Hard Going and Simply Rational discuss the verses ‘The Five Natures’ (blog 71) but more specifically verse 1.

Frost on flag iris stalks
(Photo: Scott Murray)

The Five Natures (Translation) Verse 1. I’m the sensual, stroked by desire, / a fiercely moving kite, up and down in the storm; / I can’t escape from the devil’s low grasp.

Heart knowledge
SR: I’m intrigued with your classification: sensual, rational, moral, intuitive and mystical. Are these exclusive categories? I mean, for example, if a person is category 1, sensual, does that exclude her being number 4, intuitive. And, while we’re at it, in which category would you put me?
HG: It’s not as simple as that. For a start, I’ve no idea what category to put you in, because I don’t know your heart. I can’t judge you or anyone else. True. I’ve known you long enough, but that doesn’t mean anything. I can never know your inner self.
SR: But I thought you could know people by their fruits?
HG: Only God can know what is real fruit. Only God can know a person’s motivation and the springs of action, which are in the heart. Isn’t that what’s meant when Jesus says not to look at the speck in your brother’s eye while ignoring the plank in your own.
SR: Did he mean you can have a kind of private access to your own heart but you can’t possibly know another person’s inner life.
HG: Exactly, you can’t possibly know how a person thinks, their feelings, their motivations, the experiences they’ve had and so on, so you can’t possibly judge them properly. But you can know yourself in a more real way …
SR: But can you know yourself? Is the mind and the self not like an iceberg with most of it hidden and submerged.

The sentinel
HG: You’re probably right but you still have more chance of knowing what’s going on inside of yourself than other people have. I still believe there’s an internal sentinel or witness that tells us what stage in the inner life we’re at. As Hamlet said: ‘Thus conscience does make cowards of us all / And thus the native hue of resolution / Is sicklied o’er with the pale cast of thought …’
SR: Okay, so if you have this internal sentinel can you know what category you belong to? Or, as I asked earlier, Are the categories exclusive?

The main sensibility
HG: A very good question. I suspect that, potentially, everyone has the five heart aspects but that one or two predominate in a person or are more developed. Some people whose major mode is the sensual mode of being, for example, are engrossed with satisfying their appetites, whether it’s an obsession with material goods, fine art, entertainment, good food, or whatever.
SR: So are we talking about sensibility? A sensual sensibilty? I read somewhere that some people have an aesthetic sensibility. There minds are dominated by an appreciation of beauty. They don’t necessarily accept that there’s a God or even an extramundane or supernatural dimension to life. Others might have a moral sensibility. Their minds are dominated by what is right or wrong, in themselves and others. But they might still not believe in an extramundane dimension. Also your categories remind me of Jung’s categories of feeling, thought, sensation and intuition.
HG: I’m glad you said that, because when I wrote the verses I was influenced by Jung and his way of looking at the psyche. I suppose I was applying his insights in a spiritual sense. At the time I wasn’t a Christian in the sense I am now. I didn’t appreciate the full force of the Christ revelation. But we’ll come to that later …

The liquid solution analogy
SR: We were talking about analogies earlier. I’ve just thought of an analogy for your five aspects. Think of them as in a liquid solution where particles of five different substances are dissolved in different proportions. There might be more of one substance than another. Let’s say soil represents the sensual and it predominates, it will give the solution a muddy brown hue ..
HG: Amazing! That’s an excellent analogy. And even if the four other aspects are there, they will hardly be visible because the mud predominates. That’s a superb analogy for the condition of one’s soul. In fact, it’s set me thinking. Could the same analogy be applied to the Zeitgeist, that is, the spirit or attitude of a specific historical time. If people’s attitudes are largely dominated by the sensual, as I defined it earlier, the Zeitgeist will be the colour of mud.

The sixth substance
SR: So it would appear. And where does one’s world-view come into all this? Does that influence the solution?
HG: Absolutely. To keep the analogy going; it permeates the liquid as a sixth substance
SR: And changes the proportion of the other substances?
HG: Absolutely! Depending on which substance it is, it could be looked on as a catalyst which changes the colour of the liquid.
SR: And which colour would you like the Zeitgeist to be?
HG: Without doubt the colour purple, representing the fifth aspect . It represents the coming together in the heart of God and man. But we haven’t discussed aspects two, three and four yet. We must come back to these.
SR: We must, I’d like to know what you mean by the ‘reasonable’.