The Thinker and The Prover
William James, father of American psychology, tells of meeting an old lady who told him the Earth rested on the back of a huge turtle.
"But, my dear lady", Professor James asked, as politely as possible, "what holds up the turtle?"
"Ah", she said, "that's easy. He is standing on the back of another turtle."
"Oh, I see", said Professor James, still being polite. "But would you be so good as to tell me what holds up the second turtle?"
"It's not use, Professor", said the old lady, realizing he was trying to lead her into a logical trap. "It's turtles-turtles-turtles, all the way!"
Don't be too quick to laugh at this little old lady. All human minds work on fundamentally similar principles. Her universe was a little bit weirder than most, but it was built up on the same mental principles as every other universe people have believed in.
As Dr. Leonard Orr has noted, the human mind behaves as if it were divided into two parts, the Thinker and the Prover.
The Thinker can think about virtually anything. History shows that it can think the earth is suspended on the back of infinite turtles or that the Earth is hollow, or that the Earth is floating in space; comparative religion and philosophy show that Thinker can regard itself as mortal, as immortal, as both mortal and immortal (the reincarnation model) or even as non-existent. It can think itself into living in a Christian universe, a Marxist universe, a scientific-relativistic universe - among many possibilities.
The thinker can think himself sick, and can even think himself well again.
The Prover is a much simpler mechanism. It operates on one law only: Whatever the Thinker thinks; the Prover proves.
If the Thinker thinks that the sun moves around the earth, the Proves will obligingly organize all perceptions to fit that thoughts; if the Thinker changes its mind and decided the earth moves around the sun, the Prover will reorganize the evidence.
If the Thinker thinks "holy water" from Lourdes will cure lumbago, the Prover will skillfully orchestrate all signals from the glands, muscles, organs, etc. until they have organized themselves into good health again.
Of course, it if fairly easy to see that other people's minds operate this way; it is comparatively much harder to become aware that one's own mind is working that way also.
It is believed, for instance, that some men are more "objective" than others. Businessmen are allegedly hard-nosed, pragmatic and "objective" in this sense. A brief examination of the dingbat politics most businessman endorse will quickly correct this impression.
Scientists, however, are still believed to be objective. No study of the lives of the great scientists will confirm this. They were as passionate, and hence as prejudiced, as any assembly of great painters of great musicians.
In the long run, we are hopefully approximating closer and closer to "objective Truth" over the centuries.
In the short run, Orr's law always holds:
"Whatever the Thinker thinks, the Prover will prove."
ref. Prometheus Rising
© 2001-2013, Dr. Laura De