What was a serendipitous effect—or at least just a small component effect, which was profit—starts to loom as the dominant criterion. And people are working—instead of being part of finding a manifestation of a vision—they are working, then, to make a profit as their goal rather than as a side effect of their goal. And that becomes such a built-in cultural statement that people start to justify their actions in terms of profit even though it is at the expense, sometimes, of the enrichment of the infrastructure of the society, or the realization of the dream, the vision.
It’s the idea that something external to yourself is finally going to give you what you want, and that is a basic fallacy.
The question is: who is “us” and who is “them?”
For a human individual, there is one level at which you are a separate entity and everything else in the world is “it” or “them” or “other,” and in which you are very little and it’s very big, and it’s very frightening, and your biggest fear is your own death because you identify with the separateness, and that thing can die. So a lot of your action is to ward off the threats to the loss of that separateness. Then there are planes of awareness where your awareness breaks out of that identification and you experience the feeling that you are part of a community in which you look and you see other people.
The secret of the shift I’m talking about has to do with the nature of who you think you are.
The shift in perspective that is required for the next stage of the journey is the realization that everything that you thought you were is only part of who you are, and the desire to cultivate, if you will, the metasystem of which the ego-structure is only a subsystem.
A subsystem can never understand a metasystem. And that is why, in the Biblical injunction, it says, “Lest ye die, ye cannot be reborn.” In other words, you can’t realize your larger system if the smaller system keeps trying to explain it away or control it.
As you cultivate this metasystem, then you learn how to delight in the forms of the play. You learn how to work in the business world. It doesn’t mean you give up the game. It means you give up the vantage point from which you’re playing it.
The work begins inside your own head. It does not begin in manipulating the environment. It begins in manipulating the furniture right in here and where the identification is.
If you, in the zeal to do well in business, have had to separate means and ends and have not realized that means and ends are apiece, and you use means that are divisive to the human condition in order to bring about ends that are good—realize that that is the statement that you are projecting into the world. It’s like you try to bring about peace with anger in your heart: what you do is sow the seeds of anger.
There are stages of this recognition. Not that you’re doing good anymore—the next level is: you are good. Not that you are milking for your self-image how good you are. You’re doing it because, if your hand is sitting in the fire, your other hand will pull it out! And this hand doesn’t say to this one, “Thank you.” Because they’re both part of the same thing.
Maybe that’s what affluence finally does: people burn out.