The Mind Body distinction, that there are two essential substances, Mind and Matter. The former is non-corporeal and non-extensible who’s essential attribute is thinking, the latter its opposite with the essential attribute of extension and does not think. Their existence is joined in harmony, yet existentially independent, capable of continued separate existence. At the moment of death the body continues to exist as a body for some time, and the soul can continue to exist afterwards in a discarnate, private reality of thought.
I have no idea of what to write about this, but then again I shouldn’t need to, I am an intuitive philosopher. When I write it is not the product of the work of the mind, rather the mind is simply the medium or channel through which the inspired philosophy is manifested. Therefore not my philosophy but My philosophy.
There is a big difference between the Abstract Mind and the Concrete Mind.
The philosophy that is brought down through this method of philosophising is from the mind that sees the whole, and presented holistic responses and ideas. The details of the pieces and the mechanics of their links are the realm and responsibility of the Concrete mind. For the purposes of getting the finished article BOTH are needed, first the Abstract Mind presents the expansive view, and then this must be broken down and analysed by the Concrete Mind to get a presentable piece of philosophy. The Abstract Mind can grasp and handle truth better than the concrete mind, but the concrete mind is needed to describe this truth. Language is the product of and tool of the concrete mind, ideation is the realm of the Abstract Mind. The Abstract Mind is a timeless realm, the concrete sequential. Once an area of Abstract ideation has been traversed the Abstract mind can reflect the area to the concrete mind, and this can build a map of it which is then to be checked and detailed, annotated etc. This very process of the concrete mind can be guided by the abstract mind, indeed this is how it should be, the whole should govern the parts. The hierarch should guide the hierarchy.
What to write now. Lets get started again. We now need to go over this outline of the way things should be, that is the way the theory should be (up to a limit, beyond thoughts we shall go no further), and leave the existence of a conscious self, the witness-consciousness that observes the phenomenal world including the workings of the mind and its ego. We shall not here deal with the question of interaction of the Self and the Not-Self, but at a later date in private. For now we shall concern ourselves with the problem of how this view differs with Descartes, where his flaws are and how his argumentation and line of investigation went wrong. We shall then need to disprove his arguments and if possible correct them to present this truth that we have outlined. This will need to be condensed to a concise and tight version. And we don’t have long, so try to settle on doing this and not procrastinating and finding diversions and ‘rest-periods’. This isn’t strenuous, this requires no intellectual effort. This kind of light channelling trance requires very little mental effort, indeed it is ultra efficient (but can be made more efficient by going beyond language and inner sound, although for this essay this is sufficient and practical). OK Lets start with the differences.
Descartes:two substances, body and mind.
Us:One Substance-Principle, At least body, emotional mind, imaginary body, thinking mind, awareness
Back to writing, we find after our recent reading a few more details to add to this constitution of man. First the physical body has senses, these senses undoubtedly originate in the body and are to an extent processed by the body into perceptions, therefore we must understand that the ideas in the mind or imagination are not necessarily distinct from the physical body. This makes the argument more complicated because we cannot draw such a simple distinction between the dream world and the real world, although a boundary still exists in that one is present to us whereas the other is directly changeable. There is a difference between physical sensual reality and the world of imagination. Imagination is actually mental body material, formed by the mental elemental at the direction of the will of the ego. Thus the imagination is of a higher order than the emotional mind with its passions. Although the emotional elemental has colours associated with its feelings and passions which can be seen with lower clairvoyance, this is not normally perceived during dreams. I’m starting to try to write this and this is causing me inevitable problems because I do not have the holistic view nor the intellect to be able to deal with this hence I shall return to being open to receiving directed thoughts on this. Mind you it is getting late but I should be able to continue for some time. We like to think that we can separate things logically and place them according to a sensible scheme, but nature is invariably more complicated than we would like to believe and so when we do so we end up being incorrect, and too simplistic. This is part of the problem with rational philosophy, it assumes that things can be deduced from first principles and certain facts, whereas an empirical approach does have much going for it, despite the difference between truth and sensory appearance. We seem limited in what we can write because we have a fragile hold on the truth, this humility is maybe a good lesson to be learnt from this, I cannot produce an essay that corrects Descartes from the point of view of truth, because I have not properly grasped this truth myself yet. Hence all I can do is attempt to point out where Descartes went wrong, and do this from the limited understanding that I have. This is very much less than the ideal solution, but it really does bring up some useful points. Inspired writing from the abstract mind is not the gospel of God, it is not infallible from a source of all knowledge, it is merely from a part of mind that can grasp whole ideas, but is limited in the ideation to which it can roam, namely the experienced realm. Moreover the lower concrete mind can only translate those ideas that it has words for, and so there can be ideas in the abstract mind that are unable to be communicated to the lower man. This is going to have to be enough for this evening, the implications are serious, the responses from the inspired writing can no longer be assumed to be correct but merely the highest thought that I am capable of, only those great and grand thoughts that are definite non-personal help can be truly relied upon, although certainly the intelligence of the abstract mind is greater than that of the lower manas. I will require some time to digest the facts that have been read, and the fact of my own limited knowledge and lack of truth, plus the insights garnered from today’s surfing of the net. Is there a self, unconditioned, unchanged, divine, witnessing the phenomenal world that is the Self, but has no part in the phenomenal world. Can I make sense of this? To be continued...
Theory. Idea whole and complete. I am the Soul, negative emotions cover up this nature and then I act as the diseased personality with all its neuroses and emotions. But after the Inner Smile the light is uncovered and allowed to shine. Although I am the light when I shine all I see is my reflection through the coloured medium of my personality. Indeed when in my highest state I am joy, self-governing, intuitive and clear and calm. But when I am low or weighed down then I am negative emotions, powerless, desire-led and chasing uncontrollably a sequence of thoughts. Is one bad and one good? Is one to be maximised and the other minimised? When in spain, speak spanish. If when I am in a good state I am self-governable then I could use this to avoid becomes down and uncontrollable again. There is still of course the serious philosophical questions of Wei Wu Wei and serving the Soul but later. Descartes and his dualism.
How successful is Descartes’ distinction between mind and body? The theory proposed by Descartes is that there are two essential substances that are conjoined to form the unity that is the creation of God. These substances are mind and body. Minds are non-extensible thinking things that are existentially independent of their bodies, and can exist without them and without other minds but cannot exist without God to which they owe their creation and preservation. Bodies are extensible non-thinking things that can exist independent of mind and have also been fashioned by God. Mind and body act together as a unity with the principle interaction taking place at the pineal gland, at which the soul is located.
In Descartes limited philosophy he drew a distinction between mind and body. For Descartes this boundary between them lay at the materiality of the body and the non-materiality of the mind. For Descartes the subjective world was entirely distinct from the objective. The ideas in the mind were a part of the subjective world, whereas the objects that they represented were proven by him to actually exist and this was somehow communicated to the mind by the senses. The input to the senses was presumed to be in the objective material world, but the output was somehow transmitted to the subjective mind. This subjective mind could deal with these images and form decisions based on them and from these decide to act. An intention is formed and through an act of will this intention is materialised, mind exerts control over matter in a non-causal way. Although we can see the chain of cause and effect, there is said to be no necessary causal-effect relationship between the body and the mind and vice-versa, the mind can react to the body and can cause actions on the body, but is not necessarily at the command of the body. The problem of the interaction of mind and body is not satisfactorily dealt with by Descartes nor the exact nature of the subjective world of Mind. For Descartes the mind is a term that covers a wide range of phenomena, phenomena which have important distinctions between themselves. Descartes makes a big point about the difference between a dream and the ‘real world’, but does not look at the similarities. They both present an external world which interacts with the subject, with the same sensory qualities, although the laws of change are different and the extent to which the subject can affect the external world alters. But the internal/external distinction, and their interaction and the sensory nature is the same. Therefore Descartes should make more of the real distinction between mind and dream as well as mind and matter.
I shall start as did Descartes. This is philosophising, this involves a sequence or flow of thought being represented or translated into symbolical language. Thus, I need to assume the existence of thoughts and language to be able to proceed with this philosophising. I also need to assume the existence of sensory perceptions, interaction between thought and body via the use of intentional will, memory and intelligence, reality and truth, thinking and awareness. I the thinker, translator and writer of this essay am aware of a flow of perceptions. I shall start by describing this phenomenal world that I find myself in. I hear sound, changing sound, I see, changing sights and so on. In the case of vision I am presented with a visual field upon which I have a focused awareness on one particular spot, and similarly when I listen to the music I find I can adjust my awareness to pick up the drum beat or the guitar. When I pay complete attention to one I remove attention from the previous objects of attention. Although I notice that although I seem to be focusing my full conscious attention on one particular object, significant changes in the peripheral or subconscious sensory field can divert and distract my attention to other sensory perceptions. It is only at that stage that a thought of its significance may occur or be searched for. For example I may suddenly notice a movement on the wall which takes my attention, I then receive the perception of a spider, which for me is swiftly followed by an emotional reaction and thoughts of action, but not recognition. I don’t see the spider and then think ‘Its a spider’, nor any noticeable thought to this effect. However I still know that it is a spider and all its relevant implications. I don’t need to stop and think to determine if it is a spider, what the significance of a spider is, remember that spiders frighten me, volitionally become frightened, think about what to do about this fear and come up with evasive, aggressive or removing action. I would normally instantly think ‘Eeek!’, move back instinctively, freeze with fear, a thought will arrive to remove it, I then think about have I a glass and some card and go about capturing it. I therefore do not have complete control over my phenomenal experience, whether that be the physical sensory perceptions, emotions or thoughts. These phenomena which I have just examined I often attribute to my subconscious mind, to habit, to instinctive reaction. Regardless of their origin I am aware of the fact that I do not have complete control over my phenomenal experience, that my phenomenal experience is not entirely due to my choosing. I chose to look at these words being typed, not be frequently distracted by the music in the background, at least not each and every time. I can definitely say that I am not aware of nor can remember thinking about shifting the target of my concentration in the same way that I am when I think that I choose to listen to the music for a while. Therefore these things do not apparently arise from any immediately preceding thought that I am aware of or can remember. This applies to from my experience; physical sense perceptions including heat and pain and other physical tactile sensations, movements of my bio-energy (prana or chi), emotions, imaginations (visual or verbal) and indeed pure ideas or thoughts that come to my awareness. I will here expand the inherent distinction in this last thought, between a thought and awareness of a thought.
Some people seem to have thought that you cannot be aware of your thoughts because this implies that you must be capable of being aware of your being aware of your thoughts. Maybe this ought to be made clearer. Awareness of and thinking of are two different faculties. I can look at a glass and just look at it, seeing the form in my perceptual field. Or I can think about it, its size, its emptiness and by association my thirstiness, I could visualise it being full, or rather I can create a hazy image in my imagination that bears resemblance to the form of the perceived glass except that it be full of drink. I arrive at these thoughts by using my perception, my perception provides the material which I use my thinking to comment upon. While looking at the glass I do not need to think about looking at the glass, I do not need to be thinking to know that I am looking at a glass. Although it is true that while looking at a glass without thinking, there is only the perception of that glass and an indistinct background visual field. There is in this situation no I distinct from the glass, there is no perceiver nor perceived object, merely perception. This perception includes a certain duration, because for example the fluid in my now full glass is moving, I perceive it moving, I do not perceive only one static moment, rather I perceive a short duration of its wobbling, indeed just enough to notice its wobbling. Were it to wobble very slowly I would not be able to notice it wobble, therefore it seems to me that as regards my visual perception a moment or now is of a very short duration (possible half a second). To counter the argument that I know it is wobbling because I remember it being in a different position before I reply that while performing this gazing I was not thinking. I had no thoughts or memories. I have carried out this experiment several times now and at no time do I need to compare a current perception with a memory, nor two memories. Indeed I perceive movement.
When I listen to music I also notice that I also do not merely hear an instant of sound, but my perception takes a much longer time span that incorporates the rhythm of the instruments, and the rhythm of the piece as a whole, it is essentially a dynamic perception. I do not know that the drum is playing in a rhythm because I can remember multiple occurrences of it that are somehow in sequence, I plainly and now I think I can say obviously hear or perceive a segment of time that is larger than any instant. When I listen to music I listen to the vibe of it, which means to follow the flow of significant components of the music, for example the pounding drum beat accelerating into a crescendo to be followed by focusing the attention on the usually higher sounding vibration. Music is dynamic and the mind automatically grasps the rhythm rather than the instantaneous sounds. Indeed if a moment of the music was frozen and sounded continuously it would be very difficult to recognise the piece of music that it corresponds to.
Now I can also observe my thoughts. It is possible for me to look at a glass and think about it simultaneously. It is also possible for me to observe my thoughts and think simultaneously. This is self-consciousness, or rather what may ordinarily be called self-consciousness. Philosophically for this to be accurately termed such the self must be identical to the thoughts. There is the moment and its perceptual content whether that perceptual content be limited to and focused on one type, or diffuse with no focus and just a whole and simultaneous awareness of perceptions of any type, or somewhere in between. Thoughts are just one type of perception.
I perhaps ought to deal here with these various types of perception. I have distinguished several various types of phenomena, and I ought deal with their plurality, differentiation and substance. The types of phenomena that I am familiar are limited and by no means I am sure that I have memory of experience of every type of phenomenal experience possible. Indeed I do not comprehend the sensory perceptions that some rare animals may have, which include ultra-violet and possibly sensitivity to the Earth’s magnetic field. The types of phenomena that I have previously listed include all that I usually classify as phenomenal types, but I need to examine whether I have categorised them legitimately and not left out any that I have had experience of.
First the visual perceptions. With the ordinary waking eye I have a circle of coloured light which has already been processed to an extent, since it is possible for me to see an image which I cannot make out, for example a snake or a coil of rope. There are numerous examples of two possible visual interpretations for images in the psychology of visual perception. I have read somewhere of a description of a distinction between a sensation and a perception. In this distinction the identification of the sensory image leads to it to be perceived as a snake or a coil of rope. Indeed if one opens ones eyes quickly with full attention one will notice that there is a short period of blur and confusion before the final perceived image is present. This processing is done unthinkingly and so this is another phenomenon of which I have no volitional control. Out of this visual field, regardless of its centre, I can focus my attention on part of the field, although the centre is clearer. I notice that I can by an act of intention change the form of the area of attention, from circle to square for example. Therefore it is possible for thought to affect the visual experience. Another example of this is in hallucinations when we discover that the visual perceiving does not bypass the conscious or subconscious mind, but rather can be affected by the subject rather than presenting a perfectly neutral and hence objective view of any real external stimuli. In fact I notice here the sheer significance of Descartes’ doubting the objective reality of his senses. If it is possible for some aspect of human being to affect the perceptions then these can no longer be trusted as evidence of an external and objective reality. The barrier between the dream world and the waking world is removed, and we discover that we see the waking world through the dream world.
When we imagine an image we can only intentionally imagine a form, where a perception produces a formed image as opposed to an originally unformed image. When we do this with our physical eyes open we notice that the two visual types are overlaid, or rather that the imagination is overlaid the ordinary perceptual field. Indeed we paint over our vision like it was a coloured canvas. But when I stop concentrating on this image, it disappears. I have read of a Tibetan yogini who practised visualising a person over a long period of time, and was able to fully imagine his existence indistinguishably from the ordinary perceptual world, and then apparently other people could see it too. What is important about this is that I can understand how I might not be able to distinguish my habitual imagination from the background perceptions. It is therefore conceivable that what I perceive of the apparently external world may be affected by the human being to such an extent that we can conceive of how we may be habitually imagining our ordinary experience. That this may be a recurring dream of great detail and of our habitual choosing. For example we may experience a dream or a life with an interest in ornithology or a life of terrible bad luck.
That what I perceive is possibly a mixture of conscious and unconscious imagination, implies that what I unconsciously perceive may be originating from another consciousness since like my dreams, my waking life displays a certain amount of intelligence albeit somewhat more advanced than my own fantasising. What I find incredible about even my own fantasising is that it has such a passive quality, that it is not tediously designed but rather unfolds naturally. Indeed I wonder why I say that these are my fantasies since we often use the expression I was lost in a day-dream, which displays the view that one becomes ensnared in an illusory world which when we realise that we have fallen into, we escape from. In day-dreaming one gives up volitional thought, that is designing and choosing thoughts, and lets oneself be carried away in what is analogous to a good book, and like the book we don’t have any memories of writing it. It is quite well known that many of life’s great discoveries have been in dreams, I don’t say inventions because that would imply that the thought process must have devised it whereas patently it required no conscious effort.
Related to this possibility is lucid dreams, in these one suddenly wakes up in the dream and is no longer a passive observer but able to actively control and change the dream. It is an important point to note that to all intents and purposes the subject is alive in a very real world, just one in which the extension of one’s will is greater. In the waking world one can move one’s body by an act of will, but in the lucid dream one can change one’s body, surroundings instantly. It is also possible for the subject to display a greater creative power than in ordinary thinking. There is in the lucid dream a real difference between an ordinary dream, a feeling of being actively alive in the dream world. The importance of the lucid experience is that the Cartesian distinction of mind and body is by analogy applicable to the mind and dream-body. "Besides this, I consider that this power of imagining which is in me, differing as it does from the power of understanding, is not a necessary constituent of my own essence, that is, of the essence of my mind. For if I lacked it, I should undoubtedly remain the same individual as I now am; from which it seems to follow that it depends on something distinct from myself." Of greater note is that in the lucid dream experience one knows that one is dreaming this because it results from volitional thinking whereas in daily life there are events that occur unbidden. The conclusion is that there is a distinction between something and the dream-body and the waking-body. It is a point that cannot be irrationally dismissed that lucid dreamers report of the dream-world to be objective in that there is extension and locations, and other entities. Indeed it is common for them to report of meeting up with other lucid dreamers and both participants having memory of the experience in the morning. The implications of their testimony are profound. It would appear that there is some kind of channel of interaction between the thinker and the dream world. What appears to us as our everyday imagination may indeed be our automatic creation in this world, albeit in a small localised area. It would seem that each imagination is like a virtual reality episode, where the pictures and sound are created in miniature around the sense organs of the subject. Modern day life has brought us a more advanced formulation of Cartesian doubt, as displayed in the television series Red Dwarf, it could be possible to create a virtual reality interactive world that could be entirely fooling to the subject. Now while this is conceivable, it is not necessarily true or rationally possible. For Descartes this is not possible because fundamentally of the existence of God.
I do not want to venture into Descartes’ idea of God and his proofs for His existence, but the essential point is that the waking world must be as real as it appears to be, with real objects displaying the appearance that we see, or otherwise God is a deceiver for he would have constitutionally created us in such a way that we cannot know the truth. "Next, I know by experience that there is in me a faculty of judgement which, like everything else which is in me, I certainly received from God. And since God does not wish to deceive me, he surely did not give me the kind of faculty which would ever enable me to go wrong while using it correctly." Now independently of the existence of God all we can say is that there is perception of a waking world and a dream world. There are distinctions between them, but their mutual existence and the experience of the subject of these worlds seems to point to the conclusion that the waking-world is not an imaginary world, at least not by and to the subject. It is possible that it is a collective imagination, the collective being united into a hylozoistic God. For example in the dream world I can form imaginary worlds, which another dreamer could add to and change, and so in the waking world a collective host of minds may jointly create it. Or in the Cartesian view, we are creative dreamers in God’s grand dream. Now the difference between the waking world and the dream world is one of duration. The forms of the waking world endure for longer than in the dream world. As the story of the Tibetan yogi demonstrates, the dream forms usually exist for as long as the will holds them but can be extended with repetition, whereas in the waking world a creation such as a sculpture or a body lasts for relatively longer. And this is the key point, there are no forms that are everlasting in the waking world or the dream world. All forms are transitory and changeable. The importance of this I shall deal with later, but for now I want to make a point of how I can group together the waking sight, hearing, touch etc. It would appear that for those who have for example both sight and hearing that one can sense the correlation between some sounds and their possible origin. We can see someone speaking. For those who are blind it is difficult to see how it would be possible to tell if there was a difference between a real sound and a very good dream sound (of whatever origin). But for the typically sighted we can correlate the phenomenal experiences of the senses and link their perceived forms to an existent reality, at the very least by the use of Occam’s razor. "This cannot be false; what is called ‘having a sensory perception’ is strictly just this, and in this restricted sense of the term it is simply thinking." The problem we get is that we perceive the appearance of these worlds, and that by senses that involuntarily interpret their sensory input, and then we mentally interpret these perceptions to arrive at conceptions of them. And here lies the problem that we can attempt to solve.
Now that all sensory data of sight, sound, smell, taste and touch are ruled out in the two realms of the physical and imaginary realms we can deal with the truer mental realms. "I thus realise that none of the things that the imagination enables me to grasp is at all relevant to this knowledge of myself which I possess, and that the mind must therefore be most carefully diverted from such things if it is to perceive its own nature as distinctly as possible." The other phenomena to deal with are that of the emotions, thoughts, and ideas, and the Self. We have discriminated fantasy from fact and discovered them to be different in duration and malleability, rather than any absolute truth and falsity distinction. Emotions affect the physical body, bio-energy and thoughts. Are they merely effects of these or are they distinct? Experiments on spinal laceration patients have shown that without the physical emotional effects, the emotions are still present but of a different nature, more mental and less gripping. For example, fear can physically incapacitate a man but when it is restricted to the mental realm it is easier to deal with. Are emotions merely a type of thinking? In jealous thinking we certainly see that an emotion affects the thinking process and that the two affect each other and indeed from experience we know that thought and emotion mutually interact. From my experience in meditating on my emotions I know that I can feel my emotions without thinking. I can feel an emotion without labelling it, sometimes we don’t even know how to describe what we are feeling.
The emotional world needs distinguishing from the other phenomenal worlds because it is felt, not seen nor thought. There is great variety of feelings and they can be produced by an act of will, and they can affect the thought process, they also affect the physical world and the dream world. As such they cannot be considered to be separate from these other phenomenal worlds during waking life, but if Descartes is to consider it possible for the Mind to be separable from the body then he must by the same line of argument consider it possible to separate the emotional body from the physical and the dream world. It is open to argument as to the relationship between thought and emotion, and their interdependence and separability. While we can be prone to emotions the cause of which lies hid, we would think it unlikely that they don’t have some cause of which we are unaware. Emotions occur during the dream state and waking state but are not physically detectable during deep sleep. This simply pinpoints the fact that the emotional body does not have to affect the physical. It is not strong enough to show that the emotional body is inactive during this state. The relationship between thought and emotion we can see is interactive and dependent. In dreams we see that emotion can be triggered without the awareness or the will of the thinking mind, but we also know that they can be triggered by the thinking mind. We know that the thought process is affected by strong emotions, and that sometimes a strong emotional state can produce a condition of diminished responsibility, because the thinking mind loses its ability to think dispassionately and rationally. While the emotions affect the thinking the thinking can control the emotions, and can when aware of them act dispassionately, we usually say that in this case ‘the head rules the heart’. This shows how the rational mind and the emotional mind are distinct but joined. In that thinking can be dispassionate it is conceivable for a mind to think without emotion, and hence be separable and independent of the emotional mind. The show Star Trek depicted such a person with the character Spock, of the Vulcan race for whom pure rational and logical thought without emotion was normal. For Descartes because this is conceivable, they are distinct and can have independent existence. An interesting side point is that for Descartes animals did not have mind, whereas they do display emotion. Doubtless he thought that animals could not think, but that they had emotions, which he thought to be physical. However the sensory data that emotions provide is non-extensible like thought, although even smell is non-extensible and taste. This produces problems in Descartes arguments. So animals have emotions but it is unclear why they can’t have an emotional mind like we do. Indeed we presume that they must do and so we share with the animals an emotional mind, to which Descartes unfairly attributes to the body. Whether animals do think or not is undecided, emotions and passions certainly display some sort of intelligence, they can work out what is frightening and can cause a flight response in the body, and they can identify food and produce salivation in the body and movements to get food so perhaps it is conceivable that in the animals they have an emotional/passionate mind which governs them, and in human beings this is atrophied and subservient to the rational mind, but whose hidden activity causes our dreams and possibly affect the health of the body.
But the rational mind is distinct from and independent of all these. The rational mind consists of thought, which display intelligence and awareness of emotion, imaginations and physical sensations. The thoughts themselves form a stream of thoughts, each thought either flowing into another or arising and ending distinctly from other thoughts and the background emptiness. "Thinking? At last I have discovered it - thought; this alone is inseparable from me. I am, I exist - that is certain. But for how long? For as long as I am thinking." It is possible to be thoughtless, but while it is possible to be thoughtless this does not stop the future possibility of thinking, and nor does it stop the future thoughts displaying memory of previous experience gained during a period of no thinking. Hence there must be some thing or mind at the back of thoughts, that is intelligent and conscious, and can produce and control thought. "Is there not a God, or whatever I may call him, who puts into me the thoughts that I am now having? But why do I think this, since I myself may perhaps be the author of these thoughts? In that case am not I at least something?" This pure thinking can be rational or irrational, it can be affected by emotion, or dispassionate. It can be logical or artistic. As such it is not a or the rational mind or soul but a thinker. The thinker can arrive at thoughts either through methodical means, through association, memory, contemplation, inspiration etc. Not all of these display full control. Methodical means generate sequences of linked thought, which use memory and intelligence, association relies on the ability of memory to return linked thoughts, memory itself is not under complete control of the thinker for the thinker tries to remember and is sometimes frustrated by the memory. Contemplation requires the full use of the thinker and its ability to understand, comprehend and handle ideas, and involves the full use of the thinker’s intelligence. But the thinker does not always have to use its intelligence and is quite often limited by its intelligence, although through exercise and teaching can improve its intelligence. There again seems to be real distinctions between a thinker and intelligence, and memory and rationality. And with inspiration there occur thought not arrived at through the arduous means of intelligence, but thoughts and ideas grand and beyond the means of the intelligence of the mind, but arrive ready-made as it were without intelligent effort, nor the thinker knowing how it had arrived at such inspired thoughts. From this we can discriminate between the conscious self and the realm of thought, and the interaction between the two which consists of comprehension and intelligence, parallel to sensing and acting in the physical world.
So what can we say about the Self? It would appear that it is neither thoughts nor intelligence. What are the implications of this? Does it understand? If comprehension is analogous to sensing then this comprehension is received by the soul. If intelligence is analogous to acting then how is it controlled? Our everyday acts are intelligent or sub-conscious (or more strictly unconscious). But if this very intelligent activity is an activity then where is the intelligence behind the act? These intelligent thoughts that I am now writing, display intelligence, design and comprehension. Yet these intelligent thoughts arise spontaneously, without pre-planning. I am writing this off the top of my head, but even if these were to be pre-planned where would be the intelligence that pre-planned this? Maybe I am inventing a need for a mind behind a mind behind a mind ad infinitum, but I need to look at this closely. When I meditate and observe my thinking process I discover that thoughts arise spontaneously with no apparent volition. That is I don’t create the thoughts, rather I am the thoughts that arise. Even the thought to meditate is a thought that arises. I said earlier that there must be a mind at the back of thoughts because the thoughts display memory of periods of no thoughts. It is possible to be aware of such a period, and be able to think about it later. This is much like turning a camera on and watching it later, and one can determine what to point the camera at. Similarly so with awareness as I have discussed earlier, it is indeed very similar to a camera. What is important about this is that a camera can be pointed at differing things and that it can be turned off.
It is a common experience of a person entering a trance, in which there is no awareness of surroundings, not even after awakening from such a trance. In such conditions we often ignore what someone is saying only to snap out of it and ask ‘Did you say something?’ when jolted by them. The point to this is that the light of consciousness can to a varying extent be extinguished, concentrated and directed. In meditation the mind is just so controlled and concentrated on internal worlds, either of the imagination or of pure thought, that awareness of the physical world is lost. By then meditating much as Descartes did and removing all imagined things since they reflect the waking world we can arrive at consciousness of just pure thought, or non-linguistic ideation. Now when we think or meditate upon something we notice that we produce streams of thoughts that describe and delineate the object of thought. It is here that we understand the similarity between thinking and a sense. "But I see what it is: my mind enjoys wandering off and will not yet submit to being restrained within the bounds of truth. Very well then; just this once let us give it a completely free rein, so that after a while, when it is time to tighten the reins, it may more readily submit to being curbed." The mind is much like a horse running over a conceptual realm. The important questions are whether this conceptual realm is created by the horse or passively perceived by the horse, and who if anything rides the horse?
It is at once abundantly clear to me that linguistic thought is a mere painting of the seen landscape of thoughts. As such it approximates at the very least. But there is a flow of thought that underlies the writing, meaning in conversation. And it is possible via empathy to attune to or flow with this current, it is this that holds the hope of real communication. Unless it was possible to direct one’s own mind’s eye to the same conceptual landscape that another mind has, it would be impossible to ever actually know what another meant. It would not even be possible to form an approximation since where would one start? A theory built out of illusions is illusory. But the flow of thought itself is a reflection. We say I have been reflecting on Wittgenstein’s theory of such and such, and this shows how we can use the mind as a sense that captures reflections of objects. Such objects may be physical like an apple, or mental like Justice. It should here be noted the difference between these two objects. As Descartes pointed out, "I must therefore admit that the nature of this piece of wax is in no way revealed by my imagination, but is perceived by the mind alone.". An apple is something that we can be aware of and think about, but how can we perceive Justice? Surely we conceive Justice. Conceiving is similar to perceiving except that it is not of the five senses but more like feeling in that it is unique. When I say Justice you know what I mean, because your mind’s eye is pointed to it. The mind’s eye can focus on the details of a concept and its boundaries with other concepts or it can see the whole and can compare this to another concept. This shows by analogy to seeing, how the thoughts are perceptions (or conceptions) of objects that exhibit all views. Except ideas can be grasped wholly.
Are all thoughts purely objective seeing? "Now, however, I have perceived that God exists, and at the same time I have understood that everything else depends on him and that he is no deceiver; and I have drawn the conclusion that everything which I clearly and distinctly perceive is of necessity true." The directing of the mind’s eye produces a path of thought that traverses only certain aspects and connections of the conceptual realm, this limited view of the ideas produces a necessarily subjective view much as ordinary sight produces a limited subjective view of the physical world. But how truly and clearly does the mind’s eye see? Does every thought reflect something, and reflect it accurately? If we consider a situation in which we would expect distorted and biased thought we might be able to answer this question. For example if we were to consider our own personality weaknesses we might expect to end up with a very different view to another person viewing them. The person when thinking over this would produce a number of thoughts on what might be a problem but may possibly control or filter what is seen by disagreeing with their own thoughts of what is a problem, or by justifying them. For example, I might have a thought that I am lazy but I might then follow it up with my habitual justifying thoughts of that I am just relaxed, that I do get things done in my own time etc. The first thought would have an origin that it is reflecting, or it may be a memory of a previous reflection or something someone said. As such it presents an accurate picture. The secondary thoughts are directed at other connected parts of the picture and as such present them truly. The problem lies in that the view created by those areas that have been looked at may include a greater and biased extent of the supporting arguments. An analogy is that of a television program that heavily shows one side of an issue more than another. What is of greater importance here than the fact that the camera never lies is that the camera is not always directed in an objective fashion ie. displaying the whole issue in a perfectly balanced and detailed view.
But where is the camera’s director? There were no thoughts of directing it in a biased way, although it is possible that there was an awareness that this is exactly what one was doing. However, the directing of the mind was biased and it is in this that we find the source of falsity or an illusory view of reality. This is because the memory map of reality that our own views and opinions are limited and distorted views of an actual conceptual reality. How is the camera directed? Through meditation I know that just as my hearing picks out significant sounds and focuses on them, so does my mind produce thoughts on the objects of my awareness. For example, I hear a sound and think ‘What was that?’ or rather have a thought/emotion of curiosity and alarm which is habitually expressed as ‘What was that?’. I notice that the mind is then moved by the force of the curiosity to satisfy the curiosity and find out what caused the noise. Indeed I know from my meditation that I can divide my thoughts into several categories; habitual reactive thoughts, thoughts directed and driven by desire, those thoughts that arise as the mind whirls around the conceptual realm because of its velocity and inspired insights, intuitions or creative thoughts.
From this investigation I discover that the mind is conditioned and directed by desire, and indeed capable of self-direction by desire. It is desire and it’s inter-linked emotion that is at the back of, and produces thought. The self or personality is a collection of conditioned desires linked with memories, such as justifications and methods. This essay for example is the result of the desires to satisfy course requirements, curiosity as to the answer to the question and to what my thinking will produce etc. These led me by association and momentum to start writing, and all that has been produced has been the product of the momentum of the mind leading me from one thought to the next, with associated memories arising and inspired ideas guiding me. To a large extent then it would seem that the personality is conditioned and determined by its desires. So how are these desires formed? In my previous observations of this problem I noted that desire arises from the perception or awareness of an object or condition that is subsequently appraised or judged to be better than the condition of not having it. Desire has its roots in judgement.
In all advertisements or arguments weight is given to one side of a judgement, the side that is favoured by that source, in the hope that it is strong enough to convince other personalities that they should judge it as desirable. I can now see that the self or personality, the underwater iceberg, is an emotion/desire/passion mind that controls the thinking or rather appears to control the mind. If we conceive of animals not having a rational thinking mind of comprehension and intelligence, analogous to the physical body in that it can see and act, that it does not have a mental body, it must still have emotional reactions and an associative memory and instinctive will so that it is essentially a reactive existence that is unconscious of itself and unable to volitionally change its behaviour. However human beings have a mental body that offers a mirror to the personality, to give it self-consciousness, if only and necessarily a reflection of itself.
The self-conscious human can understand and know itself, judge and improve itself. The extra power of judgement at the control of the personality allows it to engage in self-evolution. Every time a judgement is made it automatically and by definition picks the best option. Although such judgement is affected by the existing desires, the whole is inevitably developed progressively and with the development of the mind the personality comes to the realisation of the existence of Truth, and the possibility and desirability of a Righteous life. With this realisation comes the self-development of the mind as the instrument and means to discovering this truth and to implementing it. And so the personality searches for an Ideal, and through painstaking effort evolves and evolves into an Idealised personality.
During this development an important metamorphosis occurs, namely that the early judgements are performed as a tool of desire, ‘Is this desirable? Do I want this?’ What this metamorphoses into is ‘Is this right? Is this good?’ In this change the most important difference is the loss of I. As the mind is developed it takes on a life of its own, and becomes self-controlling. Instead of hedonistic desire being the governing power, Righteousness is the governing power. An act is performed because it is rationally decided. It is here that the split between the conscious and the subconscious mind occurs. The rational mind becomes more and more detached from and dispassionate to its emotions and personal desires, and loses itself in a conceptual account or logos of action. It is realised by the mind that there are objective values, and objectively right actions. These actions although done through the medium of a mind and its bodies, are not selfish in nature. In the first stage it was desire that was the basis of self, but over time these are conquered and decay. Now the foundation of self is memory. "I am, then, in the strictest sense only a thing that thinks; that is, I am a mind, or intelligence, or intellect, or reason - words whose meaning I have been ignorant of until now." It is an associative memory that causes thoughts to arise, give momentum to the mind and cause it to act in a rational way that corresponds to the algorithmic plan of action derived from the stored map of the conceptual realm. As this map is improved and revised so does the algorithm for action change, and thus memory becomes the catalyst for evolution and indeed becomes the ego. Man is now a memory.
As this map is drawn it eventually starts to map itself, and the human constitution. It wonders about its own existence and the origin of its thoughts. It discovers that its thoughts can be categorised as they have been previously and having worked out the significance of the first two, is amazed by the existence of the third, the inspiration, that its greatest thoughts are not its own, are not the product of its memory and discovers that for all its life it has been living with a thinker with grand intelligence, great beauty of thought, and the highest artistry and virtue. These good qualities are recognised by the mind and set it a new standard to achieve, plus a new world to explore. The now elevated and purified desire-mind recognises and aspires to be like this entity. There now follows a period of awakening to and adjusting to the existence of this higher mind and gradually the ideals and spirit of this inspirational source filter down through the human’s being, enlightening his mind and stimulating his love of beauty and awakening an unconditional love that unites his minds, rational and emotional. These come into alignment and balance, and unite in harmony with the higher spiritual mind. Just as the desire-mind grew and was outgrown, and then the rational mind, now the spiritual mind grows and shakes itself free from the bonds of desire and reason, and exerts its own pure and beautiful nature, a nature that has all along been present, but like the sun behind the clouds has been unable to shed its full light on the world. Now the thoughts are increasingly originating from this spontaneous source, and the rational and emotional minds quieten and decay, their brief and transitory existence disappearing like clouds across the sky. The newly clear sky reveals that which has always been there, and always will, that one light in the sky that shines its rays down on to all. This Soul is now free from the shackles of existence and its light radiates out to others, to burn away their coarser desires, to produce clarity in the thoughts of others. This One Spirit, of whatever name it may be called, is. Those flickering forms of the physical world, dream-world, emotional world and thought world are realised to be the reflection and manifestation of one eternal reality, of three aspects. Intelligence, Love, and Will. A Being inherent in all beings and hence All Being. Omnipresent (All Love), Omniscient (All Knowing) and Omnipotent (All Powerful).
The Self is Being. Immortal, eternal and one yet many. It is Reality, its perceptions mere appearance of Reality. Every perceived Form, is in essence itself, yet as the light passes into the dualistic world it appears to itself as Not-Self, the distinction between Perceiver and Perceived appears. In essence there is no such separation and indeed in truth there is no separation in the phenomenal worlds either. There is no perception without a perceiver, no perceiver without perception. Yin and Yang inter-depend and produce each other, but just as up and down are inseparable and are two aspects of one united whole, so do all other opposites, most particularly that of a self and not-self. These two are one in essence and existence, but two in quality and form. The dualistic mind is like a cracked mirror that because of its own flaw divides that which is undivided. The Spiritual Mind, is whole and pure and it reflects Reality truly and appropriately. Thus man can get what he wants, and what is right by becoming or reflecting Truth. The egos of reason and desire disappear, but what is left is the mental and emotional bodies, in addition to the physical, bio-energetic and any other bodies or faculties of the Self.
These bodies are forms of that One Essential Substance Being, one in essence and existence, but many in quality and form. We can subdivide qualities of the One Essence, continuously in an ontological categorisation, but at all times it must be with the fact of the Unity of the Many and the Plurality of the One. Hence we see that Descartes’ distinction of Mind and Body is a hazy one, since the phenomena of Mind is not readily a simple category, and that Mind and Body do not differ essentially but only in form.