When we love and admire other people, we are able to believe in the joy and merit of their nature. When we are loved and admired we are able to believe in the joy and merit of our Self.
When we receive and give love and admiration we are in either case gaining something wholly delightful and desirable. But we do not take the trouble to look more closely at this situation, for the situation seems to be an end in itself.
If it is examined, however, the sensation in question reveals that it is not so much the giving and receiving of love which matters but that the love and admiration helps to liberate an aspect of our nature which is joy and is happiness and is a sort of virtuous affectionate delight.
The trouble with life as we ordinarily experience it is that this part of our nature is always being suppressed and not liberated. Not only do other people continually restrict it but we find that we are restricting it ourselves.
The problem however is not as simple as it looks. The difficulty is not simply liberating our Selves but the fact that in trying to do this we liberate our not-Selves. When we liberate a not-Self we are not freeing outselves for an experience of great affection or delight but rather for an experience of misery, frustration and disappointment. The pain of this makes us think twice about any further attempts at liberation.
We are inclined to leave liberation alone for we are not sure if we are going to liberate a God or a Devil.
From the Preface to A Geography of Consciousness by William Arkle (1974)
These are the very first words by which Arkle addresses us in his magnum opus; and characteristically they are densely meaningful.
He notes that a world in which people express love and admiration for each other would be a much happier, more delight-full, world - and one in which we would all have greater self-belief and confidence. We all know this, and feel sorry that this situation of emotional benefit does not occur.
But there is more to it. We vaguely suppose that positive emotions such as love, admiration, joy, happiness, delight... are justified simply because they are pleasant to experience - and more pleasant than the alternatives.
That is, we look no deeper than psychology, and the set-up of the human body; which makes us enjoy some feelings and suffer-from others (such as pain, guilt, fear etc). We feel that feeling good is self-justifying, and therefore needs no further examination or justification.
Yet, it does not happen. We do not, as a matter of common observation, do those things that would make everybody feel happier. Partly this is because other people don't treat us with love and respect; but also because we don't treat ourselves that way.
We make our-selves feel bad - and this is a very rooted and resistant habit or practice. We might want to stop feeling bad about ourselves, but - when tried - actually proves to be almost impossible!
If feelings were the bottom-line this would be incomprehensible - and our strong resistance to stopping inflicting bad feelings upon our-selves (as well as others) would also be incomprehensible.
Arkle is saying that the feelings are not the bottom line. He says that the feelings are a means to the end of 'liberating', of bringing-forward, an aspect of our nature that is joy/ happiness/ virtuous affectionate delight.
In other words, Arkle is saying that - properly considered - the feelings ought-to-be transformative of our nature; and that this transformation (this development or 'evolution' of the person) is the real purpose of the feelings (if this is allowed to happen).
There is, however, a problem - and it was a problem that became very evident in The West during the late 1960s while this book was being developed. The problem is that by 'relaxing our guard' ('letting it all hang out') and adopting a general attitude of liberating the feelings; the actual result was often, perhaps usually, malign rather than beneficial.
What came-out from this process was not so much 'peace and love'; but aggression, lust, greed, envy and the like. And instead of being happy and relaxed; the individuals became miserable, frustrated and (perpetually) disappointed. Instead of beats, hippies and drop-outs evolving towards godlike goodness and generosity; they devolved into sin and demonic selfishness - junkies, murderers and rapists, and Hell's Angels.
Elsewhere in the book; Arkle explains this in terms of the deep, real or true Self - which has a divine origin; versus the surface-level not-selves - or 'personality' - that are inculcated by society, derive from selfishness, or are merely mechanical devices ('algorithms', or 'robots') for performing some repetitive function.
Trying to liberate the real Self by merely removing the filters and barriers to expression; the individual merely gives greater power and scope to the the conflicting group of false selves.
Instead of the individual becoming transformed towards the divine and more attuned to God's purposes; the individual merely grasps-after pleasurable emotions, finds these emotions fade with repetition; and then goes into a spiral of seeking novelties and increasing the dose of hedonic activity.
Instead of actively participating in creation, the individual hope passively to be Made Happy by strong (and ever-stronger) stimuli; when his psychology is fighting against this.
In sum, happiness cannot be an end, but only a means to an end.
If we seek no more than happy feelings here-and-now, then we will Not get even them - because that is to treat ourselves as merely animals. And at our animal (non-divine) level of merely psychology, we are set-up such that a state of permanent happiness is impossible, and indeed rapidly lethal.
Arkle is setting the scene for his book to tell us how to understand our own 'geography of consciousness', that is the structure of our minds and thinking; so that we can navigate towards what we most deeply want: which is to liberate and nourish specifically our real and divine self, in pursuit of becoming more divine.
And that state of being more divine is the true basis of everlasting joy and delight.