Thursday 4 December 1969 Revised September 1973 COMMUNICATION TO ALL BRETHREN (INFORMATION)

Brethren, As it is.


2 On a purely physical level, the more in contact we are with something, the better and more efficiently we can control our operation of it. The more solid the contact, the more precise the contact, the more complete the contact; the better the control.

3 A man driving a car has contact with the car, and thereby controls his operation of the car.

4 But if this man has very little experience of driving, and therefore very little knowledge of the techniques and require- ments of driving, his contact is slight. Because contact - even physical contact - involves the mind as well as the body.

5 For example, the precision of his contact with one of the pedals depends upon his knowledge of the range, resistance, position and effect of that pedal. And that knowledge is an essential part of his contact with that pedal. It enables him to move his foot with confidence and assurance, and to produce the exact effect required at the precise moment he requires it.

6 And that is control.

7 If the driver does not know the various idiosyncrasies of the pedal, his contact with it is that much reduced. He may have his foot pressed hard down on it, but his judgement of exactly how much pressure to exert at a given moment, and precisely how far to move it, is poor. Therefore his contact with it and his operation of it are incomplete, imprecise and uncertain. Consequently his control is equally incomplete, imprecise and uncertain.

2. 1 CONTROL IS CONTACT. CONTACT IS KNOWLEDGE; not only an intellectual knowledge, but also an instinctive knowledge which requires no conscious ‘thinking’ for it to manifest and be effective.

2 A carpenter can learn how to make a chair out of wood, by reading a book. This gives him intellectual knowledge of the operation; but he still does not truly know how to make the chair. Only by doing it does he discover that.

3 The intellectual knowledge gained from the book is useful, but it is not enough. The really vital requirement is the instinctive knowledge, the intuitive judgement, which in this case can only be gained from practical experience.

4 That is knowledge. It’s like the knowledge which enables a musician to move his fingers with exact timing and precision, faster than the eye can follow them and yet with no conscious ‘thought’ of how or when or where.

5 That is knowledge, which is contact, which is control.

3. 1 But what is it that a driver and a carpenter and a musician control?

2 The car? The tools and the wood? The musical instrument?

3 No. It is his relationship with the car that the driver controls, and the outward effects which arise from that relationship.

4 He controls his own operation of the car, his contact with the car. The nature of the car, its capabilities and its limitations, control the car. The driver merely operates it according to those capabilities and limitations, and, within those bounds, controls his operation of it.

5 Similarly, the carpenter and the musician.

6 The carpenter does not change the basic nature of his tools nor the basic structure of the wood he uses. In that sense he does not control them. But what he does control is the way in which he relates to them, the way in which he uses them and manipulates them within the bounds of these basic factors. And the outcome, the chair he builds is the direct result of that relationship.

7 And the musician controls the way he relates to his instrument, rather than the instrument itself, which does not change.

8 In each case the outcome measures the standard of control.

9 If the driver’s control is good, the car performs as he intends it to perform. If his control is poor, he is frustrated because the car will not do what he consciously wants it to do.

10 If the carpenter’s control is good, the chair he builds is precisely the chair he consciously planned to build. If his control is poor, he is disappointed, because the chair falls below his expectations; in his terms it is imperfect.

11 If the musician’s control is good, then the sounds which emerge from his instrument are the sounds he consciously wishes to create. If his control is poor, he makes mistakes, and the sounds are not as he intended.

12 And in each case the control is a control of relationship, and it depends for its precision on contact.

13 The good driver is in tune with the workings of his car. He relates to it with a deft confidence, and a light sure touch which extracts the best possible performance from it.

14 The good carpenter is equally in tune with the capabilities and the idiosyncrasies of his tools. Also he has an instinctive feel for the kind of treatment the wood requires, and what can and cannot be done with it. He relates to both with skill and precision, and the result is a beautifully built chair.

15 The good musician is highly sensitive to every quality of his instrument; the nature of its sounds and how to produce them. He relates to it with a gentle understanding and subtlety, and thereby creates music exactly as he feels the composer intended it.

16 The quality of the contact stems from knowledge of what is being related to and the nature of the relationship; an intellectual knowledge, but also, and far more important, an instinctive understanding born of sensitivity and awareness.

17 And just as the contact is primarily a state of mind, so the outcome, which measures the standard of control, is also a state of mind.

18 We do not say the driver’s control is poor if he fails to drive his car at one hundred miles per hour. We say it is poor if he is unhappy about the car’s performance. Nor do we say his control is good simply because the car performs better than any other. We say it is good if he is truly satisfied with the performance.

19 Contact is knowledge.

20 If the driver truly knows the car and his relationship with the car, part of his knowledge is precisely what he can and what he cannot expect of the car. Therefore his own satisfaction or lack of it is the criterion.


2 When we relate to other people, when we make contact with them, we control our relationships with them, and thereby the results and effects of those relationships.

3 Whether the control is good or bad depends on whether the contact sterns from sensitivity and awareness or blindness and ignorance. And again, it is our own satisfaction or lack of it which is the criterion.

4 When our relationships go in directions which we thought we were trying to avoid; when clashes and discords arise, or barriers of awkwardness, or embarrassments, or resentments, or mutual dislikes, which we seem to be unable to prevent or eliminate; we are what we call ‘out of control’ of our relationships.

5 Unconsciously we may be controlling them, and deliberately driving them along painful and destructive paths, but con- sciously, outwardly, we have lost control of them. On the surface, they appear to be controlling us.

6 And that means we are what we call ‘out of contact’ with the other sides of these relationships. There is contact of a kind, just as the driver whose car skids and smashes into another is in some kind of contact with his car. But what kind of contact?

7 The carpenter who cannot make a chair which holds together, who cannot make a joint which fits exactly, he has contact with both his tools and the wood. But what kind of contact?

8 And the musician who cannot keep in tune or in time. The discordant sounds are evidence of the contact. But what kind of contact?

9 Clearly there is good contact and bad contact. And as a result there is good control and bad control.

10 Between people and things there is good and bad contact and control. Between people and people there is good and bad contact and control.

11 But who is to judge?

12 Only we ourselves can do that. Only we can be the judges of our own contact and our own control. And, once more, it is our own satisfaction or lack of it which is the criterion.


14 If the driver intends to crash his car and does so precisely as he intended, and is satisfied, that is good control. If he expects his car to travel no faster than fifty miles per hour and it does so, and he is satisfied, that is good control. If he discovers that his car is incapable of maneuvering a parti- cular sharp corner and he accepts the limitation and he is satisfied, that is good control.

15 If on the other hand the driver wants his car to overtake another travelling at high speed but is unable to make it go fast enough, and feels a sense of frustration as a result, that is poor control. It shows an unawareness of the limitations of the car.


2 The size of the gap, is the measure of our awareness or lack of it.

3 If we are aware and in tune with the reality and the true potential of a situation, we shall demand, intend, desire, expect and accept no more of that situation than it is capable of producing. Therefore there is no dissatisfaction; no regret, no disappointment, no frustration, no shock, no despair, and no blame.

4 We may aim as high as possible in every situation, simply to allow for the maximum potential to manifest; but if we are unhappy with the result, if we are frustrated by the outcome, if we are unable to accept the actuality when it appears, that is poor control and reflects our ignorance.



2 The father who has what he considers an unsatisfactory relationship with his children, however hard he may blame them for his dissatisfaction, is ‘out of control’ of that relation- ship. If they feel the same way, then they too are ‘out of control’ of it.

3 And behind the trouble on both sides, is poor contact. The father is ‘out of contact’ with his children; the children are equally ‘out of contact’ with their father.

4 And what is behind such lack of good contact? Blindness; unawareness. They do not know one another, nor how they relate to one another.

5 The father does not know what his children think or feel or want or fear or hope or hate or love, nor what their feelings and attitudes are towards him. And the children are ignorant in just the same way about their father.

6 The result is poor contact on both sides; and consequently poor control, which manifests in mutual dissatisfaction.


8 When in our own terms, by our own standards, we know a person, really know him, understand him, are sensitive to what he is and what he does and precisely how it all relates to us and what we are, then we are satisfied in our relationship with him, what- ever it might be.

9 HE might not be satisfied, but that is due to his own unawareness. His contact with us may be abysmal, if he is blind, but ours with him is automatically good if we are not blind, because it is based on a clear and complete awareness of every relevant factor in the relationship. So our control of that relationship is good control, and satisfies.

10 If we begin to feel dissatisfaction, we can be sure there is something we do not know. If the relationship takes what in our terms is a wrong turning, then there is something to which we are blind.

11 If suddenly the car veers to one side and will not respond to the usual pressures, the driver becomes in some way dissatisfied; uneasy, afraid, annoyed, panic-stricken, depending on the extent of the trouble. Something is happening of which he is not aware, and to which he is therefore not adjusted.

12 Similarly, if the carpenter cannot any longer saw along a straight line, he too becomes dissatisfied. Something has happened which he does not understand.

13 The musician suddenly finds himself playing flat. Dissatisfaction. An unknown.

14 In each of these cases something has ‘gone wrong’ by the standards of the person concerned, and the sense of wrongness stems from mystery.

15 Suddenly we find ourselves at odds with someone with whom normally we have a satisfactory relationship; suddenly we find ourselves dissatisfied, having negative reactions towards that person. Something has happened, or is happening, which we do not know about. Of this we can be certain.


2 But in every case where control is poor, because contact is poor, because of a blind spot, the blind spot is not necessarily an ignorance about the other side of the relationship. It can just as well be something within ourselves.

3 When the driver goes ‘out of control’ it may be the steering mechanism of the car that is at fault, but equally it could be his own co-ordination which has slipped. Either factor could ‘take him unawares’. (The very expression indicates the basic nature of the trouble.)

4 It could be the carpenter’s saw, or his own eyesight, which makes him unable to cut straight. And it could be the instrument which is out of tune, or it could be the musician’s ear which has lost its sensitivity.

5 And in a personal relationship, it could be the other person who has changed, or equally it could be ourselves.

6 In each case what is certain, and what is important, is that the relationship itself has changed; the way the driver relates to his car, the carpenter to his saw and the wood, the musician to his instrument, and us to our friend. And the mystery, until and unless it is resolved, lies in that change.


2 The most vital area of control is self.

3 If we are in control of ourselves, so that we act and behave as we desire to act and behave, that is a secure basis from which we can control our relationships with things and people.

4 Control of self is the basis of all control.

5 If we cannot control ourselves well and effectively, if we are constantly ‘out of control’, in other words constantly in states we wish not to be in, in circumstances and situations we are consciously trying to avoid or eliminate, then we cannot possibly control our relationships with anything or anyone outside ourselves well and effectively.

6 Therefore the first essential is awareness of self. If we know ourselves, really know ourselves, deeply and comprehensively, then we are automatically in good control of ourselves, because we are at one with ourselves and that is good contact.

7 Self-knowledge is essential even for the driver in terms of his driving, if his control of the operation of his car is to be good. He must know precisely and instinctively - not intellectually - the strength and weight of his touch on the wheel, the power of his feet on the pedals, the speed of his reactions, the state of his eyesight, and so on.

8 The carpenter must know his physical strength, the steadiness of his hand, the reliability of his eye to judge an angle or a length or a thickness. And the musician must know the scope as well as the limitations of his own speed of movement, the reliability of his ear, and his sense of rhythm.

9 Similarly if we are to be in good control of ourselves; our lives, our destinies, our activities, our effects, our achieve- ments; we must know who and what we are; our motivations, our fears, our desires, our reactions and responses, our deep rooted urges, our patterns of behaviour and what they signify in us, our areas of failure and inadequacy, and our limitations as well as our capabilities.

10 On the basis of that knowledge, we shall expect and accept what is, and not what cannot be; we shall intend what is right by our standards and achieve it; we shall demand of ourselves our full potential and no more than our full potential, and we shall attain it.

That is good control, and it will give us satisfaction.


2 Satisfaction with ourselves is the measure of our control of ourselves; true satisfaction; not a facade of what we call ‘self-satisfaction’, an outward show which covers an inward self- contempt, but a deep and real inward peace of mind, a basic knowledge of moving inexorably in what for us is the right direction.

3 Along the way, there may be frustrations and disappointments on the surface. Symptoms of poor control; but superficial. If even within the outward pain of these negative feelings and attitudes, there is an indestructible faith on a deeper level of awareness, a relentless sense of basic fulfilment, then that is true satisfaction with self.

4 But however calm and unruffled we might appear outwardly to be, however apparently satisfied with the life we live, if behind this facade lurk barely conscious fears, feelings of failure and inadequacy, intense frustrations and disillusionments, or a deep rooted sense of utter futility in what we do, then the outward show of satisfaction is meaningless, even if we manage temporarily to convince everyone, including ourselves, that it is true. We are basically dissatisfied with ourselves, and to that extent ‘out of control’ of ourselves.


2 If someone strikes you, that is contact; strong contact. You have made contact with him; he has made contact with you. That is control.

3 You have exercised one kind of control over your relationship with him - by provoking him to such an action, or by putting yourself in the way of it. He has exercised another kind of control over his relationship with you - by striking you.

4 There is control on both sides. But what kind of control?

5 Suppose you are dissatisfied. This is not what you desired or intended, and you feel resentment towards his action. In your case the control is therefore ‘bad’. There is a gap between what IS and what you demand and expect SHOULD be. So in your terms you are ‘out of control’ of your relationship with him.

6 But suppose he on the other hand is not dissatisfied. His action in his terms was coolly and calmly intended—or even angrily intended. He has no regrets, no guilt, no remorse and no fear of consequences. In his terms the situation is as he wishes it to be. So in his terms he is ‘in control’ of his relationship with you.

7 If he were dissatisfied; if, as is quite likely, he feels guilty or ashamed, or possibly afraid of your retaliation, that would indicate poor control of the relationship on his side as well as yours.

8 But be careful to differentiate between no control, which is no contact of any kind and stems from total oblivion, and bad control, which is bad contact and indicates a distorted and incomplete awareness.

9 We are inclined to speak of ‘no control’ when we mean ‘bad control’. It is an instinctive avoidance of responsibility. Hence the misleading term ‘out of control’.

10 For example, if the car driver is drunk and weaves all over the road, we say he is ‘out of control’. But then who is making the car weave all over the road? Who is making it move at all?

11 A madman is sometimes said to be ‘out of control’ of himself. What then motivates him? What causes his actions?

12 As long as we realise that by ‘out of control’ we mean ‘out of GOOD control’ or ‘IN bad control’, then the expression can stand and be meaningful.

13 All of us control ourselves, and our lives, and our relationships with other people and the things around us. But most of us do it very badly, some worse than others.

14 We are all in contact with ourselves, and with the lives we live, and with the people and things around us. But most of us are in very bad contact, again some worse than others. When we say ‘out of contact’ we mean ‘Out of good contact’ or ‘in bad contact’.

15 All of us are aware of ourselves, and our lives, and the people and things around us. But for most of us that awareness is distorted, inverted, clouded, insensitive, minimal in its scope, shallow, trivial, prejudiced and erroneous. We see ourselves, our environment, and other people, through distorting lenses, hollowed out and filled with muddy water. So when we speak of ‘unawareness’ or ‘lack of awareness’, we mean ‘bad awareness’, ‘low awareness’, or ‘lack of good awareness


2 In general our control of ourselves and our relationships with other people and our environment is abysmal; which is why most of us are so thoroughly dissatisfied.

3 We are not doing what we want to do, being what we want to be, feeling what we want to feel, giving what we want to give, or receiving what we want to receive.

4 We are continually being disappointed and disillusioned, both by our own failures and inadequacies, and by the shortcomings - in our terms - of our environment.

5 The level of our acceptance of what is, is low, and the gap between what is and what we expect, demand, intend and desire, is large.

6 Many of us are so blind, our awareness of ourselves and our state of mind is so low, that we do not even realise that we are dissatisfied; although the evidence of it is reflected in every action we take and every word we utter.


2 Some people may have the idea that if a person ties you up and leads you round on the end of a rope, that is what is meant by control. To control, in their terms, is to limit, to curb, to restrain.

3 If the driver switches off the engine of his car, locks all the doors, hooks a chain under the front bumper and starts pulling the car along the road, is that what is meant by control?

4 Certainly it is control of a kind; but what kind?

5 If by doing this the driver hopes to get the best possible performance out of his car, then his control is bad. The nature of his contact with the car is bad, because clearly his knowledge of his relationship with the car is almost non-existent.

6 He has a very low awareness both of the potential of the relationship and the requirements of realising that potential.

7 Similarly, if the carpenter locks away all his tools and his wood, and stands guard over them, certainly that too is control of a kind, but if he thinks that by so doing he will produce a chair, then he is ‘out of control’ of the situation and only dissatisfaction can result.

8 And if the musician sits on his instrument, expecting to make music that way, he too is ‘out of control’ and will be disappointed.

9 When we speak of control and mean real control, good control, we are speaking of relationships between people and things, and between people and people, where there is mutual fulfilment; a free flow in both directions of giving and receiving; a full realisation of potential on both sides, guiding and being guided when that is relevant and appropriate, restraining and being restrained when that is appropriate; acceptance, understanding, and meaningful co-operation on both sides.

10 That is good control exercised from both sides of a relationship.

13. 1 Every element in existence, whether it is a human being or an animal or an object, has a nature and a will of its own.

2 In any relationship, at any given moment, one side initiates and the other responds.

3 Both are aspects of control. And all elements have the power to do both.

4 Human beings initiate and respond. Animals initiate and respond. Objects initiate and respond.

5 A man speaks; that is initiation. Another man listens; that is response. Both exercise control of the relationship between them through these actions.

6 A tree moves in the wind; that is initiation. A bird flies from it; that is response.

7 A lion moves in the undergrowth; that is initiation. A flock of gazelles scatters; that is response.

8 A boat capsizes in a storm; that is initiation. The men who were on board swim ashore; that is response.

9 These are all aspects of control.

10 With human beings the control is either good or bad or somewhere in between, depending on the level of conscious knowledge and awareness.

11 With animals and objects there is no good or bad control; consciousness and unconsciousness are one, and action is guided inevitably by the constant all-seeing eye of natural law.

12 Animals and objects have no independent choice. They have not rejected natural law and demanded to be permitted to create a scale of values of their own, as man has done. They choose within the bounds of nature; but nevertheless they choose, they control, or more accurately, nature chooses through them. Nature controls the physical world.

13 Human beings choose independently. They control themselves by their own independent choice. And the concepts of good and bad control have meaning only when there is independent choice.

14 Ultimately we have no choice. Ultimately good and bad, right and wrong, have no meaning. OUTSIDE the Game choice itself is an illusion.

15 But we are not outside the Game, and within the Game choice is a reality. And as long as we are within the Game, the knowledge of our ultimate choicelessness can only be an intellectual knowledge. It can give us a kind of ultimate security; it can add to our basic confidence; it can be a valid part of our awareness; but it cannot be totally real for us.

16 Our instincts must still tell us that we have choice, and that we can do right or wrong according to that choice, because that is the reality of the Game to which we are still subject. And if we attempt to use the knowledge of choicelesness to justify our failures, then we shall suffer, because we shall not be convinced.

17 Ultimately we have no choice, and we control nothing, not even ourselves. But within the Game - and we are within the Game - we control ourselves and our relationships, by our own independent choice.

18 Sometimes we appear to control one another; but we don’t, we only control ourselves and our relationships to one another.

19 Each of us chooses his own destiny.

20 We may choose to be guided, coerced, trapped, compelled, hypnotised, or in any other way forced by others into particular directions. But the choice is ours. Nothing and no one takes it from us.

21 Circumstances do not take us; we give ourselves to them. They respond by accepting the gift.

22 It sometimes appears that people control objects. Again, they don’t. They control their relationships with objects.

23 The objects control themselves according to the laws of nature. Or again more accurately, nature controls the various parts of itself, which include objects.

24 Nature gives objects to people; people do not take them.

25 And in case we are tempted to think that such distinction is no more than splitting hairs, let us consider the effect of human beings thinking that they are in control of objects, and therefore nature, rather than simply their relationships with objects and nature.

26 Because the scientist and the industrialist think that they can control nature - and indeed ARE controlling nature - they continue to co-operate in ventures and experiments calculated to prevent the natural course of events, to transcend natural law, and to divert natural cycles of growth and decay into paths selected by themselves for their own personal benefit.

27 Now the laws of nature allow for countless permutations, which is why the scientist and the industrialist appear on the surface, and for a period of time, to succeed in subjecting them to their will.

28 Nature bends to the pressure, but only so far. After a while the balance must be redressed. Natural law must reclaim what it has conceded on temporary loan.

29 Supposing you have a steady flow of water through a natural chamber; an inlet at the top and an outlet at the bottom, adjusted with perfect precision so that the water level in the chamber remains constant.

30 You decide you want a faster outflow, so you enlarge the outlet in the bottom of the chamber.

31 Brilliant. Sure enough you get your faster outflow, and every- one congratulates you. You imagine that you have discovered how to control the flow of water through the chamber. So you gear your requirements to this newly discovered power. The supply has increased, so the demand increases.

32 But after a while, the outflow begins gradually and inexplicably to decrease again.

33 You do not realise it, but because you have not increased the inflow at the top, the level in the chamber has fallen, so the pressure at the bottom of the chamber has decreased. Conse- quently the rate of outflow has decreased, and soon you are back where you began.

34 So you make the outlet even larger, so the level in the chamber falls even lower, and again the flow returns to normal.

35 But meanwhile outlets higher up the chamber, which you cannot see and therefore have not taken into consideration even though they are indirectly essential to your livelihood, are now above the water line, and therefore dry. They have no outflow at all.

36 You have upset the natural balance; but you do not control it. It controls itself and its relationship to you and your manipulations. It responds to your initiation according to its own inexorable laws.

37 If human beings realised this simple fact about the laws of nature, they would not be trying to destroy those laws and succeeding only in bringing about their own destruction.

38 Even our own bodies we do not control; only our relationships with them.

39 Again they are part of nature. Nature makes them available to us. Nature gives them to us in order that we can create effects upon them within the limits of natural law. But we do not control them; they control themselves by the laws of nature.

40 And just as nature can at any moment take away objects from people, she can also take away our bodies from us. And if we think that we can cheat her by the use of artificial chemicals and stimulants, we shall only find the same pattern of the water in the chamber acted out with relentless precision. The balance will be redressed.

41 Already, for example, human beings in ‘civilised’ parts of the world are developing an increasing hereditary natural resistance to antibiotics.

42 Ultimately we control only ourselves and our relationships with what is in contact with us.

43 The driver does not control the car.

44 He cannot make it fly. If he drives it over a cliff at high speed, it complies with his demands to the extent of spending a few moments high above the ground; but already it is in the process of redressing the balance, and very soon it finds again its natural level.

45 And here we have a perfect illustration of the consequences of overdemanding in a relationship. If there is any flexibility at all in the nature of the relationship, there may well be an immediate compliance with an overambitious demand. Promote a man beyond his capabilities, and he may not refuse to be pro- moted. Demand a promise of undying loyalty and dedication from someone, which he is quite unable to fulfil when put to the test, and he may well give it to you. Drive a car towards the edge of a cliff, and it probably will not resist as you hurtle out into space.

46 But in every case, because of the expectation based on blindness, and the nature of the commitment which stems from that expectation, when the balance is redressed it almost certainly brings disaster.

47 It is wise to aim high within the natural potentialities of a situation, but to commit yourself irrevocably beyond those potentialities leads only to catastrophe.

48 And in a less dramatic way, the ordinary pattern of over- demanding because of unawareness of the reality of a situation, produces frustration, disappointment, disillusionment, and a constant sense of failure.

49 But do not confuse blind commitment with faith. Faith is vision, not blindness. Faith is knowledge; not an intellectual knowledge, although this may be part of the basis of faith, but the kind of instinctive knowledge which we spoke of earlier as being essential to real contact.

50 An action based on faith never produces disappointment or disillusionment or a sense of failure. If any of these result, then it was not faith that prompted the action, but bad judgement stemming from ignorance.

51 High awareness means sound judgement which is why it leads to good control. Sound judgement, which stems from instinctive knowledge, is the basis of faith.

52 The concept of ‘blind faith’ is a meaningless contradiction, put forward by those who worship exclusively the concept of intellectual thought and reason. These are an essential part of knowledge, but when they are seen as the whole of knowledge, then ignorance results.

53 Faith is vision, instinctive unreasoning vision, which goes far deeper into truth than reason ever can.

54 Imagine a picture hanging in a darkened room, and you have two possible ways of viewing it. Either you can illuminate the whole of it for one brief instant, or you can take a tiny pinpoint of light and use it to examine the picture in detail over a period of time.

55 The first way is equivalent to knowledge based on faith; the second is equivalent to knowledge based on reason. Both have a value, but the knowledge given by the first is far wider in scope, more all-embracing, and more basic.

56 The person who views the picture by the second method may be able to tell you very quickly the nature of the paint that was used to paint it - and even then he can only guarantee that it was used at one or two points, but the person who views by the first method can at once tell you about the overall structure, the basic form of the picture, perhaps even the subject. That is real vision, and that is the kind of vision on which faith is founded.

57 But rash commitment based on demanding of a situation more than it is capable of giving, that is blindness and leads to dissatisfaction.

58 And if we imagine that we are in control of things and people and our environment, instead of simply our relationships with things and people and our environment, then we manifest this form of blindness. We demand of things and people and our environment more than they are capable of giving and we are dissatisfied. More accurately, we demand of ourselves more than we are capable of giving; we demand control of what is beyond our control.

59 The driver, as has been said, cannot make his car fly. Nor can he make it spin like a top. Nor can he make it disintegrate into nothing, or change instantaneously into a house. He can only create the effects upon it which it is built to receive.

60 He can initiate, and thereby control his relationship with it; but the control of IT lies in its response to his initiation, and that, though strongly related to and effected by what he has done, stems basically, not from his nature, but from ITS nature.

61 We do not control one another. We only respond to one another, and thereby control our relationship with one another.

62 Because even an initiation is in truth a response. It may be an initiation in relation to what comes afterwards, but it is a response to what came before.

63 As long as something has gone before, everything is a response.

64 The tree moving in the wind is an initiation; but it is also a response to the wind blowing, which is a response to temperature changes, and so on.

65 The man speaking is an initiation; but again it is equally a response to a thought, which is a response to an incident, which is a response to another incident.

66 All the time we respond. We respond to one another and we respond to our environment. We respond to things that happen, things we see, things we think, things we feel and things we perceive.

67 And the nature of our response determines the extent of our control.

68 If we are aware, our contact is good, so our response is relevant and positive. Therefore our control is good.

69 If we are blind, our contact is poor, so our response is irrele- vant and negative. Therefore our control is poor.


2 If we over-demand of ourselves, of our relationships, of our environment, of other people, of natural cycles and resources, and of the things with which we surround ourselves, we are ‘out of contact’ with all these elements. Therefore we are ‘out of control’, and therefore we bring dissatisfaction, and in extreme cases disaster, upon ourselves.

3 But equally, if we under-demand, this too is based on poor judgement and therefore ignorance, and therefore leads to poor control and dissatisfaction.

4 Somewhere we have a basic knowledge of the potentialities of a relationship, and if outwardly we do not cause or even allow them to materialise, we have a sense of failure.

5 If we do not expect them, but cannot prevent them, and they take us by surprise, we find ourselves ill-adjusted to them, unprepared. Again a symptom of poor control, stemming from ignorance and leading to dissatisfaction.

6 When the capabilities of others are involved, they feel the reduction of demand, just as they feel the pressure of an exaggerated demand, and they react accordingly. And their reaction may be an added factor in our dissatisfaction.

7 For example, if you give someone a function below his level of capability, he will probably manifest boredom or frustration. Unless you are aware of what you are doing, and doing it for a specific purpose, apart from the frustration you yourself will feel stemming from an unconscious knowledge that you are not making the best use of your manpower, you may also find yourself additionally dissatisfied on account of his adverse reaction.

8 And things as well as people respond badly to under-demanding. A clock that is never wound and therefore never used, deteriorates faster than one which is kept going all the time.

9 Nature is another area which is subject to under-demand as well as over-demand. People’s scepticism of faith healing is an example. Such scepticism is an under-demand of man’s relationship with his body. It excludes the capacity for healing by means of spiritual or psychological projection. Therefore it places an unnatural limitation on the healing capacity of the human body. It disallows, and therefore fails to exploit, non-physical methods of maintaining or restoring health.

10 Strangely this under-demand of natural law stems from basically the same attitude as our OVER-demand of natural law; the ignorance of human arrogance.

11 It is arrogance which leads us to believethat we can force nature to do our bidding DESPITE its limitations. And it is also arrogance which leads us to discount the capabilities of nature which we do not fully understand.

12 The first attitude says: ‘If we desire it to happen we can MAKE it happen’, whilst the second says: ‘If we do not know how or why it happens, it CANNOT happen’.

13 Arrogance about the completeness of our own power leads to over-demand and thereby disaster. Arrogance about the completeness of our own knowledge leads to under-demand and thereby failure.


2 Both over-demanding and under-demanding are indications of unawareness and poor contact. Both are forms of invalidation.


4 If we are aware of something, we validate its existence. And that is the most basic form of contact.

5 If we are aware of precisely what that something is, and how it relates to us and we relate to it, then we validate not only its existence but the nature of its existence and our own relationship to it. And that is not just contact, but good contact, and therefore good control.

6 The driver who knows his car, and has good contact with his car, and controls his relationship with his car to a high degree of satisfaction; he validates his car, and himself in relation to his car.

7 The carpenter who knows his tools and his wood, and has good contact with them, and controls them to the extent of producing an end product of the highest quality in his own terms; he validates them, and him- self in relation to them.

8 The musician who knows his instrument, and has good contact with it, and controls it to the extent of producing exactly the sounds he intends and hopes for; he validates his instrument, and himself in relation to it.

9 Validation is not being nice to people, treating them gently and kindly and politely. These could sometimes be the end result of validation. But validation itself is knowledge, awareness, understanding, and whatever action stems naturally and directly from these.

10 And validation, like good control, satisfies. That is the Criterion.


12 By the Universal Law, everything we send out returns to us. If we validate, we receive validation.

13 Validation satisfies, because it is life to what is. Therefore if we are satisfied, we are receiving validation. And if we are receiving validation, then we are giving validation.

14 If a relationship satisfies us, we are receiving validation from it. If we are receiving validation from it, we are giving validation to it.


16 Equally, if we are dissatisfied with a relationship, we are receiving invalidation from it. Therefore we are giving invalidation to it.


18 It is as much an invalidation of someone to be blind to his faults, as it is to be blind to his qualities.

19 If we are aware of his faults, then we are in a position to understand him, and therefore to relate to him with reality, and also to help him eliminate his faults. If we are unaware of them, our relationship with him is based on illusions, and we can neither understand nor help him.


21 If we recognise what is, then we can relate to it with meaning and reality. If we are blind to what is, and live instead in a world of fantasy and selfdeception, then we cannot relate with reality to what is. We shall find ourselves continually frustrated, disappointed, mystified and unfulfilled.

22 If the driver believes that his car is in fact an aeroplane and is therefore able to fly, and he continues in this belief, he suffers a continuous series of disappointments and frustrations, and lives in a constant state of mystification. He is not satisfied as long as the illusion remains.

23 If we have a distorted image of ourselves, believing ourselves to be generous when in fact we are mean, courageous when in fact we are cowardly, strong when in fact we are weak, or, on the other side, if we think we are dishonest when in fact we are honest, cruel and vicious when in fact we are kindhearted, unreliable when in fact we are reliable; whatever illusions we may have about ourselves will bring us discomfort of some kind or another. They will clash with the reality of what is, and as long as we remain blind to that reality, and therefore invalidate it, we shall feel the effects of the clash and remain dissatisfied, without knowing the reason why.

24 We find reasons for our dissatisfactions. They are not difficult to find; there is so much discord all around us. And if we are unable to find anything, we can very quickly imagine something—with the capacity we already have for illusions.

25 But whether it is factual or imaginary, it is only a rationali- sation, a justification. It is something on which to pin our dissatisfaction, but it isn’t the root of it. It isn’t the cause of it. Our own blindness is that.


16. 1 Discipline is the creation of a set of values, a set of priorities, a code of right and wrong; and the enforcement of adherence to that set of values and priorities and that code of right and wrong.

2 Despite all apparencies, discipline can only be practiced by ourselves on ourselves. It is an aspect of control.

3 We may teach a code of right and wrong, and we may teach the necessity of adhering to that code. We may even threaten punishment for those who deviate, and we may implement the threat and thereby reinforce it. But still the choice is with the individual.

4 Teaching is meaningless as a one-sided activity. But teaching on one side, and believing and learning on the other, make up a meaningful relationship.

5 A teacher’s choice is to teach. It is the pupil’s choice whether he believes and then learns what is taught. He will certainly base his choice on the nature of the teaching, but it is still his choice.

6 And if threat is used to keep him in line with the code which he is taught, it is his choice how he responds to the threat. Again the nature and extent of the threat will influence his choice, as it must, but it is still his choice.

7 An outside element may create a structure by which, if we choose, we may discipline ourselves; but it is still our choice.

8 And we need such a structure. We need its pressures and influences, as long as they coincide with our own basic knowledge, to keep us reminded of that knowledge. We need an immediate and unmistakable threat, to remind us of a fundamental threat of which we may easily lose sight.

9 The car driver needs the presence of a speed limit in a built up area.

10 Basically he knows that to exceed the limit is dangerous to his own survival. But this is a remote threat, of which he could easily lose sight in a moment of frustration where he is in a hurry and his priorities become temporarily confused. However the threat is brought closer, and made more immediate, by being translated into a speed limit road sign which indicates the threat of punishment if it is ignored.

11 So the driver may keep within the limit, consciously only in order to avoid punishment, but basically he is responding to a pressure which, recognising his weakness, helps him to fulfill a much more basic desire, which is to avoid an accident.

12 Similarly, if a child, for example, is taught a certain code of behaviour, such as showing consideration for others, it may accept the teaching, either because it strikes a chord of rightness in the child, or because the child has an instinctive faith in the parent who teaches it, or both. From that point it is up to the child to implement the teaching. And this requires self-discipline.

13 But the parent can help.

14 The basic threat is simply the pain of doing wrong. If we commit what is for us a hostile act, we suffer. We send out what in our estimation is wrong, so we must receive back what in our estimation is wrong. That is the Law. And although the child may have no analytical awareness of it, it has an instinctive feeling for it, from which stems its basic sense of right and wrong.

15 But the child may lose sight of the Law. A more immediate instinct, which demands extreme lack of consideration of some- one else, may temporarily override his sense of right and wrong. He is about to step over the line and do something, which although he may not immediately regret, must eventually rebound upon him.

16 In this case the parent can help by translating the remote, and now invisible, threat of eventual retribution, into an immediate and very visible threat, which is capable of competing with the instinct to ‘sin’.

17 If the child associates certain actions with its parent’s disapproval, and for one reason or another it cares about that disapproval, that is a deterrent from those actions. And a parent can help a child to adhere to its own code of right and wrong by the use of that deterrent.

18 If the child has no respect for the parent’s values, in other words they strike no positive chord of response in the child, then the parent has a problem. Either his values are inappropriate for the child, and he is contributing nothing by trying to impose them on the child, or they are right but the child’s knowledge of this is so deeply buried that it has no awareness of it at all.

19 The parent has a choice. He can either hold firm to his stand- point, reinforce the threat with concrete penalties, so that the child does care about his disapproval, and insist that ‘one day it will thank him for it’; or he can readjust his values so that the child responds positively.

20 Ultimately his only criterion of rightness is the extent to which his attitudes and actions give him a true satisfaction.

21 But it is unlikely that there will be very much satisfaction for him if he has continually to reinforce his disapproval with physical pain or deprivation in order to make it effective. It indicates very little respect on either side, which means poor contact and poor control.

22 And equally he is likely to find little joy in leaving the child with no guidelines at all, in letting it behave exactly as its immediate inclinations dictate, and in hiding his feelings when in his terms it steps out of line. Again, poor contact of a different kind; no understanding of a child’s need for both guidance and an aid to self-discipline.

23 Both these extremes generally indicate blindness to the require- ments of a child, and also to the nature of a parent-child relationship.

24 A child requires to know that the parent cares. If the parent simply lays down a rigid and preconceived code, and auto- matically expects the child to conform to it precisely, punish- ing it harshly for any deviation, there is no sign that the parent cares about how the child may feel or what the child may want and why. On the other hand if the parent never brings his attitudes and influence to bear upon the child’s behaviour to guide and direct it, there is equally no sign that the parent cares about what the child does or what happens to it.

25 And if the child feels no caring from its parent, it will seek security elsewhere. And the greatest security is a meaningful code of right and wrong which conforms to the child’s own inner feelings, together with an effective means of adherence to that code; an aid to self-discipline and self-control.

26 All of us are children. All of us on some level require this security. And if we know ourselves well, we give ourselves this security and our control is good.

27 But if we protest against this need, plead self-sufficiency and independent strength of will, we only find frustration and disillusionment; futility. Because such a protest stems from self-ignorance, and leads to poor control.


2 To be satisfied, truly satisfied, we must know what we require and how to give it to ourselves.

3 First of all, few people know what they require. They think it is material goods, or social position, or romance, or beautiful surroundings, or sensual delights; all or one of these, or something similar. And they strive after it.

4 If they find it, and it does not satisfy them, they strive for more of it, or they decide that after all what they need is something else, and they go after that.

5 But what they fail to realise is this: being satisfied is something within, not without; which means that what brings it about is within, an abstract concept, not without, a material concept.

6 Satisfaction comes from within, and manifests within.

7 But even the person who has reached as far as knowing this, remains dissatisfied as long as he does not know how to give it to himself.

8 He holds the concept of joy within him. He knows it, he understands it; but he cannot give it to himself so that as well as knowing it he can actually feel it. He can remember joy, he can visualise joy, he can imagine joy; but he cannot give himself joy. Instead he feels joyless, and thereby dissatisfied. His control is poor.

9 His control is poor because he does not know, or rather has forgotten, one vital thing about himself; he is subject to the Universal Law.


11 This is why Christ said: “Do unto others as you would they should do unto you.” If you want joy, give joy, if you want stimulation, give stimulation. If you want love, give love.


2 If we are dissatisfied, we are to that extent out of control. If we blame our dissatisfaction on something outside ourselves, and decide that if that something were different, then we would cease to be dissatisfied; we do not cease to be dissatisfied and we remain to that extent ‘out of control’. We may tempor- arily sublimate our dissatisfaction by changing something in our environment, just as symptoms can be temporarily and superficially ‘cured’, but the basic dissatisfaction remains, and will manifest again.

3 If on the other hand we say to ourselves: ‘I am out of control. Therefore I am blind. There is something relevant and important which I am not seeing, and therefore not knowing’; then there is a chance that we can bring ourselves back into good control.

4 Whatever that thing is, when we know it, we cease to be dissatisfied. That is the only criterion. If we decide it is such and such, but remain dissatisfied, then it is something else. Knowledge of the relevant factor lifts the dissatisfaction.

5 But what exactly is dissatisfaction in these terms? What is satisfaction?


7 Satisfaction with a situation is the knowledge that the situation is as it should be. It is acceptance of the situation. It does not mean that we have no desire to change the situation. We may not feel that it should CONTINUE to be that way, but we accept how it is now, and feel neither frustration, nor guilt, nor shame, nor disappointment, nor anger, nor hatred towards it. We have no negative attitude to it. That is satisfaction.

8 And satisfaction with ourselves is an equal conviction that we are doing and being precisely what we should be doing and being; not that we have reached the point of ultimate fulfilment, not that we should never change, but that at a particular moment in time we are fulfilled in relation to that moment and to our potential for that moment. That is satisfaction.

9 Pain and suffering do not necessarily preclude satisfaction. It may feel right that we should be suffering at a particular time.

10 But even when the present feels right, often we remain dissatisfied through regret of the past or anxiety about the future. Because of our ignorance, we bring these elements into the present, and make them part of the present, using our ignorance of them to spoil the satisfaction of the present.

11 In fact they are one and the same, because the only reason we regret the past is because we fear the consequences of it in the future. So it is fear of the future that dissatisfies, and that is because we do not know the power of our own choice, and therefore have little confidence in our destiny. Again, blindness, and its resultant poor control.

19. 1 Confidence is good control; not an outward protest of confidence, that covers only the most superficial of situations and relationships; but a deep underlying confidence, which is born of faith and knowledge, and of the security that comes with them.

2 But there is much we do not know, both about ourselves, about our environment, and about one another. And to that extent we are ‘out of control’, both of ourselves, of our relationships with our environment, and of our relationships with one another.

3 And even knowing that does not automatically perfect our control. We cannot make that demand upon ourselves. But it is a beginning, a new recognition of a small part of what is. And that is the important thing; to recognise that we are ‘out of control’, to accept it, to stop trying to pretend it is not so; and also to recognise that it is our own ignorance and blindness which lies at the root of it, not someone else’s malicious actions, nor even someone else’s ignorance and blindness, but our own.

4 The temptation to blame is a strong one; and to see it in ourselves together with the extent to which we succumb to it, must be part of our selfknowledge.

5 And when we have seen that we are ‘out of control’, and accepted it, we can begin to look at the extent to which we are ‘out of control’, and how and when and where and in particular situations it manifests most strongly. We can begin to recognise the full scope and the true nature of our ignorance.

6 Control will not come to us in all areas of our existence in one instant. It will grow as our knowledge grows - relevant knowledge, primarily of ourselves.

7 Knowledge of things outside us is worthless as long as we are ignorant of ourselves.

8 Children in schools are taught almost everything except the nature of themselves. Certainly they can ultimately only learn by experi- ence, but as long as they are guided away from self-awareness into wholly impersonal areas of information, they will not open their eyes within and learn. So their control remains poor and their relationships suffer.

9 They learn only to blame faults on external causes, and the more they discover that external circumstances are outside their control, which they are, the more helpless they feel. What they do not learn, is that, though they cannot control what is outside themselves, they CAN control themselves and the way they relate to external circumstances, and this they can only do by knowledge of themselves and the way they relate to external circumstances.


11 We control our contact with one another, our knowledge of one another, our feelings towards one another, our attitudes to one another, our reactions to one another, our judgement of one another, our experience of one another. We already control all of these unconsciously, and we are capable of controlling them consciously. That is control.

12 But we make the mistake of attributing choice where it does not exist, and denying it where it does exist. We speak of one man controlling the destinies of other men. This implies that A can have choice over the lives of B, C and D, whilst B, C and D have no choice over their own lives.

13 The facts are simple. A has choice over his own existence and no other. He initiates in a certain way, and hopes for a certain response. In the case of B, C and D, each has choice only over his own existence. The choice in every instance may be to follow the will of A. It may be a conscious or an unconscious choice. It may be a good choice, i.e. a satisfying one, or it may be a bad choice, i.e. a frustrating or dis- appointing one. It may be good control; a conscious willing and aware response; or it may be bad control; a blind compulsion; but it is con- trol, and it comes from within, not from without.

14 Each individual controls himself. If he is aware, he controls himself well. If he is blind, he controls himself badly. But no one outside controls him.

15 If you wish to raise the level of your control, raise the level of your awareness, first of yourself, and then of those around you and your relationships with them. A higher awareness of yourself will give you a better control of yourself. A higher awareness of those around you will give you a better control of your relationships with them.

16 But remember, to control is not to limit, to control is not to restrain, to control is not to curb. Limitation, restraint and curbing are aspects of control.

17 The driver must be as capable of using the brake when he wants to slow down, as he is of using the accelerator when he wants to speed up. The carpenter must be able to use his chisel to make a tiny groove, as well as a deep furrow. The musician must be as capable of muting and silencing his instrument, as he is of playing a chord of maximum volume.

18 And we must be as able to curb an impulse which we know will take us off the line of right, as we are to give full vent to our feelings when we have complete confidence in them.

19 Range and scope are prime factors in good control. To be able to make use of the full range and scope of effects, which a situation or a relationship offers; to be able to handle it freely and with confidence; heavily or lightly according to the effect we require; loudly or softly; gently or harshly, fast or slow; that is good control.

20 But if we imagine that we can control people against their own will, and if we demand of ourselves that we do, we shall only suffer, because we are demanding of ourselves the impossible. The demand reflects an unawareness of the nature of ourselves and others, and from that blindspot stems our poor control of our relationships with others. Hence the suffering.

21 We can influence others, if they choose to be influenced; we can teach them, if they choose to learn; we can help them, if they choose to be helped; we can lift them up, if they choose to be lifted up. But we cannot control them. (To speak of them choosing to be controlled is a contradiction).

22 How people relate to us; how they see us, how they feel towards us, how they behave towards us, how they treat us, is their choice, not ours. We can help them to make their choice, we can try to influence them, coerce them, brow beat them, threaten them; but we cannot make their choice for them.

23 How we relate to them - and to ourselves - that is our choice. They on their side can help us to make it, they can bring all kinds of pressures to bear on us to make it according to their preference, but they cannot make it for us.

24 A person’s choice is what he does and what he is, and what happens to him. This draws a fine line between what A does to B and what happens to B. But it is a line that must be drawn for a complete awareness.

25 These are two different and quite separate concepts, two different and quite separate areas of responsibility, even though they may involve the same set of circumstances. The incident from A’s standpoint; the meaning and significance of it for him, his part in it, his attitude to it, his decisions in it, his intentions in it, and his experience of it; these are his choice, his responsibility, and under his control. The incident from B’s standpoint; his intentions, his reactions, his experience of it; these are his choice, his responsibility, and under his control.

26 As long as we fail to make this fine distinction, we fail to see a very vital aspect of the true nature of our existence.

20. 1 Consciously, we blame other people for what happens to us. Unconsciously we blame ourselves for what happens to other people. Neither attitude has any ultimate validity. No wonder we are so ‘out of control’. Our blindness is so fundamental.

So be it.

[Signature Robert]

Copyright Church of the Final Judgment, 1968. September 1973 ROBERT DE GRIMSTON


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