In these pages, I am giving you one of the most valuable gifts you will ever receive....the ability to learn to look at the marvelous adventure of life on this earth with greater comprehension.

Following is an introduction to the writings of Jane Roberts and SETH, along with a listing of their combined literary works, and three related images. In their value to the inhabitants of this earth, the teachings of Seth are considered to be as important as the original teachings of Jesus.

The Nature of Reality

As words would give little hint of the reality of color or sound to someone who did not experience these, so words can only give insight into the nature of reality. I have been sent to help you, and others have been sent through the centuries of your time, for as you develop you form new dimensions, and you will help others.

There is never any justification for violence. There is no justification for hatred. There is no justification for murder. Those who indulge in violence for whatever reason are themselves changed, and the purity of their purpose adultered.

If you do not like the state of your world, it is you yourselves that must change, individually and en masse. This is the only way that change will be effected.

The responsibility for your life and your world is indeed yours. It has not been forced upon you by some outside agency. You form your own dreams and you form your own physical reality. The world is what you are. It is the physical materialization of the inner selves which you have formed.

It is wrong to curse a flower and wrong to curse a man. It is wrong not to hold any man in honor, and it is wrong to ridicule any man. Your must honor yourselves and see within yourselves the spirit of eternal validity. You must honor all other individuals, because within each is the spark of this validity. When you curse another, you curse yourselves, and the curse returns to you. When you are violent, the violence returns.

I speak to you because yours is the opportunity to better world conditions and yours is the time. Do not fall into the old ways that will lead you precisely into the world that you fear.

There is no man who hates but that hatred is reflected outward and made physical, and there is no man who loves but that love is reflected outward and made physical.

Beyond myself there is another self and still another, of which I am aware. And that self tells you that there is a reality beyond human reality and experience that cannot be made verbal or translated into human terms. And to that self, physical reality is like a warm breath forming in the winter air...

Exerpted from the teachings of SETH

What's the Deal with Jane Roberts & SETH?

I have been asked that question a number of times, often by people who visit my home and see the lineup of “Seth” books on the bookshelf.

Some inquisitors have heard of Seth. “Isn’t that some sort of ‘power of positive thinking’ kind of thing?” is the most frequent follow-up question.

There is no quick or easy answer to either question. Inevitably, two areas are addressed in the ensuing conversation: (1) the general philosophy presented within the Seth books, and (2) the rather unconventional manner in which this complex and imposing body of work came to be.

The purpose of this essay is to introduce the reader to what the Seth Material (as it is generally known) is, and just as importantly, what it is not.

At the outset, I must offer two caveats. First, like the blind man and the elephant, I admit that I have not (yet) read the entire body of work (few have), and as such it is rather presumptuous of me to orient you to it.

Second, I also bring a certain bias to my description of the Seth Material. To borrow an analogy presented in a quantum physics textbook I once read, regular Seth readers generally approach Seth books the way car enthusiasts might approach a brand-new Corvette. Half instinctively pop the hood to admire and discuss all the things that make it start, stop, turn and go. The other half just want to get behind the wheel, crank the engine, and go roaring through the nearest “S” turns like a pack of wild teenagers.

I am of the second group. While I am aware of, and appreciate, the manner in which the Seth books came to be, I am far more interested in discussing, and attempting to apply, the principles outlined in them. Some in the Houston Seth Group think as I do. Others prefer to peer endlessly under the hood, fascinated by the “mechanics” by which the books were produced. Each of us also differs as to the specific portion and the extent of the Seth Material we have read.

Perhaps the greatest tribute to Seth is that these differences serve to bring us closer together rather than to drive us apart. In that, we all agree, there is perhaps a hopeful lesson that the material has broader social and societal applications.

Under the Hood: Jane, Rob and the History of Seth

The Seth Material dates back to the early 1960’s in Elmira, a quaint town perched near the Pennsylvania border in New York’s Finger Lakes region. Elmira boasts beautiful homes and an established literary heritage. Many years ago, Samuel Clemens came to escape the Mississippi River Valley summer heat. He wrote a number of books including Huck Finn while in Elmira.

Robert Butts and his wife Jane Roberts lived in an apartment in a Victorian house on Water Street. They were young Bohemians of sorts: she a writer and he an artist. They carved a spare living out of their creative passions, supplemented with various odd jobs. Involuntarily, Jane began having what she called psychic experiences. Unable to ignore these experiences, she and Rob one night borrowed a Ouija board to see if they could better “focus” whatever was happening to her.

After a couple unsuccessful sessions with the Ouija board, Jane and Rob started receiving intelligible messages, the planchette drifting from letter to letter, forming words, then sentences. Rob asked the Ouija to identify the personality behind the mysterious communications. “Seth,” the board replied. Soon, Jane found “Seth’s” words coming to her far faster than they could be spelled out on the board. Before long, she began lapsing into a trance state in which she would speak Seth’s words directly.

By the mid-'60’s, Jane would host a group of students in her home a couple times each week for what she called “ESP Classes.” The students learned how to develop their own latent psychic abilities (or not) and the modest fees they paid helped Jane and Rob cover the rent. The gregarious Seth had by now manifested a distinct personality. He did not keep his presence a private matter for long. Regularly during the ESP classes, Jane would fall into a trance state and begin “channeling” Seth, her voice deepening, gaining strength, and taking on a peculiar (some say Russian) accent.

Jovial and opinionated, Seth would answer students’ questions about a wide variety of subjects, generally centering on some aspect of the nature of reality.

Through it all, Rob took copious notes, developing his own shorthand and serving as scribe to these public and private sessions with Seth. The notes were first published under the title How to Develop Your ESP Power, the book subsequently reissued under a new title, The Coming of Seth.

To Jane and Rob’s surprise, Seth one day announced that he wished to write a book. Four nights a week, Jane would channel Seth, and Robert would scribe (always by hand). That first book was published as dictated without editing under the title Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul. Rob penned liner notes to add perspective and describe his wife’s mannerisms as she channeled the work of the mysterious author.

“Speaks” stands as an extraordinary work frequently credited as the watershed of the New Age Movement of the late ‘60’s and beyond. A number of principles in the book presaged subatomic (quantum) particle theories that would surface years or decades later. It also painted a pragmatic and ardently responsible “theory of everything,” tying together science, religion, philosophy, and both personal and societal ethics.

Seth proved to be an inveterate author, dictating several more books of increasing complexity, serving as classroom teacher to burgeoning numbers of students, and conducting endless private sessions with Jane and Rob.

Interestingly, Jane remained ever the skeptic regarding her unplanned vocation as Seth’s mouthpiece. An author herself, she continued to write conventionally, producing a number of fiction and non-fiction titles under her own name. No one questioned the nature of Seth and his revolutionary ideas more fervently than did Jane and Rob, the matter sometimes worming its way into Jane’s “non-Seth” books.

It should be noted that Seth’s and Jane Roberts’ respective books betray very different writing styles and personalities. Jane’s style could be direct and clinical; Seth’s style warm and jovial. Jane’s books were subjected to the normal editing process. Seth’s books were published as dictated, with only occasional grammatical or punctuation refinements.

The self-deprecating Seth referred to himself as an “old ghost.” He admonished his readers to think for themselves, trust their own instincts and question everything, including his own writings.

On February 26th, 1982, Jane was hospitalized for an under-active thyroid gland, severe arthritis, and other complications. She died on September 5, 1984 at the age of 55. Seth’s voice was likewise silenced.

What remained was two decades of dictated material; some published, some not, all recorded on lined paper in Rob’s block lettering. Sweeping, complex, interconnected and elegant, the volume of work has received what could be considered the ultimate academic blessing. Boxes upon boxes of Rob’s original Seth notes reside permanently in the prestigious Yale Archives in New Haven, where volunteers endeavor to commit Seth’s words to a comprehensive computer database.

Several years after the death of Jane Roberts, Rob remarried. He and his present wife Lauren, who considered herself fortunate to have had the privilege of knowing Jane Roberts during her lifetime, together worked to compile and publish nine volumes of the Early Sessions, books which predated The Coming of Seth.

Did Jane Roberts go into trances and channel the words of an invisible entity into a virtual library? Or, was it literary legerdemain, some sort of scam?

Choose your poison. Seth addressed the question directly, noting that a trance is a natural state, merely a matter of focusing one’s consciousness, not unlike hypnosis. Jane’s ability to reach such a state allowed a “bridge” between herself and Seth, he explained.

Jane pondered the possibility that “Seth” was merely a fragment of her own higher consciousness, perhaps akin to a multiple personality. Seth did not completely disagree with this assessment.

The third alternative is that Jane simply faked Seth for two decades. That this modestly educated young woman from Elmira dictated hundreds of thousands of pages of complex, revolutionary and integrated material, mostly in front of an audience, speaking with a vocal resonance, dialect and cadence distinctly different from her own. That she simultaneously produced an impressive collection of fiction and nonfiction works, in a completely different style, under her own name.

Those unfamiliar with the Seth writings may casually default to Curtain #3. But acquaintances of Jane and Rob, along with those familiar with Jane solely through her (and Seth’s) writings generally discount the “fake” theory as the least-viable explanation.

My opinion? I really don’t know, but I do believe there are mysteries of consciousness of which we are simply ignorant. I strongly suspect that we are more than our physical bodies. Throughout history, across Earth’s many cultures, humans have had unexplainable “glimpses” into a world that exists beyond the veil of our five traditional senses.

Anyone can play baseball, but few are blessed with the natural ability to excel at the game. Fewer still rise to the challenge of honing those unique, seemingly God-given skills into such legendary careers as Ruth, Mays, Musial and Jackson. I think Jane Roberts had unique psychic abilities. I think she combined these mysterious skills with her natural skills as an author (augmented by Robert Butts’ dedication as scribe and readers’ advocate) to produce the Seth Material.

The writings they have left stand as an extraordinary reminder of that which we do not know; and perhaps also of the depth of wisdom available to us if we are simply willing to open our eyes and our minds to it.

Taking the ‘Vette for a Spin: the World According to Seth

Seth details a philosophy of conscious creation. This philosophy supposes that:

* Physical reality arises from consciousness, not the other way around.
* We create our own reality.
* We are not at the mercy of a disjointed deity or subconscious.
* We are multi-dimensional beings; more than our physical bodies.
* Time and space are dimensional “illusions” we jointly create and by which we tacitly agree to abide.
* At the core of our being, we reside in a realm in which time and space do not exist.
* We are, in essence, creative spiritual beings having an earthly experience.
* The fate of each of us is in our own hands.
* We have multiple, perhaps infinite, life experiences. Problems not faced in this life will be faced in another.
* We cannot blame God, society, or our parents for “misfortunes,” since before this physical life we chose the circumstances into which we would be born and the challenges that could best bring about our development.
* We form physical matter as effortlessly and unselfconsciously as we breathe. Telepathically, we are all aware of the mass ideas from which we form our overall conception of physical reality.

Metaphysics is defined as the branch of philosophy that examines the nature of reality including the relationship between mind and matter, substance and attribute, fact and value. Seth admonishes his readers to approach these matters not as mere observers, not as victims of either chance or the whim of some celestial clockmaker, but as spiritually intelligent creatures. Reality, he says, does not unfold randomly or chaotically, but intelligently and holistically, each of us as a unit of consciousness carrying our own load in the creative process.

In the reality painted by Seth, an idea is an event, and plays as important and tangible a role in our reality as any event. This is not a new concept, dating in terms of Western civilization back to Plato. What is new in the Seth Material is the extension of this abstract philosophy to a tangible process carried through to its logical conclusion. What is even more remarkable is the clarity of thought and presentation Seth brings to his treatises on this complex issue and many others.

Seth proves to be an articulate teacher and a whimsical agent provocateur of thought. He will challenge every prejudice, predisposition, bias and assumption you bring to his podium. If you are like so many others, your mind, once expanded to the reality of your true potential, will never go back to its “original size.”

Seth provides as clear, pragmatic and responsible a roadmap for Life’s journey as any we have today. It also happens to be stimulating and joyous reading of the highest order.

Low-B.S. FAQ

I generally dislike FAQs (frequently asked questions) because they tend to give overly simplistic answers to complex questions. However, since they are central to the Internet’s culture, and because the Seth Material attracts certain questions like a magnet, I will use the format to “cut to the chase” on some inevitable questions.

“Is the Seth Material compatible with religion and/or science?”

The Seth Material parallels much of the core wisdom undergirding western religions, eastern religions, and modern science. But the system of reality outlined by Seth is generally incompatible with any sort of dogma, religious or scientific. If you adhere unbendingly to dogmas of either discipline, you will probably find the Seth Material uninteresting or ludicrous. If you are firm in your belief that humans are passive, objective observers of the scientific process with no impact on outcomes, you will likely label the Seth Material as pseudo-science or worse. If you are firm in your belief that humans are congenitally flawed creatures somehow separated from a divine Maker who demands worship and metes punishment, you may well find this material blasphemous. In either case, don’t waste your money or your time.

“Does the Seth Material favor the concept of reincarnation?”

Yes, both on earth and within other dimensional realities.

“How about karma?”

No, Seth does not advocate the concept of karma, or “paybacks” carried from one lifetime to the next. Seth speaks of physical lifetimes arising from a timeless, spaceless realm of Consciousness. In these terms, multiple lifetimes essentially occur simultaneously. Lessons not learned in one lifetime will be learned in another. Love not practiced in one lifetime will be practiced in another. However, there is no “karma” carried between linear lifetimes in the traditional sense of eastern religions.

“Does Seth recognize the divinity of Jesus Christ?”

Seth addresses a number of religious issues throughout the material, including both the historical and Biblical figures of Jesus. Seth presents some startling insights with which “Conservative Christians” will likely take umbrage or find completely unacceptable. Other followers of Jesus and his then-revolutionary ideas conversely may find their own faith strengthened by Seth’s observations.

“I’m an atheist (or an agnostic). Am I going to run into some kind of religious solicitation buried somewhere in the Seth Material?”

No. Seth’s writings deal objectively with issues of religion, beliefs and faith. He eschews all dogmas, including, it should be noted, those of organized atheism and humanism.

“Are you guys a cult? Are you waiting for the spaceship behind the comet?”

No, and no. The Houston Seth Group is a readers’ group. We meet informally to discuss and debate the Seth Material. We also meet socially, and several close friendships have arisen within the group. We hope to never have close contact with a comet or a spaceship.

“Do I need to get interested in Ouija Boards or any other New-Age stuff to read Seth?”

You apparently haven’t been paying attention. Some Seth enthusiasts find Ouija Boards or other New-Age trappings compatible with their interest in Seth. Others have no interest in such activities. However, avid Seth readers invariably are voracious consumers of a broad array of books and periodicals involving the nature of reality. We tend to be introspective, skeptical, and very curious. Several of us meditate routinely. Without exception, members of our group are also committed to making positive changes in our own lives and in the lives of those with whom we come in contact. Toward this end, Seth enthusiasts tend to gravitate to vocations, avocations or volunteer activities that focus on creative pursuits, or helping and serving others.

“Do you really think you (we) can change the world just by believing you (we) can?”

Yes, and by recognizing and removing the limiting beliefs that keep me (us) from doing so.

“How do we know that the Seth Material is not the work of an evil spirit?”

This is certainly a sensitive question, asked sincerely by those who fear an ulterior motive within any "channeled" communication. Perhaps Seth's own words provide the best assurance I can offer. I would leave it to the reader to determine whether these words are indicative of evil:

"There is never any justification for violence. There is no justification for hatred. There is no justification for murder. Those who indulge in violence for whatever reason are themselves changed, and the purity of their purpose adultered. It is wrong to curse a flower and wrong to curse a man. It is wrong not to hold any man in honor, and it is wrong to ridicule any man. Your must honor yourselves and see within yourselves the spirit of eternal validity. You must honor all other individuals, because within each is the spark of this validity. When you curse another, you curse yourselves, and the curse returns to you. When you are violent, the violence returns."

Above essay, courtesy of Jim Serra, Member,


“Where do I start? Which book(s) should I read first? Where do I find them?”

Seth books are available at many bookstores, generally in the New Age or Philosophy sections. Many libraries stock Seth books. You can also buy them on line (several online sources of Seth books are included in the “links” section of this website). The Seth Material or Seth Speaks are both good places to start. Then you can move on to other titles that you find of interest. If you have been given a gift of one or more books authored by Jane Roberts / Seth, the gift-giver has undoubtedly given great thought to the introductory book(s) you have received, and may also have provided a chronological list you may wish to follow, should these books capture your interest. One is provided here as well. is among those which stock these books.


The Game of Life : Creating Your Own Reality

Imagine that you are about to participate in an interactive role-playing game. There are rules in this game that everyone agrees to: what goes up must come down, day is followed by night, if you touch a flame it will burn you, etc. etc. You get to choose the character you play beforehand; shall I be black or white, Australian or American, male or female? You might even choose to meet up with others in the game, which is tricky because you won’t necessarily remember them when you see them.

To enter the game, you must be “born” and become completely helpless. You must forget everything you know and start all over again. You are given sets of rules by the “older” players which you learn as you go along. After a given time, you are declared an “adult” by the other players and are sent out on your own.

The thing is, after a while, you become so involved, so completely immersed in the personality of the character that you are playing in this game, that you forget who you really are.

You forget that you’re even in a game, and you begin to believe that the game is all there is.

Now, you still get to decide everything that happens to your character, which you do constantly, but as a player who has now totally identified with the character you have chosen to portray, you begin to believe that everything that transpires is happening by “chance” or “fate”.

When the character you play goes to sleep, you return to your real self. This is also your opportunity to plan ahead and manifest the character's desires and wishes. When the character later awakens, it is with the belief that he/she was simply “dreaming”.

Some players, realizing that there has to be more than just this game, will start searching for answers. Some conclude that someone must have invented this game, and probably all the players in it. They begin to worship this mysterious “someone” who obviously must be much smarter than they are, and invent more rules that they insist were made by the original game creator.

The only way to leave this game is called dying. Once this transpires, you remember who you really are and you rejoin friends - some of whom were in this game with you. You may also interact with some who were involved with other games - and share your experiences.

The game, you conclude, was fun, adventurous and a great learning experience, and you decide you’d like to play again; this time in a different setting


Jane Roberts (1929--1984), a prolific and courageous writer of fiction and non-fiction, and poetry, is considered one of the most important psychics of the twentieth century.

In 1963, author Jane Roberts and her husband were trying a Ouija board, when, to their surprise, they started to receive messages from a being that called itself Seth. Soon, Jane began to hear the words in her head before they formed on the board, and she began to speak for Seth. The messages were those of a highly intelligent, witty personality which seemed very much 'alive' - despite its claim to be "an energy personality essence no longer focused in physical reality".

A rational, down-to-earth person, Jane did not accept Seth at face value. Her initial belief was that Seth, teacher/philosopher/"Speaker", was a manifestation of her own mind.

But Seth's messages were of such profound philosophical insight, which touched upon subjects that Jane had had no previous interest in, or held different opinions about (such as the reality of reincarnation, on which Seth firmly insisted), that she came to accept Seth as a being independent of her own personality.

From 1963 through 1984, Seth spoke through Roberts while her husband took dictation. Jane and her husband held regular Seth sessions, all meticulously transcribed by Robert Butts, and many of the sessions were also tape recorded through the years by her students or visiting scientists.

Ultimately nine Seth books were published in addition to another fourteen books penned by Roberts herself. Almost all remain in print today and have sold over 7.5 million copies around the world.

Throughout her life, Roberts rigorously questioned and wrote about consciousness, the source creativity, her own psychic abilities and the abilities of others. Her writing and journals, as well as a wealth of additional unpublished Seth material, are now housed in the Yale Archives, where it is consistently one of the most visited collections in the library. The Seth material is the only work of metaphysical literature in the archives of Yale University, attesting to its quality and significance. The Seth Material holds particular interest for those engaged in the study of quantum physics.

About entering the trance or dream state:

"You usually glide from wakefulness through to sleep without ever noticing the various conditions of consciousness through which you pass, yet there are several. First, of course, with various degrees of spontaneity, there is the inward turn of consciousness away from physical data, from worries and concerns of the day. Then there is an undifferentiated level between wakefulness and sleep where you act as a receiver - passive but open, in which telepathic and clairvoyant messages come to you quite easily. Your consciousness can seem to float..... (...)

This period can last for only a few moments, for half an hour, or can be returned to. It is a cushioning, supportive, and expansive stage of consciousness.

Suggestions given during this time are highly effective. Following this period there is an active state, that can occur, of pseudodreaming, where the mind busies itself with physical concerns that have managed to cling through the first two stages. (...)

Now: These stages of consciousness are all a part of your own reality. A knowledge of them can be most useful. You can learn to "shift gears," stand aside from your own experience, and examine it with much better perspective. You can prepare questions or problems, suggesting that they be solved for you in the sleep state. You can suggest that you will speak with distant friends, or convey important messages that you cannot convey verbally, perhaps. You can bring about reconciliations, for example, at another layer of reality though you cannot do so in this one.

You can direct the healing of your body, telling yourself that this will be accomplished by you at one of the other levels of sleep consciousness, and you may ask for the aid of a Speaker to give you any necessary psychological guidance that is needed to maintain health. If you have particular conscious goals, and if you are reasonably certain that they are beneficial ones, then you can suggest dreams in which they occur, for the dreams themselves will hasten their physical reality."


"You would be much better off in reading this book if you asked yourself who you are, rather than [asking] who I am, for you cannot understand what I am unless you understand the nature of personality and the characteristics of consciousness."

"So I ask you: 'What is your name, each of you?' My name is nameless. I have no name. I give you the name of Seth because it is a name and you want names. You give yourselves names..., because you believe they are important. "Your existence is nameless. It is not voiceless, but it is nameless. The names you take are structures upon which you hang your images . . . What you are cannot be uttered, and no letter or alphabet can contain it. Yet, now you need words and letters, and names and objects. You want magic that will tell you what you are. "You believe that you cannot speak to me unless I have a name, so I am Seth.... I told Ruburt [Seth ascribes a male name, Rubert, to Jane Roberts] from our earliest sessions that he could call me Seth. I never said, 'My name is Seth,' (but 'I call myself Seth'ómy emphasis), for I am nameless. I have had too many identities to cling to one name!"

"I have been sent to help you, and others have been sent through the centuries of your time, for as you develop you also form new dimensions, and you will help others. I am in this room speaking to Robert [Jane Roberts husband, Robert Butts] although there is no object within which you can place me. You have a vehicle to use, a body that you call your own, and that is all. You are as disembodied as I. I come here as though I appeared through a hole in space and time. What you call emotion or feeling is the connective between us."

"Your spirit joined itself with flesh, and in flesh, to experience a world of incredible richness, to help create a dimension of reality of colors and of form. Your spirit was born in flesh to enrich a marvelous area of sense awareness, to feel energy made into corporeal form. You are here to use, enjoy, and express yourself through the body.

"You are here to aid in the great expansion of consciousness. You are not here to cry about the miseries of the human condition, but to change them when you find them not to your liking through the joy, strength and vitality that is within you; to create the spirit as faithfully and as beautifully as you can in flesh."

"According to what you have been taught, you are composed of physical matter and cannot escape it, and this is not so. The physical matter will disintegrate but you will not. I can assure you that death is another beginning. You have lived before and you will live again, and when you are done with physical existence, you will still live. I want you to feel your own vitality. Feel it travel through the universe and know that it is not dependent upon your physical image.

"I am life and I am death. Now when death can talk about death, that is your answer. Only the living are so mute. Think of your definitions. In certain terms, you are all dead and have been for centuries. In other terms you are not yet born and centuries will come before you walk upon the surface of the earth. Yet you are alive, and you take it for granted that I am dead, and so, what a delightful game we play!

"What I am trying to show you is that individuality continues. Now, I have been born and died more times than I can remember. And yet, in my present state, my individuality continues. It is not my essence. It is not buried in some bovine goodness in which I must think beautiful thoughts and become lost in the beauty of the Universe. I am part of the beauty of the Universe, and as such, my individuality continues-as does your own."

"You sense here the energy of your being, and it is death and it is life, for the two are one and united, and, in your terms, are the faces of the same reality. You will never know, in your terms again, the self that you are now, and yet it will never end, and you will always remember it. Yet there is a history, in other terms, to your being, and you can read that history. In your terms, you can look backward toward reincarnational lives, but they are not you..."

"Life implies death, and death implies life--that is, in the terms of your world. You could not die unless you were the kind of creature who was born, nor could you have a present moment as you consider it. Your body is aware of the fact of its death at birth, and of its birth at its death, for all of its possibilities for action take place in the area between. Death is therefore as creative as birth, as necessary for action and consciousness, in your terms.

"Here time as you think of it has little meaning. You could compare the two different time experiences in this way: In your dimension it is as if remembered events were like pieces of furniture, all arranged in one room, in a given order. Living in that room, you can find your way between various pieces easily. You then move out into a larger and different kind of room, and here the furniture may be rearranged in any fashion, arranged and rearranged to your heart's content. You may form different combinations from it and use it for different purposes as you might visit a new residence and move some of your belongings there before you officially make it your own. There will be guides to help you and you will hardly notice that you have entirely moved in, for you will feel so at home. Shortly, training periods will begin. It will become your turn then to help others and be their source of strength.

"Now the new body is, of course, not a new one at all, but simply a body not physical in your terms, one that you use in astral projections, one that gives the vitality and strength to the physical body that you know. Your flesh is embedded in it now. When you leave the physical body, the other body is quite real to you and seems physical, although it has many more freedoms.

"First of all, there are verbal difficulties having to do with the definition of life. It appears to you that there is living matter and nonliving matter, leading to such questions as: "How does nonliving matter become living?"

"There is no such thing, in your terms, as nonliving matter. There is simply a point that you recognize as having the characteristics that you have ascribed to life, or living conditions---a point that meets the requirements that you have arbitrarily set.

"This makes it highly difficult in a discussion, however, for there is no particular point at which life was inserted into nonliving matter. There is no point at which consciousness emerged. Consciousness is within the tiniest particle. There was no point at which consciousness was introduced, because consciousness was the illumination from which the first cells emerged.

"There is a design and a designer, but they are so combined, the one within and one without, that it is impossible to separate them. The Creator is also within its creations, and the creations themselves are gifted with creativity and that each contains an infinite capacity for development---and that each is innately blessed.

"In the dawn of physical existence, men knew that death was merely a change of form."

"What you call death is rather your choice to focus in other dimensions and realities. You do not acquire a 'spirit' at death. You are one, now! You adopt a body as a space traveler wears a space suit, and for much the same reason."

"You are not any of those past selves, even though they are a part of the history of your being. They are themselves in their own space and time. You are as different from those reincarnational selves, therefore, as you are from your parents, though you share certain backgrounds and characteristics. So you can theoretically expand your consciousness to include the knowledge of your past lives, though those lives were yours and not yours. The next step is taken when identity is able to include within itself the intimate knowledge of all incarnations. Yet in this state, the independence of the various reincarnated selves is not diminished as each separate identity then seeks to know and experience its other portions, then All That Is learns Who and What It Is. Action never ceases its exploration of itself."

"In each life you choose and create your own settings or environments; and in this one you chose your parents and whatever childhood incidents that came within your experience. You wrote the script. Like a true absent minded professor, the conscious self forgets all this, however, so when tragedy appears in the script, difficulty or challenges, the conscious self looks for someone or something to blame."

"....When consciousness splits off from itself, the original is not less, but a new synthesis occurs. Such psychological births take place often in one life, quite escaping your notice.... The self is quite able to keep track of its own journeys into various realities and times, and feels no confusion. ..."

"Reincarnation involves the historical periods that you recognize, and the seemingly sequential progress of events. Your reincarnational selves more or less belong to the same probability, translated into historical terms. Since all time is simultaneous, however, all frameworks of historical nature are being formed at once. In those terms you are born in the past with your knowledge of the future held in unconscious abeyance, and you are born in the future convinced that your knowledge of the past comes only from history books."

"The entire complex social world rests however on strong probable relationships, and the power behind civilizations rests upon a great unconscious rapport, and is built upon, in any given present, future and past, personal and social relationships."

"An excess of male lives will turn a personality sour in a feminine manner, without the inner understanding and compassion that is usually associated with the female sex. In like manner, consistent feminine personalities will turn harsh without the inner strength usually associated with the male sex. For this reason, most entities live lives as male and female."

"It does not follow that everyone with whom you are concerned was also involved with you in past lives. You will always meet new personalities in various existences, as well as people you have known.

"When you leave the physical system after reincarnations, you have learned the lesson and you are literally no longer a member of the human race, for you elect to leave it. Only the conscious self dwells within it in any case, and other portions of your identity dwell simultaneously within other training systems. In more advanced systems, thoughts and emotions are automatically and immediately translated into action, into whatever approximation of matter there exists. Therefore, the lessons must be taught and learned well."

"The teachers within your system are those in their last reincarnation, and other personalities who have left the system but have been assigned to help those still within it. The system also includes some fragment personalities what are entering for the first time, as well as those in later reincarnations."

"In the most basic sense, the purpose of life is being--as opposed to not being. In your system of three-dimensional reality you are learning about mental energy (also called thought energy or psychic energy) and how to use it."

"Knowledge about mental energy and its use is learned by constantly transforming your thoughts and emotions into physical form (your physical reality) and by then perceiving and dealing with the matter and events that are formed."

"From doing this, you are supposed to get a clear picture of your inner development as it is reflected by the exterior environment. You participate in physical reality so that you can operate and experience within this dimension. Here, you can develop your abilities, learn, create, solve problems and help others."

"Now, there are no limitations or divisions to the self. You can indeed depend upon seemingly unconscious portions of yourself. The seemingly unconscious portions of your body draws energy from food and molecules, from the air to form your body. All this happens because the inner portions of your being operate spontaneously, joyfully, freely; and all of this occurs because your inner self believes in you, often even while you do not believe in it. The you that you consider yourself to be is never annihilated. Your consciousness is not snuffed out, nor is it swallowed, blissfully unaware of itself, in some nirvana. You are as much a part of a nirvana now as you ever will be. You are in the process of expanding your psychic structure, of becoming a conscious participant with the soul. You are becoming what your soul is.

"There is nothing in your exterior experience that you did not originate within yourself. Interactions with others do occur, yet none occur what you do not attract or draw to you by your thoughts, feelings, attitudes or emotions. In your terms this applies both before, during and after physical life. In a most miraculous fashion you are given the gift of creating your own experiences.

"In this physical existence you are learning how to handle the inexhaustible energy that is available to you. Some of your feelings and thoughts are translated into objects. These exist in a medium you call space. Others are translated into events that exist in a medium you call time. Both of the concepts of space and time are illusions. They exist only in the physical realm. Since you are a part of "being," then you in effect give yourself the life that is being lived through you. While physical, while you are in the flesh, you are a portion of nature therefore, not apart from it. You can not strive to be above nature, and still be yourself.

"Beyond myself there is another self and still another, of which I am aware. And that self tells you that there is a reality beyond human reality and experience that cannot be made verbal or translated into human terms."

"Your soul was not born yesterday, but before the annals of time as you think of time. In your terms, you are its most latest addition. You are apart of the whole soul, but not yet aware of the greater portions of yourself. The characteristics that were yours at birth were yours for a reason. The inner self chose them. The inner self can even now alter many of them. You did not arrive at birth without a history. Your individuality was always latent within your soul.

"The pattern that is you is written first of all in the psyche, and is then faithfully decoded in your genes and chromosomes. Your you is expressed in flesh, but came first from the psyche which is beyond or outside of flesh. You are awake, alert and participating in many more realities than you know, as your soul expresses itself through you. You are a living picture in flesh of yourself or soul. You project what you think you are outward into flesh.

"It is more correct to think of the soul not as something you have rather, what you are. You frequently consider the soul as a finished thing that belongs to you but is not you. In truth your soul is the most intimate, powerful part of your inner self and is forever changing and growing. Your soul is alive, responsive, curious and in a constant state of becoming. The soul portion of you resides in other dimensions beyond the physical level. The soul portion of you is the most highly motivated, most highly energized, most potent consciousness unit know in any universe. Your soul, the soul that you are, that you are a part of, that soul is a far more creative, miraculous phenomenon that you can possibly imagine. Your soul possesses more wisdom, knowledge, information and strength than you can ever be consciously aware of.

"The soul is not something waiting for you at death, nor is it something you must save or redeem. You cannot lose it. It is indestructible. The fulfillment of the soul is not dependent upon arrivals at any points, spiritual or otherwise. Your own personality as you know it, that portion of you that you consider most precious, most uniquely you, will never be destroyed or lost. If you maintain a limited concept of the soul, then you cannot take advantage of its many abilities that are your own, and to some extent you cut yourself off from the source of your own being and creativity. The soul's abilities will continue to operate, but often in spite of what you believe rather than with your conscious cooperation.

"Your inner self knows its relationship with the soul. You think you perceive exclusively through your five physical senses, and yet you have only to extend your ego idea of reality, and you will find yourself accepting quite readily the existence of non-physical information coming from the soul portions of yourself.

"Having become aware of the true nature of the soul you can consciously begin to draw upon its greater energy, strength and understanding. In so doing your ideas concerning your own nature will change and expand, for you will have removed limitations to your growth. The wonderful results will be felt down to the smallest cells of your body and will effect the most seemingly mundane events of your life.

"You were born into a state of grace. It is impossible for you to leave it. You will die in a state of grace whether or not special words are spoken for you, or water or oil is poured upon your head. You share this blessing with the animals and all other living things. You cannot fall out of grace, nor can it be taken from you. You can ignore it. You can hold beliefs that blind you to its existence. You will still be graced but unable to perceive your own uniqueness and integrity, and blind also to other attributes with which you are automatically gifted."

"You sell yourself short if you believe that you are only a physical organism living within the boundaries cast upon you by time and space....You are a unique individual. You form your physical environment. You are part of all that is. There is no place within you that creativity does not exist."

"Now, reality has no beginning and no end. Hopefully— hopefully— hopefully, in your terms of time, you may get a glimpse of what I mean. There is indeed an expanding universe, and it is formed in the eternal present. In my book I will go as far as I can into those precepts, yet some [of you] will not follow. You create your own reality. That works, and is true, whether or not you follow, or care to follow, into these other realms.

"For those of you who do accompany me, I promise you an adventure, a creative alteration of consciousness, and experiences beyond those that you have known in your terms. You look at the world around you and are amazed at its richness and variety. Do you think that the inner world is not as rich, even more rich, more valid? Do you think there is but one kind of consciousness?

"Your world is formed out of the vast unpredictability of consciousness. From it you form your own ideas of significance and of yourself... You must stop thinking in terms of ordinary progression. It is bad enough when you worry about keeping up with the Joneses. It is something else, however, when you start worrying ahout which kind of self [Or consciousness] is superior to another kind."

"You are like children with a game, and you think that the game is played by everyone. Physical life is not the rule. Identity and consciousness existed long before your earth was formed. You suppose that any personality must appear in physical terms. Consciousness is the force behind matter, and it forms many other realities besides the physical one. It is, again, your own viewpoint that is presently so limited that it seems to you that physical reality is the rule and mode of existence"

"Using your free will, you have made physical reality into something quite different than what was intended. You have allowed the ego to become overly developed and specialized. You were here to work out problems and challenges, but you were always to be aware of your own inner reality, and of your nonphysical existence. To a large extent you have lost contact with this. You have focused so strongly upon physical reality that it become the only reality that you know"

You create your reality according to your beliefs and expectations, therefore you should examine these carefully. If you do not like some aspect of your world, then examine your own expectations."

"Realize that your physical experience and environment is the materialization of your beliefs. If you find great exuberance, health, effective work, abundance, smiles on the faces of those who you meet, then take it for granted that your beliefs are beneficial. If you see a world that is good, people like you, take it for granted again, that your beliefs are beneficial. But if you find poor health, a lack of meaningful work, a lack of abundance, a world of sorrow and evil, then assume your beliefs are faulty and begin examining them."

"Your world is formed in faithful replica of your own thoughts...If you think positive suggestions to yourself about a situation you send telepathic ammunition for positive use. You must learn to erase a negative thought or picture by replacing it with its opposite."

"You form your own reality. But in forming that reality, you change other realities of which you do not know. The joy, the challenge, the responsibility, the creativity is yours. There is no other message that I can ever give you, or that you can give yourself. You are, each of you, All-That-Is experienced through your own individuality, and the transubstantiation of your flesh."

"Identity and consciousness existed long before your earth was formed....Consciousness is the force behind matter, and it forms many other realities besides the physical one....So much of your energy is used in the physical productions that you cannot afford to perceive any reality but your own."

"Matter is the shape that basic experience takes when it comes into your three-dimensional system. Your dreams, thoughts, expectations, beliefs and emotions are literally transformed into physical matter."

"Every nerve and fiber within the body has an unseen inner purpose. Nerve impulses travel outward from the body, along invisible pathways, in much the same manner that they travel within the body."

"These pathways are carriers of telepathic thoughts, impulses, and desires containing all the codified data necessary for translating any thought or image into physical actuality, altering seemingly objective events."

"This telepathy operates constantly at an "automatic" or subconscious level, providing communication to back up sensory data. Telepathy is the glue that holds the physical universe in position, so that you can agree on the existence and properties of objects."

"The conscious mind was therefore expected to perform alone, so to speak, ignoring the highly intuitive inner information that is also available to it. It was not supposed to be aware of such data. Yet any individual knows quite well that intuitive hunches, inspiration, precognitive information or clairvoyant material has often risen to conscious knowledge. Usually it is shoved away and disregarded because you have been taught that the conscious mind should not hold with such nonsense. However, your conscious mind is meant to look into the exterior world and into the interior one. The conscious mind is a vehicle for the expression of the soul in corporeal terms.

"You must give up any ideas that you have as to the unsavory nature of unconscious activity. You must learn to believe in the goodness of your being. Otherwise you will not explore these other states of your own reality.

"When you trust yourself then you will trust your own dream interpretations -and these will lead you to greater self-understanding. Your beliefs of good and evil will become much more clear to you, and you will no longer need to project repressed out upon others in exaggerated fashion."

"You were born with a built-in recognition of your own goodness. You were born with an inner recognition of your rightness in the universe....You are a cooperative species and a loving one. Your misunderstandings, your crimes, and your atrocities, real as they are, are seldom committed out of any intent to be evil, but because of severe misinterpretations about the nature of good, and the means that can be taken towards its actualization.

"....there are certain tendencies, mental stances that you will take about yourself, your body and your life to one degree or another. Many of these will be directly or indirectly connected with old myths and beliefs of your forefathers. Your ideas of good and evil are highly important for instance. (Pause.) Few can escape putting value judgments in these areas. If you consider illness as a kind of moral stigma, then you will simply add an unneeded quality to any condition of ill health."

"Such judgments are simplistic, and ignore the great range of human motivation and experience. If you are bound and determined that "GOD" creates only good, then any physical deficiency, or illness or deformity becomes an affront to your belief, threatens it and makes you angry or resentful."

"Your scientific beliefs tell you that your entire world happened accidentally. Your religions tell you that man is sinful....A generalized fear and suspicion is generated, and life too often becomes stripped of any heroic qualities.

"As long as you believe in the basic evil of man, then you must project upon yourself great punishment. You must see your world destroyed, as so will you have prophets to tell you so, and so they will speak the truth, for they will speak from your own beliefs in the idea of your own evil.

"Now, there will be no holocaust unless you believe that you are so evil that you, as a race must punish yourselves. But there will always be benign old spirits like me that tell you that, although you are bad, you are perfectly bad, and utterly beautiful, and nothing will destroy you unless you are convinced you are, as a race so evil you must be destroyed. And even then, only those who so believe will partake in that probability!

"The prophets speak truly, that speak of doom. They speak truly when they speak from a framework that believes in doom. But that framework is a mere probability that gains its strength only from a belief in evil. So, the prophets felt that belief, and are themselves terrible driven by that belief; and paint dire pictures that reside within the psyche of those who themselves feel damned.

"There are other directions that your race can take, and I'm trying to point out those directions to you. And if you take those directions, then indeed-in your terms-there will be a birth of a new species-a species that understands its blessed creaturehood, that understands its spirituality, that does not despoil its planet, that purposefully creates the kind of world a sane god would create, a god who has no need for a heaven or a hell!

"Quite simply, a belief in the good without a belief in the evil, may seem highly unrealistic to you. This belief, however, is the best kind of insurance that you can have, both during physical life and afterwards. It may outrage your intellect, and the evidence of your physical senses may shout that it is untrue, yet a belief in good without a belief in evil is actually highly realistic."

"Your beliefs generate emotion. It is somewhat fashionable to place feelings above conscious thoughts, the idea being that emotions are more basic and natural than conscious reasoning is. The two actually go together but your conscious thinking largely determines your emotions,and not the other way around. Your beliefs generate the appropriate emotion that is implied.

"The race must learn the value of the individual man. The race is also learning its dependence upon other species, and beginning to comprehend its part in the whole framework in physical reality. Now: some individuals are being reborn at this time simply to help you understand. They are forcing the issue, and forcing the crisis, for you still have time to change your ways. You are working on two main problems, but both involve the sacredness of the individual, and the individual's relationship with others and with all physically oriented consciousness.

"The problem of war will sooner or later teach you that when you kill another man, basically you will end up killing yourself. The over-population problem will teach you that if you do not have a loving concern for the environment in which you dwell, it will no longer sustain you--you will not be worthy of it. You will not be destroying the planet, you see. You will not be destroying the birds or the flowers, or the grain or the animals. You will not be worthy of them, and they will be destroying you. You have set up the problem for yourselves within the framework of your reference. You will not understand your part within the framework of nature until you actually see yourselves in danger of tearing it apart. You will not destroy consciousness. You will not annihilate the consciousness of even one leaf, but in your context, if the problem were not solved, these would fade from your experience.

"The crisis is a kind of therapy...And you need it now, before your race embarks upon journeys to other physical realities. You must learn your lessons now in your own back yard before you travel to other worlds. So you have brought this upon yourself for that purpose and you will learn.

"If you become so frightened of realities that are not your own; if you take upon yourselves tragedies that do not exist in your reality, in your moment, you weaken your position, and you think you are helping. You must operate from strength, not from weakness. When you stand on a firm shore, you can extend your arm to the man that is in quicksand. You cannot help him by leaping into the quicksand with him, for surely both of you will go down, and he will not thank you. Organize your reality according to your strength. Organize your reality according to your playfulness, according to your dreams, according to your hopes, and then you can help those who organize their reality according to their fears."

"Many people do not need to listen to my voice because they listen to the voices of the oak trees and the birds, and to the voices of their own being. I am a poor imitation of the voices of your own psyches to which you do not listen. I will be unneeded, and gladly so, when you realize that the vitality and reinforcement and joy are your own, and rise from the fountain of your own beings; when you realize that you do not need me for protection, for there is nothing you need protect yourself against.

"You can become involved now in a new exploration, one in which man's civilizations and organizations change their course, reflecting his good intents and his ideals. You can do this by seeing to it that each step you personally take is 'ideally suited' to the ends you hope to achieve. You will see to it that your methods are ideal. If you do this, your life will automatically be provided with excitement, natural zest and creativity, and those characteristics will be reflected outward into the social, political, economic, and scientific worlds. This is a challenge more than worth the effort.

"You should tell yourself frequently 'I will only react to constructive suggestions.' This gives you positive ammunition against your own negative thoughts and those of others."

"A negative thought, if not erased, will almost certainly result in a negative condition. Say to yourself, 'That is in the past. Now in this new moment, this new present, I am already beginning to change for the better.'"

"It does not do to repress negative thoughts, such as fears, angers, or resentment. They should be recognized, faced and replaced. Recognize resentment when it is felt, and then realize that resentment can be dismissed. Initial recognition must be made. Then you must imagine removing the resentment 'by its roots' and replacing it with a positive feeling."

"You must watch the pictures that you paint with your imagination. Your environment and the conditions of your life at any given time are the direct result of your own inner expectations. If you imagine dire circumstances, ill health or desperate loneliness, these will be "automatically" materialized, for these thoughts themselves bring about the conditions that will give them a reality in physical terms. If you would have good health then you must imagine this as vividly as you fearfully imagine ill health."

"You create your own difficulties. This is true for each individual. The inner psychological state is projected outward, gaining physical reality -whatever the psychological state may be....You cannot escape your own attitudes, for they will form the nature of what you see. If changes are to occur, they must be mental and psychic changes. These will be reflected in your environment. Negative, distrustful, fearful, or degrading attitudes toward anyone work against the self."

"Using your free will, you have made physical reality into something quite different than what was intended. You have allowed the ego to become overly developed and specialized. You were here to work out problems and challenges, but you were always to be aware of your own inner reality, and of your nonphysical existence. To a large extent you have lost contact with this. You have focused so strongly upon physical reality that it become the only reality that you know."

‘‘It is the worst kind of arrogance to ignore the existence of paranormal experiences on parts of large portions of the population, and dangerous to operate with hypotheses that do not include such larger versions of reality. Science wants to be free of myth, yet it sets up its own. Only science’s myths lack all of those qualities that give men hope, zest, cheer, or faith, by denying not only the meaning of man's universe but of his very being, reducing his world to a spiritual and psychic vacuum, shoving man out of his own experience and diminishing his sense of stature by denying the events of his psyche.’’
The Worldview of William James, by Jane Roberts

SETH: ‘‘You think that you are only conscious while you are awake. You assume yourselves unconscious when you sleep. In Freud’s terminology, the dice are indeed loaded on the side of the conscious mind. But pretend for a moment that you are looking at this situation from the other side. Pretend that while you are in the dream state you are concerned with the problem of physical consciousness and existence. From that viewpoint, the picture is entirely different, for you are indeed conscious when you sleep.’’

"You must learn to listen to the voice of the inner self and work with it"

‘‘Do not think of the mind as a purely mental entity, and of the body as a purely physical one. Instead, think of both mind and body as continuing, interweaving processes that are mental and physical at once. Your thoughts actually are quite as physical as your body is, and your body is quite as nonphysical as it seems your thoughts are. You are actually a vital force, existing as a part of your environment, and yet apart from your environment at the same time.’’

‘‘Only people who trust their spontaneous impulses can be consciously wise enough to choose from a myriad of probable futures the most promising events ...’’

"You should tell yourself frequently 'I will only react to constructive suggestions.' This gives you positive ammunition against your own negative thoughts and those of others."

"The self has no boundaries except those it accepts out of ignorance"

"You create your reality according to your beliefs and expectations, therefore you should examine these carefully. If you do not like some aspect of your world, then examine your own expectations"

"If you are in poor health, you can remedy it. If your personal relationships are unsatisfactory, you can change them for the better. If you are in poverty, you can find yourself surrounded by abundance... Each of you, regardless of position, status, circumstances, or physical condition, is in control or your own experience."

‘‘Each of you believes, to one extent or another, that the universe is not safe, and therefore you must set up defenses against it ... You need not say, ‘The universe is safe,’ for at your present level, that will only enrage you.
Say, ‘I live in a safe universe,’ and so you shall.’’

"Do not personally give any more conscious consideration, either of you, to events that you do not want to happen. Any such concentration, to whatever degree, ties you in with those probabilities, so concentrate upon what you want, and as far as public events are concerned, take it for granted that sometimes even men are wiser than they know".

‘‘You get what you concentrate on. There is no other main rule.’’

‘‘Efficient manipulation within the physical field will soon require that other portions of the self be utilized and recognized. In a manner of speaking, the ego can be compared to the nationalistic state of nations, necessary indeed for man’s development, but already growing passé, and perhaps even mitigating against the survival of the species.’’

‘‘Fulfillment, value fulfillment, implies fulfillment of all abilities and all potentials, including quite physical potentials. The pyramid gestalts of which I have spoken have experiences far beyond those of any human being. Yet they are concerned with the least, with the existence of the least among you.’’

‘‘The fullest potentialities cannot be developed unless the physical aspects are also developed. Your job is to manipulate as well as you can within the physical universe, and to develop within it religious leaders of any denomination. Any leaders who restrict development along one level for the sake of development along other levels, betray their followers.’’

‘‘The worldwide view of man as a species, worldwide brotherhood in no way hampers or endangers the individual man, and in no way endangers nations, but will represent one of the main hopes of mankind, without which no nations will endure.’’

‘‘In like manner, when the ego concept is discarded as a concept, as the concept of nationalism will be discarded, so the individual self will not lose but gain. The individual self will expand, and the individual man will be capable of expanding when the old idea of nationalism is finally overthrown, and he can be benefited through learning of, and cooperation with, other men as brothers upon your planet.’’

‘‘There is a unity and there is a joy and there is an exaltation in all aspects of life and consciousness. It is not to any religion’s benefit that people starve. There is nothing wrong with using spiritual knowledge in practical manners.’’

"Therefore, as always, make of this voice what you choose to make of it. Make of me what you choose to make of me, but recognize within yourselves the vitality of your being. And look to no man or no idea or no woman or no dogma, but the vitality of your own being, and trust it. And that which offends your soul, turn away from, but trust yourself"

Suggested exercises from Seth:

One: I will approve of myself, my characteristics, my abilities, my likes and dislikes, my inclinations and disinclinations, realizing that these form my unique individuality. They are given me for a reason.

Two: I will approve of and rejoice in my accomplishments, and I will be as vigorous in listing these -- as rigorous in remembering them -- as I have ever been in remembering and enumerating my failures or lacks of accomplishment.

Three: I will remember the creative framework of existence, in which I have my being. Therefore the possibilities, potentials, seeming miracles, and joyful spontaneity of Framework 2 will be in my mind, so that the doors to creative living are open.

Four: I will realize that the future is probability. In terms of ordinary experience, nothing exists there yet. It is virgin territory, planted by my feelings and thoughts in the present. Therefore I will plant accomplishments and successes, and I will do this by remembering that nothing can exist in the future that I do not want to be there.

‘‘This material will take its place in the conceptual and emotional life of Western civilization, and finally will make its way through the world. New ideas are not accepted easily. When they take fire however, they literally sweep through the universe.’’

Excerpts from teachings of Seth, conceptual basics, are found woven into bits and pieces of popular entertainment culture.

Star Wars (1977)
One of the prominent elements of Star Wars is the "Force", an omnipresent energy that can be harnessed by those with that ability. It is described in the first produced film as "an energy field created by all living things [that] surrounds us, penetrates us, [and] binds the galaxy together."

The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension, (1984)
Question Reality. Lifeforms, not visible to us under normal circumstances, coexist in adjacent dimensions in and on this planet. Matter contains energy as well as units of consciousness.
No matter where you go, there you are.

Back to The Future (1985)
All time is simultaneous. The past is now. The present is now. The future is now.
You create your own reality.

Kate and Leopold (2002)

The concept of simultaneous time is hinted at as Kate's ultimate choice of a future allows her to join Leopold in the past.

The Hitch-Hiker's Guide to the Galaxy.
In Douglas Adams's whimsical book, an advanced race of pandimensional beings builds a gigantic computer called "Deep Thought" to find the answer to the question, "What is the meaning of life, the Universe, and everything?" (which is probably the most-asked philosophical question by humanity at large).
Seven million years later, the gigantic computer gave the answer:
It was......"42".
Only then did it occur to the nonplussed pandimensional beings, that in order to understand the answer, they first needed to understand the question.

Avatar (2009) from James Cameron
A remarkable film on a number of fronts, it was described as "an old-fashioned jungle adventure with an environmental conscience [that] aspires to a mythic level of storytelling". With enough adventure and explosions to hold and sustain the attention of adolescents as well as adults, it was instead the underlying message which was intended to resonate within the viewers subconscious. The interconnectedness of all things, of all beings. The importance of respecting the relationship between the world and all of its inhabitants.

Premise for Interactive Computer Game "The Game of Life : Creating Your Own Reality "

Imagine that you are about to participate in an interactive role-playing game. There are rules in this game that everyone agrees to: what goes up must come down, day is followed by night, if you touch a flame it will burn you, etc. etc. You get to choose the character you play beforehand; shall I be black or white, Australian or American, male or female? You might even choose to meet up with others in the game, which is tricky because you won’t necessarily remember them when you see them.

To enter the game, you must be “born” and become completely helpless. You must forget everything you know and start all over again. You are given sets of rules by the “older” players which you learn as you go along. After a given time, you are declared an “adult” by the other players and are sent out on your own.

The thing is, after a while, you may become so involved, so completely immersed in the personality of the character that you are playing in this game, that you forget who you really are.

You may forget that you’re even in a game, and you might begin to believe that the game is all there is.

Now, you still get to decide everything that happens to your character, which you do constantly, but if you are a player who has now totally identified with the character you have chosen to portray, you may begin to believe that everything that transpires is happening by “chance” or “fate”.

When the character you play goes to sleep, you return to your real self. This is also your opportunity to plan ahead and manifest the character's desires and wishes. When the character later awakens, it is with the belief that he/she was simply “dreaming”.

Some players, realizing that there has to be more than just this game, will start searching for answers. Some may conclude that someone must have invented this game, and probably all the players in it. They may begin to worship this mysterious “someone” who obviously must be much smarter than they are, and they may invent more rules which they insist were made by the original game creator.

The only way to leave this game is called dying. Once this transpires, you will remember who you really are and you will rejoin friends - some of whom were in this game with you. You may also interact with some who were involved with other games - and choose to share your experiences.

The game, you will conclude, was fun, adventurous, and a great learning experience, and you might decide that you’d like to play again; perhaps this time in a different setting, and as a completely different character.

SETH: "I come here because it is fun. I have fun when I come here. I do not come here because I feel that I have any great responsibility for your beings or welfare. Who am I to set myself against the innate wisdom of your own individual being, or to take upon my invisible shoulders the great privilege or joyful responsibility for your behavior and destiny?"

My purpose is not to solve your problems for you, but to put you in touch with your own power. My purpose is not to come between you and your own freedom by giving you "answers," even to the most tragic of problems. My purpose is to reinforce your own strength, for ultimately the magic of your being is well equipped to help you find fulfillment, understanding, exuberance, and peace.

"There is nothing more stimulating, more worthy of actualization, than the desire to change the world for the better. That is indeed each person's mission...It is not enough to meditate, or to imagine in your mind some desired goal being accomplished, if you are afraid to act upon the very impulses to which your meditations and imaginings give rise.

"Meditation must be followed by action--and true meditation is takes aggressive energy to send forth thoughts and feelings of peace. So your idea of aggression is completely wrong. Aggression is action, and the thoughts of peace radiated outward take aggression and joy and vitality."

"If you do not like the state of your world, it is you yourselves that must change, individually and en masse. This is the only way that change will be effected."

"The responsibility for your life and your world is indeed yours....You form your own dreams and you form your own physical reality. The world is...the physical materialization of the inner selves which you have formed."

"Your must honor yourselves and see within yourselves the spirit of eternal validity. You must honor all other individuals, because within each is the spark of this validity."

"Do not fall into the old ways that will lead you precisely into the world that you fear. There is no man who hates but that hatred is reflected outward and made physical, and there is no man who loves but that love is reflected outward and made physical."

"The human race is a stage through which various forms of consciousness travel....Yours is a training system for emerging consciousness ... you must first learn to handle energy and see through physical materialization, the concrete result of thought and emotion."

"To pursue certain goals, you pretend that they did not exist. Now, however, your global situation as a race requires the new acquisition of some ancient arts. These can help you become aware again of those inner idealizations that form your private reality and your mass world. These arts are useless if they are not practiced, useless in that they lie ever latent, that they are not brought out into the exterior framework of your world. To use these arts requires first of all the knowledge that beneath the world you know is another; that alongside the focus of consciousness with which you are familiar there are other focuses quite as legitimate.

Your problems are caused by your own doubts. These doubts arise because you have been out of touch with the validity of your own existence. Let me here reinforce that validity. Let me reinforce my faith in your innate ability to find joyful acquiescence, and to rise above any problems that you have. If I presume to solve problems for you, then I deny you your own power, and further reinforce any feelings of powerlessness that you have. I know that you can grow tired, however, and that sometimes a gift of energy can be quite a boost; so, again, with this letter I send my joyful recognition of your existence - and energy that you can use to reinforce your own vitality and strength.

"I bid you and all a fond good evening. Those blessings that I have to give I give you freely, and those that I do not have to give, you are seeking on your own."

The SETH and Jane Roberts Chronological Library List

JANE ROBERTS How to Develop Your ESP Power (1966)
Inspired by Jane's first paranormal experience, this book is a set of exercises to help develop one's ESP abilities. The book is illustrated by Jane's accounts of her experiences and those of her husband Rob, the artist Robert F. Butts. It was while trying out the exercises that Seth contacted Jane for the first time. Throughout the book, she gives quotations from his earliest communications. Jane encourages readers to enter their own dreams in a daily journal to help them examine how their sleeping mind continues to function, resolving problems, and sparking waking creativity.

JANE ROBERTS The Seth Material (1970)
The first popular Seth/Jane book, this is an account of how Seth first appeared in the lives of Jane and Rob; it contains their doubts, self-questionings, and tests of him. Excerpts from their early sessions with him sketch the outlines of the world view that he was shortly to present more fully in his own works.

SETH-DICTATED BOOK - Seth Speaks: The Eternal Validity of the Soul (1972)
The first full-scale "Seth book." In it Seth describes the multidimensional nature of the human personality, with its untapped resources, its range in time and space, its connections with all aspects of the universe, and the continuity of consciousness. He discusses in-depth his reality today, and how it compares to physical life. Transcribed and edited by Robert Butts, Jane's husband.

JANE ROBERTS The Education of Oversoul Seven (1973)
Now republished as part of the Oversoul Seven Trilogy
This novel was written by Jane in a state of altered consciousness. Seth's concept of the time-and-space-free personality is developed in a lively and entertaining story.

SETH-DICTATED BOOK - The Nature of Personal Reality: A Seth Book (1974)
Seth's second book. A prerequisite to any further study of the Seth material. In it Seth offers an expanded view of how our bodies constantly recreate themselves, and how the events in our lives are created in line with conscious beliefs and suggestions. Seth also suggests many techniques and exercises for applying the concept of the time-and space-free human personality to whatever difficulti es in which we may find ourselves.

JANE ROBERTS Adventures in Consciousness: An Introduction to Aspect Psychology(1975)
The first part of this book consists of Jane's account of her increased awareness of some of the aspects of her greater self, together with similar discoveries on the part of members of the ESP class that she held every Tuesday night in her home from 1967 to 1975. The second part of the book is her explanation of these paranormal happenings according to Seth's ideas and her ow n intuitions. Helpful diagrams by Rob Butts.

JANE ROBERTS Dialogues of the Soul and Mortal Self in Time* (1975)
The poems in this volume are a moving presentation of Jane's inner conflict between her knowledge that her body must decay, and her sense of living in eternity. Powerful illustrations by Rob.

JANE ROBERTS Psychic Politics: An Aspect Psychology Book (1976)
A sequel to Adventures, this book by Jane relates more of her encounters with her greater self, as well as similar experiences on the part of Rob and individuals with whom they come in contact. Explaining these events are the Codicils, a statement of the rules which underlie the evolvement of their personality and our species--written by Jane in a state of altered consciousness.

JANE ROBERTS The World View of Paul Cezanne (1977)
The current and remarkably Sethian outlook on the world of the artist Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) is presented in this book in words of his received by Jane while in a state of altered consciousness.

SETH-DICTATED BOOK The "Unknown" Reality, Volumes I & II (1977/1979)
Seth's third and fourth books. They offer a fuller explanation of the "unknown" dimensions of ourselves, with exercises that can help us become more familiar with them and thus enrich both our lives and the world in which we live. Cross-references to other of Seth's writings plus extensive annotation by Rob.

JANE ROBERTS The Afterdeath Journal of an American Philosopher: The World View of William James* (1978)
This book presents the world view of the philosopher William James (1842-1910) as he has developed it since he left his body. He comments on the limitations of his outlook when in our reality, analyzes U.S. cultural development in the light of what he has discovered since his "death," and describes the reality in which he is now focused. His account of "God," whom he refers to as the "the knowing light" is deeply moving. This work is one of Jane's productions while in a state of altered consciousness.

JANE ROBERTS Emir's Education in the Proper Use of Magical Powers (1979)
This children's book is also suitable for adults. It shows our need to make self-responsible decisions, the value of the change of seasons and the change called death, and the oneness of creation. A young prince learns as he journeys through the universe.

JANE ROBERTS The Further Education of Oversoul Seven (1979)
Now republished as part of the Oversoul Seven Trilogy and a sequel to The Education of Oversoul Seven, this novel was also written by Jane when in a state of altered consciousness. The concepts of simultaneous time, probable realities, the power of an individual's free choice, and the nature of "God" are explored in a lively fashion as the characters become acquainted with their counterparts in space and time.

SETH-DICTATED BOOK The Nature of the Psyche: Its Human Expression (1979)
Seth's fifth book. Who "I" am is explained through a discussion of the mobility of consciousness as distinct from the body. Our relationships with other people--including sexual relationships--are explored as ways in which we can develop fully. Exercises are suggested to assist the reader to experience the concepts. Transcribed and edited by Rob.

JANE ROBERTS The God of Jane: A Psychic Manifesto (1981)
This book relates experiences beginning in Jane's childhood which eventually led her to accept Seth's philosophy and to formulate her own concept of "God."

SETH-DICTATED BOOK The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events: A Seth Book (1981)
In his sixth book, Seth tells us how groups of individuals and societies create their own realities as they produce war and peace; epidemics and good health; geological phenomena such as earthquakes; the weather; technological catastrophes, like Three-Mile Island; and group movements, like the mass suicide by followers of Jim Jones. Seth stresses the power of the individual to choose whether to participate in mass decisions or to follow a separate course. Transcribed and edited by Rob.

JANE ROBERTS If We Live Again: Or, Public Magic and Private Love* (1982)
The poems in this volume were written by Jane about altered states of consciousness as experienced through love for another person, through awareness of one's multidimensional personality, through nature, through dreams, and through a consciousness of the magic in every object we perceive.

JANE ROBERTS Oversoul Seven and the Museum of Time (1984)
Now republished as part of the Oversoul Seven Trilogy, in this third volume, Jane develops the concepts of simultaneous time, the continual alteration of both past and future that is produced by actions in the present, and the importance of our taking steps today to choose a future reality in which our species will survive and flourish. The key to this transformation is contained in the "Codicils," principles of conduct that are presented in her previous work, Psychic Politics.

JANE ROBERTS Seth, Dreams and Projection of Consciousness (1986)
Written between The Seth Material and Seth Speaks but not published until 1986, this book by Jane fills in the chronological gap between those two works. In it, she relates her experiences and experiments with dreams and projection of consciousness, and gives much advice from both Seth and herself about working with one's dreams and engaging in out-of-body travel. The Introduction by Rob Butts describes the circumstances surrounding Jane's death of September 5, 1984.

SETH-DICTATED BOOK Dreams, "Evolution," and Value Fulfillment, Volumes I & II (1986)
These seventh and eighth Seth books recount the "evolution" of material reality moment by moment from the dream state into its manifestation as our physical environment. Seth also describes the goal towards which each aspect of the whole of All That Is is working: value fulfillment. As in previous Seth books, Robert Butts provides notes and commentaries. His Introductory Essays give an account of Jane's final illness and the reasons for the immense physical difficulties which she suffered.

SETH-DICTATED BOOK The Magical Approach (1995)
Dictated by Seth in 1980, this sessies of sessions was gathered into publication form by Rob Butts approximately 10 years after Jane's death.The sessions were given by Seth in an effort to help Jane tap into her ability to heal herself. He urges her (and all of us) to adopt a mindset more in keeping with natural inclinations, and calls this approach the "magical" one as compared to the usual rational one used in our society. Seth encourages us to listen to our inner voices, to heed our impulses, to live spontaneously, and to focus with intent and joyful expectation on what we desire to bring into our lives. A classic example of Seth's perspective, this book is a welcome addition to his reality creation material. Includes artwork by Rob.

SETH-DICTATED BOOK The Way Toward Health (1997)
The last of the Seth-dictated books, it was written from Jane's hospital bed over the months preceding her death. The material in this book was evoked by the questions and considerations Jane and Rob faced during her long illness, and becomes an in-depth examination of the miracle of life in the human body. It also becomes the poignant story of Jane's courageous attempt to understand the crippling condition she had contracted and see the role it played in her life.

The late Jane Roberts husband, Artist Robert Butts, has permitted a limited lithograph reproduction of his evocative paintings of Seth. The paintings and a complete collection of Jane Roberts and Seth books are available through Brass Ring Bookstore.

JANE ROBERTS wrote a fascinating book entitled:
The Afterdeath Journal of an American Philosopher: The World View of William James* (1978)
This book presents the world view of the philosopher William James (1842-1910) as he has developed it since he left his body. He comments on the limitations of his outlook when in our reality, analyzes U.S. cultural development in the light of what he has discovered since his "death," and describes the reality in which he is now focused. His account of "God," whom he refers to as the "the knowing light" is deeply moving. This work is one of Jane's productions while in a state of altered consciousness.

Who was William James?
He is considered One of The Great Thinkers of Western Philosophy

I. Introduction

In a paper on "How To Make Your Ideas Clear," contributed to the Popular Science Monthly in 1878, Charles Sanders Pierce first used the word "pragmatism" to designate a principle put forward by him as a rule for guiding the scientist and the mathematician. The principle is that the meaning of any conception in the mind is the practical effect it will have in action. The rule remained unnoticed for twenty years, until it was taken up by Professor William James in the address he delivered at the University of California in 1898.

II. Life and Works

William James (picture), psychologist and philosopher, was born in New York in 1842 and died in 1910. He was the son of philosopher Henry James, Sr., and brother of novelist Henry James. He studied medicine at Harvard University, and went to Germany to complete his studies in psychology in 1867. After his return to America, he taught at Harvard, and later, for short periods, at Columbia University and at Stanford.

James was the founder of the movement of thought called Pragmatism, which not only spread throughout America, but also over Europe as the fashionable philosophy for more than twenty years. At Harvard, he had been a member of "The Metaphysical Club," an informal group that met to discuss philosophy and included Charles Sanders Peirce, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and Chauncey Wright, all of whom were to become well known in the pragmatist movement.

James is generally considered not only the most influential of all American philosophers but the very representative of American thought. However, the results of his thinking are by no means confined to his native country, and his background is anything but exclusively American. Very few American families maintained such intimate contact with Europe as did Henry James, Sr., a theologian and philosophical writer, and a great amateur of wide culture, and his sons William and Henry, the great novelist, who, on his part, was more at home in France and England than in the land of his birth.

After receiving his medical degree, James suffered a period of illness, but in 1873 he was able to accept an appointment as instructor in anatomy and physiology at Harvard. Two years later he began teaching psychology, and in 1879, philosophy. James remained at Harvard, with only a few interruptions in his academic career, until his resignation in 1907. The works of Herbert Spencer and John Stuart Mill were important influences in James's early thinking; Henri Bergson was important both personally and philosophically in his later years, as was John Dewey, who carried on the leadership of the pragmatist movement after James's death.

In his youth, William James desired to become known as a painter. But, while living with art, he learned that he could live without art, and turned to medicine and the natural sciences. However, his early study of painting was no labor lost. On the contrary, James derived from it his pictorial manner of philosophizing, which does not involve picturesqueness of style but rather his talents for conveying the present aspect of a situation, for finding immediate joy in the variety of appearances from which he proceeded to enjoy the various psychic experiences, while being capable of describing them in scientific terms, coined afresh, without much regard to traditional terminology.

Such blending of scientific sagacity with artistic sensibility, such psychological perspicacity, enriched and refined by his previous study of art, and disciplined by scientific training, are characteristics of James's brilliant lectures and writing, and the cause of his great success. His gifts became known to the public in 1890 when his Principles of Psychology appeared, marking a new period in this special branch of science and foreshadowing his turn to philosophy.

It was the latent artist in James that made his treatment of moral, epistemological, and metaphysical problems a revolt of the spirit of immediate concrete experience against the intellectualistic idealism. James's radical empiricism maintains the plurality of the real units of which, according to him, experience consists, against any harmonizing or simplifying monism. Pragmatism, as James defines his empiricism, has become of immense consequence in modern thinking.

His principal philosophical works are: Principles of Psychology; The Will to Believe; The Varieties of Religious Experience; and Pragmatism.

III. The Pragmatic Method

In his famous work The Principles of Psychology (1890), James developed the view, in opposition to the more traditional associationism, that consciousness functions in an active, purposeful way to relate and organize thoughts, giving them a streamlike continuity. In the history of psychology, James's theory of mind is called functionalism. James had established an international reputation in psychology before his main focus turned to philosophy, and many of his philosophical views have their roots in his psychological studies.

James starts from a Positivist viewpoint, that is, from experience, which for him is established by psychological facts. The psychological facts make their appearance as an undifferentiated stream. In this psychic stream the mind makes a distinction between subject and object, sensations and concepts. Concepts arise out of the necessity of organizing the confused facts of experience. Hence their value is not absolute but relative to their utility in practice, i.e., relative to their practical consequences (Pragmatism).

"The pragmatic method," says James, "tries to interpret each notion (concept) by tracing its respective practical consequences." The value of concepts whose practical consequences have not yet been experienced scientifically, depends upon the will. Thus between two hypotheses, neither of which can be tested scientifically, the choice is made by the will on the basis of utility.

For example, the question of the existence of God is reduced to the following: "What would be the practical consequences if we believed that matter produces all things, or if we believed that God exists and that the world is the work of His providence?" In the first hypothesis, James observes, the world would appear deeply enshrouded in the coldness of death; in the second hypothesis the world appears solid, warm,, full of real meaning. Thus our choice must be made in favor of the second hypothesis.

James considered pragmatism to be both a method for analyzing philosophic problems and a theory of truth. He also saw it as an extension of the empiricist attitude in that it turned away from abstract theory and fixed or absolute principles and toward concrete facts, actions, and relative principles. James considered philosophies to be expressions of personal temperament and developed a correlation between "tough-minded" and "tender-minded" temperaments and empiricist and rationalist positions in philosophy. Theories, he felt, are "instruments" that humans use to solve problems and should be judged in terms of their "cash value" or practical consequences for human conduct.

He developed the notion of truth as a "leading" that is useful: it can change as human experience changes. The morality, as well as the truth, of an idea or action should be judged, according to James, in a similar way -- in terms of its outcome in human experience. In The Will to Believe (1897) and The Varieties of Religious Experience (1902), James examined the problem of belief in cases in which no immediate evidence exists on which to base one's belief. He concluded that in the area of religious commitment, belief can create its own truth through the effects created in the experience of the believer by his "willing nature." Belief in God is thus pragmatically justified if it makes a positive difference in the experience of the believer.

IV. The Negation of Philosophy

In A Pluralistic Universe (1909) and Essays in Radical Empiricism (1912), James developed his metaphysical position: there is no fixed external world to be discovered by one's mind but instead a "humming-buzzing confusion" that one organizes through experience. The universe, as well as one's knowledge of it, is continuously evolving. Never complete, it cannot be reduced to a single underlying substance.

Neither materialistic nor spiritualistic monism satisfied William James. The individual is a mere puppet in the hands of absolute substance, be it universal matter or universal mind. The test of a theory, belief, doctrine, must be its effect upon us, its practical consequences -- the pragmatic test: whatever works is true. The possession of truth is not an in itself but a preliminary means to vital satisfaction. Knowledge is an instrument for the sake of life, existing as practical utility. True ideas are those we can assimilate, validate, corroborate, and verify. Truth is, therefore, useful because it is true, it is true because it is useful.

James's empiricism opposes classical rationalism and traditional empiricism. He denies that whatever is rational is real. To reach reality we must take experience as it exists before it has been manipulated by conceptual thinking. Reality is the flux of our sensations coming from what we know not. It is the totality of consciousness, experience permeated with thought. Reality is ever in the making, growing where thinking beings are at work.

James's radical empiricism makes for pluralism, multiplicity, diversity, opposition either in quantity or quality. Pluralism satisfies man's moral nature, recognizes individual perceptions. It is melioristic; if each man will do his best, the universe cannot fail. In such a world man is free to seek his ideal.

CRITICAL NOTE: The only metaphysics consistent with James's theory of knowledge has to be based on a selection from among a multitude of opinions. This eclectic approach is clearly the negation of philosophy, for it does not lead to any absolute or to any certitude. James sought to avoid this difficulty and to reach the absolute and God by having recourse to the unconscious mind.

V. Consciousness and the Subconscious

James's psychology gives foundation to his empiricism. Consciousness is active and a unity. It is selective and teleological. It carves out man's world. The will, by making a strong idea focal to the exclusion of others, fills the mind and prepares for action. The intellect isolates and integrates "things," imputes reality to them, through the emotional and active life, and conceives them pragmatically. The unity of consciousness is thorough connectedness, a flowing stream, "substantive" parts shading into one another through the "transitive" parts, surrounded by a "fringe" or "feeling of tendency."

He acknowledges a stream of experiences but not a stream of conscious experiences. Therewith he denies that in knowledge the relation between the knowing subject and the object to be known is fundamental, which almost all modern philosophers had taken for granted. This denial has induced many contemporary philosophers, though opposed to James's views, to reconsider the bases and starting points of their own thoughts.

James discovered besides, around and beneath the conscious mind, a darkened psychical zone, the zone of the subconscious, in which -- he believed -- the highest spiritual values, such as genius, sanctity and so forth, were formed, and contact was established with the absolute.

CRITICAL NOTES: James's discovery of the subconscious mind was surely a great contribution to psychology and won for James world-wide fame. But we cannot accept James's doctrine that the highest spiritual values originate in the subconscious mind, for the subconscious mind is irrational and therefore the highest spiritual values would be founded on irrationality -- a supposition which is absurd. James may justify in this way his stand as a liberal Protestant; he may be quoted as a father of Modernism; but no one can deny that his religious position is in complete opposition to the basic statement of his pragmatism -- for it does not lead to any solution, to any practical certitude, to any justification of the universe.

If the only road leading to the supreme spiritual reality is to be found in the analysis of psychological emotions, of religious sentiment, objective Christian dogma disappears. It is modified and replaced by the subjective exigencies of each individual, and thus every believer creates his own religion, his own truth. This, of course, is the central position of Modernism. The logical consequence is that even the nature of God will be understood differently according to various religious emotions. In fact the sincere religious tendency of James himself stumbles along and falls into a pluralistic conception of Divinity. God is finite, He exists in time -- a being among many beings, and like us, a creator of His own story.

How can any satisfaction be found in such a religion? Even from the viewpoint of Pragmatism, it cannot work, for in it none of the fundamental aspirations of mankind are fulfilled. There is no certitude, no hope, no absolute. How can such a limited God guarantee the order of the physical and of the human world? What is left of the world of spirits?

Religious Pragmatism is merely a shortsighted, emotional and irrational attempt to replace dogmatic, absolute and universal truth with the personal fancies of the man in the street. It is morally disastrous, for if truth depends upon subjective feeling, any action can be justified by virtue of the satisfaction it procures. Such a philosophy makes man his own judge and leads to total moral anarchy.

* Essay: by William James


Truth, as any dictionary will tell you, is a property of certain of our ideas. It means their "agreement," as falsity means their disagreement, with "reality." Pragmatists and intellectualists both accept this definition as a matter of course. They begin to quarrel only after the question is raised as to what may precisely be meant by the term "agreement," and what by the term "reality," when reality is taken as something for our ideas to agree with.

In answering these questions the pragmatists are more analytic and painstaking, the intellectualists more offhand and irreflective. The popular notion is that a true idea must copy its reality. Like other popular views, this one follows the analogy of the most usual experience. Our true ideas of sensible things do indeed copy them. Shut your eyes and think of yonder clock on the wall, and you get just such a true picture or copy of its dial. But your idea of its "works" (unless you are a clockmaker) is much less of a copy, yet it passes muster, for it in no way clashes with the reality. Even though it should shrink to the mere word "works," that word still serves you truly; and when you speak of the "time-keeping function" of the clock, or of its spring's "elasticity," it is hard to see exactly what your ideas can copy.

You perceive that there is a problem here. Where our ideas cannot copy definitely their object, what does agreement with that object mean? Some idealists seem to say that they are true whenever they are what God means that we ought to think about that object. Others hold the copy-view all through, and speak as if our ideas possessed truth just in proportion as they approach to being copies of the Absolute's eternal way of thinking.

These views, you see, invite pragmatistic discussion. But the great assumption of the intellectualists is that truth means essentially an inert static relation. When you've got your true idea of anything, there's an end of the matter. You're in possession; you know; you have fulfilled your thinking destiny. You are where you ought to be mentally; you have obeyed your categorical imperative; and nothing more need follow on that climax of your rational destiny. Epistemologically you are in stable equilibrium.

Pragmatism, on the other hand, asks its usual question. "Grant an idea or belief to be true," it says, "what concrete difference will its being true make in any one's actual life? How will the truth be realized? What experiences will be different from those which would obtain if the belief were false? What, in short, is the truth's cash-value in experiential terms?"

The moment pragmatism asks this question, it sees the answer: True ideas are those that we can assimilate, validate, corroborate and verify. False ideas are those that we can not. That is the practical difference it makes to us to have true ideas; that, therefore, is the meaning of truth, for it is all that truth is known as.

This thesis is what I have to defend. The truth of an idea is not a stagnant property inherent in it. Truth happens to an idea. It becomes true, is made true by events. Its verity is in fact an event, a process: the process namely of its verifying itself, its veri-fication. Its validity is the process of its valid-ation.

But what do the words verification and validation themselves pragmatically mean? They again signify certain practical consequences of the verified and validated idea. It is hard to find any one phrase that characterizes these consequences better than the ordinary agreement-formula -- just such consequences being what we have in mind whenever we say that our ideas "agree" with reality. They lead us, namely, through the acts and other ideas which they instigate, into or up to, or towards, other parts of experience with which we feel all the while -- such feeling being among our potentialities -- that the original ideas remain in agreement. The connections and transitions come to us from point to point as being progressive, harmonious, satisfactory. This function of agreeable leading is what we mean by an idea's verification. Such an account is vague and it sounds at first quite trivial, but it has results which it will take the rest of my hour to explain.

Let me begin by reminding you of the fact that the possession of true thoughts means everywhere the possession of invaluable instruments of action; and that our duty to gain truth, so far from being a blank command from out of the blue, or a "stunt" self-imposed by our intellect, can account for itself by excellent practical reasons.

The importance to human life of having true beliefs about matters of fact is a thing too notorious. We live in a world of realities that can be infinitely useful or infinitely harmful. Ideas that tell us which of them to expect count as the true ideas in all this primary sphere of verification, and the pursuit of such ideas is a primary human duty. The possession of truth, so far from being here an end in itself, is only a preliminary means toward other vital satisfactions. If I am lost in the woods and starved, and find what looks I like a cow path, it is of the utmost importance that I should think of a human habitation at the end of it, for if I do so and follow it, I save myself. The true thought is useful here because the house which is its object is useful. The practical value of true ideas is thus primarily derived from the practical importance of their objects to us. Their objects are, indeed, not important at all times. I may on another occasion have no use for the house; and then my idea of it, however verifiable, will be practically irrelevant, and had better remain latent. Yet since almost any object may some day become temporarily important, the advantage of having a general stock of extra truths, of ideas that shall be true of merely possible situations, is obvious. We store such extra truths away in our memories, and with the overflow we our books of reference. Whenever such an extra truth becomes practically relevant to one of our emergencies, it passes from cold storage to do work in the world and our belief in it grows active. You can say of it then either that "it is useful because it is true" or that "it is true because it is useful." Both these phrases mean exactly the same thing, namely that here is an idea that gets fulfilled and can be verified. True is the name for whatever idea starts the verification process, useful is the name for its completed function in experience. True ideas would never have been singled out as such, would never have acquired a class-name, least of all a name suggesting value, unless they had been useful from the outset in this way.

From this simple cue pragmatism gets her general notion of truth as something essentially bound up with the way in which one moment in our experience may lead us towards other moments which it will be worth while to have been led to. Primarily, and on the common sense level, the truth of a state of mind means this function of a leading that is worth while. When a moment in our experience, of any kind whatever, inspires us with a thought that is true, that means that sooner or later we dip by that thought's guidance into the particulars of experience again and make advantageous connection with them. This is a vague enough statement, but I beg you to retain it, for it is essential.

"The true," to put it briefly, is only the expedient in, the way of our thinking, just as "the right" is only the expedient in the way of our behaving. Expedient in almost any fashion; and expedient in the long run and on the whole of course; for what meets expediently all the experience in sight won't necessarily meet all farther experiences equally satisfactorily. Experience, as we know, has ways of boiling over, and making us correct our present formulas.

The "absolutely" true, meaning what no farther experience will ever alter, is that ideal vanishing-point towards which we imagine that all our temporary truths will some day converge. It runs on all fours with the perfectly wise man, and with the absolutely complete experience; and, if these ideals are ever realized, they will all be realized together. Meanwhile we have to live to-day by what truth we can get to-day, and be ready to-morrow to call it falsehood. Ptolemaic astronomy, euclidean space, aristotelian logic, scholastic metaphysics, were expedient for centuries, but human experience has boiled over those limits, and we now call these things only relatively true, or true within those borders of experience. "Absolutely" they are false; for we know that those limits were casual, and might have been transcended by past theorists just as they are by present thinkers.

When new experiences lead to retrospective judgments, using the past tense, what these judgments utter was true, even though no past thinker had been led there. We live forwards, a Danish thinker has said, but we understand backwards. The present sheds a backward light on the world's previous processes. They may have been truth-processes for the actors in them. They are not so for one who knows the later revelations of the story.

This regulative notion of a potential better truth to be established later, possibly to be established some day absolutely, and having powers of retroactive legislation, turns its face, like all pragmatist notions, towards concreteness of fact, and towards the future. Like the half-truths, the absolute truth will have to be made, made as a relation incidental to the growth of a mass of verification-experience, to which the half true ideas are all along contributing their quota.

I have already insisted on the fact that truth is made largely out of previous truths. Men's beliefs at any time are so much experience funded. But the beliefs are themselves parts of the sum total of the world's experience, and become matter, therefore, for the next day's funding operations. So far as reality means experienceable reality, both it and the truths men gain about it are everlastingly in process of mutation towards a definite goal -- it may be -- but still mutation.

Mathematicians can solve problems with two variables. On the Newtonian theory, for instance, acceleration varies with distance, but distance also varies with acceleration. In the realm of truth-processes facts come independently and determine our beliefs provisionally. But these beliefs make us act, and as fast as they do so, they bring into sight or into existence new facts which re-determine the beliefs accordingly. So the whole coil and ball of truth, as it rolls up, is the product of a double influence. Truths emerge from facts; but they dip forward into facts again and add to them; which facts again create or reveal new truth (the word is indifferent) and so on indefinitely. The "facts" themselves meanwhile are not true. They simple are. Truth is the function of the beliefs that start and terminate among them.

The case is like a snowball's growth, due as it is to the distribution of the snow on the one hand, and to the successive pushes of the boys on the other, with these factors co-determining each other incessantly.

Excerpted from Pragmatism, by William James

* Books by and about William James

Elsewhere On the Internet

* A Biographical Sketch of William James
* The William James Resources Page
* "The Varieties of Religious Experience," by William James
* "The Will to Believe," by William James

JANE ROBERTS wrote an interesting book entitled
The World View of Paul Cezanne (1977)
of particular interest to readers with an interest in and appreciation of fine art. The current and remarkably Sethian outlook on the world of the artist Paul Cezanne (1839-1906) is presented in this book in words of his received by Jane while in a state of altered consciousness.

Visionary ahead of his time, Cezanne's innovative style, use of perspective, composition and color profoundly influenced 20th century art. He is often described as the "father of modern art"