More on Subjectivity and Objectivity
Existence as commonly interpreted by the human mind, unquestioningly accepts that human experience is exactly as it is presented to the consciousness by the human senses. But, is it possible that there is more to life than what the outward senses present? If we believe in life after what is humanly called death, in what format could it be presented to our consciousness, if not through the human senses? Would not the senses, then, by definition of death, be departed from us? Could it not be possible, that if Life is truly immortal, of which we are assured in the Scriptures, that this immortality is already present and available to us right here within our human consciousness? Must this not be true, by the nature of the definition of the word “immortality”? The concept of immortality insists upon no beginning and no ending. How then could we add beginnings and endings to immortal life? What are birth and death? Are they spiritual and unlimited ideas, or are they the products of assumptions of limits created by the human mind in an attempt to understand its way out of its own false assumptions about what life is?
Material sense is the reception of sensations in an environment whose barriers are forged by the mortal, human mind itself. This is hinted at in the allegory of Adam and Eve, beginning in the second Chapter of Genesis. After creating a complete and perfect spiritual universe, the representation and awareness of God Himself, we are told that a material creation then took place, directed by the “Lord God”. In the textbook of Christian Science, Science and Health with key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy writes this in the Chapter entitled “Genesis” (page 502:9):
“Spiritually followed, the book of Genesis is the history of the untrue image of God, named a sinful mortal. This deflection of being, rightly viewed, serves to suggest the proper reflection of God and the spiritual actuality of man, as given in the first chapter of Genesis. Even thus the crude forms of human thought take on higher symbols and significations, when scientifically Christian views of the universe appear, illuminating time with the glory of harmony.”
Mortal consciousness, the Adam man’s awareness of himself, appears to dominate the human experience on earth. The one and singular immortal consciousness, God’s awareness of Himself, is man’s real divine consciousness. Its presence is dimly lit, yet always visible within the human consciousness, where man seems to have become confused about his identity as the spiritual image and likeness of God, exempt from the influences of evil. The confinements and limitations of man’s false perception of himself as an Adam-like man, we describe as the action of mortal mind. Mortal mind is a seemingly valid but spiritually unreal realm of thought in which all existence takes on the false appearance of discord and materiality , rather than harmony and spirituality. The apparent source of discord becomes apparent when one realizes that false assumptions in the human mind are but characterizations of its own selfhood.
On page 115 of Science and Health, Mrs. Eddy describes the characteristics of the physical realm, which she also classifies as the lowest form of human thinking, depravity. According to Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English, depravity is “wickedness; corruption of moral principles; destitution of holiness or good principles.”
The depraved state of mind constitutes the physical. The quotation from page 115 follows:
“PHYSICAL. Evil beliefs, passions and appetites, fear, depraved will, self-justification, pride, envy, deceit, revenge, sin, sickness, disease, death.”
This paragraph is also subtitled “Unreality”. It describes the physical realm. Contrariwise, the existence of any of these or similar terms listed above all are simply impossible in the spiritual realm. And the spiritual realm, that which reflects the infinite realm of God’s universe, necessarily excludes anything unlike itself. That realm, being infinite in scope, it has no barriers through which such contamination could enter. Therefore, the assumed presence of such contamination is invalid, and therefore in the absolute view of God and man, false. A complete understanding that true and valid consciousness excludes them is the very thing that ejects them from experience. On page 469:13-16, Mrs. Eddy writes “The exterminator of error is the great fact that God, good, is the only Mind, and that the supposititious opposite of infinite Mind – called devil or evil – is not Mind, is not Truth, but error, without intelligence or reality.”
Every one of these physical concepts – “evil beliefs, passions and appetites, fear, depraved will, self-justification, pride, envy, deceit, revenge, sin, sickness, disease, death” – have an impossible existence in the spiritual realm because they are completely contrary to the character and definition of God, good. Each one of these concepts begins with the Adam man’s assumption that we each have our own individual consciousness and mind. This is said to exist in an independent realm and universe of its own, called a human life. In this distorted view of existence, every human mind approximates God by believing that it has the characteristic of living its own selfish life. In this false assumption lies the key to understanding and dealing with the source of all conflicts, disharmonies, wars, diseases, and the like. Let’s examine each term included in Mrs. Eddy’s summary of the concepts in the physical realm, in the context of this assumed human separation.
Evil beliefs: In order for an evil belief to exist, it must be outside of the realm of infinity, which is already filled with the goodness of God. Therefore, if it is said to exist at all, it must exist in only a fancied sense – hence the term “belief”, a term which itself implies less than a complete truth. Where does an evil belief exist? If not in the Mind of God, which we have already shown to be impossible, it must reside in an assumed mind called the human mind. Herein lies the very invalidity of the human mind: It is supposed to be capable of being inhabited by false entities. Only a supposedly separated human mind can accommodate an evil belief. But, such an independent mind is rendered invalid by the fact that nothing exists outside of the infinitely distant barriers of infinity, already filled with good. Only a false belief in separated and independent embodiments of mind, as human beings appear to be, can be host to evil beliefs. A subjective and practical understanding of man’s consciousness as an individual idea known only by divine Mind is a precursor to this necessity: the exclusion of the real possibility of the existence of evil beliefs at all.
Passions and appetites: Here are some applicable definitions of passion as defined by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English : The impression or effect of an external agent upon a body; that which is suffered or received. Violent agitation or excitement of mind, particularly such as is occasioned by an offense, injury or insult; hence, violent anger.
Here are applicable definitions of appetites defined by Webster’s 1828 Dictionary of American English: The natural desire of pleasure or good; the desire of gratification, either of the body or of the mind. Appetites are passions directed to general objects, as the appetite for fame, glory or riches; in distinction from passions directed to some particular objects, which retain their proper name, as the passion of love, envy or gratitude. Passion does not exist without an object; natural appetites exist first, and are then directed to objects.
These two beliefs are closely related. In order to be affected by passion, one must assume that a material body or separate human mind exists upon which an external influences could be applied. One must consider one’s self separated from other human beings in order to have an appetite for fame or glory. Objectivity of view is particularly enforced by the definition where it says “Passion does not exist without an object”. A subjective view of reality necessarily and naturally eliminates appetite and passion. If one stops considering one’s self to be separate from other people and from God, the desire for passions and appetites will vanish.
Fear: We can be assured that fear has no place in the spiritual realm from the often repeated verse in I John 4:18 “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love.” From the spiritually false perspective of separate human minds and bodies, fear does exist. A human mind may fear many forces or persons which it perceives to be outside of itself. A human mind educated to the understanding that its own self-identification (as residing in a realm of its own) is false, is able to recognize how and why this statement is true” “There is no fear in love”. From a subjective point of view, fear is impossible because it is a contaminated concept contrary to God. There is no barrier through which fear could ever enter into the infinite realm of Spirit. When one stops viewing one’s self objectively, as separate from other people and things, and one will realize that only good is present. This occurs by seeing the universe subjectively.
Depraved will: Remember from above that depravity is “wickedness; corruption of moral principles; destitution of holiness or good principles.” A sense of a mind and body separated from others and from God creates a sense of self which believes that it can create its own will. This sense views human thought as it own god, able to feel however it wants to. A higher sense of unity with God erases the objectivity, and recognizes that good, whose source is God, is the only real sense of identity. Other senses of identity having their source in their own objective viewpoints are equally invalid.
Self-justification: A human sense, believing that its own consciousness is a valid one, and that it has no need to harmonize with others, will naturally justify its own actions. The stronger the sense of separation from God and others, the more arrogant will appear the actions of self-justification. Removal of a false sense of human self causes thought to harmonize with its real source, goodness. The subjective view of reality, of being inside the infinite realm of Spirit, dissolves arrogance.
Pride: In order for one to feel proud, one must have a sense of selfhood that separates itself from other imagined senses of selfhood. Pride is the comparison of one ego to another ego, and involves a factor of self justification which supports the pride in one’s own selfhood. It is not possible for God to be proud, for there is nothing against which God can measure Himself, other than Himself. The subjectively thinking man, being the image and likeness of God, is likewise not able to perceive pride. When one stops thinking of one’s self as possessing a separate human mind and body, the temptation to exercise pride vanishes.
Envy: Envy is similar to pride. Pride is oriented to the false concept of one’s own separate selfhood. Envy is oriented to the false concept of another’s separate selfhood. When one stops thinking of others as separated from one’s own self, the temptation to envy vanishes. God has nothing to be envious of, because nothing exists outside of his infinite universe. Spiritual man, being His image and likeness, also has nothing to envy.
Deceit: Human beings, believing themselves to be separate entities, conflict with each other as a result of this basic error. In order for one to believe that one can deceive another, one must first falsely believe in a personal selfhood which is a law only unto itself One must likewise mistakenly conclude that there exists in fact another separate selfhood which is capable of being deceived. Nothing could be further from the truth. The recognition that all selfhood is contained within the same divine consciousness of Mind eliminates the temptation to deceive.
Revenge: As in the case of deceit, one must first falsely believe that another person has an entity of their own, allegedly capable of doing harm to one’s own imagined personal identity. Like every other term discussed, the temptation to take revenge will vanish in proportion to the recognition that there is no personal identity. A subjective understanding of existence reveals the harmony of all of God’s ideas residing within God’s divine consciousness, and man as the image and likeness of those ideas.
Sin: Simplified, sin is the belief in any power which does not have its origin in God, good. All of the characteristics listed in Mrs. Eddy’s description of PHYSICAL on page 115 are included. In proportion as one dismisses from thought the possibility of any external forces through the complete realization of the nature of God as pure, good and infinite, in that proportion does the objective sense, the victim mentality, cease.
Sickness and disease: Sickness and disease are also to be classified simply as effects of erroneous thought. They are but various forms of the belief in powers external to God, contrary to divine Love, which are falsely assumed to be cooperating with evil. In order to entertain sickness or disease as an experience, one must first entertain a sense of selfhood in the form of a body and mind separated from others. In order to behold sickness or disease in another person or being, one must believe that their identity is contained within that finite body and mind. Healing comes through the realization that no such boundaries exist – that being is spiritual, unbounded by physicality, and in harmony with God, Love, good. Healing of disease and sickness is the revealing of this spiritual actuality, through which one drops the objective view of vulnerability and replaces it with the subjective view of unity in consciousness with divine Mind.
A practical example: My wife and I breed and raise dairy goats as a hobby and food source. About a year ago, weI acquired three beautiful young dairy goats from a local breeder. This being only the second time we had ever purchased goats, we were not yet fully aware of all of the human pitfalls against which goat enthusiasts warn. Apparently, and contrary to our knowledge, and according to common human experience, there exists an infectious skin condition which, if found on goats, is considered also to be contagious and life threatening. It typically grows and spreads among the other animals. If found on any animals at all, many experts insist that the only cure for this disease, and the only real guarantee of its demise, is to slaughter the entire herd. We gained this information from reading online about the characteristics of our newly acquired animals. My wife recognized immediately that our most beautiful goat was carrying symptoms and evidence of this disease on her coat. We resolved to change this experience through prayer and a complete understanding of our goats as perfect ideas of God. We started by deeply contemplating the ideas of “goat” in prayer, and striving to perceive all of the beautifully God-designed characteristics of a goat. Instead of objectively looking on the material illustration of a goat with a material fleshly form, we strove to understand that none of God’s ideas can be in conflict with the perfect ideas of “goat” which God knows spiritually. Through deep and contemplative prayer, repeated for several days, we understood that goats are ideas which reside in the perfect and infinite unchangeable universe of Spirit, and are not separate fleshly beings subject to external forces like disease, as they appear to be. We never gave a further thought to examining the condition of her skin, as we were mentally occupied with perceiving her spiritual nature. About a week later, my wife was petting her affectionately, and noticed – the signs of the dreaded skin disease had vanished. Since then, we strove to continue to think of our animals in this light, and never again has there been any such evidence observed on any of them.
Death: On page 584 of Science and health, Mrs. Eddy defines death in the Glossary as follows:
“An illusion , the lie of life in matter; the unreal and untrue; the opposite of Life.
Matter has no life, hence it has no real existence. Mind is immortal. The flesh, warring against Spirit; that which frets itself free from one belief only to be fettered by another, until every belief of life where Life is not yields to eternal Life. Any material evidence of death is false, for it contradicts the spiritual facts of being.”
From the human perspective, that objective view in which we all seem to reside in separate bodies with separate minds and brains, we apparently die. From this frame of reference others also appear to die. In order to suffer from the false and material perspective in which death appears as reality, one’s sense of consciousness must reside under the influence of a belief that man’s existence is contained within body and brain. In order to falsely believe in the death of another, we must also hold a false concept of their being having been contained within the finite forms of body and brain. If one would elevate one’s consciousness high enough, to the full realization that life is not contained within body and brain, then, like all of the other factors of the physical realm which we strive to dissolve, death would also vanish from consciousness. Ultimately it will. Death is but the ultimate sin. Of this we have the ultimate proof provided by The Master, Christ Jesus. Who died for the sins of the world, and was subsequently resurrected from apparent death. This was followed by his final ascension above the human plane of conception.