At What Point Have We Become Too Clever for Our Own Good?
You Clever Two-legged Animal You!
Every day a true believer lives, he finds it easier to do the right thing…. (1740:8) 156:5.13
Both our own lives and the lives of those we know are filled with many examples of cleverness. Is cleverness a good path to pursue or bad?
Cleverness is a two-edged sword. It is a good thing when it leads to moral decision-making–choosing the higher good. It is a bad path when we act out mere selfish and self-serving behaviors.
Human civilization, such as it is in the present, has been built up over the eons of time by human cleverness.
The display of cleverness does not, in and of itself, indicate attainment to the spiritual. Cleverness is never a substitute for true character. And true character is that child-like faith-state, by which we may enter the spiritual “Holy of holies,” “the kingdom of heaven,” and the attainment of “light and life” within…the true and actual state of equipoise, equilibrium, trustworthiness, nobility, wisdom and lasting peace and joy.
Cleverness, leading to belief and faith, is our starting point in this mortal experience. Wisdom is our ultimate and ongoing attainment.
“You can know the truth, and you can live the truth; you can experience the growth of truth in the soul and enjoy the liberty of its enlightenment in the mind, but you cannot imprison truth in formulas, codes, creeds, or intellectual patterns of human conduct.” The Urantia Book, (180:5.2)
In order to better understand how we become too clever for our own good, let us start with the first of twenty-eight principles, which outline our physical-emotional, mental and spiritual development, over the course of the human lifetime.
(556.3) 48:7.3 1. A display of specialized skill does not signify possession of spiritual capacity. Cleverness is not a substitute for true character.
The human animal mind cleverly imprisons truth in
- and intellectual patterns of conduct.
When the individual enters into the formal studies and career in the hierarchies of so-called science, philosophy and religion, human thinking is largely imprisoned in formulas, codes, creeds and intellectual patterns of conduct. After all…is this not what is expected and demanded by those who have attained to ultimate authority? You either become a part of the system-matrix of clone behavior—automatic and mechanical thinking…or you cannot play… Play by the rules—act, think, dress, talk and behave like everyone around you, or get ridiculed, rejected, ostracized, excommunicated, exiled, imprisoned and sometimes…murdered…
A Zen master said to a monk, “You must see the universe in your cup.” The monk looked into his cup, but didn’t see the universe, so he threw the cup away. The Zen master said, “Oh, poor cup. We think the cup is too small to hold the universe. Intellectually, we can’t see how it could fit. But wherever we go, the whole universe always appears–in a cup, a window, in a smile, in a word.”
Until the pint is expanded to become a quart…the water droplets find their way into the river…the river meanders its way into the ocean…and the ocean releases itself into the air as invisible water vapor, which condenses into rain to start the cycle all over, again…the boxed-in thinking that sees only a pint and nothing more will continue to crystallize truth into formulas, codes, creeds and intellectual patterns of behavior.
In other words, when the human animal mind reduces truth to its least common denominator—formulas, codes, creeds and intellectual patterns of behavior—there is no room for true character. There is no room for a pint to become a quart. The river is dammed. The oceans become polluted. The Earth becomes a planet of scarcity, instead of a planet of plenty. There is only room for more cleverness—to be more clever—even the most clever among the two-legged animals, who believe they possess the absolute truth, and have the right to dominate all others whether it is ownership of one’s children and spouse, or the ownership of the whole planet.
The truth of true character is a living experience, which cannot be contained in the fossilized words of human speech; it cannot be contained in formulas, codes, creeds and intellectual patterns of behavior. I am ever aware that every word I utter and every word I type is but a fossilized representation of a living experience, which becomes adulterated the moment it appears in verbal or written form.
The “I am that I am” manifestation of true character, however, is not a lie. Most of us recognize the true character, or lack thereof, in others. We intuitively know when someone is truthful or a liar, is a friend or an enemy, has our back or will do us harm, will be there in our moment of emergency-need, or is nowhere to be found, and is trustworthy or deceitful. We can ever more readily recognize these traits in others than in ourselves.
At what point, then, do we become too clever for our own good? It is exactly the point where we are faced with choosing to be selfish and self-serving or setting aside the wants and needs of the self to serve the higher good in our relations with others. A child is playing with a toy that another tries to take away and begins crying to get. One child will aggressively hang onto his toy, and even hit the other child in punishment for attempting to take his toy. Another child will readily give up his toy to the other child, without even having the emotional-mental development to understand why he acted this way; it is just what he felt led to do. And this example can be applied to almost all situational circumstances in life, at every level of emotional-mental development.
It could even be said that the behavior of men in power over nations are either like the bully on the playground, who will push, shove, lie, deceive, fight, and murder for ultimate control, or like the benevolent child, who is ever sharing, supporting, educating in ways that children learn how to support themselves, building and saving for the long-term benefit and welfare of his people, and promoting peaceful relations with all other men and women in positions of power, while taking only enough to support his or her existence.
What we observe at this present time in the history of the evolution of human civilization is a giant playground, ruled by a relative handful of bullies, who will do anything and everything to maintain control over the masses.
On the other hand, I see a growing number of individuals, within the masses, who are evolving true characters. And this is a positive sign of the great awakening ahead…to greater capacity for living spiritually and the evolving development and attainment to true character…