Discourse and Theosophy, by George McNamara

5. The Mental Plane.

The theosophical and spiritual writings often describe the mind and the mental plane in a very conventional way. However, when we consider Discourse, this picture must be radically altered in the following ways and for the following reasons

  • We always act as if we have a mind and we are thinking. Sadly, this is not as true as we like to think. It would be more accurate to say that we approach all new stimuli on the basis of our previous discourse positions and postures. We adapt our discourses (or our inner map of the context) to encompass the new stimulus so that our inner maps and processes remain coherent, but we very seldom "think" something new.
  • In any case, most people seldom stray from the discourses that they are "conditioned" to use, at different life stages according to their parents, education, social group, media such as TV radio and newspapers, and the organisations which they belong to or are aligned with
  • Discourse mediates everything we do. Events, physical sensations and feelings are nearly all always "knitted into" our inner discourses, and communicated to others, and, we all knit along together.
  • We create our own realities. This is "sort of" true - we use discourses about everything we do, and we make decisions on the basis of the discourses we use (or even choose). If we communicate these to others, we may get help if our decision fits well with their discourses and contexts. However, creating what we want clearly also depends on how much we desire what we want, as well as the clarity and accuracy of our thoughts.
  • While there may be realms which are NOT discourse, we always and automatically draw these into the realm of discourse.
  • In theosophical terms, discourse seems to be a useful way of dealing with the mental plane - the ideas of discourse strands, discourse positions, context analysis and the dispositive can help us to evaluate our own thoughts and those of others, and clarify "what are they really saying".
  • Esotericists often refer to sub-planes of the mental plane (four sub-planes are considered to form the lower mind, three in the higher mind). It might be interesting to try and name these in relation to levels of discourse.
If we are "trapped" in a realm of discourse, this may present a difficulty for us
However, there is a beacon of light in the idea that ALL sentences are composed of a situation and an evaluation of the situation (and sometimes the basis for this evaluation is also given).

situation it is raining
situation + evaluation it is raining heavily
situation + evaluation + basis it is raining heavily because I can hear the rain on the roof

It is very interesting to consider if this system of evaluation relates to the nature of thought - I am still considering if all communication follows this pattern, and if that implies that all thought has the same pattern too.

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