Re: What's next in the movement
Aug 02, 1996 01:50 PM
>Jerry Schueler writes>
> What if thoughts are expressions of images,
>and that images or signs are expressions of symbols, which in turn are
>expressions of eternal and universal archetypal realities?
Richard Ihle writes>
The cool thing about my predilection for writing about subjects which are
interesting to about one person in a trillion is that I can have a big
argument with someone else with the same predilection and be almost assured
there will be no audience in the vicinity to assess who wins or loses. . . .
Now, I am entirely convinced that there must be some way I can look at your
foregoing statement and agree with it. On the other hand, perhaps I should
stop being so pusillanimous about the things I also have a "quite high
degree" of inner certainty about--especially when they are the result of so
many years of paying attention to inner states of consciousness. There is
just no getting around it: I see a slightly different order in the "Holy
Theosophical Sequence" which must be the underlying basis for all three
components of the Principal Theosophical Philosophy.
The main difference we seem to have is whether thought precedes imagery or
vice versa. I think this is crucial to figure out because at least in the
"psychogenetic" context, it is necessary to know the order of the "stratas of
consciousness" in which potential "ego-formations" can come into existence
and go out again.
Now, I don't know about what you think the prospects are for your point of
view in all of this, but I have more or less dispaired of mine long ago. The
biggest stumbling block seems to be getting other people to regard something
they see, taste, touch, smell or hear as a temporary ego-formation
("physical'--e.g., "I am my toothache"), or something they want as another
type of ego-formation ("desire-feeling"--e.g., "I am my craving for pizza")
or like/dislike-tainted idea as still another type of ego-formation
("desire-mental"--e.g., "I am my gut-opposition to abortion") etc.
Without first appreciating the fact that we are not just one but a potential
collection of ~I am this or thats~ (ever-changing but each occupying center
stage only one at a time), it would also be impossible to sense that there is
an orderly, physical-maturation-related, septenary cycle which underlies the
unfoldment of these "egoic opportunities."
The problem then becomes compounded with the second big stumbling block: the
difficulty of conveying the difference between ~having~ such and such~ and
~egoically being~ such and such. For example, it is one thing for a
fifteen-year-old to tell the class that we should drop hydrogen bombs on Irac
and a twenty-two-year old asserting the same thing. In the first case, the
student could ~have~ such an idea, but not really ~be~ that idea in the sense
of "I really ~am~ my desire-mental notion"--because the former could not yet
have "psychomatured" into the fourth cycle, age 21-28 (actually, such
possibility would start opening at the midpoint of the previous cycle,
~generally and approximately~ about age 17 1/2).
So anyway, you may get some sense of some of the knotty problems which I
believe have kept esoteric psychology esoteric so long. Indeed, were it not
for the analogical possibilities provided by the system of Rounds, Root
Races, etc., I do not believe I would have ever sensed that along with
physical, "moral," cognitive etc. maturation there was also such a thing
age-related psychogenetic maturation--the little ~I am's~ experimenting and
progressing under the Watchful Eye of the big ~I AM~, so to speak.
According to this scheme, at age 42 a person at least on the threshold of
Sixth-Degree Self-awareness (not everyone belongs to the psychogenetic analog
of this "Root Race," however) would have psychomatured so that most of the
major types of egoic "delusions" would be available: animating, physical,
desire-feeling, desire-mental, mental, and Spirit-mental. While it is
comparatively easy to prevent "full egoic error" by maintaining the
Once-Removed-Vantage ("Witness," "Silent Watcher") at the lower levels, it
obviously becomes more tricky in the more "rarefied" conditions of
But this brings us back to the little problem of sequence. To me it was so
amazing that HPB slightly modified the Kabalistic saying in this way: "The
Breath becomes a stone; the stone, a plant; the plant, an animal; the animal,
a man; the man, a spirit; [the spirit, God?]." It is my contention, based
upon many years of watching the sequence not only in the process of falling
asleep, but also during meditation, that the "plant" position not only stands
for desire-feeling (kama) consciousness, but that ~inner imagery is most
often associated with it~.
I have tried to be as objective as possible but I have invariably found the
inner experience to be in this order: first a vague "pranic-type" tingling;
then physical sensations; then inner pictures; then a sort of "talking to
oneself" in association with the pictures; then the pictures drop off leaving
only an inner monologue going on and on; then the words disappear but one is
conscious of oneself "holding" thoughts without any words.
In short, there is no way around it: my inner certainty keeps suggesting
that it is the inner word and not the inner picture which is at the threshold
of Buddhi-manas consciousness.
I don't know . . . what is the meaning of ~manas~, anyway? I have seen it
translated as both "intelligence" and "mind." However, I have also very
often seen it rendered simply as "thought" or "thinking." This latter
translation makes me recall a debate in academic circles quite a few years
ago. One of the major questions was phrased like this: "Is thinking
possible without words?" A research study hooked up electrodes to people's
vocal chords and got minute readings at this organ site when the subjects
Does that prove that words, or at least some sort of symbolic correlatives,
are necessary for thinking? Maybe yes; maybe no. It is only fair to point
out that other studies hooked up electrodes to the fingers of deaf-mutes and
got readings there also, and that no one, as I remember, checked on whether
there was rapid-eye-movement indications among a possible type of "thinker"
who may do so by viewing/manipulating inner imagery.
However, I suppose for a study like the latter to be able to determine
whether manas really could stand for pictorial as well as verbal activity, it
would be necessary to have electrodes attached not only to the eyes, but also
to the vocal chords--just to make sure the subjects weren't cheating and
talking to themselves as they watched. . . .
. . . And speaking of watching, Jerry, I think that the last
one-person-in-a-trillion who might have been interested in watching us debate
this stuff has just left audience. . . .
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