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T H E M I N D O F T H O M A S T R O W A R D

Claude Brodeur, Ph.D.

Thought is not just a great force in the universe ( ). Troward is

more explicit than this. It is ultimately the greatest of forces,

directing all others ( ). Suppose he is on target about this. Then I

have a few questions.

What makes thought so powerful a force? How does it operate? Are

there laws governing its operation, regulating its usefulness to us

( )? Can you imagine yourself unable to think? What would your life

be like? Would you want to live that way? Would you even be able to

ask this question?

Does thought indeed make us unique among all creatures, as Troward

would have us acknowledge? Well, we are rather special among the

peatures as far as we know. Our ability to think seems to bring with

it the ability to create, and our ability to create seems limited only

by what we think, or believe, is possible.

Along with this ability to think and to create with our thought we

also seem to have the will to create, a will that is free, and in turn

limited only by the same thought to which our will gives its energy.

This means we apparently will to think as we do, as well as wanting to

act as we do.

Others may influence our thinking, but only if we allow it. Their

influence seems limited, limited by our willingness to let them in-

fluence us. The absolute control of one mind over another, while

practically possible, seems ultimately in the control of the individ-

ual. To program another mind is to destroy its real nature, which is

to be able to choose its own thoughts, to will its own acts, creating

its own world as it goes along. This and this alone would be argument

enough that we are not and never can be totally preprogramed automa-

tons and still be in any real meaning of the word, human beings. I

will develop this idea later.

For a moment, imagine life the way Troward describes it: an unending

vista of possibilities ( ). Look at life as ever-expanding through

the possibilities presented to us by our thoughts themselves. The

most challenging possibility is to make ourselves better than we now

are. We can do this most easily by changing our thoughts about our-

selves, who we really are, what we really are.

What is this self we mention in words like ourselves, myself, your-

self, themselves? It`s simply what's most familiar to us, what's

directely accessable to us and to us alone. It's the part of us cap-

able of receiving impressions, forming ideas; that part of us which

decides what to do and does it ( ).

Brodeur / Mind of Troward %

We already have a word for it in contemporary science. It's called

energy: something at once infinite in magnitude, eternal in origin and

present everywhere. It's principle of movement is mathematical se-

quence; while for thought it's free will. Notice, one principle is

impersonal; the other, personal ( ).

Law and personality, these seem to be two great principles of life:

law operating according to principles of mathematical sequence,

personality according to principles of free will. Mathematical

sequenced law seems to complement and parallel self-willed thought

( ).

In freemasonry, this fact is represented by the symbolic pillars of

Jachin and Boaz. The pillar Jachin, so-called from the root Yak mean

One, points out the mathematical and impersonal nature of law. The

pillar Boaz, called from the root Awaz meaning Voice, points out the

personal nature of free will. The laws of nature seem to apply to all

nature, the symbolic meaning of Jachin. The law is One, constant

throughout the variety of conditions found in nature. There are no

exceptions.

But the personal will is free, its freedom limited, if indeed this is

a limitation, only by that other force in the universe we have called

cosmic energy -- an energy which embodies in its actions the princi-

ples of mathematically sequenced law. Within this framework of math-

ematically sequenced law, we, with a free will directed by our

thoughts and desires, take this energy and create a new world for

ourselves.

We are now admitting the world is a unity with great variety and

seeming exceptions. Scientific study has established the fact of

great variety in our world. We now know that material substances vary

in atomic structure. Each substance is seems to act like a collection

of particles carrying positive and negative charges of electricity.

The negatively charged particles are pictured revolving around a

centre composed of positive electricity. Elements like iron and

hydro-

gen differ simply in the number of these particles and their rate of

motion.

These particles seem to pervade all space, meaning by the word space a

primary, undifferentiated substance, everywhere the same. Some call

this substance the etheric. Here now is a puzzle: how did the motion

originate to start differentiating the etheric substance? How did

creation begin?

Hertz makes a suggestion. Electromagnetic waves did it. The nature

of energy is electromagnetic. Differences in nature are differences

in movement; differences in movement may be noticed as differences in

vibration. Back to our question: how do these vibrations get

started? This seems to happen in the form of sudden, sharply defined

electrical discharges. At least, this is what Hertz reported, and

what others have subsequently verified.

What does all this talk about atomic structure and vibration have to

do with thought? Perhaps, thought itself is an etheric vibration, a

sudden, sharply defined electrical discharge. Mental activity, then,

may be mediated not just by the physical body alone, but also through

an etheric medium, independently of the physical body. Presumably, as

persons, we are substantially both physical and etheric. This

suggestion has possibilities. Remember, the vibrations of sound

travel through the atmosphere at approximately 750 miles an hour;

impulses through the etheric travel at 186,000 miles in a second.

In the light of this distinction between the physical and the etheric,

what may we now say about the place of thought in nature, and its

power to influence nature? Apparently, from what I have just said,

the influence of thought can go far beyond the limited influence of a

merely physical body. Extraordinary psychological phenomena may not

be so extraordinary after all, just unusual for most of us.

Notice, two modes of psychological activity are now possible: one

physical, the other etheric. In one, a person would be mentally pro-

jecting phenomena, deliberately or unconsciously, with physical sensa-

tions corresponding to what is happening in the etheric.

Put simply, there is nothing physical out there to be experienced,

except what the psychic puts there. The experience is etheric and

somehow translated into the physical by a process, and for reasons, we

do not yet fully understand.

In the etheric mode, a person would not be simply projecting, but

actually experiencing what is there in the etheric to be experienced

( ). When projecting, we would have to say that what is there is

simply in our heads only; while not so in the instance of an etheric

experience. Here the case is different: what is there is not there

simply in our heads as an hallucination, nor there in any other way

physically, but there as a genuine and uniquely etheric experience.

You may recognize what I'm describing, as precisely and scientifically

as possible, experiences sometimes classified as "psychic," a word I

find at once too vague and too restrictive to be useful here. Exper-

iences usually classified as "psychic" are clairvoyance, telepathy,

ghostly apparitions, pre-sentience, visions, prophecy, and so forth.

Electromagnetic theory seems a plausible way to approach an under-

standing of mental phenomena, both phsycial and etheric. I base my

reasoning on the assumption that everywhere nature is one in its laws,

without exception. Our feelings may be conceived as a kind of

electro- magnetic phenomenon. People often do experience spontaneous

feelings of attraction or repulsion towards each other. Troward

describes them as a kind of syntony, a term he borrows from electrical

engineering, meanng tuned to the same rate of vibration. Some might

now want to call it rapport, charisma, empathy, sympathy, vibes. The

vocabulary has changed; the idea remains the same.

Now, I want to return to the question: how did life originate? Quite

honestly, I don't know. I don't know anyone else who knows either. I

know only what my reason leads me to conclude. Whatever the source of

life, it originated from something living. I like Troward's state-

ment: whatever we consider the life which characterizes organized

matter, or the energy which characterizes inorganic matter, we cannot

avoid the conclusion, that both must have their source in some

original power to which we can assign no antecedent ( , 45-46).

This Life-Giving Power has sometimes been called the All-Originating

Spirit or Holy Spirit. These names, as I understand them, are ways of

describing the activity of the Almighty (the Most High, Allah, God,

the Blessed One, and so on).

The word Spirit comes from the Latin word spiro, "I breathe." In the

words of Job : The Spirit of God has made me, and the breath of the

almighty has given me life (33:4). Here's another way of expressing

the same idea: the Living Power of Energy has made me, and the

movement of the all-encompassing energy has somehow formed me out of

itself.

Life and energy, logically speaking, seem to originate from a Primary

Life and Energy. About this we seem able to say, within the limits of

logic, only that IT IS. IT always has been. For example, when do you

suppose twice two began to make four? When do you suppose it will

cease to make four? Logically speaking, never. That twice two makes

four is an eternal principle, independent of time. It's also

independent of particular conditions. Twice two makes four appples,

as much as four chairs, as much as four planets, four atoms, as well

as four of anything you can name.