“The evolution of man can be taken as the development in him of those powers and possibilities which never develop by themselves, that is, mechanically. Only this kind of development, only this kind of growth, marks the real evolution of man. There is, and there can be, no other kind of evolution whatever…In speaking of evolution it is necessary to understand from the outset that no mechanical evolution is possible. The evolution of man is the evolution of his consciousness. And “consciousness” cannot evolve unconsciously. The evolution of man is the evolution of his will, and ‘will’ cannot evolve involuntarily. The evolution of man is the evolution of his power of doing, and ‘doing’ cannot be the result of things which ‘happen’.”
P.D. Ouspensky, “In Search of the Miraculous”, pp.56,58
One of the peculiar characteristics of human beings is to defend their preformed and crystallized thought and opinions. Everyone of us – EVERYONE!!! , without exception, has a tendency to not recognize that he had missed something and, maybe misunderstood things and situations, and this characteristic comes from a doubt about our identity. In fact, we “perceive” ourselves through the convictions and information acquired during many years of existence. Without those convictions, we feel unstable, like a ship lost at the mercy of the waves of the sea. Ordinarily, we don’t know another method how to “be conscious of ourselves”, but this method, unfortunately, is not self –consciousness.
This is a state of constant fear that we live in every day. We fear all that comes from the outside, that is seen (or felt) as a potential factor of disaggregation of all the opinions we have about life and ourselves. Such kind of mechanicity is the source of all love conflicts, the end of friendships, and all the ideological and religious wars we witness in the modern world. Another harmful aspect of this attitude is the total impossibility to develop an open and healthy intellectual growing process. The rationality developed in the last centuries contributes to increasing the idea that we are our thoughts and our ideas; the consequence of this is that we have the tendency to protect and justify our ideas, and that means the protection of what we think we are (mechanical self-preservation). I said that this is a tendency common to all of us, even more for the followers of the Fourth Way system (me included). If you don’t believe this “theory”, then just take a look at the blogs, texts, and replies: to be honest, ninety percent of the replies seem to be a sort of clash of ideas about this or that other concept, instead of a constructive exchange of ideas (I hope this will not be the case of this network, because it is my opinion that such manifestations of self-importance have no utility and are very harmful).
Another problem is that men generally think that our psycho-physical structure is stable and developed, and that we have all the necessary requirements to learn how to develop ourselves: we think we are “complete”. But the ancient systems of self-development tell us another story.
In different kinds of ways, with different words, Yogis, Buddhists, Taoists, Zen, Kabbalah, Zoroastrians, alchemists, and ancient philosophers recalled and recall even today to take an accurate and practical examination of the human condition. The human being is a being in a state of evolution, and that development is not automatic. It requires a conscious effort and an understanding of the dynamics one has to change.
Different from the animal and vegetal realm, we have psychic, emotional, and spiritual potentials which may allow us to realize and achieve higher spheres of consciousness, much different than the reality we ordinarily perceive. But this is only a possibility, a choice, because ordinarily, we are not educated to recognize and use our potentials, so we lose the possibility of perhaps, a better life. To use common and adequate terms, we can call this possibility a conscious development, because one’s nature can only be of a conscious source. But, such development can’t be a sort of d.i.y. method, as many New Age followers believe. It’s true, we are all different individuals, but to achieve a possibility for self-growth, we need external help, because without a “sober” and adequate system, we can’t escape the mechanicity and unconscious state we experience in everyday life.
Everyone claims freedom, authority and control of his life, but when someone disagrees with our illusory convictions, we became irritated. This is our pride. When I first met my mentor (teacher), he told me that I am a monkey, that all I can do is peel bananas when I’m hungry, and the only thing I can do is to take my baggage of convictions and flush them into the toilet and start from the beginning. Likeable, isn’t it? Of course, my reactions were anger and frustration, but this helped me to begin to understand that maybe he was right. This is true, almost all human beings can’t administer and have control of their life. There are many businessmen, artists, researchers that have many social and economic successes, and those individuals are certain that they have total control of their life, but, what’s the price of that “success”? In most of the cases, loss of health, no private life, nervous diseases…
On the other side, there are individuals capable of creating a harmonic and calm life, a sort of “inner space”, a privacy, taking care of their health and convinced to have achieved a stable emotive balance. But they are absolutely incapable to “fight” for themselves, to take care of their families and achieve a minimal economic stability.
Two opposite situations, the same source. Everyone can be successful in one or some field of their life, but in another field, they are always victims of accidental events. We don’t know ourselves, but the most serious problem is that we ignore this.
One of the greatest causes, the source of all our emotional pains, is our mechanicity, and this is a concept that is ignored by the majority of people. We have the tendency to have mechanical reactions when stimulated by external situations according to well-defined schemes, determined by one’s birthplace, century, education, social conditioning and life experiences. These are the individual reasons for our mechanicity.
There are also reasons concerning humanity determined by centuries of collective consciousness. The common fear of the dark is an instinctive reaction present in our genetic code, and derives from ancient ages when life was put at risk by aggressions by animals, other tribes, bandits. These are all mechanical reactions typical of man’s nature, recorded in our genetic code.
So, we act almost exclusively through reaction. Every situation makes us react in a different manner: when one criticizes us, when we strain our habit with coffee, with climatic conditions…almost every thing we do, feel, think during the day is mechanical. Every one of those situations causes a different emotive state. And the majority of men consider this natural. This is the mechanicity, the tendency to modify our behaviors dependent on external situations. Every action has its reaction.
The struggle against our mechanicity and loss of consciousness is one of the first and most important steps in the field of inner work. First, one must realize his loss of autonomy, not only intellectually, but in practice. We react as a “machine”. Only if we realize this, we may change something.
The mechanical is also a state of irresponsibility, a state of unconsciousness that can have very harmful consequences: in fact, in this state, we can have the most terrible reactions, such as offensive language, physical violence, mobbing, or even homicide.
The ancient teachings use the term Conscious Evolution to describe the possibility of de-mechanization, and underline the necessity of a concrete system, because without such help, one cannot overcome the deep state of unconsciousness and mechanicity.