Man's highest faculty is not reason but intuition: apprehension of knowledge derived immediately and spontaneously from the soul, not from the fallible agency of the senses or of reason.
The wise do not expect to reap everlasting happiness from friends, beloved family, or dear possessions! The forms of loved ones are snatched away by death. Material objects turn out to be meaningless when one becomes used to them; or when, in old age, the senses grow unappreciative, powerless. Concentrate on the immortal Spirit through meditation and find there a harvest of eternal, ever new peace!
When a man in the process of dreaming becomes conscious that he is dreaming, he is no longer identified with the phenomena; he is not affected exultantly or dolefully. God consciously dreams His cosmic play and is unaffected by it's dualities. A yogi who perceives his real self as separate from his active senses and their objects never becomes attached to anything. He is aware of the dream nature of the universe and watches it without being entangled in its complex but ephemeral nature.
At all times man approached his surroundings with wide open senses and a fertile intelligence, at all times he made incredible discoveries, at all times we can learn from his ideas.
The object of the senses is in itself indifferent-independent of the disposition or of the judgment; but the object of religion is a selected object; the most excellent, the first, the supreme being; it essentially presupposes a critical judgment, a discrimination between the divine and the non-divine, between that which is worthy of adoration and that which is not worthy. And here may be applied, without and limitation, the proposition: the object of any subject is nothing else than the subject's own nature taken objectively. Such as are a man's thoughts and dispositions, such is his God.
Arguments for preservation based on the beauty of wilderness are sometimes treated as if they were of little weight because they are merely aesthetic. That is a mistake. We go to great lengths to preserve the artistic treasures of earlier human civilizations. It is difficult to imagine any economic gain that we would be prepared to accept as adequate compensation for, for instance, the destruction of the paintings in the Louvre. How should we compare the aesthetic value of wilderness with that of the paintings in the Louvre? Here, perhaps, judgment does become inescapably subjective; so I shall report my own experiences. I have looked at the paintings in the Louvre, and in many of the other great galleries of Europe and the United States. I think I have a reasonable sense of appreciation of the fine arts; yet I have not had, in any museum, experiences that have filled my aesthetic senses in the way that they are filled when I walk in a natural setting and pause to survey the view from a rocky peak overlooking a forested valley, or by a stream tumbling over moss-covered boulders set amongst tall tree-ferns, growing in the shade of the forest canopy, I do not think I am alone in this; for many people, wilderness is the source of the greatest feelings of aesthetic appreciation, rising to an almost mystical intensity.
They are the ideational, sensate, and idealistic systems of truth and knowledge. Ideational truth is the truth revealed by the grace of God, through His mouthpieces (the prophets, mystics, and founders of religion), disclosed in a supersensory way through mystic experience, direct revelation, divine intuition, and inspiration. Such a truth may be called the truth of faith. It is regarded as infallible, yielding adequate knowledge about the true-reality values. Sensate truth is the truth of the senses, obtained through our organs of sense perception. If the testimony of our senses shows that `snow is white and cold,' the proposition is true; if our senses testify that snow is not white and not cold, the proposition becomes false... Idealistic truth is a synthesis of both, made by our reason. In regard to sensory phenomena, it recognizes the role of the sense organs as the source and criterion of the validity or invalidity of a proposition. In regard to supersensory phenomena, it claims that any knowledge of these is impossible through sensory experience and is obtained only through the direct revelation of God. Finally, our reason, through logic and dialectic, can derive many valid propositions.... Human reason also `processes' the sensations and perceptions of our sense organs and transforms these into valid experience and knowledge. Human reason likewise combines into one organic whole the truth of the senses, the truth of faith, and the truth of reason. These are the essentials of the idealistic system of truth and knowledge... This preliminary outline of the three systems of truth shows that each is derived from the major premise of one of our three supersystems of culture. Each dominates its respective culture and society. If we have a preponderantly ideational culture, its dominant truth is always a variety of the revealed truth of faith; in a sensate system of culture the truth of the senses will prevail; in a idealistic culture the idealistic truth of reason will govern men's minds. With a change of dominant cultural supersystem, the dominant truth undergoes a corresponding change. [Response to Pilate's question "What is truth?" with the description of three general truth-systems which "correspond to our three main supersystems of culture"]
Scientific theories based upon the truth of the senses tend, as we have seen, to become progressively materialistic, mechanistic, and quantitative, even in their interpretation of man, culture, and mental phenomena. The social and psychological sciences begin to imitate the natural sciences, attempting to treat man in the same way as physics and chemistry treat inorganic phenomena. In the field of the social sciences all mental and cultural phenomena come to be treated behavioristically, physiologically, "reflexologically", "endocrinologically", and psychoanalytically. Society becomes economically minded, and the "economic interpretation of history" begins to hold undisputed sway. A quasi-pornographic conception of human culture acquires a wide vogue, in biographies, history, anthropology, sociology, and psychology. Anything spiritual, supersensory, or idealistic is ridiculed, being replaced by the most degrading and debasing interpretations. All this is closely analogous to the negative, warped, subsocial, and psychopathic propensities exhibited by the fine arts during the decadent phase of sensate culture.
In such a culture, material values naturally become paramount, beginning with omnipotent wealth and ending with all the values that satisfy man's physiological needs and material comfort. Sensory utility and pleasure... become the sole criteria of what is good and bad... A further consequence of such a system of truth is the development of a temporalistic, relativistic, and nihilistic mentality. The sensory world is in a state of incessant flux and becoming. There is nothing unchangeable in it - not even an eternal Supreme Being. Mind dominated by the truth of the senses simply cannot perceive any permanency, but apprehends all values in terms of shift and transformation. Sensate mentality views everything from the standpoint of evolution and progress. This leads to an increasing neglect of the eternal values, which come to be replaced by temporary, or short-time, considerations. Sensate society lives in, and appreciates mainly, the present. Since the past is irretrievable and no longer exists, while the future is not yet here and is uncertain, only the present moment is real and desirable.
A further consequence of such a system of truth is the development of a temporalistic, relativistic, and nihilistic mentality. The sensory world is in a state of incessant flux and becoming. There is nothing unchangeable in it - not even an eternal Supreme Being. Mind dominated by the truth of the senses simply cannot perceive any permanency, but apprehends all values in terms of shift and transformation. Sensate mentality views everything from the standpoint of evolution and progress. This leads to an increasing neglect of the eternal values, which come to be replaced by temporary, or short-time, considerations. Sensate society lives in, and appreciates mainly, the present. Since the past is irretrievable and no longer exists, while the future is not yet here and is uncertain, only the present moment is real and desirable.
One person has the sense of the possible is to be deceived, as the eye of staff in the vision of something existing in the water, because he judges it to be broken and in the truth of the matter is not broken, but that the object of all or several senses dectpiantur about the same thing does not happen, because (the one) verifies that the other as part of his staff that he did not touch us verifies that is a fraction, in a dream when he is condemned to be broken was broken, and appears to us to Remus .... we do not say that it is broken, and so it is true that nothing truly felt if I did not present an existing thing.
He whom the gods love dies young, while he is in health, has his senses and his judgments sound.
In suffocating the voice of conscience, passion carries with itself a restlessness of the body and the senses: it is the restlessness of the external man. When the internal man has been reduced to silence, then passion, once it has been given freedom of action, so to speak, exhibits itself as an insistent tendency to satisfy the senses and the body.
I don't try to imagine a personal God; it suffices to stand in awe at the structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to appreciate it.
If man would but realize that he is essentially a spiritual being, that his body is but the vesture of the individualized spirit, that his life is a portion of the great Spring of life which fills the world, he would at once discard the constant fear of ill-health to which he is a prey. The organs of the body are but the visible instruments whereby the spirit expresses itself, the senses are but mediums, and the brain is but a tool, and all the other processes are but messengers to carry out the injunction from the higher center of man, from his mind. Sickness in the body is a symptom of some disturbance in the mind-center ; bodily sickness is the signal of some form of mental depression, conscious or unconscious. It is the spirit in man, therefore, the invisible, the mind, which must be considered first in avoidance and treatment of illness. Spirit cannot be reached through physical channels, it must be reached through divine methods. When one fears the approach of illness, let him commune with the divine in him ; let him, in order to stimulate the flow of health and courage within him deliver himself completely to the care of God. Let him affirm with all sincerity and devotion "I am a divine being, the flow of divine health is circulating through my body," or, "The divine fountain of Health within me is yielding new strength with every hour." The stream of health will then resume its natural route through the body, and the fear of illness, like a phantom at the sight of the sun, will steal away.
If facts are the seeds that later produce knowledge and wisdom, then the emotions and the impressions of the senses are the fertile soil in which the seeds must grow.
That is at bottom the only courage that is demanded of us: to have courage for the most strange, the most singular and the most inexplicable that we may encounter. That mankind has in this sense been cowardly has done life endless harm; the experiences that are called visions, the whole so-called spirit-world, death, all those things that are so closely akin to us, have by daily parrying been so crowded out of life that the senses with which we could have grasped them are atrophied. To say nothing of God.
Is there not a God, or some being, by whatever name I may designate him, who causes these thoughts to arise in my mind? But why suppose such a being, for it may be I myself am capable of producing them? Am I, then, at least not something? But I before denied that I possessed senses or a body; I hesitate, however, for what follows from that? Am I so dependent on the body and the senses that without these I cannot exist? But I had the persuasion that there was absolutely nothing in the world, that there was no sky and no earth, neither minds nor bodies; was I not, therefore, at the same time, persuaded that I did not exist? Far from it; I assuredly existed, since I was persuaded. But there is I know not what being, who is possessed at once of the highest power and the deepest cunning, who is constantly employing all his ingenuity in deceiving me. Doubtless, then, I exist, since I am deceived; and, let him deceive me as he may, he can never bring it about that I am nothing, so long as I shall be conscious that I am something.
The nature of matter, or body considered in general, consists not in its being something which is hard or heavy or colored, or which affects the senses in any way, but simply in its being something which is extended in length, breadth and depth.
The senses deceive from time to time, and it is prudent never to trust wholly those who have deceived us even once.