Recognition in the Domain of Thoughts
Recognition in the Domain of Thoughts
The Various Forms of Practical Relationship between the Mind and the Phenomenon to be Discovered
These forms of knowledge involve the activities of the mind itself, not pure contact with the outside, which includes reflection. Having made contact with facts, the mind does certain operations on them, which we will take into consideration here. There are three differences between mental activities and reflective activities in the mind:
a) The non-reflective activities of the mind are generally conscious.
b) Science has not yet found the internal factor that causes non-reflective activities.
c) When non-reflective activities take place consciously, definite aim becomes necessary.
The Activities of the Mind
1-Confirmation: In this mental activity, imaginations and speculations are related and associated. An example is the theorem of the spherical shape of the sun. Several units face us: a) the sun, b) spherical shape, c) the relationship between the sun and spherical shape, which is the claim or deduction that makes the contact between the subjects. We see two mental actions here:
●First, there is no external relationship between the sun and being spherical.
●Second, the claim or deduction we make about them is mental.
2-Confirmation with Abstract Units: This kind of confirmation consists of abstract concepts, like mathematical theorems which involve numbers and symbols; they are not symbols of real cases in the real world.
3-Abstraction: Abstraction includes the omission of the characteristics of an identity, like a whole circle, or man as a whole. When we say that man is a talking animal, every word in our theorem is an abstracted concept, caused by omitting observable characteristics and qualities.
4-Recall (Reminding): Recall means searching the contents of the human memory or the subconscious in order to remember things that have been kept there in the past. This incredible mental activity has several elements:
a) The elements stored in the memory or the subconscious.
b) The motive to find and remember the concerned elements.
c) The mental factor that finds the stored elements.
It seems that there is no relationship between the strength or weakness of recall and the little amount of contents in the memory or subconscious. Observations and experiences show that any unit considered as crucially important or put inside man by stronger influences also has stronger retention and recall.
5-Analysis: This kind of mental activity consists of analyzing a series into its components and units, and then studying them.
6-Combination: Here, the mind collects the components and discovers how they are interrelated in the whole series. Some philosophers, like Russell, consider the analytical method as extremely important, and name their method "logical atomism." Both the analytical method and the combination method should be taken into attention, as both are necessary to recognition and knowledge.
7-Understanding the Relationship between Mental Activities and the Subject: Occasionally, mental activities take place without complete awareness, but since mental activities are objective, sometimes man can become completely aware of them, and they can happen consciously. Such awareness allows the mind to adjust the relationship between the mental activity and the subject.
8-Careful Thought: This term conveys careful thought and prediction about the eventual and ultimate consequences, which is essential to those who wish to achieve ideal amazement; a balanced relationship between the past, present and future is necessary in order to move toward perfection. There are a few conditions that must be provided to accomplish correct states of careful thought:
a) Accurate identification of the laws and principles of life.
b) Studying the possibilities about events.
c) Taking unpredictable, unexpected events into consideration.
9-Harmonizing: This mental activity involves logically organizing affairs and things that help us reach our goals. Harmonizing the components, basic parts and the fundamental activities one must carry out are quite crucial for some goals; sometimes it is so important that it can indicate the individual's genius or mental advantage.
10-Logical Thought: There is a distance between the state man is in and the goal he must achieve. Without logical mental activity, filling that gap will not become possible. In other words, logical movement means starting out from the initial phase and going through the path to the goal. Man must also select and omit some of the items to do so.
11-Supreme Thought: The objective mental process that flows in the fundamentals of man's supreme relation with the universe, and the basic identity of the two, is called supreme thought. Here, the general basics and results of logical thought are formally put to use. With supreme thought, man's knowledge advances far beyond observable effects in order to reach the truth. For instance, man may see a small bird and realize things about the goal of the universe; observing the limited laws concerning a small part of the earth can help him understand the general laws dominating the universe – in fact, realize how harmoniously orderly the universe is.
12-Reasoning: This involves putting logical thought to work, together with awareness of thought units. Here, awareness and attention to the laws and principles of thought are necessary, whereas in pure thought the mental activity may take place unconsciously, although thoughts start to work according to the laws and principles. Awareness and objectiveness are quite crucial in reasoning.
13-Supreme Reasoning: What we mean here is that there are other supernatural concepts far beyond the issues and laws concerning the superficial natural world. Formal logical reasoning is merely making a relationship between man and nature and other human beings; it does not deal with the good, evil or responsibility concerning it. Supreme reasoning, on the other hand, always takes justice, supreme responsibility and real unity among men into consideration, and is concerned with logical interpretation of the universe. Avicenna has discussed supreme reasoning in the eighth and ninth part of his Esharat.
14-Dominant Understanding: Here, it seems that a special kind of "smell" guides the mind toward understanding the relationship between the general facts and all the details. This penetrative understanding of all details can apply to various domains, like hadith, law and politics, where one can reach the level of jurisprudence. Those who have not achieve high levels of science and knowledge cannot reach dominant understanding. Some people, however, have a quite penetrative, analytic understanding of life and the fixed and variable principles about it.
15-Imagination: This form of mental activity makes the observable facts about the world undergo changes in the mind, and the identifier considers these changes to be the same as the real facts in the world outside, and accepts their characteristics and effects. When imagining things, sometimes the mind makes up things that do not exist, and sometimes it destroys things that exist. For instance, on a mountainside on a dark night, where no living thing is in sight, man may imagine seeing a wild lion, and run away as fast as he can. Imagination consists of several steps:
a) The first step includes the imaginer's mental background about the fact. If he has not ever seen a lion, for instance, he will never be able to imagine one.
b) External circumstances must be ready for the imagination to take place. For example, one cannot imagine seeing a lion in the middle of a crowded city, or inside his house.
c) The mental state of the imaginer, like the factors of fear or keen interest in the fact being imagined, is also important. These mental states sometimes show the weakness, and sometimes the power of the imaginer's character. Those imaginations that arise from man's weaknesses generally lead to harmful results, whereas imaginations based on his powerful character put positive mental activities to work. All works of art arise from the latter.
When imagining something, two conflicting phenomena take place simultaneously:
a) one is the imagination action, which considers what is not to be and what is not to be, and
b) the other is the knowledge that what has been imagined is in fact false and wrong. For example, when we watch an actor play the role of a hurt, oppressed man, we know that he is only acting and is not really hurt, but still we may weep because we feel pity for the hurt, miserable person. Making a distinction between these two opposites – knowing that the actor is not really hurt, and feeling sympathy for him – is truly one of the most amazing and greatest functions of the human soul.