An Introduction to the work of Eugene Halliday, written for Satish Kumar.
Eugene Halliday (1911-1987) was one of the most significant spirits of our time. He founded the charity “Ishval” for “the promotion and propagation of the principles of Truth in all religions, in order to achieve unity in the interpretation of sacred writings between all denominations, and mutual understanding and practice of the principles of Truth in a true spirit of ecumenism”. Hierological values are “the values contained in the sacred writings and teachings of the world’s major religions”.
Eugene Halliday’s philosophy is non-dualist – one of his inspirations was Sankara – and he steadfastly pointed out the shortcomings of the prevailing “western” view of the world, based on 19th century atomism and the Cartesian mind-body split, which has left so many people struggling to understand their place in a depersonalized and apparently valueless universe. In its place his posited a holistic view of the universe in which everything is connected and has meaning and value.
His teaching is based on the central truths of all religions, including the great religions of India, China and the Abrahamic faiths; and also the truths in art, philosophy, science and psychology. His work is based on his central tenet that the whole universe is energy, and that energy is sentient. The e-r-g in energy means ‘work’. Christ says “My Father works and I work”.
“The word ‘Father’ means generative power. So when you think about God, you are not thinking about a funny man sitting in the sky, somewhere far away, you are thinking about the energy that is generating your being, here and now. If that energy were to cease operating now, you would promptly disintegrate. So when you think about God, do not be intimidated by the word, by the weight of religious terminology behind it, by the guilt associated with it, by the sin, associated with it. When you hear the word GOD, just translate ‘Generative Intelligent Power’, wherever it may appear. God is omnipresent means that the universe is entirely energy. That energy is generating your being, here and now.”
And that energy is sentient, is consciousness. Each individual being, and the whole universe, is generated by conscious, intelligent power. Each individual being is a form, a modality, of that sentient power. And with the acknowledgement of the source of our being, and our true nature as not-other than our source, comes responsibility for our actions.
“Spirit acts freely. Matter is bound to behave as it does when forces act upon it. Spirit has initiative; matter is ruled by inertia. Spirit can choose; matter cannot choose; spirit has the power of self-determination; matter is determined by other than itself.
In so far as we are human we can act freely; in so far as we cannot act freely, we fall short of our full human potential’s actualisation.
To survive in the natural world, we need knowledge of the balance of forces which constitute nature. To retain and enlarge what freedom we have, we need knowledge of the balance of forces which constitute our spiritual being. What are these forces?
A human being comprises forces of matter (body); of feelings (likes and dislikes); of mentation (dealing with the things and events of time); of conceptual thinking (dealing with external principles of logic, mathematics, geometry etc.); and of volition (free will).
It is with the balance of forces that comprise the human being that our study of spiritual ecology must deal, and especially with those forces that manifest in acts of free decision.” (Through the Bible, Book 3, page 76, pages1-4.)
Eugene Halliday contrasted “private, profit seeking individuals” with “observers-for-God” who see “all things as manifestations of divine power and intelligence”.
“Observers-for-God” see infinities of interrelating powers, where profit-pursuers see only separate things which they interpret as manipulable by their own individual wills. The relation between the two kinds of observers is like that between profit-seeking materialists who pollute the world’s rivers, oceans and atmosphere with the by-products of their activities, and the ecologists who are intelligent and capable of discerning interrelatedness of all forms of existence, who see the interdependence of all phenomena in the universe, and see the function of mankind as an aid to the attainment of cosmic balance. The ecologists are on the way to becoming observers for God.”
“As without, so within”; Eugene Halliday describes an internal ecology of spirit. “Spiritual ecology is the study of the interrelationships of all levels of our being, the recognition of the ways in which our body, feelings, time-thinkings, eternal concepts and initiative function. As in natural ecology we observe that the destruction of one form of life unbalances the whole natural system, so in the realm of spiritual ecology the malfunction of one level produces deterioration in others. We cannot neglect any one of our five levels of function without impairing the rest.”
“By the principles of spiritual ecology, we owe it to ourselves to balance the various forces that constitute our being. We can do this most effectively by reminding ourselves that the five levels are all expressions of the sixth, which is pure consciousness itself.”
(Quotes in this section are taken from Eugene Halliday’s audio lecture “God as Projectionist”, which can be found on the Archive website and from his book Through the Bible, searched through the Quotations page of the Eugene Halliday Society website. A transcript of the lecture may be found here.)
Perhaps the most important of Eugene Halliday’s works is his book Reflexive Self-Consciousness. Conceived during the decade following the Second World War, this book sets out a problem which still presses us in the 21st Century. As individuals, how can we deal with the rapidly increasing pace and complexity of life, fear of terrorism and the threatening state of world affairs, impending ecological destruction and the confusions of personal relationships – without succumbing to the wear and tear of stress, to depression and illness?
In his book, Eugene Halliday sets out a solution, a way by which we can develop the ability to respond adequately to the demands life makes of us, the ability to assimilate the shocks and blows of experience, so we can live a whole and balanced life. The way to this balance is through an understanding of the centre of our own being, our consciousness, and through this, finding our place in relation to the universe.
In his lifetime Eugene Halliday’s ideas were controversial and he worked quietly, mainly through personal contact, but as time goes on more visionary thinkers appear to be coming to similar conclusions about the nature of consciousness and our place in the universe. There are resonances with his work in that of a growing number of scientists and philosophers, for example David Bohm, Rupert Sheldrake and Christian de Quincey.
Hephzibah Yohannan, 2007-2008.
The Aims of Ishval
Formulated by Eugene Halliday, founder.
(‘Ishval’ and ‘Eugene Halliday Society’, are working names for the ‘Institute for the Study of Hierological Values’.)
- The promotion of human and divine values.
- The study of concepts contained in the hierological traditions of all nations and peoples.
- The interpretation of these concepts.
- The formation of these concepts into a mode of education such that full human value may be derived from their application.
- The teaching of these concepts to all persons who desire to receive such teaching and are prepared to put them into practice, insofar as this should prove possible for them.
- “Love God and Your Neighbour as Yourself.”
- By “God,” is here meant Absolute Infinite Intelligent Power, containing within itself, in pure actuality, all that man conceives as valuable – Love, Life, Personality etc., and infinitely more than man can at present conceive.
- By “Neighbour,” is meant the occupants of the Universe.
- By “as Yourself,” is meant that the self of the neighbour and of oneself is essentially one at source.
- By “Love,” is meant, “Work for the development of the potentialities of being.”
- Thus, “Love God and Your Neighbour as Yourself,” means, “Work for the development of the purpose of the Absolute Infinite Intelligent Power and for all creatures within the sphere of creation.”