Objective & Subjective
by Harry Palmer
This is an edited transcription of a formerly confidential talk given by Harry Palmer in 1987. It contains the background for the much discussed Chapter 13, "The Great Divide" in Living Deliberately.
Objective and subjective. Let's talk about these two concepts philosophically, and then see what application they have to your life. In an effort to categorize realities, somebody came up with the concepts of objective and subjective. Objective refers to a reality that is outside of your mind, and subjective refers to the inner reality of your mind. For example, a chair in the middle of the room is outside your mind, right? So it is objective reality. You think the chair is beautiful. That thought, "beautiful chair" is inside your mind. It is a subjective reality. No problems yet.
Objective and subjective seem to be quite logical categories until they begin crossing over. For example, imagine that everyone else also finds the chair in the middle of the room to be beautiful. The chair is placed in a museum and admired by thousands of art critics who come to see the beautiful chair. The subjective reality of "beautiful chair," by agreement, is starting to take on the characteristics of objective reality. The beautiful chair is outside your mind.
Notice that the flow of creation, quite rightly, goes from subjective to objective. If you think about this, you'll realize it is another argument for the Avatar® axiom "belief precedes experience."
Let's go even more basic. There is "something" in the middle of the room. That's the objective reality outside of your mind. You decide to call the something in the middle of the room a chair. The thought "I'll label that as chair" is in your mind, and it is a subjective reality. Someone else might label it something different in their subjective reality. "Oh that thing, it's a sitter."
As long as there is disagreement about what to label the thing in the middle of the room, its label remains subjective. You've got a group that calls the thing a "sitter," and you've got a group that calls the thing a "chair."
And here's the most dangerous question that anyone ever asks, "Who's right?"
Rightness is subjective, right? In the sitter camp "sitter" is right. In the chair camp "chair" is right. But let's suppose you aren't discussing a "something" in the middle of the room, but instead you are discussing your religious convictions. How would you like it if someone pointed out that your religious convictions are subjective? Superstitions. Oh-oh, what does that lead to? People tend to defend their subjective opinions.
Okay, so in typical human fashion, the chair camp attacks the sitter camp and kills them all. It's a holy war. At the moment the last sitter draws his last breath, the label for that thing in the middle of the room becomes by unanimous agreement, objectively, a chair. Do you see this? Does this shed any light on the crusades? How about the urge to proselytize a religious belief? You bet it does.
Faith, unfortunately, is more often a matter of removing doubts (or doubters) than it is of focusing attention on what you believe. Removing doubts is the first effort that you must take to objectify your subjective belief.
That is the first of the seven keys to creation. The next six you find in the steps of the Avatar Creation Handling Procedure.
That something outside the mind—objective reality—appears to be independent of you. But it was you that made it independent.
Now, if you want to go even more basic than language and labels, you find yourself dealing with perceptions, impressions and sensations—feelings. Stay with me, because we're going to move this talk beyond mental speculation. Look around at whatever you see, and just take the word labels off. Take the word labels off everything.
(The room becomes very quiet.)
This is the realm of pure forms. Some people consider this to be ultimate objectivity. But notice that I said "consider." Consider is a subjective process. So you still have a little bit of the subjective even in this realm of pure forms. It's you, of course. There is "I," and there are forms.
But are you subjective? Is "I" subjective? Do you want to go a step further? Take all the word labels off of the thing that is looking around. Just drop every consideration or definition you have for your self-thing.
Now you are passing beyond the envelope of realities that can be categorized by the usual concepts of subjective and objective. There is an awareness of forms.
Can you go further? Cease to separate the forms from one another. Be aware of everything as connected by space as one contiguous whole—potential waiting to be defined. Freedom from impulse. Now we're discussing Avatar.
From the Avatar viewpoint, objective and subjective evolve into two functions of consciousness: experience and belief.
The illusion that arises with subjective and objective is that awareness is inside the mind, and something else is outside the mind. That something outside the mind—objective reality—appears to be independent of you. But it was you that made it independent.
The next step in this grand illusion is to conclude that the structure of this awareness—your consciousness—is the result of this "independent objective reality." (The independent objective reality that you subjectively created.) So what is the result? You imagine consciousness as arising from this "independent objective reality" and evolving right alongside physical structure. Bye-bye aware spirit. The day you believe this you are trapped. You have the flow of creation going the wrong way. It's flowing in on you.
The trap tries to convince you that your beliefs (subjective) are a cause-and-effect result of your experience with (objective) reality. You begin to look for the cause of your belief (and the experiences it is attracting) in the world. In objective reality. You get psychotherapy looking into the past. You get religions looking for sins and suppressives. You get people looking for past lives, prenatal experiences, and parental abuse. And what do you sacrifice? The power of your own decision.
I'm happy to tell you that not the world, not the past and not your parents are responsible for how you experience reality. YOUR subjective consciousness is shaped by YOUR agreements and YOUR decisions. Avatar is restoring those abilities to you.
When you find yourself wanting to explore the inner workings of consciousness, wanting to become more familiar with the creation that you regard as self, read Living Deliberately.