In the ancient cathedral of Orvieto, on the frescoes by Orcagna, are depicted solemn, joyous ascensions of the righteous into the heavenly realm. Under them demons are dragging the sinners by the hair to the tortures of hell. Angels do not haul anyone into paradise forcibly, by the hair. Only into hell is one dragged by the hair, by force. The ancient proverb "one does not drag by the hair into paradise" has a deep and ever memorable significance. Verily, one cannot haul anyone by force into paradise.
All that is unnatural is contrary to nature. Likewise, this is so regarding the degrees of ascent. Only those can fit in who, in one way or another, have already accepted this order in their consciousness. If someone, for some reason, cannot breathe in the mountain air, you cannot force him to go against his nature. The oxygen tank will help only briefly. In any event, it will not help so much as it will give the illusion of help. As soon as the artificial oxygen comes to an end, its lack will be felt tenfold.
If someone's blood vessels burst because of the altitude, it means that he could not exist on these heights. His nature proved unadaptable to them. May be with the aid of lengthy, gradual, fully understood exercises, the circulation could adjust itself to the new existence. But one should not forcibly, suddenly burden a nature that is not adapted to many and lengthy experiments.
All artificial, or properly speaking, forced measures usually produce a crude reaction, a destructive rebellion which does not do any good. Naturalness lies in true co-measurement and systematic planning. Rebellions arise also because of various degrees of consciousness. True, one may observe quite conscious rebellions as expressions measured and planned for a contemplated goal. But more often this may be simply called a rebellion of crude matter which in general opposes the possibility of natural improvements. The rebel often will not give any definite answer as to why and, chiefly, for what he rebels and attempts to crush something not quite explicit to him. He simply tries to unsettle something which he thinks hinders him. But due to inexperience or rather, ignorance, he, desiring to break up something, inflicts terrible and at limes deadly blows primarily upon himself.
It will be a weak excuse if certain exterior circumstances or some kind of heredity disturb the nature in its normal systematic growth. Self-vindication means self-deception. Not without reason did this become a proverb: "He who excuses himself accuses himself." There is also another proverb, for some reason referring to Jupiter: "Jupiter, thou art angry, it means thou art wrong." Of course, under this "anger" one should understand not just sternness, but jarring, foul-mouthed bombast.
When advice is given to carefully preserve one's essential nature this does not mean that one should avoid all danger, all possibility of achievement. Guarding the essence is not an impediment to self-sacrifice and heroic action. Under the preservation of one's essence must be understood the discovery of all possibilities for perfectment and for improvement. Indeed, in this procedure the essence will be directed naturally. Through all the subtlest means one can be reminded about this natural path. But it is unwise even partially to use force if certain matters contrary to ascent are not yet outlived.
A wise teacher will never compel anyone to read certain books. He may offer an opportunity to become acquainted with useful sources, but he will not force, even indirectly. And what good would it do if that which is read is accepted under a stigma of ill will or distrust? Proofs of this are book reviews. You will feel at once which review is unprejudiced, written with a frank desire to clarify the work, and also when the review was conceived with an obscure prejudice, to tell not what was written but precisely what was not written. Prejudice is an antagonist and a destroyer of the essence. If for some reason the heart, this treasury of the essence, appears to be sealed or filled with pus, then no natural, just judgment can arise. Darkness will whisper a multitude of doubts and perplexities, which could be solved even by a child's brain. And darkness puts on a strong lock.
Of course, all kinds of narcotics, from the most deadly to the commonly accepted ones, are an impediment to and distortion of nature. The doses of such narcotics are indeed quite varied. You may often hear an observation that even a great quantity of narcotics did not prove to have a visible influence upon one's neighbor. To begin with, what is "visible," and for what kind of an eye is it visible? And in the second place, we do not know to what an extent this neighbor was armed with his own, different accumulations. In general, the use of narcotics proves that the will has been weakened, in oilier words, an unnatural condition of the nature.
The essence is disbursed quite systematically and justly. People themselves attempt to distort and demean it. The preservation of the essence is neither magic nor something supernatural. On the contrary, this condition is most natural. In it the will is strengthened in a natural manner, psychic energy is developed and applied naturally. Why turn to some unnatural conjurations where the most natural and fecund order of perfectment is possible? Above all, benevolent creativeness, in all its applications, will also be a natural expression of life. Furthermore, all liberation from coarseness and prejudice will be the best aid in the preservation of the essence.
The essence should not be understood only materially. Since matter is only one of the properties of the spirit, the essence appears to define all natural conditions. The heart works naturally when we do not notice it. All other organs, although performing the most complex chemical work, accomplish this unnoticeably. Likewise, the natural condition of the essence will be beneficent and unnoticeable. Like the highest tension of electricity, it will spread beneficially, but the ordinary eye and the ordinary ear will not notice it. Thus, it is obvious that all violence, all withdrawal from a natural condition are inapplicable.
Often considerable time, and striving toward an immediate improvement, are needed. Often there may occur flashes accumulated long before but forgotten in the recesses of matter; many possibilities are given — they should only be adopted! Often the very intensity of labor or life's obstacles bring the consciousness to the natural path. Not without reason is the benefit of the sweat of labor often pointed out. And yet, the sweat can be understood in different ways, crudely and also spiritually.
Doors and windows must be opened benevolently. The ways should not be barred by poisonous gases. Death-bearing missiles should not fall from the heavens. Not with cannon fire can the essence of good be brought back. It is a joy to think about the good essence — destined for good. One may join in a hearty discussion about all that leads to creativeness for good. Let us not fear accumulation and repetition of the definitions of good. Good is needed. Good is urgent. The vault of heaven is supported by good.
August 5, 1935