Archived Articles

Reflections (Part 2)
Is There An Answer To
World Conditions Today?

The Role of Negative Emotions

What rules the world today?

P. D. Ouspensky once said, “This world is not controlled by sex or power but by negative emotions.” And Maurice Nicoll added that this is the same as being controlled by hell.

Nicoll also said, “Certainly people make a grave mistake in thinking God controls this Earth. They either get everything in a muddle or become God-haters. But does not the Lord's Prayer start by saying: 'May Thy Will be done on Earth'? If mankind were in touch with Higher Centers, it would be a different matter altogether.”1

As for negative emotions, because they are basically evil in intention, they can lead downward from hatred to violence; that is, they can only transform evilly. And the resulting negative states work on our associations with one another. The great power and number of negative 'I's within each of us seek to do us harm by distorting associations and by lying. We will have to meet these eventually, in this world or the next. Negative states are truly Legion,2as they referred to themselves when Christ asked their name. In Mark 5: 8,9, Christ said to the evil spirit that was within the man who dwelt in the tombs, crying and cutting himself with stones - a man who nobody could tame.

“Come out of the man, thou unclean spirit. And he asked him, What is thy name? And he answered, saying, My name is Legion, for we are many.”

To quote Nicoll on this matter of the negative 'I's and states within one.

“Yes, our negative 'I's are many and the sensual mind is their home, for it is like a tomb to the inner spiritual man. Now negative emotions harm us by many other methods also, as by darkening everything like the octopus ejecting ink. And like the octopus of the many headed Hydra of Mythology, they seize hold of you now on this side, now on the other, having many arms, fastening on every weak thing in your psychological makeup that you have not worked on or have not brought into the light of consciousness... And possibly even when you are in a negative state, you do not see what is meant. This is partly because you do not see quite that you are in a negative state. You see that the state you are in as a reasonable state (under the circumstances) and not so negative.”

As esotericism teaches, we are all down here on Earth to work on the dark sides of ourselves. How can we do this? It starts by self-observation. Somewhere in one of Cayce's readings we are advised to stand aside and observe ourselves go by.

In one sense, the “hope of the world” involves dedicated work on ourselves. We need not to identify so much with life's events, and with the hypnotism of life's “opportunities.” And if we pride ourselves on our virtues, what can happen but that self-righteousness, and so False Personality, will increase every day that we live. The result will be that we will crystallize in narrow viewpoints and attitudes and become dead people. Recall Christ's remark: “Let the dead bury the dead.” The dead are those who are dead to working upon themselves, and so bringing change to themselves. This change can only come if one does not take life as an end in itself. For this may cause a wrong attitude that is the source of many negative emotions, and of those thousands of efforts that people make while in negative states.

The World Today - Can It Be Changed?

Can we agree that most of the world is in a terrible mess today? Well that's just what people thought during the Great Depression, some 70 years ago. The world situation in 1932 led to a request to Cayce for a reading, by the Glad Workers of Norfolk Study Group 1. This group was sponsoring lectures by Cayce. Members wanted examination and amplification of a lecture that he had prepared for that evening entitled, “Present World Conditions.” Here follows the relevant part of the reading:

With the present conditions, then, that exist - these have all come to that place in the development of the human family where there must be a reckoning, a one point upon which all may agree, that out of all of this turmoil that has arisen from the social life, racial differences, the outlook upon the relationship of man to the Creative Forces or his God, and his relationships one with another, must come to some COMMON basis upon which all MAY agree. You say at once, such a thing is impractical, impossible! What has caused the present conditions, not alone at home but abroad? It is that realization that was asked some thousands of years ago, "Where IS thy brother? His blood CRIES to me from the ground!" And the other portion of the world has answered, IS answering, "Am I my brother's keeper?" The world, AS a world - that makes for the disruption, for the discontent - has lost its ideal. Man may not have the same IDEA. Man - ALL men - may have the same IDEAL!

As the Spirit of God once moved to bring peace and harmony out of chaos, so must the Spirit move over the earth and magnify itself in the hearts, minds and souls of men to bring peace, harmony and understanding, that they may dwell together in a way that will bring that peace, that harmony, that can only come with all having the one Ideal; not the one idea, but "Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thine heart, thy neighbor AS thyself!" This [is] the whole law, this [is] the whole answer to the world, to each and every soul. That is the answer to the world conditions, as they exist today.

How shall this be brought about? As [they] each in their own respective sphere put into action that they know to be the fulfilling of that as has been from the beginning, so does the little leaven leaven the whole lump. Man's answer to everything has been POWER - Power of money, Power of position, Power of wealth, Power of this, that or the other. This has NEVER been GOD'S way, will never be God's way. Rather little by little, line upon line, here little, there a little, each thinking rather of the other fellow, as that that has kept the world in the various ways of being intact - where there were ten, even, many a city, many a nation, has been kept from destruction. Though ye may look upon, or feel that that which was given to Abram - as he viewed the cities of the plain and pled for the saving of same - was an allegorical story, a beautiful tale to be told children - that it might bring fear into the hearts of those that would have their OWN way - may it not come into the hearts of those now, today, wilt THOU, thine self, make of thine OWN heart an understanding that thou must answer for thine own brother, for thine own neighbor! And who is thine neighbor? He that lives next door, or he that lives on the other side of the world? He, rather, that is in NEED of understanding! He who has faltered; he who has fallen even by the way. HE is thine neighbor, and thou must answer for him!

3976-8; January 16, 1932

This is a marvelous passage for several reasons. The most important part, it seems to me, is its definition of neighbor, as given in the last words in bold. The neighbor does not necessarily mean whoever is nearest you in space, or the person next door. That would be the worldly explanation, typical of this mundane sphere that we inhabit.3

Now, if we lift neighbor to its psychological meaning, one's neighbor must mean a person who is near to one in some altogether different sense. Neighbor would seem to mean someone of similar affections, or someone near to one's own understanding or level of being. Such a definition satisfies on a mental level. But the source of the reading raises the meaning of neighbor to an even higher level. At a spiritual level it means one who is in need of understanding.

And who is thine own brother that we must answer for, and what are the conditions under which is it appropriate to try to help a brother “who has faltered; ... who has fallen even by the way?” Reading 3976-15 supplies an answer.

Would ye know the Father, be the father to thy brother. Would ye know the love of the Father, SHOW thy love to thy faltering, to thy erring brother - but to those that seek, not those that condemn. [My emphasis added].

3976-15, January 19, 1934

Could a new day of helping our faltering brothers to understand the predicted pole shift and Earth changes be coming soon for each of us? Is that day already here? Our prayers go up to heaven for answers full of understanding and guidance. It certainly seems from reading 3976-8, however, that a little information here and a little information there will help leaven the lump of ignorance relative to coming Earth changes for those that may be receptive to Cayce's psychic readings. But, to those who dispute with, lie about, or minimize selective readings, there is no understanding that one can give. How unfortunate for those people who cannot find a higher level of meaning in the readings. As said in Proverbs 4:11, “With all thy getting, get understanding.”

The Cayce readings provide a gift to humanity more important than the Earth change readings. I'm referring to the Search For God material (SFGm). Now to know the SFGm is not the same thing as to understand it. There is a very great difference between knowing and understanding. To try to apply the SFGm requires one to grasp the essential difference between knowing and understanding. Knowing the SFGm involves only our intellect. Understanding involves the whole person.

The whole psychological person is the person of thought, the person of emotion and will, and the person of action. All parts of this psychological person have to participate to achieve a thorough understanding of the SFGm. The intellect is not nearly enough. This is why we are all like monkeys in the sight of conscious man. Conscious man is full of understanding. There is no greater force that we can create in ourselves than understanding.

Let's turn now to the first words in bold in 3976-8.

"Thou shalt love the Lord Thy God with all thine heart, thy neighbor AS thyself.”

Or as rendered in the New International Version of the Bible (Matthew 21: 37, 39):

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ”Love your neighbor as yourself.”

Nicoll points out that in theory, the love of God should unite all people. Clearly, however, it does not. Various religious sects often hate each other. (There are some 16 religious wars of various sizes underway in the world right now). Who can say that he or she loves God? Individuals have different qualities of affections, and they love various kinds of things. Dissimilar affections do not conjoin. But those with similar affections, who love similar things, form one definite category of people invisibly connected and capable of conjoining themselves. They are neighbors psychologically. They would love one another more easily.

We can conclude that one should seek one's neighbor, or neighbors, so as to escape solitary confinement in the lonely and sad prison of self-love. For love of self, if it is primary, not only destroys mutual affection but would, if it had its own way, destroy human society. As said in reading 3976-8, the sensuous lower self wants all power.

Thus, the answer to world conditions today is to work on the dark sides of ourselves. This requires sincere effort. And for those of us who love the Cayce readings, the Search For God materials are there to assist us. Other approaches to this all-important task can be found as well, as referenced in some of the readings, like reading 256-4. Success will lie with those who seek, work, and do not condemn. Then, the world as we perceive it will change as we grow in understanding and consciousness.

  1. In 1925, a Hebrew stockbroker asked Edgar Cayce for help with his study of P. D. Ouspensky's book, Tertium Organum. At the end of the reading came this gratuitous comment:

    ...Ouspensky....was the sage of the mountain in the third generation of the peoples of the Mahabbs in Tibet -- 1777 -- seventh month -- seventh day -- seventh hour -- Mahaba Tarhl and the keeper of the records in the mount.


    In his most recent incarnation, Ouspensky (died 1947) was trained as a scientist in Russia, but became disenchanted with science's limitations. He then plunged into metaphysical studies and made journeys to locate present exemplars of the world's most important mystical teachings. This led him to enroll as a student of G. I Gurdjieff, "a man of Armenian-Greek ancestry, with a background of travel, mysticism, and esotericism, [who had] arrived back in Russia bringing a mystic teaching." Ouspensky eventually wrote several important books on what became known as the Gurdjieff-Ouspensky, or "G-O" philosophical system. The teaching was conducted for many years in several European cities and New York.

    It was to this stream of eastern metaphysics that the Cayce source of information directed four people between 1925 and 1932. A man seeking guidance to prepare himself to become an A.R.E. study-group leader received this response through Cayce:

    Q Outline or suggest material for study and reading, names of books, subjects, etc.

    A With the study first, to be sure, of HIS words -- as He gave, as is recorded, those philosophical experiences of the writers -- as James, as Ouspensky, as those who have followed in the lines of their studies -- as Swedenborg, or the like: but weigh these all well with thine own, for -- as HE has promised -- "I will be your God, will ye [if ye will] be my people...."

    (256-4, 08/19/32)

    Another person (307-4) involved with A.R.E. study groups was also told to study Ouspensky. And yet another Hebrew stockbroker (137-88), wondering how to understand his relationship to time and space, was told to study Ouspensky's Tertium Organum to help gain the consciousness thereof. The G-O system deals with conscious human development.

    Gurdjieff (died 1949) and Ouspensky (died 1947) numbered among their many adherents Dr. Maurice Nicoll, a psychiatrist who had studied under Jung. Ouspensky broke with Gurdjieff in 1924, and Nicoll joined later with Ouspensky. Ultimately, Dr. Nicoll became the only person authorized by Ouspensky to teach the G-O system. He updated Ouspensky's work on gaining consciousness of space and time in his classic book, Living Time - and the Integration of the Life (1952, Vincent Stuart, London).Among Nicoll's other published works is the five-volume set entitled, Psychological Commentaries On The Teaching of G. I. Gurdjieff and P. D. Ouspensky (various publishers, 1955-1970). His truly remarkable work, The Mark (1954, Vincent Stuart, London), was Nicoll's last book before he died in 1953. In it, he rendered, often in passages of great beauty, a key for those who long for greater understanding of Christ's teaching, and the meaning of our existence on Earth.

  2. Recall that a legion is defined as “A division of 3,000-6,000 men, including a compliment of cavalry, in the ancient Roman army,” or a “vast host.” (The Oxford Dictionary, American Edition).

  3. By the way, there are about 30 readings that refer to the Earth as “the mundane sphere.” Most uses of mundane seem to comport with a definition of the word as, “of or preoccupied with material rather than spiritual or intellectual things.” (The Oxford Dictionary, American Edition). See, for example, reading 2112-1.