RE: Opinions and Interpretations
Oct 06, 2005 04:17 PM
by W.Dallas TenBroeck
10/6/2005 3:29 PM
Look within your own mind and "heart". Who there makes decisions?
What is it in you that "wants to learn?"
We've all been to school and were confronted with vast curricula that
challenged our powers of memory.
Some remember easily and others do not. Why ? Some resent the imposition
of the learning method and others drink it in and never have enough.
Why, and where from come these differences of capacity and character?
Not many like you, link the perpetual question mark with a persistence to
discover the final meaning of things -- why, and how does that happen ?
Interpretations are not th best assists. One has to remain at all times
Have a look at this:
CONSCIOUSNESS is the seat of the real life of the human individual. The mere
carrying on of his bodily functions is not his life. Those functions are the
channels and avenues through which his real being has communion with the
phenomenal world, and with other units of consciousness similar to his own.
Through them his life is greatly affected; by their means his thoughts are
fed, his feelings modified, his actions suggested. But let us consider the
modes in which consciousness may work, and the specific forms in which it
may manifest itself. Observation of human modes and objects of life
indicates three classes of consciousness. In other words, there are three
modes of existence which the consciousness of an individual may fall into,
or work itself into, and the adoption of the particular mode, knowingly and
deliberately, or the contrary, determines the character and intrinsic value
of the consciousness.
The elementary or simplest mode of consciousness we designate as lineal. In
this, the feelings, thoughts, and energies of the individual lie not only on
one plane but merely in one direction on that plane.
The consciousness which belongs to this class is limited to the faculty of
moving backwards or forwards in a straight line. It is bound like a railway
train to its special track. This form of consciousness is very common. It is
the lot of those who have only one aim in life, and that a personal one.
Whatever the chief aim of the life may be, whether that of the shopkeeper,
merely to earn money, or of the professional man in his special sphere, or
of society men and women, in their incessant fittings to and fro in the
whirl of pleasure and excitement, it matters nothing; the consciousness,
which is the essence of the individual, exercises itself and possesses power
only in the limited sphere described. It is simply necessary to look around
to observe many examples of this class. A very large number of men and women
of the present day belong to it.
In the second class the consciousness enjoys a wider freedom.
The dimensions of the realm over which it rules lie in two directions; for,
in addition to backward and forward movement, the consciousness may traverse
regions that lie to the right and to the left.
This form of consciousness we shall term the superficial; it has length and
breadth, but no depth. It is the possession of those who, while devoted to
one special employment which absorbs their chief energies, also occupy
themselves, as adjuncts of life, in other spheres having for them a
particular interest. This consciousness predominates largely amongst men and
women who, following a daily avocation to supply the main needs of life,
have sufficient mental or emotional activity to lead them into secondary
engagements that exercise thought or fulfill an aim.
The persons possessing this form of consciousness are active and seem to
follow a purpose, though the purpose may not be noble or of intrinsic value.
Naturally, this consciousness enjoys much more of life than the form
belonging to the class designated as lineal. Men of business, not wholly
immersed in the getting of money, clergymen and ministers of wise
sympathies, teachers not limited to one peculiar tendency of thought, and
persons whose lives generally are useful and active, are those who belong to
the second class of superficial consciousness.
The consciousness, the nature of which remains to be described, is of vastly
greater extent than either of the two classes already discussed.
Its dimensions lie in three directions. Not only does it exist in all
directions superficially, but it further penetrates below the surface in
possessing the quality of depth. It is true that the superficial area may
vary in extent. This may appear, to the observer, but limited, or it may
seem to spread far and wide, but the circumstance of depth in its nature and
extent will be recognized only by the few, and not even by them to its full
The territory below the surface can neither be seen nor gauged, except by
the faculties of a conscious-ness of similar nature. In the depth of an
object there is capacity for substance, and consciousness is of a nature so
real that wherever it exists in depth it is as true substance. The objects
with which the lineal and superficial forms of consciousness deal are but
temporal character and will pass away, but those that are the possession of
the solid form are secure beyond possibility of removal.
Within that deep region, and corresponding to its intricacy and in the
extent to which it penetrates, there are tracks of infinite variety and
In exploring these, the consciousness may find unending employment. This
class of consciousness gives to the world those men from whom it learns,
whose depth of nature is the abyss from which spring fountains and rills
that irrigate life, and turn its wheels, and cause it to be fruitful.
Such men are the richest of earthly beings; their wealth is inexhaustible
and imperishable. That depth, in which their consciousness revels, belongs
to another world than that of ordinary human existence; it is the universe
of eternal and infinite life, of which they are already subjects.
The first-named form of consciousness we should term sensuous, or that which
operates merely through the senses and the nervous system; the second form
we should call the intellectual or inner-sensuous; the third form is the
spiritual or super-sensuous.
Sensuous consciousness delights merely in the external forms of objects and
receives impressions only from those forms as they are found.
Intellectual consciousness finds its exciting cause not so much in the forms
of external objects as in their movements and the effects of those movements
upon the objects themselves.
The spiritual consciousness moves amidst the hidden causes of the sensuous
ATTENTION IN PERSONAL DEVELOPMENT
TRUE study of any branch of knowledge consists in giving the matter of that
branch such repetitions of attentive consideration that it at length becomes
an integral part of the domain of the consciousness, and can at any time,
under any correlated stimulus, be made use of by automatic mental action.
True Study of an Art consists, primarily in the attentive repetitions of the
action of the physiological organs, involved in the productions of that Art,
until that action becomes automatic, and is as well and so naturally
performed as any original reflex physiological function.
In these definitions the word qualifying the necessary processes is the
adjective attentive, denoting the presence of attention in the operation.
Without this word the definitions would not merely be imperfect, they would
be essentially incorrect and misleading.
Only in the quality of being attentive can the reiterated consideration and
the reiterated action, respectively, result in the possession, on the one
hand, of a new realm of knowledge, or, on the other hand, of a new area of
What is the nature and manner of expression of this supreme quality
An appreciative intellectual grasp of the answer to this question and a
realisation of the function of its subject in the processes of human
personal evolution, should be recognised as fundamental elements in the
knowledge and understanding of the true educationist, be he teacher or not.
The word Attention is used largely, but loosely, in educational employments,
yet we have no other word with which, habitually, to express that attitude
of the consciousness which, in any study or acquisition of power, is
absolutely and continuously demanded, in order to ensure intrinsic results.
The term concentration is more literally correct in this relation, but
concentration has, with most persons, too limited and too special an
application to render it available for ordinary use instead of Attention.
Yet the Attention we are discussing, the attention of all
knowledge-acquiring processes, may perhaps be better understood and realized
if it is regarded as Concentrated Attention.
Attention is that condition or attitude of consciousness in which its rays
are steadily and unintermittently centred upon the thing being done or the
subject of study. This may be presented to the consciousness by one or more
of the special senses, or it may already be a content of the mind; the
special element in the attitude being the intentness with which the
consciousness operates. This intentness of gaze must proceed to such a
degree that all other sensible or mental objects, except the one, become
excluded from its range.
In the effort to do this to maintain concentrated attention, the Will of the
individual is brought into play, and its function in the process may be
compared to that played by a burning-glass held between the sun and the
surface of an object. If it is intended that the sun's rays shall produce,
through the burning-glass, a definite and observable effect, the glass must
be held in such a relation to the object that the rays of light converge
upon one spot. This spot, or focus, then receives the whole force of the
rays that pass through the glass; it alone, of all that surrounding surface,
is brought out into relief and operated upon. In like manner the Will, in
sustaining attention, focuses the rays of the consciousness, with all their
inherent dynamic forces, upon one circumscribed area, physiological, mental,
or moral, as the case may be, wherein lies the work to be done.
Thus we see that Attention is intentness of Mental Vision, concentrated and
maintained by action of the Will. It is not a separate function or property
of the mind, like perception, imagination, reason, &c., as some
psychologists might lead us to suppose, but a mode of action,-the true mode
of the Will's action. In other words it is the definite, efficient
expression of the Volition or Will force of the individual.
The functions perception, conception, imagination, &c., are instruments of
the Ego for operating upon the phenomenal world and upon mental
appropriations of that world; when one or more of these thus operates with
all its force, undiverted from its employment by any surrounding object,
then Attention is exhibited.
Will is the manifestation or action of the real human Ego; Attention
designates the mode in which that manifestation is functionally exhibited,
and by which alone permanent results are produced.
In relation to the psychological realm in which Attention is a feature, we
may formulate the following scheme. This scheme may serve to make the
general bearings of the subject clearer and to more definitely indicate the
part played by Attention in all psycho logical phenomena.
The source of mental movement
arises in Emotion = the desire to know.
The direction of the movement
lies with Reason = how and what to know.
The machinery of the movement
is provided by The mental = the means by which
activities the knowledge is
(Perception, etc.) gained.
The maintaining force of the
movement resides in the Will = the mode by
(the Energy which continuity of
of the Ego.) operation is ensured.
The efficient relation of the two last groups of factors to each other, and
their joint relation to the object under study, are expressed by our term
Attention. The Will holds the mental activities employed rigidly and
persistently to their work.
The Ego, through Volition, can only establish relations with objects
external to itself through the mental activities, Perception, Conception,
Judgment, Imagination, &c., and to effect this, the latter must be
maintained in operation in a direct line between the Ego, represented by
Volition, and the object to be studied; just as the gun of the sportsman
must be held with exact precision longitudinally between his eye and the
object he desires to hit.
If the gun be allowed to deviate in the least degree from the exact line of
vision, the sportsman misses his object, so, also, if Perception, or
Conception, or Judgment, or Imagination, whichever of these activities or
faculties is in use, is permitted to lose its direct bearing upon the work
in hand absolute failure of purpose ensues. In this illustration the steady
maintenance of the gun in precise position is a parallel to the
psychological action of Attention.
When we grasp the full bearing of the truths here pointed out, we cannot
fail to perceive the significant relation which the mental attitude of
Attention holds to all educational processes and employments, nor can we
assign it too prominent a position in laying down true and efficient methods
Let Volition, the Mental Activities, the Light of Reason, the Physiological
System of nerves and muscles, and vast mines of possible knowledge, all be
provided; what intrinsic and permanent result can be accomplished amongst
them if the manner in which they are used does not include Attention?
Modern Education fails, as evident to all thoughtful observers of human
life, very largely because of its neglect to maintain this essential factor
of personal evolution in its due place. The desultoriness, aimlessness and
mental commonplaceness of the general adult life around us, spring from this
Modern Education, in its multitude of subjects, in its haste in passing from
one subject to another, and in its lack of precise aim, exhibits
desultoriness in employment of time and faculty.
Desultoriness is the antithesis of Systematic Attention.
Modern Education rules over an area from which nothing new arises as the
fruit of its fostering care, it brings no new thing into being from out its
world of chaos.
This results from its desultoriness of method and action.
The Human Will is, however, a natural creator when it operates through
Concentrated Attention, but education fails in its true mission as a
stimulus and guide to individual creative force, because of this
unreasonable neglect of a fundamental principle.
Every area of acquired skill is a new creation; it has a real, patent
existence and is an object of possession and use in the world of human life,
which did not exist previous to its evolution by the personal Will operating
through the mental activities upon a physiological chaos.
To prevent possible confusion of thought in tracing out the subject, it may
be remarked here that there is a mental attitude to which the term,
Attention is commonly applied. This may be termed Passive Attention.
Passive Attention rules the consciousness when one listens to an eloquent
speech or interesting lecture.
In such instances the Will is in abeyance, the consciousness being probably
held entranced by forces which the Occultist might term Mantramic.
Passive attention also rules when the mind follows an absorbing train of
thought. But this form is not that demanded for personal growth;
educationally it is of slight value and without necessary relation to our
Attention plays its necessary part in each one of the realms or planes of
life to which the human individual belongs:-
I. On the physical plane;-in the physiological realm of the special senses
and the nervous and muscular systems. Conscious action under its rule in
this realm results in skill, the basis not only of all art and artistic
performance, but of every nicely adapted movement of the human limbs and
frame for practical purpose or for the display of agility and gracefulness.
2. On the mental plane;-in the psychological realm of concepts, comparisons,
judgments, deductions, speculations and ideals. On this plane intellectual
energy under the control of Attention, creates logical systematic and
consecutive forms of thought, true panoramic fields of vision out of
detached intellectual details, and new emotional forms of power and beauty.
3. On the moral plane;-in the spiritual realm of supreme truths, vital
principles, gropings after the Infinite, the laws of human relationships,
and the application of all these to the entire conduct of the personal life.
In this supreme area the moral sentiments and spiritual aspirations after
perfection of life, concentrate their attention upon definite details of
personal thought and behaviour, the production of grace of spirit,
reliability of disposition, agreement of conduct with principle, altruism in
all its effective forms, and the development of a personal influence ever
tending towards the evolution of a vitalizing social harmony.
In the evolution of personal life, when the object of its action is an area
or detail of any one of these realms, Attention may be termed specific, and
when the control of the adopted purpose of existence as a whole is
maintained through its means, establishing an efficient and well-ordered
unity amongst the many divisions and details of that purpose, then we may
designate Attention as supreme.
"Genius" has been defined as "an infinite capacity for taking pains." The
expression "taking pains" is merely a synonym for "close attention to minute
details." "Close attention to details" takes each brick of which the
"mansion for all lovely forms,"-the structure of personal knowledge,
capacity and ability, is to be built, and carefully places it in its due
position, cementing it there at once. The structure so put together is
substantial, capacious, beautiful, and efficient.
This structure, the result of infinite pains long continued, is that which
the world wonders at and worships and calls Genius. Nearly all men, if first
guided and supported along the toilsome track and afterwards urged along it
by pressure of their own Wills, might develop some form of power and skill
which would elevate them considerably towards that height from which Genius
looks down, and thus render the ordinary world much less commonplace,
monotonous and unskillful than it is at present. To sum up:-
Concentrated Attention is the expression of the Will, and Will is the
central, animating force proceeding from the Ego. Will, operating under the
condition of Attention upon the chaos of its attendant world, and
co-ordinating the energies, forces and movements of that world, converts it
into a realm of form, power, and purpose, centering around the Ego.
This constitutes Personal Evolution resulting at length in a perfected
Individuality, the creation of its own Will.
Sent: Thursday, October 06, 2005 8:49 AM
Subject: Re: Opinions and Interpretations
(((In my opinion, the "opinions" of others do not count.
Interesting. Then how can you learn?
I, for instance, do not think I need interpretation.
I believe you, Dal. I believe that this is truly your mindset.
Some speculative interposing here from Mauri ...
On the topic of "needing" or "not needing" "interpretation," in whatever
sense/context ... seems to me that one might want to first think about how
one might want to define "interpretation," in whatever sense/context.
Wesbster's on "interpret": 2. to have or show one's own understanding of
the meaning of
[Back to Top]
Dedicated to the Theosophical Philosophy and its Practical Application