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Emotion

The Greek philosopher Pythagorus is credited with the idea that the brain is the centre of "higher activity" in the body. Ever since this observation in the 6th century BCE, Western psychology has centred, in greater or lesser degree, around the mind/body dichotomy. This assumption is now so basic, so automatic in Western thinking, that it is never openly questioned. But what if it is wrong?

Many older traditions insist that manifested phenomena arise as a consequence of the interaction and mutual balance of three autonomous but interdependent forces. In the Vedic tradition of India, for example, these are named the Gunas - Tamas, Rajas, and Sattva - but one does not even need to go beyond the West for an example. The Christian religion insists that God is a Trinity, but in naming its constituents Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, has so successfully obscured the true meaning of this ancient truth as to have hidden it completely for more than fifteen hundred years.

The modern world has completely lost the art of interpreting spiritual truths in practical terms, but the underlying triplicity of manifestation is so obvious that examples of it are derided by science as trite cliches unworthy of serious consideration. The solar system is comprised of three main components - the Sun, the planets, and the gravitational forces uniting them. At the opposite end of the scale, the atom is composed of nucleus, electrons, and electromagnetic forces. The simplest single-celled organisms are similarly tripartite, having a nucleus and an enclosing membrane within which their vital fluids are contained. At a more abstract level, the elementary human family is formed from husband, wife, and the relationship between them. In each and every example, two different, distinct, but mutually complementary material aspects are held in union by a third, immaterial bonding agent. Without the correct functioning of this third agent, mutual antagonism between the two material aspects immediately destroys the overall structure.

The human psyche is formed from a physical body with its appetites and instincts, the imaginative and idealistic mind, and the desires and emotions emanating from the soul, the essential being of a human being. Whereas both the physical and the intellectual worlds manifest to our consciousness as distinct images - the former material and the latter imaginary - emotions are completely abstract. They cannot be pictured or given shape, and their many ever-changing shades defy accurate classification or labelling. It is not to be wondered that so particular and pedantic a discipline as modern Western science should abhor a phenomenon so elusive, intangible and evanescent as is emotion, preferring instead to regard it as a byproduct of mental states and body chemistry.

The great tragedy of the modern world is that we have come to believe this convenient misconception. Few people are capable of directly altering their emotional states at will, or of restraining a desire once it has strongly arisen; nor can they even recall an emotion that has departed perhaps a few minutes earlier. Instead, recourse is had to a bewildering array of drugs, chemicals and intoxicants, to aberrant behaviours, or to desperate fantasies, all seeking to stimulate emotions indirectly. None of these is ever more than partially successful, and the emotions so aroused lack the depth, conviction and power of those that arise from within the deeper layers of consciousness. Thus has our modern world become obsessed with the artificial, the superficial, and the ephemeral.

Emotions are the e-motive force of the reality we inhabit. They are fundamental to the lives of all living creatures, and, at the most elementary level, it is the emotions manifested by and motivating any creature that define its nature for us. Emotions are neither a secondary manifestation of mental states, nor the mechanical product of body chemistry, although these things do affect emotions very powerfully. True and deep emotions arise from the deepest levels of our consciousness, or subconsciousness, and in the final analysis determine the course and pattern of our lives, both as individual beings, and as families, communities, and nations. We can only guide and control our destinies when we have guidance and control of our emotions, and because the most potent emotions arise in the soul, it is only by attaining soul consciousness that we obtain control over our destinies. Herein lies the basis of all true spiritual teaching and aspiration.

Of all means at our disposal for developing and expressing emotional sensitivity and intensity, music is the most subtle and powerful. The influence of music and musicians in today's world is perhaps greater than at any time in recorded history, yet that influence is, for the most part, trite, superficial, and often destructive, concerned in the main with common lusts and passions, and incapable of rising above the banal. It was not always so, nor need it continue thus, but if modern music is to break out of its shackles, it must evolve more potent musical forms that can give expression to more worthwhile emotions.

The purpose of the teK Project is to make available a range of keyboard instruments with extended musical capabilities. In order to make competent use of them, some knowledge of musical temperament is required, as also a far better understanding of the human psyche. The first book to be published by the Project, EarthSong, provides a conceptual framework extending and merging modern science, ancient tradition, and innovative thinking, and giving the reader insights into his or her inner nature. The second book will build on this to include practical suggestions for the use of sound and music in personal and community life. In this way the Project will assist in redirecting human emotions into more vital, harmonious and joyful directions.