sada at ANVIL.NRL.NAVY.MIL
Tue Oct 7 07:08:28 CDT 1997
Enjoyed Charles Winkers analysis on thoughts. Analysis is very appropriate.
Understanding of the volition and cognition, and recognition and the role
of memory, and the process of the error (insufficient information and fuzzy
logic to cognise snake for rope) and the way the brain works in terms of
neural parallel processing is not that clear for full pledged scientific
analysis. It is well known that perception of the same object gives
different thoughts in different people - call it vasanas or samskara -
Cognition of the object occurs based on the sense input that there is an
object with such and such attributes. This depends on the information fed
in, that is the perceived attributes. These are then integrated by the
mind and projected to the intellect for recognition (or non-recognition) of
the object based on the memory (involving pattern recognition) - up to this
point the process are somewhat objective. This happens whether one is a
yogi or bhogi.
But in the pattern recognition using memory, the associated thoughts based
on ones vasanas enter with personal judgments - I like or do not like it or
love it or hate it etc. These are the secondary judgmental thoughts or
associated thoughts that come from memory and are subjective in the sense
depend on the ones vasanas or samskara. This is purely association of the
objective thought with subjective judgment. Subjectivity comes - as I and
mine - like it or dislike it etc., - involving past experiences with the
object or lack of the object and also many times even without any external
experiences but by intellectual projection (or imagination) of the value of
the object (this includes day-dreaming). (Not knowing who that I is
(avidya), causes mistaken identity (vikshepa) in the mind as to who that I
is as a particular individual with body, mind etc., which is different
from the actual I as existence, conscious entity - Since I have subjective
opinion about my self as who I am, I have subjective opinion about what I
like and dislike - resulting in subjective evaluation of the cognised
Since in the pattern recognition, memory is involved, the mind's capacity
to bring in the full memory enters too. For some, the mind goes blank all
though the information is there in the memory, but the mind is unable to
find the direct path to it. Also for some reason, the language is stored
in one side of the brain and pictures on the other side and sometime both
are needed to be integrated to full recognition of the object. For many of
us we remember the face but not the name - this is common problem as one
gets older. Also as one gets older one looses the short range memory
(temporary files) retaining mostly long range (more permanent files). This
is also the reason why the deep rooted vasanas are hard to go. The habits
that one acquires in the child hood becomes more deep rooted. This is one
of the reasons, the children should be taught right values through
balavihars and family teaching before it is too late.
Since the subjective judgmental value system is crept in by ones
egotistical or ego-centered actions, Vasanas purgation or neutralization by
self-effort or sadhana involving free-will also enters into picture. This
is why in addition to viveka, vairagya there is shat sampatti (the six fold
qualities shama, dama etc.) are emphasized obviously involving effort or
free-will - in order to develop mumukshutvam, or burning desire for
In order for one to stand apart from all these subjective mechanical stray
thinking or built up sequence of mechanical thoughts, the mind needs to be
trained to stand apart. To do the inquiry of who I am or where do these
thoughts arise, itself involves new set of thought process requiring
separation of the mind from the normal sequence of the mechanical thoughts.
That separation from mechanical thoughts - to observe the mind in J.K
terminology, requires detachment. Vedanta recognizes that the detachment
can only come by attachment - sanyaasa yoga - sanyaasa involving detachment
and yoga involving attachment. Mind has to be attached to something higher
- higher the better - highest being the Lord or Brahman.
If one is supremely conscious of the working of the mind, he becomes fully
aware of the mind as objective mind; the subjective mind disappears and the
notions which are subjective also falls, since these are false notions.
This is what is emphasized by Bhagavan Ramana in the Upadesha Saara sloka:
chitta darshanam tatva darshaNam
If one observes the mind discarding the names and forms and the subjective
aspect of the objective thoughts, what remains is the vision of the
essence of the mind which is the vision of the truth.
>In response to Vidyasankar Sundaresan <vidya at CCO.CALTECH.EDU>,
>Jonathan Bricklin <brickmar at EARTHCOM.NET> wrote:
>> As James's "data for an entire psychology of volition" shows:
>It describes a beast in the field, not a human being.
>> 1. Thoughts arise.
>Indeed they do! But the question is: What observes the thoughts arising?
>And where do the thoughts arise from? And why those thoughts?
>My thoughts tend to be in English; but others use a different language.
>I tend to have certain thought patterns based upon my interests, aptitudes,
>training, etc.; others are again different. I infer from this that these
>thgought patterns arise from (and are coloured by) the individual personal
>It does not require much effort to notice that the _sort_ of thought that
>arises is influenced by external circumstances. For example, the thoughts
>that arise when studying the scriptures have a different quality to those
>that arise when studying Sanskrit grammar; and those are quite different
>to the thoughts that arise when surrounded by a bevy of nubile young ladies!
>So thoughts -- indeed, the whole of life -- is an interplay of external
>circumstance (karma) and one's personal nature (samskaara). [And hence
>the teaching prescribes satsanga for the former and disciplines to refine
>> 2. They have an impulsive power of their own, a direct link to our motor
>> operations, and do not require a super added willforce to explain their
>> efficacy. And
>Thoughts have no power of their own at all -- only the power that you give
>them. No matter how powerful the thought may appear, if the attention is
>directed elsewhere, the thought disappears. For example, you arrive home
>tired and all you want to do is go to bed, and then something arises that
>really interests you (perhaps you are invited to a party), and all thought
>of tiredness (and the tiredness itself) disappears.
>Nor is there a direct link between thought and motor operations. We have
>all experienced _not_ lashing out (verbally or physically) when the mind
>is enraged. Between thought and deed is the opportunity to exercise a
>little intelligence: if this opportunity is not used, then the link between
>thought and physical expression does indeed become mechanical and automatic.
>It is the old, old story: whatever you practice, you get good at.
>> 3. The feeling of will and effort is derivable from the interplay between
>> opposing thoughts.
>And which thought "wins" depends on the values attached to each thought:
>this implies a decision -- what makes that decision? Note that, in order
>to decide, both thoughts must be observed -- which implies a measure of
>detachment. What is it that observes this "interplay between opposing
>> > Nobody can doubt his/her own existence, whether in the waking or dream or
>> > sleep state.
>> So says Descartes, but surely you are not invoking the Cogito here? He got
>> it wrong, agreed?
>No. "Cogito ergo sum" (I think therefore I am) does not mean that "I am"
>is an effect of thinking, but the exact opposite, that thinking is an effect
>of "I am". Hence thought -- or more correctly, the awareness of thought --
>is inferential proof of the existence of the observer of the thought.
>> > I would like to reiterate that where there is conventional reality,
>> > including the conventional jIva, there is both fate and free will.
>> In no reality can there be both fate and free will.
>Why not? If fate is one's inner nature together with outer circumstances,
>why should the interplay between these two be entirely mechanical? Why not
>bring a little intelligence to bear on the situation? It is possible to
>_respond_ to circumstance, and not merely _react_.
>This application of intelligence is called free will. It is of course,
>circumscribed: no amount of flapping your arms wil enable you to fly, but
>it has allowed man to discover the physical laws governing flight and to
>apply them to develop the aeroplane.
>> > Where the absolute is known, there is neither fate nor will. There is
>>no need to
>> > bias one's judgment and raise either fate or will to an absolute level.
>> Free will has, for me, the status of an illusory existent. The _non_-reality
>> of free will is not a bias of one's judgment but a
>> conclusion based upon introspection.
>What came to a conclusion?
Naval Research Laboratory
Washington D.C. 20375
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