The potential of any human being is naturally concealed from him or her. Consider the analogy of the tree seed sown into the soil. The seed potentially contains in itself everything that the entire species of that tree can offer, and yet that potential does not reveal its nature to its environment. Does our environment not give us, as individuals any clues to what our potential is, what we are capable of, and what we ought to do in this world? On the contrary, our environment allows us free choice, an opportunity to choose from the plethora of useful vocations, telling us, “All opportunities are open to you”.
However, we are concerned with our own potential, rather than with the potential of other people. Does the seed need to discover first that it is the seed of a tree, rather than grass or a shrub? Does that seed need to learn what particular species of trees it belongs to, or what particular parent tree produced that seed? What was the origin and the experience of that parent tree and where, in turn, did that parent tree come from? Could it be that the answers to those questions hold the key to our potential, which differentiate us from all the other trees?
“No,” Says our society.
“Yes,” Say our ancestors.
What determines if our potential will develop fully, or partially? Will it develop in a standard way, or will it take a very personal and distinct pattern? Will that potential indeed become a beautiful ornament, or a haphazard pattern of useless capabilities, such as the ability to touch one’s eye with one’s own tongue, or to rub one’s ear with one’s own heel?
Nowadays the potential of our entire human genus, accumulated over thousands of years, reveals in every person in a very ordinate way, with very unremarkable and mediocre skills. Isn’t that amazing? Why do we accept that, and accept it as due?
The very ordinary and uniform skills of modern people immediately reveal the very reason for the status quo: early, standardized schooling both limits and levels the potentials of all children, normalizing that potential to the dominant behaviour of the majority.
Once we notice the repeated and prevailing standardized patterns of skills in our society, we can draw a conclusion to how our current environment affects the potential of each human. Exceptions do happen when, notwithstanding that effect of the environment, a person born into a standardized setting can unexpectedly develop and reveal extraordinary skills. This is possible, but these exceptions happen contrary to the normalizing effect of the environment, rather than because of it. As one can expect, a standardized schooling system typically produces mediocre people.
Thus, the human potential to be revealed depends on the type and duration of the effects he or she experienced during the childhood and adolescence.
The effect of the environment is the strongest whilst the human body is still growing, typically up until the age of twenty-four. It is not coincidental at all that most people study in schools and colleges right up until this age. When they start working, their potential has already been normalized to the social standard: they have acquired typical skills of reading, writing, and counting. It also includes possessing and expressing “one’s own” opinion, and skills to relax using the available entertainment formats. It is taking a deep breath and a cup of bravery, to admit that the college adds nothing else to these skills. If a person can play tennis or piano, it implies some influence from their family, in addition to the standard education system.
This is barely much at all. The gaping void in the questions of, “What is my purpose, my mission, my potential?” is what stirs and disturbs most of us nowadays. If we do not start taking urgent actions, we risk remaining average office workers in an average office, or mediocre entrepreneurs at best.
The highest-ranked office worker in a country is the president. The most successful entrepreneur is the billionaire-tycoon. Yet neither of them has developed their potential to the fullest, as determined by Nature: they remain nothing more than a standard president, or billionaire.
What can we do to help ourselves, and reveal our potential?
First of all, we need to learn and know what direction to take, in order to develop ourselves.
Without a strong external influence from the proper direction, we have no chance to evolve and unfold. To unfold in a particular direction, we need a force from above us. Specifically, we need to be shown the direction of our evolution, like a vine climbs up by twining around a pole; we need to subject ourselves to something that can give us such a direction, and acknowledge our subordinate position with respect to that something. We will call that something a Source, similar to how our Sun gives us direction and energy. Having that Source in place, we can start to evolve according to its direction.
It is important to realize that the Source, which gives us the direction of our development, must be not internal, but external. Everything inside us is not our guiding force, but our potential, given to us by Nature, as a multitude of forces and opportunities awaiting us to master them. Our potential is, however, confined by standardized schooling, which made us erroneously believe that the leading force of our development lies inside us, that we ourselves are this force. It is not true.
What we are inside, is a human Entity at a certain level of development with respect to the highest Source — our stem upon which we descend from. If we continue to believe we can unfold on our own, from inside of ourselves, relying only on our own power, we will be in no way different from the majority of people around us, who are hoping for a miracle of self-propulsion in their self-development. They never progress in this. This is the main delusion of the majority of our standardized fellow citizens, subjected to decades of averaging external influence, who believe that they are capable of breaking away from their built-in chains, entirely through the use of their inner potential. People say there is no harm in dreaming. In this case there is, as we run the risk of remaining in the Incubator for the rest of our lives.
So, what external Source do we need to put ourselves under, so that we can start to unleash our inner potential, which will begin to unfurl due to, in the direction of, and as a result of this influence?
Placing ourselves under the Sun or rain does not suffice, for we are Humans, not plants.
Can books or the Web help us? — No, for they do not meet the absolutely essential condition that the Source must be unidirectional. Information from books and Internet sprouts from a multitude of origins.
Can we perhaps call on the concept of God as the unidirectional Source of human development? Possible is everything. Except that God is an inner image and hope, rather than a specific power above us. Appealing to the notion of God is no different from the hope of the majority, who believe they can take the path of self-development and break the chains of standard social programming. We cannot take a chance in this matter, enwrapped in fantasies about our spiritual strength, and believing that God would not leave us.
What can be this external, and very specific source of human development? That can only be another Human.
You cannot subordinate yourself to anything else in your evolution, other than another Man — a man with a capital M.
In Russian, “man” by its inherent virtue and original etymological meaning is, “a being whose face is turned up”, literally a Face-Up-Man (Russian Человек = чело вверх). He has already been initiated, and developed his potential given by Nature, following his own superior or the utmost Source itself, which is above him. Such a Man is equivalent to our own father, one that would have been our father in a natural family, with his natural functions and purposes towards us. Since our own biological fathers did not function as our Superior, as a Source for our development, the only option left to us, is to find such a Man. Another (i.e. external to ourselves) Man, who does possess power we could only dream of, whom we can nominate as our father, and by subordination, to whom we can find the Source of unidirectional, real, live, and powerful influence. Even if someone strives to the mundane task of becoming rich, he or she ought to subordinate to another Man who is already rich himself. To become wiser — subordinate to a Man who is much wiser than we are, and adopt his knowledge and wisdom, which emanates from him.
It is natural when a mother feeds a child with everything essential for it’s body. Similarly natural is when a father transfers to his child his Will and Spirit of his ancestors, which he received, in turn, from his own father.
However, if this continuity has been disrupted and there was no father functioning as the unidirectional Source to reveal our natural potential, we, as soon as we awaken, can subordinate ourselves to a Superior Man, whom we accept as our Source.
The Superior can function with respect to us, either as a Master, a Leader, or a Teacher.
The Master teaches us the vocation he is skilled in, and transfers to us his skills that he mastered. The Leader reveals to us powerful goals, and helps us to focus ourselves and develop our natural potential to achieve those goals. The Teacher makes us aware of the main direction for our development, and clarifies the meaning of principles that will serve as road signs in our life.
To subordinate yourself to a Master means to become his apprentice. To subordinate yourself to a Leader means to become his servant. To subordinate yourself to a Teacher means to become his disciple. It is utterly important to discern these roles, in order to stay adequate in life. To “serve” a Master or a Teacher is not a correct word. For a Master one should become his apprentice. Serving him would be inadequate. Do not bother him with irrelevant questions either, so just follow what he does in his vocation, craft, or trade. It follows then that you do not offer any service to the Teacher, and you do not become his apprentice, for the Teacher will not give you any specific orders, but will be waiting for your questions instead. Likewise, you do not become an apprentice with a Leader, nor ask him questions, for you need to follow his verdicts and perform service to him accordingly.
Whom do we need – a Master, a Leader, or a Teacher as our Superior? It depends on the individual.
Suppose one needs a Master. Then, if they find a Leader and start serving him, their natural potential will not be revealed, and they will become frustrated. Likewise, if one finds a Teacher, they will not be able to learn anything from him, as one will not understand his answers to one’s own questions.
If we need to gain mastery, we need to find a Master. The very possibility to find a Master can only be realized if we abstain from deliberately sorting through different skills and asking ourselves: is this suitable for us to learn, or should we choose another? Instead, we have a chance of finding our Master by going as an apprentice to any encountered Master, whose craft would be useful, regardless the fact if we like or consider it as our destiny or not. This is because the path to our destiny, to our natural purpose, can only be taken one step at a time, gradually. This is only possible through becoming skilful in many practically useful pursuits.
There could be no progress in mastering any craft as long as we remain hired employees or practice business as entrepreneurs. Even if we consider ourselves an apprentice, continuing to work for an employer will inevitably make us passive, and continuing to do our own business, will only make us sly. This is because development requires a unidirectional Source, which cannot be expected to appear when one is on a salary, or one is focused entirely on profit.
However, for a graduate of a college on a certain level of self-development, to become a hired employee is a step up in his evolution. Likewise, when a salaried employee becomes an entrepreneur, it is also a definite progress. It is quite difficult for a high school graduate to become an entrepreneur, not everyone can do it. It is also quite difficult for a salaried worker to become an apprentice, more so than for an entrepreneur to take this step. Naturally, an entrepreneur has the experience of acting completely on their own in business, and knows first-hand what professionalism is, or how to discern if there is none. In this sense, the office worker has much less experience, and therefore has a harder time finding a Master amongst the people advertising their trades and professions.
As we can see, finding a Master is a quite difficult task. Finding a Leader or a Teacher is proportionally harder, for the corresponding functions are higher in their significance. However, one has to pass through the step of being an apprentice with a Master, in order to develop useful skills that one can use when becoming a servant to a Leader.
Even a teenager can become the disciple of a Teacher. However, only if we have mastered useful skills and performed a service to a Leader, can we start to ask meaningful questions to the Teacher, answers to which will help us in our development. The most meaningful and powerful questions to the Teacher are coming from the true Leader who himself has people serving him, not to be confused with the office workers motivated entirely by the salary.
One would think everything is clear now. But in real life, any particular office worker, even the one who wholeheartedly agreed with what has been discussed above, would feel frozen, as if enchanted or paralyzed, unable to act according to this understanding. He will continue to waste the time in the social networks or by watching YouTube videos on “related topics”, but will not start a business promptly. Those few who do actually try to start a business, most will retreat back because, naturally, their businesses would predictably fail at their first amateur attempt. One would need to make incommensurate efforts to start the process.
Here it is important to dwell a bit more on the state of powerlessness inherent to any office worker. The reasons for this weakness are: the regular fixed salary with the possibility of its growth, the lulling stability from month to month, absence of any unfamiliar dangers, as well as possible promotions and bonuses that provide a false feeling of self-importance. All of these are further aggravated by the need to pay off monthly bills, loans, and the mortgage. The true root cause that unites all of those is the fear, which paralyzes the will to act, and transfixes the mind.
The only way to solve this fear-induced paralysis is to do exactly what one is afraid to do. The goal is to transcend one’s own fear, one step at a time, in the most intimidating of directions, so that in case something happens one could flee back to the familiar environment. By taking those small steps regularly in the directions that we fear to tread, we will gradually learn to walk upon our fears, as we walk on the pavement. Only then can we proceed higher.
To abolish our standardized behaviour and reactions, one must start doing something unusual. It was this standardized environment that brought us into the Incubator. Therefore, the more the individual is doing strange and unusual things, the more experience they are gaining of what they are afraid of, the faster they will transcend their fears and paralyzing weakness, and start at least their own business.