QA119 QUESTION: [November 30, 1963] I would like to condense and formulate the essence of the discussions that took place in connection with the assassination of the president. Would you please elaborate what the meaning – psychologically and metaphysically – of this event is, how far the Spirit World and our physical world communicate in this and similar events, and how far we and the world in general, carry the burden and share in the guilt of such events?

ANSWER: All right, my dearest friends. First of all, I would like to say that the spirit of this man has undertaken a task which had to be completed – or if not completed, continued – and the life span of this person was not to last longer. This was this particular personality’s plan, so to speak – to spend that many years at this particular time on this earth, and in that time to fulfill a task.

It is not written or destined how or through what means the shedding of the physical body was to occur. But the forces, the laws of cause and effect, and the interaction, which is much too complicated for the human being to remotely comprehend, would make it expedient for the constructive forces in the universe to allow the destructive forces to manifest in such a blunt way, because in the end this would prove more advancing.

The best comparison from a psychological point of view I may give is the following. Take the individual personality. Look at this humanity on this Earth plane in the same way as you look at the human organism of the individual. When you become aware of your own destructive forces, it’s much easier for you to understand, deal with and come to terms with them, and to grow out of childish destructiveness. It is the same way with the individuality of humanity as a whole. It too consists of constructive and destructive forces.

Suppressing or repressing the destructive forces will only make them fester underground. But bringing them to the fore may not mean that you can only eliminate them if you live them out. If you, as an individual, find hate in you, you do not have to act upon this hate. You can become aware of it. But you often are not capable of not, in some subtle way, acting upon this hate. And if you do so, you become more understanding of what happens within yourself.

It is the same with society as a whole. If the destructive forces, the evil in this world that exists, is so rampantly, flagrantly manifest, mankind will eventually as a whole grow faster than if this evil does not manifest.

If you look back in former years – in the past – many, many very evil forces have manifested. Of course, there are those who say mankind has not grown from it. But this is a very limited and shortsighted view. I say that mankind has grown from it, and only within the last twenty years this is very noticeable if one is not blocked or prejudiced, if one is willing to see the whole and not just particles of the whole.

This by no means implies a condoning of these facts that have happened. Quite on the contrary, my friends. I only try to explain the metaphysical, spiritual and psychological – and they’re all one, as you know – connotations and significance of these events. If this great, courageous and developed spirit would have gone from your world by natural causes, the awakening would not be as rude, as you may say, and the lesson to be learned would not be as strong, because such occurrences can, of course, be avoided.

They can be, as has often happened, eliminated. But in this case, since the life span was not supposed to last longer, it was for the better of all mankind that the negative, destructive, evil forces manifest in the most obvious way. If some individuals learn or do not learn from it, it’s not so much the point as of now. But in the long run mankind will learn, as it has learned from these things in the past.

To the question of individual responsibility – how each and every human being is involved – I think the answer is very obvious: as long as any human being harbors little resentments and hostilities for personal and subjective happenings, it is the same germ, it is of the same material. But nevertheless, my friend, I would like to emphasize very strongly – and this goes to you as each individual works on this Path – do make a distinction between living out these destructive forces or seeing them. For this is not quite the same.

Your own sense of guilt is more conducive to destruction than the destructive, negative forces themselves. There is a difference between the little hates and the committing of overt destruction and malice. Please, my friends, realize this difference, because if you only see the negative in yourself and equate your own little guilts completely with such forces as happen occasionally and again and again, you will only thwart the natural good and constructive forces in yourself.

You have to balance the extremes – the extreme of irresponsibility, denial of your negative tendencies, and shifting the responsibility on others. But it is of equal importance not to be burdened by false equations, and to distinguish between the act and the feeling so that you can grow – so that you can lift your head and do not say this is the same, for this will only hinder you.


QA120 QUESTION: A few moments ago, in partial answer to an earlier question, you used the phrase “forming of one’s own fate.” This brings me to the part of something you said in an earlier discourse about the assassination of President Kennedy. I wonder to what extent we form our fate or to what extent is our span destined for us? Because you said he fulfilled his mission within this cut-off period of his life. Would that indicate perhaps that there is sort of a marking off for us of a span that is allotted?

ANSWER: What do you mean by “marking off period”?

QUESTION: You said that he had fulfilled his mission within a limited time.


QUESTION: All right, therefore there was a cutting off on this plane of his life or existence. I don’t say that that means that that is the end, but I say there was a cutting off…

ANSWER: It seems to humanity, of course, that his mission could not possibly have been fulfilled because he had so much to give to this world, and he certainly could have gone on doing so, but this specific individual life, it had to be at an end. Now, you ask, if I correctly understand, what are the processes, what determines it, that a life is cut short?


ANSWER: This, of course, I have gone into in the past to some extent, but it is extremely difficult to generalize an answer at least on the level of understanding you have all reached now. Perhaps a few years ago I could have given you the simple answer – a karmic condition. But now these are just words for you – they do not mean anything. Because, in the last analysis, you do form your own fate, and dying on this earth is certainly not to be taken as punishment from the point of view of reality.

What determines your fate – whether it applies to a short life, a long life, a happy circumstance, an unhappy circumstance, or whatever it is that you encounter within your life span – is your own determination on the deepest level. Take any psychological factor you uncover in your work. How often has it happened with every single one of you that when you approach this Pathwork, you are convinced that certain conditions in your life are fate – it appears that you have absolutely nothing to do with it.

Let us take a simple example that a person experiences a pattern of losing his job, one after the other. Or of not being able to make a relationship with the opposite sex work. In each of these instances, the person can, with all justice and fairness, quote a number of reasons why it is a fate that seems to have nothing to do with himself.

Only by going much deeper, on a deeper inner level, do you find, let us say, a rejecting aspect, a not wanting the relationship, or of not wanting to fulfill this job well, and you therefore encounter how you determine what seems like fate.

Now, the same can work and does work about positive aspects. When something good happens consistently, if you look deep enough, you see that you have a very positive mental and emotional attitude about this good circumstance that you seem to be so lucky in. This is the way you determine your fate, right here and right now.

The same applies – only expanded over a wider span – about a future incarnation, because the personality, the psyche, is still the same. Now, the shortness or longness – the duration of a lifetime – should not and must not ever be evaluated in terms of good or bad, right or wrong, reward or punishment.

If a personality chooses a short life span for a specific incarnation because he is convinced that this condition he comes to this life, to this Earth, for can be accomplished in a relatively short time measured in human measurement, this is determining the fate. It is his will that determines it – a will that is to be found on a much, much deeper level than the outer conscious will.

We discuss repeatedly the various levels, and specifically in the last lecture. [Lecture #119 Movement, Consciousness, Experience: Pleasure, the Essence of Life] The more you resolve your problems, the more you function from your inner brain, your inner conscience and your inner will, when your real inner person is no longer split from the outer level – which may go into different directions – it is this deep inner will, determination and personality that molds a fate. This happens according to many factors that have to be taken into consideration and about which we cannot possibly generalize.

Think these words through and compare them with the example I gave you which you encounter every day in this Pathwork. It represents the greatest victory, step forward and growing process when you finally realize that what seems like an unkind fate, you have determined yourself by a will that you have not had access to so far in your conscious mind.

When you understand this process, you will understand the process of life and death and you will understand what I said in this particular case.

QUESTION: In connection with what you say and which I fully understand, I want to mention that an observer has stated recently, in a publication, that former President Kennedy had reached an impasse in his endeavors and that he perhaps has accomplished more by his departure than he would have been able to do further in fighting with the forces that were opposed to him.

ANSWER: Well, let us put it the other way around. If such an impasse were reached, it was because the inner personality lost the life spark in the deep inner knowledge that this span has ended. You have to put it this way around. The span would not have ended in this particular case – I do not say in all cases – but in the case of an evolved human being, it is not because an impasse has occurred that the will to live is lessened.

It is because the inner personality knows the life is ending that the energy diminished. With many people who have not reached this kind of development, because the personality has reached an impasse, the will to live diminishes. So it can exist in both ways.

QUESTION: If this is so, what brings about the agency that terminates the existing life span?

ANSWER: Well, as I explain to you in this Path at this time, certainly such a terrible act need not have determined the end. Now, what causes such a terrible act? Crisis, ignorance and unchecked self-righteous hostility. This is the evil of this world – to reverse truth into falsehood and falsehood into truth, and therefore let loose streams of hatred.

These forces exist on this earth sphere. Now, when a life span ends, it certainly need not end through the existence of such, what Scripture would call evil forces, or what psychology would call ignorance and hostility. It could be an accident; it could be an illness; it could be a heart attack, as it happens in so many, many cases of human beings.

If in certain instances in the world history, where souls have come to fulfill a specific task for the general goodness of the world, their lives end through these evil forces, it is just to reveal the manifestation of these evil forces. The evil forces exist whether or not they manifest in such a visible way. If they do manifest in such a visible way, or the more they do, the more they defeat themselves.

This is why great spirits, again and again, when they fulfill their own development in conjunction with a task for the good of the world, permit, so to speak, or choose, as it were, to end their predetermined life span, not through a so-called natural cause, but through the manifestation of the evil forces – in order to defeat these evil forces all the quicker.

Now, what I said here may be difficult to understand when you look at it on a very short-term view. But on a long-term view, you will not fail to see that the more the evil forces manifest, the more they defeat themselves. The more they live in hiding and underground, the more rampant and dangerous they become.

QUESTION: You said that everybody forms his or her fate. How about the people who are born in slums, live in slums, and haven’t got a chance for guidance or for any sort of spiritual development?

ANSWER: Well, they too have formed their fate.

QUESTION: In another incarnation?

ANSWER: Yes. It is their state of soul that has formed this poverty. A soul that impoverishes itself more and more – spiritually, emotionally, mentally – by sloth, by stagnation or by withdrawal, the same impoverishment finally out-pictures on the most outer level – the physical one.

If a soul continues to impoverish itself from all the richness of spiritual and emotional life, of entering into a positive involvement, and if this goes on and on and on, finally this climate of inner impoverishment is symbolized in outer life. I said so often that the physical is merely a symbol of the soul life, while humanity usually believes it is the other way around.

QUESTION: But still sometimes in all these impoverished neighborhoods there comes a spirit, a real genius is born, and that one can get out of it. But how about the others? What chance do they have?

ANSWER: They have a chance, but they have to first of all learn not to impoverish themselves. Incarnations and incarnations will finally bring them to this point.

QUESTION: But the non-rich surely are not very much more developed?

ANSWER: Well, you see, not when you look at it right here and now – you cannot look at it from a short-term view. The best way, my friend, to understand these things is to look at your own psychological factors. Then you will understand these things. Now, for instance, compare this with the factors of psychological impoverishment, for the physical impoverishment is just exactly the same. It’s only on a more visible outer level.

There are many, many people who are inwardly just as impoverished, only you cannot see it because outwardly everything seems to be very well, and you do not realize the inner suffering. It is this inner suffering, this inner impoverishment which each human being inflicts himself with.

If a person withdraws from love, from feelings, from the pleasure principle, from involvement, from communication, from relationship, from deep experiencing, this is impoverishment. And the more stubborn the soul is, the longer he maintains this, the more he impoverishes himself, until he creates such a climate and such conditions that he will – even outwardly on the physical level – live that way.

Gradually, the worse it becomes, the more the soul – as a rotation, it is all a cyclic movement – must come eventually to the point when he will no longer withdraw, when he will realize the self-alienation and the impoverishment he has meted out to himself, and he will return back to himself and therefore begin to enrich his life.

QUESTION: But to die in hate, to talk of nothing else, this impoverishes, does it not?

ANSWER: Of course it does, but so does to live in hate. There is no difference, for death is only the reverse side of living. To die in hate is no worse than to live in hate.

QUESTION: But then, if Oswald wouldn’t have killed Kennedy, Kennedy would have died the same day anyhow, and Oswald would have died the same day.

ANSWER: The same day? Not necessarily the same day.

QUESTION: But if it’s meant to be, the way I understood it…

ANSWER: Well, you see, it is meant to be but, in the first place, do not take it on a day to day basis. This may vary with a few days here or there.

QUESTION: And in the same place, in the same hospital, this man died and this one died.

ANSWER: Well, this shows the symbolism of the act. Now, Oswald’s death was not necessarily predestined as the death of Kennedy.


ANSWER: Because in Oswald’s case, the inner will had a lot of more leeway – this was not a question that this man came with a certain task. His task was open. He could have lived a lot longer.

QUESTION: So could Kennedy, if he would have taken care of himself.

ANSWER: The lack of taking care of himself…

QUESTION: Just a bubble top on the car.

ANSWER: A what?

QUESTION: Just a little bubble top on the car.

ANSWER: But, my dear, this is just what I explained. He would have taken care of himself if the inner feeling of death would not have been so close.

QUESTION: Such fatalism.

ANSWER: No. That is a complete misunderstanding. It is not fatalism.

QUESTION: [Another person] Why is there in the human plane no connection between the unconscious knowledge and the conscious knowledge? You said that the soul knew but the individual didn’t.

ANSWER: Well, this is the predicament of man, and this is the aim of this Path – that you unify these levels. The more developed the human being is, the more awareness of the innermost self comes to the surface. And the less awareness exists, the more these levels are separated.

QUESTION: That I can understand, but I can’t understand that in one person the idea is subconsciously or in the soul, “I’m going to die at that day or year,” and in the other one it isn’t. That I don’t understand.

ANSWER: Well, this is a misunderstanding. You see, I explained to you before that there are certain cases where a person comes to this Earth and as a predetermination has intended this life to last for a certain amount of what you call time, in which to fulfill his mission.

Whatever the type of leaving the physical body may be, this may be left open and this may also be predetermined, such as in certain cases in history including this one, when the spirit or the soul of the person chose, for the good of the mission, “I want the destructive forces to end my life rather than a so-called natural cause, for the benefit of this mission.”

Then there are many other souls or spirits who come to life and where the life span is not predetermined to be short, but they shorten it due to their own destructive defeating mechanisms, whether this destruction is self-destructive and/or destructive toward others. The classic case of this is suicide. Now, with someone who commits suicide, you cannot say that this was predetermined that the person’s life may only last such a short time.

But there are many kinds of suicide that are not as visible, not as crass, where a person lives in a very unhealthy way because the destructive forces and self-destructive forces in him are so strong. But if he would change his way, get a hold of himself, look into the right direction, the building up forces, the constructive forces would become stronger, and he would determine a longer life span in which to fulfill himself. These are different cases. Do not interpret this to mean only but these two people. There are these cases and other cases.

QUESTION: But these cases are hurting someone.

ANSWER: Of course, certainly, but I am giving an example here. It seems to hurt you, yes. The destructive forces hurt you.

QUESTION: Is an individual like Kennedy completely bound to be self-determining or is he also subject to a mission? In other words, is it his complete free will that forms earthly existence, or is that also a combination of forces to which he falls subject?

ANSWER: Well, it must always be an interplay. But, of course, since one never knows how a human being is going to fulfill his task on Earth – whether this task be a world leader or in your own circle of life, where you live and where you are put into – it makes no difference. The principle is the same.

So one never knows beforehand. The personality may react this way or react that way. Now, it might have been possible that Kennedy would have somehow fallen on the wayside along the life span of this particular life and could not have fulfilled his mission. Then his death probably would not have occurred in this way.

QUESTION: What you say corresponds completely with the astrological findings, because the life span of Kennedy was determined to end, or at least to be very much endangered within this year to the next year; whereas in Oswald’s chart, as far as it’s known, it was not exactly sure.

ANSWER: Well, this is exactly here, you see, the proof.

QUESTION: How does this apply to the death of an infant, or a child at a very young age?

ANSWER: The same way, exactly the same way. Why should it not apply in this case?

QUESTION: Well, I don’t see it. Does the soul or the entity determine in advance?


QUESTION: Isn’t that what you said?

ANSWER: Yes and no. You see, this is not quite understood here. Birth, as you know, is a traumatic shock, even more than death, but death too. Any sudden change from one dimension into the next is a temporary shock. Now, if the psychological state of a soul has produced the conditions to bring about such a psychological shock, then such a short life may take place, because this may be the shock that is the effect of the cause. Do you understand?

QUESTION: Yes, I do.

QUESTION: [Another person] In one of the plays, Peer Gynt, there’s an incident where Peer is called by the angel of death and he asks for an extension and is granted an extension a few times. Is that within the realm of possibility?

ANSWER: Yes, only this is symbolic. You see, the angel of death who grants, symbolizes nothing else but one’s own inner determination and inner will. To translate this into your practical language, we might, in psychological terms, put the same truth this way: a person whose entire psychological climate, all his aspects, seem to point into the direction that his life will run a certain course and his death will take place, more or less, in certain circumstances and at this or that time, up to so and so much of a life span.

According to this view of the psychological state of this human being or this soul, it does seem the most likely course. This is imprinted in the spiritual field, in the spiritual plane of that being.

But it may very well be possible that through an unexpected surge of a force that is not left on the wayside as this specific being has often done, he suddenly decides differently and becomes constructive and upbuilding rather than destructive. This may lengthen the life span.

On a purely physical level, let me give you the following example, which will best demonstrate this identical principle. If a human being lives in an unhealthy, destructive way, eating the wrong food, not doing any exercise, doing everything that harms his body, you can foresee with a certain amount of accuracy that the health goes steadily down and must run dead, long before the average life span, and be terminated because of this destructiveness on the physical level.

But if suddenly something occurs that urges this human being to change his physical life, his body may as yet have a chance to become healthy. It is the same on the psychological or on the mental or in the emotional level – of the whole spiritual being of the person. This is what the symbolism of the angel of death means: his own changed outlook to convert the destructive forces into constructive ones changes.

QUESTION: I would like to agree with you, only to add what you said before: the child is living in egocentric conditions. A grown-up person lives in society. Therefore, we have only to add that society plays also a role – for instance, a better organized society will contribute to a more healthy and definite life of the individual.

ANSWER: Of course. Right.

QUESTION: And even an individual just groping, for instance, can fulfill and develop its own identity because he has an opportunity to develop in his life. Therefore the social element has to be added to the psychological element.

ANSWER: Well, it is not a question of adding it – it is the outcome of it. They are not two separate factors. They are interdependent. They are cause and effect. The general social, economic, political situation– or whatever name you give to it – is a result of the number of human beings who have the healthy outlook. This will change the outer condition, which then in turn will make it easier for the majority to live a constructive life.

QUESTION: Since we are on the subject of Kennedy, I would like to ask a question I wanted to ask for a long time. How does a Roman Catholic reconcile the Roman Catholicism in the last review of his life. What does he do with the last judgement and so on – all the things he practiced here?

ANSWER: Well, my dear, if a developed soul enters into the world of the spirit, he will simply see that certain assumptions are just a little bit different, because a developed soul – or one of the predominant aspects of a developed soul – is very flexible. He’s not cramped in his beliefs. He may believe outwardly and even inwardly up to a degree in his own religion, but never in a cramped, rigid and inflexible way. So the transition will not be a shock. On the contrary!

The highly developed being will find it very possible to consolidate his deep insights with the religion he has been brought up in and will not make a tremendous issue out of the fact that even while he lives, he takes certain dogmas of his religion with a grain of salt. He does not pay too much attention to it.

He emphasizes those aspects which he feels as truth. Those he feels as untruth, error or misconception, he realizes these are man-made errors and he does not dwell on that. So his transition will never present a shocking change. Because he, deep inside, feels the psychological and spiritual truth of life.

But when an undeveloped human being clings tightly to postulate, then, of course, it is a difficulty when he awakens in the world of the spirit – but not because of a specific wrong belief he had, much rather because of the attitude in him that made him cling to something! He may just as well cling to a truth and it would be equally harmful, because in this tight inner soul picture, even the truth becomes distorted – even if he clings in that way to a true belief.

You see, you human beings are always so tempted to pay too much attention to the “what” rather than to the “how.” It is possible that a human being has all the correct concepts but his inner state is tightly cramped, compulsive and inflexible. This is the harm. All the true beliefs will not help him.

While by the same token, it is possible that someone in a very light, flexible and open way lightly assumes an untruth but it is not a deep inner cramped thing. Therefore this untrue belief will not be a hindrance. So the “how,” the inner condition, the way one believes or not believes, the open-mindedness, the attitude, these are the things that count – not whether or not you believe a truth or a nontruth.

QUESTION: In the death of Kennedy, there were so many thousands and thousands of people praying for him at the time of his passing. Apparently not too many people felt the deep desire to pray for the other person, Lee Oswald. Now, if you can truly feel a desire and pray for this evil force here, from the spiritual standpoint, what do you suggest?

ANSWER: Well, of course, if you feel a true desire to help that person reach enlightenment, why should there be anything wrong with that?

QUESTION: Well, I didn’t say it was wrong. I felt it was a desirable thing.


QUESTION: But from the spiritual realm, as to how much would it really accomplish, for instance, in helping that soul?

ANSWER: That is the question! And also you know, as I so often said pertaining to everything, one’s own involvement and lack of involvement, one’s inner motivations, one’s identifications have to be very well understood in order to make the prayer of the force – the love force that comes out of the heart – a strong and effectual force, or a diluted one. So this, of course, is very important to understand about oneself.

QUESTION: About the motivation?

ANSWER: Yes, yes – one’s own identifications, one’s own transferences. To the degree they are understood and perceived – and therefore one understands the mechanism that makes one perhaps tend more in one direction than in the other – to that degree the prayer will be more effective.

QUESTION: So, in other words, even if somebody believes in reincarnation, he still could join the Roman Catholic church?

ANSWER: Yes. But he does not even have to believe in reincarnation in order to be a very evolved soul. The belief is never the determining factor. You can believe the truth and your soul can be in turmoil – and you can have no specific truthful belief or be in a state of “I don’t know” or lightly and flexibly believe in something that is not according to truth – yet your soul may be in relative harmony. Do you understand that?

QUESTION: Yes, I do.

ANSWER: All right, my dearest friends, if you truly but understand a part of these words – perhaps you’ll have to hear them again and again in order to do that – I am quite sure that each one of you will derive benefit from this, each one of you, my dear ones. So I bless all of you who are here and who are not here, and ask you to continue working and questioning yourself, questioning your motivations, and determining what do you really feel. In other words to do all that is so necessary on this Path of growing. I would like to give one advice before I withdraw.

It is of great importance, my friends, that you who work on the Path see to it that you bring the full impact of your emotions, of your disturbances, of your confusions to your Helper rather than diluting them elsewhere. This is a very strong and important factor that will prove very helpful for your work.

I also want to add that splitting up the work between several Helpers is dangerous. I do not mean a change from one to another on a permanent basis, if a such a step is at times indicated and at times even quite favorable. I do not mean that.

But some eager soul or one eager soul believes that by working with several people simultaneously that this may speed up the process, and I feel it’s very important to point out that this is not only not advisable but even may endanger the whole progress of the Path. It is very important to remain focused and make a choice and remain with one Helper. You may discuss this among yourselves and meditate and try, on a deeper level, to understand in what way does the danger exist.

Now, when I say the word “danger,” I do not mean that a tragedy will befall on you. I mean danger as far as the continuation of your Pathwork is concerned, that such a splitting of forces may even cause a complete withdrawal from the Pathwork, eventually – first only inwardly, and eventually even outwardly.

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