“Oh, god,” Richie Kendall groaned as Diane paused for a sip of wine. “What really gets to me about this – what really, really gets to me – is how simple it all is. Your beliefs form reality, right? No bullshitting around – that’s it! But if it’s that simple, what happened? Why did we forget it all? Why aren’t people aware of it? I mean, so much of the world is so fucked up! And Seth saying that ALL WE HAVE TO DO IS CHANGE OUR BELIEFS . . .”
“Yeah, right – all,” Jane yukked. Her chuckles fell like a shower of rocks. “Just think about it!” Richie hurried on, caught up in the throes of thinking about it. “Just think about it! THIS is what the whole world comes from and we FORGOT IT ALL!” His voice rang out with real passion, and the rest of us were feeling it too. “How the hell could we have allowed ourselves to do that?!” Richie wailed. How could we have allowed ourselves to create a reality with all the pain and suffering, and wars and starvation, disease, cruelty, the whole bit? It’s insane, that’s what it is – it’s just insane! I mean, how could we have allowed it to get this way? What justification can there possibly be?"
Silence, for once, reigned supreme. Jane shrugged; what could she say? “I don’t know, Richie, who knows? But maybe it’s that we wanted to-”
“What it means is that we all have a great responsibility now,” Allan Demming suddenly pronounced. “It means that we have the responsibility of disseminating Seth’s ideas to the world at large, so that people can understand the truth.”
Jane screwed up her face in protest. “No, I don’t know, Allan, I just figure we do the books, and if people want to read them and use the ideas, fine. I certainly don’t feel ‘responsible’ about it in the way you mean-and I’m not about to start a crusade that I’ve got the truth and nobody else has.”
“But you do!” Allan wailed, ignoring the expression of dismay on Jane’s face. “You say that we create our own reality, and I think it’s up to the people here to get others to read the Seth material! It’s our responsibility to the world, before it’s too late and we destroy . . .”
Swiftly, Jane was yanking her glasses off, Seth’s voice ringing out loudly in his familiar, “Now!”
“Uh, oh,” Richie grinned, “here it comes!” He leaned forward in anticipation of a Sethian scorch. What actually followed has been labeled by those members who heard it as one of the most belief-shattering “milestone” Seth sessions in the ten years of class.
“Listen to me!” Seth roared at us, "I thrust no responsibility upon you to carry my message to the world! I have, in those terms, a responsibility that I give you – if you must start thinking in terms of responsibility – the responsibility of being yourselves to the best of your capacity; and if you fulfill that responsibility, the things within your lives will be right, and your actions and your feelings in the world will speak for themselves. For in being yourself you bring forth the message of freedom and creativity!
"The world will go its way. It may not be your way. It may
not be my way. But, it may! The world will take these ideas as it will. I give them playfully, joyfully, and humbly, that they may fall as the seeds fall from a gigantic oak tree. I do not say that every man must pick up one of those seeds for himself and use it. I say merely, ‘I am.’ And, to you, I say, ‘You are.’
“AND WHENEVER THESE CLASSES ARE NOT FUN, DO NOT COME TO THEM! AND WHENEVER YOU ARE DOING SOMETHING YOURSELVES THAT IS NOT FUN, STOP IT!”
“STOP IT?!” Richie screamed, shutting Seth off in midbreath, “Stop it? You mean, just like that – just stop it? Anything – anything that’s not fun?! Just like that?! Just --stop it?!”
Seth nodded, smiling broadly at Richie. “Creativity and the joy of the gods does not involve responsibility – in your terms, now,” Seth said. "Being knows its own actions, and when you are yourself, you fulfill any responsibility that any god or man could lay upon you from the outside.
“Now, back to the book, or your questions,” Seth said, and blithely withdrew.
“Anything that’s not fun – just quit doing it?!” Richie was screaming as Jane emerged from trance. everybody was talking and yelling at once. “Anything?! But the only thing that’s fun for me is playing paddleball!” Richie shouted. “So does that mean I should just drop everything else, don’t bother getting a job, and just play paddleball for the rest of my life? That’s it?!”
“Hold it!” Jane finally yelled above everyone. “Hold! It! What WAS this?”
“I don’t believe it!” Richie yowled in exaggerated disbelief. “Seth just said that we should stop doing anything that isn’t fun!”
“Well, I’ll go for that,” Jane said lightly, reaching for her wine glass.
“Yeah, but --” Richie looked around at his friends and forced a loud, nervous laugh. “But – anything? What if nobody wanted to work anymore? What if you just wanted to screw all the time? What if you decided it wasn’t fun being a parent anymore and you threw your kid out the door? What if…”
“Yeah, or what if you had to take care of your old mother or something, and THAT wasn’t fun anymore?” chimed in Rudy. “What if you thought it was fun to be a flasher in Central Park? What if LIFE wasn’t fun anymore and you decided to kill yourself?”
In a way, it was really funny – the group of people among us with the least number of responsibilities, conventionally speaking, were protesting this dictum of fun the loudest. Was it because they feared that fun was only a right of the chronologically young, which they couldn’t hold onto? Or that the world was really out to get them in its jaws?
Jane lit a cigarette. “I don’t know; it just seems to me that if we really were spontaneous enough to follow our impulses, that we’d just naturally do what was necessary. I mean, maybe if people were really spontaneous and understood the inner self, the person who’d thought all along that being a parent wasn’t fun wouldn’t have had kids in the first place. Or maybe when you got to it, some things you thought were so much fun wouldn’t be. Maybe screwing would turn out to be a lot of work.” Jane rolled her eyes and laughed. “Maybe Richie, after you played 800 games of paddleball you wouldn’t want to anymore; you’d find that you’d worked through all this pent-up desire from being too afraid of the impulse to let yourself go and play paddleball for three hours, or whatever.”
“Well --” Richie began, doubtfully. But with that Seth appeared again with the advice that each of us explore our beliefs about fun versus responsibility by writing down our definitions of those terms during the coming week.
“In some instances, you will find that you feel one way, it seems, and believe another,” Seth said. “In those instances, privately follow your feelings, and they will lead you to your beliefs. I want you to deal with these questions on an intimate precept. You may find that they spill over into your ideas of good and bad [and] poverty – spiritual and non-spiritual – and, of course, bring those tender papers to class! It is your playful responsibility!”
During the readings of those papers in the next class, Ira Willis began by stressing “the need for responsible action in a world capable of blowing itself up.” Within seconds, Seth sprang to life with more remarks on fun and responsibility.
“My heartiest greeting to you all, and I knew I could count on you [Ira] to do it!” Seth began humorously. "[But] he is not alone in posing these beliefs. Now, I tell you that in basic terms, civilisation is dependant upon the spontaneity and fulfillment of the individual. Your civilisation is in sad straits – not because you have allowed spontaneity or fulfillment to individuals, but because you have denied it, and because your institutions are based upon that premise.
"You think that, left alone, the natural inclinations of man would destroy civilisation. Then what, indeed, started civilisation, if not the natural inclinations of man? What began the cooperation that allows people to unite even in tribes, if not the natural inclinations of man?
"If you learn to trust your being, then you will be able to trust your institutions and your civilisations. You equate spontaneity with irresponsibility; abandon with evil. If you abandon yourslves to yourselves, then what good would seem to spring out of the heavens of your being!
"Your world is not in dire straits because you trust yourselves, but preciesly because you do not. Your social institutions are set up to fence in the individual, rather than to allow the natural development of the individual!
“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 an great responsibility for your beings or your welfare. Who am I to set myself against the innate wisdom of your individual being, or take upon my invisible shoulders the great privilege or joyful responsibility fr your behaviour and destiny?”
A strange question, perhaps, if you were looking to Seth for definition of your being. But a very good point from someone who emphasized above all the authority of the individual self."
Conversations with Seth, book 2, chapter 7: “If It Isn’t Fun, Stop Doing It!” 25th Anniversary Edition