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