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Ralph Cudworth

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Knowledge is not a passion from without the mind, but an active exertion of the inward strength, vigour and power of the mind, displaying itself from within.
--
Ch. 1, sct. 1

 
Ralph Cudworth

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"The truth is the good of our knowing mind, upon which the mind fixes itself by nature; it is not granted to the mind to choose or not choose that good (truth!) on the basis, again, of knowledge. The finite mind does not comprehend itself so profoundly, and does not have such power over itself, that it follows its own light."

 
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Strength of mind rests in sobriety; for this keeps your reason unclouded by passion.

 
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Relative knowledge pertains to the mind and not to the Self. It is therefore illusory and not permanent. Take a scientist, for instance. He formulates a theory that the Earth is round and goes on to prove it on an incontrovertible basis. When he falls asleep the whole idea vanishes; his mind is left a blank. What does it matter whether the world remains round or flat when he is asleep? So you see the futility of all such relative knowledge. One should go beyond relative knowledge and abide in the Self. Real knowledge is such experience, and not apprehension by the mind.

 
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Openness of mind means accessibility of mind to any and every consideration that will throw light upon the situation that needs to be cleared up, and that will help determine the consequences of acting this way or that. Efficiency in accomplishing ends which have been settled upon as unalterable can coexist with a narrowly opened mind. But intellectual growth means constant expansion of horizons and consequent formation of new purposes and new responses. These are impossible without an active disposition to welcome points of view hitherto alien; an active desire to entertain considerations which modify existing purposes. Retention of capacity to grow is the reward of such intellectual hospitality. The worst thing about stubbornness of mind, about prejudices, is that they arrest development; they shut off the mind from new stimuli. Open-mindedness means retention of the childlike attitude; closed-mindedness means premature intellectual old age.

 
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So you must ask this question, put this question to yourself, whether your mind can be empty of all its past and yet retain the technological knowledge, your engineering knowledge, your linguistic knowledge, the memory of all that, and yet function from a mind that is completely empty. The emptying of that mind comes about naturally, sweetly without bidding, when you understand yourself, when you understand what you are. What you are is the memory, bundle of memories, experiences, thoughts. When you understand that, look at it, observe it; and when you observe it, see in that observation that there is no duality between the observer and the observed; then when you see that, you will see that your mind can be completely empty, attentive, and in that attention you can act wholly, without any fragmentation.

 
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