Opinions and Knowledge (Tape 27)
[brackets for comments]
The awareness, being 100% subject to suggestion 100% of the time, is in all teaching, frequently given the order, or shall we say the teaching idea, that watchfulness, being heedful and paying attention, is one of the greatest things one can do. The reason for this is that man very easily is suggested into confusing "opinion" with knowledge.
KNOWLEDGE is something that one has gained by actual experimentation.
OPINION is something a suggestion suggests is reasonable or logical.
Now suppose we start at once on an experiment, which will continue possibly as long as we care to work. We will not complete it today; but we will get a good start on it. We will head one side of the page OPINIONS and on the other side of the page KNOWLEDGE. Now let's see if we have some opinions that we have accepted as knowledge and as yet are unexamined. We will use some during this discussion period and we will continue to use them of course all the day long, each day, and we will repeat the discussion period everyday to kind of keep us watching, being heedful and
Due to the fact that we are all 100% subject to suggestion 100% of the time, it is very easy to confuse opinion with knowledge. Opinions may be well to have as long as there is something that a person can begin to experiment with. But as long as one has not found a time, place and circumstance that one can experiment with, the opinion must remain as "opinion"; and therefore, only as a possible assumption to experiment with whenever the time, place and circumstance presents itself. So let's take some opinions that we might have:
DO WE HAVE AN OPINION THAT WE KNOW WHAT WE NEED?
Most often man feels that he needs thus and so and then everything would begin to work well for him. The teaching says what he needs is SELF-OBSERVATION and certain ideas to aid in that observation such as: observing the the unpleasant emotions and how they arrive; observing self and its expectations; observing self in trying to achieve peace within by coming to a conclusion. Man has an opinion that he can form decisions - that he is a decision-maker. He doesn't usually realize that the decision is made for him by force of some external event, and that all his thinking about coming to conclusions are only conflict and struggle within. So the teaching gives us what we need, but we also think that we need many many other things.
Now, let's see if a child in the third grade knows what he needs in order to do well in the fourth grade. If he begins to be concerned and to be fretful about what he'll have to have and what he'll have to study in the fourth grade, will he do third grade work well? Is it possible that just the doing of the third grade work well, to the best of his ability, is probably the best preparation he'll have for the fourth grade? If he does the fourth grade work well, he is doing the best possible preparation for the next stage, fifth grade, and so on.
DOES A MAN, BEFORE HE IS BORN INTO THE EARTH WORLD, WHILE IN THE UTERINE WORLD, KNOW WHAT HE WILL NEED WHEN IN THE EARTH WORLD? DOES A PERSON IN THE EARTH WORLD KNOW WHAT HE SHOULD DO SO HE WILL GAIN SOME OTHER WORLD? Has he read about the Kingdom of Heaven, and imagines it is a place he goes sometime beyond the clouds where the streets are made of gold? Why we would ever want to walk on gold streets I don't know - unless it would be that one has found that gold is valuable in the earth world and it is one of the things men value most so he builds his ideal that even the pavement would be made out of gold. Did you ever try to walk on a metal surface all day?
Also, one feels that the Kingdom beyond may be a place where there is no effort needs to be expended - that one is always in a state of rest. In this world that is called laziness or slothfulness if one does not work. So what would be a sin here would be a reward in another world. Does that seem quite reasonable or is that only an opinion based upon the four dual basic urges?
It is worthwhile to think about. Do we need a place where there is no "disturbance," where everything is without challenge, where there is no work to be done? You see, the earth world had its work, the uterine world had its work to grow and develop from a single cell into a completed body that could survive in another world. Possibly here we need a spiritual body to develop in this womb called the earth world where it could operate in some other kind of world, a world called the Kingdom of Heaven which is said to be within man and is at hand. The work says we need certain things to enter that Kingdom - in other words, that we prepare, certain body growth--a spiritual body--on this earth.
DO WE HAVE SOME IDEA, SOME OPINION AS TO WHAT BEING REBORN IS? DO WE HAVE SOME IDEA THAT IT WOULD BE SOME GREAT EXALTED EXPERIENCE? Or do we discover by our own experimentation that it is I dis-identifying from the self, rising above the self and observing that self?
DO WE HAVE AN OPINION OF WHAT GOD IS? We make it some ideal person, do we not? We even assume that it always does all the things to take care of one. We never consider from our actual experimentation that possibly Spirit - the Spirit of God that is within man - always does that which is appropriate for what the awareness of man reports as being true, good or valuable.
DO WE FEEL OR HAVE AN OPINION THAT WE KNOW WHAT IS GOOD? That it would be good to be without second force? Do we feel that it would be good to have a world where there was no expression of violence even though men are in a state of conflict within? Would there be an opportunity for man to question and challenge 'what is the purpose of living' unless he had all these unpleasant states like wars, unemployment, famine, etc.? Are these a visitation upon him? Or is it that which he attracts by his inner state of violence?
We are not saying these are opinions or knowledge. They may be an opinion to one person and knowledge to another, all dependent on whether one has experimented with it. What we are looking at is that we are prone to confuse knowledge and opinion, and we would like to be able to see "this is opinion for I have not experimented with it. I am not fully conscious of it. I have not had knowledge of it because I have not experimented with it to see how it works in actual practice because I have not had the time, place or circumstance or sometimes even the inclination."
DO WE EACH FEEL WE KNOW WHAT IS NEEDED FOR ALL PEOPLE? As one continues along in the work and experiences a great joy which one thinks may be the ultimate because it is so far different than anything one has ever experienced heretofore. One may think that that's all there really is - this sense of peace and joy. However, one may find that that is infinitesimal compared to something else. How will we know? We will find out by continuing the actualizing - by actual experimentation, by actually living out every idea of the teaching. We can begin to find out. One of the great ideas is to WATCH, to be heedful, and to pay attention to everything that is going on in the things about us, to see the relationships.
DOES MAN KNOW THAT HE NEEDS A BETTER STATE OF HEALTH? Certainly he thinks he would feel better, but is his state of health exactly that which is preserving him that he may continue on? If he is in some state of confusion, if he is seeing something as being important and having a state-of-emergency feeling within him, and a few days later he has a group of symptoms as a normal adaptation, change in function, a change in sensation and possibly even a change in or an alteration in the tissue cells, does he feel this is abnormal and he knows that he would be better off if these things were not taking place?
And if he begins to see that there is some relationship, does he feel that it ought to be closer together so he would recognize it and that everybody else would recognize it? You see, then he wouldn't need to study. It would be obvious, it would be a demonstration to him. Man seems to be designed to be an evolving creature. He started as a single cell and evolved to a human body in the uterine world. He starts as an infant and evolves into a grown body in the man-made world and then in the real world he can evolve from an infant awareness to having a grown-up spiritual body. You might say that when I dis-identifies from the awareness and begins to observe it, that it is in a state of a single cell; but that as it accumulates knowledge based upon experiment, it begins to develop a body. And it might even get to the point where that body can be born into the Kingdom of Heaven--another world. One is born into the Kingdom of Heaven as an infant and then one begins to grow, to be an adult in the Kingdom of Heaven.
One sees that most of the time an opinion is that "all things ought to be made obvious to man,"; but do you suppose that many little infants in the uterine stage, while they are going from one cell to a completed baby's body in the uterine world, if they knew what was coming in the earth world, I wonder what would happen? Do you suppose most of them would give it up? So possibly we will always have challenges, and possibly the further we evolve, the greater challenges we can be able to handle. Some may have experimented and discovered this and it is knowledge to them. To some it would only be "opinion." Please do not accept any statement as being knowledge. It is never knowledge to you, to I, until we have experimented with it and found out for self.
If we were to show an orange to some person who had never had the opportunity to taste an orange and he said, "I don't know if I want to try it or not. Tell me what it tastes like. What is it? How will it taste to me?" Could you tell him? Or does he have to taste for himself? Now, he may smell of it, he may touch it, and he may decide many things and have many opinions about the orange. But until he tastes of the orange he has no knowledge of the taste or texture of the orange as it will taste. He has no knowledge of its effects on him until he tastes it. It may be poisonous to him.
You know, the common tomato that we all use in salads, eat in great amounts and drink as juice, up until relatively few years ago, was considered to be deadly poison because the botanists said that the plant was a member of the family of the deadly nightshade, which is basically a very poisonous plant. Its fruit is poisonous, its sap is poisonous, its bloom is poisonous and everything about the deadly nightshade is poisonous. The tomato is in the same family of plants. So of course, it was opinion that the tomato was a deadly poison. Some peculiar man back in the hills of Kentucky decided to taste it one day. It didn't kill him. He found it was pleasant to taste and he enjoyed it. So he took a whole basket full of them to the little county seat and sat on the front steps of the courthouse and ate his basket of tomatoes. Of course, all the people stood around to watch him die. He didn't die; and sooner or later they experimented for themselves. He didn't die which was fact and knowledge to him. They didn't know what the tomatoes taste was so it was an opinion until they themselves tasted the tomato.
Man is this way in about everything. He has so many opinions and the opinions are great limitations to him.
DOES MAN HAVE AN OPINION THAT HE KNOWS WHAT ALL THE FUTURE IS LIKE? And who really can tell him what the next world will be like? Who can tell him what the Kingdom of Heaven is until he experiences that Kingdom? How can someone tell another what it's like to be in a constant state of love until such has been experienced for self? You can't tell another. You could write all beautiful words, you could write lovely poems and sonnets, you could write songs but until a person experiences, he does not [know].
Now another peculiar idea is an opinion: As a person has experienced some emotional state when he is not getting attention or approval from some person that he desired their attention & approval, that had given him comfort and he feels a sense of jealousy, which is a form of fear. Do you know what he will usually call it? He will say it is "love." So that is only an opinion. He heard a word and having heard the word, he formed an opinion when he had an unusual inner state of being--an emotional state that he wasn't familiar with--so he said, that must be what this is---that's love.
So man has some great emotional upheaval in his existence sometime, and he becomes excited over something and says, "this must be rebirth." But as we observe, he still goes on with his struggle to gain the ideal--the belief that the ideal is good, and that "what is ought to be" needs to be changed into the ideal before it would have any value - that at the moment it is not only valueless; but is actually harmful and bad. He will experience second force--some resistance to his way and get all upset. He may even become arrogant; and then begin to feel he knows everything now because he had an emotional state that he hadn't had before. He has heard the words "being reborn", so he assumes--he has the opinion, that he has experienced that state. He has not experimented to find out what it is like. What it is.
Another person may feel that they are a entirely new man because they got up feeling quite differently one morning. Something nice has happened and one feels very wonderful and says, "I'm a new man." How often have you heard someone say, "I feel like a new man today."? Now really what does the new man function like? What is it like? No one will know until they has experienced the death of an old man, the old man based on serving mammon, based on complaining, based on sticking up for rights, based on pleasing, based on believing and doing as they are told from suggestion [by authorities from within and from without], based on trying to appear to be different, based on blaming, and based on pride, vanity and greed - greed to have more, better and different and a false picture of I - all of which are based upon opinions.
So we are going to make a list of opinions. Now let's be careful, let's be slow; and let's be as thorough as possible because this list is very long. As we see that something is an opinion and that we have heretofore believed to be knowledge, we have become cleaner inside because the confusion is adulteration.
Opinion is an adulteration of knowledge. When one has put it all in together, one has committed spiritual adultery. One has "mixed up" opinion and knowledge. One is not cleansed in that area. So we will take the time to go through the opinions. We will listen to opinions from other people, we will read opinions in the newspaper, magazines and in various books. We will hear and see opinions on television, we will hear opinions on radio. We will see how many of those opinions unknowingly we have subscribed to. By being aware of these opinions, one is further cleansing the heart. One is growing in wisdom. One is growing in knowledge because the false knowledge [opinion] is an inhibitor of growth in real knowledge.
No opinion can be called knowledge; but so much we have been taught: "Well, we know so and so because it is an opinion--it is logical and it is reasonable." And we say we know this because we have experienced some emotional state somewhere along the way and have considered it to be a spiritual experience. Without experimenting on it, we have just had something happen and we haven't checked out that particular emotion before. So the unusual emotion arises in a person, and we are quite prone to assume or have the opinion that it belongs to the realm that has been given certain names. We might find that we have a very strong belief in some opinion, and we have heard of the word faith so we say that is faith. We may have a very strong feeling of regret or guilt, and we have heard of the word repent and we decide that must be repentance so we say to ourselves,"Now I have repented."
But one continues on still trying to fit the "ideals" into place, to gain ideals. One still tries to gain pleasure and escape pain on all levels so one is still serving mammon; and, of course, one hasn't experienced what one thought. One has not had faith. One cannot still make up one's mind; even though one at some moment had something that seemed so reasonable, and so logical that one had a very strong belief in it. One may have been given a suggestion that if certain things occur, that this will increase one's belief. And of course when we suggest something to another; and the human being, being 100% subject to suggestion 100% of the time--and without at least having dis-identified to some degree from the self or having observed it--one is controlled by suggestion. One might have this given experience and feel that they had a verification from some heavenly realm that what they have read or heard was true - was truth itself - and, of course, it was only suggestion. One has not really experimented and one is incapable of experimenting to any great length of degree except on the physical realm. One is incapable of spiritual experimentation until one is aware of the self, by I dis-identifying from the self, and from having observed it for a while--having observed its total subjectivity to suggestion, one is incapable of spiritual experimentation.
So first things have to come first, and because one has a strong belief or a strong suggestion given which seems so real, one has not had spiritual experimentation. It is utterly impossible until after I has dis-identified from the self and has observed it to some extent. This is the first experiment that leads one to be aware of the confusion of opinion and knowledge--two completely different things. Opinions sound logical and reasonable; but until experimented with are not knowledge or fact.
Have plenty of paper to put the opinions on. You probably will need very little to put knowledge on.
We will also separate the opinions we've collected through the week into the ones we can experiment with and the opinions, that at the present time, place and circumstance, are impossible to experiment with. So the latter opinions will have to remain as hypotheses. We will experiment with them when and if a proper time, place and circumstance comes along for experimentation.