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The Essence of Thought

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posted on Aug, 5 2008 @ 08:43 AM
To say that thought has structure is to say that there is an underlying organizing principle, which is both pre and post-thought. Thought can be viewed simply as a collection or train of individual thought impulses, something like a tree branching and narrowing as the mind locates ideas, comes to conclusions, makes judgments. But, I believe, the structure of thought itself can also be considered. I am talking about recognizing currents and trends, polarities and potentials, rather than simply locating the awareness within specific thoughts.

We can enter the structure of thought from any conceptual point, but one of the quickest ways to the root of thought is to look at the nature of opposites. I am going to use the concepts of heat and cold to illustrate. So what is the nature of the relationship between opposites? First of all, the structure of the opposite can be represented in 1-D form—a first clue as to its essential nature. We can imagine a line that represents a continuum, with a polarity at either end. In the case of hot and cold, the continuum would look like this:

Unimaginable Heat--------------/…/-------------Unimaginable Cold

In this 1-D structure, we can immediately recognize that the polarities do not represent a specific quantity or quality, but rather stretch on indefinitely out of the grasp of our imagination/everyday experience (unimaginable heat at one end, and unimaginable cold at the other). We see that the continuum is of indefinite length because either end is occupied by a conceptual absolute, a kind of Platonic ideal. In the middle, we recognize that there is a point at which we have a quantity that represents a perfect balance of the two extremes. In the case of Heat and Cold, we might say that the perfect balance is the point at which we determine that we are neither hot nor cold, a point, in other words, where we feel an absence of both, or a specific presence of neither. At that point, the opposite pair seems to annihilate itself. Let’s go a step further and remove the specific concepts: hot and cold, since they are arbitrary:

(The Unimaginable)--(The Dissolution of the Opposite Pair)---(The Unimaginable)

We can see right away, that the conscious conceptualizing mind can only occupy two locals on this continuum, which I am saying represents the structure of opposites. It can occupy the space between the Unimaginable on the left side and the inconceivable dissolution of the pair in the middle, and the space between the middle and the Unimaginable on the right. There may be an infinite number of possible points within these two locations on the continuum, but we can recognize that they are restrictive, and that the mind finds its limits in either direction. Since we are only interested in the mind and the structure of thought, we can then call these three areas no-go zones, and simplify the structure even further:

(No Go)------------------(No Go) -------------------(No Go)

Now that we have a more simplified structure, we see that we in fact really only have two functional areas, as far as the mind is concerned, and these lie between the conceptual “no go” zones. We say that the mind can only operate within these two zones. What this means then, is that to contemplate an opposite pair is actually to contemplate one location on the continuum, and then move to another location, and then possibly to yet another location, until we can get a very incomplete sense of the mysterious relationship between the pair. And always, we rely on our experience to do this; we are using our memories, or canned experiences of different positions on the continuum in the comparison process.

In realizing that there are only two functional zones where the mind can operate in its contemplation of opposite pairs, we have inadvertently realized something more interesting. There are three zones where the mind cannot operate. The most important question that we can ask at this point is why. Why can’t the mind operate at the far ends and in the very centre? Why can’t we conceptualize the extremes or the perfect union of the opposite pair? The answer lies in what unites those areas where we are unable to imagine specific quantities, and it is wonderfully simple at first glance. It is because we are in areas that are unlimited, which is another way of saying that time cannot exist there as an organizing principle. We know this because time can only apply when it is possible to divide and enumerate a quantity. When this cannot be done, then the brain cannot be brought to bear conceptually on an idea/thing, etc.

Now we are getting somewhere, we have moved a little deeper and are getting closer to the underlying structure of, not just opposites, but of thought in general. We are beginning to see the interwoven relationship between time and thought, or, more fundamentally, between time and the mind. We are also beginning to see that time is not just the ticking of a clock, but is in fact the ability of the mind to conceive of a clock, and to carve up and divide the environment into specific appearances along a continuum, which we also call time. Here we see that the concept of time then bears a fundamental relationship to the concept of space. This is because space is also the separation of appearances into specific quantities. The concept of space carves visual phenomena into isolated locations, and the concept of time creates another plane upon which these isolated visual emotional phenomena can be ordered. And so, for example, we carve up space into neighborhoods or countries, and then carve up the different experiences of a given neighborhood or country into different appearances along an imaginary axis of time (the past, present and future neighborhood).

What conclusion can we then draw about thinking and the use of concepts? We can see that the mind, as it is traditionally understood, creates time and space. We see that, fundamentally, space and time are both products and tools of the mind. We also see that what unites time and space, other than their being tools of the mind, is that they are dependant on the minds ability to divide and isolate the world around itself, and itself from that world. Many thinkers of the past have come to the realization that the mind (or ego) is a tool of division, and that the mind’s natural tendency is to create opposition. Jiddu Krishnamurti has perhaps been most clear in his message that the mind is essentially violent in nature. This may be a bit strong, but it is true to say that the essence of violence is the ability to divide and polarize, which is the in the nature of the mind. It is in the mind’s nature to say: “this thing/concept/person represents the opposite of me, or is different from me, or is blocking me, etc, etc.” The next step, and here is where violence comes in, is to say: “I therefore stand in opposition to it, resist it, etc.”

Awareness of this is the first step in gaining control over the mind, and, in effect, moving partly outside the mind. In order to gain control over something, you must be able to anticipate its movements and that requires a vantage point that allows you to see outside of mind, at least in a limited way.

[edit on 5-8-2008 by Silenceisall]

posted on Aug, 5 2008 @ 09:49 AM
That vantage point would require one to be outside the Mind, and since physical existence is determined by the dualistic nature of the Mind, being at the vantage point, would essentially take you further from the normal processes of the physical and into the non-physical. This 'journey' would be indicated by the level of awareness one has acquired and the fluidity of one's perception of time and space.

Fluidity, an analogy derived from the physical process of changing states of matter can only crudely describe this journey of changing states of consciousness since the principles are the same, yet the journey itself is much more spectacular and quite obviously, out of your Mind.

Does one ever wonder why people constantly choose to be at a particular solid frame of Mind? Such as saying "...seeing is believing", rather than being at a more fluid frame of Mind by thinking, "I will keep an open mind on the matter". One must anticipate the reaction of the Mind from the action of others, to be one step ahead of the Mind at all times until one has outpaced it, and the veils separating one from unlimited potential gradually becomes thinner and thinner.

Change is the Mind's worst enemy, as change shoves the Mind from its position of certainty into uncertainty. As this happens, it is the nature of the Mind to retaliate against the change.

Internal warfare would suffice to describe the struggle for balance in one's Mind, as without, the same applies to the mass Mind that is Humanity.

posted on Aug, 5 2008 @ 10:20 AM
reply to post by Moegli

Hi there. The vantage point is what many mystics have already identified as being, the I Am, the Awareness, etc, ect. It is the subject which experiences the world. This subject lies beyond time and space.

posted on Aug, 5 2008 @ 11:14 AM
I must have missed that part
I thought of the vantage point as a significant detachment from one's ego as to allow self contemplation and gain a more fluid perception here in the physical plane. But then again, I missed the keyword point. Thanks for pointing that out.

posted on Aug, 5 2008 @ 11:21 AM
reply to post by Moegli

I invite you to concentrate on that part of yourself that is aware of your thinking and is aware of your feeling emotions. That, many have said, is the essential you. That essential you is not your thoughts, or your ego, or your mind, it is the awareness that you have of those concepts. Enlightnement that way lies.

posted on Aug, 5 2008 @ 11:35 AM
reply to post by Silenceisall
This is amazing. I have to respond, if for no other reason than to say that I have spoken with you. Well done!

I am woefully unable to find a flaw in your presentation, save one:

We can see that the mind, as it is traditionally understood, creates time and space. We see that, fundamentally, space and time are both products and tools of the mind.

I can follow the concept that the mind creates its own version of space/time, which we use to navigate through both. However, I wonder if this concept of space/time that is created by the mind is the same one that (I believe) exists outside the mind, in actual (as opposed to virtual) reality.

Perhaps this could be the root cause behind some of the psychological problems we see in society today. If one's own mind is perceiving a different vision of space/time than that which exists in reality, we have the classic definition of insanity: "doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results." If one truly believes their own virtual image of space/time, then they will obviously act on it, seemingly ignoring the actual reality of space/time despite unwanted results.

Which also brings up the question of whose vision of space/time is actual, and whose is conceptual only (if any)? Nah, not going there yet, my fingers are tired.

Bravo again for an excellent post!


posted on Aug, 5 2008 @ 01:43 PM
Thanks for the kind words. I could very well be wrong, but my sense is that the mind maps energy, creating out of it concepts of time and space. The mapping invoves seprating, quantifying, categorizing...basically dividing energy into time and space. We can say that energy exists already in some unspecified form outside of the mind, but I would say that time and space certainly don't. Where this gets really interesting is when you ask: if the mind creates time and space and time and space compose the 4 dimensions, then are the 4 dimenison (three of space and one of time) all just in our mind....are they, in a sense, a function of our "biology?"

I started a blog to talk about some of these issues. If you're interested you'd probably by my first visitor:


[edit on 5-8-2008 by Silenceisall]

posted on Aug, 5 2008 @ 03:45 PM
reply to post by Silenceisall
I will have to check that out at a later date, since my time here is running short. I will try to go have a look though; your thoughts are very interesting.

I do still disagree that the 4 dimensions exist only in our mind, however. Our mind is housed in matter (the brain) and that matter must exist in the 4 dimensions. In other words, there must be a foundation somewhere of space/time for our mind to exist in, both physically and spiritually. I think we have our own impression of the space/time within our mind as a construct, and the closer that construct is to true reality, the 'saner' we really are.

We may have to agree to disagree on this one point.


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