bobby1933 (bobby1933) wrote,

The Cloud Of Unknowing (64) - Five Chapters On Faculties Of The Soul And Their Corruption At The Fal

Chapter 63: Of the powers of a soul in general, and how Memory in special is a principal power comprehending in it all the other powers and all those things in the which they work
Chapter 64: Of the other two principal powers, Reason and Will, and of the work of them before sin and after
Chapter 65: Of the first secondary power, Imagination by name; and of the works and of the obedience of it unto Reason, before sin and after
Chapter 66: Of the other secondary power, Sensuality by name; and of the works and of the obedience of it unto Will, before sin and after
Chapter 67: That whoso knoweth not the powers of a soul and the manner of her working, may lightly be deceived in understanding of ghostly words and of ghostly working; and how a soul is made a God in grace
Cloud of Unknowing - Christian Classics Ethereal Library

Memory or mind is the paramount faculty.  It encompasses the other faculties plus all the data they gather.  Its function is to understand, and in its natural state it does so perfectly.  A polished mirror, the Buddhists call it.  It reflects reality and only reality and guides the body in dealing with reality appropriately.

Reason distinguishes (morally?) among the various aspects of reality.  It is aided by imagination.

Will desires, loves and attempts to acquire what reason defines as good.  It is aided in this by sensuality or feeling.

Imagination gives reason and the mind their image of reality.

Sensuality or Feeling gathers sense and sensory information and feeds them to Will and Mind.

In the state of perfection, all of these faculties work in harmony and our actions appropriate to reality and to ourselves.  This made life before original sin flawless and easy and simple.  Now they are in disharmony in and of themselves and in relationship to the others.  Feeling dominates Will which distorts Mind.  Imagination can overwhelm Reason and Mind.  Only grace and contemplation can bring the faculties of the soul back into order and harmony.

My mind drifts to the image of Plato's Soul driving a chariot pulled by dimished Reason and a Will dominated by emotion.

Frankly, this is an impressive analysis.  From the point of view of spiritual practice, it is probably as good or better than more modern theories.  It would be interesting to know how psychologist and neuroscientists would view this analysis.  My problems with original sin set aside, i don't think that i could be convinced that a more scientific analysis would be more useful..
Tags: cloud of unknowing, contemplation, mind

  • Post a new comment


    default userpic

    Your IP address will be recorded 

    When you submit the form an invisible reCAPTCHA check will be performed.
    You must follow the Privacy Policy and Google Terms of use.