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What is thinking?

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  • strangeffire
    This from chapter 8 of the POF: http://www.rsarchive.org/Books/GA004/TPOF/pofc8.html
    Message 1 of 2 , Apr 6, 2005
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      This from chapter 8 of the POF:
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      Author's addition, 1918

      The difficulty of grasping the essential nature of thinking by observation lies in this, that it has all too easily eluded the introspecting soul by the time the soul tries to bring it into the focus of attention. Nothing then remains to be inspected but the lifeless abstraction, the corpse of the living thinking. If we look only at this abstraction, we may easily find ourselves compelled to enter into the mysticism of feeling or perhaps the metaphysics of will, which by contrast appear so "full of life". We should then find it strange that anyone should expect to grasp the essence of reality in "mere thoughts". But if we once succeed in really finding life in thinking, we shall know that swimming in mere feelings, or being intuitively aware of the will element, cannot even be compared with the inner wealth and the self-sustaining yet ever moving experience of this life of thinking, let alone be ranked above it. It is owing precisely to this wealth, to this inward abundance of experience, that the counter-image of thinking which presents itself to our ordinary attitude of soul should appear lifeless and abstract. No other activity of the human soul is so easily misunderstood as thinking. Will and feeling still fill the soul with warmth even when we live through the original event again in retrospect. Thinking all too readily leaves us cold in recollection; it is as if the life of the soul had dried out. Yet this is really nothing but the strongly marked shadow of its real nature -- warm, luminous, and penetrating deeply into the phenomena of the world. This penetration is brought about by a power flowing through the activity of thinking itself -- the power of love in its spiritual form. There are no grounds here for the objection that to discern love in the activity of thinking is to project into thinking a feeling, namely, love. For in truth this objection is but a confirmation of what we have been saying. If we turn towards thinking in its essence, we find in it both feeling and will, and these in the depths of their reality; if we turn away from thinking towards "mere" feeling and will, we lose from these their true reality. If we are ready to experience thinking intuitively, we can also do justice to the experience of feeling and of will; but the mysticism of feeling and the metaphysics of will are not able to do justice to the penetration of reality by intuitive thinking -- they conclude all too readily that they themselves are rooted in reality, but that the intuitive thinker, devoid of feeling and a stranger to reality, forms out of "abstract thoughts" a shadowy, chilly picture of the world.
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    • strangeffire
      http://www.emersoncentral.com/poems/celestial_love.htm Higher far, Upward, into the pure realm, Over sun or star, Over the flickering Dæmon film, Thou must
      Message 2 of 2 , Apr 6, 2005
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        http://www.emersoncentral.com/poems/celestial_love.htm

         

        Higher far,
        Upward, into the pure realm,
        Over sun or star,
        Over the flickering D�mon film,
        Thou must mount for love,�
        Into vision which all form
        In one only form dissolves;
        In a region where the wheel,
        On which all beings ride,
        Visibly revolves;
        Where the starred eternal worm
        Girds the world with bound and term;
        Where unlike things are like,
        When good and ill,
        And joy and moan,
        Melt into one.
        There Past, Present, Future, shoot
        Triple blossoms from one root
        Substances at base divided
        In their summits are united,
        There the holy Essence rolls,
        One through separated souls,
        And the sunny �on sleeps
        Folding nature in its deeps,
        And every fair and every good
        Known in part or known impure
        To men below,
        In their archetypes endure.

        The race of gods,
        Or those we erring own,
        Are shadows flitting up and down
        In the still abodes.
        The circles of that sea are laws,
        Which publish and which hide the Cause.
        Pray for a beam
        Out of that sphere
        Thee to guide and to redeem.
        O what a load
        Of care and toil
        By lying Use bestowed,
        From his shoulders falls, who sees
        The true astronomy,
        The period of peace!
        Counsel which the ages kept,
        Shall the well-born soul accept.
        As the overhanging trees
        Fill the lake with images,
        As garment draws the garment's hem
        Men their fortunes bring with them;
        By right or wrong,
        Lands and goods go to the strong;
        Property will brutely draw
        Still to the proprietor,
        Silver to silver creep and wind,
        And kind to kind,
        Nor less the eternal poles
        Of tendency distribute souls.
        There need no vows to bind
        Whom not each other seek but find.
        They give and take no pledge or oath,
        Nature is the bond of both.
        No prayer persuades, no flattery fawns,
        Their noble meanings are their pawns.
        Plain and cold is their address,
        Power have they for tenderness,
        And so thoroughly is known
        Each others' purpose by his own,
        They can parley without meeting,
        Need is none of forms of greeting,
        They can well communicate
        In their innermost estate;
        When each the other shall avoid,
        Shall each by each be most enjoyed.
        Not with scarfs or perfumed gloves
        Do these celebrate their loves,
        Not by jewels, feasts, and savors,
        Not by ribbons or by favors,
        But by the sun-spark on the sea,
        And the cloud-shadow on the lea,
        The soothing lapse of morn to mirk,
        And the cheerful round of work.
        Their cords of love so public are,
        They intertwine the farthest star.
        The throbbing sea, the quaking earth,
        Yield sympathy and signs of mirth;
        Is none so high, so mean is none,
        But feels and seals this union.
        Even the tell Furies are appeased,
        The good applaud, the lost are eased.

        Love's hearts are faithful, but not fond,
        Bound for the just, but not beyond;
        Not glad, as the low-loving herd,
        Of self in others still preferred,
        But they have heartily designed
        The benefit of broad mankind.
        And they serve men austerely,
        After their own genius, clearly,
        Without a false humility;
        For this is love's nobility,
        Not to scatter bread and gold,
        Goods and raiment bought and sold,
        But to hold fast his simple sense,
        And speak the speech of innocence,
        And with hand, and body, and blood,
        To make his bosom-counsel good:
        For he that feeds men, serveth few,
        He serves all, who dares be true.

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