Learning to Think Anew

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Die Schnecke hat Gesicht – Raimund Joachim Höltich

If we are interested in redefining our world, we must change the manner in which we think. We must learn to think anew. In essence, we must unlearn thinking. Calculative thinking is fine, in the proper context, but it is not the only kind of thinking we humans need to utilize. When we read a poem for instance, we most certainly do not use calculative thinking. As Martin Heidegger said, “…we can learn thinking only if we radically unlearn what thinking has been traditionally” (What Calls For Thinking?).

Our thoughts and ideas come in the form of images. Is the brain the source of these? Yes, but there is more to it. I am of the opinion that every part of the body thinks. We are provided with thoughts and ideas through imaginally communing with the World Soul. Since soul permeates every atom of the animaterial body, thoughts and ideas can have their origin in any bodily element. It’s more likely that the body/soul is a Gestalt. Remember, when I mention “soul,” or “body,” I mean the intertwined soul-body. I call it the animaterial human. This is similar to what Heidegger called Dasein, but with an emphasis on the ensouled nature of Being. It is akin to what Jung called psychoid reality, or his idea of the unus mundus.

Thoughts are not just “in the head.” The animaterial human is a continuum for thought. The brain is obviously a processing center for the body, but that doesn’t mean that thinking is necessarily a product of the brain. In our age, we view the brain as a computer, a calculative thinking machine. Thinking is not necessarily calculative. Western culture has overemphasized many things, especially analytical thinking. We have limited our definition of thinking to one type. Yes, this has brought our civilization many wonderful advancements, but at what expense? We have also unleashed many evils on the world. Most of all, we have forgotten the more essential type of thinking, which I call metaphorics.

Metaphorics is the type of thinking that occurs in art, dreams, mysticism, poetry, and mythologizing. Knowledge, in the form of images, ascends from the Cosmic Mind, the World Soul. As we commune with the Cosmic Mind through meditation, rumination, active imagination, and dreams, certain images enter our conscious minds. These form metaphors, symbols that help us comprehend this knowledge. The aim of the World Soul is to impart gnosis to us through these metaphors and symbols. A good example of this is a dream that Carl Jung had not too long before the schism with Freud:

I was in a house I did not know, which had two stories. It was “my house.” I found myself in the upper story, where there was a kind of salon furnished with fine old pieces in rococo style. On the walls hung a number of precious old paintings. I wondered that this should be my house, and thought, “Not bad.” But then it occurred to me that I did not know what the lower floor looked like. Descending the stairs, I reached the ground floor. There everything was much older, and I realized that this part of the house must date from about the fifteenth or sixteenth century. The furnishings were medieval; the floors were of red brick. Everywhere it was rather dark. I went from one room to another, thinking, “Now I really must explore the whole house.” I came upon a heavy door, and opened it. Beyond it, I discovered a stone stairway that led down into the cellar. Descending again, I found myself in a beautifully vaulted room which looked exceedingly ancient. Examining the walls, I discovered layers of brick among the ordinary stone blocks, and chips of brick in the mortar. As soon as I saw this I knew that the walls dated from Roman times. My interest by now was intense. I looked more closely at the floor. It was of stone slabs, and in one of these I discovered a ring. When I pulled it, the stone slab lifted, and again I saw a stairway of narrow stone steps leading down into the depths. These, too, I descended, and entered a low cave cut into the rock. Thick dust lay on the floor, and in the dust were scattered bones and broken pottery, like remains of a primitive culture. I discovered two human skulls, obviously very old and half disintegrated. Then I awoke (Jung 158-159).

An amazing dream, indeed! These images ascended into Jung’s consciousness while he was sleeping, leading him to make some of his most important discoveries, including the theory of the collective unconscious. Obviously, Jung had been communing with the World Soul. He said, “Certain questions had been much on my mind during the days preceding the dream” (Jung 161). He had been seriously meditating on these questions, which is exactly what one would expect just prior to such a revelation. Jung said, “the dream became for me a guiding image” (ibid.).

Hermes, the World Daimon, plays a part in this exchange of knowledge too. Hermes, as Guide of Souls, charges our personal daimones to facilitate the gnostic experience, to carry the knowledge we need at a particular time, from the Cosmic Mind and whisper it to our conscious minds.

 

Works Cited

Jung, C.G. Memories, Dreams, Reflections. trans. Richard and Clara Winston. New York: Vintage, 1961.

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Thrownness

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Humans are hard-wired to suffer. To be truly human, suffering is necessary. I think we miss the point, however, when we think there is some Omega Point to it all, some teleological reason to explain it. Life is as it is. We are thrown into the world, to borrow from Heidegger, and it is how we deal with this thrownness that is important.

At this point in my life, I suppose my purpose, or reason to get up every morning, is to remember who I really am. I feel like a man who has awakened to find he has no real memory, an amnesiac. Here and there, I get fleeting glimpses, memories of the real me, but they fade quickly and I am overshadowed by black melancholia.

The few moments of remembrance, however, are incredible! If one could somehow sustain such experiences! If I could only hold the moment in eternity!

I sense these voices and images within all of us are natural ways for us to remember. We try to repress them with so-called education and cultural inculcation, but they are always there. If ignored and repressed, they reveal themselves as devils; if embraced, they are gods, willing to share with us the universe.

Fleeting glimpses are probably all we will ever have. We are so mired in this world and its trappings that it’s very difficult to remember accurately.  Alas, for this we suffer.

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