Saturday, August 16, 2014
Sensation and objectivity: the second mind, part II
Why do I say this?
Sensation of the body, the second mind, is active without associations. Now, I say that with caveats: there are associations with previous pleasurable sensation, so we might say there is a form of associative thinking. That is, this exists, but only for unconscious, that is, involuntary sensation, which functions — much like the associative mind — as a series of buttons that get pushed, causing actions. This is why Mr. Gurdjieff referred to our actions as mechanical: all three of the minds in us are automatic to the extent that they are unconscious, that is, they function strictly according to associations.
The mind of sensation, however, has an inherent ability to awaken in a different way and become conscious. When this takes place, and it combines with an even marginally conscious intellect, the center of gravity in Being changes completely. I say marginally conscious intellect, because the intellect has a wide range of conscious functions which can be precisely defined by its passage around its own octave in the enneagram. When it is reinforced by a conscious sensation, a passage takes place in which one enters, for the first time, the spiritual side of inner work. This is because the conscious mind of sensation has—due to its nature and its unusually strong connections to the instinctive center (connections which, in the intellect, are largely atrophied)—an enormous amount of power to support inner work; a power the mind alone can never produce.
It is, in fact, impossible for the mind to produce such force, because it does not work with the parts that contain such force. It is, in fact, quite weak — an observation Gurdjieff often made about the minds of his pupils, and an observation they made themselves. Exercising the mind alone will not really strengthen it much — but connecting it to sensation gives it a powerful foundational support.
An active or voluntary sensation is objective. It does not bring its own associations to the moment; it is vibrant, alive, and actively passive — that is, it becomes the magnetic field, the magnetic center or inner center of gravity, that draws impressions into Being. it does so without interfering with them intellectually, because its capacity is not intellectual. When one is within the center of gravity created by a voluntary sensation, one can see quite easily how the intellect constantly tries to interfere with impressions as they enter: it is the habit of intellect to do this. The ability to see this consciously — that is, with the mind of sensation, which is a different and new kind of consciousness — raises all kinds of questions about the activity of the intellect, and creates a kind of balance that allows one to see that the intellect is usually off-base in its assessments: selfish, egoistic, and processing incoming impressions according to associations that serve lower impulses of a wide variety. This kind of self observation is, in my experience, relatively impossible unless a voluntary sensation is active; and it is only this kind of self observation that truly brings a question from the second mind to the first mind, whereby the first mind has a critical faculty applied to it.
Until this takes place, the critical faculty in the first mind, the intellect, is always self reflexive, that is, it is mind critiquing mind. This kind of critique is circular and, in my opinion, inherently worthless, because it never goes outside itself. It just hypothesizes about it.
Only with the participation of a second center, the second mind, can things begin to change in this regard.