New Church Life NCL May/June 2018 - Page 82

n e w c h u r c h l i f e : m ay / j u n e 2 0 1 8 From a New Church perspective, it is axiomatic that only the Creator of the human mind can provide a comprehensive explanation of it. We further believe that this revelation of the mind’s origin, structure and purpose has been given to us in the Heavenly Doctrines. These spiritual teachings about the mind have been deeply studied and written about for many years in numerous papers and books by New Church scholars such as the Rev. Dr. Hugo Odhner (author of The Human Mind), the Rt. Rev. George de Charms (The Growth of the Mind), the Rev. Douglas Taylor (Hidden Levels of the Mind), and many others. All the students at Bryn Athyn College need to become familiar with the teachings of the New Church regarding the human mind. This is vital to the College’s mission of enabling students to think for themselves. (WEO) but no thought is wholly independent We can think for ourselves in the sense of not having our thoughts dominated by others, but not from ourselves. Our power of thinking is from the Lord, and our ideas are influenced by other people. Nearly everyone believes that man thinks and wills, and consequently speaks and acts, from himself, since the appearance that this is the case is so strong. And yet this is not possible. . . . No one thinks from himself but from others; and these others do not think from themselves, but all from the Lord, the wicked as well as the good. (Divine Providence 308) We need others’ ideas and perspectives to stimulate and enrich our own. Imagine how constricted our thought would be even about the objects we see around us in nature if we were unaware of anyone else’s thoughts about them? And nature isn’t the main thing that occupies our minds; we mostly think about other people and their ideas. Scientists, historians, educators, even artists striving for originality – people in every field – do not pursue their subjects in isolation but study what others have thought about them. Our ideas about everything are conditioned by what we have learned from others. Contemplating the stars and the immensity of the universe gives rise to all kinds of thoughts, but without knowledge gained from astronomers who have studied and thought about the universe over the centuries, how would we even know how vast it is? Not to mention the reflections of poets and philosophers on the beauty, mystery and meaning of creation. Imagine if you had been left as an infant all alone on a desert island, and somehow managed to survive to adulthood without ever having met or even learned of the existence o [H\[X[Z[ˈ8'[[܂[\[8'H[HHۛHYXK[[\Y[H\BۜZ[Y ^HHX\ ]][[]^[YH]X][ۈ[\YŒN