"Consciousness - the New Horizon" is the theme of a
symposium in World Goodwill Newsletter (1999, No. 1).
While it is in comparatively recent times that human consciousness
is receiving attention by Western investigators, in the East
a vast body of Hindu, Buddhist, Taoist and Sufi texts have since
ancient times provided teachings on the subject. As stated in
the introductory article:
There is no strictly human problem which does not ultimately
have its roots, and therefore its potential solution, in consciousness.
...There is a growing perception that humanity is now going through
a great collective upheaval in consciousness....
Thinkers are indicating that, perhaps for the first time in recorded
history, the whole of humanity is undergoing a psychological
transformation and is, however dimly, consciously aware
of this. The deep significance of this epochal moment calls for
our utmost efforts to understand it. To pierce through the turbulent
outer scene to the subjective energies at play summons us to
clear our own minds and to expand our vision and our capacity
for expressing goodwill. In the past, traditional spiritual practices
could help in this endeavour; but new energies may require new
techniques for their investigation and integration, both in the
self and in society. One sign of this is the rise in the number
of new ideas concerning spirituality, both within the traditional
religious, and outside them, in the ferment of activity called
the "new movement."
Another article, "New Minds for a New World," contains
reflections on new thinking in psychology, which is now turning
its attention to the soul and the spiritual nature of human beings:
The unfoldment of the latent positive powers of the psyche
is now receiving more attention in various schools of Western
psychology. Here, as in many other areas, Jung sowed important
seeds with his reflections on the centre of psychic energies
he named the Self, which he saw as an image of Divinity. ...
The broad title of transpersonal psychology has been applied
to approaches which seek to uncover those areas of psychic life
which transcend the everyday sense of personhood. ...
In focusing on that which lies beyond the personality, the transpersonal
psychologists can be said to be exploring the psychology of the
soul, the subtle inner essence of the individual which
is usually veiled by the personality's focus upon lower appetites,
desires and lines of thought....In order to understand this tremendous
movement in consciousness, psychologists are faced with no choice
but to attempt to blend together the insights of Western science
with the spiritual wisdom of the East. Ken Wilber refers to this
as "the Human Consciousness project, the endeavour, now
well under way, to map the entire spectrum of the various
states of human consciousness (including, as well, realms
of the human unconscious)." As this project proceeds, it
is becoming increasingly clear just how extensive the range of
human consciousness is-a range which is potentially open to all.
The value of psychology today lies in the gradual revelation
of the soul of individuals, notions, and humanity itself, thus
helping humanity to take a significant step forward in evolution.
Consciousness is the seat of the real life of the human individual,
of any being, in fact. It is the essence of the individual. In
Transactions of the Blavatsky Lodge, H.P.B. speaks of
"the great problem of Consciousness," which is opposed
For what is Consciousness? According to modern
Science it is a faculty of the Mind like volition.
We say so, too; but add that while Consciousness
is not a thing per se, Mind is distinctly-in
its Manvantaric functions at least-an Entity....Nevertheless,
mind is a term perfectly synonymous with Soul.
Those who deny the existence of the latter will
of course contend that there is no such thing
as consciousness apart from brain, and at death
consciousness ceases. Occultists, on the other
contrary, affirm that consciousness exists after
death, and that then only the real consciousness
and freedom of the Ego commences, when it is
no longer impeded by terrestrial matter. (pp.
While all the different cells of which the human
body is composed are different and varying consciousnesses
there is still a unit of consciousness which
is the man. But this unit, so to say, is not
a single consciousness: it is a reflection of
thousands and millions of consciousnesses which
a man has absorbed. (p. 100)
Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, has
been hailed as one of the most influential and controversial
figures of our century. His ideas have always attracted
both backers and belittlers; and though he died
60 years ago, the debate over him still continues.
A Freud exhibit in the halls of the Library of Congress
in Washington, D.C., earlier this year has once
again brought him into focus, with his supporters
viewing the exhibition as a ratification of the
major themes in his work, and his detractors seeing
it as an opportunity to stage a public dethroning
In Science News (Vol. 154, No. 22), Bruce
Bower analyses what is being said about psychoanalysis
Psychoanalytic theory took shape around Freud's clinical cases.
Particularly disturbing conflicts flee the bright lights of awareness
for unconscious cover in a process he called repression. Repressed
sexual and aggressive desires act as perpetual sources of conflict,
which unintentionally poke through their unconscious veil in
the form of dreams, jokes, and slips of the tongue....In his
writings, Freud treated the unconscious as a single mental entity.
the holding area for unacceptable desires and conflicts and the
prime motivator of mental life. ...
Freud's intellectual death has been heralded by various commentators
since his first writings appeared. In 1905, for example, French
psychiatrist Pierre Janet dismissed Freud as a reckless clinician
who "suggests to his patients all sorts of notions (sexual
for the most part) which are far more likely to be hurtful than
According to Drew Westen, a Harvard University psychologist and
clinician who takes a psychoanalytic approach, much scientific
evidence indicates that Freud was right about several fundamental
propositions still shared by his theoretical; offspring. These
include assumptions that enduring facets of personality emerge
during childhood; that mental frameworks for thinking about the
self, others, and relationships develop early, guide social life,
and contribute to many psychological ailments; that different
mental processes operate simultaneously, so individuals can have
conflicting feelings toward the same person or situation; that
personality development requires learning not only to regulate
sexual and aggressive feelings but to move from immature dependency
on others to the give-and-take compromises of mature relationships;
and that a bevy of unconscious processes-not the monolithic unconscious
championed by Freud-shapes mental life.
Some psychoanalysts say that the ongoing debate stems primarily
from clashing assumptions about the mind. They hold that a largely
unconscious reservoir of meaning animates human thought and behaviour.
Freud discovered a number of truths (new only to non-theosophists)
in regard to the workings of the Kamic principle, but the interpretations
he and others placed on them led to a casting off of all moral
restraint and self-control, and to a cramped view of life and
morality. Psychoanalysis and Freud have many critics today, but
it will take time to clean up the tendency of the human mind
to justify its yieldings to unlimited and insatiable desires
by the fallacious logic of the lower mind-a tendency which is
the whole basis of Freudianism.
It will be some times before scientists will be able to probe
the mysteries of the mind, notwithstanding all the knowledge
gained about the physical brain and its functioning. Especially
necessary it is to understand the distinction between the higher
mind, which is divine, and the lower, which is animal, without
conscience, insatiable, and limitless in its demands, when unchecked.
The recent interest in "emotional intelligence"
makes it sound like a new concept in the realm of
intelligence that has just been discovered by the
scientists. In fact, till lately emotion and intelligence
had been thought of as opposing each other-the heart
versus the head. But over the past few years, in
education, in business, and other spheres, "the
awareness of their effect on each other has grown
exponentially," writes Mala Kapadia in The
Economic Times (March 23):
Emotional intelligence has become the latest mantra of success....Globalization
has created work cultures that require IQ or technical expertise
only as a threshold capability, which is then complemented holistically
by emotional competencies. Research studies of star performers
and leaders have all revealed one common thread: they are emotionally
Emotions have largely been an unexplored continent for scientific
psychology and denied a place in the realm of business intelligence.
The conventional view of emotions is that of a weakness interfering
with good judgement. A sign of vulnerability which obstructs
reasoning, undermines authority and complicates business management.
The paradigm shift with the advent of emotional intelligence
concept portrays emotions as a sign of strength essential to
good judgement, generating influence and building trust without
authority and which sparks creativity and innovation. ...
In India, the scientific study of emotions and emotional intelligence
is centuries old....The emotional centres, the storehouses of
memories, and a scientific methodology to become emotionally
intelligent is all described at length in the works of Patanjali.
His Yoga Sutras also answer the debate whether emotional
intelligence is genetic or acquired. Though we are born with
the emotional centres and memories of our emotional make-up,
emotional intelligence may be developed through practice.
Some years ago, noted psychiatrist Dr. William C. Menninger listed six
guideposts to judge emotional maturity-or call
it emotional intelligence in modern parlance:
(1) having the ability to deal constructively
with reality; (2) having the ability to adapt
to change; (3) having relative freedom from symptoms
that are produced by tensions and anxieties; (4)
having the capacity to find more satisfaction
in giving than receiving; (5) having the capacity
to relate to other people in a consistent manner
with mutual satisfaction and helpfulness; (6)
having the capacity to sublimate, to direct one's
hostile energy into creative and constructive
This type of emotional intelligence is sadly lacking
in our age.
The more that the affluent have of earthly goods,
the more they want to acquire. They just cannot
stop accumulating. Will-power and good intentions
are not enough, say the psychologists. Stemming
the tide of consumerism requires controlling human
nature and sacrificing individual gain for the public
good. This may not be easy, but it can be done,
writes Scott Russell Sanders in Utne Reader.
A jolting return to his cluttered life after a peaceful
holiday in Rocky Mountain National Park prompts
the author to reflect on why we are so driven to
acquire and what would happen if we could only stop:
Time in the wild reminds me how much of what I ordinarily
do is mere dithering, how much of what I own is mere encumbrance.
... I realized that nothing will prevent us from extending our
sway over every last inch of earth-nothing except outward disaster
or inward conversion. Since In couldn't root for disaster, I'd
have to work for a change of heart and mind. If we hope to survive
on this planet, we must learn restraint. We need to say "Enough!"
with relish and conviction. ...
The constant hankering for more has become a menace. Our devotion
to growth exhausts resources, accelerates pollution, and drives
other species to extinction; it upsets community by swelling
the scale of institutions and settlements, and it harms the individual
by encouraging a scramble for possessions and nagging discontent
in the midst of plenty....For every voice that echoes Thoreau's
plea, "Simplify, simplify," a dozen cry, "Amplify,
We're the only species capable of acting, through love and reason,
to preserve our fellow creatures...We can choose to lead a materially
simpler life not as a sacrifice but as a path toward fulfilment.
In ancient terms, we can learn to seek spiritual rather than
material growth. ...
As we increase the likelihood of strife by scrambling for more
wealth, so we may increase the likelihood of peace by living
modestly and sharing what we have. Thus our needs and the needs
of the planet coincide.
What all this boils down to may be expressed in a single precept: Seek
the meaning of life.
Using the Hubble space telescope, astronomers have
discovered an old galaxy-the most distant detected
so far. The galaxy is said to be 13 billion light
years from earth, and its presence was detected
by its faint ultraviolet light, which is invisible
to conventional telescopes. The discovery by researchers
at the State University of New York at Stony Brook
was reported this April in the journal Nature
It marks the third time in the past year that astronomers
have found what were thought to be the most distant
objects yet. Other astronomers say the finding can
help them determine when galaxies formed and developed,
and learn more about the origin of the universe
and what makes life possible.
The deeper astronomers look into space, the further
back in time they are looking. It takes so long
for light travelling through space to reach earth
that astronomers scanning the remote parts of the
universe are seeing objects as they were billions
of years ago.
Truly, life takes on a new meaning when viewed from
the perspective of the vast expanse of space teeming
Results of studies showing the intimate link between
mind and body deep pouring in. In a new study, which
appears in the Journal of the American Medical
Association, 107 patients with chronic asthma
or rheumatoid arthritis were asked to write continuously
for 20 minutes, on three consecutive days, their
"deepest thoughts and feelings" about
their traumatic experiences. The health of the patients
was monitored for the next four months using objective
physiological measures. Doctors who took part in
the study found that many of these patients showed
significant improvement in their health compared
to control subjects who spent the same amount of
time writing about neutral topics.
Researchers suspect that the writing task may be
effective because it lets patients synthesize and
make sense of their experiences.
The findings add to increasing evidence that attention
to patients' psychological needs can play and important
role in the treatment of many physical illnesses,
a view shared by many doctors and nurses but one
that has only recently begun to draw the attention
of the medical establishment.
In an editorial accompanying the Journal
report, Dr. David Spiegel, professor and associate
chairman of psychiatry and behavioural sciences
at Stanford University, wrote: "We have been
closet Cartesians in modern medicine, treating the
mind as though it were reactive to but otherwise
disconnected from disease in the body." The
new study underlines the role of stress in physical
illness and alerts doctors to their patients' emotional