Contact/Respect for Material Objects
Theme Presentation ~ 1971-10-21
“Before introducing the theme, I spoke about the purpose of this element in our work. And I shall say something about it before I come to the theme itself. We need to achieve an understanding. In order to understand, one must combine knowledge and experience. One must bring about an intimate understanding interaction within ourselves between what we have learned, what we already know from the past and the immediate experience that we produce from our own work and efforts. But the work really begins when we ourselves begin to test the idea behind the theme in our day to day life and activities. We have to produce the material from our own intentional experience in sharing with others; in speaking together about it. But the real work begins after we’ve acquired the necessary basic ideas and after we have also placed ourselves in the position to get direct personal experience which is our own.
We then have to test our understanding of the ideas, to ask ourselves what we can accept, what we can be sure of and are prepared to take into ourselves as a permanent part of our own understanding. This is the work by which the theme is made useful and profitable for us. You have to be on your guard in using this technique against either counting on what you already know and trying to think of that, and trying to understand that better and on the other hand of taking the theme merely as a cue as various kinds of experiments and observations which may be curious and even very valuable to us. Or exposing ourselves to quite difficult conditions in order to be able to observe and find material relevant to this theme. But, when the work itself begins we have to begin penetrating more deeply, testing in ourselves what it is that we understand, what we accept, what we’re sure of, what we would be prepared to vouch for in speaking to another person, what we would be prepared to, if we could, to pass on to our children of the future generations, what we’re prepared to live by for the rest of our lives.”