Known, Unknown, Unknowable
I am against cultivating a moral character, because cultivating a moral character does not give you real morality. That’s why I am against it. The real morality has not to be cultivated: it comes as a shadow of being more aware. It is a consequence of consciousness.
If your conscience is not a consequence of your consciousness, then your conscience is ugly, dangerous, poisonous. Then your conscience is nothing but the policeman that the society has implanted in you. Then your conscience is nothing but your parental voice, the priests shouting inside you, “Don’t do this – do that!” You are not free, you are not a free man: you are controlled from within – a very subtle strategy to control humanity. That’s what your so-called conscience is.
The real conscience does not come from the outside: it wells up within you; it is part of your consciousness. I don’t say cultivate morality: I say become more conscious – and you will be moral. But that morality will have a totally different flavor to it. It will be spontaneous; it will not be ready-made. It will be moment-to-moment alive, flowing, changing. It will reflect all the colors of life. It will be appropriate to the moment; it will be responsible. You will respond to the situation with full awareness – not because Moses has said to do it, not because Jesus has said to follow it, but because your own God inside feels this is the way to respond. Then you are functioning from the very source of consciousness, and that is true morality. It has not to be cultivated. The cultivated means the false.
That’s why I say the real man of character has no character. The real man of character is characterless. The real man of character cannot afford to have a character, because the character means that which you have learnt in the past; character means the past. And you have to respond to the present moment. Your character will come between you and the present. It will force you to behave according to the past pattern, and when you behave according to the past pattern you are never appropriate.
So your so-called moral people are never appropriate, they cannot be. They miss the moment. They function out of the past so they cannot relate to the present. And there is only one life, only one life: to relate to the present.
I think that what we are observing is a very subtle phenomenon, a subtle approach. It may be as successful as a college friend I once knew. He met a girl at a football game, and they hit it off so well that he took her to a show. That went fine, so he asked her to dinner. They enjoyed a leisurely dinner at a good hotel and followed that with a night club and dancing.
Along toward midnight, they were having a snack at a table for two and he said to her, “You know, I have had a wonderful time ever since I met you this afternoon. I think we have hit it off swell together, don’t you?”
“Sure,” she agreed. “I have enjoyed it too.”
Excerpted From Philosophia Perennis, Vol. 2 CH: 10