In terms of the absolute it is ethically more valuable to be honestly bad than dishonestly good.
It would seem that behaviour easily degenerates to the level where it is glad to achieve a good front to its activities. People do not realise it is their own Self they are cheating. They think it is others they are scoring off and also that any God who lets them get away with it, as he does, deserves to be cheated.
This is because it does not occur to them that God and the natural background are in the process of giving them absolute values. They judge the situation in a small-minded way and consider that the ‘pay-off’ is coming and that they had better enjoying some short term fruits before it comes and statues of way that treasure. It does not occur to them that the ‘pay’-off never comes, but exists continually in the attitude they have towards their own Self.
Without knowing it, we are largely our own judge, court of appeal, sentencer and execution. We are also our own valuer and God-maker. No one can realise our own Divinity for us and similarly no one can take it away from us.
We cannot be truly moral unless we act with the knowledge, attitudes, and conviction of our own true Self. This is the Self which is all the while Divine but does not realise this fact. Morality which does not stem from the natural response of this Self is not worthy of the name and is nothing more than convention. It may be a good convention, but its goodness is as nothing to its honesty.
It seems one should aim at honest living if one wishes to achieve the sort of goodness which religious feelings require, otherwise it is like putting the cart before the horse and letting goodness get in the way of ‘livingness’. This is sin, that narrowing down and inhibition of the full encounter.
Full encounter is not achieved by living the free and easy bohemian life, but is achieved by that free and natural release of the innermost spirit together with the quality and attitude of that spirit which, from all previous arguments, will be understood to possess that respect for, care of and love towards all other forms of life which are alone true morality and ethics.
It is essential to stop teaching morality in terms which can be mistaken for the philosophy of external and obvious valuation; of valuation which concedes that behaviour must be good if it is not ‘found-out’ to be bad. Rather must it be said that unless the inner aspect of one's attitude is healthy, the result of any behaviour will be psychological unrest and discontent.
One may succeed in the world and gain the adoration of many people, but if this is to fail to remain true to innermost nature it will mean failure in our own judgement of ourself and in the relating of our many parts to our whole nature. Since this is the root cause of unhappiness it is also where real success and failure lies and where one reaps and enjoys the real treasures of existence.
The essence of real religious and moral aspiration is not between ourselves and God but between ourselves and our Self. At the same time the monitoring activity of God and his many divine assistants is necessary, but not as a substitute for Self-confrontation, but rather to ensure that this condition comes about.
Aspirations towards God are therefore of the utmost value, not as a means of becoming a slave or servant of God, but in order that they can be directed towards the true goal which is the valuation of our True Self.
As we direct the love our children have for us in such a way that it enlarges their own nature and not in order to make them more devoted and servile, so our divine parents divert our love in such a way that it reflects back into our own essential nature again.
Love is therefore valued by God, not as something he wishes to possess, but as a positive expression of our highest attitude which he can receive in the spirit in which it is offered and then use for his creative work. This is the bringing of our individual nature to a condition of divine Self-consciousness.
Extracted from the close of the Chapter 'Education' in William Arkle's A Geography of Consciousness (1974)