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Impediments to the proper working of the rational mind


   There are some things that impair the proper working of the 
   rational mind.  There are things that can interfere with 
   reason, sense and judgment, that tend to overpower reason, 
   suppress it, render it inoperable.  What are they?  Let us list 
   some of them:

          pride                 romantic passion
          arrogance             lust 
          hatred                anger 
          envy                  impatience
          jealousy              impetuousness
          fear                  contentiousness
          malice                hastiness
          worry                 vengefulness


   All these things tend to overpower and suppress reason and 
   sense.  Let us just take one example:  romantic infatuation, 
   "love", romantic passion, whatever you wish to call the 
   phenomenon.  We all know about it and we all know its power to 
   overpower all reason, sense, and judgment.  How it can kill 
   reason, render it null.  When romantic imagination and passion 
   come together they can roll over all else.  Well, anger can do 
   the same thing, although perhaps in a lesser degree.  So can 
   fear.  So can hatred.  So can all the others.  All these things 
   can short out the circuits governing reason, judgment and 
   sense, kill them, render them null.  They have the power to 
   temporarily suppress reason, perspective and balance.

   Reason and good judgment require a calm, quiet, tranquil, 
   collected, dispassionate mind.  Any disturbing agent acting on 
   the mind impairs its proper working.  Noise or commotion can 
   interfere with concentration.  A person under stress (as from 
   fear, distress, concern, or worry) or who feels upset, 
   troubled, agitated or disturbed for any reason doesn't think 
   well.  His mind is perturbed and won't focus, won't 
   concentrate.  

   The wise man is a man of reason, sense and understanding.  A 
   man of balance and perspective.  And this requires a 
   tranquillity, equanimity or calmness of mind.  All of the above 
   named things are detrimental to equanimity of mind and thus to 
   reason and the power to make balanced and wise judgments.  All 
   are enemies of sound judgment.  All stifle the proper 
   development of the mind, heart and soul of man.  The wise man 
   is the man of peace, humility, meekness, patience, benevolence, 
   kindness, forgiveness, justness, goodness, temperance, 
   chastity, godliness, faith, self-denial and contentment with 
   little.  All of these things promote equanimity of mind, 
   wisdom, and personal happiness because they promote peace with 
   other people, peace with ourselves and peace with God.

   Let us consider some specific examples.  Suppose you are a 
   pugnacious, argumentative person who goes around stepping on 
   people's toes all the time.  Then people will strike back and 
   you will go around upset all the time.  You will have all kinds 
   of reasons for complaints and anger.  You will have continual 
   agitation of mind.  Suppose you are a proud, arrogant person.  
   Again you will go around agitated and upset all the time 
   because you will always be feeling slighted.  Suppose you are a 
   envious or jealous person.  Again you will go around agitated 
   all the time.  Etc, etc.  All these are examples of foolish 
   conduct, conduct against reason.  All are against quietude, 
   calmness and equanimity of mind.  All work against reason and 
   understanding.  

   Thus we see that the Way of Reason requires the right 
   attitudes, outlooks and personal behavior in life.  The wrong 
   attitudes, outlooks and conduct are against Reason and are 
   self-destructive.  The man of wisdom and understanding 
   understands this.

   The man who has as his first object truth and understanding 
   will do well to pursue those virtues named above, virtues that 
   promote calmness, tranquillity and equanimity of mind.


   Dec 2002


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