71 (A thought is an arrow shot at the truth; it can hit a point, but not...)
71 – A thought is an arrow shot at the truth; it can hit a point, but not cover the whole target. But the archer is too well satisfied with his success to ask anything farther.
But it is obvious! It is so obvious for us.
Yes, but what must we do to cover the whole target?
Stop being an archer!
It is a fine image. This is good for people who are in a state where they imagine they have discovered the Truth.
It is a good thing to say to those who think they have found the Truth because they have touched one point.
But so often, we have said something else.
One wonders how far it is possible to act once one is able to include the whole target, that is, to know all points of view and the usefulness of each thing, since one can see that everything is useful, that everything is in its place. In order to act, doesn't one need to be in some way exclusive or combative?
You know the story of the philosopher who lived in the south of France – I do not remember his name, a very well-known man who was a professor at the University of Montpellier and who lived on the outskirts of the city? There were several roads leading to his house. Every day this man would leave his university and arrive at the crossroads where all the roads leading to his house branched out – this way, that way, another way. And every day he would stop and ask himself, “Which one shall I take?” Each one had its advantages and disadvantages. And all this went on in his head, the advantages and disadvantages, and this and that, and he would waste half an hour choosing his way home.
He used to give that as an example of the thought's incapacity for action: if one begins to think, one can no longer act.
It is all right down here, on this plane, as long as one is the archer and hits only one point. But above it is not true – quite the contrary! All intelligence below is like that; it sees all kinds of things, and as it sees all kinds of things, it cannot choose in order to act. But in order to see the whole target, to see the Truth in its entirety, you must cross over to the other side. And when you cross over to the other side, you do not see a sum of multiple truths nor a countless number of truths added one to another, which you see one after another so that you cannot grasp the whole all at once. When you rise above, it is the whole that you see first; the whole presents itself all at once, in its entirety, in its wholeness, without division. And then you no longer have to make a choice, you have a vision: this is what has to be done. It is not a choice between this and that, or this or that, because it is no longer like that. You no longer see things successively, one after another; you have the simultaneous vision of a whole that exists as a unity. Then the choice is simply a vision.
But as long as you are in the state of the archer, you cannot see the whole – you cannot see the whole successively, you cannot see the whole by adding one truth to another. That is precisely the incapacity of the mind. The mind cannot do it. It will always see successively, it will always see a sum of things and it is not that – something will escape, the very meaning of the truth will elude it.
It is only when one has a global, simultaneous perception of the whole in its oneness that one can possess the truth in its entirety.
Then, action is no longer a choice subject to error, correction, discussion, but the clear vision of what must be done. And this vision is infallible.
3 February 1962