Mining the Archives
(Editor’s Note: Mining the Archives is a collection of articles that have been published in various newsletters over the years and have been lying buried in the archives. A team of volunteers have been “mining the archives” for the gems, so now we can bring them into the light of day to share using modern-day technology. This one is from the Arena Newsletter, Autumn 1999)
The concept of ‘Mind’ in itself, in the abstract, unlimited sense of the word, does not imply free will, but the individual mind, mortal mind, has freewill as an inseparable, defining component. In the passage on p.1216 entitled The Mind Arena of Choice, there is a striking sentence that almost expresses the kernel of the whole human condition:
Human consciousness rests gently upon the electrochemical mechanism below and delicately touches the spirit-morontia energy system above. [Paper 111:1.5, page 1216.6]
Viewed in these terms, what a finely-tuned creature a human being seems; what a mysterious fragility everyday existence has; and what grave responsibilities are implied for all the choices we make!
Whether undifferentiated, in the sense of infinite or absolute mind, or finite, acting through the ministry of the adjutant mind spirits, all Mind can be ‘superimposed upon energy.’ (p.102) in other words, mind can directionize energies through its own choices. Mind adds meaning to energy.
Another thing we can say about all mind is that it originates from the Third Source and Centre, the Third Person of Deity. But that does not mean that mind is inherently divine. If it were, it would presumably be free of error and misjudgement. Nor would it be distorted by fear and prejudice.
One of the mysterious features of creature mind is that it develops in ways that can’t be accounted for by physical growth or intellectual maturity. Individual minds do aspire upwards, or inwards, to the Third Source and Centre, which attracts them through the mind-gravity circuit. If this were not so, presumably the creature races would never progress, because they would not be able to assimilate values and make choices based on more than mere Things and Meanings. But we, as material beings, can’t view this objectively; being unable to discern mind-gravity at work, we can’t distinguish it from spirit gravity.
Material beings are most familiar with the workings of material gravity. It is the only kind of gravity of which mortals can have objective evidence. In fact, even that gravity is something we have only discovered in the last four centuries of our long existence. Mind, we learn on p.140 of the revelation, is ‘Organized consciousness’ which is not wholly subject to material gravity, and which becomes truly liberated when modified by spirit.
Our choices as mortals, then, are not as free as we might imagine, because of this invisible gravity pull, just as the tides are affected by the pull of the moon.
We must remember that Adjusters have minds of their own (p.1181), but don’t exercise free will; this is the prerogative of the will creatures they indwell (p.1183).
They have indwelt us through an act of volition, but their own free will is sacrificed to ours. The prepersonal is at the disposal of the personal. And this is why it is so dangerous to automatically attribute our moral choices and decisions to adjuster guidance. The adjuster’s leading may be felt in the long term, and maybe seen with hindsight, but, the book tells us (p.1207), it is wiser and safer to attribute our thoughts, choices and decisions to purely mental activity.
So we come to the crux of the problem. What I’ve been saying is just an attempt to prepare for reading The Mind Arena of Choice. *(See Appendix at the end of this article to read the entire section of Paper 111.1.1, page 1216)
Let’s try to comment on each paragraph.
The metaphor of human soil used in the first paragraph implies that mind has nourishing and nurturing properties for the future morontia soul. This is a humbling reminder that minds have more work to do than merely steering us through mortal life.
In the second paragraph, the origin of individual mind, intellectual selves, in the cosmic mind is likened to the origin of nebulae – an awesome simile. This serves to remind us, at the very least, that mortal mental activity is a distant echo of the cosmic destiny that awaits mortals whose minds have been evolving through the ministry of the universe mind-spirits.
The third paragraph likens mind to an arena, a venue for an important and visible performance. In this arena, far-reaching choices must be made.
The fourth paragraph reintroduces and re-emphasises the concept that this is a unique and irredeemable set of choices that our mortal minds must make: on these choices depend our whole future course as ascending beings.
I’ve already commented on the magnificent summary of the human condition that we find as the kernel of the fifth paragraph. Look again, though, at the reinforcing message:
…it is not so much what mind comprehends as what mind desires to comprehend that insures survival. [Paper 111.1.5, page 1216.6]
The sixth paragraph shows us the perils and responsibilities of having a borrowed mental vehicle. Freewill choices are routinely made with short-term gains for the self in mind. But the hard lesson, perhaps the hardest lesson to learn, is how to surrender that will to God’s.
The seventh paragraph seems hard to understand at first, as it implies that the vast majority of mortals are unstable, but this is what they are, if we view their choices as whims, or dependent on certain sets of finite circumstances.
The eighth paragraph restates the relationship of mind to the Adjuster. It is why they are called Adjusters rather than Manipulators or Controllers.
And the final paragraph contains magnificent truths that can’t be distilled into summaries:
Mind is your ship, the Adjuster is your pilot, the human will is captain. [Paper 111:1.9, page 1217.4]
The imagery of shipwreck and peril at sea reminds us again of the heavy onus on mortal beings to make right, Adjuster guided choices.
Consider what imaginative modes of love that we, as Finaliters, may be able to express. Might this indicate something about God’s purpose in permitting eternity?
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*Appendix – Section in The Urantia Book discussed above:
- The Mind Arena of Choice
(1216.2) 111:1.1 Though the work of Adjusters is spiritual in nature, they must, perforce, do all their work upon an intellectual foundation. Mind is the human soil from which the spirit Monitor must evolve the morontia soul with the co-operation of the indwelt personality.
(1216.3) 111:1.2 There is a cosmic unity in the several mind levels of the universe of universes. Intellectual selves have their origin in the cosmic mind much as nebulae take origin in the cosmic energies of universe space. On the human (hence personal) level of intellectual selves the potential of spirit evolution becomes dominant, with the assent of the mortal mind, because of the spiritual endowments of the human personality together with the creative presence of an entity-point of absolute value in such human selves. But such a spirit dominance of the material mind is conditioned upon two experiences: This mind must have evolved up through the ministry of the seven adjutant mind-spirits, and the material (personal) self must choose to co-operate with the indwelling Adjuster in creating and fostering the morontia self, the evolutionary and potentially immortal soul.
(1216.4) 111:1.3 Material mind is the arena in which human personalities live, are self-conscious, make decisions, choose God or forsake him, eternalize or destroy themselves.
(1216.5) 111:1.4 Material evolution has provided you a life machine, your body; the Father himself has endowed you with the purest spirit reality known in the universe, your Thought Adjuster. But into your hands, subject to your own decisions, has been given mind, and it is by mind that you live or die. It is within this mind and with this mind that you make those moral decisions which enable you to achieve Adjusterlikeness, and that is Godlikeness.
(1216.6) 111:1.5 Mortal mind is a temporary intellect system loaned to human beings for use during a material lifetime, and as they use this mind, they are either accepting or rejecting the potential of eternal existence. Mind is about all you have of universe reality that is subject to your will, and the soul — the morontia self — will faithfully portray the harvest of the temporal decisions which the mortal self is making. Human consciousness rests gently upon the electrochemical mechanism below and delicately touches the spirit-morontia energy system above. Of neither of these two systems is the human being ever completely conscious in his mortal life; therefore must he work in mind, of which he is conscious. And it is not so much what mind comprehends as what mind desires to comprehend that insures survival; it is not so much what mind is like as what mind is striving to be like that constitutes spirit identification. It is not so much that man is conscious of God as that man yearns for God that results in universe ascension. What you are today is not so important as what you are becoming day by day and in eternity.
(1217.1) 111:1.6 Mind is the cosmic instrument on which the human will can play the discords of destruction, or upon which this same human will can bring forth the exquisite melodies of God identification and consequent eternal survival. The Adjuster bestowed upon man is, in the last analysis, impervious to evil and incapable of sin, but mortal mind can actually be twisted, distorted, and rendered evil and ugly by the sinful machinations of a perverse and self-seeking human will. Likewise can this mind be made noble, beautiful, true, and good — actually great — in accordance with the spirit-illuminated will of a God-knowing human being.
(1217.2) 111:1.7 Evolutionary mind is only fully stable and dependable when manifesting itself upon the two extremes of cosmic intellectuality — the wholly mechanized and the entirely spiritualized. Between the intellectual extremes of pure mechanical control and true spirit nature there intervenes that enormous group of evolving and ascending minds whose stability and tranquillity are dependent upon personality choice and spirit identification.
(1217.3) 111:1.8 But man does not passively, slavishly, surrender his will to the Adjuster. Rather does he actively, positively, and co-operatively choose to follow the Adjuster’s leading when and as such leading consciously differs from the desires and impulses of the natural mortal mind. The Adjusters manipulate but never dominate man’s mind against his will; to the Adjusters the human will is supreme. And they so regard and respect it while they strive to achieve the spiritual goals of thought adjustment and character transformation in the almost limitless arena of the evolving human intellect.
(1217.4) 111:1.9 Mind is your ship, the Adjuster is your pilot, the human will is captain. The master of the mortal vessel should have the wisdom to trust the divine pilot to guide the ascending soul into the morontia harbors of eternal survival. Only by selfishness, slothfulness, and sinfulness can the will of man reject the guidance of such a loving pilot and eventually wreck the mortal career upon the evil shoals of rejected mercy and upon the rocks of embraced sin. With your consent, this faithful pilot will safely carry you across the barriers of time and the handicaps of space to the very source of the divine mind and on beyond, even to the Paradise Father of Adjusters.