“Things That Think Themselves” are archetypes, by a more descriptive name. This article looks at these floaters, samskaras, things that bump us day and night, inorganic beings – there art a lot of names for them, but we don’t really know much about them. So here’s some introductory material to get you started.
“Habit is given us from on high to take the place of real happiness …” Pushkin
It is difficult to accept the existence of things we can’t see or measure with instruments. Yet we do have one instrument that senses the presence of archetypes or floaters. That is our awareness. Awareness is different than mind; awareness is not thinking, comparing, judging or coming to a conclusion; these things all occur after our awareness has apprehended “something” that then influences our thoughts and actions. For example, the next opportunity that arises where you might get angry, be aware that there is a split-second where an angry response is a choice. The “invitation” to get sucked into another’s anger and respond in kind is an “anger floater” briefly entering your awareness. If you are open to becoming angry it will glom onto you like iron filings to a magnet or like the tar baby to Brer Rabbit. If you refuse to get angry it will fall away and wait for another chance.
A useful word to describe what’s happening is resonance. To resonate with is to come in tune with. If you tap a tuning fork to set it vibrating, then bring another tuning fork near it that vibrates to the same frequency, it will begin to vibrate also. The first tuning fork is the floater. The second fork is you. The vibrations are the intent of the floater. Their intent is to draw us into their beingness and make it our beingness. It’s simple distraction and misdirection. In the example above the intent is anger. We have the choice to adjust our “frequency” to come into resonance with anger, or not. If we do, then its intent becomes our intent, and we exhibit the angry behavior we have borrowed from the floater. Applied to conceptual floaters, we resonate with an actual entity that represents or intends certain beliefs in a state of heightened energy toward which we can become attracted. Once accepted, we easily accept related beliefs and behaviors that confirm the first one because they all resonate closely. It takes a real effort to separate ourselves from any constellation of beliefs; it’s much like trying to pull two magnets apart.
The idea of intent suggests a more descriptive name. This name is Things That Think Themselves, which we will often abbreviate as T4. The idea we gain here is that these archetypes, floaters or samskaras are aware. Since awareness implies life, the T4s are alive in a real sense, and they can extend to us their narrow sort of life if we accept it. An angry T4 lives only in anger. There are corresponding T4s for every positive and every negative emotion, although they are not always as immediate and close to the surface as anger. Nor are they necessarily as singular as anger. Fear, for example, is much broader and has many more facets: fear of death, of hunger, of being alone, of being different. Fear forms a web within us that connects many things together. It is clear that fear in one area of our lives promotes fear in other areas, just as courageous behavior, once taken, leads one to be more courageous in the future.
Not all Things That Think Themselves are negative, far from it. Love, compassion, understanding, courtesy, awareness of the feelings of others and many more are all powerful T4s. Nor are all T4s as singular as a fit of anger or moment of kindness. Just as there are degrees of awareness in all living things on Earth, so there are different degrees of awareness among T4 archetypes. On the negative side, fear is the broadest T4 in scope, yet it is dumb and blind—it merely seeks every crack we give it and enters to do its evil. Things are different on the positive side, however.
Love, the direct opposite of fear (which is why we fear love so much), is the heart of the entire World and it encompasses everything. We personify love into God and Goddess and have a bit of it in ourselves. One way to understand the Fool’s Journey is that it is an expansion and transformation into love. This can’t happen with negative T4s in the way, so on the journey we learn how to neutralize them so they no longer have power over us.
In several of his later books, Carlos Castaneda introduced us to what Don Juan called inorganic beings. These are beings with awareness, but without organic bodies like ours. These organic beings live in a twin world to ours, yet one that is congruent with ours. We don’t see them because our awareness is normally so narrow. They continually try to communicate—as do the lesser, negative T4s—but we are unable to hear them. We have referred to this communication as “B” influences. It is the Fool’s intent to not only learn to hear this communication, but to become able to live in either their world or the mundane world by choice.