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Cosmic Consciousness-On the Plane of Self Consciousness

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Cosmic Consciousness-On the Plane of Self Consciousness

On the Plane of Self Consciousness-11.
The important fact to notice at present is that, true to the simile of the tree here adopted, the numerous faculties of which (viewed from the side of dynamics) man is composed are all of different ages. Each one of them came into existence in its own time, i.e., when the physic organism (the tree) was ready to produce it. For instance: Simple Consciousness many millions of years ago; Self Consciousness perhaps three hundred thousand years. general vision is enormously old, but the color sense probably only about a thousand generations. Sensibility to sound many millions of years, while the musical sense is now in the act of appearing. Sexual instinct or passion arose far back in geologic ages-the human moral nature of which human sexual love is a young and vigorous branch does not appear to have been in existence many tens of thousands of years.

To make what has been and what remains to be said more readily and more fully intelligible it will be well to go into some little detail as to the time and mode of becoming and developing of a few faculties as a sample of the divine work that has been going on within us and about us since the dawn of life on this planet. The science of human psychology (in order to illustrate the subject of this volume) should give an account of the human intellect, of the human morale nature, and of the senses. Should give a description of these as they exist to-day, of their origin and evolution and should forecast their future course of either decay or further expansion. Only a very few specimen pages of such a work can be here set forth-and first a hasty glance at the intellect.

The intellect is that part of the mind which knows, as the moral nature is the part that feels. Each particular act of the intellect is instantaneous, whereas the acts ( or rather states) of the moral nature are more or less continuous. language corresponds to the intellect and is therefore capable of expressing it perfectly and directly; on the other hand, the functions of the moral nature (belonging, i.e., deriving, as they do, from the great sympathetic nervous system-while the intellect and speech rest upon and spring from the Cerebro-Spinal) are not connected with language and are only capable of indirect, and imperfect expression by its agency.

Perhaps music, which certainly has its roots in the moral nature, is, at present existing, the beginning of a language which will tally and express emotion as words tally and express ideas.[28a. 106]. Intellectual acts are complex, and decomposable into many parts; moral states are either absolutely simple (as in the case of love, fear, hate) or nearly so; that is, are composed of comparatively few elements. All intellectual acts are alike, or nearly alike, in that regard; moral states have a very wide range of degree of intensity.

The human intellect is made up principally of concepts, just as a forest is made up of trees or a city of houses; these concepts are mental images of things, acts, or relations. The registration of these we call memory, the comparison of them, one with another reasoning; for the building of thses up into more complex images (as bricks are built in a house) we have in English no good expression; we sometimes call this act imagination (the act of forming a mental copy of likeness)-the Germans have a better name for it-they call it Vorstellung (the act of placing before), Anschauungsgabe (the gift of looking upon) better still Einbildungskraft (the power of building up).
The large intellect is that in which the number of concepts is above the average;the fin e intellect is that in which these are clear cut and well defined; the ready intellect is that in which they are easily and quickly accessible when wanted, and so on. The growth of the human intellect is the growth of the concept, i.e., the multiplication of more simple and at the same time the building up of these into others more and more complex. Although this increases in number and complexity is taking place constantly in every active mind during at least the first half of life, from infancy to middle age, and though we each know that we have concepts now that we had not some time ago, yet probably the wisest of us could not tell from observation made upon his own mind just by what processes these new concepts came into existence- where they came from or how they came. 

But though we cannot perceive this by direct observation either of our mind or that of another person, still there is another way by which the occult processes can be followed and that is by means of language. As said above, language is the exactally of the intellect: for every concept there is a word or words and for every word there is a concept; neither can exist apart from the other. So Trench says: "You cannot impart to any man more than the words which he understands either now contain or can be made intelligibly to him to contain."

Or as Max Mueller expresses it: "Without speech no reason, without reason no speech." Speech and the intellect do not correspond with one another in this way by accident, the relation between them  is inevitably involved in the nature of two things. Or are they two things? Or two sides of one thing? No word can come into being except as the expression of a concept, neither can a new concept be formed without the formation (at the same time) of the new word which without the formation(at the same time) of the new word, which is its expression, though this "new word" may be spelled and pronounced as is some old word.

But an old word taking on another and a new meaning in reality becomes two words, an old and a new. Intellect and speech fit one another as the hand and the glove, only far more closely; say rather they fit as the skin fits the body, or as the pia mater fits the brain, or as any given species in the organic world is fitted by its environment. As is implied in what has been said, it is to be especially noted  that not only does language fit the intellect in the sense of covering it, in every part and following all its turnings and windings, but it fits it also in the sense of not going beyond it. Words correspond with concepts, and with concepts only, so that we cannot express directly with them either sense impressions or emotions, but are forced always to convey these (if at all) by expressing, not themselves, but the impression they make upon our intellect, i.e., the concepts formed from the contemplation of them by the intellect-other words, their intellectual image.

So that before a sense impression or an emotion can be embodied or conveyed in language a concept has to be formed (supposed more or less truly to represent it), which concept can, of course, be conveyed in words. But as a matter of fact ninety-nine out of every hundred of our sense impressions and emotions have never been represented in the intellect by concepts and therefore remain unexpressed and inexpressible except imperfectly by roundabout description and suggestion.

There exists in the lower animals a state of matters which serves well  to illustrate this proposition. These have acute sense perceptions and strong emotions, such as fear, rage, sexual passion and maternal love, and yet cannot express them because they have no language of their own, and the animal in question has no system of concepts with corresponding articulate sounds. Granted to us our sense perceptions and our human moral natures and we should be as dumb as are the animals had we not along with these an intellect in which they may be mirrored and by which, by means of language, they can be expressed.

As the correspondence of words and concepts is not casual or temporary but resides in the nature of these and continues during all time and under all circumstances absolutely constant, so changes in one of the factors must correspond with changes in the other. So evolution of intellect must (if it exists) be accompanied by evolution of language. An evolution of language (if it exists) will be evidence of evolution of intellect. What then is here proposed is to study (for a few moments) the growth of the intellect by means of an examination of language, i.e., to study the birth, life and growth of concepts which cannot be seen, by means of words which are their co-relatives and which can be seen. 

Reference: Cosmic Consciousness: A Study in the Evolution of the Human Mind: Richard Maurice Bucke


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