This coming Tuesday I am scheduled to facilitate a group of about fifteen people in an open-ended discussion of my choosing. The usual topics are variations on how to cope with our personal reality stated in the abstract. We tend to talk about philosophical subjects but we do so as ordinary people facing the typical American lives. We usually feel that we are getting quite deep into these subjects and yet the popular modern self-help philosophers are quoted almost exclusively. There are several people who are deeply into the esoteric philosophies and some have even studied under acknowledged masters. I did read Gurdjieff’s All and Everything carefully back in the late 1960s and knew several people who were members of the Berkeley study group. But I considered the whole movement to be that of puppets dangling over a world stage from a master comic’s manipulating strings. I also brushed by the Scientology folks for a couple of months, where I found the confrontation exercises to be a fun party game. More recently I spent some time with a local improv group and enjoyed that experience, but I was greatly inhibited by my eighty-two-year-old brain not being able to remember thirty things in five minutes and spontaneously work with and assemble those things smoothly. Of all the things listed above, I would recommend the improv most highly for clarifying your mind.
The Tuesday group will be expecting to discuss something important and they will be hoping to leave the two-hour long event with a feeling of enlightened elevation. Believe it or not, one of the elders of the group has already contacted me and coached me for an hour to take it easy and not be too directive. He seemed to feel that I would do something too extreme. I think he is worried that I might drive people away. He had heard about my departure from a similar group of people who are also esoteric and may have thought there were some hard feelings. There most certainly are not on my part because it is central to my view that people have the absolute right to speak their mind and it became clear that I didn’t fit into that group.
Perhaps I don’t fit into this group either, even though I have attended it weekly for about five years. But, to be perfectly honest with them and with myself, the most honest thing I can do is to present them with an idea that feels compelling to me at the moment and the question that intrigues me now is …
How might humanity self-actualize itself and become all that it is capable of becoming?