Make your own free website on Tripod.com
The Mind of the Steward: Inquiry-Based Philosophy for The 21st Century - by Eric Sommer (c) 2000 AD.

PART 4: HUMAN NATURE

CHAPTER 52: HUMAN NATURE INTRODUCTION: THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM
Now we come to the subject of human nature. The model of human nature set forth here goes under the name of `the body- mind-I model'. This model is, at its present stage of development, somewhat `rough-hewn'. It is also, like all aspects of this world view, subject to revision and improvement by further inquiry.
Be that as it may, the `body-mind-I model' posits that each human being is composed of at least three elements or beings. These elements or beings are closely associated but distinct. They are 1) the body, 2) the mind, and 3) the self or `I'.
Strictly speaking, this model applies only to human beings. However, I think it probable that there are analogous structures in other living, and to some extent non-living, beings. In the next few chapters I want to describe the three components of the human individual and to discuss the relationships between them.

Why I Am Not My Mind Or Body
But first, in this chapter, I would like to give you my reasons for suggesting that human individuals are composed on the one hand of an `I' or self and on the other of a body and mind and are not self-identical ones. It is important to give you these reasons because in recent years a number of other approaches which treat the body, mind, and self as identical have gained currency.
There are schools of thought which hold, for example, that `you are your body'; or that `you are your body-mind system'; or that `the I is an emergent or wholistic property of the bodymind,' or that `the distinction between body and mind is a false dichotomy'.
Such approaches point correctly to complex, subtle, and previously overlooked connections between body, mind, and self or `I'. But in claiming that bodies, minds, and selves are identical these approaches are, I think, ultimately muddled and misleading.
Now my reasons for contending that human individuals are composed of an `I' or self on the one hand and a body and mind on the other.
My first reason is that `I' am not my body or my mind. My evidence for this takes several forms. First, there is the ability of my self or `I' to `disidentify' with its mind and body and to experience them as separate from itself. Anything which I can disidentify with, and anything which can appear in my experience, is not me, as explained in the chapter on `disidentificaiton'. Other evidence for my mind and body as separate beings is that they conform to the criteria established earlier for identifying `other beings', beings other than `I'. The first of these criteria, as you may remember, is that `other beings` lack complete amenability to my will. They display the fact that they are not `I' by not always behaving as `I' like. Both my body and mind demonstrate this trait to a significant degree.
My body, for example, works best when fed nutritious food although `I' might prefer that it thrive on `junk food'.
My mind at times produces thoughts which `I' might prefer not to think about.
And my mind and body together produce certain emotions - such as anger or sadness - which `I' might prefer not to experience.
Such phenomena suggest that my body and mind have their own character, a character independent of my willing, and of my likes and dislikes. Such phenomena, which appear to operate independently of my will, suggest to me that `I' am not the sole power or cause behind the phenomena I associate with my mind and body. They lead me to posit the existence of my mind and body as `other beings'.

The Importance of Surprises
This impression that my body and mind are beings other than my `self' is reinforced by the surprises they offer me.
I expect my body to take three days to recover from a bad flu; but the flu disappears after a day and a half.
I believe my body to possess adequate micro-nutrients; but a blood test shows that I am deficient in a particular vitamin.
I expect my mind to remember a certain fact or word; but it cannot do so. I believe my mind to be incapable of solving a particular problem; but it delivers a surprisingly effective answer.
Such surprises again suggest the existence of my body and mind as beings or powers other than `I' or my will. I posit my body and mind as these `other beings' in order to explain those `bodily' or `mental' experiences which do not seem to be solely due to `I' or my will.
In resisting my will, and in offering me surprises, my mind and body compel me to recognize, in practice if not in theory, that they exist with their own characters quite apart from `I' or my will. The distinction between self on the one hand, and mind and body on the other, is also highlighted by the reports of `out-of-the body' experiences and of `after-death experiences'. Such reports point not only to the existence of the self as a being in its own right but to its possible ability to exist independently of its body and mind.

I have now placed before you a case for distinguishing minds and bodies from `I's or selves. But, it might be objected, how do we know that the `I' or self exists? How do we know that, in the words of some mystical and other religious schools, the `I' or self is not merely a `verbal convenience', a fictional entity without substantive existence? For my answer I turn to the fundamental character of experience itself.
My experience, as we saw earlier, is my encounter with the world as seen from my side of the encounter. What enables me to encounter my world, and to experience it, is precisely the fact that I exist as an individual being with a particular character. If I did not so exist, or if other beings did not so exist, I could have no experiences at all. For in that case my character would not be there to receive the impress of the other beings or potentialities of the world and their characters would not be there to be received or experienced by me.
I may encounter or experience the characters of other human, natural, or divine beings; I may encounter or experience the characters of my own mind or body: and I may even encounter or experience the character of the `void' spoken of by those who present it as evidence that individual beings have no fundamental individual existence. But whatever I experience, my experience depends on my existence as a particular being with a particular character able to encounter other beings, entities, or powers with their particular characters. To experience even the `void', `nothingness', or `suchness' spoken of by those who deny the existence of the `I', I must be there to encounter it.
If I am not there, I cannot encounter or experience anything.
The correct formulation, I think, is that I have a mind (which I value and care for) but I am not my mind (but I am not my mind); I have a body (which I value and care for), but I am not my body.

"I Experience Therefore I Am."
"I think," said the philosopher Rene Descarte, "therefore I am." I propose that we update this in universal terms applicable to all beings: "I experience therefore I am."


CHAPTER 53. THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: THE `I' OR SELF
In the previous chapter I presented my reasons for proposing that human individuals are composed of an `I' or self on the one hand and of a body and mind on the other. These reasons are that my body and mind have a character of their own and can resist `I' or my will; that my body and mind offer me surprises which do not stem from `I' or my will; and that my ability to experience other beings - including my ability to experience my own mind and body - requires the existence of my `I' or self as a separate individual being able to encounter and experience its world.
In this chapter I want to sketch the basic character of the human body-mind-I system. I begin with the `I' or self.
The `I' Is The Center of Awareness And Action
In the human individual the `I' is the primary center of awareness and action. There are other centers of awareness and action in the body-mind of a human being. But the `I' or self is the primary center and bears the primary responsibility for co-ordinating the body-mind-I system as a whole.
I will discuss the central role of the `I' in the body-mind-I system in more detail in a later chapter. But for now I want to emphasize that to understand the `I' we must begin by recognizing that it is in fact a being and shares the general characteristics of beings.

The `I' has, for example, its own individual character consisting of the potentialities for experience which it carries. The `I' also dwells, like all beings, in its own individual phenomenal world. This phenomenal world consists of the `I's current experiences as these are generated by the interactions between its character and the character of the other beings it encounters. These `other beings' which the `I' encounters and experiences are, first its own mind and body or portions thereof, and secondly the other beings in the external world.

The Three Basic Powers of The `I'
In its encounters with its body and mind, and with the beings beyond them, the `I' displays `the three primary powers' which it, like all beings, possess. These three powers are:
1) cognition - the `I' cognizes or receives and is effected by its world;
2) connation - the `I' connates or effects its world;
3) processing - the `I' processes or fits the cognitions which it receives from its world to its own particular character.
Like other beings, the `I' also has a world view consisting of: 1) Its experiences which are its current encounters with the world; 2) Its beliefs which are its assumptions regarding the potentialities for further experiences which the world contains; and 3) Its purposes which are its desires to elicit some of the potentialities for experience which it believes the world to contain and its desires to avoid others.

The `I' Is Not The Personality Or Ego.

I want to emphasize that the `I' is not the personality or ego. The personality and ego reside not in the `I' but in the mind and body.

The personality and ego are a set of patterns built in the mind and body by the mind and body's interaction with the `I' on the one side and by their interaction with the wider world on the other side. The `I' is, in one sense, very much simpler than the personality or the mind and body. It is in fact a `simple' being or monad in the sense discussed in brief treatment of compound beings and simple beings in the second chapter.

The `I', like all simple or monadic beings, is inseparable into smaller units. This accounts for the inability of the `I' to encounter itself. If the `I' were a compound being composed of parts, its different parts could encounter one another, just as the `I' can encounter its mind and body or portions thereof. But since the `I' is a simple being, not divided into parts, it can never directly encounter itself.

The `I' Knows Itself By the Traces It Leaves
The `I' therefore knows itself not by direct encounter but by the `traces' or effects which its actions leave on the beings - including its own mind and body - around it. This inability of the `I' to directly encounter itself is why in certain states of meditation the `I' appears to `disappear'. These meditative states are ones in which the `I' is concerned with accepting or observing all of its experiences rather than moving its experiences in any particular direction.
In such states of meditation, based on acceptance and observance, the `I''s ordinary activity is reduced; its traces or impacts on the beings around it are therefore also reduced; and - since its purpose in such meditations is to accept and observe rather than to effect or control - the `I's motivation for noticing the impacts or resistances of its character in relation to other beings, or the impacts or resistances of other beings in relation to its character, is also reduced. Consequently, the `I' may receive the impression that it has ceased to exist. This impression arises inasmuch as the evidence for the `I's existence is no longer present or noticed.
Once the individual leaves such meditative states, however, the sense of `I'ness generally returns rather quickly. It returns because the character, purposes, impacts, and resistances of the `I' are again actively conating/encountering the character, purposes, impacts, and resistances of the other beings of the world.
Before leaving this chapter I want to emphasize that in speaking about the human `I' I have not been talking about the human mind or body. The `I' is not a mind or body but a being able to experience, to interact with, and to observe its mind and body. Its experiences, and its general character are different from those of a mind and body.
The mental powers of the `I', for example, are quite limited. The `I' does most of its thinking not on its own but with the help of the human mind with which it is associated. The movement powers of the `I' are also quite limited. The `I' derives its powers of locomotion not primarily from its own abilities but from the human body with which it is associated. I have now set before you an introduction to the human `I'. We have seen that the `I' is the center of awareness and action in the human individual; that it shares the general powers such as cognition, connation, and processing possessed by beings; that it is a monad or simple being not made-up of parts; and that it is distinct from and unlike the body and mind with which it is associated. I will return to the `I' when I discuss the inter-relations between the body, the mind, and the `I'. For now, however, I want to turn to the mind.

CHAPTER 54: THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: THE MIND.

In this chapter I discuss the mind, which is the second component of the body-mind-I system. The mind is the realm of such mental phenomena as thoughts, feelings, memories, certain subtle energies, and so forth. I want to emphasize from the outset that such mental entities or mental beings are not to be dismissed as unreal. The `mental entities' which we encounter in our minds are quite real and have definite effects on us.

Distinguishing Mental Entities From Other Entities

At the same time mental entities and the experiences they engender differ in certain fundamental respects from other entities and experiences. Encounters with mental entities, for example, frequently lack the reality tone and vividness of our encounters with the external world. This absence of reality tone and vividness is one criteria which we use for distinguishing mental experiences from other kinds of experiences.

But reality tone and vividness are not always a reliable means of distinguishing mental entities from other kinds of entities. Mental entities can dramatically drape themselves in visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or olfactory imagery. Such mental experiences can be as vivid or colourful as any we might encounter in the rest of the world. It is therefore not on the basis of reality tone or vividness alone that mental experiences can be definitively distinguished from other experiences.

The primary distinction between mental entities and other entities lies elsewhere. It lies in the greater amenability of mental entities to my will.

Experiences which are purely mental generally display greater plasticity and willingness to conform to my wishes than experiences involving other kinds of entities. There are exceptions such as painful emotional states or obsessive thoughts which may strongly resist my will. But generally my mental experiences are more responsive to my will than my other experiences.

It is, for example, easier to build a mental house on a mental empty lot than to build an actual house on an actual empty lot.

It is easier to dismiss the thought of Jackie and Jennifer being in my presence than to get the actual Jackie and Jennifer to leave my presence.

And it is easier to imagine myself as rich, famous, or happy than it is to actually become rich, famous, or happy.

Mental Entities Lack Externality

Besides greater amenability to will, mental entities are also distinguished from other entities by their inaccessibility to other beings. Non-mental entities generally have at least some degree of `externality'. By `externality', I mean that an entity is capable of appearing not only in my phenomenal world but in the phenomenal worlds of at least some other beings. Purely mental entities generally lack such externality. They are ordinarily unable to appear in other phenomenal worlds.

If I see an actual chair, for example, I may observe other people around me orienting to it by such behaviors as looking at it or sitting in it. This suggests to me that the chair is appearing not only in my phenomenal world but in theirs. This `externality' of the chair is one of the ways that I know it is an actual chair.

But suppose a chair lacks externality. In that case I will not see the other people or beings around me sitting in the chair or otherwise orienting to it. Such absence of `externality' will suggest to me that the chair is a mental chair and not an actual chair.

I want to emphasize that `externality' does not mean that every non-mental entity I encounter must appear in the phenomenal world's of other beings. I see no reason to rule out the possibility that non-mental entities may appear in only a few, and in some cases possibly in only one, phenomenal world.

But observing the orienting behavior of other beings towards entities which appear in my phenomenal world, or receiving their reports about their encounters with these entities, is still generally an important criteria for distinguishing purely mental entities from other kinds of entities.

It should be noted that if phenomena such as mental telepathy or `mind-reading' exist, then mental phenomena would under certain conditions also have externality and be capable of appearing in more than one phenomenal world.

It remains true, however, that the ability or inability to appear in the phenomenal worlds of others is one criteria by which my purely mental experiences can ordinarily be distinguished from those involving other beings.

Now I want to pull together the discussion of mind so far. The mind is one of the three components of the human body-mind-I system. It is the realm of such mental phenomena as thoughts, feelings, memories, certain subtle energies, and so forth. What distinguishes this realm of experience from other realms of experience is that: 1) purely mental entities generally - though by no means always - display less `reality tone' or vividness than experiences involving other beings;

2) purely mental entities generally - though not always - are more amenable to my will than experiences involving other beings; and

3) purely mental entities generally - though perhaps not always - are ones to which only I have access due to their lack of externality.

Conscious And Subconscious.

Now I Want To Discuss The Relationship of the `I' and the mind.

The human mind is partly noumenal and partly phenomenal to my `I' or self. The part of my mind which is phenomenal to my `I' includes all of the thoughts, feelings, memories, and other `mental material' which `I' am currently encountering or experiencing.

The part of the mind which is noumenal includes all the thoughts, feelings, memories, and other `mental material' which the mind has stored as potentialities but which `I' am not currently encountering. The noumenal part of the mind includes also the powers of potentialities of creative imagination and reason. These powers are used by the mind to build mental images, mental worlds, and mental models of the wider world. By far the larger portion of the mind is ordinarily noumenal. Most of the mind's potentialities for thoughts, feelings, memories, and other mental experiences are at any given time ordinarily outside the experience or awareness of my `I'.

Most of my minds contents are, as already explained, outside my current awareness. These out-of-awareness mental potentialities may be roughly sorted into two kinds. First, there are those mental contents which are out of awareness but relatively readily available for awareness. Ordinary memories, such as what I had for lunch today, are of this kind. I am not currently experiencing my memory of what I had for lunch. But if I want to experience such a memory it is relatively simple to bring it into awareness.

Secondly, however, there are those mental contents which are out of awareness and which resist awareness. These consist of those memories, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and so forth which are `repressed'. Such repressed mental contents are accessible to my mind or at least to parts of my mind sometimes labeled the `subconscious'. But these out-of-awareness mental entities are not directly available to `I'. They are not available because sometime in the past `I', my mind, or my body made decisions to seal them off from my awareness. These out-of-awareness mental entities are therefore likely to remain inaccessible to me unless special measures are taken to bring them back into awareness.

Meanwhile, although `I' am unaware of them, these out-of- awareness thoughts and feelings remain resident in my mind and body where they exert a continuing effect on my `I'm my mind, my body, and my relationships to other beings. These repressed out- of-awareness thoughts and feelings account for the fact that the facial expressions, voice tones, body postures, and general demeanor of people can suggest that they are experiencing emotions such as sadness, fear, or anger of which they themselves are quite unaware.

Now I want to make a final point before I leave the subject of the mind. This point is that mind should not be thoughtlessly identified with brain. Evidence suggests that the noumena or power behind the mind may at least to a significant degree be the brain. The precise relationship between mind and brain is, however, one for scientific experimentation and model-building and I will not further address it here. However, I do want to emphasize that mind, at least as a phenomenal presentation in my experience, does not consist of the `gray matter' inside my skull.

Mind, as a phenomenal presentation, consists rather of presentations such as thoughts, feelings, and so forth which my `I' encounters. Brain, as something phenomenally encountered in my experience, is not properly speaking mind but rather part of the body.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 55: THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: BODY.

In this chapter I discuss the body, which is the third term in the human body-mind-I system.

A chief feature of the body, and the one which fundamentally distinguishes it from mind, is externality. My thoughts or feelings do not ordinarily appear in any mind but my own. But my body has the ability to be encountered not only by me as its owner but by other beings. Not only I but other appropriately equipped beings can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell my body. Unlike minds, then, bodies ordinarily have externality and appear in more than one phenomenal world.

My body is the part of me which is, as it were, shared with the rest of the world. It is my `interface' with the world. It is ordinarily only through my body that `I', or more exactly the manifestations or mediated effects of `I', am able to appear in the phenomenal world's of other beings.

I will not be going over the anatomical details of the body. I refer interested readers to standard works on the subject such as `Gray's Anatomy'.

Here I want primarily to emphasize the body's most important general features. The human body is, to begin with, equipped with a set of specialized `instruments of connation' and a complementary set of specialized `instruments of cognition'. By the body's `instruments of connation', I mean its organs or means for going out to effect the world. By the body's `instruments of cognition', I mean its organs or means for going out to receive the world.

The Body's Instruments Of Connaton And Cognition

The body's `instruments of connation' include

The human hands with their four fingers and opposed thumb which are uniquely suited to manipulating, shaping, crumbling, holding, and carrying objects;
The human arms with their ability to rotate at the elbows and shoulders so as to move the hands wherever their manipulator powers may be needed;
The human legs with their ability to move the body through space by walking, jumping, running, kicking, and dancing.
The human vocal apparatus and the body's general powers of speech and symbol-making which allow me to go out to effect other people with statements regarding my experiences, beliefs, or purposes.
These instruments of connation are complemented by the body's `instruments of cognition'. In using my hands, arms, legs, and symbolic capabilities such as vocal statements I am going out to effect or shape my world. I receive back at least some of these effects as my experiences or cognitions. If I use my hand to strike a chord on the guitar, for example, I receive back the musical effect through my ears. My experiences or cognitions, when they concern the `external world', come back to me through `instruments of cognition' which are known as sense organs.

Sense Organs are Instruments of Cognition or Reception

These instruments of cognition or sense organs are my eyes, ears, nose, taste receptors, and the nerves responsible for my sense of touch. There may well be, in addition, a number of `subtle senses' and `subtle sense organs' responsible for other modes of perception such as are ordinarily categorized as clairvoyance, mental telepathy, and so forth. Such possibilities are addressed in a later chapter. What I want to emphasize here is the reciprocal relationship between my body's instruments of connation and its instruments of cognition. In using its instruments of connation to effect its world my body also requires instruments of cognition to monitor or receive those effects.

The powers of my hands, arms, legs, and symbol-projecting capacities are therefore complemented by the powers of my eyes, ears, nose, taste receptors, and sense of touch.

If I want to plant a seed at a certain depth in the ground, for example, I require an instrument of connation such as a human hand to do it. But I also require an instrument of cognition such as a human eye with its ability to see the effects of what my hand is doing and to closely calibrate distances and to distinguish small objects like seeds from a general background.

Bi-Pedal Posture

Now I want to briefly discuss the `bi-pedal' posture of the human body. By `bi-pedal' posture, I mean the fact that human beings, once past infancy, ordinarily stand and walk on their legs with their arms and hands free for other activities. Other four limbed animals belonging to the mammal family generally do not have this capacity to the same degree. Dogs, for example, walk on all four of their limbs.

The bi-pedal stance of human beings favors the use of the human body's specialized instruments of connation and cognition. By standing on two legs the hands and arms are freed to manipulate and move objects; and the human head, on which resides four of the five human senses, is elevated farther above the ground with the face and the eyes turned outward to take in the wider environment. The ability of the back to bend and the hips to swivel are similarly important. Bending the back and swiveling the hips assists us in moving the instruments of connation such as the hands and the instruments of cognition such as the eyes into appropriate positions.

The Body Is A Compound Being

I pointed out in the chapter on the self or `I' that it is a simple being or monad. The body, however, is like the mind in being a compound being. It is, that is to say, made up of a series of other beings.

Starting from the inside the body is composed of a skeleton of bones; organs such as the heart, lungs, brain, stomach, kidneys, and liver; muscles such as those in the arms, shoulders, legs, back, and stomach; a covering of tissue called the facie extending over all of them; and a vast network of arteries and veins to carry fresh oxygen and nutrients to the various organs and areas and to take away waste materials and carbon dioxide from them. Finally, over all of this there is the epidermis or outer skin.

Each of these organs and parts making up the body performs a specialized job or function within the body. The heart pumps the blood, the lungs do the breathing, and the stomach digests the food. Moreover, these specialized organs and parts are compound beings in their own right. Each of them, that is, is made up of many other parts and cells. The body is, on one level, an association or society of these specialized organs or compound beings working together to promote the well-being of the whole. Each organ or component of the body has its own character, its own dispositions or potentialities, and, it might be said, its own concerns.

The Body is Partly Phenomenal and Partly Noumenal To The `I'

Finally, I want to emphasize that the human body is partly noumenal and partly phenomenal to my `I' or self. The part of my body which is phenomenal to my `I' or self includes the portions and potentialities of the body which are currently present in my awareness. Any sights, sounds, touches, tastes, smells, or other inner or outer encounters I am having with my body are part of my direct experience of it. By far the larger portion of my body, however, is ordinarily noumenal to me. Most of its bones, organs, tissues, muscles, possibilities for action, potentialities for health or illness, and so forth are ordinarily outside the current experience of my self or `I'.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 56: THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: THE FUNCTIONAL INTERDEPENDENCE OF THE BODY AND MIND.

In this chapter I want to briefly discuss the `reciprocal functional relationship' between the human body and mind. By the `reciprocal functional relationship' between the body and mind, I mean that the two logically require one another in order to function or work as they do.

The human body has, as we have seen, great power to go out to effect and receive its world. The human mind, as we have also seen in earlier chapters on knowledge, is also endowed with great powers. It is endowed with powers of imagination and reason which enable us to build imaginal worlds and mental models and to treat these as information pointing to the possibilities which the rest of the world holds. My body's powers of connation and cognition are necessary for me to walk into a field and plant a seed. But my mind's powers of mental modeling are also necessary to tell me how the seed is to be planted and that doing so will bring forth a plaint.

Human beings, with their opposed fingers and thumbs, can `pull out' a far greater range of potential experiences from their environment than can the other creatures of the world. But these experiences to which our bodily instruments give access are not all part of the manifest character of the world. Many of them are `behind the scenes', and gaining access to them therefore requires not only the connative and cognitive powers of the body, but the modeling and imaginal powers of the mind.

In short the human body and the human mind require one another in order to effect and receive the world as they do.

The Hand And The Mind Mirror One Another

The universality of the hand is mirrored by the universality of the mind. The hand yields the manipulative power -the power to pull out a wide range of potentialities from the environment; the mind yields the information-processing power - the power to anticipate, through knowledge and simulation, just what those potentialities might be.

Finally, just as human beings have developed one set of `matter manipulating tools' to extend the manipulative powers of the hand, so another set of `information management tools' has been developed to extend the knowledge or information-processing powers of the mind.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 57: THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER.

In the preceeding four chapters I briefly described the character of the body, the mind, and the self or `I'. I also briefly described the functional relationship between the body and mind. Now I want to put the pieces together. I want, that is, to sketch the relationship between the body, the mind, and the self.

Distinction of `I' from `Body-Mind' Is Central

To begin with, I want to point out that in most depictions of human nature the distinction between mind and body is portrayed as fundamental. In this worldview, on the contrary, the distinction between the `I' or self on the one side and the body and mind on the other is a distinction of at least equal importance. In this chapter I will be exploring a number of the most important aspects of the I/body-mind relationship.

The Body And Mind Are The Immediate Environment of the `I'

The first aspect of the I/body-mind relationship I want to explore is that of the mind and body as the immediate environment of the `I'.

The `I', like all beings, dwells in a social environment. This social environment, as we saw in a previous chapter, consists of the other beings, and the patterns of interaction between those other beings, which are accessible to the `I'. The social environment of the `I' includes all beings which can directly interact with it as well as those beings which can indirectly interact with it through the beings with which it has contact. The social environment of the `I' therefore ultimatly includes all of the other human, natural, and divine beings of the universe.

The primary or immediate environment of the `I', however, is ordinarily made up of its own mind and body. These are the parts of its world with which the `I' usually is able to directly or relativly directly interact. As the parts of its environment ordinarily most accessible to it, the mind and body are also the parts of the environment whose condition and behavior most directly effects the `I'.

If the body is in pain, for example, this pain will generally be communicated to the `I'. Pain in the body of another individual may also effect the `I', as when a friend vividly describes her or his suffering with a stomach ache. The discomfort such a description induces will, however, ordinarily be substantially less than if the stomach ache were taking place in the `I's own body.

If the mind and body are happy, healthy, well-developed and well- developing, on the other hand, they will communicate that to the `I' through their interactions with it.

The Mind And Body Are The Primary `Vehicles' Of The `I'

As the immediate environment of the `I', its mind and body also serve the `I' as its primary or immediate `vehicles'. By `vehicles', I mean that the mind and body serve the `I' as its instruments or means of interaction with the other beings of the world.

My presence in a mind and body is what allows me to communicate with other beings, to interact with them, and to attempt to promote their being as well as my own through my interactions with them. I have already pointed out that my body and mind are the parts of the social environment which `I' ordinarily most directly interact with.

The Body and Mind Are The Primary Means By Which The `I' Effects And Receives The World

This proximity to the `I' positions the mind and body to serve the `I' as the mediators or instruments between it and the rest of the world. The purposes of the `I' ordinarily must pass from the `I' to the mind, and from the mind to the body, before these purposes can appear within or effect the phenomenal worlds or experiences of other beings. Moreover, before the purposes of other beings or `I's can effect the `I', these purposes must pass from the other beings to the `I's body, from the `I's body to the `I's mind, and from the `I's mind to the `I' itself.

The outgoing route from the `I' to other beings - I/mind/body - is the route or set of routes by which the `I' connates or goes out to effect the other beings of its world.

The incoming route from the other beings to the `I' - body/mind/I - is the route or set of routes by which the `I' cognates or goes out to receive its world.

In previous chapters on the body-mind-I system I have discussed the specialized instruments of cognition and connation with which the body and mind equip the `I' to receive and effect its world. The ear and the stomach, for example, are instruments of cognition which help the `I' to go out to receive its world. The hand is an instrument of connation which helps the `I' to go out to effect its world.

Communication Between `I''s Is Ordinarily Indirect

The mind and body, then, ordinarily serve as the instruments or mediators between the `I' and the rest of its world. One consequence of this is that human `I's or selves are ordinarily not in direct communication with one another or with the other beings in their social environment.

Other people, and other beings generally, encounter my `I' or self only in the form of effects which have passed through, and been modified by, my mind and body. In the case of other human beings the mediated effects of my `I' must also pass through, and be modified by, their bodies and minds before being received or cognized by their `I's or selves.

Human `I's therefore stand to one another as theoretical entities. In our interactions with one another we must infer the character, purposes, and motivations of other `I's not from direct experience or encounter but from cognitions of one another which have been mediated - and modified by - our minds and bodies.

Down-To-Earth Examples

In conclusion, I want to go over some of the key points in this chapter while giving some down to earth examples.

Suppose `I' want to connate my world by speaking to you in a loving way. To achieve this purpose `I' must decide or will to do it; my intention must then pass from my self or `I' to my mind; my mind must then cloth the purpose of speaking in a loving way in appropriate words and concepts; the `appropriately-clothed' purpose must then be passed from my mind to my body; and my body must then use its physical structure to speak my message aloud.

Or suppose I want to connate my world by drinking a glass of water. My self or `I' must decide or will to drink a glass of water; this purpose must then be passed to my mind; my mind must then cloth the purpose in images of picking-up and bringing the glass to my lips; my mind must then pass these images and the intentions accompanying them to my body; and my body must then actualize the purpose with the arm and hand movements necessary to move the glass and drink the water.

Routes Of Cognition And Connation

In these examples - making a loving statement, picking up a glass of water - you may have noticed a particular sequence. This sequence is that of a purpose passing from `I' to mind to body to the rest of the world. This sequence is the route by which the connations of the human `I' ordinarily proceed outward to the world. It may be abreviated as I-mind-body. It is a sequence which also applies to the cognitions of the human `I' but in reverse. In other words the human `I' ordinarily receives its cognitions from the rest of the world along the route body-mind-I.

Suppose, for example, that I want to receive a loving statement which you make to me. In the first place my body, and in particular my eyes and ears, must be able to receive your message; next my mind must be able to accurately interpret your message as it receives it from my body; and finally my self or `I' must be able to understand and accept your loving message as it receives it from my mind. In other words, for me to receive your loving message it is not enough that you convey it. My body-mind-I system also must be capable of receiving it.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 58. THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: COMMONALITIES AND INDIVIDUALITY

In this chapter I want to discuss the `body-mind-I commonalties' and `body-mind-I individuality' of human beings. By `body-mind- I commonalties', I mean that we as human beings all possess a `shared human status'. This shared human status consists of certain commonalties arising from the fact that each of us is a human self or `I' operating through a human body and mind.

I want to note in passing that our shared human status also depends heavily on our use, through our body-mind-I systems, of human culture to relate to one another and to our world. I will not, however, be explicitly discussing this cultural element here.

Commonalities of Human Body-Mind-I Systems

What I want to focus on here is the basic fact that as human `I's or selves, living in human minds and bodies, we possess certain potentialities for experience which are common to all human beings.

Suppose, for example, that two human beings with `normal vision' are familiar with balls and with the colour `red'. These two people will have certain similarities in their experience when they encounter a red ball.

Or suppose two human beings each lose a `loved one' through illness or accident. These two people will have certain similarities in their experience regarding their losses.

Or suppose two human beings both have large, spacious, and peaceful houses. These two people will have certain similarities in their experience regarding their housing.

Such commonalties in human experience spring from commonalties in the character of human body-mind-I systems. These commonalties are partially responsible for our ability to reconstruct, understand, and sympathize if we wish to with the experiences or states of other human beings.

Differentiation Within Human Body-Mind-I Systems

In addition to these commonalties of human body-mind-I systems, there is also the individuality of human body-mind-I systems. This individuality takes two forms. To begin with, my body, mind, and `I' are individual beings, each with its own particular character, and each existing in its own world of experience.

`I' have my own character and exist in my own phenomenal world. My mind has its own character and exists in its own phenomenal world. And my body has its own character and exists in its own phenomenal world.

Due to this individuality within human body-mind-I systems, no part of the system has perfect knowledge of the whole. My body, mind, or self may - and frequently do - have experiences or potentialities which are not known by the other two parts of me. From the perspective of my self or `I', my body-mind-I system is greater than my knowledge of it. It should be emphasized that even when an experience or potentiality in another part of me is known by my `I' it is not the same experience.

When an experience or potentiality in my body is, for example, known to me it is because the state of my body has produced an effect on me, perhaps after passing through my nervous system, brain, and mind. This knowledge may therefore be far from perfect, as when I notice myself sniffling and think I have a cold when in fact I am having an allergic reaction.

The first form of body-mind-I individuality is, then, that human bodies, minds, and selves are each individual beings with their own characteristics, experiences, and knowledges.

People Are Different

The second form of human body-mind-I individuality is the individuality which exists between body-mind-I systems. People, that is to say, are different. There are broad, and important, similarities between people. These similarities are what makes us all human. But alongside these similarities there are also important differences.

Studies show that the shape, size, bio-chemistry, and capabilities of human bodies vary widely for example. One person's digestive organ may, for example, be up to several times as large or small as another's.

Or consider the wide variation in the capabilities of human minds and in the capabilities and purposes of human `I's.

Or consider the differences in human abilities to perceive - and to be effected by - particular things in the environment. There are, for example, some people who are born deaf or hard-of-hearing. There are other people with unusually acute hearing or who like myself are unusually sound-sensitive. (I find myself wearing ear- plugs in environments where other people are quite comfortable with the sound level.) A similar difference in human perceptual abilities is the capacity of some people to see fine-grained differences in colours which are invisible to others.

Still another example of body-mind-I individuality is the propensity of people to process information using different `internal sense modalities'. Studies show that some people think primarily by using internal visual images, others use internal `auditory images', others use kinesthetic or `body-feeling states', others engage in an internal dialogue with themselves in words, others use abstract concepts, and so forth.

Such Body-mind-I individuality may also account for the ability of some people but not others to perceive the emotional states or subtle energies of other human beings.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 59: THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: DIFFERENCES IN EXPERIENCE - AND TESTING THE TRUTH OF OTHER PEOPLE'S OBSERVATIONS.

An important subject discussed in the last chapter is that of differences between human body-mind-I systems. People, as I said there, are different. These differences mean that any two people will, at least to a certain extent, be intrinsically different in the potentialities for experience which they possess.

Due to these basic differences characters, any two human beings - in interacting with any third being - will have some commonalties and some differences in their perceptions or experiences.

My body-mind-I system, to cite just one example, may enjoy eating carrots while you abhor their taste.

Or, to cite just one other example, you may find Joe a great guy while the volume or pitch of his voice is intrinsically unpleasant to me.

Overlooking such intrinsic differences in our potentialities for experience can lead to great suffering in our lives. Much unnecessary human conflict and misery is caused by the false belief that all human beings experience, or at least should experience, the world and the other beings in it in the same way that we do.

Testing The Truth Of Other People's Reports

Now I want to discuss an important issue which springs from body-mind-Individuality, and from the individuality of experience and perception arising from it. This important issue is that of testing the truth of other people's observations when these do not correspond to those appearing in our own phenomenal world.

Suppose I see what I take to be signs of paranoia on someone's face but you do not see these? How can you determine whether my observation reflects the actual state of the other person? The methods for testing such assertions are ones which I discussed in the chapter `how knowledge is tested'.

One method is to attempt to bring the entity to which my knowledge concept refers directly within your phenomenal world. This is the `method of direct encounter'. You might, for example, look closely at the other person to see whether you can see signs of the emotional state I am describing.

The other method for testing the truth of my observation is the `indicator method'. This is the method of attempting to bring experiences into your phenomenal world which you regard as `indicators' of the existence or non-existence of the emotional state I am describing. If you cannot directly see the paranoid expression, you might choose to ask other people who know the person what that individual's character is like.

Or you might spend time with the person in order to see whether he or she acts in a way which you regard as paranoid. If people say, "he is somewhat paranoid" or if spending time with him reveals behavior which you regard as paranoid, you might assume that my original observation of a paranoid expression may have been an accurate report of a phenomena which was unable to appear in your phenomenal world. If such examination fails to turn-up corroborating evidence for my assertion, you would have grounds to doubt the validity of my statement.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 60. THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: BOUNDARY PHENOMENA.

In this final chapter on the body-mind-I system I want to discuss experiences of a mystical, spiritual, religious, or other non- ordinary character. These experiences may conveniently be lumped together under the rubric `boundary phenomena'.

I call them `boundary experiences' because they exist at or beyond the edge or boundary within which our more commonplace experiences and our explanations for those experiences exist.

In discussing boundary phenomena, I want to begin by setting a wide general framework in terms of the human body-mind-I system. Like all of the `I's experiences, boundary phenomena are generated by an encounter between the `I' and one or more other beings or powers. The `I's encounters with these other beings or powers may be mediated through its body and mind. Or, in the case of boundary or `non-ordinary' experiences, the `I's encounters may conceivably involve direct encounter between it and the other beings or powers without the usual necessity that these experiences pass through its body and mind.

Boundary Phenomena Frequently Lack Externality

A important characteristic of boundary or non-ordinary experiences is that they frequently lack externally. Such experiences are, that is, not directly accessible to other people. Or at least the presence of such experiences in the phenomenal worlds of others is not confirmed by the kinds of orienting behaviors or reports I see when people look at the trees I am also seeing or sit down in the chairs which I am seeing. If I am standing on the street and believe myself to be intercommunicating with God through prayer, or if I find myself in the `sacred light' or another realm spoken of by mystics, for example, I may observe other people passing by me on the street just as if God or the sacred light isn't there at all. This absence of externally suggests that at least some non-ordinary experiences could be of a mental character produced by the body-mind-I system itself. There is, however, no logical reason to rule out the possibility of powers or beings outside the body-mind-I system which can interact or communicate directly with the `I' without having to pass in the usual way through its body-mind system.

Many millions of people, for example, claim to have directly communicated with god or a sacred dimension through prayer or meditation.

There is also the whole area of parapsychology dealing with mental telepathy, clairvoyance or `distance vision', out-of-the-body experiences, and so forth. Research in these areas suggests that the `I' may be able under certain conditions to leave its body and mind or to interact directly with other beings or parts of the world without having to go through its mind and body.

Applying Open Inquiry To Religious and Paranormal Domains

The realm of religious and paranormal experiences, the possibility that there are spiritual or divine beings or powers which can interact directly with the `I', and the possibility that the `I' may at times be able to interact directly with other beings or parts of the world, is an area deserving of dispassionate and unbiased inquiry free of dogmatism and apriori conceptions.

Go On To Part Five Of This Work



[Mind of The Steward Homepage]   

[Home] [Contents] [Projects] [Mail]

 
Try Yahoo! Calendar
More...

Body-MInd-I
The Mind of The Steward - Part 4: Human Nature: The Body-Mind-I System

[Home] [Contents] [Projects] [Mail]

[Mind of The Steward Homepage]



CHAPTER 52: HUMAN NATURE INTRODUCTION: THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM

Now we come to the subject of human nature. The model of human nature set forth here goes under the name of `the body- mind-I model'. This model is, at its present stage of development, somewhat `rough-hewn'. It is also, like all aspects of this world view, subject to revision and improvement by further inquiry.

Be that as it may, the `body-mind-I model' posits that each human being is composed of at least three elements or beings. These elements or beings are closely associated but distinct. They are 1) the body, 2) the mind, and 3) the self or `I'.

Strictly speaking, this model applies only to human beings. However, I think it probable that there are analogous structures in other living, and to some extent non-living, beings. In the next few chapters I want to describe the three components of the human individual and to discuss the relationships between them.

Why I Am Not My Mind Or Body

But first, in this chapter, I would like to give you my reasons for suggesting that human individuals are composed on the one hand of an `I' or self and on the other of a body and mind and are not self-identical ones. It is important to give you these reasons because in recent years a number of other approaches which treat the body, mind, and self as identical have gained currency.

There are schools of thought which hold, for example, that `you are your body'; or that `you are your body-mind system'; or that `the I is an emergent or wholistic property of the bodymind,' or that `the distinction between body and mind is a false dichotomy'.

Such approaches point correctly to complex, subtle, and previously overlooked connections between body, mind, and self or `I'. But in claiming that bodies, minds, and selves are identical these approaches are, I think, ultimately muddled and misleading.

Now my reasons for contending that human individuals are composed of an `I' or self on the one hand and a body and mind on the other.

My first reason is that `I' am not my body or my mind. My evidence for this takes several forms. First, there is the ability of my self or `I' to `disidentify' with its mind and body and to experience them as separate from itself. Anything which I can disidentify with, and anything which can appear in my experience, is not me, as explained in the chapter on `disidentificaiton'. Other evidence for my mind and body as separate beings is that they conform to the criteria established earlier for identifying `other beings', beings other than `I'. The first of these criteria, as you may remember, is that `other beings` lack complete amenability to my will. They display the fact that they are not `I' by not always behaving as `I' like. Both my body and mind demonstrate this trait to a significant degree.

My body, for example, works best when fed nutritious food although `I' might prefer that it thrive on `junk food'.

My mind at times produces thoughts which `I' might prefer not to think about.

And my mind and body together produce certain emotions - such as anger or sadness - which `I' might prefer not to experience.

Such phenomena suggest that my body and mind have their own character, a character independent of my willing, and of my likes and dislikes. Such phenomena, which appear to operate independently of my will, suggest to me that `I' am not the sole power or cause behind the phenomena I associate with my mind and body. They lead me to posit the existence of my mind and body as `other beings'.

The Importance of Surprises

This impression that my body and mind are beings other than my `self' is reinforced by the surprises they offer me.

I expect my body to take three days to recover from a bad flu; but the flu disappears after a day and a half.

I believe my body to possess adequate micro-nutrients; but a blood test shows that I am deficient in a particular vitamin.

I expect my mind to remember a certain fact or word; but it cannot do so. I believe my mind to be incapable of solving a particular problem; but it delivers a surprisingly effective answer.

Such surprises again suggest the existence of my body and mind as beings or powers other than `I' or my will. I posit my body and mind as these `other beings' in order to explain those `bodily' or `mental' experiences which do not seem to be solely due to `I' or my will.

In resisting my will, and in offering me surprises, my mind and body compel me to recognize, in practice if not in theory, that they exist with their own characters quite apart from `I' or my will. The distinction between self on the one hand, and mind and body on the other, is also highlighted by the reports of `out-of-the body' experiences and of `after-death experiences'. Such reports point not only to the existence of the self as a being in its own right but to its possible ability to exist independently of its body and mind.

I have now placed before you a case for distinguishing minds and bodies from `I's or selves. But, it might be objected, how do we know that the `I' or self exists? How do we know that, in the words of some mystical and other religious schools, the `I' or self is not merely a `verbal convenience', a fictional entity without substantive existence? For my answer I turn to the fundamental character of experience itself.

My experience, as we saw earlier, is my encounter with the world as seen from my side of the encounter. What enables me to encounter my world, and to experience it, is precisely the fact that I exist as an individual being with a particular character. If I did not so exist, or if other beings did not so exist, I could have no experiences at all. For in that case my character would not be there to receive the impress of the other beings or potentialities of the world and their characters would not be there to be received or experienced by me.

I may encounter or experience the characters of other human, natural, or divine beings; I may encounter or experience the characters of my own mind or body: and I may even encounter or experience the character of the `void' spoken of by those who present it as evidence that individual beings have no fundamental individual existence. But whatever I experience, my experience depends on my existence as a particular being with a particular character able to encounter other beings, entities, or powers with their particular characters. To experience even the `void', `nothingness', or `suchness' spoken of by those who deny the existence of the `I', I must be there to encounter it.

If I am not there, I cannot encounter or experience anything.

The correct formulation, I think, is that I have a mind (which I value and care for) but I am not my mind (but I am not my mind); I have a body (which I value and care for), but I am not my body.

"I Experience Therefore I Am."

"I think," said the philosopher Rene Descarte, "therefore I am." I propose that we update this in universal terms applicable to all beings: "I experience therefore I am."


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 53. THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: THE `I' OR SELF

In the previous chapter I presented my reasons for proposing that human individuals are composed of an `I' or self on the one hand and of a body and mind on the other. These reasons are that my body and mind have a character of their own and can resist `I' or my will; that my body and mind offer me surprises which do not stem from `I' or my will; and that my ability to experience other beings - including my ability to experience my own mind and body - requires the existence of my `I' or self as a separate individual being able to encounter and experience its world.

In this chapter I want to sketch the basic character of the human body-mind-I system. I begin with the `I' or self.

The `I' Is The Center of Awareness And Action

In the human individual the `I' is the primary center of awareness and action. There are other centers of awareness and action in the body-mind of a human being. But the `I' or self is the primary center and bears the primary responsibility for co-ordinating the body-mind-I system as a whole.

I will discuss the central role of the `I' in the body-mind-I system in more detail in a later chapter. But for now I want to emphasize that to understand the `I' we must begin by recognizing that it is in fact a being and shares the general characteristics of beings.

The `I' has, for example, its own individual character consisting of the potentialities for experience which it carries. The `I' also dwells, like all beings, in its own individual phenomenal world. This phenomenal world consists of the `I's current experiences as these are generated by the interactions between its character and the character of the other beings it encounters. These `other beings' which the `I' encounters and experiences are, first its own mind and body or portions thereof, and secondly the other beings in the external world.

The Three Basic Powers of The `I'

In its encounters with its body and mind, and with the beings beyond them, the `I' displays `the three primary powers' which it, like all beings, possess. These three powers are:

1) cognition - the `I' cognizes or receives and is effected by its world;

2) connation - the `I' connates or effects its world;

3) processing - the `I' processes or fits the cognitions which it receives from its world to its own particular character.

Like other beings, the `I' also has a world view consisting of: 1) Its experiences which are its current encounters with the world; 2) Its beliefs which are its assumptions regarding the potentialities for further experiences which the world contains; and 3) Its purposes which are its desires to elicit some of the potentialities for experience which it believes the world to contain and its desires to avoid others.

The `I' Is Not The Personality Or Ego.

I want to emphasize that the `I' is not the personality or ego. The personality and ego reside not in the `I' but in the mind and body.

The personality and ego are a set of patterns built in the mind and body by the mind and body's interaction with the `I' on the one side and by their interaction with the wider world on the other side. The `I' is, in one sense, very much simpler than the personality or the mind and body. It is in fact a `simple' being or monad in the sense discussed in brief treatment of compound beings and simple beings in the second chapter.

The `I', like all simple or monadic beings, is inseparable into smaller units. This accounts for the inability of the `I' to encounter itself. If the `I' were a compound being composed of parts, its different parts could encounter one another, just as the `I' can encounter its mind and body or portions thereof. But since the `I' is a simple being, not divided into parts, it can never directly encounter itself.

The `I' Knows Itself By the Traces It Leaves

The `I' therefore knows itself not by direct encounter but by the `traces' or effects which its actions leave on the beings - including its own mind and body - around it. This inability of the `I' to directly encounter itself is why in certain states of meditation the `I' appears to `disappear'. These meditative states are ones in which the `I' is concerned with accepting or observing all of its experiences rather than moving its experiences in any particular direction.

In such states of meditation, based on acceptance and observance, the `I''s ordinary activity is reduced; its traces or impacts on the beings around it are therefore also reduced; and - since its purpose in such meditations is to accept and observe rather than to effect or control - the `I's motivation for noticing the impacts or resistances of its character in relation to other beings, or the impacts or resistances of other beings in relation to its character, is also reduced. Consequently, the `I' may receive the impression that it has ceased to exist. This impression arises inasmuch as the evidence for the `I's existence is no longer present or noticed.

Once the individual leaves such meditative states, however, the sense of `I'ness generally returns rather quickly. It returns because the character, purposes, impacts, and resistances of the `I' are again actively conating/encountering the character, purposes, impacts, and resistances of the other beings of the world.

Before leaving this chapter I want to emphasize that in speaking about the human `I' I have not been talking about the human mind or body. The `I' is not a mind or body but a being able to experience, to interact with, and to observe its mind and body. Its experiences, and its general character are different from those of a mind and body.

The mental powers of the `I', for example, are quite limited. The `I' does most of its thinking not on its own but with the help of the human mind with which it is associated. The movement powers of the `I' are also quite limited. The `I' derives its powers of locomotion not primarily from its own abilities but from the human body with which it is associated. I have now set before you an introduction to the human `I'. We have seen that the `I' is the center of awareness and action in the human individual; that it shares the general powers such as cognition, connation, and processing possessed by beings; that it is a monad or simple being not made-up of parts; and that it is distinct from and unlike the body and mind with which it is associated. I will return to the `I' when I discuss the inter-relations between the body, the mind, and the `I'. For now, however, I want to turn to the mind.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 54: THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: THE MIND.

In this chapter I discuss the mind, which is the second component of the body-mind-I system. The mind is the realm of such mental phenomena as thoughts, feelings, memories, certain subtle energies, and so forth. I want to emphasize from the outset that such mental entities or mental beings are not to be dismissed as unreal. The `mental entities' which we encounter in our minds are quite real and have definite effects on us.

Distinguishing Mental Entities From Other Entities

At the same time mental entities and the experiences they engender differ in certain fundamental respects from other entities and experiences. Encounters with mental entities, for example, frequently lack the reality tone and vividness of our encounters with the external world. This absence of reality tone and vividness is one criteria which we use for distinguishing mental experiences from other kinds of experiences.

But reality tone and vividness are not always a reliable means of distinguishing mental entities from other kinds of entities. Mental entities can dramatically drape themselves in visual, auditory, kinesthetic, or olfactory imagery. Such mental experiences can be as vivid or colourful as any we might encounter in the rest of the world. It is therefore not on the basis of reality tone or vividness alone that mental experiences can be definitively distinguished from other experiences.

The primary distinction between mental entities and other entities lies elsewhere. It lies in the greater amenability of mental entities to my will.

Experiences which are purely mental generally display greater plasticity and willingness to conform to my wishes than experiences involving other kinds of entities. There are exceptions such as painful emotional states or obsessive thoughts which may strongly resist my will. But generally my mental experiences are more responsive to my will than my other experiences.

It is, for example, easier to build a mental house on a mental empty lot than to build an actual house on an actual empty lot.

It is easier to dismiss the thought of Jackie and Jennifer being in my presence than to get the actual Jackie and Jennifer to leave my presence.

And it is easier to imagine myself as rich, famous, or happy than it is to actually become rich, famous, or happy.

Mental Entities Lack Externality

Besides greater amenability to will, mental entities are also distinguished from other entities by their inaccessibility to other beings. Non-mental entities generally have at least some degree of `externality'. By `externality', I mean that an entity is capable of appearing not only in my phenomenal world but in the phenomenal worlds of at least some other beings. Purely mental entities generally lack such externality. They are ordinarily unable to appear in other phenomenal worlds.

If I see an actual chair, for example, I may observe other people around me orienting to it by such behaviors as looking at it or sitting in it. This suggests to me that the chair is appearing not only in my phenomenal world but in theirs. This `externality' of the chair is one of the ways that I know it is an actual chair.

But suppose a chair lacks externality. In that case I will not see the other people or beings around me sitting in the chair or otherwise orienting to it. Such absence of `externality' will suggest to me that the chair is a mental chair and not an actual chair.

I want to emphasize that `externality' does not mean that every non-mental entity I encounter must appear in the phenomenal world's of other beings. I see no reason to rule out the possibility that non-mental entities may appear in only a few, and in some cases possibly in only one, phenomenal world.

But observing the orienting behavior of other beings towards entities which appear in my phenomenal world, or receiving their reports about their encounters with these entities, is still generally an important criteria for distinguishing purely mental entities from other kinds of entities.

It should be noted that if phenomena such as mental telepathy or `mind-reading' exist, then mental phenomena would under certain conditions also have externality and be capable of appearing in more than one phenomenal world.

It remains true, however, that the ability or inability to appear in the phenomenal worlds of others is one criteria by which my purely mental experiences can ordinarily be distinguished from those involving other beings.

Now I want to pull together the discussion of mind so far. The mind is one of the three components of the human body-mind-I system. It is the realm of such mental phenomena as thoughts, feelings, memories, certain subtle energies, and so forth. What distinguishes this realm of experience from other realms of experience is that: 1) purely mental entities generally - though by no means always - display less `reality tone' or vividness than experiences involving other beings;

2) purely mental entities generally - though not always - are more amenable to my will than experiences involving other beings; and

3) purely mental entities generally - though perhaps not always - are ones to which only I have access due to their lack of externality.

Conscious And Subconscious.

Now I Want To Discuss The Relationship of the `I' and the mind.

The human mind is partly noumenal and partly phenomenal to my `I' or self. The part of my mind which is phenomenal to my `I' includes all of the thoughts, feelings, memories, and other `mental material' which `I' am currently encountering or experiencing.

The part of the mind which is noumenal includes all the thoughts, feelings, memories, and other `mental material' which the mind has stored as potentialities but which `I' am not currently encountering. The noumenal part of the mind includes also the powers of potentialities of creative imagination and reason. These powers are used by the mind to build mental images, mental worlds, and mental models of the wider world. By far the larger portion of the mind is ordinarily noumenal. Most of the mind's potentialities for thoughts, feelings, memories, and other mental experiences are at any given time ordinarily outside the experience or awareness of my `I'.

Most of my minds contents are, as already explained, outside my current awareness. These out-of-awareness mental potentialities may be roughly sorted into two kinds. First, there are those mental contents which are out of awareness but relatively readily available for awareness. Ordinary memories, such as what I had for lunch today, are of this kind. I am not currently experiencing my memory of what I had for lunch. But if I want to experience such a memory it is relatively simple to bring it into awareness.

Secondly, however, there are those mental contents which are out of awareness and which resist awareness. These consist of those memories, thoughts, feelings, beliefs, and so forth which are `repressed'. Such repressed mental contents are accessible to my mind or at least to parts of my mind sometimes labeled the `subconscious'. But these out-of-awareness mental entities are not directly available to `I'. They are not available because sometime in the past `I', my mind, or my body made decisions to seal them off from my awareness. These out-of-awareness mental entities are therefore likely to remain inaccessible to me unless special measures are taken to bring them back into awareness.

Meanwhile, although `I' am unaware of them, these out-of- awareness thoughts and feelings remain resident in my mind and body where they exert a continuing effect on my `I'm my mind, my body, and my relationships to other beings. These repressed out- of-awareness thoughts and feelings account for the fact that the facial expressions, voice tones, body postures, and general demeanor of people can suggest that they are experiencing emotions such as sadness, fear, or anger of which they themselves are quite unaware.

Now I want to make a final point before I leave the subject of the mind. This point is that mind should not be thoughtlessly identified with brain. Evidence suggests that the noumena or power behind the mind may at least to a significant degree be the brain. The precise relationship between mind and brain is, however, one for scientific experimentation and model-building and I will not further address it here. However, I do want to emphasize that mind, at least as a phenomenal presentation in my experience, does not consist of the `gray matter' inside my skull.

Mind, as a phenomenal presentation, consists rather of presentations such as thoughts, feelings, and so forth which my `I' encounters. Brain, as something phenomenally encountered in my experience, is not properly speaking mind but rather part of the body.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 55: THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: BODY.

In this chapter I discuss the body, which is the third term in the human body-mind-I system.

A chief feature of the body, and the one which fundamentally distinguishes it from mind, is externality. My thoughts or feelings do not ordinarily appear in any mind but my own. But my body has the ability to be encountered not only by me as its owner but by other beings. Not only I but other appropriately equipped beings can see, hear, touch, taste, and smell my body. Unlike minds, then, bodies ordinarily have externality and appear in more than one phenomenal world.

My body is the part of me which is, as it were, shared with the rest of the world. It is my `interface' with the world. It is ordinarily only through my body that `I', or more exactly the manifestations or mediated effects of `I', am able to appear in the phenomenal world's of other beings.

I will not be going over the anatomical details of the body. I refer interested readers to standard works on the subject such as `Gray's Anatomy'.

Here I want primarily to emphasize the body's most important general features. The human body is, to begin with, equipped with a set of specialized `instruments of connation' and a complementary set of specialized `instruments of cognition'. By the body's `instruments of connation', I mean its organs or means for going out to effect the world. By the body's `instruments of cognition', I mean its organs or means for going out to receive the world.

The Body's Instruments Of Connaton And Cognition

The body's `instruments of connation' include

The human hands with their four fingers and opposed thumb which are uniquely suited to manipulating, shaping, crumbling, holding, and carrying objects;
The human arms with their ability to rotate at the elbows and shoulders so as to move the hands wherever their manipulator powers may be needed;
The human legs with their ability to move the body through space by walking, jumping, running, kicking, and dancing.
The human vocal apparatus and the body's general powers of speech and symbol-making which allow me to go out to effect other people with statements regarding my experiences, beliefs, or purposes.
These instruments of connation are complemented by the body's `instruments of cognition'. In using my hands, arms, legs, and symbolic capabilities such as vocal statements I am going out to effect or shape my world. I receive back at least some of these effects as my experiences or cognitions. If I use my hand to strike a chord on the guitar, for example, I receive back the musical effect through my ears. My experiences or cognitions, when they concern the `external world', come back to me through `instruments of cognition' which are known as sense organs.

Sense Organs are Instruments of Cognition or Reception

These instruments of cognition or sense organs are my eyes, ears, nose, taste receptors, and the nerves responsible for my sense of touch. There may well be, in addition, a number of `subtle senses' and `subtle sense organs' responsible for other modes of perception such as are ordinarily categorized as clairvoyance, mental telepathy, and so forth. Such possibilities are addressed in a later chapter. What I want to emphasize here is the reciprocal relationship between my body's instruments of connation and its instruments of cognition. In using its instruments of connation to effect its world my body also requires instruments of cognition to monitor or receive those effects.

The powers of my hands, arms, legs, and symbol-projecting capacities are therefore complemented by the powers of my eyes, ears, nose, taste receptors, and sense of touch.

If I want to plant a seed at a certain depth in the ground, for example, I require an instrument of connation such as a human hand to do it. But I also require an instrument of cognition such as a human eye with its ability to see the effects of what my hand is doing and to closely calibrate distances and to distinguish small objects like seeds from a general background.

Bi-Pedal Posture

Now I want to briefly discuss the `bi-pedal' posture of the human body. By `bi-pedal' posture, I mean the fact that human beings, once past infancy, ordinarily stand and walk on their legs with their arms and hands free for other activities. Other four limbed animals belonging to the mammal family generally do not have this capacity to the same degree. Dogs, for example, walk on all four of their limbs.

The bi-pedal stance of human beings favors the use of the human body's specialized instruments of connation and cognition. By standing on two legs the hands and arms are freed to manipulate and move objects; and the human head, on which resides four of the five human senses, is elevated farther above the ground with the face and the eyes turned outward to take in the wider environment. The ability of the back to bend and the hips to swivel are similarly important. Bending the back and swiveling the hips assists us in moving the instruments of connation such as the hands and the instruments of cognition such as the eyes into appropriate positions.

The Body Is A Compound Being

I pointed out in the chapter on the self or `I' that it is a simple being or monad. The body, however, is like the mind in being a compound being. It is, that is to say, made up of a series of other beings.

Starting from the inside the body is composed of a skeleton of bones; organs such as the heart, lungs, brain, stomach, kidneys, and liver; muscles such as those in the arms, shoulders, legs, back, and stomach; a covering of tissue called the facie extending over all of them; and a vast network of arteries and veins to carry fresh oxygen and nutrients to the various organs and areas and to take away waste materials and carbon dioxide from them. Finally, over all of this there is the epidermis or outer skin.

Each of these organs and parts making up the body performs a specialized job or function within the body. The heart pumps the blood, the lungs do the breathing, and the stomach digests the food. Moreover, these specialized organs and parts are compound beings in their own right. Each of them, that is, is made up of many other parts and cells. The body is, on one level, an association or society of these specialized organs or compound beings working together to promote the well-being of the whole. Each organ or component of the body has its own character, its own dispositions or potentialities, and, it might be said, its own concerns.

The Body is Partly Phenomenal and Partly Noumenal To The `I'

Finally, I want to emphasize that the human body is partly noumenal and partly phenomenal to my `I' or self. The part of my body which is phenomenal to my `I' or self includes the portions and potentialities of the body which are currently present in my awareness. Any sights, sounds, touches, tastes, smells, or other inner or outer encounters I am having with my body are part of my direct experience of it. By far the larger portion of my body, however, is ordinarily noumenal to me. Most of its bones, organs, tissues, muscles, possibilities for action, potentialities for health or illness, and so forth are ordinarily outside the current experience of my self or `I'.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 56: THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: THE FUNCTIONAL INTERDEPENDENCE OF THE BODY AND MIND.

In this chapter I want to briefly discuss the `reciprocal functional relationship' between the human body and mind. By the `reciprocal functional relationship' between the body and mind, I mean that the two logically require one another in order to function or work as they do.

The human body has, as we have seen, great power to go out to effect and receive its world. The human mind, as we have also seen in earlier chapters on knowledge, is also endowed with great powers. It is endowed with powers of imagination and reason which enable us to build imaginal worlds and mental models and to treat these as information pointing to the possibilities which the rest of the world holds. My body's powers of connation and cognition are necessary for me to walk into a field and plant a seed. But my mind's powers of mental modeling are also necessary to tell me how the seed is to be planted and that doing so will bring forth a plaint.

Human beings, with their opposed fingers and thumbs, can `pull out' a far greater range of potential experiences from their environment than can the other creatures of the world. But these experiences to which our bodily instruments give access are not all part of the manifest character of the world. Many of them are `behind the scenes', and gaining access to them therefore requires not only the connative and cognitive powers of the body, but the modeling and imaginal powers of the mind.

In short the human body and the human mind require one another in order to effect and receive the world as they do.

The Hand And The Mind Mirror One Another

The universality of the hand is mirrored by the universality of the mind. The hand yields the manipulative power -the power to pull out a wide range of potentialities from the environment; the mind yields the information-processing power - the power to anticipate, through knowledge and simulation, just what those potentialities might be.

Finally, just as human beings have developed one set of `matter manipulating tools' to extend the manipulative powers of the hand, so another set of `information management tools' has been developed to extend the knowledge or information-processing powers of the mind.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 57: THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: PUTTING THE PIECES TOGETHER.

In the preceeding four chapters I briefly described the character of the body, the mind, and the self or `I'. I also briefly described the functional relationship between the body and mind. Now I want to put the pieces together. I want, that is, to sketch the relationship between the body, the mind, and the self.

Distinction of `I' from `Body-Mind' Is Central

To begin with, I want to point out that in most depictions of human nature the distinction between mind and body is portrayed as fundamental. In this worldview, on the contrary, the distinction between the `I' or self on the one side and the body and mind on the other is a distinction of at least equal importance. In this chapter I will be exploring a number of the most important aspects of the I/body-mind relationship.

The Body And Mind Are The Immediate Environment of the `I'

The first aspect of the I/body-mind relationship I want to explore is that of the mind and body as the immediate environment of the `I'.

The `I', like all beings, dwells in a social environment. This social environment, as we saw in a previous chapter, consists of the other beings, and the patterns of interaction between those other beings, which are accessible to the `I'. The social environment of the `I' includes all beings which can directly interact with it as well as those beings which can indirectly interact with it through the beings with which it has contact. The social environment of the `I' therefore ultimatly includes all of the other human, natural, and divine beings of the universe.

The primary or immediate environment of the `I', however, is ordinarily made up of its own mind and body. These are the parts of its world with which the `I' usually is able to directly or relativly directly interact. As the parts of its environment ordinarily most accessible to it, the mind and body are also the parts of the environment whose condition and behavior most directly effects the `I'.

If the body is in pain, for example, this pain will generally be communicated to the `I'. Pain in the body of another individual may also effect the `I', as when a friend vividly describes her or his suffering with a stomach ache. The discomfort such a description induces will, however, ordinarily be substantially less than if the stomach ache were taking place in the `I's own body.

If the mind and body are happy, healthy, well-developed and well- developing, on the other hand, they will communicate that to the `I' through their interactions with it.

The Mind And Body Are The Primary `Vehicles' Of The `I'

As the immediate environment of the `I', its mind and body also serve the `I' as its primary or immediate `vehicles'. By `vehicles', I mean that the mind and body serve the `I' as its instruments or means of interaction with the other beings of the world.

My presence in a mind and body is what allows me to communicate with other beings, to interact with them, and to attempt to promote their being as well as my own through my interactions with them. I have already pointed out that my body and mind are the parts of the social environment which `I' ordinarily most directly interact with.

The Body and Mind Are The Primary Means By Which The `I' Effects And Receives The World

This proximity to the `I' positions the mind and body to serve the `I' as the mediators or instruments between it and the rest of the world. The purposes of the `I' ordinarily must pass from the `I' to the mind, and from the mind to the body, before these purposes can appear within or effect the phenomenal worlds or experiences of other beings. Moreover, before the purposes of other beings or `I's can effect the `I', these purposes must pass from the other beings to the `I's body, from the `I's body to the `I's mind, and from the `I's mind to the `I' itself.

The outgoing route from the `I' to other beings - I/mind/body - is the route or set of routes by which the `I' connates or goes out to effect the other beings of its world.

The incoming route from the other beings to the `I' - body/mind/I - is the route or set of routes by which the `I' cognates or goes out to receive its world.

In previous chapters on the body-mind-I system I have discussed the specialized instruments of cognition and connation with which the body and mind equip the `I' to receive and effect its world. The ear and the stomach, for example, are instruments of cognition which help the `I' to go out to receive its world. The hand is an instrument of connation which helps the `I' to go out to effect its world.

Communication Between `I''s Is Ordinarily Indirect

The mind and body, then, ordinarily serve as the instruments or mediators between the `I' and the rest of its world. One consequence of this is that human `I's or selves are ordinarily not in direct communication with one another or with the other beings in their social environment.

Other people, and other beings generally, encounter my `I' or self only in the form of effects which have passed through, and been modified by, my mind and body. In the case of other human beings the mediated effects of my `I' must also pass through, and be modified by, their bodies and minds before being received or cognized by their `I's or selves.

Human `I's therefore stand to one another as theoretical entities. In our interactions with one another we must infer the character, purposes, and motivations of other `I's not from direct experience or encounter but from cognitions of one another which have been mediated - and modified by - our minds and bodies.

Down-To-Earth Examples

In conclusion, I want to go over some of the key points in this chapter while giving some down to earth examples.

Suppose `I' want to connate my world by speaking to you in a loving way. To achieve this purpose `I' must decide or will to do it; my intention must then pass from my self or `I' to my mind; my mind must then cloth the purpose of speaking in a loving way in appropriate words and concepts; the `appropriately-clothed' purpose must then be passed from my mind to my body; and my body must then use its physical structure to speak my message aloud.

Or suppose I want to connate my world by drinking a glass of water. My self or `I' must decide or will to drink a glass of water; this purpose must then be passed to my mind; my mind must then cloth the purpose in images of picking-up and bringing the glass to my lips; my mind must then pass these images and the intentions accompanying them to my body; and my body must then actualize the purpose with the arm and hand movements necessary to move the glass and drink the water.

Routes Of Cognition And Connation

In these examples - making a loving statement, picking up a glass of water - you may have noticed a particular sequence. This sequence is that of a purpose passing from `I' to mind to body to the rest of the world. This sequence is the route by which the connations of the human `I' ordinarily proceed outward to the world. It may be abreviated as I-mind-body. It is a sequence which also applies to the cognitions of the human `I' but in reverse. In other words the human `I' ordinarily receives its cognitions from the rest of the world along the route body-mind-I.

Suppose, for example, that I want to receive a loving statement which you make to me. In the first place my body, and in particular my eyes and ears, must be able to receive your message; next my mind must be able to accurately interpret your message as it receives it from my body; and finally my self or `I' must be able to understand and accept your loving message as it receives it from my mind. In other words, for me to receive your loving message it is not enough that you convey it. My body-mind-I system also must be capable of receiving it.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 58. THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: COMMONALITIES AND INDIVIDUALITY

In this chapter I want to discuss the `body-mind-I commonalties' and `body-mind-I individuality' of human beings. By `body-mind- I commonalties', I mean that we as human beings all possess a `shared human status'. This shared human status consists of certain commonalties arising from the fact that each of us is a human self or `I' operating through a human body and mind.

I want to note in passing that our shared human status also depends heavily on our use, through our body-mind-I systems, of human culture to relate to one another and to our world. I will not, however, be explicitly discussing this cultural element here.

Commonalities of Human Body-Mind-I Systems

What I want to focus on here is the basic fact that as human `I's or selves, living in human minds and bodies, we possess certain potentialities for experience which are common to all human beings.

Suppose, for example, that two human beings with `normal vision' are familiar with balls and with the colour `red'. These two people will have certain similarities in their experience when they encounter a red ball.

Or suppose two human beings each lose a `loved one' through illness or accident. These two people will have certain similarities in their experience regarding their losses.

Or suppose two human beings both have large, spacious, and peaceful houses. These two people will have certain similarities in their experience regarding their housing.

Such commonalties in human experience spring from commonalties in the character of human body-mind-I systems. These commonalties are partially responsible for our ability to reconstruct, understand, and sympathize if we wish to with the experiences or states of other human beings.

Differentiation Within Human Body-Mind-I Systems

In addition to these commonalties of human body-mind-I systems, there is also the individuality of human body-mind-I systems. This individuality takes two forms. To begin with, my body, mind, and `I' are individual beings, each with its own particular character, and each existing in its own world of experience.

`I' have my own character and exist in my own phenomenal world. My mind has its own character and exists in its own phenomenal world. And my body has its own character and exists in its own phenomenal world.

Due to this individuality within human body-mind-I systems, no part of the system has perfect knowledge of the whole. My body, mind, or self may - and frequently do - have experiences or potentialities which are not known by the other two parts of me. From the perspective of my self or `I', my body-mind-I system is greater than my knowledge of it. It should be emphasized that even when an experience or potentiality in another part of me is known by my `I' it is not the same experience.

When an experience or potentiality in my body is, for example, known to me it is because the state of my body has produced an effect on me, perhaps after passing through my nervous system, brain, and mind. This knowledge may therefore be far from perfect, as when I notice myself sniffling and think I have a cold when in fact I am having an allergic reaction.

The first form of body-mind-I individuality is, then, that human bodies, minds, and selves are each individual beings with their own characteristics, experiences, and knowledges.

People Are Different

The second form of human body-mind-I individuality is the individuality which exists between body-mind-I systems. People, that is to say, are different. There are broad, and important, similarities between people. These similarities are what makes us all human. But alongside these similarities there are also important differences.

Studies show that the shape, size, bio-chemistry, and capabilities of human bodies vary widely for example. One person's digestive organ may, for example, be up to several times as large or small as another's.

Or consider the wide variation in the capabilities of human minds and in the capabilities and purposes of human `I's.

Or consider the differences in human abilities to perceive - and to be effected by - particular things in the environment. There are, for example, some people who are born deaf or hard-of-hearing. There are other people with unusually acute hearing or who like myself are unusually sound-sensitive. (I find myself wearing ear- plugs in environments where other people are quite comfortable with the sound level.) A similar difference in human perceptual abilities is the capacity of some people to see fine-grained differences in colours which are invisible to others.

Still another example of body-mind-I individuality is the propensity of people to process information using different `internal sense modalities'. Studies show that some people think primarily by using internal visual images, others use internal `auditory images', others use kinesthetic or `body-feeling states', others engage in an internal dialogue with themselves in words, others use abstract concepts, and so forth.

Such Body-mind-I individuality may also account for the ability of some people but not others to perceive the emotional states or subtle energies of other human beings.


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

CHAPTER 59: THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: DIFFERENCES IN EXPERIENCE - AND TESTING THE TRUTH OF OTHER PEOPLE'S OBSERVATIONS.

An important subject discussed in the last chapter is that of differences between human body-mind-I systems. People, as I said there, are different. These differences mean that any two people will, at least to a certain extent, be intrinsically different in the potentialities for experience which they possess.

Due to these basic differences characters, any two human beings - in interacting with any third being - will have some commonalties and some differences in their perceptions or experiences.

My body-mind-I system, to cite just one example, may enjoy eating carrots while you abhor their taste.

Or, to cite just one other example, you may find Joe a great guy while the volume or pitch of his voice is intrinsically unpleasant to me.

Overlooking such intrinsic differences in our potentialities for experience can lead to great suffering in our lives. Much unnecessary human conflict and misery is caused by the false belief that all human beings experience, or at least should experience, the world and the other beings in it in the same way that we do.

Testing The Truth Of Other People's Reports

Now I want to discuss an important issue which springs from body-mind-Individuality, and from the individuality of experience and perception arising from it. This important issue is that of testing the truth of other people's observations when these do not correspond to those appearing in our own phenomenal world.

Suppose I see what I take to be signs of paranoia on someone's face but you do not see these? How can you determine whether my observation reflects the actual state of the other person? The methods for testing such assertions are ones which I discussed in the chapter `how knowledge is tested'.

One method is to attempt to bring the entity to which my knowledge concept refers directly within your phenomenal world. This is the `method of direct encounter'. You might, for example, look closely at the other person to see whether you can see signs of the emotional state I am describing.

The other method for testing the truth of my observation is the `indicator method'. This is the method of attempting to bring experiences into your phenomenal world which you regard as `indicators' of the existence or non-existence of the emotional state I am describing. If you cannot directly see the paranoid expression, you might choose to ask other people who know the person what that individual's character is like.

Or you might spend time with the person in order to see whether he or she acts in a way which you regard as paranoid. If people say, "he is somewhat paranoid" or if spending time with him reveals behavior which you regard as paranoid, you might assume that my original observation of a paranoid expression may have been an accurate report of a phenomena which was unable to appear in your phenomenal world. If such examination fails to turn-up corroborating evidence for my assertion, you would have grounds to doubt the validity of my statement.


CHAPTER 60. THE BODY-MIND-I SYSTEM: BOUNDARY PHENOMENA.

In this final chapter on the body-mind-I system I want to discuss experiences of a mystical, spiritual, religious, or other non- ordinary character. These experiences may conveniently be lumped together under the rubric `boundary phenomena'.

I call them `boundary experiences' because they exist at or beyond the edge or boundary within which our more commonplace experiences and our explanations for those experiences exist.

In discussing boundary phenomena, I want to begin by setting a wide general framework in terms of the human body-mind-I system. Like all of the `I's experiences, boundary phenomena are generated by an encounter between the `I' and one or more other beings or powers. The `I's encounters with these other beings or powers may be mediated through its body and mind. Or, in the case of boundary or `non-ordinary' experiences, the `I's encounters may conceivably involve direct encounter between it and the other beings or powers without the usual necessity that these experiences pass through its body and mind.

Boundary Phenomena Frequently Lack Externality

A important characteristic of boundary or non-ordinary experiences is that they frequently lack externally. Such experiences are, that is, not directly accessible to other people. Or at least the presence of such experiences in the phenomenal worlds of others is not confirmed by the kinds of orienting behaviors or reports I see when people look at the trees I am also seeing or sit down in the chairs which I am seeing. If I am standing on the street and believe myself to be intercommunicating with God through prayer, or if I find myself in the `sacred light' or another realm spoken of by mystics, for example, I may observe other people passing by me on the street just as if God or the sacred light isn't there at all. This absence of externally suggests that at least some non-ordinary experiences could be of a mental character produced by the body-mind-I system itself. There is, however, no logical reason to rule out the possibility of powers or beings outside the body-mind-I system which can interact or communicate directly with the `I' without having to pass in the usual way through its body-mind system.

Many millions of people, for example, claim to have directly communicated with god or a sacred dimension through prayer or meditation.

There is also the whole area of parapsychology dealing with mental telepathy, clairvoyance or `distance vision', out-of-the-body experiences, and so forth. Research in these areas suggests that the `I' may be able under certain conditions to leave its body and mind or to interact directly with other beings or parts of the world without having to go through its mind and body.

Applying Open Inquiry To Religious and Paranormal Domains

The realm of religious and paranormal experiences; the possibility that there are spiritual or divine beings or powers which can interact directly with the `I'; and the possibility that the `I' may at times be able to interact directly with other beings or parts of the world, are all areas deserving of dispassionate and unbiased inquiry free of dogmatism and apriori conceptions.

Go On To Part Five Of This Work