Zigzag Idiot

(Book) The New Man Maurice Nicoll 9/10

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This is a fascinating book. I pasted a couple of excerpts down below.




ALL sacred writings contain an outer and an inner meaning. Behind the literal words lies another range of meaning, another form of knowledge. According to an old−age tradition, Man once was in touch with this inner knowledge and inner meaning. There are many stories in the Old Testament which convey another knowledge, a meaning quite different from the literal sense of the words. The story of the Ark, the story of Pharaoh's butler and baker, the story of the Tower of Babel, the story of Jacob and Esau and the mess of pottage, and many others, contain an inner psychological meaning far removed from their literal level of meaning. And in the Gospels the parable is used in a similar way.

Many parables are used in the Gospels. As they stand, taken in the literal meaning of the words, they refer apparently to vineyards, to householders, to stewards, to spendthrift sons, to oil, to water and to wine, to seeds and sowers and soil, and many other things. This is their literal level of meaning. The language of parables is difficult to understand just as is, in general, the language of all sacred writings. Taken on the level of literal understanding, both the Old and New Testaments are full not only of contradictions but of cruel and repulsive meaning.

The question arises: Why are these so−called sacred writings cast in misleading form? Why is not what is meant explained clearly? If the story of Jacob's supplanting of Esau, or, again, of the Tower of Babel, or of the Ark constructed in three storeys riding on the. flood, is not literally true but has a quite different inner meaning, why is it all not made evident? Why again should parables be used in the Gospels? Why not say directly what is meant? And if a person thinking in this way were to ask why the story of Creation in Genesis, which clearly cannot be taken literally, means something else, something quite different from what the literal words mean, he might very well conclude that the so−called sacred writings are nothing but a kind of fraud deliberately perpetrated on Mankind. If all these stories, allegories, myths, comparisons and parables in Sacred Scripture mean something else, why can it not be stated clearly what they mean from the starting−point so that everyone can understand? Why veil everything? Why all this mystery, this obscurity?

The idea behind all sacred writing is to convey a higher meaning than the literal words contain, the truth of which must be seen by Man internally. This higher, concealed, inner, or esoteric, meaning, cast in the words and sense−images of ordinary usage, can only be grasped by the understanding, and it is exactly here that the first difficulty lies in conveying higher meaning to Man. A person's literal level of understanding is not necessarily equal to grasping psychological meaning. To understand literally is one thing: to understand psychologically is another. Let us take some examples. The commandment says: "Thou shalt not kill. " This is literal. But the psychological meaning is: "Thou shalt not murder in thy heart. " The first meaning is literal: the second meaning is psychological, and is actually given in Leviticus. Again the commandment: "Thou shalt not commit adultery" is literal, but the psychological meaning, which is more than this, refers to mixing different doctrines, different teachings. That is why it is often said that people went whoring after other gods, and so on. Again, the literal meaning of the commandment: "Thou shalt not steal" is obvious, but the psychological meaning is far deeper. To steal, psychologically, means to think that you do everything from yourself, by your own powers, not realizing that you do not know who you are or how you think or feel, or how you even move. It is, as it were, taking everything for granted and ascribing everything to yourself. It refers to an attitude. But if a man were told this directly, he would not understand. So the meaning is veiled, because if it were expressed in literal form no one would believe it, and everyone would think it mere nonsense. The idea would not be understood—and worse still, it would be taken as ridiculous. Higher knowledge, higher meaning, if it falls on the ordinary level of understanding, will either seem nonsense, or it will be wrongly understood. It will then become useless, and worse. Higher meaning can only be given to those who are close to grasping it rightly. This is one reason why all sacred writings—that is, writings that are designed to convey more than the literal sense of the words—must be concealed, as it were, by an outer wrapping. It is not a question of misleading people, but a question of preventing this higher meaning from falling in the wrong place, on lower meaning, and thereby having its finer significance destroyed. People sometimes imagine they can understand anything, once they are told it. But this is quite wrong. The development of the understanding, the seeing of differences, is a long process. Everyone knows that little children cannot be taught about life directly because their understanding is small. Again, it is realized that there are subjects in ordinary life that cannot be understood save by long preparation, such as certain branches of the sciences. It is not enough to be merely told what they are about. ,,,,,,,,,,,,

,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,In the psychological teaching of the Gospels, a man is not taken as what he appears to be, but as what he most deeply is. This is one reason why Christ attacked the Pharisees. For they were appearances. They appeared to be good, just, religious, and so on. In attacking the Pharisees, he was attacking that side of a man that pretends, that keeps up appearances for the sake of outer merit, fear, praise, the man who in himself is perhaps even rotten. The Pharisee, psychologically understood, is the outer side of a man who pretends to be good, virtuous, and so on. It is that side of yourself. This is the Pharisee in every man and this is the psychological meaning of Pharisee. Everything said in the Gospels, whether represented in the form of parable, miracle or discourse, has a psychological meaning, apart from the literal sense of the words. Therefore the psychological meaning of the Pharisees refers, not to certain people who lived long ago, but to oneself now—to the Pharisee in oneself, to the insincere person in oneself, who, of course, cannot receive any real and genuine psychological teaching without turning it into an occasion for merit, praise and award. Later on we will study the meaning of the Pharisee in oneself more fully. 




"To have a free mind is to be a universal heretic." - A.H. Almaas

"We have to bless the living crap out of everyone." - Matt Kahn

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