Volume 1, Number 8


Birth Until Death: The Culture of

by Bubba Free John


The first seven years of life, or
the first stage of human culture, is the time of the
development of the vital or living physical being. Other
functions may also be developing then, but it is especially
the time for physical development. In the beginning the
individual is a “babe in arms,” without responsibility of
any kind and essentially without response to life. He lives
a calm, sleepy, vegetable-like existence. At this stage of
growth, the physical nature is not impinging on the child.
He lives in a kind of dream state even though awake, free of
concepts, not differentiating between the more subtle forms
of consciousness and the waking or physical

Gradually he begins to adapt to the
functional structures of physical existence. Therefore, in
this first stage we see the development of coordination
among the functions of the body. And that adaptation is
appropriate. It is not that he loses something by turning
outward to physical existence. Adaptation to lower, physical
life is absolutely necessary. He is preparing the ground for
responsible adaptation to higher life.

In the first stage of life, then,
there is only minimal development of responsibility for the
emotional and the mental faculties. The mental life at this
stage is a process of adaptation of attention, not of
conceptualization. There is a functional mind, and the
individual can learn rudimentary skills, such as reading and
writing. But we cannot expect the individual during those
seven years to become a true intellectual or moral
representation of human integrity. The level of experience
to which he or she is adapted in the present bodily form is
too rudimentary to provide the vehicle for a truly creative
intellect. This is true even of prodigies. They must adapt
to the human condition through experience. Neither can we
expect a range of sophisticated relational emotions or
heightened sexual capacity during this time. If the child is
a prodigy, with possibilities for intellectual or sexual
development, and we exploit those possibilities without
giving attention to the functions he should be developing at
his stage of life, then we will eventually see an aberrated
adult. He may be a genius at mathematics, but an idiot from
almost any other point of view, because he has not adapted
to forms of experience that inform the mechanical mind of
what is above, below, other, and greater than

The education of children in the
first stage of life is a process of nurturing them in a
state of dependence, gradually serving their growth to
relative independence through adaptation to rudimentary
physical, emotional, and mental confrontations with life,
and drawing them into life through feeling and playful
experimentation with their possibilities as physical


As the child approaches the seventh
year, from perhaps five to seven years of age, his emotional
and also his concrete linguistic or mental development is
beginning to become a little more sophisticated. Emotional
responsibility is thus clearly required. He must begin to
live in relational terms and to learn how to deal with the
real existence of other beings, human beings especially! In
the second stage there appears the potential of full
relational feeling and the necessity for responsibility for
the communication of life-force and sympathy with its vital
processes. Thus, the individual develops an expanded bodily
life through the extension of feeling, and he also becomes
sexually aware, even very early in life. In this second
stage he should develop a more sophisticated awareness of
energy and healthfulness, of breathing and of bringing
energy to others. The morality of love itself finds its seed
form in the second stage.

The second phase of life is the time
of the development of the etheric or emotional-sexual life,
of polarization to etheric life, of feeling alive and
flowering, as the primitive physical sense, which once was
the primary goad to living adaptation, begins to submit
itself to awareness of the greater world of energy
relations, the living world wherein solidity gives way to
animation and rapid changes. It is the time of the
development of sexual polarization and sensitivity, and of
emotional life based on the forces contained in sexual
differentiation. Emotion and physical energy of every kind,
including sexuality, are simultaneously awakened as parts of
the same process. Blood and breath, circulation, and bodily
rhythms are also developed during this second stage of


In the third stage, the lower
functions of mind, including will, intention, and
self-control, and general integration of the living being in
its relations should begin to develop. The weakness of this
level of development, or the absence of the cultural demand
for it, are the basis of the conflict that commonly appears
at puberty. Not only has the individual developed physically
by this time, but he has also developed an emotional and
sexual presence. Then suddenly the suggestion of the
functions of will and intention arise in him, accompanied by
the social demand to be responsible, to control himself, and
to develop himself mentally. The conflict between his
readiness to throw himself into a life of self-indulgence
(the habit of wasting life-energy) and the new demand for a
life of self-control is the conventional theatre of puberty.
The third stage of life should be the cultural moment in
which the individual is clearly confronted with the
obligation to be responsible, independent, and loving.
Otherwise, the relative dependency of his earlier life will
become a source of weakness, withdrawal, negative
reactivity, and destructiveness in relation to himself and

When the second stage is essentially
mature, generally from twelve to fourteen years of age, the
individual should be acknowledged, even by his parents, to
be essentially responsible for himself (or herself), but
within the context of a total educational or cultural
structure that will guide him in his adolescent development.
From this time on, he is to adapt to life from the point of
view of intentional responsibility, until he is capable of
being an integrated human being in the common world of human
functions and human relations. Thus, in the third stage, the
mind as intention and will must be integrated with the whole
complex of feeling and activity that are an ordinary human
life. It is in this stage that the individual must learn
what the matter of life is all about, what relations are all
about, what sexuality is all about (without indulgence of
the sexual functions), and it is also in this stage that he
actually begins to practice moral responsibility for the
relational context of human life.

It may be appropriate to change the
childs living circumstance when he enters the third stage of
life. For example, in our own developing culture of devotees
practicing the Way of Divine Ignorance, most often the
teenager lives in a household with his parents-and with
other families as well-but there is a tacit and real
acknowledgment of his responsibility, his relative maturity.
He is not independent in the sense that he can live
independently and do anything he likes. Nevertheless, now he
is no longer parented. He is a responsible individual within
the culture in which his education appears. The whole
culture, or in our case, the Church, is responsible to him
rather than just his parents. He does not have a
conventional child-parent relationship to anyone. Rather, he
is a mature individual meeting other mature individuals of
greater experience who are serving his growth in life, and
he serves them with love and respect, not with childish
needs to be either dependent or separate.

Thus, the typical rebellion of the
adolescent is not necessary. His essential independence is
acknowledged, not threatened or prevented. Therefore, it may
be appropriate during the third stage of life for the
individual at least to move out of the childhood orientation
within his household. He may even move out of his household
to live in an educational environment with others of the
same age or stage of life. He should not be completely
separated from his parents and previous intimates, but able
to see them by choice. It should be clear that he has been
accepted into the sacred culture of the larger society, and
there he (or she) is to learn his mature obligations and be
instructed in the right use of his lower functional
potential relative to a future in which he must also grow
into expanded psychic and spiritual dimensions of existence.
The incidents that inform his life from day to day must
remain the essential responsibility of the cultural or
sacred group into which he has been integrated (presuming
such a group exists, as it does in our Church), and that
order of his life should be maintained until his moral
maturity is acknowledged, generally between the late teens
and the age of twenty-one, when it should be presumed, based
on evidence, that this individual is now able to live a true
human and spiritual life. From that time, he should be free
to combine himself with the world and, as in the case of our
own Church culture, to continue to develop the sacred life
of higher development as well. But he has learned what he
can learn about the body, emotion, and mind in themselves
and now he must go out and live them in further practical
and intellectual education, work in the world, and

In the third stage of life, the
conflict between intentional responsibility and the desiring
force of life is felt most deeply. It is the responsibility
of the parent generation to help the adolescent individual
understand this conflict and continue the process of
adaptation and integration within the ultimate framework of
the full seven stages of life. (Where there is no
understanding or culture of the seven stages of life,
clearly the young are not only disadvantaged but deprived of
their birthright.) The growing individual at any stage must
not be allowed to retreat just because the Way is difficult.
The tendency of the teenager is to become self-indulgent, to
exploit the physical and emotional forces already developed,
and to yield to all kinds of gross social stupidity. This is
essentially the very motivation limiting the development of
common humanity at the present time. All the stupidity, all
the false views, all the “scientific” heresies, all the
psycho-social limitations of life are commonly implanted in
subtle or obvious ways during this period. It is all learned
essentially during those first twenty-one years and less, in
school, among parents and relatives, in isolation and kid
games, and in the media of daily communication-conversation,
TV, books, and all the argument, hype, propaganda, and
persuasiveness of random experience and the subconscious
forces below thought.

The third stage of life should be
initiatory, but in the cultural sense, not in the spiritual
sense. As an immature child, the individual exists
essentially removed from the things of the world and does
not know anything about them. In the second stage of life,
however, he begins, through feeling, to participate more
fully in the process of his incarnation, his bodily
functional life. In the cultural process of this stage, he
adapts essentially through physical and vital-emotional
feeling. A rudimentary aspect of mentality is present in the
second stage, but it is only in the third stage that the
individual gains integral control and mastery of his
life-functions-body, emotions, and mind-as he develops the
use of attention, reflection. analysis memory, and

Among the principal and most
significant adaptations that the individual must realize in
this stage is the adaptation to his sexuality. Most
present-day teenagers, adapted to the world with only
partial acculturation (and, therefore, only partial
humanization), are suppressed by the parental enclosure,
required to be childishly dependent, even into and beyond
their second seven years, rather than to move toward
responsibility. When the individual is a teenager, in the
society of high school, he gets rebellious. He acquires a
secret life hidden from his family and the older people who
are responsible to him. He starts to exploit himself
emotionally, physically, and sexually, and to do so even
violently and stupidly. Thus, we truly serve our children
only if we set them free within the cultural circle of the
wise during their teens. Then their nature will not be
suppressed, but brought into a very mature relationship to
that stage of life in which we all must realize truly human
control over body, emotion, and mind, and a devotion of
these to the spiritual point of view.

Actual sexual contact should not be
part of an individuals life until he (or she) is mature in
the third stage of life. Only then is he prepared for true
sexual intimacy, and only then should he be encouraged to
live it in actual relationship. And he must be instructed in
not only the generative but the regenerative and esoteric
functions of the sexual process. A life of sexual and
personal exploitation is the result of being a reactive,
psychologically dependent personality as a teenager. Such an
individual is able to differentiate himself and feel his own
life-strength only by extraordinary acts of independence
through self-indulgence, promiscuity, manipulation of self
and others, and so forth. The principle of the exploitation
or elimination of life that we all commonly learn in our
conventional relations simply must not be learned or
reinforced. Individuals must see that independence based on
self-indulgence and exploitation of bodily experience is a
false principle, that it has nothing to do with Wisdom, with
spiritual life, with Realization of Truth, or with being a
human being. That principle is false, not only relative to
sexuality but to the whole of life. The usual man empties
himself in all kinds of ways. He exploits himself to acquire
pleasure because he does not feel pleasure inherently.
Rather, he always already feels a contracted or reactive
condition, a dilemma or suppression of body, emotion, life,
and mind. He is not a spiritual person. He is not
consciously involved in the Divine Process. He probably
thinks there is no such process. Therefore, he basically
uses up his life, as his sexual tendencies and habits
clearly demonstrate.

Orgasm is a principal method people
exploit for the sake of pleasurable release. They feel
pleasure temporarily, but ultimately they empty themselves.
Conventional orgasm is a reflex that discharges the
life-force. But people commonly are not only addicted to
orgasm, but they believe it is a healthful practice. In a
true culture of human adaptation, the regenerative
conservation of the vital force is realized through
instruction in the third stage of life. The psycho-physics
of diet, health, sexual intimacy, and so forth, as well as
the Law of Sacrifice, fulfilled through unobstructed
feeling-attention in all relations, must be learned before
we are prepared for the human world. (Since most people have
not grown to maturity in such a culture, the so-called human
world of our time is peopled by subhuman, immature, and
uninstructed individuals who know practically nothing about
the spiritual order and ultimate functional destiny of human

Thus, the principle of the
conservation of life force, the psycho-physics of the
conservation of energy or of life, must be realized in the
third stage of life. When this principle, understood
relative to all life-functions, becomes the foundation of
the practice of life, then the individual may become not
only sexually active but maturely present in every common
way as a human being in the world.

By the time an individual is about
twenty-one years old he should be ready to grow into what is
more than “human” in the conventional sense. But the usual
man is hardly even equipped to be human. He has gone through
this twenty-one years, but he has not come to the point of
integrated functional responsibility. He cannot control the
force of life in himself and use it in creative ways. He is
full of fear, continually subject to negative emotions and
bouts of self-indulgence, and always looking to be consoled
by the things of life and beyond life, rather than being
responsibly and pleasurably integrated with the Great
Process into which he was born.

The first three stages of life
should be served by cultural incidents and relations that
bring the individual into more and more perfect coincidence
with the inherent structural necessities awakened at each
stage. The first twenty-one years represent the demand for
adaptation and integration relative to vital-physical,
emotional-sexual, and primary mental faculties. The mature
individual who has entered into the greater human world, to
live on the basis of what he has already learned as well as
to continue growth in the fourth stage of life, should be
fully instructed and responsible relative to the integrity
and Lawful conservation of life-energy for the sake of
common happiness, health, and well-being.

The Eating Gorilla Comes in Peace is
a book of instruction relative to such conservation or
Lawful practice relative to diet and health. Love of the
Two-Armed Form considers the same responsibility relative to
the sexual process. Conscious Exercise and the
Transcendental Sun is a manual not only of exercise but the
psycho-physics of feeling-attention, or love. The higher
esoteric considerations of this culture are discussed in The
Paradox of Instruction , Breath and Name , and other books,
and are otherwise directly communicated in the Spiritual
Company of Bubba Free John as well as in the private
instructional and educational occasions enjoyed by devotees
in The Free Communion Church.


It is in the first three stages of
life, when others are culturally responsible to an
individual for his development from dependence to autonomy
(or truly human incarnation), that we see the process of
growth in more or less concrete periods of years. The
pattern of the first twenty-one years is more specific than
the rest of life, but the later stages of life can also
differentiate subsequent growth into periods of
approximately seven years, if the individual is consciously
applied to spiritual practice in a total culture. (Most
individuals are likely to see future growth only in terms of
lifetimes of slow testing and learning.) In any case, the
kind of development that follows the first three stages
cannot be fixed in terms of the time and space known to the
grosser aspects of the body-being alone, and it ultimately
breaks through the patterns of time and space

There is no temporal or spatial end
to human growth. We are, by virtue of our structure, fitted
for growth into Light, or Eternal Life, via all seven stages
of life. We are always, in one or another stage, obliged to
purify and integrate ourselves at the functional levels in
which we are already aware, and we are simultaneously
obliged to be initiated (or introduced to the next
food-source) into awareness at the next highest level of the
functional body-being. In the first three stages, we are
obliged to adapt to an autonomous, relational, feeling life
in terms of body, emotion (including sex), mind, and their
relations. When we are so mature, then we enjoy the
foundation from which the body-being readily enters into the
ascending order of higher mental, psychic, and intuitional
awareness. This process is naturally keyed into play by a
refining process in the lower body-being that occurs when
the heart, the feeling core, ceases to be weighted down by
the gross physical life and begins to flower in its devotion
to Infinity and the Light or Source beyond all

As we have seen, the body-being
matures in the cycle of life by first adapting to his or her
born individuality, to the physical, emotional, and mental
dimensions of being. But then quite independent of the level
of psychological and philosophical preparation, the process
begins to reverse itself. The grosser dimensions in which
the whole body-being has been adapted gradually wind down,
and the body-being becomes more refined as time goes on.
Thus, in the teens and twenties the individual is generally
disposed to a very vital and physically oriented play of
life. He has a great deal of energy at the physical level,
and his total development is organized around physical
activity or the conditions of the gross physical world. In
these early years, the etheric, or energy dimension of the
being, is itself oriented or turned toward the elemental and
physical dimension. Then in the thirties and on into the
forties, the relationship between the etheric and the
physical dimensions reverses. The gross physical or
elemental dimension turns to the etheric, and the etheric
becomes senior. The physical dimension of the being becomes
finer, more apparently associated with the life-force and
feeling dimension. The physical dimension becomes gradually
weaker, or less and less active in the sheerly physical
sense. Eventually, there is death.

Since human beings tend to adapt to
the reactive-egoic Principle of life, they also generally
fail to develop or grow beyond a complicated organization of
the physical-emotional-mental dimension of human potential.
Therefore, death has tended to be interpreted (even
“scientifically”-science being no more illumined than the
stage of life of its practitioners) as a terminal event.
(“When you are dead, you are dead.”) This is because the
event of gross physical death is a dropping off of at least
the present configuration of all the levels of awareness to
which the usual man has adapted. However, those who grow
into adaptation above the grosser levels of the body-being
become naturally aware in and as levels of conscious
existence (levels of light) that cannot possibly be
terminated by gross physical death. Even simple love is a
tacit intuition of the heart, or the higher psychic
condition that transcends the elements. And if the
individual would become truly sensitive to the process and
physics of thinking, breathing, feeling, and moving, the
doctrine of mortality would lose its argument against love
and light.

However, full transcendence of death
requires a consciousness that already persists independent
of the changes in body, emotion, and thought. Therefore, we
must grow beyond adolescence and early manhood. And the
body-being itself contains a mechanism whereby the finer or
more etheric and psychic dimensions of awareness, feeding,
and growth are made to impinge on our vital motives to
perpetual physical desire and fulfillment. That mechanism is
aging. And death is the ultimate argument for higher and
subtler adaptation of attention in the cycle of maturity and

We need not necessarily call the
changes we can observe in the middle age of life
“degeneration,” unless the body-being is devoted to a
degenerative way of living. The changes that inevitably
occur are simply a refinement of the conditions of the
body-being. As long as the individual leads a responsible,
loving, and healthy life, the changes that occur in maturity
are not a matter of essential degeneration. As the being
becomes more fundamentally and profoundly oriented to the
etheric dimension and the food that is life itself, and even
perhaps to the more subtle mental or psychic and spiritual
dimensions, the physical dimension itself becomes more a
display of higher energy than a gross activity. Thus, the
more forcefully intelligent life of the individual, which
only begins in his twenties, generally only matures in his
thirties or forties. As he matures, the release of his fixed
orientation toward the gross physical permits the higher
human faculties to become more prominent and obvious to the

Tragically, the usual man or woman
is commonly unable to realize a free life of love and
responsibility relative to the lower life. The struggle with
the problems of childhood and adolescence tends to be
life-long. Thus, as the bodily life passes into its stages
of refinement toward death, the dilemma of his failed
adaptation is only more profoundly demonstrated. If only
human beings could maintain Communion with the Mystery of
their own existence and respect the Wisdom-influence that is
always present in various forms in this world! But the
dogmas of egoic experience and of human suffering are
constantly exercising a general and popular propagandistic
force over the Voice of Wisdom and eternal

As a result, the clues in our
maturing or aging are lost, and we fear annihilation is
built into the world. We look for consolation in the
vulgarities of this world and the illusions of the next. We
seek escape. We look for the food of eternal life. But we
despair or only hope until death, whereas we should grow all
our lives and enjoy the blessedness of the Radiant Divinity
whose secret processes are not merely in our minds, our
subjective inwardness, but in the whole body-being itself,
which has the potential to manifest all of the Genius and
Form and Bliss of Light.