“This series attempts to answer the questions ‘why are we alive?’, is there meaning and purpose to our lives, the problem of sin and selfishness, where our security comes from. The 10 minute talks will establish our uniqueness as God’s children by arguing for God’s existence, order and design in the universe, historicity of the Bible, Jesus’ divinity and resurrection. This is the groundwork for all of reality which ultimately enables us to find true happiness, security and redemption through God’s individual love for each of us.”
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Examining our Personality -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Examining our Personality
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question we’ve been discussing on this program for about six months
now. You may wonder, how on earth can you discuss a simple question like that for six months? Well, it’s easy
in these days because so many of us fail to see the wood from the trees. That is, we’re so taken up with
everyday activities. We’re so distracted with the round of responsibilities and duties that we have.
We’re so entertained often by the video and television and movie world, that we hardly have time to reflect on
why we’re doing it all, why we’re here at all, what the point of our existence is. Actually it’s that
bewilderment that sends us so often into neurotic behavior. It’s causing a lot of the flight that we see to
drugs and to anything that will take our mind off the shear meaninglessness of our existence.
That’s partly why we’re trying to deal with that question. So many of us today are not dealing with it and
have no time to deal with it. Yet, it’s our background underlying frustration and concern about this question
which is dragging many of us into a neurotic approach to life that is virtually crazy and insane. So, that is
why we are trying to deal with the question, “What is the meaning of life?” That’s why we have been talking
about it now for about six months.
What perhaps may drive you crazy is the way I often go back over some of the discussion that we’ve had. I do
that because the chief mark of our life today is fragmentation, a lack of synthesis. Everything is broken up.
Everything is breaking up. Nobody seems to be able to find one single basis for any approach to life — though
all of us are trying in various ways. The chief mark of our life today seems to be the fragmentation of
It seems to be the lack of the ability in our educational system to synthesize what we really think with the
way we live. So, one of the reasons I do go over again the basis of our discussion is to remind you that we
are basing our discussion on intellectual premises that are respectable and that are valid and that are
capable of being analyzed and examined.
So, I would remind you that we have said the meaning of life is that we have been created by a personal,
intelligent being that is beyond all of our finite abilities to conceive of. That intelligent being is loving.
He revealed Himself in a human being who lived in the first century of our era. We can document historically,
by manuscripts like the Vaticannus, the Alexandrinus, and the Sinaiticus, some of which are in the British
Museum, this man’s life…that He actually did and said the things that He is reported to have done and said.
This is that person that is so often regarded as a curse word by so many of us, that person Jesus of Nazareth.
He is actually the son of the maker of the universe. If you want to go over some of the intellectual
undergirding that proves that, then please do send for some of the earlier cassettes that we have shared this
But, we have proceeded beyond that and have got to the point where we see that His explanation of the reality
behind the universe, his explanation of the meaning of life, or His answer to “Why are we alive?” is that His
Father, our Creator, made us with the same capacities as He Himself has, except that ours are finite and not
infinite. He made us with the same intellectual, emotional, and spiritual capacities as He Himself has so that
we would become like Him.
That is really the purpose of our lives here on earth. This is just a short seventy or eighty year spell
during which we have the opportunity to become like Him or to reject that whole idea and just be what we want
to be ourselves. That’s the purpose of our lives.
Now the way He has for us to become like Him is that He has put each one of us here in this world to do
certain things to help Him develop it. In other words, He created the world, but the completion of the
creation He has put in our hands. So, He creates not only an Einstein to take us a little further in our
understanding of the infinite, but He creates a policeman whose job is to bring order into the moral and the
behavioral life of our society.
He creates a secretary whose responsibility is to bring order into the expressions of her colleagues and her
associates as she types letters to other people. He creates a mother whose responsibility is to bring beauty
and order into the home over which she presides. So, the Father who has made us has given every one of us
certain talents and abilities that he knows are necessary to develop His world according to His will. In the
process of us doing that, we will be made by His own life’s Spirit, like Him.
Then, of course, we will engage in a completely new life that will have infinite possibilities. That He has
mercifully not shown us, because with our finite minds, we could make no sense of it. That’s the meaning of
our lives. There is a personal, intelligent being who has created you with certain abilities that are
necessary in order to develop His world according to His will. As you engage upon that pursuit, under His
guidance and by His power and by His life, you will become like Him yourself.
Now, the amazing thing is this, of course, you are absolutely unique! You’re a “one-off”, as they say today.
You are the only version of you that He has created, and that He will ever create. If you do not fulfill the
purpose that He has for you, and do not come into a likeness to Him so that you will be able to be His friend
forever, then there is a sense in which the mighty Creator of the universe will miss something. He will always
miss you. There is no one to take your place.
That’s why you feel you are unique at times. Of course, the problem with the present world is, we are all in
that situation. We are all unique! But unless we are in some way connected with His plan, we feel that
everybody else is ordinary, and we alone are unique. That’s what brings some of the problems into our present
So, the meaning of our lives is clear and plain. We have been made by an intelligent, personal being, and He
has put us here on earth so that we will become utterly like Him in inner character so that we will be able to
take part with Him in an infinite development of the universe after this life is over. The way to become like
Him is to begin to exercise the abilities that He has given us under His power and by His life.
Now, that’s exactly what we’re beginning to discuss in these next few months. How do we live the way that we
were meant to live? In what way did He intend us to live, and in what way did He intend our personality to
operate? Part of the problem that many of us have is we don’t really understand how these personalities were
meant to operate. That’s why we make all kinds of thrashing attempts to be the kinds of people that our
parents, our teachers, we ourselves, and even the writers of books think we ought to be.
Yet, we are repeatedly finding ourselves struggling against personality traits and habits of emotion and
thinking that seem very inexpedient to us and very difficult to reconcile with the attitudes of other people.
That’s what we would like to begin to talk about again next time: how our personality is meant to work.
Who are we Inside? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Who are we Inside?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That is, why are we alive and how were we meant to live? How was our behavior
meant to operate in our personal, business and educational lives? Those are some of the questions we are
trying to answer on this program through our discussions together. What we have concluded so far over these
past six months is that we were made by an intelligent mind.
That’s obvious because of the design and order that we, along with Einstein, perceive in our natural world, in
our human world, in our mental and emotional world. We can see in the chart of elements that order that is
built into the physical world itself. We can see in the structure of the DNA molecule that the whole natural
universe did not come about by time plus chance, but through deliberate, intelligent planning and design.
Simply, we do not find order in the design in our world, unless we can trace it back to the activity of an
So, it is obvious to us, as we have been discussing during these six months, that we were created by an
intelligent person, at least as personable as we are; otherwise, He couldn’t have created persons like us. Of
course, we’ve been discussing together His Son in the first century of our era. We examined His life to see if
it was historical, and if He was a historical person. We’ve examined His life also to make sure that He wasn’t
some kind of crazy lunatic.
But this man Jesus has explained that His Father has put you here on this earth, and made you like him with
the same capacities as he has. He did that so that you, during this life of 70 or 80 years here, would become
utterly like Him inside in your own character, by your own choice. It’s so that you could begin to take part
with Him in an infinite development of the universe after this life is over.
Of course, for that reason, He has made you unique. There is nobody else like you in the whole universe. There
never will be and there never has been. It is your responsibility in this life to fulfill the plan that He has
in putting you here. That’s why you are not just any telephonist; you’re not just any telephone operator;
you’re just not any president of a company; you’re not just any secretary or any electrician.
You are a unique electrician. You are a unique joiner or carpenter. You’re a unique charwoman. You’re a unique
maid. You’re a unique master. You’re a unique lord of the manor. You’re a unique princess or a unique prince.
There is nobody like you. The Creator made you absolutely unique. You’re different from everybody else. You
can know Him in a way that nobody else can know Him. Actually, He can have a relationship with you that He can
have with nobody else in the whole universe.
So, it is a remarkable situation which we face. But in the light of that, how are we meant to operate in this
present life? That’s a question that many of us face day after day. We read all kinds of psychology books, and
all kinds of articles on temperament, yet we are still left with the question, how are my mind and emotions
really meant to work? How are they meant to work together? How am I meant to use the abilities of my
Well, the Creator was good because He did give us His own plan for our personalities. In that plan, you may
remember, He explained in various places in the Bible, (and if you want to look those up, you can write to me,
please, and I’ll give you the references. But so that I won’t seem like some mad evangelical type here, I
won’t quote a lot of Bible verses and throw them at you.) I’ll just say to you that in various places in the
Bible, the Creator of the universe indicates that we have been given three different levels of life.
We have a physical level, which is obvious, our body and its five senses through which we perceive the outside
world and through which we experience other people and other things and other circumstances and events. Then
inside that, as if that were an overcoat, inside our overcoat, is a suit that is our soul. That is the
psychological part of us.
The Greek word for spirit is “psuche”, which becomes psyche through Anglo-Saxon sign changes and becomes what
we know as psychology and psychiatric…all those terms. The soul is the mind, the emotions, and the will.
Then inside that, like a shirt inside a suit is our spirit. Our spirit is the part of us which is related to
God. While the soul is the part of us which is related to ourselves; it’s the self-conscious part of us.
The soul is the part that that person referred to when they said, “Our brain cells are the only ones who can
think about themselves.” Our soul is able to think about itself. We are able to examine our thoughts. If I
asked you, “What are you thinking?” you could tell me what you’re thinking, because you can look in and see
what you are thinking.
When I ask what you are feeling, you are able to tell me what you are feeling at his moment. You can tell
whether you are feeling sad or happy, up-beat or down-beat, because you can look inside at your emotions.
Similarly with your will, if I ask you what you want to do, you can examine your will and see what you want to
do. But, when it gets to the spirit, that is, the inside of you, that part of you has to be practiced and
exercised by faith. It is the deepest part of you, and yet is a part that you are not immediately aware of and
conscious of. So, your spirit is the part of you that relates to God.
We are meant to operate in a certain way with that spirit, and soul, and body. What we did a few days ago was
to examine the make-up of the spirit. We saw that our spirit is the real you. It’s you as you really are. It’s
you when you’re alone. It’s you when you are not compelled or constrained by any external pressures of
responsibility, obligation, duty, and desire to please somebody else. It’s you yourself. “What you are when
you’re alone, that you are and nothing more.”
Your spirit is the real you. It’s you as you really are. The Creator of the universe made you with a spirit
because He made you unique. Your spirit is the root of your uniqueness. It’s the root of your uniqueness. When
we talk about Churchill’s spirit, we mean the whole attitude of the man, the thing that made Churchill,
Churchill. That’s what your spirit is. It’s what makes you, you. It’s you, yourself, deep down, the real you.
Now, of course, we were meant to live with that spirit of ours in relationship to God, in a relationship with
the Creator of the universe. If we had that relationship, your spirit would be alive, and you yourself would
be alive. Most of us, of course, have spirits that are miserably dead. Long ago we ceased to remember who we
were. That’s why it’s still popular to ask that question, seemingly a dumb question, “Who am I? I don’t know
who I am. I have trouble with my identity.”
During the old Second World War days, we would have said, “Just look up your identity disc, and you’ll see who
you are.” But, still, that question is asked today, and increasingly it’s necessary to ask it. We have almost
lost ourselves, most of us. Most of us can’t really tell who we are, because we have become such chameleons.
The chameleon, you remember, is the little animal that turns the color of its environment. Whatever it’s
surrounded by, that it becomes. So many of us are chameleons.
We become what we are expected to be. We become the kind of people that please our teachers, because that gets
us points that will get us on in our career. We become the kind of people that please our boss, because that
will get us a promotion. We’ve become the kind of people that will please the person standing opposite to us
in the tube [underground train], because that will keep us out of trouble. So, we become little, smiling,
cookie monsters who will do anything to get a cookie.
We become little people who like to be petted and patted, and stroked and praised. We do whatever is necessary
to get that kind of response from others. We have long ago lost any sense of what we are. Many of us, when we
have tried to become what we are, have instead become monsters. In fact, that’s what we human beings have
become through wanting our own way and through ignoring the Creator.
So, our spirit is the very heart of us. It’s the very root of us. Now, how were we meant to operate in regard
to our spirit? How was our personality meant to operate in relationship to our spirits? Well, let’s talk a
little about that tomorrow.
Communicating With God -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Communicating With God
by Ernest O’Neill
We are talking about the way we were originally meant to live. That is, the way our personalities were meant
by the Creator of the universe to operate. We have based our thinking on the explanations that have been given
by the one man that has ever lived in the universe and has seemed to be able to show by His life that He was
divine. There are many people that have claimed to be divine; many of them in the psych wards still claim to
be divine. But they haven’t shown the balance of life and the ideal ethical behavior that this man, Jesus of
So, we have, after examining His life over some months now, concluded that He was, in fact, the Son of the
Maker of our universe. The explanation that He has given for the way our personalities are meant to work is
that we have been made by our Creator in His image — like Him, given the same capacities as He has.
We exist on three different levels. We exist on a physical level, our body with its five senses of seeing,
hearing, touching, tasting, etc., by which we perceive the outside world of people and things and
circumstances. Then, inside that, the soul, which is really the psychological level of our lives, our emotions
and our mind and our will.
Finally, inside that again is a level called, by this man Jesus of Nazareth and by the old book called the
Bible, our spirits. Our spirits we’ve begun to define as the real us, the person you really are, your spirit,
the person as you really are. It’s you, yourself. If you can think of yourself, in a room, free from all worry
and anxiety about making money in order to get the next meal, or making money in order to ensure that you can
retire and be taken care of when you’re no longer able to work…
…if you can think of yourself in a room with no worries about your parents or your sons or daughters or your
brothers or sisters, your friends with no sense of resentment against anybody or of overwhelming lust after
someone, if you can think of yourself as sitting in a room absolutely at rest and at peace, then what you
would want to do at that moment, that is your spirit speaking.
Your spirit is the real you. It’s the essence of you. It’s you yourself deep down. That’s the part of you that
is alone able to be related in any way to the Maker of the universe. Not your body, which is primarily
responsible for your interaction with the world around you. Not your soul, which is primarily responsible for
self-consciousness and for being able to examine what you think or what you feel or what you want. Your spirit
is the part of you that enables to relate to God Himself.
You can see, therefore, that if it is the real essence of you, it is very much connected with absolute
honesty. What you really are deep down is the part of you that will be able to relate to God.(cid:9)Of course,
that’s why so many of us have great problems with this. We’re prepared to relate to God on a physical level
and be all taken up with the beauty of the Cathedral, or the wonder of the church choir, or the beauty of the
ritual that we observe, but that’s all on the physical level.
It has nothing really to do, really, with a relationship to God. It’s just relationship to world symptoms that
accompany us at times, worship of God and at times, they don’t accompany worship of God. It’s not through our
thinking and through our feeling that we can relate to God, because our thoughts and feelings are primarily
connected with ourselves. When we have a thought or when we have a feeling, it’s primarily something to do
with our own personal experience of the world outside or of other things. But, it is not the experience
You will remember, even C.S. Lewis would say that when you look in to see if you’re having a relationship with
God, you have ceased to have that relationship because you have begun to put your concentration on something
other than God. You are no longer having a relationship with Him. All you are doing is examining the mental
track of the previous relationship you had with Him in communion or worship.
So, it is in your spirit that you actually have an interaction with God. You remember, several days ago we
discussed the outline of our spirits that is given in that old book called the Bible. Without quoting a lot of
the verses, some of which I did mention to you back in that broadcast, without quoting a lot of verses so that
we don’t get all bound up in religiosity, let me mention to you that there are at least three main functions
of our spirit that are mentioned and described in some detail and illustrated over the period of 3 or 4,000
years that the Bible covers.
One is, of course, the ability to commune with God. Our spirit is the part of us that interacts with God. In
other words, it’s usually when you’re alone and when you are your real heart self that you’re able to interact
with God. Actually, that is no mystery to you. You know that already. You know that the few times in your life
when you felt you were in some way touching the invisible, or you were in some way in contact with the Supreme
Being behind the universe, or you were in some way touching the inner depths of reality, that was when you had
been shocked into seeing that you had to be absolutely real in this situation.
There was no opportunity for you to be anything but real. You could not play your usual games. Usually, these
moments occur when either a loved one dies or when you yourself are in imminent danger of death. At that
moment, somehow you stop all the games that you play, and you are real yourself. You know that it’s at those
moments that you’ve sensed most vividly that there is a Supreme Being. You’ve sensed in some way that you were
in some kind of vague contact with Him.
You yourself know that it is in your spirit that you commune with God or that you are able to interact with
God. It’s deep down where you are really yourself. That’s why, though you and I can talk a lot about these
things on a broadcast, and though lots of ministers and lots of writers can try to help you with it, finally,
you alone can do it. You, yourself, in the quietness of your own room, or the quietness of your own heart, you
alone can interact with God. Actually, He is able to have no relationship with you at all while you are
playing the old games.
Usually, it is only when you are grimly and desperately determined to contact God that you ever live in the
realm of your spirit. Most of us, of course, have lost completely any touch with our spirits. But, it is in
the spirit that you can commune with God. Some of us say, “Oh, then I know people like Jean Dixon [horoscope
columnist], or I know a spiritualist that communes with the dead, or I know somebody else who has experienced
reincarnation.” Wait a minute! Wait a minute.
Your spirit is able to contact all sorts of other things besides God, Himself. One of the things that Jesus
explained was that there was a whole evil spiritual world. There is a satanic kingdom. There is a fallen angel
called Satan who rebelled against God in the pre-temporal days of eternity. There is, therefore, a whole band
of evil spirits that operate in our world. You’ve only to look at many of the things that are done in the name
of religion to see that these things shoot through all kinds of religions, including Christianity, but
especially are they active in the Eastern religions.
In the Eastern religions there are all kinds of elemental spirits of the universe. I don’t know if you know
that term, but it is used in a book called the Bible in a book called Ephesians in the New Testament and in
Colossians, where one of Jesus’ followers Paul says, “You were once slaves to the elemental spirits of the
universe.” So there are elemental spirits of the universe.
That’s obvious, even in old Wordsworth, whom many of us respect who love English literature. He obviously had
contact with the spirit behind nature. At times, he touched the Spirit of God, but at times, he was just
touching the elemental spirits of the universe. You will remember he said, “…and I have felt a presence that
disturbs me with the joy of elevated thoughts, a sense sublime of something far more deeply interfused whose
dwelling is the light of setting suns, and the round ocean and the blue sky and in the mind of man; a presence
that fills all things.”
He obviously was touching some kind of spirit, but it wasn’t always the Spirit of God. So, remember that your
spirit can have contact with all kinds of other spirits besides God. But, it is in your spirit that you
contact God. Let’s talk a little more about this tomorrow.
How do Conscience and Intuition Operate? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
How do Conscience and Intuition Operate?
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about the inner heart of our personality, that is, our spirit. We’re talking about that because
we’re trying to deal with the general question, “What is the meaning of life?” That is, what is the purpose of
us all being here? Why do you exist? In connection with that question, we’ve looked into the origin of life.
In the early days, you remember, we talked about the evidence of order and design in our universe that
suggested that it was reasonable to believe that there is an intelligent, personal mind behind the universe.
Then, we examined the life of that remarkable person called Jesus, who lived in the first century of our era;
examined His historicity and especially the ways in which He differed from the rest of us human beings in His
ability to destroy death and to come back from being dead, and His ability to heal sicknesses and to overcome
the powers of nature. We concluded after some long examination, which you are welcome to follow in cassettes
of those earlier programs this year, (and if you write to us, we can send them to you), we concluded that He
was, in fact, the unique Son of the Creator of our universe.
So we began to examine His explanation of why we were here. We found, He said we were here, because our
Creator wanted us for a love relationship with Himself. That’s why He made us like Himself. He made us capable
of the same things as He is capable of, except that in our case, they are finite capabilities, rather than
infinite. But that’s the reason He put us here on earth with certain abilities that nobody else has, to begin
to develop His world according to His will.
In the process of this, His spirit and His life would begin to make us like Himself in our inner character as
well as our outward capacities, so that we would be able to join Him in the complete infinite development of
the universe after this life was over on the earth.
So we have come to the point where we’ve begun to look to His plan for the way our personalities were meant to
operate. We saw that He created us on three levels: on a physical level, on a psychological (or mental and
emotional level) and the one that we’ve been starting to deal with in detail, the spirit level. The spirit is
the part of you that is you, yourself. It is the heart of your own being. It is the very essence of you.
It is you when you are uncompelled by any external, financial, or social or emotional worry or anxiety. It is
you, yourself. It is in your spirit that you are able to contact God, the Creator. Actually, what we were
saying last day, you remember, was that it is in moments of extreme danger or threat of death, or in the
presence of the death of someone that you love very much, that you somehow become yourself. It’s in those
moments that you are closest, you know, to having any contact with what you would regard as the Supreme Being,
or the depths of reality.
It is when you are yourself, when you are really yourself. It’s in your spirit that you get into contact with
God. What we’ve completed last day saying was that your spirit, of course, can contact all kinds of other
spirits besides the Spirit of God. There are other spirits in the universe, and there is really a fallen angel
called Satan, who has sent his own spirits (by God’s permission, admittedly) so as to check out our freedom of
will and our ability to choose. There is an evil spirit called Satan and there are evil spirits who work under
Many of the so-called experiences of Transcendental Meditation or the experiences of re-incarnation, or many
of the experiences of the bluff sects that abound in our modern world, or of the eastern religions are simply
experiences of contact with the elemental spirits of the universe, who behave and disguise themselves as
angels of light who pretend to us that they are God.
So, you do have to watch. You may say, “Oh my spirit…that’s when I’m really myself. I’m just being my real
self.” You have deteriorated tremendously from what the Creator made you in the beginning. Because of the fall
of mankind out of any relationship with God at the beginning of the world’s existence, we are all monsters of
selfishness and of desire for our own will.
If you decide, “Oh, I’ll just be my real self”, then you will just be that miserable Hyde who conceals himself
under that respectable Dr. Jekyll on the outside. It’s not enough to be your real self and let it all hang out
and that will get me into contact with God. No. Your spirit is your real self, but it takes a work of God in
your own life in order to set your real self free so that you can actually be what He made you to be.
Much of the error that we run into today in our experimentation with religion is that we try to get into
contact with God by our own power and our own ability and our own determination. We end up with human
religions of all kinds and mixtures of psychology and spirit and psychic experience that only bring more
confusion into our lives rather than a likeness to God Himself.
So, your spirit is the only part of you that can contact God. One of the elements of your spirit is that it’s
the real you. But we need to see that the regeneration, or the rebirth, of that real you takes a work that God
alone has done in His Son, Jesus and that He’s able to make this work real in you in order for that real you
to come forth.
If you try to drag it forth by your own power and your own ability, you usually end up with a monstrosity that
is mixed up in a combination of Eastern religions and psychic, spiritualistic experiences. They just
complicate life and make you one of those strange characters that are not nearly as human as the realistic
Jesus of Nazareth was.
Your spirit is the part of you that communes with God and it is connected up with being really yourself. Now,
another part of your spirit is your conscience. Your conscience is, strictly speaking, not part of your soul
or psychological make-up, but it is part of your spirit. Actually, it is the part of your spirit that is
probably most alive.
Most of us are aware that we have consciences. Now, the conscience, strictly speaking, as we said several days
ago, is the part of us that makes us want to live up to the best that we know. But actually, it makes us live
up to the best that we know from God Himself. It is not the part of us that has a whole set of standards and
morals. That usually is stored in the memory of our intellects.
The conscience is the part of us that urges us to live up to the best that we know. So, if we’re cannibals, of
course we live up to the best that we know as cannibals. If we are western sophisticates, we live up to the
best that we know as western sophisticates.(cid:9)The conscience is always making us live up to the best that we
know. On top of that, it is a kind of gyro-compass that is constantly drawing us towards reality and towards
the Creator of the universe.
Often, if we followed our conscience, we would be drawn much nearer to a relationship with God than if we
followed all the formulae that we store into our minds and all the habits that we try to impregnate our
emotions with. So, our conscience makes us want to live up to the best that we know. Know where?
That brings us to the third function of our spirits, which is our intuition. Intuition is that part of us that
just knows what we should do. It receives odd, intermittent signals from the Creator of the universe by which
He tries to keep us on track. You have a unique life, and He has a unique program for your life. He is always
trying to get you onto that. It’s through the intuition of your spirit that he gives you the sense, “I should
be this”, or “I should be that.” Your conscience judges you in the light of that intuition.
It’s always trying to get you to live up to the intuition that you have received from God Himself. You don’t
need me to tell you that your life is driven usually by anything but that. Your life is driven by all kinds of
desires to please other people, all kinds of desires that society and the media have filled you with to be
successful financially or professionally, all kinds of desires connected with emotional and physical
fulfillment that drive you.
Most of us are driven men and women. We are not men and women who are guided by our intuition that is judged
by our conscience because of our lack of relationship of communion with God. We are usually little robots that
are pulled this way and that by the external pressures of our lives. Often, little puppets, pulled about by
all kinds of strings. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about the way we were really meant to live.
Our Spirit Communicates with God -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Our Spirit Communicates With God
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? This is the question we are discussing on this program each day. What is the
point of life? What’s the purpose in your being alive at this moment? How come you’re here? Why do you exist?
None of us are really satisfied with the idea that it really all came about by sheer chance and there is no
point or purpose in any of it. We perceive within the system that we have here — either the political system,
the social system, the educational system, the physical system or the astronomical system — that there is
order and there is purpose. It just doesn’t make sense to us that within something which has order and design,
that thing itself has no purpose or order in it. We simply cannot accept the illogicality of that.
Most of us sense there has to be some point in us being here. There must be. We don’t know what it is, but
there must be some purpose in it. That’s what we are discussing. What is the meaning of life? What is the
purpose in our existence? Why are we alive? Why are you alive? How come you exist now and didn’t before? Why
did that happen?
We’ve been discussing this for probably about eight months now, so you can guess that we have gone through
much of the intellectual underpinnings and undergirdings that such a discussion requires and we have discussed
the reasons for believing there is an intelligent, personal being somewhere behind the universe. We have begun
to examine the evidence that such a being expressed himself in the first century of our era through a
remarkable human being who differed from all the other great religious leaders in that He was able to destroy
He was able to come back to life again after He had been killed. He, obviously, had ability to go into the
world beyond space and come back into space whenever He chose. That’s the man who we know as Jesus of
Nazareth. If you want to examine the arguments for believing that He lived and he was an historical figure and
then believe He actually did and said the things He is reported to have done and said — and then examine why
it is evident that He is more than an ordinary human being, then, please, do write to the address at the end
of the program and catch up by listening to some of those early cassettes of the broadcasts.
We have reached the point where we have concluded He is the Son of the Maker of the universe, and His
explanation of the meaning of life is the only one, therefore, which is authoritative or valid. That is the
one we have been studying these past few weeks. One of the things He makes very clear is that His father made
us because He wanted others like Himself to love.
So, His father made you because He wants a friend. He wants someone whom He can love. This is why He created
you. He didn’t create you just to do the job that you do here on earth. He didn’t create you to go out like a
light just as soon as the breath disappears from your body. He made you to actually love Him and have a
friendship with Him. That’s why He made you like Him. That is, He gave you the same capacities as He has.
He gave you capacities on three different levels: on a physical level, your body by which you are able to
perceive through your five senses the world of people and things and circumstances; your soul, which is really
the psychological part of you – your mind, emotions and will by which you are able to reflect upon yourself,
the self-conscious part of you; then, the spirit part of you, the innermost part, the very essence of you. It
is there that you perceive Him, Himself.
That’s the part that we’ve been talking about this past week particularly. How is your spirit meant to work?
You probably have had some experience of it, even though you haven’t known. At times, I know that you’ve
sensed what I’ve sensed. You have been sitting in a room by yourself and you’ve somehow sensed that there is a
certain thing that you should do. There is something that you should do.
You’ve sensed there is a certain job you would be good at. There’s a certain career that is right for you.
You’ve sensed something deep down within you telling you that that’s the thing to do. Or, at times, often we
talk about women’s intuition. At times, you ladies have it apparently more strongly in a natural way than we
men. But, at times, you’ll just know you ought to do a certain thing. You’ll just know a certain person is
thinking something. You’ll know it deep down inside.
Now, what that is is the remnants of your spirit. Most of us have spirits which are long ago dead, which can’t
sense anything from their Creator at all. We’ve been driven so much by our external needs of security, and
significance and happiness that our little bodies have driven us to do everything we’ve done.
So, we are driven by the need for food. We are driven by the need for clothing. We are driven by the need for
shelter. That drives us to try to get jobs that give us good money. Then, we want other people to think well
of us, so we are driven by ambition. Most of us are driven by external, animal needs and drives and impulses.
Our spirits long ago have died so that we can no longer hear them speak.
But, the fact is we were originally meant and are meant today to live our lives by the intuition of our
spirits. In other words, there is a part of you inside that has certain capacities that give you the only
direction in your life that is valid for you. You are different from all the rest of us. You are a unique
creation of the Maker of the universe and He puts into you, in this inner part of you called your spirit, He
puts into you the sense of what He wants you to do at different times.
That part of you is called your spirit. That’s how this man Jesus explained it. He said that your spirit is
the place where my Father communicates with you. We’ve talked over the indications of what the spirit does. We
haven’t wanted to bother a lot with detailed quotations from the Bible, but if you want those I’ll certainly
be glad to send them to you. But if you follow them through, you’ll find that your spirit has not only the
capacity of intuition, but also of conscience.
In other words, what we call conscience, that part of us that makes us want to live up to the best that we
know, judges us according to what comes through our intuition. Then, our intuition catches what our Maker
wants us to do through our communion with Him. That’s another capacity or function of our spirits: the ability
to commune with God. That’s where we actually have relationships with God. Not through outward things, not
even through the beautiful churches that some of us may look at or go to, not through rituals or choirs or
even through speakers, but primarily through God speaking to us within our spirits.
That’s where you alone are able to communicate with your God. If you want just one reference, there is a piece
in one of the books of the New Testament in the Bible, in Mark, Chapter 2 and verse 8, where you read, “And
immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned within themselves said to them, ‘Why do
you question thus in your hearts?'”
That was the occasion, you may remember, when some people let their friend down through a roof who was
paralyzed, so He could heal him. He said to the friend, “Your sins are forgiven you.” Of course, all the
religious leaders were sitting around kind of thinking and whispering in their hearts that this guy was just
bluffing and that’s where it says, “And immediately Jesus, perceiving in His spirit that they thus questioned
In your spirit you are able to perceive things that normally you couldn’t through the psychological apparatus
that you have. So, that’s what we’re saying. Our spirits are something more than the deductions that we make
from an unconscious, inductive operation of our intellects. It’s something deeper than that. Our spirit is
actually receiving signals from our Maker that give us direction in our lives.
Let’s talk a little more tomorrow, just once more, about how those spirits of ours are meant to operate in
connection with the rest of our personalities.
Discussion on Man’s Personality -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Discussion on Man’s Personality
By Ernest O’Neill
We are talking on this program about the meaning of life. We’ve reached the point in our discussion where we
have established some of the basis upon which we think life is settled. That is, the creation of the whole
world and of you and me by an intelligent, personal Being, and the communication of that personal Being’s
plans for us through a human being who was much more than a human being, His own Son, who lived in the first
century of our era.
Now, we have come to the point where we are studying carefully how that particular person explained reality
and what He said about His Father, the Creator’s, plans for your life and mine. We are looking especially at,
first of all, the makeup of our personalities, because so many of us are simply bewildered at the way we
operate and we cannot understand ourselves and it’s very difficult to make sense out of the way we should live
life and the way we should think and the way we should feel.
So, that’s what we’ve been doing first of all. We’ve been looking into the three levels of existence that the
Creator has given us in our own personalities: the physical level, our bodies by which we perceive through our
five senses the world of circumstances and things and people; the soul, which is our psychological part and
the part of us which is conscious primarily of ourselves; and the spirit, the inner essence of you through
which you do have contact with your Maker and Creator.
We’ve been talking at some length these past days about the spirit and its functions. Today, let’s just look
for a moment at the soul. The word, soul, really comes from the Greek word, “psuche” and the “psuche”
translates into our Anglo-Saxon sound change into English as “psyche”. That’s the part that is referred to in
a very basic quotation that we took from the New Testament part of the Bible.
It’s in 1 Thessalonians, a letter written to the people at Thessalonica in the first century. 1 Thessalonians
5:23. It runs like this: “May the God of peace, himself, sanctify you wholly and keep your spirit, soul, and
body blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus.” That’s one of the many verses where we get the three levels
of personality. It’s not that we have three definite, different pieces inside us like an appendix that you
can take out, but it does mean that there are three levels on which we operate.
The soul level is one of them. Some philosophers and some psychologists argue, however, that you only operate
on two and that there is no spirit level. But God, our Creator, has made it very clear that there is a spirit
level, there is a part of you that is the very essence of you. There is a part of Churchill that is the very
essence of Churchill. When you talk about the spirit of Churchill, you’re talking about something that is
uniquely Churchill. It’s the same with you. You have a unique part of you that is able to contact the Creator
of the world. That part of you is unique to you. It’s the very essence of you.
The part that surrounds the spirit is the soul. You remember, we said that our personality is like a series
of coats: the overcoat is our body, the physical part of us that we can see and touch and hear; the next part
of us is like the suit, it’s the soul; and then, inside that is the spirit, the inner part of us.
We have talked a little about the spirit and what it is made up of: communion, intuition and conscience. Now,
we are talking about the soul, or the psychological part of us, the part that is referred to in Greek by the
word, “psuche” and that’s the word that becomes “psyche” in our English language and gives way to psychology,
psychiatry, all those words that indicate the part of us that man can get at himself in some way.
You may say, “Well, what does that consist of?” Again, I don’t want to drown you with quotations from the
Bible, lest you say that I’m some mad, old evangelical who is trying to lay scripture on you, but the fact is
we’ve discovered, you remember, through our examination of the documentary backing to the Bible — via
manuscripts like the Codex Alexandrinus, Vaticannus and Sinaiticus, some of which you can see in the British
Museum — we’ve seen that the Bible is actually utterly reliable history and that what it describes is
It describes the life of this man, Jesus, and what He explains is actual truth. It’s the truth that He knows
from the fact that He pre-existed with the Creator from before the foundation of the world. What He describes
and what His followers and what those who preceded Him, who prepared the way for Him, describe in that Bible
is that the soul consists of at least three functions.
In other words, if you look up the word “soul” in the Bible, you’ll find that at times it performs the
function of the intellect, or the mind. So, a vital part of our psychological being is the mind. The mind,
your mind, is the instrument of your thoughts. It’s the means by which you can judge things. It’s your
intellectual power. It’s where you have wisdom and knowledge and where you have reasoning.
Of course, where a man or a woman would lack mind or has the mind affected adversely in any way, they become
dull and stupid, and really animalish. The mind is the part of you that enables you to reason, to argue, to
discuss, to size up things, to evaluate things, to judge things. Someone, I think it was Ian Whitehead, who
was an educator who did some work with Einstein, said intellect or I.Q. is the ability to perceive relations
Now, your mind is able to do that. It’s able to perceive the relations between things, and the correlations
between things, where things are the same, where things are different. It’s able to balance things and reason
about things. So, your mind is a vital part of your soul. There are many parts of the Bible that refer to the
mind as part of the soul. Many of us, of course, make the error of thinking that we find God in our mind.
Now, we don’t.
The mind, itself, is a pretty neutral entity and actually will argue and support whatever you choose that it
should argue and support. That’s why we are rather foolish in even our political debating or our philosophical
meanderings late at night in dormitories because we think the mind will somehow discover truth on its own.
Well, the mind is a little bit of a slave. The dear soul just supports what you decide it should support.
That’s why you can get brilliant men and women of all kinds who can equally well support either side of an
argument. Indeed, barristers could hardly operate at all or attorneys, or judges or lawyers, if they weren’t
able to do this, if the mind was not able to support almost whatever you chose for it to support. The mind is
really incapable of finding truth on its own. It just examines what is presented before it and evaluates it.
It cannot tell whether there is other truth that it has not discovered.
All it can do is discover and examine certain truths, but it can never tell if it has found all the truth.
That’s why when someone said, you remember, “Oh, I can’t find God anywhere. Even the astronauts have been up
in space and haven’t found Him.” Of course, one theologian said, “Have they looked everywhere?” and, in fact,
they hadn’t looked everywhere and we actually can’t physically look everywhere because we have not come to the
end of space yet in our universe.
So, the mind is only able to evaluate what is presented to it. It’s limited by what is presented to it, by
the facts that are presented to it. It, in fact, is not an instrument of truth. It’s an instrument of sizing
up things and reasoning about things. The mind is limited in its ability to get you into contact with the
Maker of the universe. Let’s talk a little more about the functions of the mind and the rest of the soul
Man is made up of Body, Soul and Spirit -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Man is made up of Body, Soul and Spirit
By Ernest O’Neill
We are talking on this program each day about the meaning of life. That is, why you are here or why I’m here,
what the point of it all is. We’ve done a lot of basic discussions over the past eight or nine months on what
we think was the origin of life and why we think we are here. The basic premise that we are starting on is
that we are here because we were made by a personal being who is at least as personable as we are and who has
made us because He wants people whom He can love and who will love Him.
We have been made to share a friendship with the Creator of the universe. That’s why you’re here. You’re not
just a little chance deviation thrown up by a mass of protons and neutrons in an impersonal evolutionary
process. Though, there may well be some evolution in the universe, yet there has to have been someone who
gave that evolution direction and who programmed into it a purposeful development.
What we’ve concluded is that you are here because the person who made you actually loves you, and wants you to
be His friend. Moreover, you’re the only version of you that exists. There is nobody else like you. Never
will be. Never has been. In a very real way, if you don’t come through to a relationship of friendship with
your Maker, He misses something. You, of course, miss everything. That’s what we’ve been talking about.
Now, we’ve reached the point where we are discussing how this works out, this plan for us to become like our
Creator through doing what He has put us here on earth to do, how this plan works out in regard to our
ordinary personalities. We are doing this because though we’ve read all kinds of psychological books and books
on temperament and books on how to develop into wonderful, fully integrated people, yet, many of us are still
bewildered and baffled.
Then the sheer fragmentation of knowledge in our present generation makes it almost impossible for us to
synthesize these thoughts into one complete whole, or system. This is what we’re trying to do on the basis of
what the Son of the Maker of the universe explained to us was reality. We are going back to that old book that
many of us have sitting on our shelves gathering dust, that book which is known as “Ta Biblia” in Greek. It
means, “the books”, the collection of books. Of course, the Greek word “Ta Biblia” has become our English
word, Bible. We are taking some of our basis from that book.
The point we’ve reached in our discussion is that we’ve talked about three levels of our personality.
One-body: two-soul; three-spirit. We’ve started to talk about our spirits as the only part of us that is
really able to contact God. Now we are starting to talk about our soul, which in Greek is the word “psuche”
and becomes, of course, in our English, “psyche”, and part of all those words like psychological, psychiatry,
etc. That’s the part of us that is, in a sense, particularly human.
You may remember us going back to the early history of mankind recorded in the Bible in those early chapters
which are actually historical. They’re not just bluff, old fantasy. You read the verse that said that God took
dust from the ground and made our bodies and He breathed into our bodies the breath of life and that was His
own Spirit. Then, that combined with the body and man became, it says, a living soul. The Hebrew word is
Our soul is actually the part of us that makes us uniquely human. The spirits are like angels. The angels
have spirits. The animals have bodies. But, only man has a soul in the sense that we have a soul. We often
look into our dog’s eyes and think. “Oh, he’s thinking the same thing as us.” But, we realize quite well he
isn’t. We are just projecting into him our thoughts.
But, the soul is the unique part that makes us human beings as opposed to either spirits or animals. The part
of the soul that we discussed yesterday was the mind. The soul in the Bible has reference to the mind and is
used often where we would use mind. I don’t know if you know an old book in the Old Testament called Proverbs,
but it is really good and you should read it at times. It’s good.
There’s a piece of it that runs like this in Proverbs 3:21-22; “My Son, keep sound wisdom and discretion; let
them not escape from your sight, and they will be life for your soul and adornment for your neck.” There is
reference clearly there to sound wisdom and discretion, the ability to judge and decide and reason and
evaluate. Those are some of the functions of the mind. You can see that there they are referred to the soul,
that they will be life to your soul.
So, one function of your soul is your mind, your intellectual ability to evaluate and decide and judge things.
Of course, what we said yesterday was that many of us think the mind is the way into truth but it’s not,
actually. The mind simply is able to examine and evaluate what is presented to it. But, it is limited to what
is presented to it. The mind itself, actually, is finite and cannot gather all the infinite knowledge that is
in the world.
We used the example of the guy that said, “There is no God. We’ve now got out astronauts up in space. They’ve
looked and they haven’t found Him. He isn’t there.” And the other guy replied, “Have they looked everywhere?”
Well, of course, they haven’t looked everywhere, because you can’t look everywhere. We can’t see to the end of
space. That’s part of the limitation of the mind. The mind is the ability that you have to perceive relations
and correlates. That is, similarities between things and differences between things, and to evaluate them in
the light of certain premises. But, it is limited to what is presented to it.
Now, another function of the soul is the function of emotions. Your soul has emotions. You can find that in
all kinds of places mentioned in the old book the Bible. Your emotions are the part of you that feels. With
your emotions you feel affection for people. With your emotions you feel strong desire for things or for
other people or for experiences. With your emotions you have simple feelings — feelings of anger or hatred
or joy, feelings of liking a person or disliking a person. It’s in your emotions where your feelings about
people and about circumstances and even about things are experienced.
Your emotions are a powerful part of you. More especially so, because they are connected with the body. You
know how when you’re very nervous, then you begin to feel your mouth get dry. That’s because your emotions
begin to stop the secretion of fluids in your mouth. It’s the same when you feel fear and your hands grow
clammy. It’s because your emotions are very directly connected with your body and they cause the palms of
your hands to actually perspire.
Or, it’s the same if you’re very embarrassed and you blush. What happens is the emotion of embarrassment
sends messages to your blood vessels and they release more flow of blood in your cheeks and you blush. So,
your emotions are probably the strongest part of your soul. Your body, you can guess, is the strongest part of
you, but your soul is the next strongest part of you, especially your emotions. They are connected with your
Of course, you can see yourself right there, the great foolishness and mistake of going by your emotions,
because your emotions are so influenced by your body that almost whatever you do in your body effects your
emotions. That’s the ridiculous part, of course, of any of us thinking that we can find God in our emotions.
I mean, some of us think we are super-intellectual and we’ll find truth through our minds. Well, you can’t,
because the mind is limited to what is presented to it.
But many of us think that we may not be very intellectual, but we can feel God. Well, of course, you can see
that your feelings are almost utterly dictated by your body and you’ll never find God through your feelings.
Let’s talk a little more about the soul tomorrow and its functions.
Importance of the Will in our Thinking -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Importance of the Will in our Thinking
by Ernest O’Neill
We are talking on this program about our personalities and how they are really meant to operate and we are
discussing the various levels at which we human beings exist. We have come to this through our discussion of
the general topic that we’ve been discussing over the past eight or nine months: “What is the meaning of life?
What’s the point of it? Why are you here? What’s the purpose in your being here? Where is it all going to
We’ve come through long discussions, as you can guess, with all kinds of intellectual undergirding that we’ve
undertaken. We’ve come to the point where we are now discussing the personality itself and how it is meant to
fulfill the plan that was created by the Maker of the world for you and for me. You remember we’ve said that
He is an intelligent, personal Being who wants other people to be His family, to love Him and to be His
friends. That’s why we are created. That’s why you are created. That’s why you exist.
He wants you personally to be related to Him in love. He wants you to love Him. To that end, He has made us
with the same capacities as He Himself possesses. Obviously in a finite way, but still with those capacities.
He has given us the ability to have a body that can be perceived, a physical body, just as He is able to
create material things. He has given us a soul, which is the psychological part of us, just as He has one and
He has given us a spirit that is able to relate to Him.
We’ve been discussing what the spirit does, how it really is the part of us, the very essence of ourselves
that enables us to communicate with the Creator of the universe. It has that ability of communion. It has
also the ability to know what we ought to do through intuition. It has also the ability through conscience to
judge us and constrain us to live up to the best that we have perceived.
What we are talking about now is the psychological part of us or the soul part of us. We get this from the
Greek word “psuche”, which becomes in our English, “psyche” and psychological and psychiatric and all those
other compounds. The soul is the part of us that makes us particularly human. We’ve been discussing how the
soul has the ability to judge and evaluate things through the mind or the intellect.
It is the part of us that enables us to perceive relations and correlates, similarities between things and
differences between things. It enables us to reason about things and to argue about things. Many of us think
the mind is the part of us that can discover truth, absolute truth. Actually, it can only examine what truth
is presented to it, or what facts are presented to it. So, if certain truths aren’t presented to it, it can’t
The mind is limited by its own finite ability to know all truth. Therefore, it’s invalid to expect the mind to
lead us to truth. The mind actually supports what you want it to support. That’s why barristers are able to
defend people whom they don’t really think are innocent. They can direct their minds to filter out and select
the evidence that will prove the person innocent, or select the evidence that will prove them guilty. So, the
mind can evaluate and select and isn’t itself an absolutely reliable means of discovering truth. Nor are the
We’ve started to talk about another function of the soul which is the emotions. That is mentioned often in
that old book called the Bible, and wherever you find the word “soul”, you can find that at times it means the
mind, at times it means emotions.
Here’s a piece in the book called Samuel. I don’t know if you’ve ever heard of it, but I Samuel 18:1 runs
like this, “When he had finished speaking to Saul, the soul of Jonathan was knit to the soul of David, and
Jonathan loved him as his own soul.” Obviously, the whole ability to have affection is found in the soul. The
soul has, through emotions, the ability to feel affection for other people. So, the emotion of affection and
of love is experienced in the soul.
So, also, is the emotion of feeling; that is where you feel certain things within yourself. I don’t know if
you’ve read much of the Psalms. It was the old hymn book of the Jewish church in the Old Testament times. In
Psalm 42:5, it runs like this, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and why are you disquieted within me? Hope
in God; for I shall again praise him, my help and my God.” Psalm 42:5, “Why are you cast down, O my soul, and
why are you disquieted within me?”
Well, in the soul, you have the ability to feel feelings, to feel anxiety like this or depression, to feel
anger, to feel elation or happiness. It’s through your emotions you feel those feelings. It’s through your
emotions you can have strong desire for either things or for people or for situations. You can have strong
feelings of desire. Now, many of us, of course, have found the emotional life so strong within us that we tend
to think that’s where all truth is found.
What we shared yesterday and the day before was that the emotions are tied very closely to the body. When you
blush, your emotions send signals to your blood vessels and they release more blood into your cheeks. When
you’re nervous, your emotions of anxiety, worry and nervousness send signals to the glands that secret fluids
in your mouth and it dries up. So, just as your emotions affect your body very directly, so your body has a
very direct relationship to your emotions.
That’s why people try to find happiness and elation through influencing the body, either in the orgasm of
sexual intercourse, or through pumping the old cocaine in, or sniffing the drugs, or pumping the old heroin
in. Wherever you can influence your body, you are able to influence your emotions. Many people think absolute
truth and happiness and satisfaction can be found in the emotions through our simply pumping stuff into our
Of course, that’s the utter invalidity and foolishness of the whole drug scene, because it isn’t finding truth
at all. We come into great moments where we seem to fly above the earth and above all its troubles and worries
either through alcohol or through drugs and we think, “Ah! This is wonderful!” Well, it’s just a chemical
fantasy that bears no relationship to either present or future reality.
It is just an absolute game we are playing with our bodies and in fact, we are actually messing up our
emotions because we are making them more and more dependent on the body and less and less dependent on the
part that they need to be dependent on, the part of us alone which can find truth, which is, our spirits. The
emotions are part of our souls.
Then, another vital part of our souls is the will. It is in the soul that we exercise our wills. The will has
the power to choose. It is the instrument for our decisions. It is the part of us that can decide what we are
going to do and can make our mind, our body, and actually, our emotions do it. So, the will, in a sense, is
the kingpin of our souls. Of course, we don’t treat it as such at all. Most of us have wills that are
nonexistent, except those of us who are very strong willed and even we are strong willed because our wills are
enslaved by another part of us. We are about the weakest willed creatures that probably ever walked the earth,
the present generation.
Most of us are just like jellyfish who wander and bounce this way and that according to the pressure of the
circumstance or the influence of the person we are talking to, or the example of the TV program we are
watching. The will is virtually non-existent in most human beings today. Instead of being the king of the
soul and directing the mind and directing the emotions, and therefore the body, what to do, often the will is
totally and utterly enslaved by these other things.
So, those are parts of our body and parts of our personality: the spirit with its ability to commune with God
and to know what He wants us to do through intuition and to have that judged through our conscience; and the
soul which has the ability to feel emotions, to think thoughts through our mind and to exercise decisions and
choice through our wills. Let’s talk a little more about how they operate together tomorrow.
What is Man? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
What is Man?
by Ernest O’Neill
How are we meant to live this present life we have? What’s the meaning of this life? Why are we even here?
Those are the questions we’re dealing with on this program each day. We’ve got to the point where we have
established why we’re here.
If you’ve been with us the past eight or nine months, you know after examining the intellectual reasons for
believing there is a personal, intellectual being behind the universe who is responsible for its creation,
and examining the documentary evidence that His Son actually did live in the first century of our era, and
that He has communicated to us His own Father’s, the Creator’s, thoughts about why we’re here, we’ve reached
the point where we’re beginning to talk about how we’re meant to live this present life, and particularly, how
our personalities are meant to operate.
If you’re like me and like a lot of us here on this earth at the present time, many of us are confused about
how the various parts of our personality are meant to operate, and what responsibilities different ones are
meant to have. That is obvious from the chaos many of us have gotten into through not only things like
alcohol, but also through cocaine and through heroin, and through all kinds of other chemical drugs that we
use to try to bring peace into our present life, or some kind of appropriate elation.
It’s obvious we have great confusion in our minds about how our personalities are meant to operate, or how we
really should live this life. We have been discussing it from the point of view of the one who made the life.
After all, the best person to tell you how a Hoover vacuum cleaner works is the Hoover people that make the
It’s the same with an automobile. The best person to tell how a Ford car should operate is Ford, the person
who makes it. It’s reasonable that the best person to tell us how our personality was meant to operate is, of
course, our Maker, the one who made it, the one who created it. If we can’t speak to Him directly, at least
we can listen to His Son.
It’s His Son, the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth, who has outlined in a fair degree of detail in His own
words, and in the words of His followers, how our personalities are meant to operate. He pointed out that we
exist on three different levels. The physical level is the most obvious to us. It’s the body. Through the five
senses we have physically, we are able to perceive the world around us of things, and of circumstances and of
Then, within that body, which it wears like a kind of overcoat, (you might think of it as being inside, like a
suit of clothes, underneath the overcoat), is our soul, the psychological part of us. This part of us is
conscious not so much of the world, except as it perceives it through our body and through the five senses,
but it’s most conscious of itself. That’s the self-conscious part of us.
With our mind we’re able to look in and see what we’re thinking. We’re able to look at our feelings, and see
what we’re feeling. Then, inside this soul part of the psychological part, is our spirits. That’s the real
you. That’s the very essence of you. It’s what you are when you’re alone. That’s what your spirit is. Your
spirit is the real you. It’s also the part of you that is able to communicate with the Maker of the world.
It’s in your spirit where you have a relationship with your Creator.
Of course, many of us think, “No, we have that relationship through our body. So, if we can pump the right
heroin into our body, we’ll come into some kind of wild, spiritual experience which will be very satisfying.”
We find it isn’t necessarily so, and it doesn’t work. All you’re left with after awhile is a wet soap bubble
in your hand that has burst.
It’s the same with our soul. Some of us think, “Oh, well, we can think our way through to our Maker”, or “We
can think our way through to some kind of wonderful, religious experience which will at last give us
satisfaction.” Well, of course, the mind itself is finite, and can only examine the information that is
presented to it. If that is finite information, that’s as far as it can go.
It’s the same with the feelings, the emotions. The emotions are so influenced by the body, as we discovered
over the past few days, that if you pump the heroin into the body, it kind of brings a passivity to the soul
or to the emotions, and appears to give you some sense of quiet. But, it doesn’t last any longer than the
effects of the chemicals last in your body. So, the emotions are certainly not the place to perceive the
Maker of the world. It is in your spirit, actually, that you perceive Him, and you understand Him. The spirit
is the place or the part of you which is able to communicate with God.
You’ve probably had some experience of that in your own life. You’ve been at a lakeside. You’ve sat there
quietly after everybody else had gone to explore some caves or go canoeing or sailing. You’ve sat there, and
you’ve looked on the glassy, mirror-like surface of the water. Of course, this has brought great peace
through your eyes and even your ears to your emotions. You sense a great deal of emotional peace.
But, then, there comes a time when you have felt you’ve gone beyond this, or you sensed that you’ve gone
beyond that. You’ve received something more than kind of emotional communication from the mirror-like surface
of the water and the quiet of the lake setting. You’ve sensed that there was something within you trying to
communicate to you in some way.
Often, many of us have sensed something intuitively deep down, deeper than our body, deeper than our emotions,
deeper than our intellects, and deeper than our wills. We’ve sensed something and we call it a “voice”, but
we don’t want to be thought too mystical or bonkers. So, we say, “No, we’ve sensed something inside.” Then we
express it, “We just think we should do this.” We think we should set out and get this degree, or train for
this job. Or, we think we should go and marry this person. Or we think we should do this thing or that thing.
Really, it has come from a great quietness inside us that is deeper than we can even define. There seems to
have been an intuitive sense that we should do something or be something. That is our spirit. It’s in your
spirit that you communicate with the Maker of the world. It’s usually when everything else has been either
battered into submission, or everything else is in a state of balance or peace.
So, many of us have found that this same kind of sense within has come at a time of great personal loss, where
suddenly the bottom of our world has seemed to have dropped out. We’ve momentarily turned from the outside
world around us, and turned even from our own thoughts and feelings, and we seem to have touched a deeper part
of our beings than we have ever touched before. Coleridge, the old English poet, said that about the Bible.
Coleridge said, “The Bible finds me at a deeper depth of my being than any other book.”
Now, that’s what many of us have found. We’ve found that at certain moments in our lives, we’ve touched a
deeper depth of our being than ever before. It carries its own seal of warranty, its own seal of authenticity
within it. It’s interesting. If you’ve come to that point, you’ve sensed, “This is reality. This is really
reality.” You’ve had no doubt of it. You’ve just known, “That is true. That is right.” Now, that’s your
The reason we have so rarely had those moments is because we do not listen to our spirits. We have not
exercised our spirits. Our personalities have almost squashed our spirits to death. If you say, “Well, why
have they done that?” Because they operate almost completely on the physical level. Most of us are just
little animals. We operate on the level of our physical bodies.
Even those of us who spend a great deal of our time even in the City, trying to work out how to invest our
money and think of ourselves as being very cerebral — even we are governed most of the time by how we can get
a nicer car, or whether we can buy that expensive French or German suit, or whether we can have a good dinner
with good wine this Saturday.
So, we operate, most of us, on the level of our bodies. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about how we were
meant to operate in these personalities of ours.
Our Mind is Dominated by our Body -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Our Mind is Dominated by our Body
by Ernest O’Neill
How are we meant to live day by day? Especially, how are our personalities meant to operate? That’s the kind
of subject we’re discussing these days on this program. It forms the second step in a discussion we started
some eight or nine months ago: What is the meaning of life? Why are we here? Why do you exist? Why am I in
Those of you who have followed the discussion know that we have come to the point where we agree we are in
existence because of the activity of a personal, intellectual Being who is responsible for the creation of the
universe. Whether He created it by an evolutionary process or not, He still is the one who is responsible for
the design and order people like Einstein and ourselves have discovered in the universe.
We have concluded that His Son — who lived in the first century and showed us by the fully documented life He
lived, is more than an ordinary human being — that the reason we were created was to be friends of the Maker
of the world. This is why you were made. You were made to be a friend of the Maker of the world. You were
made to love Him and for Him to love you. That’s why He made you. That’s why he made us in His own image,
with the same capacities as He has.
That’s why you have a personality that operates on three different levels. You operate on the physical level,
through your five senses. You operate on a psychological level, through your mind and emotions and will. You
operate, or you can operate, on a spirit level, which is the deepest part of your being — the part where the
real you actually exists.
That part, of course, we’ve said several times, few of us seem to contact at all, except in moments of great
crisis, where we perhaps look in desperation away from ourselves and away from the world around us, and we
desperately grope around to find if there’s any real being out there at all. It’s in those moments that we
come back often from such fishing expeditions with a real authentic sense and conviction that there is
something there, and we have heard from someone beyond space, even if we haven’t heard it in voices or seen it
in visions or all kinds of dreams.
We’ve just sensed through the intuition of our spirits that we should do certain things. We’ve done them.
Often, those things have become the basis of the whole direction of our lives. Many of us have come to moments
of personal crisis, either financial or professional, or domestic, when we have in despair turned from all
that we can see in the world around us and from all we can understand with our own minds and all we can feel
with our emotions.
We’ve desperately looked down into the depths — we think it’s of ourselves, but it’s actually into the depths
of the spirit life which contacts the Creator of the world. At those moments, some of us have come up with
revelations, it seems, or certainly deep convictions that have become the basis for the rest of the lives that
we have lived. So, some of us have experience of this spirit level. But, what we’re talking about today is
how those three levels of our personality were meant to operate. What we have been saying, of course, is that
most of us operate on the level of the body, that is as if the body was the uppermost of those three levels.
If you can think of a page divided into three, you’d print “body” on the top space, “soul” on the next space
— soul being the psychological part of us, and “spirit” in the bottom space. Most of us live that way. We
live from the body, dominating the soul and crushing, of course, the spirit to death. We hardly have any
awareness in our spirits at all, except for some of us who may have some kinds of experiences with
spiritualists, or that whole world of the evil spirit realm where you are able to contact spirits that seem to
imitate the dead.
That whole realm that is touched by Casey and others like him –that whole realm of evil spirit world that
deceives you by imitating the real Spirit-of-God-world. Some of us have contacted that. But, most of us have
no experience of spirit at all, either good or bad. Most of us simply live as if we have a body and a soul.
Indeed, most of us probably live as if we have a body. What I mentioned was that even those of us who do very
cerebral work as university professors or as stock brokers often exist in our own personal lives purely on the
level of our bodies. That is, on which wine we can get for the dinner on Saturday night, and whether we can go
sailing on Sunday or not, and whether we’ll get a game of golf in, maybe, on Wednesday.
Most of us exist on the level of whether we can buy a bigger house, or a better car, or what kind of vacation
we’re going to have next summer. So, we live like little animals that get their kicks out of whether the body
feels better than it did last time or not, whether it feels rested or whether it doesn’t feel rested. That is
usually the level and the limit of our experience of life.
Some of us do, at moments, sink into the level of the soul — that is, the mind and emotions. Some of us do
get some satisfaction from the operating of our minds, but usually for a very small portion of our lives.
Most of us use most of our mind’s ability to get more shelter, food, and clothing for the old bodies — to
keep them alive, and to stay in a state of survival. Indeed, most of us use our minds simply to ensure that
we’ll be able to retire at the same level of physical comfort as we have at present.
From time to time, we do delve into the emotions, of course, as you know so well. Primarily, there again we
use our bodies to stimulate our emotions so that we have feelings of elation, because of the bodily experience
we are having at that time, or, at least, an experience of peace and rest through again the bodily relaxation
or rest that we’re experiencing. But, most of us live on that level of the body dominating the soul.
That, of course, wasn’t meant to be the situation at all. The soul, the psychological part of us, is the part
of us that makes us unique. We’re not angels. Those are spirits. We’re not animals. Those are just bodies.
We’re human beings. We have souls. But the soul is there as a neutral instrument. The mind, you remember,
as we said several days ago, can actually defend what you choose to make it defend. It can find reasons for
So, if you are a barrister and you decide, “This guy is guilty”, then you can use your mind to find the
reasons for supporting that conclusion. Similarly, if you decide he’s not guilty for some reason, you can
find reasons that will support his acquittal. So, our mind and actually our emotions are pretty neutral
instruments and need to be stimulated by something else.
They can either be stimulated by the body, or they can be stimulated by the spirit. Most of us, of course,
live with them utterly dominated and enslaved by the body. The body experiences tiredness, so we feel tired
and we feel we can’t do another moment of work, and so we should go to bed. We determine to go to bed purely
on the basis of our physical feelings.
It’s the same when we are stimulated to action. Usually, it’s not because our mind has thought through the
thing and decided it’s the wise thing to do, but we are driven to action. Many of us who think of ourselves as
very sophisticated and very cultured find that we do all kinds of things simply to keep body and soul
We get up in the morning and go out to work not because we have some high minded desire to build something
worthwhile or to leave the world a better place than we found it, but simply because if we don’t, we’ll have
no money. If we don’t have any money, we’ll have no food, and we will not be able to do and see the things we
like doing and seeing. So, it is surprising how many of us operate not on a high-minded, noble level of the
soul, but on the level of the body driving the soul to certain actions that are necessary and essential.
Many of us operate our minds and emotions directly under the driving power of the body. Now, of course, it
was not meant to be that way at all. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about how the soul was meant to
Importance of having a Good Personality -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Importance of Having a Good Personality
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program each day about how our personalities are intended to operate. We’re discussing
this in connection with the main topics of the broadcasts over the past eight or nine months, which is: “What
is the meaning of life? Why are you alive? Why are you here? Why am I in existence? How did we ever come to be
here? We’ve talked about the origins of life, and what we believe is the reason for accepting that there is an
intelligent person behind the universe.
If you want to follow through those intellectual bases of our discussion, then please do write for some of the
cassettes of those early broadcasts. However, we have reached the point now where we have said that we
believe that we are here, created by a personal Being who actually loves us, and who created us to be His
friends. That’s why we’re here. We’re here to become completely like Him.
He’s made us with the same capacities as Himself, so that we could live with Him forever and develop the
universe in an infinite way with Him, but He has given us just the capacities to be like Him. The choice to
be like Him is ours. Of course, He had to give us that free will, so that we would truly be like Him, because
He is a self-determining Being. So, our task here on this earth is to do what He has put us here to do, and
in the process of that, He will make us completely like Himself.
So, we have been discussing now how our personalities were meant to work. Of course, it’s a rational and
relevant question for many of us today who wonder at times, “Did I do that just because I was emotionally
stimulated?” or, ” Did I act on that just because I was tired?” or, “Did I do that just because I had analyzed
the thing and thought it was the wise thing to do?” So, many of us, I think, have those kinds of questions.
We wonder, “Now, why did I do that? What would be the right thing to do?” The question comes up continually,
“How is my personality meant to work? How are the various parts of it meant to relate to each other, so that I
will perform as an integrated, mature person?” So, that’s why we have started to look at the outline of the
personality that is presented by our Creator through His Son, and the things that His Son said.
Of course, you remember how we examined the historicity of this man who lived in the first century, who was so
different from all the other religious leaders in that He destroyed death. All of them, including Muhammad and
Buddha, died just like the rest of us, and were buried and were never seen again. But, this man had obviously
the ability to destroy death, and come back to life.
When we were examining the documentary evidence and the manuscripts that substantiate His existence and the
kind of person He was, we began to realize there is not only His explanation of the way our personalities were
meant to work, but that of His followers, and indeed of His predecessors, in a book which we have known for
many years, of course, as the Bible. So, we’ve been looking at that to see what God’s own explanation of our
personalities was, and how they were meant to operate.
You remember how we’ve come up with the fact that He has made us on three different levels of life. We have
physical life: our bodies and our five senses through which we perceive the world of things and people and
circumstances. Then we have inside of that our soul. That is, “pseuche” in Greek, but psychological it
becomes in our English sound changes. It means, of course, the psychological part of our being — things like
our mind and our emotions and our will.
Then, inside that again, we discovered there is a level of life which is deeper than the other two. That is
the level of the spirit. The spirit is the real “you”, the very essence of you, you as you really are when
you’re alone, and no one else is present. That’s the part of you that contacts God — your spirit.
We’ve been talking about the make up of the spirit, as being capable of communing with God, of getting to know
God, so it has the ability of communion. It has the ability to know by intuition what God wants us to do.
Then, it has the ability through conscience of judging our actions in the light of that information.
When we move to our soul, we find that there is a will that has the ability to choose and make decisions.
There is the mind, which is able to evaluate, and reason, and perceive relations and correlates. Then, there
are the emotions, which are able to feel desires, feel feelings, and feel affection for people. Then, there
is the body itself, which is able to communicate with the outside world.
If you wanted to see how the majority of us live, you would simply divide a page of paper into three sections.
In the top section, you would put the body, in the middle section, you would put the soul, and in the bottom
section, you would put the spirit. Then, you would simply draw an arrow from the body right through the soul
to the spirit. That’s exactly the way most of us live today. That is, we live from the body, from the
outside to the inside.
This is what we try to do when we take cocaine. We try to stimulate the body with a chemical so that the
emotions will be elated, so that somehow we’re hoping we’ll get to the level of spirit, and somehow contact
the transcendental power behind the universe. Of course, it won’t work, because actually by living through
our bodies, influencing our souls continually, our spirits have become virtually dead altogether.
That’s why some of us have great difficulty finding ourselves. We wonder who we are, because our spirit is
virtually non-existent. It exists a little in the sense of conscience at times. Some women, with “women’s
intuition” sense a little bit of intuition, but few if any of us actually have any of the spirit alive as far
as communion with the Creator is concerned, because we’ve been utterly dominated by the body.
The body sees that it needs rest. So, it goes to bed. It feels the emotions are heavy, because it itself
feels tired, so it goes to bed. Often, you must admit, many of us go to bed just because we’re depressed or
because we can’t face life anymore. So, often our bodies lie heavily on our emotions and depresses them
completely and utterly. Then, of course what we do is we try to take stimulants to stimulate our bodies,
hoping by that means we’ll somehow rouse our emotions.
So, we keep pulling our souls up by virtue of our bodies until, of course, our bodies are worn out and our
souls are worn out. Our souls were never meant to be dominated by the body like that. It was meant instead to
work from the inside out. In other words, our personalities were meant to work exactly the opposite.
If you take a page, divide it into three, and then, in the top piece put “spirit”, in the middle space put
“soul”, and in the bottom space put “body”. Then, draw an arrow from the top (spirit), right through the
“soul” to the “body”. That’s the way we were meant to operate, actually, from the inside out, from our
Our spirits were meant to dictate to our souls, and our souls would then operate our bodies. Of course, the
result of this would be that our bodies would be under the control of our minds and emotions, but our minds
and emotions themselves would be under the control of our spirits. In other words, we were actually meant to
work from the inside out, not from the outside in.
When we work from the outside in, from the body to the soul, we find that the spirit is virtually dead
completely. We feel a great emptiness inside us, as you do, you remember, when you have a tremendous night at
a party, and you drink a number of whiskey and sodas. You come home elated and then you get to bed. You get
up in the morning. First of all, the body feels wretched, as you know. Then, there feels a great emptiness
inside your life. You feel, “What is it all in aid of?”
It’s interesting that it’s particularly at those times when we stimulate the body to stimulate the soul, that
the spirit feels the greatest emptiness. This is, of course, because it is empty. It’s not being used. It’s
not being exercised. It’s hardly alive at all. Let’s talk a little more tomorrow about the way it was meant
Emptiness in Life -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Emptiness in Life
by Ernest O’Neill
Many of us today do something, and then wonder, “Why on earth did I do that?” Or we say something to someone
whom we love, and we suddenly think, “How could I possibly have said that to them? I didn’t really mean that.”
We find that there are things happening in our own personalities that we cannot explain.
We wonder why on earth we did it. Or, often after years and years of living, we find ourselves caught in
certain habits of thought, or certain ways of feeling about things, or certain attitudes that we cannot
overcome. They just have become ground into us. We cannot change them. Yet, we wonder why this is so.
In other words, I think many of us today are baffled and confused at the way our own personalities work.
That’s what we are discussing on this program at this time each day. We’re talking about it in connection
with the main question we started to deal with about eight or nine months ago, “What is the meaning of life?”
We have come to the conclusion that the meaning of life is that we have been created by a personal Being, an
intelligent Being. We have been created by Him with capacities such as He has, so that we might become like
Him, and live with Him forever, and develop the infinite universe together with Him.
He made us because He actually wants us to be His friends. He loves us and wants us to love Him. That’s why
you are here, because you are made by Him to be his unique friend in a way that none of the rest of us can be.
So, that’s why He’s given us the kinds of capacities we have. We’ve been discussing the capacities our
personalities have, and the way they were meant to operate together.
It might help you if you have a page, of course, if you’re in the car you’d better not risk it. But, if you
have a piece of paper and are sitting down, divide the paper into three: the top third, a middle third and a
bottom third. (Just with two lines you can do that.)
Draw them horizontally, and separate the paper into three sections. Then, put in the top section, “body”.
Then, in the middle section put the word “soul”, and in the bottom section, “spirit”. Then, draw an arrow
from the top of the page to the bottom, from “body”, through “soul” to “spirit”. That’s the way most of us
live. Just remember that the soul comes from the Greek word “psuche”, which means “psyche” or psychological.
So, the soul means the will and the mind and the emotions.
Most of us live like that. We try to pump some heroin, or some aspirin or a depressant or a tranquilizer into
our body so that that will influence our emotions in an appropriate way, either quieten them or stimulate
them, hoping thereby to get our spirits harmonized and integrated with whatever Supreme Being or Spirit there
may be behind the universe.
Of course, it doesn’t work. We found that the wilder the party was, the more we drank. The more we were
elated and played the fool, probably, the next morning the deeper depression, and the more empty we felt in
the very heart of our being — that is, in our spirit. Our spirit is the real you. It’s you as you really
are, apart from all your other compulsions and constraints upon your life. What you do when you’re alone,
that’s what you are. That’s your spirit.
That’s the part of you that is meant to contact God. Of course, it doesn’t, in fact, contact God when you
operate the way we’ve just illustrated. In fact, the spirit becomes more dead to the Creator of the universe.
Actually, the way we were meant to operate is, if you look at that page again, and you have the top third, and
the middle third and the bottom third and then you put the word “spirit” in the top third, the word “soul” in
the middle third, and the word “body” in the bottom third, and then draw an arrow from the top of the page to
the bottom, from the word “spirit” through “soul” to the word “body”, that’s the way we were meant to operate.
The first way was from the outside in, from the body to the spirit. It leaves you with a spirit that is dead,
with a personality that is saying, “I hardly know who I am anymore. I just seem to be a little puppet, driven
by my body, which is in turn driven by the outside circumstances, and people and things around me.” That’s, of
course, the way most of us operate. We operate from the outside in.
We go to the office in the morning. The boss smiles at us. We catch the smile through our eyes. We send the
message to our emotions that he’s pleased with us. Our emotions go up. Then, somebody else frowns at us. The
signal goes through again, and our emotions go down. So, we’re up and down all the time according to what
comes through our eye-gate or our ear-gate, according to what comes through our body.
If we have a good meal, our tummy feels comfortable and our emotions feel happy and peaceful, we’re pleased.
If we have a bad meal or something we don’t like, we’re discontented. So, we go up and down in this life like
a switchback railway, when we live from the outside in. But the way we were meant to live was from the inside
out, from the spirit through the soul through the body and to the outside world.
Of course, the problem with most of us is that our spirits are dead anyway. So, when we try to live that way,
we find we have nothing inside. For instance, we’re sitting in a room absolutely quiet and on our own, and
it’s maybe a time in our lives when all the bills are paid. All the pressures are off, the fears are gone,
the anxieties, the constraints upon us, the compulsions. We feel for once in our lives we’re at absolute
peace. Then, we wonder, “Now what should we do?” We find there’s nothing inside. It’s as if there’s nobody
inside. It’s as if we knocked the door of our hearts and found there’s nothing there.
That, of course, terrifies us. Then, of course, what most of us do is we run to the outside world and begin
to live from the outside in again just in order to get rid of the terrible sense of desolation and abandonment
that we feel inside us.
Of course, what we need most of all is the spirit to come alive. We need our spirit to come alive inside us.
We need to rediscover who we are. We need to find ourselves again. Some people have said, “We need to be born
almost all over again.” It’s almost as if we’ve killed the inside, and it needs to be created again. There
needs to be a new creation inside us.
Many of us these days are at that point. Our problem is not the problem of outer space. It’s the problem of
inner space. There’s an inner space inside that’s empty and desolate, and we really don’t know how to fill it.
We try to do it by continuing the operating of our personalities from the outside in, but it doesn’t seem to
bring any satisfaction. In fact, of course, what we’re trying to do is get the satisfaction from outside that
we have always been meant to get from the inside.
In other words, there’s a dreadful feeling that is very natural of insecurity. When we consider, just for half
a second even, that we are merely the smallest, miniscule insect on a globe or a sphere that is spinning
through space at hundreds of thousands of miles an hour, with no visible means of support, that causes a
little concern, to say the least of it– a little insecurity.
You begin to wonder, “Now, how on earth am I even staying on, especially if I’m in Australia, and I’m actually
upside down, how am I staying on? Why does the centrifugal force not throw me off into space?” So, we begin
to think to ourselves, “Well, we don’t know the answers to all those magnificent, cosmic questions, but we’d
better make sure that we are safe on this piece of earth that we are inhabiting.”
So, we concentrate on trying to establish some kind of security, at least to keep the rain off of our heads.
We need some shelter or a roof over our head. At least, to keep the cold out of our bones, we need some
clothes. So, we begin to be stimulated by the need for security. Most of us live from the outside in. We do
most things in order to try to establish some of the security that we were really meant to get in another way.
Let’s talk a little about that tomorrow, and about how it affects the way we operate inside.
Slave to our Bodies -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Slave to our Bodies
by Ernest O’Neill
Many of us who are in very intellectual professions, such as doctors or stock brokers or university
professors, are amazed at how physically we live our lives. We teach all kinds of high-minded standards and
ways of thinking to our students and we operate in our businesses on the basis of intellectual and analytical
thinking. But when it comes to our own weekend lives, we find ourselves descending to the lowest levels of
physical stimulation and we regard that as our greatest happiness.
We are baffled at ourselves, because, on the one hand, our Monday through Friday lives tend to elevate the
intellect and the mind, but our weekend lives tend to elevate the physical and the more animal side of our
natures. We are, of course, more and more bewildered at this when it begins to blow our domestic scene apart,
or destroy our own personal lives. We wonder why on earth do we, who know so much better, end up doing what we
know is not the highest and not the best and not the greatest quality of life.
That’s the kind of question we’re discussing on this program, because we are talking about how our
personalities were intended to work by the One who originated life and who made us. We have been discussing
the way in which the Supreme Being behind the universe made our personalities on three different levels: on
the physical level, on the psychological level, and on the spirit level.
What we have done is to take a page and then divide it into three parts. The top third of the page we’ve
called body; the middle third we’ve called soul, and the bottom third we’ve called spirit. We have drawn a
line or an arrow from the top of the page to the bottom — from body through soul and then through spirit.
What we mean by soul comes from the Greek word “psuche”, which becomes our English word “psyche” or
psychological. The soul is simply the psychological part of us.
The outline of our personality that has been given by our Creator through His Son in that old book that we
often just allow to gather dust, is that we have within us our own interior selves the very essence of you
which is your spirit. Around that you wear like an overcoat your soul, or the psychological part of you —
your mind, and will and emotions. Around that you wear another outside overcoat, which is your body.
So the body has contact with the world of things and circumstances and people through its five senses. The
soul has contact with itself; it is the self-conscious part of us. The spirit is the part of us that has
contact with the Supreme Being behind the universe. The way our personalities normally work is the way we have
just drawn them on the page. That is, we stimulate the body by a kiss or an embrace, or by a good meal or by a
pint of beer or by a fifth of whiskey, or by a shot of heroin. By that means we stimulate the emotions which
are, of course, connected so tightly to the body.
We hope in that way to somehow stir the spirit into life. Indeed, many of us, when we have a high caused by
drugs or caused by alcohol, we think we have reached some kind of spirit sphere. Well, the truth is we haven’t
even touched the spirit. Normally the old spirit is lying there absolutely dead and asleep, except maybe for
one of its functions, which is the conscience. The conscience is usually somewhat alive in us, because of our
Our spirits, as a whole, are normally fairly dead. All of us are little soul-body animals that operate just at
a slightly higher level than the animal. Rarely do we operate very much above the animal, because, as we said
yesterday, most of us find ourselves on this planet flying through space at thousands of miles an hour,
feeling very insecure and driven by the need to get some security — at least to get a roof over our heads, at
least to be left not without a home when our parents die, and or to have some clothes on our backs.
So, most of us see the tremendous need to establish some kind of physical security for ourselves. That
communicates itself through our body, which feels the cold and feels hunger, to our emotions usually, where we
feel dreadfully abandoned and dreadfully desolate and exposed once our parents die. That communicates itself
to our mind, which then begins to manipulate the money on the earth or the jobs on the earth, or the other
people on the earth, so that somehow we will be able to get some security for ourselves in a good education
that will give us a good job, that will give us enough money to buy food, shelter and clothing.
So, most of us operate just between the body and the soul in almost that kind of response-reflex, Pavlov’s dog
kind of way. Most of us don’t operate much above the level of Pavlov’s dog. You remember when they brought the
food out, the dogs began to secrete saliva. Most of us exist that way. We say we operate on the level of our
souls, but it is virtually not at all. Our souls have become the slaves of our bodies. On the level of
security that’s the way we operate.
We look around and see there are five billion people on the earth, and they all think they’re unique. We know
we’re alone unique, but they just don’t seem to notice it. We are overcome by the dreadful insignificance of
our lives. We feel we need to get some significance, and we need to get somebody else’s respect. So we try to
manipulate the people around us to respect us and look up to us.
The body, therefore, sees when the boss notices you, or the body sees when the children respect you or when
they don’t respect you. That sends a signal to the emotions, which are accordingly elated or depressed. That
sends a signal to your mind which, in turn, manipulates that person — so they will, in fact, give you the
respect that you feel you deserve. So, we operate simply as little, physical soul beings with little that
touches our spirit at all. All the time our spirit is virtually dead and asleep.
We continue in this kind of existence year after year. The difficulty is that we never actually get a
permanent sense of significance or self-esteem or self-worth, because the esteem we are looking for has to
come from a deeper part of our being than just the approval of other people, or the recognition of our peers.
We, of course, are running simply a little, internal, closed-circuit that operates from the outside world
(people and their opinion),to our emotions which are pleased when they approve of us or when they give us some
reward. Then, to our minds, which then in turn manipulate them further, or simply lie dormant. Then we go back
to the people again, and what they think of us. So, it’s a little vicious circle that operates simply between
the body and the soul.
It’s the same with the security situation. We never do get a complete sense of security, because, of course,
an incurable disease can always strike you anyway and wash you out financially. So, we never do get a complete
sense of security, and, indeed, finally we know that there is ultimate insecurity in lying in a box in the
ground deteriorating and being eaten by the worms. Finally, security is a mirage and a horizon that we never
reach. But we still run that little vicious circle between our body and the things we put in our tummies or
that we wear on our bodies or that we cover our heads with in the way of houses.
We run that between the things that we can get hold of, the emotions that result from that and the mind’s
response to that situation. So, we’re running all the time in vicious little circles that operate simply on
the top two-thirds of the page there — between the body and the soul. That’s why we never gain any permanent
satisfaction from them.
How was it meant to work? Let’s talk about that tomorrow.
Living by Feelings and Emotions -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Living by Feelings and Emotions
by Ernest O’Neill
How were our personalities meant to work originally? That’s the sub-topic we’re discussing at this time each
day on this program. The main topic is, “What is the meaning of life?”, or “Why are you here? Why am I here?”
We’ve sorted our way in the past eight or nine months through a great deal of the intellectual reasoning
connected with the premise that we are here because a Supreme Being, that is intelligent and personal, created
He created us to be His friends and that’s why you are actually in existence. That’s why there is such order
and design in your life. That’s why your eyes are able to photograph objects so fast and relate them to your
brain. That’s why there is so much evidence of construction and design and purpose in the universe. It was
created by a Supreme Being, who is as intelligent, indeed more intelligent, than we are and is certainly as
personable as we are in order to make us as persons.
When we began to look for evidence that He had expressed Himself somewhere in our world, we of course were
driven to that amazing phenomenon in the first century; that man that was unlike all the other great religious
leaders in that He had power to destroy death. We discovered that His life had none of the usual imbalance of
the psychotics who claim they were God’s Son, or claim they’re Napoleon or somebody else. It had, instead,
great balance and integration — so much so that we often look at His life as the perfect life.
So, we began to study what this man Jesus of Nazareth said was the explanation of reality and what His
explanation for the way we were made amounts to. We began to discover that, of course, the Creator had made us
with the same capacities as Himself, and we have actually drawn those out for clarity on a page, if you aren’t
sitting in the car and aren’t in danger of hitting the guy in front of you if you miss the brakes. If you’re
at home, then do divide a page into three sections.
In the top section, put the word “body”; in the second section, put the word “soul” and in the bottom section,
put the word “spirit”. There you have the outline of the three levels of life that the Creator has given us:
the physical level (our bodies), the soul (which comes from the Greek word “psuche”, which is “psyche” in
English and means psychological or the psychological part of us: our mind, emotions and will), and the spirit
(which is the innermost part of us; the very essence of you is your spirit).
You, when you are alone, constrained by nothing except the external — that you are and nothing else, one of
the old classical writers has said. So, we were meant, of course, to operate from the bottom of the page up,
but we don’t. We operate from the top of the page down. If you draw an arrow from body down through the soul
and spirit that’s the way we operate. We are influenced by what comes through our little eyes and that sends a
signal to our emotions in our soul. Our emotions are either pleased or depressed at that.
They send a signal to our mind, which in turn manipulates whatever circumstances or people or things we need
manipulated, in order to get the right response through our bodies. So we operate usually on that level. If
you go downstairs in the morning to the kitchen to get breakfast, you look out and you see that it is a
bright, sunny day. Your little eyes are delighted with that and send a signal to your emotions, “Be happy, be
happy.” Your emotions send a signal to your mind, “Good Morning”. Say, “Good Morning”.
Your mind, of course, says “Good Morning” to make your wife or your children feel happy, too. But, it’s
dreadful. It’s a curse if you come down and you look outside and it’s thundering and raining and dark and
glowering skies, and looks miserable. Your eyes send a signal to your emotions, “It’s a bad day. Be gloomy, be
sad. This is miserable. Life is about to end. Commit suicide today.” You send that signal to your mind and
your mind sends a signal to the tongue that goes out to your wife and just groans or grunts at her. No bright,
“Good Morning”. Just a kind of a grunt, “This is a miserable day.”
So, you operate in that vicious little circle between your body and your soul. Most of us live there
completely. We never get any deeper than that. We wonder why we have such a sense of emptiness at times,
inside where our spirit should be. We wonder at times who we are. We wonder if we’re just little robots that
respond to external stimuli, like Pavlov’s dogs. We can’t find any self deep down. I mean, we find plenty of
selfishness, but we can’t find anything that is US deep down.
Many of us live with a tremendous sense of emptiness all the time right through our lives. It doesn’t matter
what kind of happiness we try to get from outside, we try to manipulate the circumstances so that we will be
happy. Most of us, for instance, have very clear notions of what is a happy day.
Friday is a happy day. We have a phrase in America, “T.G.I.F.”, “Thank God It’s Friday.” When Friday comes up,
our eyes notice the date on the calendar and we realize that we are off work at the end of today for a few
days. That sends a signal to our emotions, and our emotions say, “Be happy. This is Friday.” That sends a
signal to our mind. Our mind sends a signal to our tongue to say something nice to your boss. Say something
nice to your colleague, “Well, isn’t it great that we’re off today.”
But, Monday morning is an entirely different situation. The eyes look at the calendar and see that it’s
Monday, think of the darkness of Monday starting school after the weekend. That sends a signal to our emotions
and our emotions say, “This is miserable. We have a whole, wretched, horrible week ahead of us. That sends a
signal to our minds to say something nasty to the person beside you, “Great day THIS is!” So, you see, the
circle goes on.
You notice the interesting thing is that the will is virtually eliminated completely from that circle. Few of
us exercise our wills these days. Most of us operate just in a little vicious circle of
response-reflex-reactions between the things that we see and the emotions that we feel are a result of those,
and the way our mind is stimulated to manipulate those things in our favor. Or the people whose approval or
disapproval we receive and the emotions that we feel as a result of that and then the mind’s activity in order
to gain approval or recognition from them.
Or, in the case of circumstances, the circumstances that we’re surrounded with, either vacation or Friday or a
game that we’re going to see or a television program that we’re going to watch or a party that we’re going to
go to and the emotions of elation or depression, of satisfaction or unhappiness that we feel in response to
that and then the mind’s action to try to manipulate those circumstances to bring about the appropriate
pleasant experience that we actually want.
But usually the will has very little to do with it, and our soul is utterly under the domination of our body.
We are virtually little animals. That’s why there is an amazing verse in that old book the Bible that says
that kind of thing. We were at one time just stimulated by the body and by the soul. Nothing else seemed to
affect us, but just our body and our soul. We were actually slaves of those.
If you ever want to look at it, it’s near the end of the New Testament in a book called Ephesians in Chapter 2
and verse 3. It says, “Among these we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, following the desires of
body and mind, and so we were by nature children of wrath like the rest of mankind.” Most of us just follow
the desires of body and mind, or body and soul. We never go any deeper than that. We are very dissatisfied
We find that we are the playthings of our feelings. We find we are the playthings of our circumstances. We
feel we’re the playthings of the possessions that we own. In fact, many of us feel our possessions own us. We
joke, you know, that the more possessions you have, the more time you spend maintaining them. We feel we’re
often the playthings of people’s opinion, and we’re driven by what people think of us. But we don’t seem able
to get out of that little, shallow, superficial vicious circle of life that operates between our body and our
The truth is, of course, that our spirits are meant to be alive. They’re meant to be alive, but they are dead.
Let’s look at what is involved in bringing them to life tomorrow.
How can we Know God? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
How Can We Know God?
by Ernest O’Neill
When we find ourselves in great depression over the fact that it’s Monday morning, we wonder if we’ve grown up
at all. We are amazed that we can be still so influenced by a dark, glowering sky, or by drizzling rain. Yet,
it is a fact, isn’t it? Many of us are very depressed on Monday morning.
It’s slightly easier if the sun is shining, but it seems that the thought of the next four or five days of
dreary labor overcome even the moderating effects of the sunshine. We still feel ourselves overwhelmed with
actual depression, and we don’t understand why it’s so.
Of course, we try to act against it and overcome it. Many times we do manage to overcome it, but often we are
unable. Sometimes the overcoming is purely temporary, and of course we have to fight the same old battle seven
days later. Why is that so? Well, it’s because of the way our personalities have operated for years. Most of
us have operated absolutely upside down.
What we have been discussing is the meaning of life, and why we are here and what the point of it is. We have
been talking about it for seven or eight months now, and I do encourage you to send for the cassettes of the
earlier broadcasts if you’re interested in the intellectual analysis that is necessitated by such a
But we have reached the point in our discussion where we have come to the conclusion that we have been made by
a personal Being who is intelligent and does want us to be His friends. That’s why He created us — so that we
would become like Him. To that end He has given us the same capacities as He Himself has. We have been
discussing the way that the capacities we have have been used, and the way we have operated our own
It might help you if you aren’t in a car and if you are at home and if you can draw on a page, to take a page.
What we have done on the page is to draw two lines on the page, and thus divide it into three sections: upper
section, middle section and lower section. In the upper section we have put the word “body”; in the middle
section we have put the word “soul”; the bottom section we have put the name of “spirit”. That seems to be the
three levels of life that the Creator of the world has given us in our personalities.
The body is, of course, the physical level. Our body is where we have the five senses, through which we
perceive the world of things, and circumstances and people. The middle level is the soul (coming from the
Greek word “psuche” which means “psyche” in English, or psychological). It’s the mind, emotions, and the will
that we possess. The spirit, of course, is the innermost part of us. It is the real you; it’s you as you
Most of us, we have said, have long ago lost the real “you”. The spirit has died years and years ago and it’s
virtually unused in most of us. It has several functions of communion with the Creator of the world, and
intuition (knowing what the Creator wants us to do), and conscience (which actually urges us to act up to the
best we know). Apart from conscience, most of us have spirits that are fairly dead or somnolent at this time.
We operate purely on the level of the body and the soul.
That is, the little eyes see that it is Monday morning on the calendar, send a signal to the emotions that
it’s Monday morning, and be gloomy and sad. The emotions send a signal to the mind to just grunt when the boss
says to you, “Good morning”, because it’s not a good morning. The mind grunts. So it’s a vicious little circle
between the eyes and the emotions and the mind. The will is hardly consulted at all and is given very little
chance to do anything about the vicious circle of response-reflex-reaction that we have set up.
That’s what governs most of the things in our lives. It governs our desire for self-esteem or self-worth.
Somebody smiles at us in the office and we see they approve of us. It sends a signal that we are approved of
to the emotions. The emotions feel happy and comfortable. They send a signal to the mind, and the mind then
smiles back. That’s the way it goes. The opposite happens, of course, if they happen to frown at us. So,
really, we are not in charge of ourselves at all. We are just the manipulated reflex reactions to our
circumstances and people that we meet day by day.
Now, that was not how it was meant to be at all. What we do try to do is, we try to make up for the emptiness
that comes from spirits that are virtually dead and from identities that are absolutely unknown now. We try to
make up for the dreadful insecurity that that brings us and the terrible sense of insignificance that that
causes and the great sadness. We try to make that up by trying to get security and significance and happiness
from the world of circumstances and things and the people around us.
But all the time we are simply engaging in a physical-soul exercise. We are just being driven by the demands
of our body and the demands of our emotions. That’s virtually what we are. Most of us are simply little
physical-emotional people. We are not, in any sense, in charge of our destinies, or in charge of our lives.
You’ve probably sensed that yourself. You’re rather like a ping pong ball that is batted back and forth across
the table by a combination of your family needs, your own personal needs and the needs of your business or
You’ve often sensed, “I don’t exist at all. I may as well be just a blob. I don’t do anything; I don’t
initiate anything.” Most of us have spirits that are completely dead. We don’t know who we are or who we were
meant to be. We don’t know why we are here. What is needed, of course, is for the spirit to come alive. The
spirit is meant to direct our souls and direct our bodies. We are not meant to be body-dominated people, but
spirit-dominated people. You are actually meant to know why you are here.
You’re meant to know why the Maker of the world put you here and what particularly abilities he has given you
and how you are to use them, and what you are to do for Him to develop His world according to His will. Of
course, as you do that, there comes to you a tremendous sense of significance. You feel what people like John
Milton felt: that you were here for a certain purpose. You have a real destiny.
Suddenly, it begins to dawn on you that you have a destiny independent of the rest of us. You have a reason
for being here that is independent of your family, independent of your business, independent of what people
think of you. You are put here by the Maker of the world to do something that only you can do, and, actually,
to be something that only you can be. Only you can love Him the way you can love Him. Only you can be loved by
Him, the way He can love you. There is a unique relationship that is possible, because you are unique.
Did you realize that? There is nobody else like you in the world and there never has been and there never will
be. You’re absolutely unique! There is no one that can do that you can do in this world. Don’t get caught up
with big things. Don’t say, “I’m not meant to be a great politician.” No. It doesn’t matter. Maybe you are
meant to chop down trees. Maybe you’re meant to scrub floors. Maybe you’re meant to type typewriters — but
whatever you are meant to do, you will bring a little bit more of God’s world into order under His will in a
way that no one else can.
That gives you a great sense of significance and value. Suddenly, it doesn’t matter who thinks nothing of you,
so long as the Maker of the world knows you and has numbered the hairs of your head. Then there comes into
your emotions, certainly, a great sense of peace and quiet. But most of all there comes into your will a great
sense of what God wants you to do. When you sense God and you sense that He esteems you highly, then you begin
to want to know what He wants you to do.
Through communion in your spirit you begin to sense what He wants you to do. He begins to direct you to the
job that He has for you, and to the work that He has planned for you. He begins to guide your life day by day,
and guide even your responses to other people. Through intuition, you know what to do, and then your
conscience begins to constrain your will in the light of that.
Your will directs your mind to think the appropriate thoughts. Your mind then governs your emotions, which are
utterly dependent really on the thoughts that you think, and then both of them exercise that power over your
body which then does what you’re supposed to do.
So, your whole personality becomes integrated through your relationship with the Maker of the universe. You
begin to fill the world with His love and order, instead of emptying it for your own sake. Let’s talk a little
more about how it works tomorrow.
God wants us as Friends -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
God Wants Us As Friends
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking about how our personalities are meant to operate day by day. We’re doing that in connection with
a study we started eight or nine months ago called “What is the meaning of life?” We have asked ourselves what
the meaning of life is and why we are here. We’ve reached the place in our discussion where we are satisfied
that we were indeed made by a personal Being who designed us in the way we find we are formed.
He did it because He wants us to be His friends, and that is because He is as personable as we are. He made us
so that we would actually be His friends, and so that we would love Him and He would love us. That’s actually
why you are in existence. The Maker of the universe planned you carefully to be a friend to Him that no one
else can be. It’s amazing to think of it, but it’s true. He has even counted the hairs on your head and He
knows your name.
He is planning to live with you forever if you will use your own free will during this lifetime to do what He
has given you to do here on the earth. He has a certain job that you alone can do for Him. He has a certain
friendship that you can take part in that only you can fulfill. So, you really are unique; there has never
been anybody like you in the universe and there never will be. It is important to get hold of that, because
that ties up with the way our personalities operate.
What we have been saying is that our personalities operate on three different levels. They operate on a
physical level which is our bodies. Then they operate on the level of our souls, or our psychological part:
our mind, emotions, and our wills. Then they operate on the level of the spirit, which is the real you. The
spirit is the part of us that most of us have lost, because we usually live somewhere between our body and our
For example, we look at the stock market and our eyes send a signal to our emotions in our soul, which in turn
sends a signal to our mind that we should be elated or depressed. The mind then sends that signal to the body
and we either smile or frown at the wife and children. Now usually we operate that way because the opposite
happens if we find that we have an overdraft in the bank.
Our eyes send a signal of alarm to the emotions, and the emotions panic, becoming anxious and worried. The
emotions send a signal to the mind telling it to grab what it can. So the mind directs the body to grumble at
people and be as nasty as it can be. So most of us live in a little circle between our body and our soul so
that our will is virtually eliminated from the operation and our spirit is completely dead.
It is because our spirit is dead that we feel such insecurity. We feel insecure, because the real security in
our lives begins when we sense that the Creator of the world put us here for a purpose. He will see to it that
you have enough food to keep you alive, and He has given you blood and kept it flowing around your body
through miles and miles of veins.
He has put you here not to starve or to be destroyed, because that is pointless and without purpose.
Everything He has done has a purpose to it apart from the wild things that we human beings have introduced
into the world by our own free will. The things that the Creator creates have purpose and design. So it is
reasonable to believe that He will keep His promise to you, and His promise is very clear. He said it through
His son Jesus.
He said it! He told us not to be anxious about what we will eat or drink or what we will wear, because the
body is more than just food and clothing. He told us to look at the flowers of the field and see how they
never toil or gather into barns, and yet not Solomon in all his glory was dressed like the flowers.
He reminded us that if the flowers, which today are and tomorrow are not, are cast into a fire and burned,
will He not much more clothe us. So His son has assured us that God has not put us here to kill us. He has put
us here to do a job while on the earth and to become like Him. He will provide what we need to do that. He
will provide the money and clothing as long as we continue to do what He wants us to do.
Of course, you’ve found that, haven’t you? I mean, you’ve come through a lot of hard times, but you’re still
alive. You’ve known times when you didn’t think you would survive and if you would manage, but you have.
Somehow, the books have balanced and you’re still in action and still fairly solvent. The truth is that the
Creator will take care of you and look after you.
Of course, as you begin to live from your spirit inside outward, then through communion with Him you begin to
sense what He wants you to do in this life. As you live from your spirit, you begin to relax and realize that
the Creator has everything organized and the cattle on a thousand hills are His. He is watching over
everything and so He certainly has the ability to look after each of us.
So, you begin to relax and say to God, “What do you want me to do?” He then begins to feed through your spirit
and your intuition a sense of what you ought to do with your life and what you are fitted to do. You sense
what part of the world you are able to bring into order under His will that no one else can.
Your intuition then grasps that and your conscience constrains your will in the light of that to live up to
that. Your will then directs your mind to a certain job, or to learn how to do certain skills. Your emotions
are fed by your mind, and then you begin to express all that through your body. You then begin to fill the
world with the order that God is bringing through your life.
So, your personality operates as it was meant to in an integrated way from the inside out. It operates from
your spirit through your soul out to your body and then out to the rest of the world. As you do that your
whole personality becomes more and more conformed to God’s own unity and harmony. Of course, you yourself
become more fitted to live with Him forever and to take part with Him in the infinite development of the
universe after this life is over.
Our personalities, you can see, were meant to live from the inside out. Of course, when you don’t have that
sense of security from the Maker of the universe, you have a dreadful sense of insecurity. You know how it is.
You don’t need me to describe it.
If you then take a sheet of paper and put “BODY” at the top and “SOUL” in the middle and “SPIRIT” at the
bottom, you can see how, when your eyes see your poor financial situation, your emotions send a signal to your
mind and you become worried and troubled. Your will is left out and the conscience in the spirit is not
You can bring about a temporary security that lasts for about a week, but meanwhile your spirit still feels
that you are a little insect in a vast world with very little support that is visible. So, your spirit remains
dead and you never get a sense of real security and yet your soul and body live in continual strain.
There is a great way to live. Let’s talk a little more about it tomorrow.
Importance of Making Right Decisions -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Importance of Making Right Decisions
by Ernest O’Neill
We’ve been talking about the vicious circle that many of us get into in operating our own personalities. We
are doing this in connection with an overall subject that we’ve been discussing for several months now, and
that is, “What is the meaning of life?” That is, why are you and I here?
We’ve come to the point in our discussion, after all kinds of intellectual substantiation, of seeing that the
Creator of the universe is actually a Being more intelligent than us, and as personable as we are, which is
very reasonable to expect.
We have seen further the reason He had for making us, according to what His Son Jesus has explained to us. And
we examined in detail the historicity of this man’s life in the first century of our era.
We began to discuss some of the documentary evidence that lies behind that history and we’ve concluded that he
was in fact the Son of the Maker of the universe. The explanation that He gives, of the reason why His Father
made us, is because He wants you to be His friend. That’s it!
He wants you to be in friendship with Him. He loves you and He actually knows you better than your own father
knows you. He has actually counted the hairs of your head and has designed you with infinite care. He desires
that you love Him, because He does already love you. That’s the purpose of life here on the earth.
He wants us to use the free wills which He has given us to become like Him. In order for us to become like
Him, we do have to choose ourselves certain things of our own free will. So, He has put you here on earth with
certain abilities that nobody else has in exactly the same combination.
Some people may have what the world considers to be better abilities than you, but none have exactly the same
combination of abilities and personality that you have. So you are unique in the universe.
The Creator of the universe has put you here to do a certain job in bringing part of the world into order
under His will that no one else can do. As you do that, and trust and obey Him in that, you become more and
more like Him every day through your own choice. So that is why we are here.
We’ve been discussing how that operates through our personalities. We’ve seen how our personalities exist at
three different levels. It is outlined by him in the Bible.
The Bible shows us that we operate on a physical level which is, of course, our bodies with their five senses.
Then there is the psychological level with the mind, emotion and the will. We call that level the soul. And
lastly, we operate in our spirit level, which is the real you. It is you as you really are.
Your spirit is you as you are when you’re alone, unstimulated and unconstrained by external compulsions of any
kind. What you are when you’re alone – that you are – and nothing more. Your spirit is the very essence of
Now that spirit of yours is the part that is meant to contact the Creator and, in turn, govern the rest of
your personality. If you take a page and divide it into three horizontal levels, the top level would be the
spirit; the middle level would be the soul; the bottom would be the body.
The upper section contains your spirit. It is your spirit there that is able to commune with God. When you are
quiet and on your own, you are able to sense His existence and His presence. He actually pervades the whole
universe, but we are so busy with all that we do and so noisy that we cannot sense His presence.
Really, His presence fills the whole world. You feel it at times when you are sitting by a quiet pond in the
country or a lake or a river. There are moments like that when you sense His presence. Further, there are
moments when a loved one dies and suddenly life stops and you sense there is a Presence in the world. Of
course, it is Him. It is through your spirit that you are actually able to commune with Him.
Further, through the intuition of your spirit you can actually know what He wants you to do. Then your
conscience actually gets you to live up to the best that you know, and what you know is what comes through
So, your conscience then constrains your will, as part of your psychological being, or your soul, to do what
your spirit has told you to do. Your will then directs your mind and your mind thinks the right thoughts and
designs the correct plans. Your emotions, in turn, are elevated by that because your emotions are simply
governed by your thoughts.
If you think of a certain person, you become angry; if you think of another person you become kind. Your
feelings are governed by your thoughts. That, in turn, dictates what the body does, and your will enforces it
and acts upon the world. As a result, the world is filled with more of the presence of God and His will and
Of course, what you and I find is that when we determine no longer to be governed by our bodies — no longer
to be driven like little puppets, by what the boss thinks of us — when we determine we’re going to be our
real selves — we find we don’t know who we really are and who we should be.
You’ve probably experienced that at times. You’ve come to a place in your life where there did seem to be less
confusion and disorder than usual and some things were settled, and you sat alone in a quiet room and thought,
“What am I to do? Who am I really?”
It is at that moment that you come to the dreadful discovery that there seems to be nothing inside. You knock
at the door of your heart and you find that there is nobody home. You find that you have lost yourself and you
can’t find yourself again.
That has happened actually by a sequence of decisions, or lack of them, that you have made. There is that
moment in the movie, “A Man for All Seasons” when Sir Thomas More says, “There comes a time in each man’s life
when he holds his life in his hands like water. If, at that moment, the man opens his fingers even a little it
will all flow out and be lost forever.”
That’s how we have lost ourselves. It is by a sequence of compromises and man-pleasing actions. It is by
choices made in fear of consequences and possible discomfort. We have, over the years, lost ourselves and we
don’t know how to find ourselves again. We can’t even remember what we were like.
You remember that Wordsworth says the same in one of his poems. He says, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy.
Shades of the prison house begin to close around the growing boy. At length a man perceives it die away and
fade into the light of common day.”
Many of us have experienced that. We’ve gradually lost contact with ourselves. Really, what has happened is
that our spirits have died. Our spirits haven’t died completely, because the conscience part of the spirit
still remains alive a little, but even it becomes perverted very quickly.
The conscience is always trying to get us to live up to the best that God has told us personally to do. Yet we
pervert our conscience. We make it live up to the best laws and standards that we’ve learned. So we learn
standards in the financial realm and we abide by those standards. We learn standards from our society and our
families that tell us to be wise and clever and witty.
We try to live up to those standards and, as a result, we pervert our conscience. But our conscience, really,
is a pure part of our spirit, and will try to constrain our wills to live up to the best that God has told us
to do. But we, of course, try to pervert that and prevent that happening.
Now, how on earth, or in heaven, does one ever get one’s spirit to come alive again? That is what we need,
isn’t it? We need, in a sense, to be born again and to be recreated. How does that come about? Let’s talk
about that tomorrow.
How we Receive the New Birth -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
How we Receive the New Birth
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this program about how many of us have started to look for ourselves and can’t find
ourselves. Unless you think that I am crazy, what we’re talking about is the dreadful discovery that many of
us make that we are virtual puppets of our environment and our circumstances.
That is, our personalities are utterly dictated to by the way people treat us. People smile at us when we go
to work and our eyes notice that and send a signal from our bodies to our emotions, and our emotions are
elated. Our emotions send a signal to our minds to smile back.
So, we smile when we’re smiled at, and we frown when we are frowned at. Now our will is almost non-existent in
the whole enterprise. The deepest part of us — that is our spirit, the real “us”, what you really are deep
down — is left out all together. We find after years and years of doing this kind of thing and living this
kind of life that we exist on only two levels of our personalities.
We have been talking about how we actually have three levels of our personality. If you take a page and divide
it into three horizontal sections, label the top section “BODY”, the middle section “SOUL” — which is the
Greek word “psuche” or psyche –which is the psychological part of us — and the bottom section “SPIRIT”,
which is the real you.
Then you find that most of us exist only on the body-soul level. That is exactly what we described in the
illustration. The eyes look and they see the boss smile, so the eyes send that signal down to the emotions in
the soul — the psychological part of us.
The emotions are elated and send a signal to the mind to smile back. So, the mouth smiles back. It is just a
body-soul experience. The spirit, the real you, is never involved. And what we have been saying is that many
of us live on that shallow, superficial level of body-soul, throughout our lives.
So much so that our wills are utterly put to sleep, but, in fact, our spirits become completely dead. Thus
when we start looking for ourselves we can’t find anyone. When we look for the real “you” or the real “me” we
can’t find it; we seem to have lost it.
That’s what Wordsworth said in that well-known sonnet that he wrote. He said that “The world is too much with
us.” He continues, “Late and soon, getting and spending, we lay waste our powers. Little we see in nature that
is ours. We have given our hearts away, a sordid boon!”
Many of us discover, to our dismay, that we have given our hearts away, a “sordid boon”. We seem to have given
ourselves away, and lost ourselves. We don’t seem able to find ourselves. Those of us who have
responsibilities at work or in business, or those of us who have responsibilities in family life or to
maintain a home find that so often. We have given everything to maintaining the home, we’ve given everything
to running the business. We have lost what we are ourselves.
Now what we have been saying is that you are yourself quite unique. There’s nobody like you in the whole
universe and the Creator has put you here to do something for Him that no one else can do, and to be someone
that nobody else can be. And it is vital that you be that person and you do that thing. We of course have not
bothered with that. Since long ago it has been unfashionable to believe that there was a Creator.
It’s been unfashionable to believe that He would have anything to do with a person like you or me. It has been
fashionable to go on vacation or to guidance counselors, to go to computer printouts, to go to the employment
agencies and to do what everybody else said that we should do.
So we have often found ourselves in a life that is utterly unconnected with what we ourselves are. Many of us
look at our bank accounts and our insurance policies with some mixed feelings. Certainly some perhaps
reassurance, but some melancholy too because we wonder now what we would have done if we had really been the
person we were made to be.
Some of us have got to the point in our lives where we have tried several times to find out who we are and we
can’t do it any longer. We don’t seem to get that part of us to come alive that used to be alive. We attribute
it to middle age or to old age or to growing up or to good sense and worldly wisdom.
Yet we do have a sense somehow that we have lost something, that “there hath passed away a glory from the
earth”, as one of the poets said. We wonder how on earth would we ever get it back. How would we ever find out
who we are? We think at times that we have died. It almost seems as if the real “me” has died inside. We will
use that phrase at times, “I feel as if something has died inside of me.”
It is as if we really see that what we need is to be recreated inside — almost if they didn’t use that phrase
so often in religious circles — we would almost think it was right — we almost need to be born again. We
need to be born over again. I wish I could start all over again. I wish I could find out who I was meant to be
and be it.
Now the way to that is easier than you may think. It’s what comes after that that requires some commitment.
But the way to that is easier than you think because the truth is that the Creator of the universe wants you
to know who you are. He wants you to know what He has planned for you to do. He wants you to know what He
intended you to be.
He has actually said that if you seek Him with all your heart you will find Him. That is true. He said it just
that way. He said, “If you seek Me with all your heart …” — not on a part time basis — “Oh this would be a
nice thing I’d like to do” –but if you really are desperately determined to find out what you are meant to be
in this life, and what the Maker of the world intended you to be — and what He wants you to be with Him
forever — then if you seek Him with all your heart, you will find Him. That’s what He said.
His Son Jesus explained that if a son asks his father for bread, will he be given a stone? Now you know that
he won’t. The father will give his child bread, and not a stone to mock him. Then Jesus said how much more
will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask.
The Holy Spirit is, of course, God’s own Spirit and that is what is needed to bring your spirit alive. You
need His Spirit, His life, to come into you again to make you alive inside. He will make your spirit come to
life and to recreate the “I” deep down — the “you” that He has planned you to be.
It is not the selfish “you” that you have become, but an unselfish “you” that has been made in His image. He
has promised that if you ask Him, He will give you the Holy Spirit. That’s what Jesus said. If you ask like an
ordinary son asks his father for bread, then your heavenly Father — who is the perfect Father, which all
other fathers try to follow — how much more will your Heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask.
The Holy Spirit is His Spirit. His Spirit comes into your spirit and makes it alive and aware of Him. It
brings you into an awareness of Him and of His life. You become aware of His presence, and you begin to sense
what He is thinking about you and what He wants you to do. That comes when you ask Him with all your heart,
and that is actually all you have to do to begin with. There are many things you have to enter into after
that, but to begin with, what is often called the “new birth” is an experience that you can have by faith in
God. That can take place in a moment. It can actually take place this moment.
If you have seen the sense of the things we’ve shared, and you know the reality of that deadness inside, then
you can, today, at this very moment, say to God that you hardly know Him, but you need to come alive inside.
You can ask God to send His Spirit into you, the Spirit of His Son, to make you alive inside, so that you can
begin to hear Him and can begin to find yourself again. You have only to ask Him. And God will do it. He will
Our Spirit is Dead Inside -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Our Spirit is Dead Inside
by Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever had this kind of experience? You’ve had a few friends over to the house, and you had a supply of
beer and wine. Your wife prepared a magnificent meal, and a beautiful dessert, after which you had good
conversation. Everybody was very congenial — after being oiled by the alcohol — after the meal.
Generally, everybody made the right kinds of jokes and the right kinds of noises. The conversation was
diplomatically brought around to whatever subject you’re good at: maybe you’re a good golfer or you’re good at
investing money, or you’re clever with your hands on the house. Everybody made the proper compliments to you
in regard to that. Even your wife agreed with all the others, and at the end of the evening everybody felt
that they had got their due amount of praise.
As you closed the front door and walked back into the room you felt that it was a good evening and you said so
to your wife. Your wife then went up to bed and you sat there looking at the last few coals in the fireplace.
You sat there with the last few drops of a drink in your hand when suddenly there came into your mind a sense
of wondering if that is all there is. Like that old song sung a few years ago. “Is that all there is?”
It was certainly a wonderful evening and you enjoyed it and felt elated by all the nice things that were said
about you, and the whole thing was very appropriate and everybody dealt with each other very rightly — there
were no difficult moments — but yet, you wondered, is that all there is? After your wife and friends have
praised you, why do you feel an emptiness inside?
You look around the room and you see the empty glasses and the last few embers in the fire, and you think that
it’s, after all, only the end of the evening and there is always tomorrow evening. As T.S. Elliot said, “it
ends not with a bang but with a whimper.” You feel a little down, but figure that it will be up again the next
time everyone has an evening together. Or, you tell yourself that tomorrow is Saturday and you can go to a
football game and feel fine.
After all, it’s only the look of the room after a party. Yet deep down inside there IS something that echoes
the scene of desolation around you in the room. There is something inside of you that interprets that as
emptiness and as a kind of meaninglessness. That’s because there is part of you that feels unsatisfied.
Now, that is what we’ve been talking about. We’ve been talking about the fact that the problem with so many of
us is not that of outer space, but the problem of inner space, and the problem of the exploration of inner
space. There seems to be, at the center of most of our beings, a great part of us that is unsatisfied and
continues to be unsatisfied, despite all the things we do with our hands and with our thoughts, our minds,
bodies and emotions.
There seems to be part of us that is pretty desolate, and we would say a part of us that is utterly
unsatisfied. And what we have been sharing for eight or nine months is that the reason for this is because we
should be firing on three cylinders — and we are only in fact firing on two cylinders.
We were made with three levels in our personalities. We were made with a physical level — our bodies —
through which we perceive the world of things and circumstances and people. We were given souls, which is the
psychological part of us — our mind, emotions and will —by which we are conscious of ourselves. And,
lastly, we have a spirit level. The spirit is not anything spooky or even religious. The spirit is simply the
real you. It is the real person that you were made to be.
We’ve been discussing how the evidence of order and design in the universe points to the existence of an
intelligent Being behind it all. And, the evidence that we have studied in the first century of that unique
man called Jesus of Nazareth indicates that He was indeed the Son of that Maker of the universe.
And Jesus explained to us that the reason the Creator made you was not simply to have a party and have your
emotions stimulated, but so that you could love Him and know Him, and so that He could love you and be your
friend. So that together you would develop this world and the infinite universe after this life is over.
Now, it is your spirit that relates to your Creator. That is the part of you that has gone dead, and that is
the part of you that sends you messages of desolation and dissatisfaction such as we described after all the
friends have left the house and you’ve had a beautiful evening together. That’s the part of us that is pretty
The reason that it’s dead is because we operate primarily from the body to the soul. That is, we don’t operate
from the spirit outwards. We don’t know any longer who we are or what we are meant to be. We don’t know why we
were put here on earth, nor do we know what the Creator had in mind for us.
So, we haven’t consulted our spirits; in fact, we couldn’t find ourselves even if you paid us money. Many of
us, if asked what we would really like to do, would think and think and then say that we would like to drink
coke or eat ice cream all day or drink whiskey all day. We realize that we couldn’t do that for long, so then
we say that we would like to sail or play tennis all day. We realize that we would get bored with that, so we
say that we would like to keep doing what we are doing.
Yet what we are doing has so often come about through absolute necessity. It isn’t a job that we feel fitted
to do, but it’s a job that brought money and security, or to support a family with and even some kind of
happiness in life. But, it isn’t necessarily what we feel we were made for. Indeed we are at the point where
we don’t know what we were made for, and we can’t find ourselves.
Now, all that is because our spirits have gone dead, and it has been ages since we thought seriously about the
possibility of the existence of a Creator. We haven’t thought about our having something to do with the
overall purpose of the universe.
Of course, the question that comes to all of us is, then how do we discover who we are and what we are here
for? Well, the only way you can is if something comes alive inside of you again. That’s the problem. The
problem is that your soul and body are very alive — your mind and emotions and your body — but your spirit
is virtually dead.
At times, you remember, we said that the conscience, which is part of your spirit, makes itself known. Your
conscience urges you to live up to the best that you know, and the best you know is what the Creator has told
you in your spirit through intuition.
Usually, though, we have so perverted our consciences that it no longer does that. It simply tries to get us
to live up to what we know in our minds. That, as we have said, is usually a set of laws, rules or regulations
— or a set of religious do’s and don’ts that we have to follow. So, our conscience usually operates, but in a
perverted way. Our conscience is really meant to urge us to live up to what the Creator is saying to us
through our spirits.
Now, the problem is that when our spirit is dead our intuition is nonexistent and inoperative. We no longer
know what the Creator wants us to do. So all we can do is follow what everybody else thinks. How do we ever
come to the point where we begin to find ourselves again?
What we shared yesterday is that the Creator wants you to find yourself. He wants you to be the person He made
you to be. He wants you to discover what He put you on the earth to do. He has a vested interest in that. He
wants you to do what He made you to do. He will tell you — you ask Him. That’s what He said.
If you seek Him with all your heart you will find Him. If you ask Him for His Spirit He will give you His
Spirit. He will make your spirit come alive so you will begin to be aware of Him. Ask Him. All you need to do
is ask Him — that’s all you have to do. That’s the start. Begin. Just ask Him today. He will send the Spirit
of His Son into your heart.
People Pleasers -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
by Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever felt that you were becoming a driven man or a driven woman? I think you know the phrase that we
use of people who seem utterly dominated and constrained and compelled by some external purpose so that they
are virtually nonexistent themselves. They seem to have become robots.
I would ask you the same question. That is, have you ever felt that you are a driven person? Maybe you say
that it’s just at times when you are under financial pressure, or when things at home are a little hectic.
Maybe it’s when things at the office get a little tight that you become preoccupied and driven. At times like
that you become preoccupied and you feel like a driven man or a driven woman, but, you would say, not all the
If I ask you, then, what makes you feel good, you would probably say that lots of things make you feel good.
You might say that when the family is happy you feel good. Perhaps when you have a good game of golf and have
a good score at the end of the day, that makes you feel good. Maybe when your friends are around you and they
say they enjoy and appreciate you, that makes you feel good.
Of course, as you outline all those examples, you can see that, in a way, they still drive you. It may not be
driven in the sense of an intense, driving or forcing but so often what we feel inside depends on what people
are doing or saying about us, on the outside. Or, what we feel depends on the external circumstances on the
Of course, you may say that that is life. You may say that life is dependent on what happens on the outside.
In other words, if it is a good day, then you tend to feel better. If you have a good game of golf, it makes
you feel better. If your friends say nice things about you, you tend to feel better. You might say that that
is what life is all about.
Yet you know that eventually that spells doom for us because there comes a time, sooner or later, when we can
hardly see anyone. Or, there comes a time when all we can see are tubes dripping blood and fluids into us or
the faces of the doctors looking down at us on the operating table.
Eventually that spells doom for life if we are dependent for our inside happiness on what happens outside of
us. Yet, so many of us would admit that we are that way. In that sense, it is true that most of us, in some
sense, are driven people. That is, our inside experience is dictated to and dominated by the external or
outside circumstances or the people that we are involved with.
Now, that’s all right for awhile, but there come moments in our lives when we think to ourselves that it would
be nice to be free from always being dictated to by outside circumstances or people around us. It would be
nice to be free to be ourselves, to be what we really are. That is the moment of truth for many of us. That’s
because we look inside to see who we really are, and we seem so often to find nothing.
We find that there is nothing in there, because what we have become is a little programmed robot dictated to
by the external circumstances and people around us. We are almost a reflection of others. We discover that
there seems to be nobody inside of us. There seems to be nobody home when we look into our hearts.
We begin to realize that if there ever was anybody in there who was unique or different, then they died long
ago. We do feel the words of Wordsworth in his poem, “Heaven lies about us in our infancy. Shades of the
prison house begin to close around the growing boy. At length a man perceives it die away, and fade into the
light of common day.”
Many of us have found that the “you” that we once knew — the spontaneous, fresh little human being that used
to be there, that had thoughts and ideas about what he should be and what he should do — has now grown up and
matured and has put away those silly little ideas.
Yet there is a melancholy in it. We feel that indeed a glory has passed away from the earth. The wonder and
excitement of life is gone, but we say that life is like that. Well, that isn’t life. That’s only half life.
That’s life going on two cylinders when you should be going on three. That’s only partial life. And what we
have been sharing over these months is that that comes from the fact that we so often live on only two levels
of our personalities.
We live on the level of the body which can see the friends and enjoy the golf game, and can see the
circumstances around us. Then we live also on the level of the soul, or our psychological being. Our soul
contains our mind, emotions, and our will.
So the eyes see the friends and their approval. The eyes send a signal to the emotions and they become happy.
The emotions send a signal to the mind, and the mind smiles back at the friends and approves of them. So we
live in that vicious little circle that goes around and around between the body and the soul.
But the level of our being that contains “us” — that is, the real you, your spirit, the part of you that is
really you — the part that was made by your Maker and Creator unique among all the human beings that He has
created over the centuries — has died years ago through non-use. You have ceased to use yourself. You have
ceased to be what you felt you should be.
So, over years and years of compromise and the pleasing of others and years of being stimulated by external
circumstances, the real “you” inside has died. You can no longer find that “you”. You can’t find that spirit
because, in actual fact, the Son of the Maker of the universe said that you’ve died and that’s what’s wrong
with you. He said actually that you are dead in your sins.
We always think of sin as some terrible, immoral act, but sin is just acting independently of your Creator. It
is acting as if there were no Maker, and there were no person who knew what you were to do here on earth, or
who had plans for you. That’s what sin really is. That’s why Jesus of Nazareth said that we were dead in our
We are dead through our independence of our Father. He said that the Father is the only one who knows what we
are to do here on earth and He made us to achieve that. So, He is the only one who knows and, Jesus said, we
have acted independent of that for years, and we have become dead inside. The result is we can’t find
Now that’s why you have become a driven person. A person driven by external circumstances, and without any
real originality inside you. So, how do you ever find yourself again? How do you ever come alive again? How do
you ever find that spirit beginning to live inside of you again?
You must remember that the Maker of the universe has a great interest in that happening. He wants that to
happen. He doesn’t enjoy seeing you like a little animal. He doesn’t enjoy seeing you like a little monkey who
throws nuts to the people at the zoo, because they all clap when you do it. He doesn’t like seeing you be a
He wants you to be a real person. He wants you to be the person He made you to be. He wants you to be the
unique man or woman He created you to be. There is nobody else like you in the whole universe. He wants you to
be that person. He wants you to discover yourself.
Now, if you ask, how is that done — you simply ask Him. That’s it! That’s what His Son Jesus said. Jesus said
that if any good father is asked by his child for bread he will give it to him. He won’t give him a stone. He
loves him, so he will give him bread.
Now your heavenly Father loves you more than all these and He will give the Holy Spirit to whoever asks. Your
Father and Creator will give His Holy Spirit, His own original life, to your spirit to make it alive again.
You need only ask Him. That’s all you need to do. That’s just the beginning.
We will talk about what you do next, after that, over the next couple of years. But to begin you need only
say, “Father, give me the Holy Spirit to make me alive again so I can sense what I used to sense when I was I
was a child. Will you bring me to life again so I can begin to find out why you put me here?” He will give you
that Spirit and you’ll begin to sense a new life inside you.
Review of Christian Beliefs -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Review of Christian Beliefs
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the subject we’ve been dealing with now for about 180 broadcasts. And this
is broadcast number 181, for those of you who might later on want to refer to it. We’re trying to deal with
the subject “What is the meaning of life?” in a realistic way and trying to deal with it in a common sense way
and in at least a semi-intelligent way. So I hope that you yourself are beginning to think through your own
philosophy of life, even as we talk day by day, because that’s really the most important part about these
broadcasts: what you will be stirred or stimulated or motivated to think about yourself.
What conclusions you come to are the conclusions that govern your life and will determine the way you live and
the way you die. So, it is vital that you yourself think carefully through these things and question
everything that I say and examine it and think about it before you receive it into your mind. Ian Whitehead,
you remember, who worked with Einstein for part of the time, was a great educator and he said that one of the
great problems in education today is the problem of dead wood. Dead wood.
And he defined that as ideas that are accepted into the mind without being examined first or being tested
against other ideas already in the mind. Of course, you would probably rise in agreement with that; that one
of the great problems of our whole system of epistemology today — our system of knowledge and understanding
— is that many of us have our heads filled with dead wood — filled with ideas and facts that are not related
to other facts and ideas in our mind, and have not really been examined but have just been allowed to seep
into our minds like some ground water that seeps into some old house. And we can’t make any sense of most of
So that’s what we’re trying to do in the subject that we’re talking about during this year and I hope in
coming years. What is the meaning of life? Why are you alive? Why am I alive? What are we doing here?” What is
the point of it all?
You remember that the poem written by A. E. Housman, expresses it so poignantly:
“Yonder see the morning blink,
The sun is up and up must I
To wash, and dress, and eat, and drink,
And look at things
And talk, and think, and work,
And God knows why.
Ah, often have I washed and dressed
And what’s to show for all my pain?
Let me lie abed and rest,
Ten thousand times I’ve done my best
And all’s to do again.”
And many of us feel the futility and the frustration that old Housman expressed more than fifty, sixty years
ago now. So that’s why we’re talking about this subject. What is the point of us all being here? And we’ve
tried to deal with it, you remember, on the basis of some kind of intellectual presuppositions and we’ve tried
to go behind those presuppositions and justify them and substantiate them. And you know that we’ve been
tackling it from the viewpoint of at least theists.
A theist is a person who looks around at the world, sees the order and design that is present in the seasons;
sees the order and design in the chart of the elements; sees the order and design in the DNA structure of the
molecule; sees the order and design in the blood circulation of our own bodies; perceives all around the order
and design that Einstein so delighted in — and comes to the same conclusion as Einstein. You remember
Einstein said, “Really, my religion consists of a respect for the great intellectual mind that has designed
this complex universe, the details of which I am able only slightly to perceive.”
And that’s what a theist is; a theist is one who says, “Look, there has to be an intellect behind all this
order and design.” It didn’t come about just by undirected evolutionary process. There had to be someone who
at least designed and programmed the evolutionary process. If there is evolution, then there had to be some
intellectual mind that determined that the evolution would evolve into something more orderly. There had to be
some mind that directed some kind of progress in evolution.
It was not just time plus chance, because time plus chance or uncontrolled explosions nowadays just wreak
havoc and destruction and they couldn’t have wrought anything but havoc and destruction however many billions
of years you give them. So a theist is one who says there has to be some intellectual mind behind this
We’ve also said that the mind must also have been as personable as we are because we’re persons and we can’t
imagine a non-person making a person. Because personality seems to us to be the highest type of existence that
we know of and so we’ve said that the intellectual mind must be at least personal also.
And then, you remember, we tried to find out if that intellectual person had expressed himself or communicated
himself to us in any way over the centuries. And we examined some of the well known religious leaders, like
Muhammad, and Buddha and Zoroaster and Confucius and some of the Hindus. And we examined the claims that they
made to be able to tell us what the intellectual mind behind the universe wanted when He made us or had in His
purposes when He created us. And we discovered of course they were a rare mixture of legend, of ancient
literature that often couldn’t be corroborated and above all of men who died like ourselves, as we have often
said — like dogs — and were buried. Buddha was buried. Muhammad was buried. Zoroaster was buried. Confucius
was buried. They all died.
They all showed the same limitation when it came to the matter of death. They had no power over it. In other
words, it is very difficult to find a person who really seems to have been off the world. That is, seems to
have left the world, got out somewhere beyond where our astronauts go and come back to tell us what is beyond
the furthest star. And, of course, what we saw was that there was only one such person in all our history that
gives any kind of reasonable substantiation for believing that he was actually able to leave this world of
time and space and pierce into infinity.
And that was that remarkable man who was recorded so carefully in regard to his actions and his words in the
first century of our era. He’s known as Jesus — you know that. And before you go to sleep, let me remind you
that we did then proceed to examine in detail the history of his life as it’s found in that old book — please
don’t go to sleep again — that old book called the Bible.
And we discovered that not only are there in the British Museum manuscripts like the Codex Sinaiticus and
Alexandrinus — which are far closer to the original writing of the Bible than any manuscripts that we have of
Julius Caesar, of Plato’s “Republic” or of Thucydides or any of the great historians. But we began to realize
that there are other manuscripts that are even closer to the original writing so that there is no way in which
we can do anything but accept the history of the first century that is given in those first few books of what
we call the New Testament in the Bible, as being historical, as being absolutely reliable. In fact, being
among the most reliable history that we have in our possession. And, by all means, if you want to examine some
of these presuppositions that we started with 8 or 9 months ago, please do write and get the cassette of those
So, we’ve reached the conclusion that that man had actually lived in the first century and that he had done
and said the things he did and said and that he had actually overcome death. And that the arguments for trying
to explain away the resurrection were more difficult to believe than the resurrection itself. Let’s go on
tomorrow and say where we went to from there and then proceed with our discussion.
Ethical Teachings of Jesus -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Ethical Teachings of Jesus
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re talking on this broadcast each day about the subject of what is the meaning of life. We’ve been trying
to catch up with where we are in the discussion today. This is broadcast 182 and so you can see we’ve been
involved in this discussion for about 9 months so far this year. The way we have proceeded is that we’ve tried
to find out where the earth came from and how it came into existence.
We’ve concluded from the order and design that is in it that there must be an intellectual being behind it.
We’ve said “being” because we’ve reckoned the Creator of the earth must be at least as personal as we are in
order to make us persons. Then we tried to find out if He had ever communicated with us in any way. So we
examined the claims that various people like Buddha and Zoroaster and the Hindu scholars and Confucius have
made, what they are telling us about their understanding of the mind of the Creator in regard to us and the
purpose of our lives.
We discovered that they were all in the same boat. They were all limited to this earth. They all died and were
buried on this earth. None of them proved in any believable way that he had actually pierced beyond the
farthest star and in some way been in touch with the origin of the universe. That’s when we began to examine
the life of a remarkable man who lived in the first century of our era, who did, in fact, break through death.
He’s the only one who gives us intelligent, reasonable evidence for believing that he did in fact come back
after he had been killed, and live on earth here for more than a month. That is the man, of course, Jesus of
Nazareth. You remember how we examined the history books that tell of his life so that we could be sure that
he was actually a historical figure, and so that we could be sure that He actually did rise from the dead.
Of course, as we examined the more than 4,000 Greek manuscripts that stand behind the history of the first
century that we find in that old book the Bible — in the New Testament piece of it particularly, we began to
realize that we’re dealing with history that is far more reliable than that of Julius Caesar or the Greek or
Latin historians. We are dealing with history here that is incredible in its provision of documentary evidence
and in the psychological and ethical impossibilities of deception or untruth.
If you want to go back into those discussions, please write and ask for those cassettes. I did also try to
write a little booklet. It’s just a small thing called “Is the Bible History or Myth?”, that you might also
like to write for. But there are lots of other books that I’m sure do it much better than that. But you might
want to look at it and review some of the arguments. We came to the conclusion that the history of that first
century is utterly reliable and that, in fact, Jesus of Nazareth did live and did die and did actually
We examined his life, you remember, to find out if he was some kind of lunatic that was claiming to be God. Or
if, in fact, he lived a life of balance that makes us respect him. And if, in fact, he was the foremost
ethical teacher in the whole of mankind’s history. We concluded that he was. He was really the Son of the
Maker of the world. So we have started to study His explanation of the meaning of our lives, of why we’re
You remember, we have reached the point in that discussion where we see that the Creator has made us on three
different levels of life. Each of us has three kinds of life. We have physical life (which is our body) and we
can see and hear and touch through the five senses of our physical life. We can perceive the world around us.
Then within that we have a soul. That’s what the old book the Bible calls it: soul. But the Greek word gives
you a clue to our contemporary explanation of it. The Greek word is “psuche” and it becomes through those
sound changes of our language the word “psyche” or psychological.
So the soul that is referred to by men like Jesus and by other people in the Bible is really a reference to
the psychological part of our beings, that is your mind and your emotions. That is inside our bodies. So, it
wears our body almost like an overcoat. Our soul is the part of us that is conscious not so much of the world
— that’s the body’s responsibility — but it’s conscious of itself.
In other words, you can use your mind to look in upon your own thoughts and think, “What am I thinking?” or
“How am I feeling?” So the mind and the emotions and the will are actually the psychological part of our being
and that’s the self-conscious part of us — the part of us that distinguishes us from the animals. We have the
only brain cells that are able to think about themselves.
Then within that, Jesus and his predecessors said that there is a spirit. That is, there is a part of us that
is the “essential me”. That’s how we’ve defined spirit. It’s you as you really are. It’s the very essence of
When we talk about the spirit of Churchill or we talk about the spirit of George VI, we talk about the very
essence of the man — the very heart of the man, the kind of person he really was. We’ve also pointed out that
it’s the part of us that’s able to contact the Creator of the universe. It’s through our spirits we are able
to relate to the Maker of the universe. That is, in fact, one of the great reasons for us having spirits.
We’ve come to that point where we see that we’re made up of spirit, soul and body.
Then, you remember, we began to talk about how we were meant to operate. We said that the way the Creator
meant us to operate was that our spirits would be related to Him and would receive from Him the directions for
our life. We would express that through our souls. Our souls would then transmit that to our bodies — and
then of course through actions and words and attitudes we would fill the world with that kind of life,
whatever was God’s will for it to be.
You remember in order to make that clearer we took (well, you can do it various ways)…you can actually draw
one circle and that can represent the body. Then you can draw another circle inside that and that can
represent the soul. Then you can draw another circle inside that and that can represent the spirit. The way,
in fact, we were meant to operate is by the Creator (and you could draw, I suppose, an “x” outside the
concentric circles and label that “the Creator”).
Then you could put an arrow in from that “x” into the center of the innermost circle. The Creator intended to
give us His life into our own spirits. Then you can draw an arrow out from the center of the innermost circle,
out to the circumference of the outermost circle. That was the way we were meant to operate. From the life
that the Creator gave to us, we were meant to live from the inside out all the time.
We would fill the world instead of empty it. We would fill it with the kinds of things the Creator wanted
done. We would dig the gold He wanted dug; we would mine the coal He wanted mined; we would bridge the rivers
that He wanted bridged. We would develop the trees and the plants that He wanted developed. We would
presumably develop the planets that He wanted developed, but we would work from the inside out.
What we have said is that we men and women determined, “No way. We’re not going to be dependent on the Creator
of the universe. We’re going to operate on our own behalf and we are going to operate from the outside in.” If
you like to see how that would work, just draw an arrow from the outermost circle into the innermost center of
the inner circle. That’s the way we men and women have been operating since the creation.
We’ve been trying to get from outside, the life that we were meant to get from the Creator of the universe. Of
course, it has resulted in a tremendous perversion of our personalities. Let’s talk a little more about that
God says each of us is Unique -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
God Says Each of Us is Unique
by Ernest O’Neill
“What is the meaning of life?” That’s the question we’re talking about on this broadcast each day and this is
broadcast #183, in case you may wish to refer to it sometime in our correspondence. What we’re talking about
is “Why are we here?” “Why are you sitting in this car?” or “Why are you sitting in that room?” “Why am I
sitting here talking into this microphone?” “What are we all here for? What’s the point of life?”
You remember that in trying to answer that question we’ve attempted to be semi-intellectual about it, and
begin to work it out from some kind of sensible, intellectual presuppositions. We have proceeded from the
position of theists, who believe that because of the order and design in the universe there must be an
intellectual being behind it. That intellectual being must be at least as personal as we are in order to be
able to make us persons.
Then we have examined the attempts of other people like Buddha or Zoroaster or Confucius to tell us what the
Creator was thinking about. We’ve discovered that they all had one great limitation: they all died like dogs
like the rest of us and were buried on this earth. They never gave any proof that they were able to pierce
beyond the furthest star in order to tell us what the Creator behind it all had in mind when He made us.
Then we discovered that there was a remarkable man who lived in the first century of our era, called Jesus. We
examined the historical documents that lie behind the history books of that period. We discovered that the one
we have so often thought of as just myth, the Bible, is actually among the most reliable history that mankind
possesses. The documentary evidence of early manuscripts is such that one cannot question but that this man
Jesus really did live and die and — the big thing was — overcome death and come back and live for more than
a month on the earth.
He was, in fact, not only the most supreme ethical teacher the world has seen, he was actually the Son of the
Maker of our universe. We’ve been studying what he said was the meaning of our lives and the purpose of our
lives. We’ve discovered, of course, that he outlined that we were made in three different levels of life. We
have a body, which is the physical part. We have a soul, or the psychological part of us (our mind and
emotions). Within that we have our spirits, which is the real essence of you as you really are. “What a man is
when he’s alone, that he is and nothing more.” That’s what your spirit is; it’s the essence of you.
We’ve seen that the way the Creator meant us to operate was from the inside out. That is, we were meant
through our spirits to have a friendship with Him and a relationship with Him. In fact, that’s the whole
purpose of our lives: to become His friends, to understand Him and to know Him. Through our spirits we were
meant to do that.
You actually know that yourself. The few moments you sensed you were in touch with the eternal depths, or
whatever you want to call them, behind the universe have been those moments when you have been driven to see
the futility of life. When everything has collapsed in your job, or in your home, or in your family you’ve
sunk into the heart of life and you’ve been really real for a few seconds. It’s in those few seconds that
you’ve sensed some presence, some spirit or Being beyond what you can see with your eyes.
So, it is in your spirit that you communicate with the Creator of the universe. We were meant to do that; you
were actually meant to know the Maker of the world. He knows you. He’s counted all the hairs of your head.
That’s what Jesus said — that God has even counted the hairs of your head. He said that not a sparrow falls
to the ground, but that your heavenly Father (and that’s what He called our Creator) knows it. Are you not of
much more value than many sparrows?
Yet, if the Creator knows when a sparrow falls to the ground, He certainly knows every thought you’ve had over
these past few minutes. The Creator knows you, and His intention was that you would get to know Him. You’d get
to know Him and understand Him. You’d find out from Him why He put you here, why He has given you the
abilities He’s given you and what He has put you in this world to do for Him.
Then you were intended to express that through your soul, through your mind and emotions and then out, by
reference to your will, through your body and then out into the world. It would be so that our world would be
filled with guided people, people who dug coal because they knew where the best seams were and which ones
would cause the least disruption to the surface life of the nation where they were working.
People would strike oil, not on the Santa Barbara coast, where you drown all the seagulls in the black stuff,
but in safe places where there were deep wells that would last for years and years. The Creator knows the
universe better than anybody. He has buried the coal; He has buried the gold. He knows where the bauxite is.
His plan was that we would get to know Him and would get to know His mind and get to know what His mind was
for each of our lives, so that we would produce music that elevated, music that healed, that made whole. We
would write plays that would bring glory and joy and delight to mankind and understanding to families. That
was the Creator’s intention. We would, through our spirits, commune with Him. That’s one of the functions of
our spirit, you remember, to commune with God.
Then, through our intuition, we would simply know what He wanted us to do. Then through our conscience, which
operates on the basis of our intuition, our will would be constrained to direct our mind to think those
thoughts, and then those thoughts, of course, would stir up certain feelings in us in our emotions that would
enable our body to express and to do what we sensed the Creator wanted us to do, or say, or think. We were
meant to operate like that.
Of course, if we had we would have a great sense of our own identity and a great sense of our importance in
the universe, because each of us can do something that nobody else can. That’s right. You may sit there and
say, “Ah, not me. I’m a miserable nothing. I’m just a blot on an ink pad.” No! No, you’re not! There’s nobody
like you — nobody. Not a soul like you.
You may say, “It’s just as well.” You may joke about it. There’s nobody like you. Your mom and your dad
weren’t like you. Even your identical twin isn’t like you; you’re unique. There’s been nobody like you in the
whole universe ever. Do you know another secret? There never will be anybody like you. The Creator has made
only one of you. There is something you can do and you can think and you can say that I can’t.
You may say, “Ah, I’m a janitor. I’m a janitor!”, or “I mend roads. I’m a secretary. I’m a computer operator.
I’m a gardener; I cut down trees. I’m a housewife. I’m a charlady. I’m a nothing.” No, you’re not a nothing.
You’re not. There’s nobody like you, nobody like you. There’s a beauty that you can bring into this world that
nobody else can.
Forget that business of judging yourself the way the world judges, according to your outward appearance or
according to the money that you’ve made or the success. Sure, it’s all blown away in a moment, you know that.
You know. Would you rather be alive now or dead like Churchill? Which? Which? Well, there’s no doubt, is
there? However much we respect Churchill, however much we think of him, boy, I’d rather be alive. I’d rather
be alive, than dead as Churchill.
So, you’re unique. There is nobody like you. There’s something you can do for the Maker of the world that
nobody else can do or can achieve. That’s the way we were meant to operate. It gives us a great sense of
identity, a great sense of satisfaction, a great sense of happiness, a great sense of position and self-worth.
Nothing does the same thing for us. Of course, we rejected that whole idea. We didn’t want to be governed by
anybody but ourselves.
From the very beginning of the world our forefathers rebelled against the whole idea and determined, “No,
we’re not going to trust a Creator; we’re going to trust ourselves. We’re going to mine this world. We’re
going to dig this world. We’re going to develop this world for our own benefits, the way we want to and not by
listening to somebody up there who wants to tell us how to do it. We will do it ourselves.” And that’s what we
have done for centuries. That’s part of the explanation of the mess we’re in today.
But a greater problem has resulted. The moment we did that, we began to lose all the relationship of assurance
and confirmation that we had with our Creator. We began to sense that there was nobody there and that we
existed alone on this planet. That brought about a neurotic situation that has driven us crazy ever since.
Let’s talk more about that tomorrow and then proceed with our discussion.
Is the Bible History? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Is the Bible History?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? Why are we alive? That’s the topic we’re discussing and we’ve been talking about
it now for over 9 months. In fact, I think this is broadcast #184 that we’re on today. And what we’ve talked
about really is the origin of the life that we have here. And we’ve been talking in the early months of this
year about whether the creation took place by a directionless evolutionary process or whether it took place
through some kind of programmed or planned development.
And of course we’ve concluded with Einstein that the order and design in the universe presupposes an
intellectual mind that designed and planned it and we concluded that the intellectual mind must be at least as
personable as we are in order to make us persons. And then you remember we proceeded to examine some of the
people that have claimed to tell us what the Creator of the universe was thinking about when He made us and
what He had in mind for our lives and therefore what the purpose of our lives is.
And we examined people like Buddha, and Zoroaster and Confucius and the Hindu scholars. And discovered that
they all had the same limitations; they all were just human beings, had never left the earth any more than any
of us had, but died and were buried like the rest of us. And they all differed from the one remarkable man
that lived in the first century of our era. He was a man that actually didn’t die like the rest of us. He did
die, but after three days, He came alive again and lived for more than a month here on the earth.
And such is the historical evidence and the documentary evidence that is available in places like the British
Museum, that we came to the conclusion intellectually that He must actually have been a historical figure.
That he actually did live and say the things that He is said to have lived and said. And we realized that as
we began to look into the history books that tell of his life, we were dealing with history that was more
reliable than that of the Caesars or than that of the Roman or the Greek emperors. And so we concluded that
this man really was the Son of the Maker of the universe.
And so we’ve been discussing and studying His explanation of why we’re here, because we reckon He’s the only
one who really knows. It has to be somebody who got beyond the furthest star that we can see with our radio
telescopes. It has to be somebody who has succeeded in doing, you remember, what that dear author said he
wanted to do…”Stop the world, I want to get off!” It has to be somebody who has managed to stop the world
and get off it and come back and tell us what it’s about.
And so we’ve concluded that that’s what this man Jesus has done and that His explanation of the meaning of our
lives is the one that really counts. Because all the rest are limited within this temporal space-time frame
that we all endure. And only His breaks out of it. And of course what He has said is that we were meant to
live our lives by the direction of the Maker of the universe. That the Maker of the Universe made us with
three levels in our personality and the innermost level is the spirit. And the spirit is the part of you that
is the real you.
It’s you as you really are, underneath, away from all the things that your mother or your father want you to
do — away from what your wife or your children want you to do, or what your boss or your teachers want you to
do, what your desperate necessities in this life make you want. It’s you as you really are. You, independent
of all those desires and drives and pulls and shoves, it’s you as you really are — that’s your spirit.
And the Creator intended you to get to know Him through your spirit — through the real you to get to know Him
and to find out why He had put you here and then to pursue that. And of course if you had done that then
there’d have come to you a great sense of identity and self-worth. And of course you would have filled your
own mind and emotions with the plans and the desires that He had for you and they would be utterly satisfied
and fulfilled, because of course He made you for a set purpose and if you fulfill that purpose, then you are
And on top of that, the world itself would have been filled with not only the thinking of the Creator, but His
life. So we would have a universe that probably did not have earthquakes in California and did not have oil
spills off the Santa Barbara coast, and did not have mining disasters in Wales, and did not have cities that
were so cluttered and filled with impure oil and with machines that make more dirt. That we would have had a
world that was nearer the paradise that we all dream of.
But of course, we determine to “forget it”. We’re going to live this life on our own; we’re not going to live
from the inside out, we’re not going to refer to our Creator. We’re going to do what we think we ought to do.
We’re going to get from this world what we need and that’s what, of course, began to happen to us. We looked
around and we saw, “Now wait a minute. There’s nobody here who cares about me but myself. And there are
billions of us trying to get the limited resources on this world, on this earth to keep them alive, so I’d
better grab what food shelter and clothing I can.”
And so, that became the dominating drive in our lives. We began to be dominated by the need for security, for
physical security first of all: for shelter, roofs over our heads, for clothing to keep the cold out and for
food to keep us alive. We never got past the point of saying, why do we want to stay alive? We just felt, “Oh,
we ought to stay alive.” And so we have dedicated our lives to getting all the food, shelter and clothing we
possibly can and get what security we need.
Actually, deep down, we want more than security. Deep down we’re missing the great sense of stability and love
and care that we were intended to get from our Creator. After all, there’s no security like the one you have
of walking through your factory with the hand of the Creator of the universe in yours — I mean, that’s
security! There’s no security like going up the Matterhorn with the one who made the Matterhorn right beside
you. That’s security that nothing else can give.
And of course, we were all the time trying to find that kind of security; getting all the food, shelter and
clothing we could. What we were actually after was a deeper thing than security â€“it was love. Because that’s
of course what the Maker of the universe feels towards you. Now, you may be cynical and skeptical and all that
but actually, He does. He loves you — that’s why He made you. Why do you think He’d go to all this trouble if
He didn’t love you? So, He does love you but we turned our backs on Him and of course we missed out on all
The result was we had to get the security that love provides from somewhere else. And so, that’s why we’re all
scrambling. You know we’re all scrambling. You know how it goes. You scramble for this week’s wage and then
you fight for next month’s wage and then you try to fight to get a raise and then you try to do something with
the money that will, in fact, ensure that you have something when you retire and you spend most of your life
worrying and fretting.
That’s what old Auden said you remember, “In headaches and in worry vaguely life leaks away.” And so it does.
“Vaguely, life leaks away.” To get the car, then to look after the car, then to repair the car, then to
replace the car. It just goes on and on forever. Old Wordsworth is right. “The world is too much with us;
getting and spending, we lay waste our powers. Little we see in nature that is ours.”
That’s true. We’re a pretty miserable bunch, all going after the old dollar or the old pound or the old
shilling — whatever it is. And we do that because we desperately need the security that we were meant to have
by knowing the Maker of the universe and by really realizing that He was our own Father.
We did the same thing of course, with happiness. We felt we’re only here for a few years, so we’d better get
what happiness we can. And so the search after happiness has become a dominating and enslaving thing for most
of us. We’ll do anything to get happy — you know it! I mean we’ll destroy our own bodies to get happy,
because the only way we can really get happy is blotting out all the misery around us.
So, after you’ve gone from the wine to the hard stuff and and after you’ve gone from the hard stuff to the
crack and then from the crack to the heroin, then from the heroine to the cocaine, it’s hard really to get
completely blotted out unless you take the final step. And some of us, even among our own young people, are
taking that step. Because it’s impossible to find the happiness and the fulfillment that we were originally
going to get by simply doing what the Maker wanted us to do with our lives.
And of course the whole problem of self esteem is a dominating one. Most of us feel worth nothing. We feel
we’re nothing, we feel we’re just a cipher; we’re just a consumer statistic. And of course we determine, no
we’re not! We’re not! We’re significant! We’re unique! We’re unlike anybody else and we’re going to make
everybody else realize that. And of course the sight of 5 billion of us trying to make the others respect them
is pretty hideous.
On top of all that, what is happened is we have gone dead inside. Our spirits have gone dead. We’ve forgotten
who we are. We can’t remember who we are. We’re busy being pulled like little puppets by all the strings of
needs for security, for significance, for happiness that surround us.(cid:9)And that’s the situation most of us find
ourselves in. Most of us find we’re dead, even though we’re alive. Let’s talk a little more about that
We are Empty Inside -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
We are Empty Inside
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question that we have been discussing for about eight or nine months
now on this program. For those of you who want to keep track, this is about the 185th that we have shared
together during this past year. You remember that what we have tried to do is deal with the question from an
intelligent, or you might say intellectual, viewpoint. We’ve tried to look into the origins of the world and
tried to make sensible comments upon the likelihood of it being a guided development rather than a
purposeless, chance development of undirected evolutionary process.
We’ve rather taken the viewpoint that the order and design in the universe seems to indicate that there is an
intelligent mind behind it all. Behind whatever process was used to create it, there was someone who designed
direction into that process — whether it be an evolutionary one or not. And we then went a little further and
said that that intelligent mind must be at least as personable as we are in order to make us as persons.
Then, you remember, we took the further step of saying that that mind must have communicated Himself to us in
some way over the years and years that men have been here on the earth. And we began to examine the men and
women that have claimed to tell us what that mind behind the universe was thinking when it created us and what
it had in mind for our purpose.
And we examined the lives of people like Buddha, and Zoroaster; people like the Hindu prophets and Confucius.
And we reached the conclusion that they were all suffering the same limitation we were. They had never been
off the world. They had never been off it. They had never been beyond the point where our radio telescopes can
reach. They had never been beyond space to whoever is the origin of the universe and come back to tell us.
Except for one man who is different from all the rest. That was the man who lived in the first century of our
era and that lived very differently from all the rest of the great leaders and great religious and inspired
leaders of the world. But most of all he died differently from them because he was killed, destroyed by the
experts in execution, the Romans, at that time.
And yet, he came back to life and lived on the earth for more than a month, proving to everyone that he was
indeed not a ghost, not a hallucination, but was really alive and was able to stay alive even though he had
open wounds that ought to have let all the blood out of his body. And this man was of course, the man we know
as Jesus. And then, we began to examine the books that record his existence, because we thought maybe they’re
But, the more you get into them, the more you discover that those books that are known in the Greek as “ta
Biblia” or in our English language as the Bible — those books have better documentary evidence behind them
than any of the ancient historical records that we respect as truthful without any question in our minds
And as we began to examine manuscripts like those in the British Museum, “Codex Alexandrinus” and “Codex
Sinaiticus”, the Chester Beattie Papyri, and then the John Rylands Papyrus in the Manchester University museum
library, we began to realize that what we are dealing with is downright history here. And that this man really
did live and die and got up from being dead the way he is said to have done.
And so, we concluded that this man Jesus of Nazareth was in fact, the Son of the Maker of our world and that
His explanation of the meaning of our lives is the only one that really matters. Because it is the only one
that comes, as it were, “from the horse’s mouth”. And so, we’ve been studying His explanation of the meaning
of life. And we’ve got to the point you remember, where we’ve discussed the fact that many of us are dead even
though we’re alive. Now, that’s a paradox, but you know the way we’ve explained it.
In fact, there’s a poet, called Walter James Turner, an English poet, who died about 1946 and wrote this poem:
Is it not strange that men can die before their bodies do?
And women’s souls fade from their eyes? ’tis strange. But it is so.
Where have they gone, and what were they?
Those gleams of tenderer light than falls from mere
quick shining limbs and eyeballs merely bright.
Undying fires, removing far their unseen presence show
leaving their brightness on dead moons as sons less heavenly do.
And even though you may say, oh, pretty pessimistic — yet, it does describe what so often happens in our
world today. We develop as bright little children, full of enthusiasm, full of life, and full of direction.
It’s interesting, isn’t it? We’re like little dogs. If you see a little dog jogging along the sidewalk or the
pavement, you wonder where he is going. But he looks as if he has a very definite purpose in mind. And so, it
is with little children. Often you think, oh, how have they got so much direction and purpose in their lives
with so little really to do? Well, often we were born it seems, with a great sense of direction and intuition
And then as life goes on, you remember how we discussed that we all look around and we see there are billions
of people in the world and there’s only so much corn, and so much shelter and so much food and clothing to go
around. And we’d rather grab our little bit to make sure we stay alive. And so we become utterly preoccupied
with the security problem and we concentrate all our being on getting a good education to get a good job so
that we can make good money so that we can have a good home and have good clothes and be safe from the wind
and the rain and then eventually we’d try to build up enough health insurance so that we’ll be safe from the
vagaries of incurable diseases also. And so we become preoccupied with security.
And most of us actually never get far above that. However sophisticated we are, whatever advanced degrees
we’ve taken, it’s amazing how we end up living like the most simple person in the whole world, preoccupied
with how we can get more food, how we can get more clothing, how we could get more security for the food and
shelter and clothing that we possess.
And then, of course, we begin to realize that we are unique, and we actually are. But, we see that none of the
rest of the world thinks we’re unique. And so, we set about the whole problem of trying to establish our own
self-esteem and self-worth by forcing it upon other people. And so we begin to dedicate our work life to being
not only successful financially, but being successful in our reputation. And we are determined to make
everybody respect us the way we ought to be respected, and especially our wife and children.
And so, we become dedicated to the task of making ourselves respected, and approved of and acknowledged and
respected and appreciated. And of course that drives us crazy. Nobody respects us as much as we think we ought
to be respected. Nobody treats us as unique as we are because they’re trying to establish their uniqueness too
and there’s not enough sense of uniqueness to go around among us human beings. And so we end up filled with
envy and pride and jealousy and all kinds of ambition that we cannot control.
But we are driven by those things. And then, of course, we feel, “Well, wait a minute. We’re not here for
long. So we had better get what happiness we can.” And so we look around and try to determine what makes for
happiness. Usually, it’s blotting out suffering that makes for happiness. So, we concentrate on having a good
bar in the house, and maybe some of us even go beyond that. And we try to get what little bit of exhilaration
we can from man-woman relationships.
And then on top of that, we try to buy faster cars, bigger speed boats, or go to a better part of the Riviera.
And we find ourselves actually driven by these, what we call, needs. We say they’re the needs we have for
security, and significance and happiness. But they become driving forces — they actually begin to be strings
that control us as if we’re little puppets and marionettes. And so, after several years of this kind of
existence, we lose a sense of who we are and what we really ought to be doing. And that’s what we mean when we
say that many of us have died inside, even though we’re alive on the outside.
We’re alive, but we’re just robots that are governed by our external needs and circumstances. And long ago,
we’ve lost the sense of who we are inside. That’s what we’d like to talk a little more about tomorrow. Because
that is one of the great problems of mankind. Not the exploration of outer-space, but the exploration of
I Don’t Know Who I Am! -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
I Don’t Know Who I Am!
by Ernest O’Neill
We’re discussing on this program the fact that many of us are dead even though we are alive. That is, we have
died inside. We have trouble finding ourselves. Sometimes we look inside and wonder, is there anybody there?
That is, we wonder really who we are, and what we are doing here and what the purpose of our lives is. And why
we should undertake this grueling grind week after week after week. And we find increasingly that it is
difficult to discover ourselves even as we knew ourselves as little children. It seems that something has gone
dead inside and there’s a great deal of emptiness inside.
And many of us feel that who aren’t at all inactive in our lives. Many of us are very responsible business
people, very responsible academics, very responsible tradesmen or tradeswomen, and we do a good job and we
take care of our families and we take care of our friends and responsibilities. And we go to work day after
day, we come home and make nice dinners and we go out at the weekends and we appear in every way to be normal
human beings. We are not at all people who have stepped out of life or have clicked the whole thing off. We
take part in life.
We are the people who keep the wheels of commerce turning, as they say, and keep the universities and the
schools open. And yet, we have lost any personal interest in what we are doing. We’ve lost any sense of
dynamic in what we’re doing. We just do it, because — well, all kinds of reasons. But most of them are
attached to the need to survive. We feel that we need food obviously, to stay alive for tomorrow so that we
can have time to think out why we are alive today. And we feel we need some clothes to keep us warm so that we
can remain on this planet in some degree of comfort. And we feel we need a home obviously, because you need
somewhere to come home to and to sleep.
And so, we have dedicated our lives to ensuring that we have those things. And we’ve now discovered that those
things are driving us. It’s the old story that everything you own owns you! Every piece of property you have
requires your time and your service to maintain it. And we have found that the drives that are making us do
things have become the whole motivation and the whole motivational center of our lives.
If you ask many of us why we are stockbrokers, or you ask us why we are teachers or you ask us why we’re
joiners or carpenters or electricians or you ask us why we’re bus drivers or why we’re shop assistants, we’ll
answer, “Well, I have to do something. I have to do something to earn my money and to keep alive and to keep
myself together — to keep body and soul together. I have to do something.”
And most of us, even those of us who apparently occupy very exciting jobs as executives, or even those of us
who may occupy very artistic jobs as instrumentalists or professional players or writers or composers often
answer the same way. “Well, it has become a necessity. We now have a degree of economic survival that we have
We now have a life style we have grown used to. We do these things because we have to do them. And so many of
us have discovered that there is no reason any longer inside for doing the things that we are doing. We just
do them, driven by the need for security.
It’s the same with the need for self esteem. Many of us, even in the artistic world or in the dramatic world,
find ourselves doing lots of things because of the applause. That’s it. We are really like little performing
monkeys. The bigger the applause, the better the review in the newspaper, the more we smile and grimace like a
monkey, and the happier we seem to be. It’s as if we are dependent on cookies. And as long as you keep
throwing us cookies, we’ll keep dancing or we’ll keep singing or we’ll keep composing or we’ll keep writing or
we’ll keep announcing or we’ll keep talking. But just give us something; give us little cookies.
And so, we find we are driven men and women. We aren’t motivated from within any longer, we are just driven
from the outside. And we have become, virtually, like R2D2, you remember, in the movie. We’ve become like a
robot that is controlled from the outside by other people, other circumstances, by things.
And we find it too with happiness. Even our drive for happiness has often something manic about it. It is
often governed by the sense that years are passing and we had better enjoy what we can while we can, so let’s
get all the enjoyment we can. And often we find ourselves getting up and going out to, as we say, “enjoy
ourselves” when really, we would rather not. But we feel this dramatic, dynamic urge to keep going, keep
moving. It’s almost as if we’re like the gentleman you remember that died in that expedition to the Antarctic.
We feel that if we don’t keep moving, we’ll freeze to death.
And so, we have this frenetic urge to keep going. But so often all our activity is governed from the outside.
And if you ever asked us why we were doing what we were doing, we’d say, “Well, we need the money,” or, “Well,
it seems to fulfill me”, or “It seems to be what I’m supposed to do.” But many of have no sense of inner
dynamic at all, and we look inside and we wonder, where are you? Where are you?
Because the other thing that has happened to many of us is, these activities governed by these outside
necessities have, in fact, gravely affected the people that we used to be. They have virtually changed our
personalities. They have certainly perverted the way we used to operate when we were children. When we were
children, we tended to operate from inside, from things that we thought inside.
Now, we are so used to pleasing people, so used to getting the right person to smile at us, so used to getting
the right money for the right job, so used to stimulating our bodies and our emotions by certain things we
drink or eat that we have, in fact, perverted the very personalities that we possess. So that, we’re hardly
able to recognize the people that we used to be. And in fact, that is what has happened. Many of us have
It is a shame that many of us in our marriages, you know, come to that point — you know it well — where the
wife says to the husband, “You’re not the person I married.” Or, the husband says to the wife, “You’re not the
person that I married.” Well in a real sense, of course, none of us are the people we married because we’ve
all changed as the years have passed. But that’s normally not what we mean when we say that. We normally mean,
“You’ve deteriorated from the person I used to know. You’re not the fine person that I once loved.” And in
fact, that has happened to many of us. We have actually died inside even though we’re continuing to live on
And it’s as if we are now non-entities. It’s as if those of us, even who try hardest (and usually that’s the
people in the public eye) to be liked and to be approved of are the people who become the greatest
non-entities. They lose their personalities — they are conformed to the image of this world more than anybody
else is. It’s as if the world just dominates you and you become conformed to what it wants you to be. That’s
the tragedy! That many of us have ceased to be alive inside and have become instead the consumer statistics,
or the over-achievers, or the successful financiers that the world approves of.
And that’s where the phrase comes from, if you remember it, “being conformed to the image of this world.” It
means that you’re being governed by what everybody around you thinks you should be — by what the things and
circumstances in the world are making you. That’s what you’re becoming. That’s what you’re conforming to.
For many of us, that has meant the death of ourselves inside. So that we no longer can find ourselves, we no
longer can discover what we were meant to be, or how we used to think. And so, we’re actually dead inside.
And of course that’s what this man Jesus of Nazareth said would happen to us. He said we would all die. We
would become dead. Let’s talk a little more about whether anything can be done about that.
Striving for Security in Life -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Striving for Security in Life
by Ernest O’Neill
Have you ever wakened up and wondered, where have I gone? Where have I gone? That is, where have you, yourself
gone? You’ve lost yourself; you can’t find yourself anymore. The person that you’ve become is some kind of
auto motion that is governed by the many responsibilities that you have to face in your job or your family or
your school. But, you, yourself seem to have flown. You can’t find who you really are anymore.
And what we have been sharing on this program over these past months — this is probably about the 187th time
we’re talked together this year – is how many of us in this present life are finding it more and more
difficult to remember who we were, or what we’re really like inside — because we’ve been governed
increasingly by the tremendous drives from without. The drives for security, and for significance, and for
happiness. And those drives become overwhelming. So that many of us have become just little animals.
We’ve discussed how we live on three different levels in this present life. But most of us live virtually on
the physical level. From time to time we might delve into the psychological level, or what we call the soul,
where the mind and emotions and the will operate. But, most of us are governed completely by our bodies. That
is, we see something nice on a plate in a restaurant — we want it — we reach out our hand and get it, we eat
it. It makes our tummy feel comfy and so we feel happy. And that’s about the level we operate on.
Many of us are delighted when we see a certain coat that we think will make us look better than everybody
else. And so we buy the coat and that becomes our delight, not only that day, but in future days and weeks and
that continues until we buy something else.
But many of us are delighted just by the things that we see and touch and feel and hear. And our life goes no
deeper than that.
And so we become governed by those things. If the day is bright and the sun is shining, then we are happy. If
the day is glowering and the rain is drizzling down, then we’re miserable. If somebody speaks brightly to us,
we’re happy. If someone smiles at us, we’re delighted. If the boss frowns upon us, we’re miserable.
If the income tax comes back with a refund, we’re up in the air with joy. If it comes back with a hideous bill
that we didn’t expect, we are bears for the rest of that week. Many of us are governed now, just by what
happens to us. That’s why we talk about happiness, because it’s so often just what happens to us. It’s happy
happenings. And if we don’t have happy happenings, then we’re unhappy.
And so, our lives are governed by the things that happen to us from outside, or by the attitudes that people
take to us, or by the things that people say to us. Or by the things that we manage to obtain or possess, or
the things that we lack or the things that we lose.
Think of us when we get a dent in the new car, think of us when a window is broken in the home. Many of these
things can be fixed and repaired very quickly and many of us have no problem with getting the money to do it.
But just the very thought of the thing happening sends us into all kinds of manic depression that we can’t
control. So, many of us are in that position where we have become almost perverted by this preoccupation with
what happens to us on the outside — with the circumstances that we’re passing through, with the things that
we have or have not got, and with the experiences that we have or don’t have to.
Many of us are utterly governed by our drive for security, significance and happiness; by our preoccupation
with the things and the people, and the circumstances that provide those or fail to provide them. And so, we
have, in fact, become perverted. We no longer act from inside as we were meant to. And that’s what we’ve
talked about over these months — how we were meant to work from the inside out. But we now work from the
outside in. And we find, of course, that as we do that the inside seems to have kind of died on us.
And you remember how we discussed that the Maker of the world had created us on three levels of life: the
physical — that is the body by which we relate to the world of things, and circumstances and people. Then the
soul, which is inside of us. It is the Greek word “psuche” which becomes our word “psyche”, which becomes
psychological – the psychological part of us: the mind, the emotions, and the will. And then, inside that
again, He made a spirit: the very essence of you. That’s your spirit. It’s you as you really are. And that’s
the only place that you can communicate with the Maker of the world.
But that’s the thing that with many of us has died. Long ago, we died inside! Long ago we lost the sense of
who we were. And few of us actually today know who we are and know inside what we’re like. Even those of us
who think that we do, look inside and we see a huge ego — a massive ego — that is utterly preoccupied with
itself and despises everybody else. A massive ego that wants its own way and insists on its own rights and
wants what it wants. So even those of us who think we have discovered who we are, when we look in we see a
horrible, grotesque monster that is anti-social and is so filled with egotism that it has no time for anyone
So, whether we look in and see nothing or whether we look in and see a grotesque monster, the situation is
that many of us find now that our personalities are utterly perverted. And we have become an empty shell —
virtually a body that operates in relationship to the material in the universe and never goes much deeper than
that. And of course, our spirits, who we really are, have really disappeared altogether. Now, that’s what this
man Jesus of Nazareth said would happen.
He said, if you keep going the way you’re going, regarding the universe as a chance result of a blind
evolutionary process with no personal mind governing it at all, then you will regard yourself as on your own.
Just on your own, Jack, and nobody to look after you. And as a result of that, you will develop a personality
that will become not independent, as you’d hoped it would be, but will become utterly dependent on the world
of things and circumstances and people that seem to be able to feed you with what you need.
What you really need is love. That’s it. Love. Not mushy love, not sexy love, just love. You really need love.
You need someone who wants the best for you more than he wants the best for himself, even if it cost him to
give it to you. You want someone who is willing to give himself to you, whatever the cost; someone who puts
you in the place of himself, who wants your welfare more than he wants his own. That’s what love is. “Greater
love has no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” That means a man regards your life
as worth more than his own.
And he’s willing to lay his own life down so that you will preserve yours. He’s putting himself in your place.
He’s walking in your moccasins. He’s putting himself in your shoes. That’s really what you and I were made
for, except that we were made for the love of the most powerful, mighty, Significant Other in the whole
universe. That is, our God, our Creator. That’s why He made you, because He loves you. Yes, don’t turn off —
that’s why He made you. He loves you; that’s why He made you. And that’s really what you need. And that love
brings with it all the security, and the significance, and happiness that you could ever want.
But many of us have declared our independence of Him and have determined that we will get that kind of
security and happiness and that kind of satisfaction from the world of things, and people, and circumstances.
And as a result we have died inside. We have become, not independent, we have become utterly dependent — in
fact slaves — to the very jobs that we think we do. Slaves to the very people whom we think we govern.
And we have, in fact, died inside. And there’s nothing there anymore. We’re just little robots. And of course,
this man Jesus of Nazareth said that it’s impossible for you to recreate yourself. You can’t! You can’t get
yourself alive again. Once that inner part of you is dead, it’s dead. There is only one that can do anything
about it. Let’s talk a little about that tomorrow.
We Have no Identity -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
We Have No Identity
by Ernest O’Neill
“We are the hollow men! We are the stuffed men leaning together, headpiece filled with straw. Alas! Our dried
voices, when we whisper together, are quiet and meaningless, as wind in dry grass, or rats’ feet over broken
glass in our dry cellar.”
Sounds pretty miserable, doesn’t it? It’s old T.S. Eliot’s poem. You remember, the one that ends with the
lines, “This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. This is the way the world ends. Not
with a bang, but with a whimper.” It’s his poem called “The Hollow Men”.
And of course, we immediately say, “Oh, that’s pessimistic, miserable negative stuff. Don’t let’s hear it.”
And yet, we do sense some element of truth in it. We are the “Hollow Men”. We are the “Stuffed Men”, leaning
together, headpiece filled with straw. And when he goes on in a further verse to say, “those who have crossed
with direct eyes, to death’s other kingdom, remember us, if at all, not as lost violent souls, but only as the
hollow men, the stuffed men.”
And that’s what we have been sharing over the past few days; that many of us feel like that. We look inside to
see if we’re there and we can’t find ourselves. And we feel like hollow men, we feel like stuffed men. That
is, we feel like guys, like guys at Halloween that are stuffed with straw and are propped up, and made to do
what the other people want them to do. And often, that’s the way we have come to spend our lives. We perform
as people require us to.
The teacher wanted us to do certain things, so we did it. And we got some kind of reward for it. And so we
went on there, and we kept on trying to please our boss, our parents, our professors, now our colleagues,
maybe even now, our children. We keep on trying to please other people and to do what will make them happy.
And so, from time to time when we look into see who we are, we realize that we have almost ceased to exist. We
are dead inside. And that’s what this man Jesus, you remember, of Nazareth said would happen to us.
He said, if you take the position that there is no Creator, and that my Father is not the Creator of the
world, and that there is no God in this world, then you’re in a pretty dangerous position and a pretty
vulnerable position, because there are five billion of you here in the world, and there’s only so much food
and clothing to go around. So you are responsible for grabbing what you can. Moreover, this planet itself is
spinning through space with no visible means of support and no real guarantee that it will continue.
And if it has all come as a result of time plus chance and is at the mercy of the impersonal activities of
atoms, that are not governed by any rule or by any heart of kindness, then there is no knowing when the whole
thing might just blow up or fall down forever right through space. So, there comes into you a tremendous sense
of insecurity, and of course it’s an insecurity that finally you can never satisfy. But, we have set to with a
will to try to do it. And that’s what He said would happen. He said, “You will yourselves become, in fact,
conformed to the image of this world.”
You will begin to do what the world of people and thing and circumstances want you to do. Because you think
that that will get you security. So, you try to gather the stocks and shares that you can to make yourself
feel safe. You try to gather the insurance policies and the pensions that will make you feel safe. But,
finally, you won’t feel safe. Because finally, there is no safety. Finally, you will die. And if there’s
nobody there to catch you after you die, then there’s nothing. And so, the whole thing is a futility that may
as well just be ended now.
And so, Jesus said that if you live like that you’ll end up becoming enslaved to what people want you to do.
And many of us have done that.(cid:9)Many of us are governed totally by who smiles at us in the morning. You know,
whether we’re British or American, we love to be liked. We like to be liked. And we like people to like us.
And that’s why we say we’re sorry so often. Have you noticed it? We always say, “Sorry, sorry.” We always want
to please everyone else and to apologize. For we know not what, but that we just want to please them.
And many of us have ceased to be ourselves. We’re so busy trying to please people. We’re so busy trying to get
the money that we think will somehow give us security that we’ve forgotten what we were possibly here to do at
all. And Jesus said if you live like that, you’ll die inside. You’ll just go dead inside. You’ll become
hollow, you’ll become a stuffed man that is governed like a puppet, by the circumstances and the people and
the things that you meet through life.
Now, I just ask you today. Look at what you’ve done today! Look at how your day has gone. Just go over it in
your mind if you’re sitting in your car or if you’re sitting at home. Just think of how the day has gone. And
think of how many of your hours have been filled with obligations that you tried to fulfill to other people,
often not to help them but to help yourself. And yet, you ended up not really doing what you think you should
do at all. Indeed, many of us have contradicted deliberately what we think we should do.
Many of us at the office think certain things about the politics of the nation or certain things about the
meaning of life or certain things about what’s happening in the Middle East and a conversation comes up where
the drift seems to be the other way, and we are so anxious to please, that we will not say what we really
believe. And that just becomes another nail in the coffin or the casket of what we used to be. Until now, we
have difficulty finding out if there’s any “me” at all, deep down.
Then, of course, you know what happens. We get quite desperate about it and we determine, well, we have to
authenticate ourselves. As old John Paul Sartre said, you remember, “We have to authenticate ourselves.” So
you authenticate yourself by action and by will. So, even if you will yourself to commit suicide, you’re
authenticating yourself. And so, there came this tremendous lie and deception into our thinking, that if we
just authenticated ourselves, then we’d somehow find ourselves.
So, many of us started to do all kinds of wild things. And it was wonderful to break over the traces of
marital faithfulness and do something desperate and something wild and something unlike ourselves. And so,
great numbers of us have given ourselves to doing something different just for the sake of being different.
And of course, we’re governed by the same thing as we were governed by before. It’s like the hippies who all
wanted to be individualists and different, so they all grew beards and they all stopped washing themselves.
They all became the same. And so do we.
We all become the same in our difference. We all try to order from the same unique magazines and from the same
exciting new stores. We all try to wear the same new clothes. We all try to go for the same, new expensive
automobiles. We all try to adopt the same new American phraseology or English phraseology. We tend, in trying
even, to authenticate ourselves to become again conformed to what other people think or other people do. And
so the tremendous tragedy is that many of us have become dead inside because we can no longer sense what we
should do or should be.
And that’s what Jesus said. He said inside you is your spirit; that’s you as you really are. And for many of
you now, your spirit has gone dead. You’ve become just little physical and psychological animals, and there’s
nothing left inside. And however much you try to make it alive, you cannot make it alive. You have to actually
be re-created all over again. You have to be born all over again. You have to come alive again so that you, as
you were, a fresh little child, comes alive all over again.
And actually, there’s an amazing piece in the Bible, that old book that you certainly have at home somewhere,
and if you look up Ezekiel, one of the Old Testament prophets. And if you look up Chapter 36, and verse 26,
you’ll find this amazing promise that our Maker has given us. He said, “A new heart I will give you, and a new
spirit I will put within you. And I will take out of your flesh the heart of stone and give you a heart of
flesh.” And that’s a promise that actually He alone can keep. How is it possible to come alive again inside?
How is it possible to find yourself? Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.
Are You a People Pleaser? -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Are You a People Pleaser?
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the question that we’re discussing now in this about the hundred and
eighty ninth broadcast this year. And we’re trying to find out the purpose of our lives; why you are in
existence and why I’m in existence.
I have a friend who jokes about the moment when she draws up to one of these modern service stations and you
get out and if your car takes diesel, of course you get out at the diesel pump and you switch the thing on and
then comes this disembodied voice saying, “This is a diesel pump. Does your vehicle require diesel?” And of
course she feels like answering in the same tinny voice, “Yes, it is and it does.”
You might have been at one of those service stations or you might not, but certainly when you have that
experience, you begin to feel, “I’m dealing with a machine here, a kind of automaton” and the whole impression
is further reinforced when you go to pay. The person in the glass cubicle — and again you speak through a
window to them or you speak through a hidden microphone and it comes out to them by means of an amplifier. You
begin to wonder, “Are we human beings at all, or are we just diesel pumps and automatons and recorded messages
speaking to one another?”
Of course the whole impression is emphasized when you think of the answering machines that we now have on our
telephones. And we hear someone say, “This is Ernest O’Neill. I am not at home. Please leave a message at the
sound of the tone.” And you then begin to feel stupid as you speak into a machine, feeling that of course
you’re not in contact with anybody and it’s doubtful if you may ever be. And many of us are realizing that
“Animal Farm” has already arrived. We wonder if Orwell’s “1984” has come and gone and we haven’t actually
noticed the difference because we were already what he described.
However it is, there are countless numbers of us in all countries today who begin to feel that the machine age
is taking over. We are delighted when we realize that the artificial intelligence experts in the computer
world do feel that it probably isn’t possible to actually reproduce all the subtleties and the shrewdness of
human intelligence but yet we do feel that we’ve gone quite far along that road.
And part of what reinforces this in our own mind is we are troubled at times about the way we, ourselves have
become like machines. Many of us go out day after day to work feeling that it’s just an automaton operating.
It’s not a real human being. We go and we walk the same road. We get the same bus, or we drive the same car.
We end up in the same office. We mutter the same small talk. And we operate continually to feed the same
machines, and the same boss comes by, asks us how we are and we say, “We’re fine,” or “Very well, thank you.”
And we go through the day often just repeating nothings, and truisms and cliches’ that get us by.
And we wonder, “Is there any personal life left?” And of course we go home so often and sit watching a box
with a picture on it of other people living life and we try to live vicariously their lives with them or dream
their dreams with them and then we have some supper, say goodnight and go to bed and so the whole day starts
all over again very much in a machine-like way. We hardly feel that we’re achieving anything personal in the
whole experience. And increasingly, we find our own actions and our own life is made up of responses and
reflex reactions that are almost predestined.
And we wonder, is there anybody inside us at all, or have we lost ourselves utterly? Indeed, that’s why so
many of us feel life is empty and dry today. Because we sense that there is no personality that is actually
creating anything new or initiating anything. Indeed, when we begin to think what we would like to do, or what
we would prefer, we find so often we are dominated by what television tells us we would like, and by the kind
of vacation we should have or by the kind of book we should read, or the kind of movie we should go to.
We find increasingly that when we wonder what we should do for a leisure time activity or for relaxation, we
find ourselves mouthing the same cliches or slogans that we have heard on television, or we have read in the
newspaper. And so, increasingly, great numbers of us wonder, are we alive at all? Is there any “us” in the
whole situation? Or is this just a bundle of machines who do what they are told to do? And of course we find
that when we attempt to be original and be different, and be creative, and be personal, we discover that we
are trying to be that even in the same ways that we’re told to in the commercials or the advertisements.
And so, we try to buy a different kind of coat, or we try to buy a different kind of car, but we find we’re
buying the cars or the coats that other people are buying to try to make themselves unique. And that’s what
brings some of the bewilderment to many of us in these days. Many of us feel we can’t discover anything
personable in ourselves at all, and actually, it is true. Many of us have ceased to be the fresh, new
personalities that we were when were little five or six year olds. We have all become the same. We have become
conformed to kind of an image of the rest of the world that makes us all alike.
And when we try to find out if there’s any “us” in there, we begin to realize whatever there was has died
years and years ago. It died maybe — who knows — with the first star that we got on our card in junior
infants school for reading well. And we saw that we would get reward if we read well. Then, we saw we would
get praise if we got onto the football team. Then, we saw we would get a good job if we got a good degree or
got a good training in some trade. And then we saw we would get more money if we pleased our boss. And then,
we saw that we would be looked upon as a good husband if we did the right things for our wife.
And so, we have spent our life trying to please people and being afraid of not pleasing people and the result
is that we feel we’re a shell. We feel we’re just an outside shell of a person and there is no “us” inside and
we wonder, how on earth can we find the “us” again? We find that we almost feel we have to start all over
again; we have to be born all over again.
And that’s the amazing thing. That man, Jesus of Nazareth, who has proved to be the only one who seems to have
successfully left the earth and come back to tell us what it’s all about — he said that’s exactly what has to
happen. You can’t enter again into your mother’s womb, but you do have to be born again from above. You have
to start all over again — and the amazing thing is He said you could. I don’t know if you know the Bible at
all, but in chapter 3 of a book called John, you find him saying exactly that to a man called Nicodemus. He
said, “Look, you have to start all over again. You have to be born again inside. You have to be recreated
And of course last day, we shared a promise that the Maker of the world once gave 2000 years ago when He said,
“A new heart I will give you. And a new spirit I will put within you.” And many of us feel, that’s exactly
what we need. We need to be able to find ourselves again so that we no longer are just robots or automatons.
How do you find yourself again? Let’s talk a little more about that tomorrow.
Our True Sense of Self -
WHAT IS THE MEANING OF LIFE?
Our True Sense of Self
by Ernest O’Neill
What is the meaning of life? That’s the subject we’ve been discussing now for, I think, about one hundred and
eighty eight broadcasts this year. And we’re trying to deal with it from the point of view of our own, normal
personal experiences. And what we have been saying recently, after discussing what the origin of the world was
and how it was made and what we think the Maker had in mind when He made us, is the dreadful feeling so many
of us have that we have become machines ourselves.
We are surrounded by machines. We’re meeting automated gas or petrol pumps now at the service stations. We so
often go up and pay our money through a glass window to someone that seems almost an automaton at times to us
in the service station. We get out money from, not personal tellers, but from machines built into the walls of
our banks. We often phone our friends and receive answering machines speaking to us, telling us where they
are. And all in all, we find ourselves dealing as often with machines as we do with people. And many of us
feel that we also have become machines because it seems we, ourselves, have been programmed.
We’ve been programmed to please people from when we pleased our first junior infant teacher to the last time
we responded to our boss’s smile or were all worried and went home depressed after he had frowned at us. We
find ourselves behaving so often like machines as far as our jobs are concerned. We discover that we do them
almost as a robot would, with not terribly much interest in the job. And we do it primarily just to get our
little pay packet at the end of the week or month so that we can exchange it for something that will go in our
tummies and then, we hope that we might exchange it for something that will give us a little happiness.
And so, we have realized that many of us live like machines. And we have reached the point where for us, the
problem is not to research into the problem of outer space, but rather, research into the problem of inner
space. And we, so often, look inside to see if there is anybody in there at all. Where did we go, the ‘us’
that used to be? Where am ‘I’? Where was the fresh little personality that used to think of all kinds of happy
hopes and thoughts when it was five, six or seven years of age? And we wonder longingly, “Now, where is that
What we have been saying is that many of us find that there seems nobody there. We introspect a little; look
inside to try to find out if there is any person there. And we begin to come up with the conclusion there is
nobody there. And then, we realize with horror (and horror, probably, is an understatement) that we cannot
find ourselves. We actually don’t know who we are any longer. We can’t tell what we really do want to do with
our lives or what we really think.
And we begin to see that we have died inside, that something has died inside us, something that was good. It’s
as if Wordsworth’s line of poetry has a pathetic meaning for us especially. He said, you remember, “and there
hath passed a glory from the earth.” And it seems as if in our own lives so often there hath passed a glory
from the earth. Some of the fresh spontaneity that used to be “me” has disappeared.
And what we have been saying is that there was a remarkable man that lived in the first century of our era and
was different from all the other so-called religious leaders, in that they all died like us and were buried
and that was the end of them. But this man died and was buried and then came back to life again, and lived
here on the earth for more than a month, proving to everyone that knew Him and many that didn’t, that He was
able to overcome death, and that He was actually the Son of the Maker of our world. And that man was the man
that we know as Jesus.
And he, actually, said this. He said, “You know, if you live depending on the world of people and of places
and things and circumstances for your security and your significance and your happiness, you’ll eventually die
inside. You’ll just die.” And he knew we would. He knew that you can’t keep on depending on the bank or the
company for the security that you need, your financial security and your material security, without, as that
old song goes, “losing your soul to the company store.”
Eventually, you become utterly dependent, and a slave to the thing or the person that seems to be able to
provide you with the money that will give you the security or the food and the shelter and clothing that you
need to stay alive. And that’s what happens to us. We die inside. And we become just robots that are
stimulated and motivated by the powers that provide us with security.
It’s the same with our desire for significance or self worth, or self esteem. We start off thinking that we’re
simply using our friends to establish our prowess or our prestige by our cleverness. But, we end up depending
on their opinions of us and depending on their approval and we become slaves that do whatever will gain their
approval. Whatever will get a smile from them will produce the right joke from us. Whatever will please them,
we will do. And so, we die inside.
We cease to be ourselves. We lose the sense of what we, ourselves, are. And this man, Jesus, said, that will
happen to you. And there’ll come a time when the only answer will be if somehow that can be recreated inside
you: what you used to be when you were a child; what you used to be when you were young; that spontaneous you.
That will have to be recreated in you, and no psychologist can recreate that. No one can recreate that because
that is your spirit that has died. That’s the real you. When we talk about the spirit of Churchill, we talk
about the very essence of the man. When we talk about your spirit, we are talking about your real essence, the
thing that makes me, me, and makes you, you.
And that’s what has died and that’s what has to be recreated. Jesus said that you actually have to be born all
over again and the man he was talking to (it’s recorded in one of the books of the New Testament called John
in chapter 3) was a scholar. And he said, “You mean I have to enter into my mother’s womb all over again and
be born?” and Jesus said, “No, no. You have to be born from above. You have to be born from above by the
spirit; my Father’s spirit, who is the Maker of the world. He has to put that spirit into your spirit again
and make you alive again.”
And of course, this man whose name was Nicodemus could not believe it. He said, “Do you mean that can happen?”
And Jesus said, “Yes, it can.” And it actually can happen. What we have done is, we’ve made it so religious
that we think it’s a spooky thing, but actually you can start all over again. You can be changed inside and
there is only One who can do it. And that is the Maker who originally made you. Let’s talk a little further
about how you can actually experience that once and for all in your life. Let’s talk about that tomorrow.