear how ill-advised are these mistakes.
  19. A life begins when unifying actions start to multiply, so that by their virtue they compensate and finally favorably overbalance the previous relationship of forces.
  20. You must be very clear about this: You are not at war with yourself. Rather, you must begin treating yourself like an old friend with whom you must now reconcile, for ignorance and life itself have driven you apart.
  21. You must begin by making a decision to reconcile with yourself and to understand your previous contradictions. Then you need to make another decision—that you want to overcome these contradictions. Finally, you need to decide to build your life with acts of unity, rejecting those materials that until now have brought so much harm down upon your head.
  22. Indeed, it is advisable that you clarify—in both your past and present situations—those contradictory acts that truly imprison you. To recognize them, you can rely on the suffering that is accompanied by internal violence and the sensation that you have betrayed yourself. These actions give clear signals.
  23. I am not saying that you should mortify yourself in exhaustively recounting the present and the past. I am simply recommending that you consider everything that has changed your course in an unhappy direction and everything that keeps you fettered and tightly bound. Do not fool yourself once more by saying, “I have overcome these problems!” Nothing has been overcome or sufficiently understood that has not been weighed against a new force that compensates for and overcomes the previous influence.
  24. All these suggestions will be of value if you are prepared to create a new landscape in your internal world. But you will be able to do nothing for yourself if you think only of yourself. If you want to move forward, you will one day have to accept that your mission is to humanize the world around you.
  25. If you want to build a new life, free of contradictions, a life that increasingly overcomes suffering, you must be aware of two false arguments. The first holds that “I need to solve my personal problems before I can undertake any constructive action in the world.” The second leads you to declare “I am committed to the world!” while forgetting yourself completely.
  26. You may agree with me or not, but in any case I will affirm that this is the only way forward: If you want to grow, you will help those around you to grow.

X. Valid Action

  1. Contradiction is not the only source of mental harm; any reversal of the growing stream of life is experienced as suffering. Yet while the empire of circumstance may allow many forms of suffering to be overcome, contradiction persists, weaving its dark web of shadows.
  2. Who has not suffered the loss of affection, of images, of objects? Who has not feared, been desperate, felt pity, or become agitated in angry rebellion against people, against nature, against all those unwanted but inevitable endings? But what was feared in darkness faded with the coming of day, and much of what was lost was forgotten. Yet that innermost betrayal of oneself continues in the past and poisons the future.
  3. That which is most important in human life is constructed with materials of unity or contradiction. And this is the deep memory that either continues projecting existence beyond all apparent limit or causes it to disintegrate precisely at this threshold. May all human beings in their final review find remembrance of their internal unity!
  4. And what is the flavor of an act of unity? If you would recognize it, rely on that profound peace which, accompanied by a gentle joy, leads you into agreement with yourself. This act bears the sign of the most integral truth, for in it, thought, feeling, and action in the world are united in the most intimate friendship. Yes, valid action is unmistakable; you would affirm it a thousand times over should you live as many lives!
  5. Every phenomenon that makes suffering recede in others is registered as a valid action, as an act of unity, in the one who carries it out.
  6. All action is bounded by two tendencies: There is the abyss, which grows through contradiction, and the flight above that allows you to overcome it through valid action.
  7. And the cord of life takes on its singular modulation as it loosens or tightens, until reaching the note aspired to. There must be one note and one adjustment and one special procedure so that the vibration builds and resounds in a suitable way.
  8. Babbling at human beings as they came to stand erect in their landscape, the moralities of the nations indicated the “yes” and the “no” of actions, upholding the “good” and persecuting the “bad.” But will this “good” continue to be good in a landscape that is so diverse? If an immutable God affirms it, it will be so; but if for many God has disappeared, who is left to judge? For the law changes with the opinion of the times.
  9. Here is the point: Will those principles of valid action that allow all human beings to live in internal unity be static images that must be obeyed, or will they correspond instead to what one experiences when one rejects or follows those principles?
  10. We will not discuss here the nature of those principles of valid action; we will simply take into account the need for their existence.

XI. Projection of the Internal Landscape

We have spoken of landscapes, of suffering, of contradiction, and of those actions that give unity to the stream of life. One could believe that all of this remains enclosed in the interior of each human being, or if it has any external expression, it is only in the form of individual actions that have no further consequences. However, things are precisely the opposite.

  1. Contradiction inverts life, jeopardizing not only the future of the one who suffers it but also of all those in contact with this person, who has now become a transmitter of misfortune. All personal contradiction contaminates the immediate human landscape like an invisible sickness, detectable only through its effects.
  2. Long ago, the plagues that befell a region were blamed on witches and demons. But over time, the advance of science did more for both the persecutors and the persecuted than all the millennia of irresponsible clamor. To which faction would you have given your support? Whether on the side of the pure or the wicked, you would only have increased your folly.
  3. Even today, when you search for culprits on whom to blame your misfortunes, you simply add to the long chain of superstition. Reflect, therefore, before pointing your finger, for perhaps it was accident or the projection of your own contradictions that has provoked these unhappy endings.
  4. That your children orient themselves in a direction opposed to your designs has more to do with you than with your neighbor, and more to do with you, certainly, than with an earthquake in some distant latitude.
  5. Should your influence, then, reach an entire people, take great care to overcome your own contradiction so as not to poison with it the air that all others must breathe. You will be responsible for yourself and for all those you gather around you.
  6. Thus, if your mission is to humanize the earth, strengthen your hands, hands of a noble laborer.

XII. Compensation, Reflection, and the Future

  1. Hunger dreams of satiety, the imprisoned yearn for freedom, pain longs for pleasure, and pleasure wearies of itself. Could it be that life is nothing more than action and reaction?
  2. If life is but pursuit of security for those who fear the future, self-affirmation for the disoriented, the desire for revenge for those frustrated with the past—what liberty, what responsibility, what commitment can be held aloft as an unvanquished banner?
  3. And if life is but a mirror that reflects a landscape, how will it ever change that which it reflects?
  4. Between the cold mechanics of pendulums and the phantasmal optics of mirrors, what do you affirm that you can affirm without denying? What do you affirm without regressing or with more than arithmetic repetition?
  5. If you affirm that which searches for itself and whose nature is to transform itself, that which is never complete in itself and whose essence opens to the future, then you love the reality you build. This, then, is your life: the reality that you build!
  6. And there will be action and reaction, as there will be reflection and accident. But if you have opened the future, there will be nothing that can detain you.
  7. May life speak through your mouth, and may it say, “There is nothing that can detain me!”
  8. Oh useless and wicked prophecy that proclaims the end of the world. I affirm that the human being shall not only continue to live but shall grow without limit. And I say, moreover, that the deniers of life wish to steal all hope—that beating heart of human action.
  9. In the darkest moments, may your future joy remind you of these words: “Life searches for growth, not for the compensation of nothingness!”

XIII. Provisional Meanings

  1. When moved by the pendulum of compensation, I search for meanings to justify my existence, directing myself toward what I need or what I believe I need. In either case, and whether I reach my objective or not, how will that affect the meaning of my life, inasmuch as it is movement in a given direction?
  2. If I define myself by a particular situation, what will happen when, through some accident, that situation falls apart? These provisional meanings, though necessary for the development of human activities, cannot serve as the foundation for my existence.
  3. Unless you wish to reduce existence to nothing more than exhaustion or frustration, you will need to discover a meaning that not even death—were that the accident—could exhaust or frustrate.
  4. You will not be able to justify existence if you place as its end the absurdity of death. Until now, you and I have been companions in the struggle. Neither you nor I wished to kneel before any god, and that is how I would like to remember you always. Why, then, do you abandon me, even as I set forth to defy inexorable death? How is it possible that we have said, “Not even the gods are above life!”—and now you kneel before the denial of life? Do as you see fit, but I will bow my head before no idol, even when it is supposedly “justified” by faith in reason.
  5. If reason is to be at the service of life, it will help us leap over death. Let reason, then, produce a meaning exempt from all frustration, all exhaustion, all accident.
  6. I want no one at my side who projects transcendence out of fear, but only those who rise up in rebellion against the inevitability of death.
  7. I want those saints who do not fear but truly love. I want those who day by day seek to conquer pain and suffering with their science and their reason. And in truth I see no difference between the saints and those who, through their science, encourage life. What better examples could there be, what guides superior to these?
  8. A meaning that seeks to go beyond the provisional will not accept death as the end of life, but will instead affirm transcendence as the maximum disobedience to this apparent Destiny. As for those who affirm that their actions unleash events that continue in others, they hold in their hands a strand of eternity’s thread.

XIV. Faith

  1. Whenever I hear the word “faith,” I feel suspicion grow within me.
  2. Every time someone speaks of “faith,” I wonder about the purpose of what they are saying.
  3. I have seen the difference between naive faith (also known as “credulity”), and the violent and unjustified faith that gives rise to fanaticism. Neither is acceptable, for the first opens the door to accident, while the second imposes its feverish landscape.
  4. But something important must lie in this tremendous force that is capable of mobilizing the best of causes. Let faith, then, be a belief whose foundation rests on its usefulness for life!
  5. If it is said that faith and science oppose each other, I will reply that I accept science as long as it does not oppose life.
  6. Nothing prevents faith and science from progressing, as long as they have the same direction and enthusiasm to help sustain the effort.
  7. And those who would humanize, let them help raise our spirits by pointing out the possibilities that the future holds. Or is the skeptic’s anticipation of defeat useful for life? Could even science be sustained without faith?
  8. There is a type of faith that goes against life. It is a faith that proclaims “Science will destroy our world!” How much better to put our faith in working day by day to humanize science, so that the direction it was endowed with from its birth may triumph!
  9. The usefulness of faith is evident if it is a faith that opens the future and gives meaning to life, orienting it away from suffering and contradiction and toward everything that is valid action.
  10. That faith, like faith placed in oneself, in others, and in the world around us, is useful for life.
  11. In saying “Faith is useful” you will doubtless offend some particularly sensitive ears. But do not worry, for if those musicians simply examine themselves a little they will recognize how faith is also useful to them, though their faith may flow from a different instrument than the one you play.
  12. All those problems that until now have seemed insurmountable will begin to diminish if you are able to achieve faith in yourself and the best in those around you, faith in our world and in a life that is always open to the future.

XV. To Give and To Receive

  1. Let us look at the relationship you establish with your external landscape. It may be that you consider all objects, people, values, and affections as things presented for you to choose among and devour according to your own particular appetites. It is likely that this centripetal vision of the world denotes a contraction that reaches from your thoughts to your muscles.
  2. If this is the case, it is certain that you will have the highest regard for everything that is related to you—your sufferings as much as your pleasures. It is doubtful that you will even want to surpass your personal problems, because in them you will recognize a tone that is, above all, your own. From your thoughts to your muscles, everything has been taught to contract, not to let go. Hence, even when you act with generosity, calculation motivates your apparent disinterestedness.
  3. Everything enters and nothing leaves, and from your thoughts down to your muscles everything becomes intoxicated.
  4. And having contaminated all those around you, how can you later reproach them for their “ingratitude” toward you?
  5. If we speak of “giving” and “helping,” you think of what others can give you, of how they can help you. But the best help that could be given you would consist of teaching you to let go of your contraction.
  6. I tell you that your selfishness is not a sin but rather the fundamental error in your calculation, for you have naively believed that to receive is better than to give.
  7. Remember the best moments in your life and you will recognize that they were invariably accompanied by a disinterested giving. Reflecting on this should by itself be enough to change the direction of your existence—but it will not suffice.
  8. Let us hope I have been speaking of someone else and not of you, since surely you have understood such sayings as “humanize the earth,” “open the future,” and “overcome suffering in the world around you,” all of which are based on the capacity to give.
  9. “To love the reality that you are building” does not mean to place the solution to your own problems as the key to the world.
  10. Let me end by saying: If you want to overcome your profound contradiction, you must produce valid actions. If these actions are valid, it is because they help those around you.

XVI. Models

  1. In your internal landscape there is an ideal man or woman that you search for in the external landscape. Through so many relationships your ideal remains always just out of reach—like two fragments of flint that do not quite strike except for that brief moment when perfect love dazzles us with its spark.
  2. All human beings, in their own ways, launch their lives toward the external landscape, seeking to complete their hidden models.
  3. But the external landscape continues imposing its own laws, and as time goes by, your once most cherished dream becomes only an image before which you now experience shame or even less, as this dream is reduced to a faded memory. Nevertheless, within the human species profound models exist, sleeping, biding their time. These models are the translation of impulses that your body sends to the space of representation.
  4. We are not discussing the origin or consistency of these models, or the complexity of the world in which they are found. We are simply noting that they exist and pointing out that their function is to compensate needs and aspirations which, in turn, motivate human activities toward the external landscape.
  5. Entire peoples and cultures also have their own particular ways of responding to the external landscape, responses always colored by internal models, which history and their own bodies continue to define.
  6. Wise are those who know their profound models, and wiser still are those who can place them at the service of the best of causes.

XVII. The Internal Guide

  1. Who do you so admire that you would like to have been that person?
  2. Let me ask you in a more gentle fashion: Whom do you consider so exemplary that you wish you could find some of that person’s virtues in yourself?
  3. Perhaps there have been moments when in sorrow or confusion you have appealed to the memory of someone who, whether existing or not, came to your aid as a comforting image?
  4. I am speaking of those particular models that we could call internal “guides,” which at times coincide with real people.
  5. Those models, which you have wanted to follow from the time you were very young, have changed only in the most external layers of your daily awareness.
  6. I have seen how children talk and play with their imaginary companions and guides. I have seen people of all ages connect with these guides in prayers offered in sincere devotion.
  7. The more strongly these guides were called, the further away they responded from and the better the signal they sent. Because of this I knew that the most profound guides are the most powerful. But only a great need can awaken them from their millennia of lethargy.
  8. Such a model “possesses” three important attributes: strength, wisdom, and kindness.
  9. If you want to know yourself better, observe the characteristics of the men and women you admire. Notice how the qualities you most value in them are also at work in the configuration of your own internal guides. Consider that even though your initial references may have disappeared with the passage of time, they have left “traces” within you that continue to motivate you toward the external landscape.
  10. And if you want to understand how diverse cultures interact with each other, in addition to studying their modes of producing objects, study as well the methods by which they transmit their models.
  11. It is important, then, to direct your attention to the best qualities in others, because you will project into the world those qualities you have managed to configure in yourself.

XVIII. The Change

Let us look back for a moment. We have considered the human being as integrally connected to the world, influencing it and influenced by it. We have said that human actions are made manifest in the external landscape according to how their internal landscapes are formed. These actions will vary, but what ultimately defines a life are its contradictory and unifying actions. While contradiction inverts life, contaminating the world with the suffering it produces, unitive actions open the future, causing suffering to recede in oneself and in the world. “To humanize the earth” is the same as “to give” in unifying actions. Any purpose that ends in receiving can only have a provisional meaning; it is destined to lead toward contradiction. Faith is an enormous energy that can be mobilized in the service of life. And there are other forces that also operate in the internal landscape, motivating human activity toward the external landscape. These are the models.

  1. Definitively the question is this: Do you want to surpass the abyss?
  2. Perhaps you do, but how will you take a new direction if the avalanche has already been unleashed, dragging with it everything in its path?
  3. Whatever your decision, you must know what resources and what energy you can count on to produce this change.
  4. While your decision is very much your own, I would like to point out that you will not be able to change the direction of your life by relying only on the resources of internal work. Rather, you will need to act decisively in the world, modifying behaviors.
  5. And how will you carry out this task and also add to it your immediate environment, which decisively influences you, and which you, in turn, influence? Only by awakening the faith that it is possible to convert this inverted life.
  6. I will leave you at this point, but if you are prepared to change your life, you will transform the world—and then it will not be the abyss that triumphs but that which overcomes it.

The Human Landscape

I. Looks and Landscapes

  1. Let us speak of landscapes and looks, turning once again to what was said in the beginning: “External landscape is what we perceive of things, while internal landscape is what we sift from them through the sieve of our internal world. These landscapes are one and constitute our indissoluble vision of reality.”
  2. Beginning with the perception of an external object, a naive look may confuse “what is seen” with reality itself. Some go further, believing that they remember “reality” just as it was. And still others confuse objects they have perceived and then transformed in other states of consciousness (their illusions, hallucinations, or dream images) with material objects.
  3. It is not difficult for reasonable people to understand that objects perceived in an earlier moment can appear distorted in dreams and memories. But the simplicity of daily action, of doing with and among things, is shaken to its core by the idea that perceived objects are always covered by a multicolored mantle woven of other, simultaneous perceptions and memories; that perception is an overall mode of being-in-the-midst-of-things, and includes an emotional tone and the general state of one’s body.
  4. The naive look grasps the “external” world along with its own pain or its own joy. I do not look with my eyes alone, but also with my heart, with gentle recollection, with ominous suspicion, with cold calculation, with stealthy comparison. I look through allegories, signs, and symbols, and though I do not see these things in my looking, they act on it nonetheless, just as when I look I do not see my eye or its activity.
  5. Because of the complexity of perceiving, I prefer to use the word landscape rather than object when speaking of reality, whether external or internal. And with that, I take it as given that I am referring to complexes and structures, and not to objects in some isolated and abstract individuality. I want to emphasize, too, that these landscapes correspond to acts of perception that I call looks (encroaching, perhaps illegitimately, on fields unrelated to visualization). These looks are active and complex acts that organize landscapes. They are not simple passive acts of receiving external information (data that arrive through my external senses) or internal information (that is, sensations from my own body, memories, apperceptions). There should be no need to add that in these mutual interrelations between looks and landscapes, the distinction between internal and external is drawn on the basis of the direction of the intentionality of the consciousness—and not as is frequently set forth in the naive schemata that are presented to schoolchildren.
  6. If you have understood the foregoing, you will also understand that when I speak of the human landscape I am referring to a type of external landscape that is composed of people and—even on those occasions when the human being per se is absent—human acts and intentions made manifest in objects.
  7. It is important, then, to distinguish between the internal world and internal landscape, between nature and external landscape, between society and human landscape. What I am trying to emphasize is that to speak of landscapes always implies one who looks, as opposed to situations in which the internal (psychological) world, nature, or society are naively taken as existing in themselves, independent of any interpretation.

II. The External Look and That Which Is Human

  1. Nothing substantial is being said when we are told that “Human beings are constituted by their environment.” Nor when it is said that “thanks to the environment (environment being understood by some as natural, by others as social, and by still others as both natural and social) the human being is constituted.” This idea appears all the more inconsistent when we focus on the relationship implied by the word “constituted”—assuming, of course, that we already understand the terms “human being” and “environment.” Presumably, “environment” is that which surrounds the human being, or better, that in which the human being is immersed, and the “human being” is that which is within or immersed in that “environment.” We find ourselves, then, as at the beginning, in a circle of vacuities. Though the two terms being related point to separate entities, we can observe an intention to unite them in a deceptive relationship through the use of the word “constitute”—a word that has implications of genesis, that is to say, of explaining something by means of its origins.
  2. This assertion would be of no particular interest were it not for the fact that it is presented as a paradigm of similar assertions that for millennia have offered an image of the human being as seen from the outside. That is, looking at the human being from the standpoint of things and not from the standpoint of the look that looks at things. To say “the human being is a social animal” or “man is made in the image of God” is to make society or God into the entity that looks at the human being, while in reality it is only from the human look that society and God are conceived, and accepted or denied.
  3. And so, in a world where an inhuman look has long been established, there have also been established behaviors and institutions that annihilate our humanity. So it was that one of the questions that arose in the observation of nature concerned the “nature” of the human being, and the responses that were given were like those that might be given about any natural object.
  4. Even those currents of thought that have presented the human being as subject to continuing transformation have considered what is human from within one of the several perspectives of historical naturalism—that is, from an external look.
  5. The underlying idea of “human nature” corresponds to an external look directed at that which is human. But human beings are historical beings whose mode of social action transforms their own nature. Knowing this subordinates the concept of “human nature” to existence and its tasks—making it subject to the transformations and revelations directed by this existence. Thus, the body, as the prosthesis of intention, extends its potentialities through humanizing the world—a world that can no longer be seen as simple externality but instead as a landscape, natural or human, that is subject to present or possible transformations. And it is through this activity that the human being also transforms itself.

III. The Human Body as the
Object of Intention

  1. The body, as a natural object, is subject to natural modifications, and thanks to human intention is, of course, susceptible to transformation—not only in its most external expressions but also in its innermost functioning. One’s own body takes on its greatest significance when viewed in this way—as the prosthesis of intention. However, a social process intervenes between the immediate (unmediated) governance of one’s own body and the adaptation of the body to the needs and purposes of others. This process does not depend on the isolated individual but entails others as well.
  2. Ownership of my psychophysical structure is given by my intentionality, while external objects present themselves to me as only indirectly subject to my control (through the action of my body) and outside of my immediate ownership. There is a particular type of object, however, that I intuit as the property of a foreign intention, and that is the body of the other. That otherness puts me in the position of being “seen from outside,” seen from someone else’s intention. My vision of the other is, therefore, an interpretation—a landscape extending to every object that carries the mark of human intention, whether produced or used today or in the past. In that human landscape I can obliterate the intention of others by considering them prostheses of my own body, in which case I must “empty” them of their subjectivity, at least in those areas of thought, feeling, or action that I wish to control directly. But this objectification of others necessarily dehumanizes me as well, and so I justify this situation by claiming that it is the consequence of “Passion,” “God,” “A Cause,” “Natural Inequity,” “Fate,” “Society,” and so forth.

IV. Memory and the Human Landscape

  1. When faced with an unfamiliar landscape, I appeal to my memory and notice as “new” that which I “recognize” as absent in myself. The same thing occurs in a human landscape, where today’s language, clothing, and customs contrast sharply with that landscape in which my memories were formed. In a society where change is slow, however, my previous landscape tends to overwhelm these novel aspects, and I dismiss them as “irrelevant.”
  2. If I live in a society in which change occurs very swiftly, I tend not to recognize the value of change or to consider it “superficial,” without realizing that the inner loss I experience is the loss of that social landscape in which my memory was formed.
  3. Thanks to all of this I understand that when a generation comes to power, it tends to give external expression to the myths and theories, the desires, appetites, and values of its formative landscapes—landscapes that no longer exist yet still live and act in the social memory of the landscape in which this group was formed. It also happens that the landscape that children assimilate as the human landscape is seen by their parents as “irrelevant” or a “diversion.” However fiercely the generations may struggle between themselves, when a new generation comes to power it immediately becomes obstructionist, attempting to impose its own landscape of formation on a human landscape that has already changed—and which that generation itself may even have helped to change. Thus, in those transformations instituted by the group that is in power there are, dragged along from its formative years, the obstructions against which the newer group that is forming will clash. When I have spoken of the “power” that a generation acquires, I trust that I have been correctly understood as referring to power in all its forms: political, social, cultural, and so forth.

V. The Distance Imposed by the
Human Landscape

  1. Every generation has its own particular cunning and will not hesitate to institute the most sophisticated of “reforms” if it can thereby increase its power. But this leads to countless difficulties as the transformations each generation sets in motion drag society toward a future that, in the present dynamic, is already in contradiction with the inner social landscape that it strives to maintain. This is why I say that every generation has not only its own particular cunning but also its own particular trap.
  2. Which human landscape do these unwarranted longings confront? To begin with, it is a perceived human landscape that is different from the landscape that is remembered. It is also a human landscape that does not correspond to the emotional tone, the general emotional climate of our memories of people, buildings, streets, occupations, and institutions. And it is this “strangeness” or “estrangement” that most clearly shows that, even when we are dealing with everyday or familiar matters, every perceived landscape is a distinct and all-encompassing reality different from the one remembered. So it is that one’s appetites, which have for so long yearned to possess certain objects (things, persons, situations), are disappointed in their fulfillment. And this is the distance that the dynamic of the human landscape imposes upon every memory, whether individual or collective, whether held by one, by many, or by an entire generation whose members coexist in a single social space, surrounded by a similar emotional background. How much greater becomes the distance, then, when different generations—representatives of distinct times coexisting within a single space—try to reach agreement about something! And if it seems that we are speaking of enemies, I must stress that these gulfs open even between those who would appear to share similar interests.
  3. Never do I touch the same object twice in the same way, nor feel the same intention twice. And that which I believe I perceive as intention in others is only a distance, which I interpret differently each time. Thus, the human landscape, whose distinguishing characteristic is intention, throws into sharp relief the estrangement that many have thought a result of the objective conditions of a society devoid of solidarity, a society that casts the dispossessed consciousness into exile. Having erred in their appraisal of the essence of human intention, they found that as the human landscape accelerated, the society they had built with such effort was divided by generational chasms and had become estranged from itself. Other societies, developing along different paths, suffered precisely the same shock—all of which by now has demonstrated that the fundamental problems of the human being can be resolved only by focusing on the intention that transcends objects, the intention for which the social object is simply the dwelling. In the same way, all of nature, including the human body, should be understood as the dwelling of the transformative intention.
  4. The perception of the human landscape brings me face to face with myself—it is an emotional engagement, a thing that negates me or propels me forward. Even as I continue to accumulate memories, I am drawn forward from my “today” by future intention. This future, which conditions the present; this image; this feeling, confused or desired; this action, freely chosen or imposed, also marks my past, because it changes what I consider to have been my past.

VI. Education

  1. In the first place, the perception of and action of the external landscape involves the body and an emotional way of being-in-the-world. Of course, as I have previously mentioned, it also commits one to a particular vision of reality. That is why I believe that to educate is fundamentally to prepare the new generations to exercise a non-naive vision of reality, so that their look takes the world into account not as some supposed objective reality-in-itself but rather as the object of transformative human actions. I am speaking here not of information about the world but rather of the intellectual exercise of a particular unbiased vision of landscapes and of an attentive practice turned to one’s own look. A basic education should bear in mind the practice of coherent thinking. In this case, we are not speaking of knowledge in the strict sense but rather of contact with one’s own registers of thinking.
  2. In the second place, education should provide the stimulus for emotional comprehension and development. Therefore, in planning an integrated education one should consider exercises in both theatrical performance and other kinds of self-expression, along with the development of skills in harmony and rhythm. The objective of all this is not, however, procedures that claim to “produce” artistic talents, but rather to enable individuals to make emotional contact with themselves and others, thereby avoiding the disorders that are produced by an education based on isolation and inhibition.
  3. In the third place, we should include a practice that will put into harmonious play all of a person’s corporal resources. Sports can lead to a one-sided rather than integrated development, and the discipline we propose more closely resembles gymnastics practiced as an art rather than a sport, because it involves getting in touch with one’s body and managing it with ease. For all these reasons sports would not be considered a developmental activity, though the cultivation of sports could be important if based on the discipline referred to above.
  4. I have spoken so far about education from the point of view of the human being’s formative activities in the human landscape, but I have not spoken about the relationship between information and knowledge, or about the incorporation of data through study, or about practice as a way of acquiring knowledge.

VII. History

  1. As long as one continues to think about the historical process from an external look, it is pointless to try to explain it as the progressive unfolding of human intentionality in its struggle to overcome pain (physical) and suffering (mental). And so it is that while there are those concerned with unveiling the innermost laws of human events on the basis of matter, or spirit, or a certain line of reasoning, in truth they always see the internal mechanism they seek from “outside” the human being.
  2. Of course, the historical process will continue to be understood as the development of a form that is, when all is said and done, nothing but the mental form of those who view things in that particular way. And it does not matter what sort of dogma is appealed to, the background that dictates one’s adherence to that position will always be that-which-one-wants-to-see.

VIII. Ideologies

  1. The ideologies that prevailed during certain historical moments showed their usefulness in orienting human action and interpreting the world in which the lives of both individuals and human groups unfolded. Those ideologies have now been displaced by others, whose greatest achievement lies in appearing to be reality itself—supremely concrete and immediate, exempt from all “ideology.”
  2. Thus, the opportunists of the past, whose hallmark was their betrayal of every commitment, appear in these times of the crisis of ideologies, calling themselves “pragmatists” or “realists” without the vaguest idea of the origins of these terms. In any case, they brazenly espouse their false schematicism, presenting it as the pinnacle of intelligence and virtue.
  3. As social change accelerated, the gulf between successive generations rapidly widened, while the human landscape in which they were formed grew ever more distant from the human landscape in which they were required to act, leaving them orphaned, bereft of any theory or model of conduct. Thus they were obliged to give ever more rapid and increasingly improvised responses, becoming “situationalist,” limited to only a short-term approach to action. And with that, any idea of process and all notion of historicity began to wane, and in their place appeared a look that was increasingly analytical and fragmented.
  4. It turns out that these pragmatic cynics are the shameful grandchildren of those hard-working builders of “unhappy consciousness” and the children of those who denounced ideologies as the “masking” of reality. And so it is that all pragmatism bears the familial stamp of absolutism. Thus we hear them say, “We must rely on reality and not on theories.” This, however, has only brought them innumerable difficulties, as when irrationalist currents emerged declaring, “We must rely on our reality and not on your theories.”

IX. Violence

  1. When people speak of the methodology of action in the context of social and political struggle, the subject of violence frequently arises. There are, however, prior issues that bear on this topic.
  2. Violence will continue to color all social activity as long as the human being does not fully realize a human society—a society in which power is in the hands of the social whole and not some part of it that subordinates and objectifies the whole. Therefore, when we speak of violence we must talk of the established world. And if one opposes that world in nonviolent struggle, one must begin by stressing that what characterizes a nonviolent attitude is that it does not tolerate violence. Then it is not a question of justifying any particular type of struggle but of defining the conditions of violence imposed by this inhuman system.
  3. At the same time, many errors result from confusing nonviolence with pacifism. While nonviolence needs no justification as a methodology of action, pacifism, which considers peace to be a state of nonbelligerence, must carefully consider what conditions bring us closer to or take us further from that peace. And so while pacifism approaches issues such as disarmament as the essential social priorities, in fact armamentism is but one particular case of the threat of physical violence under the direction of the power established by that minority of people which manipulates the State. The issue of disarmament is of utmost importance, and it is all to the good that pacifism raises this urgent question. However, even were it successful in its demands it would not thereby be able to modify the context of this violence or, except in the most artificial fashion, to extend its proposals to include modifying the social structure itself. There are, of course, a number of models of pacifism and various theoretical foundations within this current, but none of them can provide a more comprehensive model. If, however, this vision of the world were broader, we would certainly be in the presence of a doctrine that would include pacifism. And in this case we would need to discuss the foundations of that broader doctrine before supporting or rejecting the type of pacifism that derives from it.

X. Law

  1. “Your rights end where the rights of others begin.” Therefore: “The rights of others end where your rights begin.” However, since it is generally the first and not the second phrase that is emphasized, we are led to suspect that those who maintain this position see themselves as “the others”—that is, as the representatives of all other people, as the representatives of an established system that needs no justification.
  2. There has been no lack of those who would derive the law from some purported “human nature,” but as this has already been discussed it would add nothing to the subject at hand.
  3. Practical people who have not lost themselves in theorizing have concluded simply that the law is necessary if people are to coexist within a society. It has also been said that the laws are made in order to defend the interests of those who impose them.
  4. It would appear that it is a preexisting situation of power that establishes any given law, and that law in turn legitimates power. So it is power, as the imposition of an intention, whether accepted or not, that is our central theme. It is said that “might does not make right,” but this nonsense can be accepted only if one thinks of “might” simply as brute physical force. In reality, however, force (economic, political, and so on) does not need to be expressed perceptually in order to make its presence felt and to command respect. Moreover, the naked threat of physical force (the force of arms, for example) is used to impose situations that the law is used to justify. Nor should we overlook the fact that the use of arms in a given direction depends on human intention and not on laws.
  5. Those who violate the law ignore a situation imposed in the present and expose their temporality (their future) to the decisions of others. But it is clear that this “present” in which the law is in force has its roots in the past. Custom, morality, religion, and social consensus are the sources generally invoked to justify the existence of law. Each of these in turn depends on the power that imposed it. And these purported sources are reconsidered whenever the power that gave them origin has declined or transformed to such a degree that maintaining the prior juridical order begins to conflict with “what is reasonable,” with “common sense,” and so forth. Apparently the law is not broken, at least not when the legislature modifies a law or the people’s representatives change the country’s constitution. And this is so because those who take these actions are not exposed to the decisions of others—that is, they either hold power themselves or act as the representatives of some power. These situations make it clear that power generates laws and obligations, and not the reverse.
  6. Human rights are not in universal effect as we would wish, and that is because there is not a universal power of humanity, but instead these rights depend on the power that one part of humankind holds over the whole. Since we find in every latitude that even the most elementary demands for control over one’s own body are trampled upon, we can speak only of aspirations that have yet to be transformed into rights. Human rights do not belong to the past, they are there in the future, calling to our intentionality and fueling a struggle that is reborn with every new infringement upon human destiny. Thus, every demand made, every voice raised on behalf of human rights is meaningful because it shows the powers-that-be that they are not omnipotent, nor do they control the future.

XI. The State

  1. It has been said that a nation is a legal entity formed of the totality of the inhabitants of a country under the rule of a given government. Subsequently, this idea was extended to include a country’s territory. In truth, however, a nation can exist for millennia without being ruled by a given government, without being limited to a single territory, and without being legally recognized by any state. What defines a nation is the mutual recognition established between people who identify with similar values and aspire to a common future. And this has nothing to do with race or language—or with history understood as “a lengthy period of time with its roots in a mythic past.” A nation can be formed today, can grow toward the future, or founder tomorrow, just as it can incorporate into its project other people or groups. In this sense, one could speak of the formation of a human nation which has yet to take shape as such and has suffered countless persecutions and failures—above all the failure of the future landscape.
  2. To the State, an entity that in fact has to do with certain forms of government regulated by law, is often attributed the mysterious ability to form nationalities and to be, itself, the nation. But this recent fiction of the nation-state is suffering the onslaught of a rapidly transforming human landscape. Thus, the powers that formed the present-day State and endowed it with simple attributes of intermediation now find themselves in a position to move beyond the present form of that apparatus, an apparatus that apparently concentrates in itself the power of the nation.
  3. The “powers” of the State are not the real powers, the powers that generate rights and obligations and that administer or enforce certain rules. Rather, as the monopoly of this apparatus grew, it became transformed into the successive (or permanent) spoils of the warring factions. In the end it came to benefit only an increasingly irrelevant bureaucracy, hobbling the freedom of action of the true powers and hindering the activity of the people. Thus, none but the most obstructionist elements of society benefit from the form of the present-day State. The point is that, along with the progressive decentralization and decrease of State power, there must be a corresponding growth in the power of the social whole. The only guarantee that today’s grotesque State will not simply be replaced by the unrestrained power of those same interests that created it (and which today strive to dispense with it), is to be found in those factors that the people themselves manage and supervise with solidarity, free from the paternalism of any faction.
  4. A people that is in a position to increase its real power (unmediated by the State or by the power held by some part of the whole) will best be able to project itself toward the future as the vanguard of the universal human nation.
  5. Do not believe that when empires annexed territories and nations they granted greater decision-making power to the conquered peoples; rather they imposed the homogeneous dominion of their own narrow interests. In the same way, people’s decision-making powers will not increase through artificial union in supranational entities.
  6. While many now anticipate a regional unification of wealth (or poverty) in dialectic with extra-regional powers, any temporary benefits that may result from this arrangement will not imply that the fundamental problem of realizing a fully human society has been resolved. Any society, of whatever form, that is not fully human will be subject to unexpected pitfalls and catastrophes resulting from surrendering its decisions to the will of special interests.
  7. As a consequence of regional unification there may emerge either a monstrous super-State or the unrestrained domination of the (now totally homogenized) special interests of earlier times. Imposing, in either case, their power in the most sophisticated fashion on the whole of society, they will give rise to innumerable conflicts, which will shake the very basis of such unions and unleash devastating centrifugal forces. If, on the other hand, the people’s decision-making power increases, then the integration of diverse communities will herald the emergence of the developing human nation.

XII. Religion

  1. That which is said about things and events is not the things and the events themselves, but rather “figures” that have a certain structure in common with them. Thanks to that common structure, it is possible to talk about things and events. That structure, however, cannot in turn be talked about in the same way that things are talked about because it is the structure of that which is being said as well as of things and events. Thus, language can point to, but not speak of, that which “includes” everything (even language itself). Such is the case of “God.”
  2. Much has been said about God, but all of that appears, then, to be a contradiction in terms, to the extent that we notice what is being said, what one claims to be saying.
  3. We can say nothing about God. We can speak only of what has been said about God. Many things have been said about God, and much can be said about all this that has been said, but not because of this are we making any progress on the theme of God insofar as it refers to God per se.
  4. This kind of tongue twister aside, religions can be of profound interest only when they attempt to point to God rather than to talk about God.
  5. Religions, however, express that which exists in their respective landscapes, and consequently a religion is neither true nor false, because its value is not logical. Its value lies in the type of internal register that it evokes, in the agreement between the landscapes one wishes to express and what is really being demonstrated.
  6. Religious literature is often linked to landscapes, both external and human, and the characteristics and attributes of their gods are not independent of those landscapes. Nevertheless, even when these external and human landscapes change, this religious literature may endure into new times. And that is hardly surprising, given that nonreligious literature of various kinds also finds a following and awakens emotions in distant eras. Nor does a cult’s persistence through time say much about its “truth,” since legal formalities and social ceremonies often pass from culture to culture and continue to be observed even when knowledge of their original significance has been lost.
  7. A religion bursts onto a human landscape in a particular historical period, and so it is often said that at that moment God “reveals” himself to the human being. But in order for that revelation to be accepted in a given historical moment, something must take place in the internal landscape of the human being. That change has generally been interpreted as if “outside” the human being, placing it in the external or social world, and there are certain benefits to be gained in doing so. But something is lost as well—the ability to understand the religious phenomenon as an internal register.
  8. But religions have also portrayed themselves as something external, and in so doing they have prepared the ground for the above-mentioned interpretations.
  9. When I speak of “external religion,” I am not referring to the projection of psychological images as icons, paintings, statues, buildings, or relics (things proper to visual perception). Nor am I referring to projections in the form of chanting and prayer (proper to auditory perception), nor to their projection as gestures, postures, or the turning of the body in certain directions (proper to kinesthetic and coenesthetic perceptions). Finally, I do not say that a religion is external because it has its sacred books, sacraments, and so on. I do not even call it external because to its liturgy it adds a church, an organization, or holy days, or because it requires of its followers a certain physical state or age in order to carry out specific operations. No, that is the way the followers of the various religions struggle among themselves, each accusing the other faction of various degrees of idolatry because of a preference for working with certain types of images. Rather than dealing with anything substantial, however, this only demonstrates the complete psychological ignorance of the contending parties.
  10. When I speak of “external religion” I am referring to any religion that claims to talk about God and the will of God instead of speaking about the religious sentiment and the innermost register of the human being. Even seeking support in externalized worship could be meaningful if through such practices the believers were able to awaken in themselves (were able to reveal) the presence of God.
  11. The fact that until now religions have been external corresponds to the type of human landscape in which they were born and developed. Nevertheless, the birth of an inner religion is possible, or in order to survive contemporary religions may convert to an internal religiosity. However, this will only occur to the extent that the internal landscape is ready to accept a new revelation. We are now beginning to catch glimpses of this in those societies in which the human landscape is undergoing such drastic change that the need for internal references is becoming a matter of extreme urgency.
  12. None of what has been said about religions can remain standing today, however, for both religion’s apologists and its critics have failed to notice the change that is taking place within the human being. If in the past some people have thought of religions as soporifics to political or social action, today they oppose them for their powerful influence in those fields. Where others once imagined religions imposing their message, now they find that this message has changed. And those who once believed that religions would last forever, today doubt their eternity, while those who assumed that religions were soon to disappear are now surprised to witness the irruption of new forms that are manifestly or latently mystical.
  13. There are few in this field who can intuit what the future holds, because there are so few concerned with trying to understand in what direction human intentionality, which definitively transcends the individual human being, is heading. If humanity desires something new to “make itself known,” it is because that which tends to make itself known is already operating in humankind’s internal landscape. But it is not by claiming to be the representative of some god that the internal register of the human being is converted into the dwelling-place or the landscape of a transcendent look, a transcendent intention.

XIII. Open Roads

  1. And what of work, money, love, death, and the many other aspects of the human landscape barely touched on in these commentaries? Certainly there is much more to say for anyone who wishes to, as long as it is done bearing in mind this way of approaching the issues: referring looks to landscapes and understanding that landscapes change looks.
  2. Since this is the case, there is no need to speak of other subjects. If someone is interested in these ideas and the way we have spoken about them up to now, they can speak in the same way that we would. On the other hand, it would make no sense to continue to speak for others if we are talking about things that are of no interest to anyone or with a form of expression that does not allow things to be brought to light.

Notes to Humanize the Earth

##The Inner Look

The Inner Look is divided into twenty chapters, which are subdivided into numbered passages. The principal themes can be grouped as follows:

  • The first two chapters are introductory, presenting the author’s intentions, the reader’s attitude, and how this relationship can best be carried forward.
  • Chapters III through XII develop the more general topics, presenting them in ten “days” of reflection.
  • Chapter XIII marks a turning point, moving from more general topics to consider questions of conduct and attitudes in facing life.
  • The remaining chapters contain explanations about internal work.

The topics appear in the following order:

I. Meditation—The objective of the book: to convert non-meaning into meaning. II. Disposition to Comprehend—The mental posture needed in order to understand these themes. III. Non-Meaning—Death and the meaning of life. IV. Dependence—The influence of the environment on the human being. V. Intimation of Meaning—Some non-habitual mental phenomena. VI. Sleep and Awakening—Distinguishes between various levels of consciousness—sleep, semi-sleep, vigil with reverie, and full vigil—and their relationship to the perception of reality. External and internal senses as well as memory. VII. Presence of the Force—The growth of comprehension in vigil. The energy or Force that is rooted in and moves through the body. VIII. Control of the Force—Relates the depth or superficiality of the energy to the levels of consciousness. IX. Manifestations of the Energy—Control and loss of control of the energy. X. Evidence of Meaning—Continuity and internal unity or contradiction. XI. The Luminous Center—Relates the energy to the inner allegory of the “luminous center.” Phenomena of internal integration as “ascent toward the light.” Phenomena of internal dissolution registered as “withdrawal from the light.” XII. The Discoveries—Circulation of the energy. Levels. The nature of the Force represented as “light.” Examples from diverse peoples. XIII. The Principles—The Principles as references for internal unity. XIV. Guide to the Inner Road—Representations of the phenomena that accompany the directions of “descent” and “ascent.” XV. The Experience of Peace and the Passage of the Force—Procedures. XVI. Projection of the Force—Projection and meaning. XVII. Loss and Repression of the Force—Discharges of the energy. Sex as the center that produces energy. XVIII. Action and Reaction of the Force—Associating representations with emotional charges. Evoking an image that has previously been linked to emotional states, which then elicits or returns the associated states. “Being thankful” as a technique useful in daily life to associate images with positive emotional states. XIX. The Internal States—The various mental situations in which those interested in internal work may find themselves. XX. Internal Reality—The link between mental processes and allegorical representations of the external world.

The Internal Landscape

The Internal Landscape is divided into eighteen chapters, which are subdivided into numbered passages. The principal themes can be grouped as follows:

  • Chapters I and II are introductory and direct questions to the reader about his or her happiness, suffering, and interests in life.
  • Chapters III through VI examine the different types of landscapes—external, human, and internal—and their interaction.
  • Chapter VII touches on the themes of pain, suffering, and meaning in life. These points, and others related to valid action in the world, are further developed through Chapter XIII.
  • In Chapters XIV through XVIII the central themes are the motives and direction of human actions, along with proposals for change in the meaning of life.

The topics appear in the following order:

I. The Question—Queries the reader about happiness and suffering. Proposes a direction toward overcoming suffering. II. Reality—Discusses the nature of the “real,” relating what one perceives to the conformation of the human being. III. The External Landscape—Points out that every external landscape varies according to what is happening within the one who is perceiving it. IV. The Human Landscape—Shows how the human landscape involves the interior of the person. Denies the right of factions or special interests to demand that others must adopt their answers to the problems that individuals and societies currently face. Affirms the need to define action toward the human world. V. The Internal Landscape—Explains that at the base of all human activity lie beliefs. Emphasizes, however, that the internal landscape is not only a field of beliefs but of memories, perceptions, and images as well. Observes that the relation internal-external landscape is a structure in which both terms are correlates and can alternately be taken as acts or objects. VI. Center and Reflection—Indicates the possibility of placing oneself in the center of the internal landscape, from which any direction chosen is a reflection of this center. Shows that the path to learning lies through action and not solely through contemplation. VII. Pain, Suffering, and Meaning in Life—Distinguishes between physical pain and mental suffering. Introduces the phrase “Humanize the Earth” as the key to meaning in life, emphasizing the primacy of the future over the present or the past. VIII. The Rider and His Shadow—Breaks the monotony of previous chapters with a shift in style. Nevertheless, again considers the problems of the different times in human life (past, present, and future), seeking in them the root of memory, perception, and imagination. These three pathways are later considered “the three pathways of suffering” to the extent that contradiction inverts the times of consciousness. IX. Contradiction and Unity—Continues to explore the interplay of the various times in human life. Emphasizes the differences between everyday problems or difficulties on the one hand, and contradiction on the other, presenting the defining characteristics of contradiction. Proposes changes in the organization of the internal landscape. X. Valid Action—Explains that not only contradiction but all inversion in the growing current of life generates suffering. Emphasizes the importance of valid actions as unifying acts that are capable of overcoming contradiction. Presents an implicit critique of the foundations of morality when not developed based on the need to give unity to the human being, to provide references for surpassing contradiction and suffering. XI. Projection of the Internal Landscape—Emphasizes that both contradictory and unifying acts commit the future of those who produce them, as well as the future of all who are in contact with them. In this sense, individual contradiction “contaminates” others, while individual unity also affects others. XII. Compensation, Reflection, and the Future—The background of this chapter is the age-old debate between determinism and freedom. Concisely reviews the mechanics of human actions as the interplay of compensatory actions as well as the reflection of the external landscape, without overlooking accidents as another phenomenon capable of undoing all human projects. Finally, emphasizes the search for the growth of life without limit as a leap over determining conditions. XIII. Provisional Meanings—Outlines the dialectic between “provisional meanings” and “meaning in life.” Places affirmation of life as the highest value, suggesting that it is the rebellion against death that drives all progress. XIV. Faith—Notes the feeling of suspicion experienced upon hearing the word “faith.” Distinguishes between naive faith, fanatical faith, and faith applied in the service of life. Gives faith maximum importance as the energy that mobilizes all enthusiasm in life. XV. To Give and To Receive—Establishes that the act of giving opens the future, and that all valid actions go in this direction. Receiving, in contrast, is centripetal, and dies in the individual. It is through giving that one can change the direction of a contradictory life. XVI. Models—Explains “models” as the internal images that motivate human activities toward the external world, while noting that such images are modified with changes in the internal landscape. XVII. The Internal Guide—Refers to the existence of models in the internal landscape that are examples of how to act. Such models can be called “internal guides.” XVIII. The Change—Studies the possibility of voluntary change in human conduct.

The Human Landscape

The Human Landscape is divided into thirteen chapters, which are subdivided into numbered passages. The principal themes can be grouped as follows:

  • The first five chapters are dedicated to clarifying the meaning of the human landscape and the look that is related to that landscape.
  • The following seven chapters address central questions that arise in the human landscape.
  • Chapter thirteen concludes the themes developed, inviting the reader to continue the study of important issues that have been treated only in passing in this work.

The topics appear in the following order: I. Looks and Landscapes—Establishes the difference between internal, external, and human landscapes. Introduces distinctions between looks of different types. II. The External Look and That Which Is Human—Reviews what has been said about the human being from an “external look.” III. The Human Body as the Object of Intention—Intentionality and the governing of one’s own body without intermediation. The objectification of others’ bodies and the “emptying” of their subjectivity. IV. Memory and the Human Landscape—The lack of correspondence between the human landscape perceived in the present and the human landscape deriving from the period of formation of the one perceiving. V. The Distance Imposed by the Human Landscape—The distance between the perceived human landscape and the represented human landscape arises not only from the difference in times but also from ways of being-in-the-world that depend on the emotions and the presence of one’s own body. VI. Education—Recommends that an integral education embody coherent thinking as contact with one’s own registers of thinking; that it should consider awareness and emotional development as contact with oneself and others; and that it should not overlook practices that bring into play the full range of each person’s corporal resources. Distinguishes between education as formation, information as the integration of data through study, and practice as a form of study. VII. History—Until now history has been looked at from the “outside,” without taking human intentionality into account. VIII. Ideologies—In times when ideologies are in crisis there arise “ideologemas” that claim to represent reality itself. Such is the case with so-called “pragmatism.” IX. Violence—Nonviolence as a methodology of social and political struggle does not require justification. It is a system in which violence predominates that needs justification in order to impose itself. Distinguishes between pacifism and nonviolence. X. Law—Considers both the origin of law and the theme of power as a precondition for any law. XI. The State—The State as an apparatus of intermediation between the real power held by a part of society and the social whole. XII. Religion—Religions as “externality” inasmuch as they attempt to speak about God and not about the inner register of God in the human being. XIII. Open Roads—Concludes by inviting the reader to study and further develop important themes of the human landscape that have not been addressed in this work.