Quotations

Some quotations about the mind and consciousness that point to the need to acknowledge interconnection - quantum wholeness - as a fundamental feature of reality. Some of these quotations also deal with the nature of our consciousness when we were tribal (i.e., the nature of the ancestral mind).

"Experience of thingness, our tendency to reify experience into external objects and internal concepts, can be so overwhelming that, in suitable social and historical circumstances, the original aconceptuality of our experience may be pushed aside into the experiential forgetfulness to such an extent that everything that we experience eventually seems to consist of external objects and internal concepts. Quantum theory may teach us that this experiential forgetfulness is not really naturalistically acceptable." Pauli Pyllko, The Aconceptual Mind: Heideggerian Themes in Holistic Naturalism, Amsterdam: John Benjamins Publishing Company, pg. 105, 1998.

"To sum up then, fragmentary thinking is giving rise to a reality that is constantly breaking up into disorderly, disharmonious, and destructive partial activities.   It seems reasonable then seriously to explore the suggestion that a mode of thinking that starts instead from the most encompassing possible whole, and goes down to parts (sub-wholes) in a way appropriate to the actual nature of things, would tend to bring about a different reality, one that was orderly, harmonious, and creative.  But for this actually to happen, it is not enough that we explore this notion only intellectually.  It must also enter deeply into our intentions, actions, and indeed, into our whole being.  This is to say, we have to mean it, with all that we think, feel, and do.  To bring this about requires an action going far beyond what we have discussed here." David Bohm, The implicate order: A new approach to the nature of reality, In: Beyond Mechanism: The Universe in Recent Physics and Catholic Thought, New York: University Press of America, 1986.

"...the conflicting theories of knowledge of which the following pages take cognizance show every sign of diverging more and more widely, leaving a deeper and deeper gulf of incomprehension between them. Between those for whom 'knowledge' is ignorant but effective power, and those for whom the individual imagination is the medium of all knowledge from perception upward, a truce will not readily be struck...the act of imagination is the individual mind exercising its sovereign unity." Owen Barfield (1973), Poetic Diction: A Study in Meaning, Middletown, CT: Wesleyan University Press, pg. 22.

"The common experience today is of world and mind as things totally heterogeneous to one another. Theoretical reconciliations take the form of making one swallow the other. Either you are a materialist, and all is really matter; or you are an idealist, and all is really mind. Whichever of the two you adopt, you will not really believe it, because it will not be borne out by your behaviour." Ibid., pg. 223.

"The truth is, it is not possible to speak convincingly of the active role of the individual human spirit in the world, while you continue to feel in your bones, whatever your intellect may be saying to you, that the individual human spirit is something that is encased in the individual human body." Ibid., pg. 223.

"A subjective - or self - consciousness is inseparable, as Kant himself demonstrated quite satisfactorily, from rational or discursive thought operating in abstract ideas. Consequently, in pre-logical times it could not have existed at all....[We must] accustom ourselves thoroughly to the thought that the dualism, objective: subjective, is fundamental neither psychologically, historically, nor philosophically...We are confronting that inveterate habit of thought which makes it so extraordinarily hard for the Western mind to grasp the nature of inspiration...the threshold of any serious thinking at all, has in the West, been long reserved to the intuitive grasp of a few more or less neglected mystics." Ibid., pg. 204

...To form a conception of the consciousness of primitive man, we have really to 'unthink,' not merely our now half-instinctive logical processes, but even the seemingly fundamental distinction between self and world. And with this, the distinction between thinking and perceiving begins to vanish too. For perception, unlike the pure concept, is inconceivable without a distinct perceiving subject on which the percepts, the soul- and sense-data, can impinge...[So, Adam's thinking was] a kind of thinking which is at the same time perceiving - a picture thinking, a figurative, or imaginative, consciousness, which we can only grasp today by true analogy with the imagery of our poets, and, to some extent, with our own dreams. The period during which this type of consciousness prevailed in its fullness must have been pre-historic. The earliest written documents, and the early state of our language, will consequently point us back to, without revealing it." Ibid., pg. 206-07.

"...Meaning, on the contrary, is something which in no sense depends from, but includes, all these laboriously acquired distinctions...'We cannot say that the derivation of meanings follows from the distinction of inner and outer, or self and not-self. On the contrary, these latter are themselves meanings'...The words, subjective and objective, have no reference except to consciousness." Ibid., pgs. 205-07.

"In thinking about thinking, if we are determined to make no assumptions at the outset, we dare not start with the distinction of self and not-self; for that distinction actually disappears every time we think...'Thinking transcends the distinction between subject and object...The activity of consciousness is neither subjective nor objective; it transcends both these concepts. I ought never to say that I, as an individual subject, think, but rather that I, as subject, exist myself by the grace of thought.' In the moment of knowing...the knower ceases to exist as subject at all; and, conversely, when he comes fully to himself, as subject, he ceases to know.  Imaginations are generated in his consciousness as he passes from the former state to the latter, and the difficulty is, of course, to retain them in some form in the memory." Ibid., pg. 208-09.

"Poetry, where it exists at all, exists not by affirming but by actually experiencing, however slightly, the ultimate homogeneity of world and mind...The heart must be in it as well as the head, if it is to feed on the truth." Ibid., pg. 225.

"There is that within every individual which partakes of the nature of the Universal Wholeness and - in so far as it operates - is God. That is the meaning of the word Emmanuel, the meaning of the word Christ. There is that within us which partakes of the nature of the Divine Being, and since it partakes of the nature of the Divine Being, we are divine. It reacts to us according to our belief in It; and it is an immutable Law, subject to the use of the least among us; no respecter of persons, It cannot be bound. Our Soul will never change or violate its own nature; all the denying of it will never change it; all the affirming of it will never make it any more than it is. But since it is what it is, and works in the way that it works, it appears to each through his belief. It is done unto each one of us as we believe." Ernest Holmes (1938), The Science of the Mind, New York: Penguin/Putnam Edition published 1998.

Revised June 19, 2000