According to the teachings of the Path, this hidden intelligence comes into being and grows into an active force only through a specific form of voluntary struggle. And “sacred” ideas are intended not only to attract that hidden intelligence but therefore to support the struggle against attachment to all forms of psychic automatism, especially on the level of emotion and feeling. We are thus asked to understand that a “great idea” is not simply an idea about “great things” such as the soul or freedom or the cosmos.

A Sense of the Cosmos, 118


My life goes on and on and I sink back again and again into the fears and lies that surround my attitude towards death. I cannot create an experience of death-- but can I not create this separation, this moment of existing in the presence of myself? And is this separation of pure awareness from all that I ordinarily take to be myself an analogy to what has been called-- in language which we no longer understand-- the separation of “soul” and “body” in the moment of actual death at the end of life.

Here perhaps we have found an opening, a chink in the armor of the problem of death.

In (A Sense of the Cosmos)  I have maintained that as scientists we regard the universe in a way a literal-minded scholar regards a sacred book. The result is that instead of experiencing the unity of reality in our being, we live among concepts which preserve the fragmented world of appearances as it is structured by the egoistic personality. We live among intellectually resolved contradictions rather than among ideas that demand for their verification a deeper contact with our own inner life. The energies in the universe therefore pour through us as through a sieve. And that is what it means to live at the level of the animal. It is also what it means to be “mortal.” The quality of our thinking has its influence upon the sort of experience we search for, which in turn eventually influences the way the forces of the universe move in us. This in turn determines whether we live the extraordinary life of a normal (microcosmic) man whose destiny, we are told, does not end with the death of the body, or whether we die as animals die. 

Sense of the Cosmos, 82


“When thought races ahead of Being, a civilization is racing towards destruction.”  What is God, 19

The root of materialism is a poverty of ideas about the inner and outer world. Less and less does our contemporary culture have, or even seek, commerce with great ideas, and it is that lack that is weakening the human spirit. This is the essence of materialism. Materialism is a disease of the mind starved for ideas.The American Soul, 6

It is customary to think that a sense of security and confidence comes from finding an answer, rather than a question. But the sense of security initially brought by “answers” almost always proves to be illusory. Taken in our usual state, answers soon close the mind and in doing so strengthen egoism, breeding conflict and yet more difficulties in our individual and collective lives. Human history, with its endless barbarism, could even be seen as the history of answers and their bloody progeny. And in a way, it is the same also in one’s own personal life. Collectively and individually, we do not suffer (or commit) evil because of our questions, but because of our answers. An Unknown World, 52

Almost every trick, every illusion great and small, depends on the passivity, the weakness, of human attention. A Sense of the Cosmos, 144

Is failure of attention the original sin? A Sense of the Cosmos, 156 


Summing up these elements, we may speak of the evolution of man as the process by which human beings become able consciously and voluntarily to serve the purposes of higher, perhaps the highest, intentions in the universal world, intentions that create and maintain worlds upon worlds in the universal world. And here we may boldly speak of the intentions of the Earth.                                      

from An Unknown World, 132

Where other forms of life reach their completion and serve their function fully governed by the laws of nature and the Earth, Man, the unfinished animal, was uniquely endowed with the capacity and theresponsibility to absorb and respond directly to conscious influences from above the level of the Earth and the Sun.

from An Unknown World, 137

Could we ever hope to understand our planet without understanding why we have been brought forth on the Earth? Without understanding all that Earth needs from us? It cannot be merely to correct the ecological problems we ourselves created. There must be another function for our unique species, our specifically human consciousness. So much is obvious. There is nothing purely accidental in nature, nothing that is not implicated in the wholeness of the living world  

from An Unknown World, 164

To those who deny purpose and intention in the universe, we say: To understand and perceive intention and purpose outside myself, I have to perceive intention and purpose inside myself. And this is not as simple as it sounds. It requires the ancient, deep work of self examination.

partly from A Sense of the Cosmos, 77


Contemplating the human brain:

How is it possible? How could the immensity of human thought come out of this wrinkled object? The immensity of human feeling? Love? Hate? Consciousness? World-striding action? How could this thingbring forth the glories of art and music and science and religion and civilization? Along with colossal horror, brutality and evil? How could it know, understand? How could it be as a human being is?-- so infinitely more than what it, this thing, is? What magic supernatural forces did it contain? Did it oncecontain, this brain, when it was living within the grey flesh stretched out on this long metal table? How could it have ever been I am?

[from An Unknown World Notes on the Meaning of the Earth, p.122]