The Third Round: What does it mean to think from causes as opposed to thinking from effects?

So I just wanted to expand on something that came up in today’s Logopraxis Life Group.

There was an interesting question that asked what does it mean to think from causes as opposed to thinking from effects?

This can be reframed as; What does it mean to think spiritually as opposed to thinking naturally? That’s because thinking from causes is what it means to think spiritually and thinking from effects is what it means to think naturally. As we have talked about many times before to think spiritually means to think from what the Word says is true, while to think naturally is to think from the appearances of the senses in the belief that what’s conveyed by the them are not appearances but how things actually are.

To think from truths of the Word in the face of what our senses present to us is a state in which we are spiritually conscious. We are awake to the natural mind’s tendency to take what the senses offer and interpret this in favour of that sense of self that makes up the infernal proprium’s life. The infernal proprium’s life and identity is embedded in the senses, specifically, in natural ideas born of thinking based in person, place, space and time.

A large part of what constitutes the spiritual life while living on the natural plane in time and space is focused on removing elements of space and time from the centre of our thinking to have what is of the Word govern our thinking instead. We can know if the Word is at the centre of a given state by reflecting on where our attention is. If our attention is divided so that we are aware of what’s happening externally and presenting in our senses and at the same time we find ourselves in the effort to monitor the quality of how we are responding internally in the light of our understanding of truths from the Word then we will be close to thinking spiritually.

I say close because this ability for divided attention can also be done from a natural or moral basis which is often confused with being in a state of divided attention that comes from a spiritual base. And if you don’t know what the difference is you are most likely in the former rather than the latter. I should perhaps add that you can’t get to the latter without being processed through the former so we are all always a work in progress in this regard. And even if we are able to discern the difference it means we will be iterating back and forth between these two states of divided attention. We can through reflection recognise the natural moral state as it will be focused externally on the realm of effects taking the appearances of the senses to be real. It can, and more often than not does, carry elements of self concern, subjective forms of judgement (either of oneself or others), be bound up in states of comparison and self righteousness, also there can be envies, jealousies, merit and guilt amongst many other things. It will also be characterised by defensiveness and denial in the face of these things. Above all it’s object is to maintain a false self-image based on appearances. Working with the Word gradually puts us in front of this state of feeling ones self in what is not real so that our attachment to it can be broken down and a new sense of self base on what the Word says is true can be established.

A spiritual state of divided attention looks and feels nothing like it’s moral counterpart. There is always an objective aspect to seeing from the spiritual or rational level of the mind into the external or natural part of the mind. This is because it is truths from the Word that are doing the seeing. While the level of objectivity will strengthen and weaken depending on the degree of our identification with what’s arising within our mental landscape as our self, the influence of what is higher means we won’t get caught up in moral recriminations for as long as we might have otherwise. Of course while we are in a state of owning the affections and thoughts arising in our minds we can’t avoid falling in and out of mistaking what is flowing in as our self. A moral response ends up with a divided attention where each part is of the same level, a house divided against itself. A spiritual response divides attention along the lines of discrete levels, so that the higher or more interior discerns the quality of the lower or more external providing the ability to affirm that the sense of self offered by the infernal proprium is exactly as the Word describes it, hellish.

Truths make it possible to see, yet not own, this infernal proprial sense of self so that this self can be condemned in the light of what the Word declares it to be. This stands in direct contrast to the moral response which, because of one’s identification with the infernal sense of self as one’s self can only end in a state of useless self-condemnation. So there are two states of condemnation here. One that is spiritual in which the false self is seen for what it is and is condemned. It is then able to be rejected and thrown back into the hells from which it issues forth. Then there is that form of condemnation that is moral or natural in which the false self is believed to be one’s actual self. This results in being caught in the hell of negative emotional states characterised by guilt and self-condemnation so that it remains as a millstone around our neck that we are unable to get free of. This illustrates the two modes of thinking that the opening question address – a spiritual mode which is to think from causes, and a natural mode which is to think in effects or we might say to think in appearances believing them to be real.

But all this is captured in the following from the Gospel of Mark…

Then the multitude came together again, so that they could not so much as eat bread. But when His own people heard about this, they went out to lay hold of Him, for they said, “He is out of His mind.” And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem said, “He has Beelzebub,” and, “By the ruler of the demons He casts out demons.” So He called them to Himself and said to them in parables: “How can Satan cast out Satan? “If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. “And if a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand. “And if Satan has risen up against himself, and is divided, he cannot stand, but has an end. “No one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. And then he will plunder his house. (Mark 3:20-27, NKJV)

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Simon Mervyn-Jones
Simon Mervyn-Jones
3 years ago

Very helpful in distinguishing the two types of thinking. Assisting the return to an objective view.