An Essay by John Rose:
Much like Rose’s book the Albigen Papers, Psychology of the Observer begins with a deconstruction process of current psychological trends, and a look at those pioneers who may have had something valid to say, but were not taken seriously by the “professional” academic and political community. These treasures, often buried, are unveiled in this book in down to earth layman’s terms.
The book is laid out in three basic sections. First is “Psychological Objectives”. In this section a scientific analysis takes the reader step by step through the workings of the mind and its associative mechanisms in the field of psychology paying little regard to current trends other than to address them for what they are, be they truth seeking or mere pontification for the sake of self-aggrandizement. We take a look at those individuals who view things from a sociopolitical standpoint, more concerned with having their current theories expounded upon than actually looking at the truth and reality of things, so psychology is reduced to a bantering about of undefined concepts and ideas, while those interested in true discoveries in the realm of psychology are swept under the carpet, or labeled as cranks, or unprofessional because their approaches don’t yield immediate proof within the paradigm of the accepted system of the time.
You cannot tailor Truth to the masses, you must present Truth as it is and the masses will either yield or not.
Recurring themes in this book are that our senses are inadequate, our senses being the tools of measurement that we have for finding a psychological direction. The second thing is that we may fall into a collective trap of an accepted belief system rather than setting out on a personal investigation of measurement by checking systems with the senses alone, which are flawed.
Another fundamental element is the division, and interrelationship of the small ‘s’ self also known as the mundane or somatic self which is observable, and relates to our reactions and immediate environment, and the capital ‘S’ Self which is the Final Observer, or the real Self, as relates to Truth.
As we observe this small ‘s’ self we can watch our appetites, desires, and patterns of everyday living. If we do this long enough we begin to see how they battle one another, and the toll they take on our lives. We learn that they are external and observable and therefore not our real Selves.
We are introduced to the many layers of the mind, and the thinking and observing processes as they relate to Self-discovery and understanding. These approaches, while reaching deeply into uncharted and unexplained territories of our being, maintain a scientific integrity without the constricting rigidity imposed by the academic and sociopolitical world.
Man has three principal mental faculties. He perceives, records, and reacts.
We are presented with the possibility that our world may very well be a projection, or a hologram of sorts rather than the solid tangible world we perceive. This concept is among the core elements of J. J. Van der Leeuw’s book The Conquest of Illusion.
We should be methodical in our approach, and not rely on wishful thinking.
“Psychology is the observation of the behavior and responses of man. It would like to be a science but in its analysis it ignores some of those factors. It is in itself not pure, but is part business and part politics….Such a psychology is only pretensively scientific….The pursuit of psychology along behaviorist lines is similar to that of a geologist taking soil samples in order to determine the essence at the core of the earth….Most modern psychology as taught in universities does no more than try to anticipate herd desires or instincts…Current psychology is little more than a paradigm…. Behavior of the mind cannot be discovered, cataloged, and categorized by studying the body alone.”
In order to study and understand the true nature of psychology and the mind, we have to go beyond that which is professionally presented to us, and Rose does this well. He approaches psychology from a holistic standpoint, incorporating body, mind, inside and outside influences on the mind. The thinking processes, actions, and reactions take place within the framework of the paradigm of thought and psychology.
There is a tremendous degree of uncharted territory in the realm of thought and the mind, and Rose provides many tools for understanding and unraveling the mysteries of our being, hopefully charting a workable map to find our way along the Path. He gives us a framework and a number of experiments to work with that help us gain understanding of ourselves. Phenomena such as ESP, deja vu, telepathy, and possession hold no less importance than more visible and practical psychological factors. He writes without fear of criticism from peers or his reading audience. He is not afraid to present the Truth or ideas that may not suit the temperament of the times.
Rose states in no uncertain terms, the dangers of relying on drugs, or artificial means so often utilized in behaviorism, or other fads to treat conditions of the mind, and instead outlines ways of understanding its conditions.
Even though we are taking an essentially scientific approach, we have to realize that science itself is not infallible. “A science should have a defined language, and should begin with a point of reference. If we accept as being sane that which is occurring now or within a particular society then we are certainly not being scientific or searching for a true answer.”
This book lays the groundwork for questioning the nature of oneself without getting bogged down with lofty terms and definitions.
Among the more dominant quotes from this book is “we are not the view, we are the viewer.” That is to say, we are not that which is seen. We are essentially the observer. “The mind must be viewed from outside the mind.”
On defining the self, it is stated that we must first understand, or define the small ‘s’ self before moving on to any understanding of how the rest of the mind works.
Rose has a term he refers to as the Umpire — something akin to the conscience or the somatic mind. It is a sort of protector of the species. The Umpire is an observer of the self, and even with its desires and appetites, serves to preserve the species and assure its survival. The Umpire may give us warnings that we may be threatening our own survival through unhealthy pursuits; it may also block the realization of something beyond this mundane world because its job is to protect our material existence. It is not infallible, however, and may be corrupted by outside forces such as alcohol, drugs, or sexual entities as Rose has pointed out in some of his lectures and writings.
The Process Observer, being another anterior observer, observes the Umpire. There is yet another Observer beyond the Process Observer. This is our Real Self and cannot be observed. This will be discussed further in this paper.
Why do all of us see the same thing? Taking terminology from Theosophy, I offer this quote from the book: “The master plan is controlled or contained in the mind dimension from which we and the physical universe emanate. The mind dimension is like a universal agreement of pre-incarnate man. It is the ‘Universal Mind’ of Mary Baker Eddy, (the founder of Christian Science), and the Oversoul of Paul Brunton (who introduced many Hindu and Eastern concepts to the Western world). I prefer to call it the Manifested or Manifesting mind. The Manifested Mind emanates from the Unmanifested Mind. The Unmanifested Mind might be likened to the Logos, and the Absolute to the Parabrahm from which the Logos and the Unmanifested Mind emanate. I do not imply that these comparisons are exactly synonymous.”
I would like to recommend that one read the Albigen Papers. It gives a more detailed perspective of some of these views. It also lays the groundwork for the Albigen System and presents much material pertinent to the contents of the Psychology of the Observer.
“We cannot play the desire games of life and expect that procedure to lead us to the Truth. Humanity is not God, nor is democratic agreement among psychologists the final Truth.” As we continue our search, we eventually learn that all relative knowledge is circular. We must break this circular pattern of thinking and begin a process of retreating from untruth. A method of this is laid out in this book by helping us understand how and why we think the way we do.
One approach to understanding is triangulation, a natural approach to Truth as well as many other concepts in thinking. It is the way our mind works anyway to understand the relative world and maybe even dimensions unknown to our immediate senses. Many of Rose’s writings are presented in this manner. It works as a Polarity of opposites from the two ends of the base line, with the apex being the conciliatory or superior principle.
The 2nd section “University Lectures 1977/78” restates the first section of the book in many ways, but with the advantage of a slightly different vantage point. It is as though you are examining an object from a different point of view that in my experience furthered my grasp of the material. A compact disc of “Psychology of the Observer” is due for release soon which makes a wonderful companion to the book as it mirrors rather closely this section, and is a recording of Rose himself giving the lecture. The wording is close enough to follow along in the book, but different enough to give yet another slightly different perspective. I find the cd to be a wonderful addition to a walking meditation. Just listen as you walk.
We are presented now with one of the core principles of a Spiritual path — Celibacy, in body, mind, spirit, and action. This requires true commitment and discipline. It isn’t merely refraining from intercourse, but total abstinence for a period necessary for one’s Spiritual journey. Celibacy is a topic that requires a whole essay of its own, but I will attest to its validity from my own periods of abstinence. It need not be a life long practice, but does need to be carried out for as long as one is committed to their search. Some people have families and are married, so there are commitments there to be considered as well. Also, it may be that some people are not able to take on a celibate path, but it should at least be given a chance for at least a month or so. These are only a few reasons for a more extensive study of this priceless gem so often overlooked by “spiritual” groups often more concerned with membership than the pursuit of Truth.
Rose has the courage to discuss the value of a moral code that recommends periods of celibacy, a practice that has maintained validity since the very dawn of genuine mystical searching. This practice allows one to build the energy vital for a successful journey while keeping the intuition clear for discernment. As Rose suggests, a person willing to follow and document this will, as I have personally experienced, see the real beauty and wealth hidden within. We can take a break from Nature, and gain deeper insight into ourselves through this practice.
We are given here a detailed roadmap of the observer. We see more clearly how thought works, and are given a method of approaching, and if we are fortunate, attaining Enlightenment. We are given a paradigm to work from.
With the dawning of new fads and ideas often comes a degree of propaganda. Rose shows us how to expose this for ourselves. We do ourselves no favors when we adopt our pursuit of Truth to the flavor of the times. We are far better off endeavoring to find and maintain Truth that withstands the test of time.
We must learn to differentiate inside from outside knowledge.
Our sensual, or worldly understanding of reality stemming from external knowledge is flawed, and we must keep this in mind.
We are able to delude ourselves so strongly as to imagine ourselves into a self-created reality of fantasy and hallucinations. This can be very dangerous and can lead to delusions that we know ourselves when we may have quite far to go. We must constantly ask ourselves who is doing the thinking. Come to know your desires and appetites as they may further lead you off the Path.
This book has helped me to separate erroneous elements of my own being that I may once have identified with, from those that may be Real aspects of my being, things that I now find external and even trivial. I am by no means at the end of my Journey, but I have been given a tool for seeing through so many veils, fantasies, and time wasters. I feel a freedom I may have never known otherwise.
I learned to see the workings of what Rose refers to as the Umpire which looks after the small ‘s’ self, or mundane self, or physical body. It is a sort of protector that keeps us from harming ourselves. There is yet another aspect that observes the Umpire, but it is still not our Real Self. It is not us. This second observer is known as the Process Observer.
While the Umpire watches over the body or small ‘s’ self, the Process Observer watches over the mind and its thinking patterns. It is subjective, whereas the Umpire is objective in its observational process. This, in my understanding, is the seat of meditation. In this realm, we are also introduced to the paradoxical nature of our being. We may come upon an awareness of perhaps more permanent dimension than this physical plane. Out of this may come a glimpse of our possible immortality.
The Process Observer is the mind at its deepest, and is the result of relentless meditation on mental patterns, a dynamic study of the mind with the mind.
There is yet another observer, the only one Real observer. The Process Observer also becomes an observation, and not the Real Self. We now approach our Real Self by removing ourselves from all patterns of thinking.
We begin to see the mind as a bridge to cross. We look for patterns. We look for common denominators in our comparison of systems. Remember, belief may have sprung from a desire that is not provable. Keep conscious that you don’t slip into projection as a result of desires. It is important to realize that in our comparison we see how things must be viewed by other things outside itself in order to establish its uniqueness. The relative mind demands a comparison of something that it is not. In this sense we see that the mind cannot know the mind with the mind.
At this point we may have studied the works and experiences of others but at this stage, we must learn to view things directly, not through what another person knows, and even though we may be delving deeper into our study, it is still the mind studying the mind in an endless spiral that leads nowhere. Even so, this process is still essential, and we must eventually reach a point of observing the mind from outside the mind from an Absolute perspective that cannot observe itself.
Regarding method. Your method of observing the Anterior self must be self-discovered. No one can take you there. You must go without postulations or preconceived notions. We can look at examples that will take us so far in the relative world, but then we must strike out on our own.
“When we get outside the mind, we get inside the Self.”
“We have to start with nothing.”
“We know nothing for sure.”
“Much of our thinking is forced upon us.”
I will mention here what Rose calls the “Reverse Vector”, a process of retreating from error. An exhaustive whittling away at all things that are false. Retreat from error is stated over and over in this book, and is of fundamental importance.
We may think that it is only us asking the questions, or we are the physical or mental body. “Thoughts are obsessions and we are unable to control them until we understand them.” This search to understand must become our new obsession. Question the origin and nature of thought. It is most important to differentiate between the sources and direction of thoughts directed toward us from those that are projected from us. We compare ourselves with others. We reach collective agreements as to the attributes of the world around us. All this must be taken into consideration. To know another person, you must walk in their shoes.
Here is an overview of some of the points presented in the recorded lecture. There are three primary qualities of the mind — Perception, Retention, and Reaction. We should remember that self-observation is one type of perception, but a lot of things enter our mind from the outside such as ESP phenomena etc. The mind does have the ability to see without the senses. Reaction is automatic, albeit complex. We develop patterns of reaction.
All perceptions may be translated into five main types.
1) Sensory perception
2) Memory, or mental perception (visualization). The mind projecting on the mind.
3) Reaction perception, such as ghosts. Things projected on the physical world rather than the mind itself.
4) Mental perceptions. True revelations from an unknown environment acting upon the mind such as introspection, which is again mind reacting upon the mind.
5) Deliberate perception. ESP, telepathy, creation of Tulpas, etc. This is a deliberate manifesting of a phenomena. These sorts of things are generally not recognized by the mainstream scientific community.
Included is a brief question and answer session from the lecture section. Here are a few comments:
“While studying the Umpire, a balance of that Umpire starts to occur. A person takes charge of their appetites and desires and gradually retreats from their errors. We learn to observe the observer, and then to understand. Once we begin to see this Umpire, then another Observer takes over, and the Umpire is no longer in charge. You must watch out for other forces speaking to us through our desires and appetites. Confusion may occur, but you must continue to press on through paradox, confusion, and the unknown. You eventually realize you are not your desires or senses, and therefore become unaffected by them on this level.”
The third section of the book, “The Practical Approach”, gives yet another viewpoint of the concepts covered in other sections of the book, but here tied together with practical applications. We have a limited time for our search for Self, or True Enlightenment, and it must be while we are young enough to withstand the journey. Rose briefly explains stages of life from infancy to the indoctrination into identity. This trend to greater and greater identity with the world may follow us to our grave unless some event, often catastrophic, shocks us onto the Path of Self Realization. It is this critical point, somewhere between youth and old age, that a self-investigative system need be devised with the hope of finding who or what we are. This third and final section of the book provides a clearer look into a way of understanding. It includes observations, methods, and experiments that help us on the Path.
At some point on this Path, we need to experience death, and come out the other side so as to return with an understanding. This experience can occur through some medical revival following a near death experience where a person is pronounced dead and is brought back, or it can be through some sort of mystical awakening. The genuine mystical path is hard to verbalize, but is an annihilation of the individual self as is often described by genuine mystics the world over. The genuine experience means being willing to give up everything. This may include career, security, sex, sanity, even life itself if need be. To die as it were. We must find out who is searching. Artificial means involving drugs or other substances seldom yield any lasting valid results. One may get a glimpse, but lack the vitality to make the ultimate trip, as a life of energy dissipation may have stolen the vital force necessary to be strong enough to break through.
We learn that the small ‘s’ self must be discovered before the capital ‘S’ Self or True Self. By examining the lifestyles of others, we can get a good appraisal of what may best serve our own lifestyles. We often see that the Umpire, or somatic monitor fails as a result of genetic predisposition. Knowing this helps us perhaps to be self-observant enough to thwart self-destruction. We must also factor in basic Nature programming.
If our thoughts aren’t our own, where do they come from? Are all our actions programmed, or are we free agents? You may be confronted with such questions as, Who is living? Who is asking the questions? etc. Whatever adversity presents itself, just keep observing. Observe all the way until Realization occurs. Do not ignore the forces of adversity, but observe them, keeping in mind that the answers may well be paradoxical, thereby ignoring, yet not ignoring these elements. Keep simple things in mind such as having an undisturbed place to meditate.
We finally come to controlling the mind. First, the body has to come under control. A series of steps are laid out to assist in this process. Our habits and patterns interfere with our meditation and searching. The mind resists delving into abstract concepts. We have to find a way by making habits out of our pursuits along these lines. You cannot wait for the mind to tire of fantasy, or worldly pursuits on its own. Things should be done with a sense of order and clear preparation. There is a proper sequence of events. We must struggle with often unknown or insurmountable odds. We must maintain a single-minded vector no matter what, toward Self Awareness.
As I study this book over and over again I continue to gain further perspective on self-observation. It has provoked me to look more deeply into characteristics of my life no matter how unsettling.
As I continue to glean further wisdom, the close examination of its pages in the writing of this review has brought me to even greater depths of observing my being and the universe around me along with new and fascinating revelations.
Rose’s unique approach in the writing of this book allows the reader to encounter a few fundamental, priceless concepts presented with slight variations in the wording. I liken it to many facets of a gemstone where the light striking each facet focuses individual beams to a center point of brilliance, and in this case clarity of understanding can occur.
Included here is a short list of writings that may offer supporting food for thought along the lines of this work.
Meditation by Richard Rose
The Conquest of Illusion by J.J.Van Der Leeuw
The Light of Zen in the West incorporating The Supreme Doctrine and The Realization of the Self by Hubert Benoit
Cosmic Consciousness by Richard Maurice Bucke, M.D.
The Albigen Papers by Richard Rose