|Value Fulfillment Gives Meaning to Life|
by Jim Schutte
Of all the Seth and Jane Roberts concepts, value fulfillment offers the most all-encompassing basis for the meaning behind existence. The concept of value fulfillment excites many Seth readers because it offers a positive outlook on reality and the motivations of all consciousness. It also provides us with a powerful, life-affirming perspective on how consciousness creates on a mass level toward a betterment of the individual and the whole.
Seth first mentions value fulfillment early in his co-creative venture with Jane Roberts and her husband, Robert Butts, in the early sixties. He defined it initially as "the fulfillment of literally endless values" (How to Develop Your ESP Power, chapter 10, session 54). Seth used an analogy of a forest of trees representing past, present, and future. He added that each tree expands "in terms of fulfillment of abilities and values that may be constructed upon various levels and in various guises, your present field of existence being one" (ibid.).
Seth later expands upon value fulfillment, calling it the prime motivation behind All That Is. According to Seth, every atom and particle is consciousness, and naturally seeks to improve upon itself in a constant state of becoming. That becoming is based on an excitement of spontaneity and play, transformation and durability as well as fulfilling the desire to be more than what it once was. These "fundamental laws" as Seth refers to them are "carried through in other realities" as well as our own (The "Unknown" Reality, Appendix 12, session 44.) Seth adds that value fulfillment is followed through on our physical level through physical growth, while we in our "particular horizontal plane...follow this law under the auspices of evolution" (ibid.).
Seth later elaborates on these "laws": "You are born knowing that you possess a unique, intimate sense of being that is itself, and that seeks its own fulfillment, and the fulfillment of others. You are born seeking the actualization of the ideal. You are born seeking to add value to the quality of life, to add characteristics, energies, abilities to life that only you can individually contribute to the world, and to attain a state of being that is uniquely yours, while adding to the value fulfillment of the world (The Individual and the Nature of Mass Events, chapter 9 session 862).
Such emphasis on the importance of individuality for the good of the whole is unique. In order for the whole to experience fulfillment, the individual must fulfill his or her own private "values," values that aren't concerned with morality. Seth also emphasizes that these values "have to do with the quality of whatever life the being feels is its center" (ibid., session 863) and not quantity.
Yet part of what makes up the values of an individual is the meaning that she applies to her life. Human beings will not go on living without some meaning in their existence, according to Seth. That meaning is basically up to the individual to determine, couched in a framework where "each species...is concerned...with an intensification and fulfillment of those particular qualities that are characteristic of it" (ibid.).
For instance, a sculptor who feels a magnificent sense of exaltation through the continual evolution of her creative work finds meaning in her life through "growing" her art. She establishes meaning in her life through her craft. Atoms themselves, which are endowed with consciousness, "join together... to seek fulfillment of themselves through form" (ibid., session 866). Thus, value fulfillment is a fundamental, individually driven power that affects all manner of consciousness in the universe. Through value fulfillment, consciousness applies meaning to existence, seeking the satisfaction that can only come through a constant state of growth and becoming.
Seth integrates many of these concepts in his book, Dreams, "Evolution," and Value Fulfillment, and offers a clear definition for us. Here Seth says that value fulfillment "...means each form of life seeks toward fulfillment and unfolding of all of the capacities that it senses within its living framework, knowing that in that individual fulfillment each other species of life is also benefited" (session 910). Below are some prime ideas that allow us to develop a deeper understanding of value fulfillment.
Value fulfillment is typical in nature in that the "achievement" of each life element in a forest affects all other aspects in a positive way by improving the quality of life in the ecosystem. For instance, weeds may intensify in a marshy slope, spreading "proudly" as they grow, but also absorbing moisture and preventing new tree seedlings from flooding out. Hence, cooperation, another important concept in the Seth/Jane ideas, is a pivotal aspect of value fulfillment that all elements of existence innately understand.
Although biologists acknowledge cooperative plant behavior, cooperation in nature is still generally considered unacceptable to science. Scientists still insist that the individual is only valuable in terms of species survival, and that includes how it perceives human evolution. Seth counters this notion: "...the value fulfillment of the individual and the species go hand in hand... No species basically biologically considers its own existence with other species except in a cooperative manner..." (ibid., session 911). Thus, individual fulfillment has a positive impact on its own species, and thus all species. Through a desire to fulfill that which the individual values, each species can cooperatively position itself for optimal growth and becoming. According to Seth, the intricate web work of nature contains far more cooperative relationships that we often choose to perceive.
Seth's ideas about reincarnation also tie in with value fulfillment. According to Seth, we each have different lives or "aspects" that exist in different time frames that simultaneously impact each other in the "spacious present." Hence we choose our life time frame, location, gender, sexual orientation, parents in advance.
Oftentimes individuals select existences that are by no means perfect. "Such a choice demands an intensification. It is made on the part of the individual... so that a certain group of people will relate to the world in a highly characteristic way" (ibid.). That kind of relationship with the culture produces a perspective on reality that would never have existed if not for a less-than-perfect life. It also poses necessary questions that the culture may need to ask in order for the society as a whole to experience quality enrichment.
Value fulfillment and excellence are intimately intertwined. "Value fulfillment always implies the search for excellence not perfection, but excellence" (ibid., session 912). Perfection, as our world culture has largely defined it, implies a static state of being, where no future growth or achievement is possible. If we become perfect in every possible way imaginable, I can promise you that we'd be pretty bored. Nor do we evolve into a perfect state of being over many lifetimes as several religious doctrines state.
Seth says excellence provides us with a quality to seek in ourselves and our lives that can always be improved upon at a pace of our choosing. When we begin to recognize that nature itself is filled with intricate "imperfections," we can begin to have a loving regard for our own imperfections and seek excellence in how we conduct our lives.
By exploring our own abilities and psychological potential, we learn more than what we understood before about ourselves and our universe. That knowledge expands the quality of our being and affects all motivating factors in our lives. By exploring ourselves and our existence, we find meaning and fulfill that which we value.
We also behave according to what Seth claims is our "biological heritage" by continually exploring and seeking meaning in our existence. Through exploring our consciousness, we discover the unlimited potential that resides within and the meaning that comes through viewing ourselves as a pertinent part of All That Is.
Much satisfaction and pleasure plays itself out through value fulfillment. The desire for pleasure often motivates us to fulfill that which we value. Seth puts it this way: "It is not so much that man or nature seeks to satisfy needs, but to exuberantly, rambunctiously seek pleasure and through following its pleasure each organism finds and satisfies its needs as well" (ibid., session 933). Pleasure infuses a desire for quality, thus promoting a state of becoming that not only satisfies the individual, but improves the quality of his existence as well.
Through trusting our natural desires, we recognize that the pleasure we seek benefits the individual, psychologically meeting needs but also creating an environment where new and fantastic growth can accelerate. And again, values fulfilled on the individual level positively impact humanity on the mass level, thereby improving the quality of All That Is. Unfortunately, western culture has adopted many beliefs that dissuade individuals from acknowledging that which pleases them, oftentimes linking pleasure with sin. Such a belief produces enormous guilt and distrust of desires that spring naturally from the individual. For example, Jane Roberts gained tremendous pleasure out of writing poetry on unconventional themes as a young woman, yet the Catholic Church frowned on such ideas. Had she not trusted the value of her own personal pleasure and not left the Church, we would not have a system of thought called the Seth material in our lives today. Instead, Jane chose to pursue her own individual value fulfillment.
The nature of our lives is continually impacted by our own value fulfillment. Think to yourself all the things that sustain meaning in your own life. What do you want to do? What do you wish to achieve? What brings excitement and pleasure into your life? If you could do anything in your life, what would it be?
Those desires are entirely valid. They represent you in the spacious present, seeking growth and continual fulfillment. They also represent the direction you wish to become. Your becoming is dependent on your "take" on value fulfillment, on your private design for growth that you and only you can ever experience. According to Seth, dreaming and fantasizing about the fulfillment of certain elements in you life that you value is essential to growing closer to your personal ideal.
An ideal need not be a thing of perfection. An ideal model can instead represent a magnificent manifestation of creaturehood that itself has yearnings for becoming. By placing a principle ideal in front of you that is by no means perfect, but is in certain terms "more" excellent than your present state, you set a powerful pattern of growth before yourself. The path toward that becoming begins with a clear definition of that ideal.
What would this ideal version of you have achieved? At what point of his or her life would he or she be? What would it take for you to become that idea? By activating this kind of thinking, you're already beginning to recognize your own drive toward value fulfillment. Through fulfilling your values, you incorporate many portions of your drive toward excellence and thus become that which you call ideal.
How would our culture change if value fulfillment was a consciously accepted fact of life? The changes are far too myriad and dramatic to summarize here, but we can safely acknowledge this: the ideas and practice of competition and survival of the fittest would completely dissipate, and cooperation and pursuing personal excellence would instead meaningfully enrich our lives.
Value fulfillment is a rich and tantalizing concept that is biologically ingrained in every portion of the world we know and the driving power behind the consciousness we have yet to fully discover. Simply accepting value fulfillment as a crucial element in our own lives builds trust not only in ourselves and our private motivations but in the motivations of all those around us. We are each seeking to fulfill that which we value in a precise harmony that we can continually discover. En masse, the potential for becoming is beyond words. I offer a poem in closing that I hope you can intuitively absorb as a final key to understanding the implications of value fulfillment.
Mint SteamOriginally published in 'Reality Change: the Global Seth Journal,' spring 1995.
© Jim Schutte. All rights reserved.