Eye

III.3 The Soul as an Immaterial and Immortal Reality

Indian

The Spirituality
of the Mind

We can know that the mind is spiritual. The mental images that the mind forms are abstract representations of what is real. Thus the mental image of a tree exists in separation from its physical reality. The image lacks the matter that belongs to the tree. This happens because mind itself exists in separation from matter. The image derives this spiritual quality from the mind.

Images retain faint aspects of the material originals, such as shape, color, and sound. But the mind is also able to form purely abstract ideas. Thus it can not only form images of various kinds of trees, such as an oak, an elm, or an aspen, but also an abstract idea that represents all trees. Abstract ideas do not correspond to any particular thing, but encompass all under a universal concept.

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Indian

Mystery of
the Hidden Self

Material things exist in the world, but mind is not one of them. We form images, but we ourselves are not images. We conceive of ideas, but we are not ideas. When we experience the world, form an image, or have an idea, we are aware that we are aware. We search for the self in three steps: first, we see the image or idea about which we think; second, we reflect on the fact that we think about this; and third, we try to perceive the power that thinks.

The mind exists before every thought that we possess; as such, it what is most known to us. Yet because it is not a material thing, an image, or an idea, we cannot see it directly. The self is both what is most known to us and also what is most hidden. The mind is a mirror that reflects the world as it conceals itself from view.

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Indian

Why the Mind
Survives Death

Things in the world are particulars that exist in matter; images are representations that share in the spirituality of mind but retain certain aspects of matter; and ideas are purely spiritual entities that exist in separation from all matter as universal concepts.

The body is subject to corruption, but what transcends matter cannot be destroyed by physical decay. What is able to conceive of ideas in abstraction from matter is also capable of existence in separation from matter. Though the mind is obviously intimately joined to the body, and especially to the brain, it dominates and transcends the body. Mind causes the brain to function. To say that the brain is the cause of mind is to reverse the order of nature. Our highest and most essential function is thought. Mind is immaterial and immortal.

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American Deist © 2012‒2013 Edward J. Furton
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