Chapter 3 Section 3 & 4

Submitted by Tom Last on Mon, 05/07/2007 - 10:29am.

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3-3) REALISM (Libra)
[10] There can, therefore, be no question of putting thinking and feeling on a level as objects of observation. And the same could easily be shown of other activities of the human spirit. Unlike thinking, they must be classed with other observed objects or events. The peculiar nature of thinking lies just in this, that it is an activity which is directed solely upon the observed object and not on the thinking personality (thinking subject-R.H.). This is apparent even from the way in which we express our thoughts about an object, as distinct from our feelings or acts of will. When I see an object and recognize it as a table, I do not as a rule say, "I am thinking of a table," but, "this is a table." On the other hand, I do say, "I am pleased with the table." In the former case, I am not at all interested in stating that I have entered into a relation with the table; whereas in the latter case, it is just this relation that matters. In saying, "I am thinking of a table," I already enter the exceptional state characterized above, in which something that is always contained -- though not as an observed object -- within our spiritual activity, is itself made into an object of observation.

[11] This is just the peculiar nature of thinking, that the thinker forgets his thinking while actually engaged in it. What occupies his attention is not his thinking, but the object of his thinking, which he is observing.

[12] The first observation which we make about thinking is therefore this: that it is the unobserved element in our ordinary mental and spiritual life.

[13] The reason why we do not observe the thinking that goes on in our ordinary life is none other than this, that it is due to our own activity. Whatever I do not myself produce, appears in my field of observation as an object; I find myself confronted by it as something that has come about independently of me. It comes to meet me. I must accept it as something that precedes my thinking process, as a premise. While I am reflecting upon the object, I am occupied (absorbed R.H.) with it, my attention is focused upon it. To be thus occupied (absorbed R.H.) is precisely to contemplate by thinking. I attend, not to my activity, but to the object of this activity. In other words, while I am thinking I pay no heed to my thinking, which is of my own making, but only to the object of my thinking, which is not of my making.

Topic: Contemplation Of Object
  • The characteristic nature of thinking is just this, it is an activity directed solely on the observed object and not on the thinking personality.
  • The thinker forgets thinking while actually doing in it. What occupies the attention is not thinking, but rather the object of thinking, that is being observed.
  • While I am reflecting on the object, I am absorbed in it, my attention is focussed upon it. To be thus absorbed is precisely to contemplate by thinking.
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3-4) IDEALISM (Aries)
[14] I am, moreover, in the same position when I enter into the exceptional state and reflect on my own thinking. I can never observe my present thinking; I can only subsequently take my experiences of my thinking process as the object of fresh thinking If I wanted to watch my present thinking, I should have to split myself into two persons, one to think, the other to observe this thinking. But this I cannot do. I can only accomplish it in two separate acts. The thinking to be observed is never that in which I am actually engaged, but another one. Whether, for this purpose, I make observations of my own former thinking, or follow the thinking process of another person, or finally, as in the example of the motions of the billiard balls, assume an imaginary thinking process, is immaterial.

[15] There are two things which are incompatible with one another: productive activity and the simultaneous contemplation of it. This is recognized even in Genesis (1, 31). Here God creates the world in the first six days, and only when it is there is any contemplation of it possible: "And God saw everything that he had made and, behold, it was very good." The same applies to our thinking. It must be there first, if we would observe it.

Topic: Contemplation Of Thinking
  • I can never observe my present thinking; only afterward can I make the experiences, which I had during my thinking process, as the object of fresh thinking.
  • The thinking that is to be observed is never the one active at the moment, but a different one.
  • There are two things which are incompatible with one another: active productivity (bringing forth) and the contemplation of it (standing apart).
  • Thinking must be there first, if we would observe it.
Match-up Quiz

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