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The Three Worlds

By Peter Shepherd

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A child's ability to refer to itself, its desires and the social pressures of its environment requires little, if any, syntactic ability. Yet this basic function of language has profound effects. The mastery of language to express feelings and to encode socially desirable and undesirable behaviors to oneself, provides the source of motivation for advancing to more elaborate usages of language - usages that do require syntax. There are special areas of the cerebral cortex concerned with language that make this possible. But this would not happen either, were it not for the developing consciousness of the child in its struggle for self-realization and self-expression.

Reality encompasses all existence and all experiences; this may be divided into three worlds. The Objective Reality is the world of physical objects and states, including the human organism. The second world is that of subjective experiences or states of consciousness. The word 'thought' refers to a mental experience in a world of its own, a Personal Subjective Reality. In contrast there is a third world, the world of human creativity and shared subjective experience, the products of thought processes - the Cultural Subjective Reality. In linguistic expression, subjective thought processes achieve an objective status - this is the man-made world of knowledge and of culture including language.

The external world is perceived through the outer senses; the inner consciousness interprets and manipulates this information and encodes communication to others through language and behavior; this then becomes part of the shared world. Through this cyclic interaction our world view develops. Through identification and enculturation, much of this becomes an automated, mechanical system, with the spiritual source largely asleep or obscured; to raise our society to a higher level of spiritual intelligence, we need to reawaken consciousness in ourselves of a higher Self that is our mind's caretaker.

An appealing analogy, but no more than an analogy, is to regard the body and brain as a superb computer built by genetic coding as an inbuilt operating system, and which has been created by the process of biological evolution. The conscious mind is the programmer of the computer. Each of us as a programmer is born with our computer in its initial embryonic state. We develop it throughout life, influenced greatly by our upbringing and culture. It is our lifelong companion in all transactions. It inputs from and outputs to the world, which includes other body-minds. To the extent that the body-mind is objective to the functioning of its own mind, i.e. mindful, it may recognize and develop the function of meta-programming, so the higher Self plays a conscious role in further evolution of the mind.

Non-verbal thought may exist at a high level, but anyone who writes knows that having to put one's ideas into words - to evaluate, classify and organize them - can sharpen thought. Language is the outstanding distinctive mark of human thought and behavior.


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