The highest reach of human science is the scientific recognition of human ignorance.
—SIR WILLIAM HAMILTON
In all of my 79 years, this is the first time I have ever written a letter to me! There are two reasons for the delay:
1. Not until now have I fully appreciated the harm done by most of the letter-writing indulged in by freedom devotees. Reference is to the plethora of condemnatory letters they write to the millions of persons who take socialistic positions, ranging from editors to politicians; from small fry way on up to Presidents of the U.S.A. It is the straighten-them-out approach which begins by classifying the recipient as Dummkopf!
2. Previously, I have never fully realized that the sole contribution anyone can make to the evolution and welfare—perfection—of others is such perfection as he or she may personally achieve. In light of all contrary notions, this appears as a new thought. New? On hearing of my “discovery,” an associate called attention to Saint Matthew’s wisdom, taken from Christ’s Sermon on the Mount, spoken quite some time ago.
For the sake of personal enlightenment, the following is an analysis and commentary on that Saint’s wisdom. He learned from one; hopefully, I can learn from him.
Pass no judgments and you will not be judged. For as you judge so will you yourselves be judged, and whatever measure you deal out to others will be dealt back to you.
Judge only actions, thoughts, ideas but not the authors thereof. If they take positions contrary to your own, call them not fools, nor indeed think of them as such. To do so is to invite similar appraisals of you. ’Tis the law of action and reaction at work. The practice of name-calling is foolish, for it leads only to a population of fools.
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye, with never a thought for the great plank in your own?
What an instructive hyperbole: sawdust in your brother’s eye, the great plank in your own! What is that speck we see in our brother’s eye? It is that infinitesimal bit of knowhow we may possess that our brother does not. And the great plank in our own? Trillions of know-hows we do not possess but don’t know we don’t!
Wrote a sage: “To be ignorant of one’s ignorance is the malady of ignorance.”
Do not throw your pearls to the pigs; they will trample on them, and turn and tear you to pieces.
Again, a hyperbole or striking metaphor, seemingly harsh, but is it really?
The Perfect Exemplar was crucified for openly presenting his Pearls of Wisdom. However, it is not necessary to go back 20 centuries for a demonstration of this truth. Try presenting the Pearls of Freedom in today’s Russia or Red China. They’ll trample on your ideas and tear you to pieces!
Can this seemingly harsh metaphor be rephrased to serve as good counsel in today’s U.S.A.? In my judgment, it would read: Do not try to reform the opponents of freedom. They will trample on your ideas and do all in their power to belittle you. For confirmation, hear these few who have reflected on reforming others:
Every reform, however necessary, will by weak minds be carried to an excess which will itself need reforming.
An indefinable something is to be done, in a way nobody knows how, at a time nobody knows when; they will accomplish nobody knows what.
—Thomas B. Reed
It is a general error to suppose the loudest complainers for the public to be the most anxious for its welfare.
Be not angry that you cannot make others as you wish them to be, since you cannot make yourself as you wish to be.
—Thomas à Kempis
Reform only yourself; for in doing that you do everything.
Always treat others as you would like them to treat you.
I do not wish others to reform me, so I shall not try to reform them.
I do not want others to belittle me, so I shall not belittle them.
I wish to act creatively as I please, so I shall concede that privilege to everyone.
I welcome the open competition of the market, through which the goods and services of others are available in exchange for mine.
I hope that others will achieve an understanding that will cause me to seek their tutorship, therefore, I shall try to upgrade myself to the point where some will seek mine.
Righteousness—integrity—is the quality I most admire to others, so righteousness must come first among my goals.
I appreciate others sharing their thoughts with me, so I shall share with them.
Briefly, I must never do unto others that which I would not have them do unto me—life’s Golden Rule!
Enter by the narrow gate. The road that leads to perdition is wide with plenty of room, but the road that leads to life is small and narrow.
Wrote Aristotle: “One may go wrong in many different ways, but right only in one.” The ways to go wrong are a millionfold—as numerous as are all the errors of mankind. Plenty of room, indeed! But the way to go right is, we might say, singlefold, a “small and narrow” road, a truth now and then come upon by one devotedly seeking what’s right—like finding a needle in a haystack.
Terence, born a slave two hundred years before the Sermon on the Mount, brought up and educated by a Roman Senator, became a writer of comedy. A priceless line, “Nowadays the reward is for those who make right appear wrong.” His “nowadays” strikingly resemble our own. For instance, camouflaged thievery—the coercive taking of the fruits of your and my labor to feather the nests of others—is made to appear right and, thus, honesty must be wrong. Countless examples nowadays might be cited.
Terence lived in a devolutionary period as we do. But courage! Evolutionary periods follow, especially when enough of us get on that small and narrow road that leads to life.
The man who heeds these words and acts upon them . . . has the sense to build his house on rock. The rain came down, the floods rose, the wind blew, and beat upon that house; but it did not fall, because its foundations were on rock. But what of the man who hears but does not heed these words? He built his house on sand. The rain came down, the floods rose, the wind blew, and beat upon the house; down it fell with a great crash.
Millions of us hear these words, can repeat them verbatim, but we heed them not. Why this delinquency? We haven’t done our homework, that is, taken the time to analyze and grasp this wisdom. Short of understanding in depth, we are all words and no deeds. “Religious babblers” may not be too severe a term—our houses built more on sand than rock! This Letter to Me is an attempt to be graced by Divine Wisdom so that I might distinguish rock from sand!
True, if only you and I build our houses on rock, while the others build on sand, the wind, flood and rain that destroys the others might also bring down ours in the general crash. History is filled with these disasters—freedom squelched—all because these truths have not been heeded and acted upon. As another disciple—Saint John—stated later: “The truth will make you free!”
In a world where too many houses are built on sand, what then are we to do? Where lies our salvation? First, it is to recognize, “come hell or high water,” that there’s more to our lives than this earthly moment, namely, the immortality of the one great reality: consciousness. It lives on forever. Build our houses on that rock now with the eye on eternity!
Second, be not too distraught by what goes on around us. We can help our brothers here and now. Wrote Gerald Heard, “Growth when denied is more dangerous than apathy.” Forget those who are “not interested, indifferent, listless.” While their unconcern is to be lamented, they are at the zero level and matter little if at all.
There are those, on the other hand, who possess the possibilities for growth in awareness, perception, consciousness. To deny this, not to strive for growth, is to desert our brothers; it is to rob humanity of a potential benefactor—a worker in freedom’s vineyard.
I must keep these thoughts in mind:
No one will learn from me unless he or she is seeking my tutorship.
No one who really counts will seek my tutorship unless I am growing.
Growth in consciousness is what energizes the magnetism that attracts seekers.
May I, then, grow in truth for my sake, for the sake of others, for freedom’s sake!