Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Mental Things & Physical Things

Continued from Physical Things

- You've explained that mental things and physical things look different depending on how we act. Is that right?  And that you cannot say what mental and physical things are.
- Right.
- How do we know which is which then? Know when we are thinking about a mental thing and when a physical thing?
- We see the self when we're thinking about mental things.
- What is the self? Can you tell me that?
- Yes.
- Then tell me.
- We create new words and ideas spontaneously. It is an inborn talent. When we do it consciously, guided by knowledge of what we are doing, we call the thing we see that is creating words and ideas "the self". We watch ourselves creating because paying attention to results we can choose better and worse ways of doing it. The better way creates a world seen as beautiful.
- We can create new words and ideas without observing ourselves doing it.
- Yes, but we don't at that time see our self.
- O.K. That's self, and world. What about the other things in your model? Open and closed, movement and rest. If I've understood you, the reason we can't define mental and physical things is that we can't account for what a thing is and how it moves. The ideas open / closed, movement / rest seem to demand we know first what is a thing, and we don't.
- But we do know what one thing is, and we can use the alternatives open / closed / movement / rest to tell its story.
- What thing?
- The self.
- Defined by the action of our observing ourselves as we create new ideas.
- Yes.
- And the movement of self is the succession of one self we see after another?
- Yes.
- What about the world? How is it defined? In relation to the self, I suppose?
- How else, when the only thing we know about is the self. The physical thing is defined as what we see at the conclusion of the process, when we don't have to look at ourselves any more, the job is done.
- That's what you call contemplation, the experience of wholeness and love.
- Yes.
- O.K., you are defining physical thing as what we see when we stop looking at mental things. And you've defined mental things as what we see when we are creating new ideas and sights. We don't know what a thing and movement are. Do we know any more about what ideas and words are?
- They are our record of learning how to see and act in the world we use as part of our finding new ways of seeing and acting in the world.
- But that process involves watching the self.
- Which is observing ourselves creating words and ideas.
- Which are records of....
- At some point it begins, a self without a history becomes available to our reflection. The same thing is going on at two levels, one of them in process - the self - observing the other, the completed process - ideas and words.
- What is the difference between ideas and words?
- Words are tools of communicating ideas, to ourselves and others.
- And words are created as "ideas of ideas" in the same creative process we're talking about involving observing the self as it creates.
- Yes. Ideas and words more than enough for today.
P.S. From the 1495 Book of Kabbala, Shoshan Sodot: "The deeply learned Rabbi Nathan, of blessed memory, said to me: Know that the complete secret of prophecy to a prophet consists in that he suddenly sees the form of his self standing before him, and he forgets his own self and ignores it...and that form speaks with him and tells him the future. And concerning this our sages said.'Great is the power of the prophets, who make the form [appearing to them] to resemble its Former.' And the learned sage Rabbi Abraham ibn Ezra, of blessed memory, said: 'The one who hears [at the time of prophecy] is a human being, and the one who speaks is a human being.' And another learned man wrote the following: 'It occurred to me, by the power of combination [of letters of the holy names of God] and by solitary meditation, that I encountered that light which accompanied me, as I have discussed in the book 'Sha'arei Tsedek'. But to see my own form standing before me - this I was not granted and this I cannot bring about.' Yet another learned man writes the following: 'And I, the young one, know and acknowledge with full certainty that I am not a prophet nor the son of a prophet, and I have not the holy spirit and I do not make use of the heavenly voice ; these things have not been vouchsafed to me, and I have not taken off my garment or washed my feet. Nevertheless, I call on heaven and earth to witness - as the heavens are my witness and my Guarantor is on high! - that one day I was sitting and writing down a Kabbalistic secret, when suddenly I saw the form of my self standing before me, and my own self disappeared from me, and I was forced and compelled to cease writing.'" (Gershom Scholem: On the Confrontation of Man with Himself and The Doctrine of the Astral Body, 1975)
According to Kabbalistic texts the self presides hovering over conception by male and female, is a biological principle of individuation, a robe woven more and more by every good deed. After death and the garment complete the self is freed from the individual body and becomes an "Astral" body.