Every year thousands of people experience the warming, radiant areas of summer. They are surrounded by the wonderfully beautiful scents of cornfields and green meadows. On yellow beaches people gambol among blue-green salty waves. From green forests and groves sound the song of the nightingale and the cry of the cuckoo. All day long from the blue sky and the white summer clouds sounds the song of the lark. At twilight the ground mist begins to usher in the fairy-tale of the light summer night in magical silhouettes, scenes with the king of the elves or other wonderful midsummer-night's dreams. In the atmosphere of passion and longings of love young couples go out to seek solitude; and Nature takes them to its heart. In the light summer night God passes over the continent. In the Nordic midsummer the kingdom of God is revealed on earth. The ancient immortal myth of paradise has become a living reality before our eyes. We are still in the presence of the living "Adam" and "Eve" in flesh and blood. And God calls to us through the garden.
But what about all these thousands who live midst all this divine glory? Do they see anything of the glory? Do they see anything of what, from a cosmic point of view, is happening? Do they know anything about what it is that they, in the culmination of mid-summer, are in the presence of?
No - thousands or rather tens of thousands, indeed, even millions, of people no longer know at all what it is that they experience with their senses, or are in the presence of. For them "summer" is merely a "season", due to the relationship of the earth to the sun and so on. But the fact that there is a precise purpose in the relation of the earth to the sun millions of people today know nothing at all about; indeed, they cannot even learn to understand it. Here their movements fail them. In these fields they are, so to speak, "dead" souls. They do not understand that without seasons every form of thinking and therefore every form of consciousness would be impossible. But without consciousness each I would constitute not a "living being", not any "son of God", but merely "something which is". It would thus not fulfil the three conditions which, according to my main work, "Livets Bog (The Book of Life)", are demanded in order that a "something" can appear as a "living being". Without the seasons, an eternal absolute death would thus rule the universe, so to speak, for the universe with its suns and clusters of stars, globes and planets and the life belonging to these would of course likewise be a total impossibility. All that which today is life, beauty and joy, and all that which constitutes the background or the contrast to this, could never have existed to bring a brain into action or vibration, just as no form of brain-organ whatsoever would ever have come into existence.
But when "the seasons" play such a pre-eminent role in the life we live that they determine life itself, how does it come about that millions of thinking beings see these merely as automatic functions brought into existence on the basis of chance? Indeed, do they see anything other than chance in everything that is created and has come into existence around Man? Is it not true that the great majority of people, even in the middle of the radiant, mild nature of summer, with all its splendours, do not feel anything other than indignation, anger or downright hate against someone or other? Are there not many people today in despair about something or other? Some feel profound sorrow and others exult in abnormal joys. Some wallow in gluttony and drunkenness, while others are dying of hunger and disease. Some go around with feelings of jealousy or envy, while others are filled with depression. But when people have such attitudes, are weighed down by all these troubles, it is not so strange that summer's revelation of light or the passage of God over the continents takes place without these depressed beings seeing or noticing anything. But does one believe that all these beautiful splendours of summer are manifested or revealed in order that they should not be seen or experienced? Doesn't one think that the meaning of life is that the splendours should be experienced to the full by every living being in these areas?
But if this is the intention, why doesn't it happen? Is there something wrong with summer, or with the individual? As regards summer and the divine nature represented through it, there can be nothing wrong. It is the very highest revelation on Earth of God's creative power. And since living beings, and terrestrial Man in particular, live in the midst of this divine revelation, one would think that they lived in a corresponding form of happiness. But this is not so at all. Although the human being has a developed intelligence and has the ability to think and research, he lives to a very great extent in unhappiness and suffering, sorrows and troubles; daily life becomes to the same extent something very different from "Paradise". The manifestation of God, or the meaning of life, and terrestrial Man's consciousness, or his ability to comprehend are thus not in contact. "Paradise", or the highest mental light, shines in the world, but the terrestrial human being does not see it and lives therefore in a corresponding degree of darkness. But to live in darkness means being shut out from the light; it is to live in a kind of prison. Now, one may think that the reason for the terrestrial human being living in a kind of prison is exclusively due to lacking evolution or development. And this is of course also very largely true. However it must be added that every step in evolution has its light side and its shadowy side. These light and shadowy sides of each step in evolution arise through the special laws on which each step in evolution is based. The fact is that each step in evolution has its special laws which to some extent differ from the laws of other steps in evolution. If these laws are kept, there arises only mental light, which means happiness in the mentality of the beings on the step in question. If, however, they are not kept, there will be darkness in the mentality or mental life of the beings in question. This light and darkness on the steps of evolution vary greatly. On the step of evolution of the tiger, it will mean happiness and well-being every time it has killed and devoured another living being. If, on the other hand, it were prevented from killing, it would suffer and feel debilitated. If we turn, on the other hand, to the highly developed intellectual humanist, we see that this being would be extremely unhappy if he happened to inflict on another being even the very slightest degree of injury or unpleasantness, while he would be thoroughly delighted every time he happened to do a fellow-being some great or really effective service. The light side of the one step in evolution is thus killing, while the same principle constitutes darkness or the shadowy side of the other step in evolution.
The average terrestrial human being is located between these two forms of steps of evolution. In the evolutionary step of the Viking human being we see our close affinity with the tiger's step while in the step of the advanced "Christian" we see kinship with the mental step of the high-intellectual or initiated being. The mental light or shadowy side of the Viking human being is thus a complete antithesis to the step of the modern humanistic man of culture. The Viking human being is happy about being able to conquer and oppress other beings and rob them of their property. The humanistic man of culture is, on the contrary, happy to help others with their property, just as he to a great extent gets pangs of conscience if he does not sacrifice himself enough for his fellow-beings. It is not so surprising that the Viking and the later man of culture could not live by the same morality, and that we have gradually differentiated between "heathens" and "Christians".
By "heathens" should here be understood beings who still live in the belief in a god or godheads who become "angry" and "eager to fight", who "punish" and "take revenge", godheads whose ideals are more or less war or oppression of other beings. By "Christians" should, on the other hand, be understood beings who believe only in a truly supreme, humane or loving God who neither "punishes", "takes revenge" nor becomes "angry" but who, on the contrary, through his creative power determines that "everything is very good" and that every being is absolute master of his own fate and can decide his own light and darkness.
But in daily life, in the daily manifestations of the beings, the difference between these two spiritual directions is not so very overwhelming. As long as the beings who are baptised into the Christian teachings can still make war, take revenge and punish, be intolerant towards all beings who think differently from them, lie or cheat and, either covertly or openly, even steal, rob or plunder, then they are absolutely not true "Christian" people but serve the God of the heathens even if they officially have a "Bible" in which it is taught that one should love one's neighbour as oneself. To be a true "Christian" person is thus not decided by being baptised or confirmed in the church or by taking Holy Communion. "Christian" beings who are both baptised and confirmed, and have all these formalities in order, can still be "heathens", while "heathens" or beings who are neither baptised nor confirmed nor know anything about Holy Communion or other "Christian" phenomena, can well be "Christian". "Christianity", which should here be understood as the very highest form of neighbourly love, is not something which should only be manifested with words and the tongue, as is the case with all "Christians" who are in conflict with their neighbour or wage war with the beings in around them, but it should to the very highest degree be manifested in "action and truth". The two great world wars as well as the other wars which have been waged in the world are no part of "Christianity" but on the contrary of "heathendom". As we see, the fulfilment of the gospel of Christianity leaves much to be desired in the average terrestrial human being.
It is this lack of "Christianity" which today influences the fates of all terrestrial human beings. As we have already mentioned, true Christianity is the same as true neighbourly love just as true neighbourly love is "the fulfilment of all the laws". What then is "the fulfilment of all the laws"? In this connection "the fulfilment of all the laws" is the same as the fulfilment or the observance of all those conditions which are demanded in order that a human being can really experience being a "human being". Can a "human being" then live and exist without experiencing a truly "human" existence? No, the perfect or completely developed human being of course cannot live without his life being the experience of true "human" existence, but the unfinished human being, which means "the terrestrial human being" still lives his daily life without ever having experienced true "human" existence. He has to date reached only as far as acquiring the physical organism designed to be the dwelling or instrument for the truly "human" mentality. And it is by virtue of the fact that he now possesses such an organism that he is today called "a human being". But not even particularly thorough research is needed to observe that the being in the terrestrial human organism has so much in common with the animal or is so like the animal in his mental attitude to his fellow beings that to a great extent there exists no difference whatsoever between the terrestrial "human being" and "the animal". In all situations where the terrestrial human being gets angry, hateful or vindictive and makes war, in all situation where he elbows his way forward at the expense of others, as well as in all situations where he lies, cheats and steals, his consciousness is completely identical with that of the animal.
While the above-mentioned situations represent normal ways of living for the animal since they are the only ones through which the latter can hold their own, for the advanced terrestrial human being they certainly cannot be considered as normal, since this being has access to much more perfect ways of living, all based on a total antithesis to the ways of living of war or of the animal. The difference between the animal and the terrestrial human being is that while the animal can choose only one particular way of living, namely the "animal" one, the terrestrial human being can make use of not only the animal form of life but also of a form of life which is its total antithesis. Since this latter form constitutes an antithesis to all war, it is identical to neighbourly love. In the terrestrial human being two great diametrically opposed ways of living are thus represented. That this not only creates the basis for war against one's neighbour, against the beings in one's surroundings, but also leads the individual into war with himself is here evident as a matter of course.
Since the individual has thus within himself the capability to use two ways of living, of which the one is perfect and gives a perfect experience of life and the other is imperfect and gives therefore a correspondingly imperfect experience of life, he will, every time he has used the imperfect way of living (the animal) and thereby experiences the imperfect experience of life, become dissatisfied with himself or unhappy. It is this dissatisfaction we call "pangs of conscience". For the advanced man of culture pangs of conscience will always mean the disclosure that he has used the "animal" instead of the "human" way of living. He thereby experiences not only the purely physical unpleasantness to which the use of the primitive way of living has led; he also experiences the mental unpleasantness of seeing that he could have avoided the unpleasantness or the ensuing unhappy fate completely if only he had acted otherwise, had acted more in the spirit of neighbourly love and less in the spirit of selfishness. Since the animal has access only to the animal way of living, this way of living, as previously mentioned, is normal for this being. It cannot therefore get any kind of pangs of conscience whatsoever. It lives in contact with its existence, the destiny of its life, and is happy. It is still to a great extent in "Paradise". The advanced true man of culture on the earth has, however, begun to acquire the right to decide himself whether his experience of life will be happy or unhappy. He has access to the use of two ways of living of which the one gives him a happy and the other an unhappy experience of life.
But why do terrestrial human beings then live in such great unhappiness, war and suffering as they do? Why do they not unhestitatingly choose the way of living which unfailingly gives them a happy experience of life? Since this choice is exclusively a question of knowledge, the individual cannot choose the correct way of living as long as he does not know which of these two ways of living is the right one and leads to happiness. Since the "animal" way of living is the oldest and lives in the being as habitual consciousness while the real "human" way of living is something relatively new, something which is still only to an insignificant extent ingrained in the being as habitual consciousness, it is reasonable that this new way of living in reality is only tentatively used, stimulated by the churches, the precepts and the ideals of the humane world religions. The new or perfect "human" way of living is thus something which has to be acquired, something which is in embryo. The terrestrial human being is a student of this new way of living while he on the other hand is an experienced master of the use of the "animal" way of living.
That, under these circumstances, there can be no peace in the world is a matter of course. The real "lasting peace" for which the terrestrial human being hungers can of course not be a perfect reality as long as those beings who create it are still only new apprentices in the development of that way of living on which it is exclusively based. It is temporarily quite natural therefore that terrestrial people therefore to a corresponding degree are still ruled by prejudice based on the "animal" mentality, such as ideals glorifying war, "holy wrath" and "righteous indignation" or to a great extent only think in terms of a moral principle which is merely a mixture of selfish Viking and business ideals labelled "Christianity" or any other of the great world religions. Modern civilisation or world culture today is thus only a refined manifestation of this mixed morality based on technology and science and authorised by judicial laws from the same mental level.
In the middle of this chaos the following has for hundreds of years sounded from thousands of pulpits: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself", "Turn the right cheek when thou art smitten on the left", "Revenge not, I will repay, said the Lord Zabaoth", "What a person sows, so shall he reap" just as "He who takes by the sword shall perish by the sword". As one can see, these are doctrines for the development of the purely "human" way of living. They cannot in any direction whatsoever be cited in support of the "animal" way of living, indeed, not even "holy wrath" or "righteous indignation". And since the exercise of the "animal" way of living or that way of living which does not respect the above-mentioned precepts has again and again led only to war, mutilation, torture, ruin, debasement, oppression, godlessness and depression, it becomes more and more a fact that happiness for the terrestrial human being is no longer to be found in the animal way of living. But when it is not to be found in the animal way of living it can be found only in its antithesis: the human way of living. And what then is more natural than that the terrestrial human who is a being having acquired a human body or organism has to have a human mentality too? This is thus the intention of Nature and thereby the will of God for the terrestrial human being. That the advanced, developed human being in his innermost self begins to understand this becomes thus a fact through the circumstance that he suffers pangs of conscience every time he acts in accordance with the traditions of the animal kingdom and breaks the laws of neighbourly love. The "good" he wants to do, he does not do, but the "evil" he does not want to do he does. Is it not precisely this circumstance that is the root of all the unhappiness of terrestrial Man? And do not these words truly express every pang of conscience of the intellectual or advanced, developed terrestrial human being?
Every time the terrestrial human being does not do the good he wants to do but, on the contrary, does the evil he does not want to do, he demonstrates that he is not a free being who can do what he wants. But if he is not a free being he can only be an "imprisoned" being. He is imprisoned in that which prevents him from doing the good that he wants to do. And this prison will absolutely always consist of some "animal" tradition which he has not yet overcome and to which he therefore succumbs. The animal traditions, habits or tendencies are thus mental prisons within which the individual inflicts upon himself greater or less physical torture or mutilation all according to the greater or less degree to which he succumbs to these animal habits or tendencies. That this is not a matter of only some few individuals but that it is, on the contrary, all terrestrial mankind that is still to a great extent imprisoned in the animal way of living is demonstrated by the great world wars, the political and religious wars and the great rush for profit in the name of "business" which has for so long tortured all terrestrial Man. It is not so surprising that more and more terrestrial human beings are beginning to see and understand that the Christian teachings or the biblical doctrines about neighbourly love they learned as children are not merely for the simple-minded or naive but also, to the very highest degree, have a message for all the people of the earth; indeed, are, so to speak, the absolutely "only thing needful" if the fate of terrestrial mankind as well as that of the individual should really be turned into the possibility for the creation of a true "human" mentality in the physical "human" organism which the terrestrial human being already possesses. In truth, does one not think that the appropriation of the science of neighbourly love is rather more necessary and effective than...the atom bomb in the creation of world peace? Does one believe that this bomb or any other so-called secret weapons or machines of death and destruction can remove the animal mentality from the "human" physical body, the organism of the terrestrial human being?
Does one not believe that victory won with the atom bomb or other machines for murder or mutilation to an even greater degree gives its source such agonizing pangs of conscience as to make it cry out to the heavens, "The good I would, I do not but the evil I would not, that I do"? But can that benefit those one has mutilated or killed? Can one with this cry give back the parentless children their parents and the parents their children who one has murdered perhaps through higher death-technology? And can one get peace of mind, be free of the pangs of conscience by means of even more death-technology? Does one believe that suicide is the meaning of life or the road to happiness? Is not the suicide the most pitiable and submissive being in the world? Can a being make a greater attempt at shrinking from his responsibility and over-burdening others with it? Not even the animals attempt so to evade their responsibility and fate. Does one believe that this is the kind of mentality intended for the beautiful, upright "human" physical organism terrestrial mankind has acquired, and through which his eyes can be permanently turned towards the stars, the sun and the Godhead? No, the terrestrial human being is tied and bound by his own "animal" ideas based on his selfish, egotistic desires. These desires and ideas create his true picture of life, his world-view. In this life- or world-picture he himself constitutes in reality the principal character. And as such he places rather extensive demands on the beings around him, demands which as a rule bear no reasonable relation to what he himself thinks he should give these beings. He thus demands more from the beings around him than he himself wants to grant them in return. He will thus "rather take than give". And where this desire or wish is not fulfilled he feels wronged by life and those around him.
Since the law of life, the conditions for the experience of the perfect life or true happiness, can be manifested or promoted merely through "giving rather than taking", it is a foregone conclusion that a being who "takes rather than gives" and who practises this as a way of life cannot reach true happiness or the absolutely perfect form of the experience of life. He will meet obstacles to the satisfaction of his desire and in them see "injustice". In many situations he is thus forced "to give rather than take". "Render unto Caesar what is Caesar's, and unto God must what is God's" means that the eternal principle of life or the law of life - "rather to give than to take" - must sooner or later be observed. No one therefore can evade this law. Everything one has taken in a selfish way from one's neighbours must sooner or later be paid back. If this does not happen voluntarily life itself will bring it about by force. And it is this manifestation on the part of life towards the ignorant egoist which is viewed as "injustice". This, life's own claiming back from the individual the many possessions, mental as well as physical, appropriated in an egotistic way occurs in a corresponding degree as a mental or physical failure or breakdown. Mishaps occur here and there. Apparently nothing is sacred. And in many situations the results reached do not seem to be commensurate with the struggles or difficulties they have cost. That such a being is in a cosmic prison and not in cosmic freedom is here self-evident. That this prison can be of a rather gruesome character and can seem insurmountable is demonstrated by the fact that many such unhappy people resort to suicide and believe that by this means they have helped themselves into a total annihilation of life, an annihilation which they think is infinitely preferable to this apparently hopeless existence. Further down in the darkness, more tied and bound and thereby removed from his original divine, sovereign state, a living being cannot come. Is it not clear to the thinking human being that such a fate cannot be the true meaning of life? Is it not evident that we are here confronted with a fate that has failed? And such fates are exceptions. The usual case is that even if the fates are not perfect or entirely happy, they are nevertheless on a higher plane than those mentioned above, just as there are also fates which are almost totally perfect and whose source already appears as totally free or cosmically sovereign. It is a matter of course that it must be this latter kind of fate or experience of life which must be the meaning of life and not that which chains the individual to cosmic slavery or bondage.
What difference is there then between the cosmically imprisoned and the cosmically free being's attitude to life? The cosmically imprisoned being wants life to in conform to his desires and therefore is disappointed: life does not adjust itself to the individual; it is the individual who must adjust to life. The cosmically free being desires or wishes to conform to life and bases his own life on this wish and with this reaches the very highest joy, happiness or bliss in his daily existence. He feels free of all restraining and constricting shackles. His entire organic and mental structure is adjusted only to promote the manifestation of the principle of giving rather than taking. And here he is not disappointed. There is always use for the display of this manifestation, just as there is an infinite number who need sympathy or love. The cosmically free human is so advanced in evolution that he has this divine characteristic: not to expect the world or beings to be otherwise than precisely what they are. It is this noble cosmic characteristic which totally frees the initiated being from disappointment. If he meets a being who is sympathetic he is happy about it; and if he meets a being who is unsympathetic, indeed perhaps even annoying, he understands such a being. He knows that it is his nature, the particular form of manifestation of his step in evolution. That this is primitive cannot be blamed on the being. He cannot possibly manifest a state or behaviour which belongs to a step in evolution which he has not yet reached. The initiated or intellectually free being is satisfied with this and does not therefore expect any other form of manifestation at all than precisely what is appropriate to that being's step in evolution. And it is precisely the same understanding or knowledge that Christ on the cross expressed in saying: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do". He saw that the behaviour of his executioners belonged to the nature of their step in evolution in the same way as the behaviour of the tiger is in accordance with its nature. He knew it would have been just as foolish to be angry with them because they followed the nature of their step as it would have been to get angry with the tiger because it followed its nature.
The initiated being knows that one cannot by means of anger, violence or force change the nature of other beings, move them from one step in evolution to another, but that this transplantation of a being from one step to another is brought about by life itself through a more or less long epoch of evolution. That one can by force compel a being for a short while to follow one's will in one field or another is not the same as raising the being in question to a higher step. For complying with compulsion is only "trained". It is a manoeuvre which an animal carries out in order to be free of the trainer's whip. But the trained animal has absolutely no opinion or idea about why the manoeuvre should be precisely this way and not that and therefore cannot have become more highly developed by it. If a human being is attacked by a tiger, it is not the fault of the tiger, for this attack is only the vitally necessary nature of the tiger, but on the contrary the fault of the human being who was already aware of how risky it was to travel in terrain he knew to be the domain of the tiger. If a highly developed or initiated being is attacked or disturbed by a primitive human being, the responsibility for this lies in reality not at all with the primitive but on the contrary with the developed or initiated being. He already knew what risk there was in travelling in the domain of the primitive being and could have protected himself. If an enlightened or civilised missionary went into the primordial forest to convert cannibals and was eaten by these beings, the responsibility for this lay not with the cannibals but exclusively with the missionary himself. The cannibals lived in their own territory and inevitably followed the behaviour natural to their step. The missionary one can say also followed his nature. But when this happened to him it was because it was he, not the cannibals, who had left the particular terrain subdued to suit his nature or step in evolution and had gone into a terrain which was the manifestation-area of the step of the other beings. That he could not there avoid, to a greater or lesser extent, being subjected to the contrary way of manifesting of the controllers of that terrain is just as natural as it is natural that he, to a greater or lesser extent, would be mutilated if he took it into his head to jump from a fourth floor to a concrete or granite pavement. This mutilation of his body does not make the pavement unnatural or reprehensible but, on the contrary, the behaviour whereby the "I" brought his body into that situation in which it must inevitably be more or less mutilated or crushed - that was reprehensible.
If the I by this behaviour has been able to create something so extremely good that it has been able to compensate for the destruction of the body, as was the case with the fate, the crucifixion of Jesus, this is another matter. But it does not justify anger or revenge against the "primitive" beings within whose terrain the event took place and for whom the same event could be regarded as an undermining of the traditions which for them were the only things holy or absolute.
We have here reached the innermost essence of the law of karma or retribution. We are in an area where almost all uninitiated or unintellectual people judge wrongly and thereby sabotage their own spiritual freedom or clip their will and make their fate a mental prison in which they want everything and everyone encapsulated. Their relationship to their neighbour or their surroundings is thus in reality, without their being conscious of it, the same as that between a prison guard and his prisoner. Indeed, in the very worst cases, it becomes precisely this relationship. The prisoners here in this cosmic or mental prison to a very great extent want to break out. "Imprisoned" here is the consciousness or thought-world of the individual. In this thought-world the individual has a whole series of compartments or terrains, in which he has placed everything and everyone, all according to his sympathy and antipathy. And the source of this sympathy or antipathy will thus be the basis for the individual's relationship to his neighbour and his surroundings. It will determine which judgement, which prison cell, which favourising or lack of peace this being will have within his thought-world or area of consciousness.
So what greatly inconveniences the ordinary terrestrial human being is that he starts by desiring something or making demands on all beings and things with which he comes into contact. He has as a rule created his own image of how beings and things should appear. If what he meets or comes into contact with does not correspond to this image, the being in question becomes more or less disappointed. And this disappointment can in turn lead to annoyance, which in turn leads to indignation or anger and thereby to persecution of or war against the beings or things concerned. And it is this persecution or war which ultimately sabotages his own happiness, his joy in living. So the misfortune of such a being consists of all those prejudices against beings and things which he has gradually let build up his consciousness. And the more such prejudiced or fossilized preconceptions about beings and things a being has, the more unpleasing these beings, which in turn means his surroundings and so his neighbours, come to appear to him. And towards these neighbours he will be filled with a highly unloving and persecuting criticism which in turn becomes slander or gossip about the neighbours concerned. It was this "criticism" the world-redeemer warned against with his commandment: "Judge not that ye be not judged! For with what judgement ye judge shalt thou be judged, and with what measure you measure shall ye be measured in turn". And surely it is in harmony with this that he said: "...when you are smitten on the right cheek then turn to him the other".
Where then is the danger in "judging" or in persecuting others with evil criticism? The danger in annoying one's neighbour with vindictive judgement and criticism lies exclusively in that this neighbour is exactly as he should be at the given moment and can only be, namely a representative of his step in evolution. For who can be otherwise? Must not the world-redeemer himself, the master or the high-intellectual being be that? Does one not believe that it is just as impossible for a "bandit" to be a "Christ" as it is impossible for a "Christ" to be a "bandit"? Why then insist that a "bandit" shall more or less be a "Christ"? Is this not precisely the essence of every persecuting or evil terrestrial human criticism of one's neighbour? Is this criticism not precisely a reference to the fact that the neighbour in question does not fulfil the ideals which the critic thinks he should fulfil? But since the neighbour at the time in question cannot possibly represent anything other than his own step in evolution in precisely the same way as the tiger at the time in question must manifest his step in evolution and the lamb his, it is not the "neighbour" there is something wrong with but, on the contrary, to the highest degree, the critic. The more evil and brutal his criticism or judgement of his neighbour is, the more he has revealed his own ignorance and imperfection. He has judged, not his neighbour, but himself.
And it is thus his belief that the neighbour or the surroundings are wrong, and ought to be otherwise, that locks him out from the true view of his neighbour and his surroundings. This, his belief or superstition, has become the prison of his life or his consciousness. He does not understand that he is thus mentally in a prison and therefore does not understand that what he sees from this prison and his ensuing criticism and behaviour towards his neighbour are against Nature and bring him into permanent conflict with the very law of life or the law of neighbourly love. He will all the time be more or less taken up with waging war on his neighbour and his surroundings. He desires or insists that they should be as he, from his consciousness or thought-world, thinks right. He is in principle taken up with insisting that the tiger should be as gentle as a lamb and the bandit as perfect as a Christ. In the mental prison in the form of ignorance and superstition in which he finds himself he cannot see that the animal living beings actually constitute a carpet of flowers in a meadow, flowers which have evolved to a higher form. The meadow is daily life. Just as the flowers in the meadow display very various colours and species, terrestrial human beings also display very various mental colours and species. Just as it would be foolish to curse a flower for having a particular colour and belonging to a particular species, it would be equally foolish to curse or condemn a terrestrial human being because it has this or that mental colour and belongs to this or that species. Just as the flower cannot help belonging to a particular species or having a particular colour, the terrestrial human being equally cannot help having this or that mental colour or character. Punishing and condemning a terrestrial human being because he is not an angel or a moral genius would be the same as punishing a dog because it is a dog and not another being. It would be the same as punishing an "animal" because it is not a "human being". Such behaviour can be manifested only by a being who, in his ignorance, rushes in where angels fear to tread.
The terrestrial human being, when it is a matter of the plant kingdom, knows perfectly well that it is no use getting angry with a thistle because it is not a rose: but nevertheless, when it comes to his fellow beings and surroundings, he insists that everything and everyone should be roses and lilies. He does not understand that these beings and surroundings are only the plant kingdom or the world of flowers in a form further advanced in evolution, and that here, in this form where the plants appear in the animal state, in flesh and blood, there must appear a profusion of colours and structures just as inevitably as in the vegetable forms of the plant kingdom. It is true that colour and structure in the animal "plants" (animals and terrestrial human beings) are more of an internal sort than in the vegetable plants, which have their entire colouring in external, physical colours. In the animal "plants" evolution has long since transformed the external, physical colours into internal, more or less physically invisible colouring. This invisible colouring is what we call the thought-world of the being and the psyche or the so-called "character" or "morality" manifesting itself through this being. So what is today morality in the animal beings is the same as what in the vegetable beings or the plants is external, physical colours or colouring. But even if these external colours of the plant have become something psychical, something mental, and therefore not directly visible in the animal being, one must not therefore infer that they have become standardized, determining that the psyche or morality of the animal beings should be exactly identical like soldiers in ranks or figures cast in the same form. The animal beings show exactly the same profusion of variation in psyche or morality as that which the plants or the vegetable beings display in their external colour and structure. And just as the colours and structure of the plants are natural and a matter of course for every individual species, so also are the mental colour and structure, in the form of morality, of every individual species natural and a matter of course. But it is here that the uninitiated terrestrial human being comes into conflict with life. While he can perfectly well see the external colours and structures of the plants and finds these natural and a matter of course, he cannot, however, always see that the particular mental structure or morality of his fellow-beings, which are the colour and structure of the plant on a higher plane, are just as natural and equally a matter of course. It is here very difficult, if not completely impossible, for such a being to see that a morality or view of life which differs from his own should be just as natural and just as much a matter of course as his is. He does not yet understand that the beings, even if they have the same physical exterior, must nevertheless psychically and mentally still be "roses" and "thistles", "lilies" and "dandelions", and so on. He believes that because his fellow-beings have the same kind of physical body as himself they should also have the same kind of character or mentality as that by which he himself lives or is dominated. And it is here that he insists that the "lion" should be as gentle as a "lamb", indeed altogether insists that all other terrestrial human beings should be like himself. He thinks that one's view of life and one's morality are exclusively acts of will. He does not understand that it is only the morality of our own step which we can fulfil by virtue of our will, while it would be totally impossible for us to fulfil a morality which belongs to a step above our own on the ladder of evolution. In order to fulfil the morality of this step, evolution is necessary.
So it is absolutely useless to want to fulfil the morality of a higher step if we have not undergone precisely that evolution which is necessary to make us identical with the beings on that higher step. No being can by an effort of will suddenly, miraculously raise himself to a higher step in evolution. The lion, the tiger or, in other words, the animal does not become a human being simply by an act of will. This transformation or change is not an act of will but a question of evolution. And in the same way, the transition from one view of life or morality to another is not an act of will but a question of evolution. One thus understands that it would be foolish and glaringly against all justice to insist that one's fellow-beings absolutely must manifest the same morality or view of life as oneself. It is this foolishness which is the greatest undermining factor in the fate of the uninitiated terrestrial human being. Since he is still, in principle, a plant among a profusion of plant-species in a meadow, he cannot possibly be happy as long as he lives in the illusion that all the other plants or fellow-beings should have exactly the same colour or mentality as himself. He will never be able to get this desire fulfilled. Disappointment, feelings of martyrdom and depression will fill his soul, since the flowers of the field do not change colour or allow themselves to be standardized because a single little flower in its foolishness wishes it. And this little flower, which is called "the terrestrial human being", must therefore as quickly as possible learn to understand that it is not a matter of getting all his fellow beings, the profusion of colours and beauty of the flower-meadow, standardized according to his foolishness, lack of wisdom or illusion, but that the absolutely only thing needful is on the contrary to eliminate as quickly as possible this illusion or foolishness by trying to come to an understanding of the fact that the profusion of colour-orgies of the flower-meadow, whether in the form of fellow-beings or in the form of plants, exists exclusively in order to be divine instructions to the individual and not in order that the individual through this should instruct the Godhead. As long as the individual hates and persecutes everything which does not appear in his own image or his own favour he is taking part in destroying and wiping out everything which creates "God's image" in life.
Since the highest or the most perfect form of happiness is to see in everything and everyone (which means everything which is accessible to sense perception) only "God's image", it is obvious that one is obliged to live unhappily when one, even if unconsciously, takes part in sabotaging this "image of God". When one is unhappy one is shut out from the real life which is exclusively the very highest happiness; and where one is shut out from the real life or the true happiness one is mentally imprisoned. And as the confinement in this mental prison is maintained exclusively through one's desire to standardize the world and insist that everything and everyone should be otherwise than they are precisely at the moment, one cannot possibly be happy. In this insistence one is in total conflict with the Godhead. One wants the world in "one's own image". But the world can only be in "God's image". Life and the world will therefore be a mental imprisonment and misfortune with the ensuing physical suffering or unhappy fate until one understands that it is not "God's image" which should be turned into one's image but, on the contrary, this image which should be transformed to being in "God's image". The key to coming out of the dark, mental imprisonment of superstition and illusion lies exclusively in coming to understand that "everything is very good" and that our fellow-beings cannot possibly manifest anything other than what is characteristic of their step in evolution, and that this manifestation consequently cannot possibly be a justifiable basis for intolerance, hatred or persecution of the being in question. And in the full understanding of this, one will, in harmony with the world-redeemer, "turn the right cheek when one is smitten on the left" and cry to heaven: "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do".
Original Danish title: "Mentale fængsler" (from book no. 22) Edited by Martinus from a lecture he gave in 1946. Translated by Mary McGovern 1989.
© Martinus Institut 1981
Published with permission from Martinus Institute