Original Iwihub.com Transcript proofread by Zane Maser
Impersonalization of Good and Evil in Human Consciousness
1959 New York Private Class For “25”
Joel S. Goldsmith
Well, let us take this very, very seriously. We know now that there is a reason for all of the sin, disease, death, lack, and limitation on earth. We know beyond all doubt that it didn’t create itself. We know beyond all doubt that no individual, or no group of individuals, or no race, or religion, or creed ever became bad in and of themselves. And, if there is anything that we in The Infinite Way should know beyond all doubt, it is that wherever sin, disease, death, lack, or limitation raises its head that it is because there is an influence at work, which takes over or possesses individuals and makes them what they weren’t to begin with in God’s image and likeness. In other words, whether we use the ancient scriptural language and say there is a “devil” that comes to man and works through him or tempts him, or whether we say, with Paul, that there is a “carnal mind” that makes us act this way, or whether we become more modern and say it’s “mortal mind” that is doing this in us and through us, we all must agree that there is an impersonal and a universal “something,” which makes us do what we ordinarily wouldn’t want to do, don’t want to do, or makes us act in ways beyond our control, and in that way makes the thieves of the world, or the tyrants of the world, or the sensualists of the world, or the misers of the world.
Now, think of this always. Whenever you see a newspaper headline, or radio, television, and you read of anything from juvenile delinquency to television scandals; whether you’re hearing of the family squabbles of the world or the national squabbles of the world; whether you’re reading of epidemics, threats of wars, volcanoes, whatever it may be, immediately look behind that theme and recognize the fact that there is an impersonal cause, an impersonal something, operating to produce those conditions. Now this, first of all, is a matter of training. Don’t think for a moment that you can do it just because you’re hearing these words. Don’t believe for a moment that you can do it because you read these things in the books. Oh, no, no, no. The very moment you walk out of this door and face an erroneous condition, you’re going to be tempted to look right at it and say, “Oh, isn’t it terrible?” Don’t think for a minute that what I’m saying to you or what you read in the books is making any lasting impression on you. Any impression that it’s making is a momentary one. It will only become lasting if it strikes a responsive chord within you, and then you determine to put it into practice. And then, finding that half of the time, at least, you forget to put it into practice, start over each time, or each day with a resolve that, “Well, tomorrow, I won’t forget half the time, but I’ll excuse myself if it’s only quarter of the time,” because we have been hypnotized.
We have been hypnotized for generations, for hundreds of generations, to look at the objective world and accept it at its face value. We have been taught to judge by appearances; and, therefore, we see the evil man or woman, and we call them “evil man or woman.” We see the evil circumstance, and we call it “evil circumstance;” and we hate it, or we fear it. But, on the other hand, we see that nice human, and we begin to like it or to love it. And, in both cases, we are wrong, because in both cases, there is something operating behind the person, which is the good, or in the other case, which is the evil. And, therefore, it becomes necessary, in the case of those who are good and those who are bad, to impersonalize it. You’ll find that this is difficult. It’s almost impossible, and only the few really survive this test and attain the ability to look behind the appearance and discern the impersonal nature of what is operating.
Now, the world, as such, has always been aware of these evil conditions and evil persons, and they have accepted them at face value as powers opposed to God, opposed to good; and they have always sought means of overcoming the evil. Nobody has thought much about overcoming the good. Oh no, the good human circumstance we enjoy, today’s health, even knowing how foolish it is, because there’s always tomorrow or three-score years and ten. But, we’re satisfied if only the evil will leave us alone for today, the lack or the limitation, or the ill health, or the old age. And so, we go on enjoying the physical good of today and hating and fearing the evil of today.
Throughout the ages, men have sought a way to overcome the evil, and because evil is personalized, the way that they took was the way of prayer. “Oh, God, take this disease out of my body. Now, there are billions of other people with the same disease, but let’s not worry about them, God. Right now, it’s my body, or my mind, or my patient, or my student.” And, we’ve prayed to God to take sin out of the husband who drinks and the child who is delinquent. And, we have prayed to have poverty taken from the earth, as if there were any poverty on the earth. There is no poverty on the earth. The hills are filled with cattle, and the land is filled with crops; and there are loads and ways and means of increasing them. But, of course, if somebody hasn’t the money to buy them, then they can’t have them. If a nation hasn’t got enough gold reserve, they can’t have them. And so, we have conditions like today where there isn’t a storehouse or a barn across this entire width and breadth and length of this continent that would hold another bushel of wheat, or corn, or grain, or anything else. They’re so loaded. And, every year some hundreds of millions have to be taken out and burned, because they’re spoiling. At the same time, of course, that in India, in many parts, children have one meal in four days or four meals in a whole week. Adults, in some places, get only seven meals in a week, and they’re very skimpy meals, too.
And, of course, with all of this bounty and abundance, we are praying to have poverty taken from the land or the other land. Praying to God that way, even in India, which is certainly the most praying land on earth, hasn’t removed its poverty. And then somebody said, “Oh, yes, but, of course, they’re pagans.” And I say, “Well, the Christian lands have done a lot of praying, too, but you travel and see the results of the bombings that took place and the lack and limitation that are in some of the Christian nations; and you’ll find out their prayers haven’t been anymore fruitful than the pagan’s prayers.” And, on the contrary, those pagans incidentally have a higher sense of religion than the Christians. So, if it was really a sense of religion, it would be countries like India that would flourish more than we, if prayer was going to do anything.