Wall Of Separation
As children we felt ourselves to be One with Nature. But as soon as we begin to have thoughts, we question the world and desire answers. The mental process then splits our world into two parts: the outer perceived-world and our inner thought-world. In the building up of our thought-content we erect a wall of separation between ourselves and the world. The universe appears to us as two opposing sides, Self and World. Our childhood unity is lost and we confront the world as separate individuals.
Feeling Harmony And Unity
But we never lose the feeling that we belong to the world, that the universe is a unity embracing both Self and World. This feeling for harmony makes us strive to bridge the separation and guides our return by expressing satisfaction or dissatisfaction with our attempts to reconcile the two sides. While I am seeing Nature outside of me, I feel something more of Nature within me. This feeling precedes the appearance of inner truth that is pressing toward manifestation.
Bond Of Connection
While it is “thought” that separates us from the world, it will be “thought” that reconnects us with it. Our life is a continuing search for the unity between ourselves and the world. Religion, art and science all pursue this same goal. Only when we have made the world-content into our thought-content, do we restore our lost childhood bond of connection —on a higher level. Over the course of this study we will see that the goal can only be reached when our knowing is deepened to the level of inner truth. Inner truth resolves the separation between Self and World because inner truth belongs not only to the Self, but also to the World. Only inner truth can satisfy our desire for knowledge.
World-Content: The attention of the one-sided Materialist is on the material world. He attempts to explain the world with thoughts about matter and physical processes.
Thought-Content: The Materialist attributes the power of thinking to Matter, rather than to himself. He tries to understand thought by regarding it as a purely physical process. He credits mechanical, chemical, and organic processes with the ability to think.
Shift Problem Away From Self
Inner Truth: One-sided Materialism can never provide an explanation of the world that satisfies our need for knowledge. The Materialist shifts the problem away from himself. He sees no need to reflect on his own nature, so the same problem—feeling separate from the world—keeps coming back.
World-Content: The Spiritualist’s attention is on the Spiritual World. He denies the material world any independent existence and conceives it as merely a product of Mind (the Self). He considers the whole phenomenal world to be nothing more than a fabric woven by Mind out of itself.
Thought-Content: From all the spiritual theory he achieves by his own spiritual effort, the material world is never found.
World Is A Closed Book
Inner Truth: As long as the one-sided Spiritualist remains in spiritual theory, his mind does not produce knowledge of the world or action in the world. The world is a closed book to the Spiritualist. But we are not satisfied to be spiritual aliens who are disconnected from the world.
World-Content: The attention of the Realist is on the external world that surrounds him. To know the external world, one must turn one's eye outwards and acquire experience. Without experience the Mind can have no practical content.
Thought-Content: Experience gained in the external world provides the mind with practical knowledge needed to successfully carry out action. With this experience we are able to realize our intentions on the real, practical level, with the help of physical things and forces.
Inner Truth: We are dependent on the external world to get things done. But the one-sided Realist may lack the ideals needed, to satisfy our need to accomplish meaningful things.
World Of Ideas
World-Content: The attention of the Idealist is on the world of ideas and ideals. He attempts to connect with the world by constructing a system of ideas out of himself, without regard to practical experience.
Thought-Content: What the Idealist accomplishes is a magnificent thought-structure of the world. It is a bold progressive vision, but lacks any practical experience.
We Depend On The World And Our Mind
Inner Truth: To arrive at a knowledge that links the world-content with our thought-content in a way that satisfies our individual need to know, the Materialist cannot do away with the Mind and the Idealist cannot do away with the external world.
World-Content: This next view, Materialistic-Idealism, accepts both Materialism and Idealism. By accepting the view of Materialism it denies the Mind by declaring all phenomena in the world—including our thought—to be the product of physical-processes.
Thought-Content: Materialistic-Idealism also accepts a view that is a variation of Idealism. It denies the external world by saying sense-perception only gives us sense-effects, not true copies of the world. The sense-effects given to us in perception, include the thoughts we project into the world, causing perception bias. Thus, everything we perceive—including the brain and its physical processes—is the product of thought.
The Paradox Of Materialistic-Idealism
Inner Truth: Materialistic-Idealism accepts both Materialism and Idealism. In doing so, it denies both the Mind and the external world, and finds itself within the contradiction of a dissatisfying paradox. Thought is produced by physical processes, and the physical processes (as perceived) are produced by thought.
World-Content: Science has shown how Matter and Mind are already united. Brain scans demonstrate that our brain-processes are indivisibly united with our thought-processes. Quantum physics shows that Mind is connected with Matter all the way down to the simplest level of subatomic particles.
Thought-Content: Even though Mind and Matter are found to be united in the world, the important question is, How does this unity come to manifest itself to us in a two-fold way? We become conscious of the world by looking outside. We become conscious of our thought by looking within. The world and our thoughts about it do not at first, appear to us as an indivisible unity, but are divided into two separate parts.
Resolve Separation In Our Own Way
Inner Truth: Nothing is gained by seeing the world as an indivisible unity. This only shifts our attention away from the problem, which is our dissatisfaction with the split that originates in our consciousness between the world and our thoughts. Each of us has to resolve this separation, in his own individual way, with knowledge that arises as inner truth.
Polarity Of Consciousness
World-Content: It must be emphasized that it is in our own consciousness that we first encounter the basic and primal polarity. It is we, ourselves, who break away from the mother ground of Nature and contrast ourselves as “Self” in opposition to the “World.”
Thought-Content: We are surrounded by a familiar world, yet the world we observe remains unintelligible to us. A poet expressed the human condition in this way: “We are surrounded by Nature, yet we are strangers to her. She constantly speaks to us, yet she does not reveal her secrets.”
Nature In Us
Inner Truth: We are surrounded by a world that we do not understand. Even though we have many thoughts about the world, we remain confused. It requires that we look deeper within ourselves to find Nature in us. “Human beings are all within her, and she in each of them.”
Estranged From Nature
World-Content: It is true we have estranged ourselves from Nature, yet at the same time we feel we are within Nature and belong to her.
Feeling Nature Within
Thought-Content: This feeling of belonging to Nature means a connection still exists. The outer working and rhythms of Nature also live in us. While I am seeing Nature outside of me, at the same time I feel something more of Nature within me.
Nature Is Within
World-Content: We must find our way back to Nature. It is true, that we have torn ourselves away from our childhood unity with Nature, as soon as we became conscious of having thoughts. It is also true, that something of Nature remains within our being. By seeking out this essence of Nature in us, we will discover our connection with Nature once more.
Know Nature Within
Thought-Content: We can find nature outside us only if we first know her within us. What corresponds to nature within us will be our guide. We will probe into the depths of our own being, to find there the conceptual counterpart that corresponds to Nature.
Path To Inner Truth
Inner Truth: Spiritual dualism considers the human Mind to be a spiritual entity entirely foreign to Nature, and attempts somehow to attach it on to Nature. We will see later that the goal of inner truth can only be reached, when the task of scientific research is understood on a deeper level than is usually the case.
World-Content: The investigation of our own being, must bring us the solution to the problem. It is not enough to say of our inner life: Here ‘I’ are merely ‘I’.
More Than ‘I’
Thought-Content: We must find a place, within, where something new is added to our being. We must reach a place where we can say: Here is something more than ‘I’.
Inner Truth: By looking within an element is discovered that belongs not only to the Self, but also to the World. A concept that arises from within our inner nature is our own, but at the same time, it belongs to Nature. By linking the world-content with its corresponding thought-content, our childhood unity that was once felt, is restored on a higher level of thought.
Description Of Experience
World-Content: This presentation is not meant to be academic or scholarly. So far we have been concerned with simple descriptions of what we all experience in our own consciousness.
No Academic Terms
Thought-Content: The inclusion of a few statements about attempts to reconcile Mind and World have been used only to clarify the actual facts. The terms included such as 'Self', 'Mind', 'World', 'Nature' etc. are not being used according to their precisely defined academic definitions found in Psychology and Philosophy. Instead, they are being used to represent actual facts of experience.
Map To Inner Truth
Inner Truth: One of the keys of study here is to use the descriptions given in the book as a map to guide each reader to their own experience of inner truth.
Description Of Everyday Life
World-Content: Ordinary consciousness does not recognize the sharp distinctions of scholarship. The purpose here has been solely to record the facts of how we experience everyday life.
No Scholarly Interpretation
Thought-Content: We have not been concerned with how scholarship has interpreted consciousness, but how we, ourselves, experience it from moment to moment.
In the next chapter, 3. “Thinking As A Means Of Forming A View Of The World”, we will turn within and investigate the essence of Nature given to us as thought. What is thinking and how is it done?