Sunday, August 4, 2013

Self, world,thought, duality and reality


Is thinking an internal conversation?  

This small paper intends to show and claim that man's act of 'thinking' is in fact an internal conversation between two real spirits within,as the Greek master Plato had envisioned 2000 years ago. The great man did not specify as to between who such conversation takes place, as any conversation requires two parties. Here, who are the two parties within human mind that undertake the conversation ?

This paper identifies these two entities, ( spirits, as they have no physical entities) and hope that this new understanding would pave way for better understanding of our mind, and many new research projects around the said theme would be initiated throughout the the world to improve upon the base idea!

It was Freud who had introduced the concept of 'super-ego' for the first time in psychology, to denote an inner-spirit within man that makes the mind-function 'dynamic'. He thought superego represents the 'conscience', or the moral content of the society, and it advises ego from time to time, to abide by its compulsions. For want of a better word to denote the 'spirit' involved in the internal 'conversation' called thinking, this paper would use the term 'spirit of the world'( SPOW) for convenience.

The paper also touches another central point about thinking: its relation with language. Is thinking possible without language ? It depends upon the question who is the thinker. Ego is an objective product of the world, and when it is the thinker, it is always a conversation in 'language' form with the 'spirit' of the world.But when the rest transcended entities or selves indulge in the act of thinking, it does not use language as its only medium.

Paper also touche basic questions as to what was nature's plan behind creating egos, and then its operation realm a duality with the 'spirit of the world' ( SPOW) etc.

Blog starts

Super ego, as per Freud’s interpretation, was the ‘conscience’ element of the mind, derived from society’s concepts of right and wrong, and parental sense of morality conferred to child. This author, who was into rigorous self analysis and studies for more than 3-4 decades around how mind works, has arrived at an altogether different conclusion on the functions of ego and its 'dialogue' enabling counter-part within, the 'spirit of the world' (SPOW). This write-up is a brief attempt to probe the serious existential questions, such as why nature had devised the ego-world duality, or the matter-mind duality. 

Thoughts are always internal conversations as believed by Plato

Plato wrote :(Plato,web,2013)) ‘Well, thinking and discourse are the same thing, except that what we call thinking is, precisely, the inward dialogue carried on by the mind with itself without spoken sound’. American Philosopher Charles Sanders Pierce had also accepted this version of Plato.

To understand this proposition, we may have to first accept that, man and his self-mechanism are some kind of a ‘MEANS’ in the plan of nature to achieve her hidden purposes. It is to be believed that emergence of independently thinking and knowing ENTITIES was the first and foremost goal in this plan, as what man in existence ultimately is, a KNOWING organization !

Freud’s finding that man’s ego emerges during the 1st 3 years of his birth was a breathtaking observation ! Born as an exclusive physical only entity, starts developing a unique ‘self’ and a mind in due course ! The baby identify himself first as an object in the eyes of ‘others’ around him,(especially its mother) and a receiver of external sense data. The sense data precedes the origin of the self. Ego is born as the ‘owner’, or simply the ‘receiver’ of these external sense inputs.Like the absolute 'subjective' way each external objects and events are internalized by the mind of man, the ego also is made the same subjective way: one's thoughts could always mould the nature of self this way or that way. In short, both the self and the external world are the purely subjective products. This observation explains why every human being is different and unique. 

Late Indian God man Osho (Rajneesh,1974,p.8,para.3,chap.1))  describes beautifully, how and why the external world moulds our ego, in his book ‘ Beyond the Frontiers of mind’ : “when a child is born, the first thing he becomes aware is not himself; his eyes are opened outwards, the hands touch others, ears listen to others…all these senses open outwards…the ego is an accumulated phenomenon, a bye product of living with others”.

Duality as inevitable existential condition for the origin of knowing entities

Why origin of knowing entities the central goal of nature ? The above seen process of the origin of ego will give the answer. The external world as well as the knower entity- ego, were products of each other ! A flesh only entity, thanks to its inherent sense organs, could receive inputs about an external world, and in this process, has given birth to a mind entity, the ego. Without these knowing entities, the existence as a whole would have been invisible, hence a VOID ! There would be millions of celestial bodies and events that mankind is still unaware of, hence for us, they are non-existing and void.

What is ‘known’ to us could only be termed as reality for us. What lies outside our knowledge boarders is at least ‘equal’ to non-existing, hence, for all practical purposes and meaning, unreal. Hence, there arose the inevitability of the ‘duality’ in existence, that of the knower and the known, an irrefutable precondition for everything that could be termed as ‘existing’, or existing only by its precondition of ‘knowing’ . Once this unbelievable existential scheme  (or chemistry of energies) is once understood and realized, we would be able to accept the new role of ego and SPOW in this wonderful scheme !    

Ego, the birth of a knowing entity out of something virtually unknown before, was an unbelievably creative and original idea of nature. It should pave way for the exciting conclusion that the very scheme of existence was devised for it to know itself, by creating other KNOWING entities, as the act of knowing is closely associated with BEING, as already found by many philosophers and thinkers in the past.

For the ego, something external to him as an ‘other’, is an existential necessity for its own very ‘sense’ of self. It can not ever stand on its own, as it is a VOID without something there to relate to. The reasoning here is, ‘I am real because something outside me is real’. One of the first ‘others’  in the life of every one - mother-,  and the general world outside, sends its signals through the senses of the baby, to constitute his ego, or the ‘spirit’ of the mind . Unlike inorganic objects in existence, this ‘ethereal’ spiritual body, is the one feature that distinguish living entities from non-living objects. Living beings have some or other knowing mechanism, according to nature's plan as to what each unit of life should know. Hence, as Kant had rightly professed, what each living being, and each of its individual unit knows is, pre-set by the nature !

Similarity of this existential plan in the physical realm also, at the sub-atomic particle world

This unbelievably smart plan of nature for originating knowing entities or ‘selves’ in existence reiterates Her base scheme; for every unit of existence, whether it is a unit of matter or mind, it gains its identity from some ‘other’ entities outside him. Leave here the ego, a mind entity, take-up the case of sub-atomic particles in the world of matter. There too, what the quantum physicists found after 50 or more years of repeat experiments is that, no such particle exists as an independently observable unit, or as building block of matter. They are identifiable only in relation to other similar particles in the vicinity, or to the observing scientist with his 
probes !

A senior scientific figures of our times, Fritjof Capra says;(Capra,1979,p.71,para.2,chap.4) ‘‘quantum theory thus reveals a basic oneness of the universe. It shows that we can not decompose the world into independently existing smaller units. As we penetrate into matter, nature does not show us any isolated ‘basic building block’, but rather appears as a complicated web of ‘relations’ between the various parts of the whole. These relations always include the observer in an essential way.
. . .the properties of any atomic object can only be understood in terms of the object’s interaction with the observer’.

The above fundamental existential scheme was narrated for our further understanding of the role of ego and super ego in our thought process. There is close similarity between the identity of sub-atomic particles, and the identity of men in society. Both could be identifiable only with reference to their relation with ‘other’ units around.

It is observed that once the ego is born, and the child starts identifying itself as an independent entity in the world, when ever he/she conceives himself/herself in his own/her own mind, it is in the ‘form’ of him/her in the mind of the most important person or group in his/her life ! This form, or image is based on the child’s subjective impression of the form or image that people outside him/her keeps about him/her, but, for the process of self identification, every ego depend upon this process through out his/her life !

Ego has this peculiar existential feature of self-division within, into two different entities, and conform to the existential need of DUALITY for having self identity ! In other words, ego can not conceive itself as a stand alone, independent entity, as it does not have any ! It was born out of a vacuum, ie. out of the unprecedented ‘sense’ signals from a phantomic external world. It could conceive himself//herself only on the base of the certainty with which the other person looked at him/her. The child could see, smell and touch that other person, the first ever object in his world, its mother, through its senses.  Whatever objects that the mother wanted him/her to see, touch and smell, the child also could experience, words indicating such objects learned in word form, and thus the formation of a new entity becomes complete.

Is every form of thinking uses language as its medium ? 

This question is a very central subject of great disputes among philosophers: is thinking possible without language ?

The simple history of the origin of language would answer this question directly. Man was not a talking animal in the beginning. He thought millions of years without any language, before he could finally develop his primeval language forms ! This very historical fact proves that thinking in its initial stages of development was in some or other 'symbol' form. Even now, in this modern age of highly developed languages, except the form of thinking referred above, as an internal conversation between the ego and the spirit of the world, all other forms of thinking is in some kind of symbol form. Mind seems to possess some kind of symbols for each existential 'categories', similar to what Kant's ' categories', and thinking is an extremely fast form of inter-exchanges between these categories, to finally result in the formation of ideas, or concepts. When one attempt to self-analyse and self-observe the act of thinking, especially about the creative type of thinking and inference, he could notice it an empirical fact.

What is said above is most true when one observes the function of his 'reason' organ, in its PRISMATIC mode. When any ray of new thought, or idea is fed to Reason, it always automatically splits it into all available sub-ideas, options and possibilities. This is what we usually recognize as 'creative thinking'. This is the mother function of thinking that results in the origin of new ideas, concepts and hypotheses. Newton could invent his theory of 'gravitation' and Einstein, his theory of 'relativity' by this creative function of our PRISMATIC function of reason. In the other important function, reason detects the 'order'/consistency/unity, or the 'sense' factor between the causes and effects, analogy and its object of comparison, and evidences and arguments with their respective conclusions. Readers may refer to our blogs that deal with this dedicated functions of Reason at links: etc.

As said at the introduction para of this paper, the entity or the self who indulge in the act of thinking determines whether it is using language or not. As we have seen, ego is the primary as well as the most predominant 'entity' of man that deals with the world. It is the objectively real entity in the world, for itself as well as for 'others', its thinking is always 'conversation' between itself and its image, or the 'spirit' of the world.(SPOW) When the ego 'transcends' itself, by using the wider canvas of ' existence' as whole to place itself and identify itself as a different entity other than the ego, it often indulge in 'thinking' in 'symbol' language.

At such different modes of the self, man uses language only as 'stepping-stones', or 'consolidating' all previously pondered ideas into language form. This act is similar to a mountaineer's act of building temporary sheds at each point of his climb. This saves himself from falling back to the bottom, and needing to start the climb from zero once again. A word form, or a statement form in language helps him to identify his already arrived at conclusions a consolidated tangibility and form.

Insisting that thinking is not possible without language is equal to insisting that what is created could control and determine the creator itself ! Thinking always preceded language, and it was what created language, to systematize the acts of the former !

Introducing the 'spirit of the world' (SPOW)

Without this external world, the ego is an existential vacuum. So, it seems that ego always stands divided into two entities, one, as his/her own self, and the other, as the ‘spirit’ of the OTHER, or the spirit substance symbolizing everything external to him/her, the collective spirit of the world, including its other human beings ! Or in other words, what this new spirit represents is the life itself, that ego experiences as an external reality. This writer has arrived at this conclusion after his pains-taking, hard-contemplated self-analysis of many years, or even decades ! When ever ego is not in the company of other beings, or when ever it is alone, its thinking is nothing but a conversation with the above subjectively observed SPIRIT of the other, or the 
world ! This spirit alters its character, or form very frequently, depending upon moment to moment reaction pattern of others around it, or the support, or antagonism it receives from the world/others.

It is because of this special feature of the 'SPOW' ( spirit of the world ) that whenever man experiences harsh criticism and accusation from the world for a considerably long period, ego finds it difficult to maintain its normal mental state, as this spirit of the world constantly is with the ego, as its existential necessity of ‘other’. This is the route by which bitter memories haunt the ego. He is hard-pressed to adjust him self with the oppressive and accusative world, and many fail in the task, and turns neurotic. Means, the constant conversation of the ego with the spirit of the world, or, say life, does not allow him to escape from its bitter reality. This spirit of the world, or the others, often breaks-up the ego, and the person goes mad ! After committing grave crimes like a murder, the SPOW turns-up in the sense and concept that Freud had visualized 'super-ego' ; as the ‘conscience’ element, and it torment the ego endlessly. 

In the opposite example, when the external world offers the ego beautiful and pleasant experiences, the spirit of the world gets formed that way, and it gives a healthy disposition to the ego. In the most swaying human relation of romantic love, the spirit of the other would be centered around one single individual, its love interest, and the ego takes a fresh, new birth in the midst of all the beautiful, unprecedented  experiences ! The new ‘other’ in the life of the ego creates another world for lovers, thanks to all the unprecedented attention, devotion and commitments mutually shared. This example of romantic love would be the best bet to understand SPOW as the ‘ spirit’ of the ‘other’ for the ego ! It proves that, the integrity of EGO is predominantly shaped by the SPOW.   

This is a very central observation about the nature of man’s ego and SPOW, and their formation and functioning ! The big difference between Freud’s finding here is that, SPOW does not constitute the right and wrong aspects of social life alone, or the ‘conscience’  of the mind alone , but it is a SPIRIT that lives ever along with ego during the entire tenure of man’s life, giving him the much essential existential inevitability of the ‘other’, without which ego can not sense its own entity ! It was born out of the external, and it can not do without it even for a single moment of the wake state, or even during sleep state.

World as an inevitable ‘mode’ for the mind to experience reality

Kant said ‘space’ and ‘time’ are inevitable modes for man to experience reality, and they are NOT ‘objects’ of our senses as previously thought. If we infer here that it is NOT ‘space and time’ that act as inevitable modes of mind to infer reality, and IT IS THE WORLD outside that acts as the inevitable mode of experience, it would only make better sense, because both time and space are naturally integrated into our world idea. Every language is impregnated with sense of time and space. So, when we think and communicate in language, naturally ‘time and space’ gets into it without special effort.

It needs to be repeated here that, all what has been said above again and again reminds us that there is a lot more to be learned and accepted about the working of our mind, improving upon the theories and notions that the great philosophers of past had established.

Dreams too are internal conversations

Dreams too, it should be believed, are conversation between these two divisions of man’s self, without the active participation of the ‘conscious mind’ that is conscious of its ‘real’ time-line. Mind, which depends upon the live entity of ego with its active memories for constituting the sense of self, should depend upon the DREAMS mechanism in a priming like action, similar to that in water boosting pumps. For the water boosting pumps to operate for the first time, the empty space in the pump must be filled with water first, to empty the vacuum within the pump area, and then link with the line-water in the pipe . Similarly, dreams could be there to avoid mind from going vacuum during sleep. Otherwise, there will arise ‘booting problems’ for mind when man wakes-up in the morning, detached from the world and ego for 8 to 10 hours ! Freud’s approaching dreams as indirect means for wish fulfillment might have been prompted by his base leniency towards sick minds and its cure. He did not approach mind and its functioning as part of a pre-set, intelligent existential scheme of nature. He approached it from the stand point of a psychiatrist first and foremost.

To continue explaining SPOW, it is the constant spirit of the world that act as both ‘space’ for the ego to place itself in, ( like the essentiality of ‘space’ for physical body to occupy itself) as well as ego’s spirit of the other to converse with, in the ‘conversation’ based thinking process.

The ‘moral’ and ‘conscience’ agent in human mind is NOT the ‘super ego’ in this new study, as once said earlier. As Kant had rightly observed, this moral agent is inherent in the mind as the ‘categorical imperative’, at its bottom layers. This author differ with the great philosopher (Kant) in this respect, and attribute this role to human ‘sense organ’ of reason. Human reason is depicted as an internal ‘sense organ’ that detects, or senses ‘order’ content, or the very ‘sense’ , or even still in other words,’ the ‘consistency’ factor between causes and its effects, arguments or evidences and its conclusion, and finally, analogies and their object of comparison, in his book published at, at link:
Recently, 'Journal of Advances in Psychology' published the same theme is a different way, which could be seen at link:
 Nothing more is added about the ‘conscience’ function of super-ego here, as it is outside the purview of this small paper. The above referred book/paper attribute  this important area of mind to the ‘sense organ’ of reason.

Other important functions of the SPOW

SPOW, as we have seen, is the subjective ‘replica’ of one’s world image, or the life image, or the ‘other’ image ( in the meaning of everything external to the ego)that every man carry within. It is an important spirit that determines the form and  integrity of the ego. It would be the chief factor that determine the so called ‘health’ of the ego, means, if what one keeps as his ‘image’ of the other, or the world, is too large an image than his own self - the ego, then he is not ‘rooted’ well in his ego. He will always attempt to live by the standards of the world ,and the wishes of the ones around him. In other words, his self is grounded more in the external world, than at the center of own ego energies and priorities. His self confidence level would be low in such cases.   

In opposite examples, wherein one’s world was too passive, or even obedient and submissive to him, such ego gets more and more rooted within, and such persons will show authoritarian, or totalitarian tendencies. In between the above two extremes lies the NORMAL and HEALTHY mind.

Modern man lives in a world where the external is more powerful than his own self, thanks to the exceedingly powerful mass media outlets like tv and news paper. This excessive assault of the ‘external’ spirit over the egos of men in the modern world makes man either more submissive and meek, or more aggressive and violent, as ego has more fundamental life energies working in him, that are self protective, self-sustaining and self-glorifying. Due to this positive energies within, man many times is capable of fighting with his own thoughts, and with the process of image making of the world. He often succeed to alter his behaviour, and gain mastery over others and circumstances, and strengthen his SPOW. This way, SPOW often acts like a mirror for ego, to reflect itself !

The central role of ‘world image’ that has been created by mass institutions, in the Ego formation of men

Whatever has been said in the above paragraph emphasis the central relevance of our mass media institutions that depicts world in particular ways ! These institutions, including the educational, management and political ones that deals with the external world image of man, have a central and great role in shaping the ‘integrity’ of the egos of men in the world, as this world image is what shapes one’s SPOW. The EGO often falls helpless victim to the powerful collective agents of the world. The intentionally created world images by the mass media, or by the political entities through mass media, as it happened during the time of Hitler, could alter the selves of man, or their ego, in undeniable degree and fashion ! The well evident influence of modern advertisements on the minds of man is a distinct example. It clearly shows that the collective, or the institutionalized agencies of the world such as political, educational and corporate realm can alter the mental make-up of man in sure and certain ways. A small minority of men might be able to resist such mass assault of the institutionalized agencies, but it doesn’t count much in the larger context of the world.

Every man has his naturally set sense of reason also in place, to guide him through each of life’s situation, but when the assault of the greater mass-world is excessive, every one often falls victim with others, NOT always able to utilize his individualized sense of reason in every situation. If responsible political institutions permit the individuals to keep and develop their natural sense of reason, as per the declared tenets of liberal political ideology, each individual would be able to integrate and improve his super-ego realm considerably, and in turn integrate their egos too in the long run. But unfortunately, the existing economic and political institutions in the world do not find much advantage in achieving such improved and integrated citizenry in modern states. Individuals, as little impersonal pieces of the mass, serve their purpose more efficiently. Hence, modern human societies rot a lot in the modern world.  

The crux of the matter that derives from the above understanding of the SPOW is that, what each individual carry as world image in his head is not the image of any good for all, singularly objective image of the world. But what each man carry along with him is his own subjective world image. When mass media publicize a common for all world image, no doubt, during their daily interaction, men refer themselves as members of the said singular world for convenience and uniformity sake. Such world images are forced upon the minds of man, although we can not write off  the power of our mass media agencies to create better and healthy world images one day, for the betterment of mankind. Its power is like the power of nuclear energy; its potential is both destructive and productive at the same time. The result will depend upon the intention of the users.

In conclusion, SPOW is the ‘subjective’ replica of the external world, including its men, beliefs and values,  or whatever constitute  a man’s life-image, that every man carry within him throughout his life, as a constant companion of ego. Realities originates when ego and super-ego engage in their constant conversation, in what we usually call by the name ‘thoughts’.  

Capra F ( 1979) The Tao of Physics, Suffolk, U.K., The Chaucer Press)
Plato,web,2.15.2013, Thought as conversation, from URL:

Authored by : Abraham J.Palakudy,
Founder secretary a philosophic non-profit that exists to do freelance research into ontological and epistomological subjects 
contact us with your valued feed-backs:, or,

No comments:

Post a Comment