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Re: Consciousness

Aug 21, 1996 02:13 PM
by Jerry Schueler

>What do we mean by the Ego? or by Manas? Sure, I can read the texts and get
>the definition there. But do we know what we are talking about when we use
>these words?
	Guess I don't see your problem.  Manas is mind, and even
if we can't define mind very well in words, we all pretty much know
what we mean by the word.  Mind includes everything from high
aspirations and intuitions to feelings and emotions.  These terms
are all clearly defined in modern psychology books.  Nothing really
spooky here.  But Ego is another story.  In order to understand Ego,
you have to close down manas.  This requires yoga, as a rule.  But
it sometimes happens spontaneously.  When lower manas stops,
even for just a second, we see Ego directly.  For this reason, some
yogis have compared the mind to a series of clouds and Ego
to the light of the sun that the clouds usually obscure.

> Most neurophysiologists have trouble with even the notion that
>a "mind" somewhere controls the body ("the ghost in the machine") and here
>Theosophists are proposing "atma-buddhi, the Ego, Manas, etc..It's all too
>much to explain the phenomenom of the human being. Plus - it all has to be
>taken on faith! In that sense - it isn't a science (divine or otherwise).
	Actually, you have to take the neurophysiologist's word on
faith, just as much.  He cannot prove his materialistic case either.  Jung
believed that the psyche was the "ghost in the machine" but clearly
argued it to be unprovable (therefore a psychological truth rather than
a physical truth).  And no, the doctrine of Ego or Self does not have to
be taken on faith.  Jungian psychologists believe that their therapy
"proves" its existence, and yogis believe that their  yoga "proves" its
existence too.  If you don't want to take it on faith, then you can practice
yoga and see for yourself.  If you're not a yogi, go to a Jungian analyst
and start working on your individuation.  They will have you analyzing
your dreams, where you will see your Self at work.

>How about starting with "Occam's razer" and not proposing more entities than
>are absolutely necessary? I would then begin with the question of whether we
>need to postulate anything other than the physical brain to explain
>consciousness - and go from there.
	When we use the Razor, we can boil all of the complex
material down to just body, soul (mind), and spirit.  This only adds
one additional ingredient--spirit.  And, we find that this trinity has been
around for countless centuries.  Scientists have been trying to
prove that the brain is the source of consciousness for many
years, and have yet to do so.  The latest attempt, using neural
networks and chaos theory has shown promise, but so far no cigar.
And no brain theory can ever hope to explain telepathy and other
ESP phenomena, which Jung berates them for ignoring.   The only
way that Jung himself could explain this stuff was his synchronicity
theory, which he developed in collaboration with Wolfgang Pauli.
This theory postulates a separate and independent psychic continuum
that is spaceless (and therefore infinite) and timeless (and therefore
eternal).  A synchronistic event occurs whenever these two
continuums touch together.  Now this was too farfetched for mainstream
psychology, and most psychologists still look to the brain for
answers, and still ignore psychic and spiritual experiences which
don't "fit" into the brain-is-the source-of-consciousness model.
Jung was not a theosophist, but he was too smart to fall for the
materialistic model of the brain being the source of consciousness.
	I personally have had experiences that cannot fit into the
materialistic worldview.  As I have said many times, whenever this
occurs, your options are either death or revising your worldview.  My
experiences, so far, fit the theosophical worldview far better than any
other, and so I consider myself a theosophist.  This has little to do
with faith.
	On the other hand, I find that a healthy brain is essential for
what we could call normal waking-state consciousness.  This is
consciouness bound up with logical thinking.  I subscribe to the
theory that logic and reason are resultants of healthy brain activity,
and that without a healthy brain, consciousness becomes associated
with deviations (i.e, shades of irrationality).  But consciousness
itself doesn't need any associations at all.  In fact, when divorced
of all of these, it is called pure consciousness (cit).  Although most
scientists and psychologists would likely see this as a coma, and
think it pathological, it is really its natural state, called in Tibetan
Buddhism by the quaint name of clear light.  Consciousness
takes on associations (sounds, images, thoughts, feelings, and
forms) when in some degree of physical manifestation (i.e., when
anywhere below the Abyss).  The materialist confounds these
associations and identifies them with consciousness itself.  The
yogi, however, knows how to separate consciousness from its
attendant associations.

	Jerry S.
	Member, TI

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