The three worlds of Function, Will and Being.
As we progress with the development of our InvisibleCollege, so it becomes necessary to develop our own terminology. We need to have a language of ideas that have a definite and not a vague meaning. We also need to develop systems of understanding: ideas that form the bed-rock of our knowing.
In earlier lectures I have presented to you the idea that one of the differences between the way that we are embarking upon and either a cult or religion is that here belief systems are not fixed. Nobody here is asked to believe anything and there is no dogma. What we have instead is a system of ideas that we can work with and develop. Just as with the natural science of Chemistry, where at GCSE level we learn one thing, at ‘A’ level something else, and at degree level, have to discard much of what we thought we knew from school and embrace entirely new conceptions of what atoms and electrons are, so too we have a progression of ideas.
One of the areas that we need to develop a clearer understanding of is the difference between energy and transformation. The word ‘energy’ is frequently misused in contemporary society, especially as applied to matters of spirit. People talk loosely about the energy they can feel coming out of a crystal or the energy of a pyramid. While such loose talk may have its place in allowing us to converse with others in a congenial fashion, it does not serve us well here. We need to be much more concise about what we mean by the term energy and how this fits in with the other ideas concerned with transformation.
In a recent news-letter that I sent out to members of the college (13/07/09), I described how J. G. Bennett has provided us with an entirely new way of looking at the world around and inside us. I was fortunate enough to have met ‘Mr B’ on several occasions and even to have had some private conversations with him. I know from these meetings that he was a man of great ‘being’. Also, that his ideas in this field can be very helpful in bringing the needed focus to what we are discussing.
Bennett’s model of creation
In his book Deeper Man Bennett uses a model of the universe such that all and everything comes about by the interplay of what you might call three different ‘worlds’. I find this a very useful concept for getting to grips with ideas of transformation and have therefore adopted it. You must understand, however, that when we refer here to ‘worlds’ it is not in a context with which people are generally familiar. We are not here talking about the physical versus some hidden worlds, such as a notional ‘astral world’ or ‘world of spirit’. Nor are we concerned with analogies such as the ‘world of work’ or ‘world of theatre’. We are going to be using this world is a different way entirely: to describe a new way of looking at the universe from a perspective that is both modern and very ancient.
In Bennett’s terminology —at least in the early part of his book, he uses the word ‘world’ in other contexts later on—he talks about the interaction of three, distinctly different concepts. These he labels ‘worlds’ in order for us to form a mental image of ideas that are abstract. So please do not compare this teaching with others that you know or have read about. Most of all don’t imagine that Bennett’s terminology is comparable with what I call High Street religion. It is not. The ideas we are discussing here are from a different source entirely. It has to be recognised from the start that the terminology used is precise in its own context and no other.
Now as regards the worlds themselves he labels these as Function, Will and Being. Now again we must be very careful not to identify these terms with ideas and conceptions we already have concerning the general meaning of these worlds. Here they are used very precisely and they have very definite meanings but we have to engage with these ideas in order to understand properly what these are.
The first world, the world of Function, is concerned with activity. This is the world we see all around us, that we measure, change, utilize and are in touch with through our senses. It is the world studied by science: the one that we explain to ourselves through the Laws of Physics and write about using the special language of mathematics. All of those words ending in –ology describe our study of one or another facet of this world and that includes even psychology, which is the study of the functioning of a very intimate part of ourselves: the psyche.
Given the huge scope covered by the world of function, it is at first difficult to see what could be left to comprise the other two worlds. However, even to think in this way is to fall into the trap of only seeing existence from the perspective of functionality. This is a mistake for functionality is only one facet of existence and is entirely different from the second world, which is that of Will.
Now when we talk here of Will, we must be very careful that we don’t confuse this with the similarly worded but entirely different concept of will-power. In its essence, and used in this context, Will is concerned with one thing and one thing only: taking decisions. It is not the same as implementing those decisions or their consequences as manifested in the world of Function. By analogy, you could say that the world of Will is like the boardroom, where decisions are taken, whereas the world of Function is the factory floor where things are done. Will determines the action whereas Function changes and responds according to decisions that have been taken.
In this sense you can say that Will is the manifestation of the positive aspect of creation whereas Function is the negative. However, the manifestation and interaction of these two principles occurs at many different. Bennett provides a useful image for understanding this when he uses the example of a man ploughing a field with an old-fashioned, horse-drawn plough. In this analogy, the plough acts positively with respect to the earth, which responds in a negative or functional way in response to it. Yet the plough itself is negative in relation to the horse which pulls it along. Similarly, the horse is negative in relation to the ploughman whose will steers it. Yet he, unseen by any onlooker is also guided by the commands or decisions of the owner of the field in whose employ he is acting.
From this little example we can see how the world of Will and the World of Function, though entirely different, interact at many different levels, with Will being similar to the Chinese concept of Yang and Function being like Yin. Yet there is still here something missing and this, Bennett informs us, is the role of the third world: that of Being. This is in some ways the hardest concept of all to grasp, for in some respects Being looks like Function and in others like Will. However, the key to understanding the role of Being is in the concept of Energy.
Now as I said earlier, we must first be clear in our own minds as to exactly what we mean by energy. The first thing we need to understand is that energy itself is totally invisible. What we see happening in the functional world is the result of transformations of energy, but we do not see energy itself. We can only compute it as it changes from one form to another form. For example, if you cannot tell by looking the difference between a car battery that is full and one that is flat. It is only when you turn the ignition on that the difference is apparent in the world of function.
This brings us to another key concept: that of fuels which you could say are containers for very particular grades of energy. Now as we all know and as each of us has probably experienced at some time in our life, if you have a car and you want to go somewhere, you must first make sure you have petrol in the tank. Petrol (or ‘gas’ if you are American!) is the relevant fuel where cars are concerned. It contains energy in a latent state that can be released by the engine and transformed into directional motion. I doesn’t matter how much you will the car to take you to your destination, without petrol in the tank you aren’t going anywhere.
Now where does Being fit into all this? Well you could say that a car with a full tank and charged battery has more ‘being’ than one with an empty tank and flat battery. That might seem a strange idea at first but it is actually something that we are all familiar with. Being is not the same as Will and it is not an activity. It just is. Yet because it is, it can enable things to happen that would not if there were not so much being. I other words a car with a full tank IS more because it has the potential to enable more to be done.
Coming back to the idea of the three worlds as independent principles, you could say that Being is the neutralising principle that brings together the worlds of Will and Function and enables them to interact one with another. Being is also the connecting rod that enables decisions to manifest.
And this brings us back to the concept of Willpower. As we have discussed earlier, Will and Will-power are not the same thing and now we can begin to see why. Will-power is actually that which enables Will to manifest. As such it is concerned with the availability of the right fuels in the right place at the right time. And this, believe it or not, is absolutely at the core of our work here in the college. For we human-beings and are ourselves instruments for the uniting of Will and Function. We are, again in Bennett’s terminology, ‘apparatuses’ and much of our work is concerned with the transformation of energies that will enable us to become more, i.e. to increase our level of being and therefore to be in a position to allow a higher Will to manifest through us.
How we do this and what we mean by Higher Will is something for us to discuss in later papers. For now it is enough that we are beginning to learn together a new vocabulary, grammar and syntax by which we can approach such ideas. For these, I know, are going to be essential for our development in the 21st as opposed to the 20th century.