Cognitive mechanics: component parts of the personality & the direction of drive

The boxes in the diagram below represent different parts of our personality separated from one another for the purpose of distinction.

The arrows in the diagram depict the “direction of drive” or the outflow of impetus, which comes from consciousness and runs out through thought, emotion and behaviour.

component parts of personality, physical, emotional, mental, consciousness,

Component parts of personality – physical, emotional, mental.                                                     Clicking on diagram may enlarge and clarify it.

Our personality is made up of the sum total of our habits and inclinations of thought, emotion and behaviour.

Following are descriptions of these three component parts or layers, which make up our personality.

The physical nature or layer:

This is the entire physical part of our self; the physical body and its senses; physical responses, physical action, conduct, behaviour, speech, physical aches, pains, discomforts and sensations.

The emotional nature or layer:

This layer consists of all our emotions, moods, sentiments and feelings. Such as feelings of attraction or aversion; all our likes and dislikes of every sort; wants and not wants; desires for and desires against; all our sentiments; all of our emotional preferences this way and that.

The mental nature or layer:

This is our layer of mind. It is that part of our self in which occurs all thoughts. Thoughts are formations in the mind, and we notice their activity in the head. Thoughts may be visual formations such as mental images, or they may be in audio form such as in mental words, music or sound, or they may exist as both of these together.

The personality:

The personality is these three layers all together. It is the sum total of all of our inclinations, tendencies, patterns and habits of thought, emotion and behaviour. The personality therefore, has three aspects or areas of activity: the mental, emotional & physical.


Consciousness is our core self. It is that part of our self that is aware of our own existence. It is that part of our self that is aware of itself and its surroundings. It is the central “I” within our self. It is the central observer.

Consciousness is not found in thought. Consciousness is that part of our self that is aware of what we are thinking; that can decide what to think; that can observe the thought.

If you imagine a thought, a mental image, then consciousness is that place from which you imagine it. Consciousness is not the thought; it is the thinker of the thought, the creator and observer of the thought.

Consciousness is our real self; the layers of thought, emotion and body are just surroundings.

Consciousness – awareness – self – “I”– observer – decider – thinker – creator.

Direction of drive

In the middle of our thoughts and emotions is our awareness of them, this awareness is our consciousness. With practice, we can observe and become more aware of what we think and feel and do. We can become more aware of our self and our surroundings. This is being attentive, or being more conscious.

Our consciousness is not only comprised of awareness, it is also the part of our self that makes choices. And choice rules thought. Not necessarily immediately, and not without knowhow. But with knowhow and practice, our consciousness not only has the ability to be aware of our thoughts but also to direct our thoughts, govern our thoughts.

And, thought precedes emotion, or in other words, emotion follows thought. No emotional feeling or emotional reaction or sentiment of any sort towards any thing is possible without first that thing being registered in the mind.

Emotions can be powerful forces; and they are beyond our ability to directly control. We have more direct control over our thoughts (and our behaviour) than we do over how we feel emotionally. And because emotion follows thought, by changing our thought patterns we change our emotional patterns.

Although we can directly decide what to think, we cannot directly decide what to feel. Consciousness cannot directly tell our emotions how to feel; we cannot say to our emotions to feel happy or to feel sad; the command must go via thought to emotion.

Imagine three cogs in a line, one cog turning the next cog, which then turns the next cog. The first cog that turns by its own volition is consciousness, the second cog that gets turned is thought, the third cog to turn is emotion. The cog of consciousness turns, which turns the cog of thought, which turns the cog of emotion. There are many thought cogs and many emotional cogs. The particular emotional cog that turns depends upon which thought cog gets turned. It is via thought that emotion is controlled.

Regardless of our emotions, our thoughts and our behaviour can be controlled by our will.

Observe – notice – distinguish between the layers of mind, emotion and physical action

Practice observance, become familiar with the qualities and characteristics of consciousness, thought, emotion, and behaviour. Become familiar with and conscious of the workings of your machine.

The practice of observing and distinguishing between these different layers of our personality will help us become more conscious of their action and their interaction.

And by making use of the natural direction of drive that runs through the layers, we can more readily exert our will upon the personality layers and take more conscious control over our surrounding personality and our situations. There is more to cover though on this.

So far, these have been relatively chunky blocks that we have covered, but important ones to distinguish between and be familiar with. Ponder on them lightly, let them settle in, and casually observe them. For in coming articles we will move into finer and finer detail and into deeper and finer layers of our self. We must consolidate our understanding at each stage, for we cannot venture further in fineness than we can discern clearly. But whatever we can discern clearly, we can divide and go even finer and venture further. We are heading towards the soul.

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22 Responses to Cognitive mechanics: component parts of the personality & the direction of drive

  1. Paul says:

    >Although we can directly decide what to think, we cannot directly decide what to feel.

    As above so below?

    Most people admit to not being able to control their thoughts, but quite a number learn to control their emotions, and that seems to me to be a significant step to deciding what to feel – the emotional equivalent of the glass half empty or half full.

    So if people struggle with emotions, does that mean that there another intelligence involved in the emotions?

    • crossbow says:

      Hello Paul,

      As above so below? Certainly. It is a fractal cosmos, even inter-dimensionally, but things can seem to change a lot as they descend through dimensions. A pillar in one or more dimensions emerges as a sphere in another, then as a disk in another. Or a relationship of particular energies emerges as a seemingly unrelated solid structure.

      The patterns and habits that circulate within the mental-emotional bodies develop a strength of their own, which people struggle with. This powerful circulating of mental-emotional and subsequent behavioural habits are the piston strokes of the personality engine. We will become mechanics and learn how this works and how it is worked upon. Originally I was going to present this material objectively with little instruction on how to internalise it, leaving that process entirely up to the reader, but I have decided to treat the reader as wanting to internalise it and put it to use within their own self. So there will be included instructions/suggestions on how to internalise/experience/use it.

      The average person blurs and overlaps their understanding of what thoughts and emotions are. They think they mean one when the subject is the other, which is understandable as thought and emotion do – in a sense – overlap and seem to run into each other, and psychologists use vague and elastic definitions which cause fuzzy thinking. But the distinctions will be made clear.

      Strictly speaking, yes there is intelligence everywhere, even within emotional matter, but, that is not relevant to us in the governance and management of our selves because that elemental intelligence is subservient and cooperative with our own central intelligence – it only seems to be contrary. The persistent opposition of troublesome emotional energies with our own will, is driven by our inadvertent programing of our mental-emotional patterns/packages and the drive of these packages to reenergise themselves by repeatedly circulating through our consciousness.

  2. Paul says:

    >that elemental intelligence is subservient and cooperative with our own central intelligence

    Sometimes I hear people say something like: one part of me feels I should do this, but another part of me wants to do that.

    Does this mean that there are multiple intelligences present – that the personality is not integrated?

    • crossbow says:

      Yes you are right. It is our work to integrate the soul with the personality, to attune the two, to make personality the servant and expressor of the soul, not visa-versa.

      Personally I don’t describe internal conflict as multiple intelligences, even though in a certain sense it is not incorrect to do so.

      Within every individual is waged his portion of that great battle between desire and better judgement (from which all other battles stem), it is the battle between impulse and better sense, between what we might want to do and like to do, and what we know is good and right to do. The soul is the arena for this battle, and in fact is the only contestant, fighting against conflicting influences upon itself.

      The battle is deceptive as well as forceful. Emotion battles conscience by deception and strength, it feigns to be conscience by presenting what feels good and right as being good and right, even feigns to be our inner spirituality, and can do so with great force. It takes knowhow, guidelines, identity markers, and mistakes to learn the difference between emotion and true heart, between desire and true conscience.

      The personality with all its inclinations of thought, emotion and behaviour, is built upon the value layer (which will be explained soon) and people have conflicting values – conflicting priorities / equal importances – that may lie dormant until a situation or circumstance causes them to both awaken together and come into conflict and the individual is torn and thrown into battle with himself. The individual programed these driving values with his own approval of them in the past – perhaps they served well then, perhaps they then seemed harmless, even satisfying – now they cause him trouble. The individual must reallocate one conflicting value or the other, perhaps he must destroy one or the other or even both of them, must fight himself through to a higher outlook, a higher perspective, higher priorities, a higher plane of being and living. That is how life goes until man’s perspective aligns with his best perspective, and eventually aligns with reality. Until then, he knocks painfully against reality. If he is not in battle now, it is only time and circumstance before he is.

      Matter whether physical, emotional or mental matter, has its own intelligence; the particles of matter know their role, discern other particles who are cooperative and antagonist, and act towards each other accordingly, individually and on mass. But they do not have freewill; they discern but cannot freely choose; they are predictable; their intelligence is passive. But passive is not weak; it is powerful and inflexible; but freewill can learn to dominate what has passive intelligence, by freewill’s free intellect, its knowhow, its greater range and its access to greater forces than itself.

      • John Mondoe says:

        You’re a good writer which is greatly enhanced by being clear. I”ll definately keep checking in. Good stuff!

        • crossbow says:

          Thank you John. And I hope you do keep checking in.

          I endeavour to be clear but often I do not notice that something reads unclearly or incorrectly.

          So I ask others to tell me where I am not clear or where there seems to be contradictions, so that I may correct or clarify it if I can.

  3. Paul says:

    >Personally I don’t describe internal conflict as multiple intelligences, even though in a certain sense it is not incorrect to do so.

    There have been many cases considered to be multiple personalities, often with distinct voices. Would you consider those to be multiple intelligences?

    • crossbow says:

      The term multiple intelligences could mean different things to each of us.
      Lets say its defined literally as all possible intelligences within an individual.
      Then we have the molecular, cellular, chemical and electrical passive intelligences, and the many passive intelligences of the body’s autonomous biological systems and organs. There is the intelligence of the emotional system, and of the mental system, for these have their inbuilt autonomous and reflexive responses. And the mental-emotional/personality system is often fragmented with conflicting parts, is seldom unified. Often the conflicting fragmented parts are starkly separated and harshly opposed to each other, each behaving strongly according to the programming of their respective passive intelligence; or the different tendencies of the personality may not be greatly opposed and may run into each other and cooperate somewhat with each other, pulling together to gain the attention and revitalising energy of the soul, getting stronger each time they are given it. There is the survival drive with its numerous subdivisions which is a powerful passive intelligence which intermeshes and conflicts with the soul’s higher senses. There are the madnessess of heart that afflict many – powerful passive intelligent drives of false loves, false goodwill, and all sorts of poisoned virtues, and these effect upon the state of mind and quality of thought construction. And there are passive intelligent obsessions and insanities of mind which drive hard their own agenda and stifle better thought. All the troublesome passive intelligences of the human mechanism must be brought under control of the innermost central intelligence which is the active intelligence called freewill. That is unification. So yes there are multiple passive intelligences or programed drives, and a central active intelligence.

      Regarding seemingly multiple personalities, these range from those afflicted with severe swings of mood and attitude to those cases of severely fragmented personalities with separately clustered full personality patterns within the one personality system. As the personality is a powerful passive intelligence, so too, fragmented personalities are passive intelligences, but they are not conscious entities, only programmed forces, a collection of mental-emotional inclinations and habits, and possibly obsessions.

      In order of descending numbers of occurrence there is obsession, possession and foreign occupation. In other words, the most numerous category are people who are controlled by their own mental-emotional obsessions which they have (usually inadvertently) created, programmed and energised themselves. Next there are people manipulated by others via their own mental-emotional obsessions. Lastly and relatively rarely there are people who are occupied by a foreign entity or entities. The second and third conditions are generally preceded by the previous conditions.

      Healthy minds and hearts cannot be possessed or occupied. Where we are in control of our self, others are not. Where we are not in control of our self, others may be. It all comes back to exercising our own central intelligence and our well governing of our outlook, our attitude, and our personality mechanism. And of course, that has to do with our relationship to truth and love, which governs our attitude to others.

      I remind all readers that what I write – like any other information – may be true or false or a mixture of the two. At best, information may be helpful; at worst, harmful. Don’t blindly believe me or anyone. Follow your own conscience, use your best judgement and good sense.

      • Paul says:

        >No emotional feeling or emotional reaction or sentiment of any sort towards any thing is possible without first that thing being registered in the mind.

        How do we know that is true?

        Even the senile appear to have emotional reactions.

        • crossbow says:

          As we know, strictly speaking, we can only know truth by observing it, experiencing it, being it. Otherwise we are merely informed. (Though there are grades in between such as calculation, subjecture and experiential information, each with their risks and benefits.)

          We need to centre our self within, at the core, and observe the workings of our own mechanism.

          At their initial stirring emotions are types of likes and dislikes to something mentally registered. Without that mental registration, the emotion doesn’t stir. But with it, it does stir.

          (There are kickbacks which are temporary reversals of the direction of drive, like when a bump on the road causes a kickback up the driveline mechanism of a motor car, or when the drive line is temporarily reversed for the purpose of roll-starting the car, after which the car’s natural direction of drive from engine to drive-wheels is re-established. I will cover this further in a post.)

          None of us can bring an emotion under control without first thinking to do so.
          This is because emotion follows thought, and because it is via thought that emotion is controlled.
          Don’t believe me. Experiment and observe. Be your own subject.

          Of course. The senile have thoughts that the senile have, and emotions to suit, often made stronger by a lifetime of stirring and generating particular emotional patterns, and now a diminished intellect too weak to keep those emotional patterns in check, though strong enough to stir them. Every case is different of course, but the laws still apply. And there are more parts of the mechanism and laws to cover.

          Babies too have strong emotions with little variety of thought, but there is sufficient mental awareness of discomfort to stir emotion.
          Birth is a longer process than realised; the mental body hasn’t fully emerged until physical maturity, and towards the end of life is often the first body to commence loosening its attachment to the physical.

      • John Mondoe says:

        There is obsession, possession and foreign occupation. Healthy minds and hearts cannot be possessed. That rings several bells and works great as general broad strokes. In my experience though the average Johns and Kates are easily swayed and don’t need to be possessed to be foreign assets against a specific target, remain unaware of their roles as pawns and merely account for their “own” mishaps as slips of the tongue and spur of the moment actions, basically .. surviving. Taking a peek behind the lace curtain there is red and green energy sheathed in black aimed at related chakras of a pawn and the possible consequence of the external intent. The sources can also take pride in making sure their calling card is recognized, and brazenly so. Meddlers. They have probably been called worse by better.

        I concur – at best best information may be helpful, at worst, harmful. Don’t blindly believe me or anyone.

        • crossbow says:

          Yes they are three related categories with subdivisions. But I don’t propose to go into their specifics. I prefer to encourage a principle approach to self management which automates maximum health and defence.

          There are too many influences upon an individual’s person to be listed, although they may be categorised in various ways. But the categories of detrimental influences are irrelevant to the cause, which is the individual their self.

          I would rather focus on the more physical worldly forms of manipulation than any other, because they are the most significant and widespread, and because knowing how to rightly immune oneself from these manipulations immunes oneself from all other detrimental influences. The condition of the individual and their ability to wield their own mental faculties is what preserves their health in this regard. A healthy mind and heart cannot be manipulated.

          Many couples live and act as an intermeshed unit, so entangled with each other that they loose their individual identities, and with the effect that one or both misidentifies themselves as the other, neither one knowing who’s traits are their own and neither knowing who is initiating and driving the dynamic processes of their relationship. Instead of being like two strong pillars side by side, they are like two people mashed together.

          There are parents who get manipulated by their children, and create manipulative children; men who follow other men like sheep; men who act as fools and carry out violence on behalf of women, thinking they are acting of their own accord; people who live their lives unwittingly and willingly under the mental and emotional control of others. Many are unaware they are manipulating or being manipulated, many are aware of it but don’t know how to free themselves from it, and many prefer it while pretending that they don’t.

          As I see it the majority of people can’t distinctly tell their own opinions from other people’s opinions, they are oblivious to how enmeshed in peer pressure they are; they are so easily emotionally manipulated; can’t tell their emotions from their intellect, they confuse emotionalism with rationale. I hope to address this problem further and would like to put out seeds of understanding so as to assist people in overcoming the problem.

          I wish to encourage individual strength, growth and learning in men and women. Awareness of self and independence of thought. I am up against cunning opposition who prefer people to be easily manipulated while claiming the opposite.

          For instance, an extensive problem in the western world are those who are mentally centred and have their own emotional control, such as psychologists, counsellors, certain educators and social manipulators, working cunningly every day from their own mental level to persuade men and women but especially men and boys to be more emotionally centred – because emotional people are easily controlled by mentally centred people. This widespread manipulation is driven by a love of power and control, though they pretend they are against power and control. Many fall for their seduction and even become unwitting agents for its spread.

          I am part of the opposition against their work. Unlike them, I do not emotionally manipulate, seduce or con people into being more emotionally focused so they can be manipulated. I am for true strength and independence of the individual; true freedom of thought; true self knowledge; and for group cooperation by free individual choice.

  4. Paul says:

    >There is the survival drive with its numerous subdivisions which is a powerful passive intelligence

    I am not sure how passive the survival drive may be. It seems to me that it is often aggressive and pre-emptive in its defence of itself. It also seems prepared to allow the physical body to die of poor lifestyle diseases, or to lose relationships rather than admit it was wrong.

    It seems to me that the survival drive is dominant in most humans..

    • crossbow says:

      That’s a good point.
      As said, passive is powerful, and as you say, aggressive, pre-emptive, and dominant in most humans. In this, sense passive has nothing to do with being soft or weak; it means to not possess its own freewill and to function according to its programming. Its width of scope and degree of discernment and discrimination and power, are all as potent as is active intelligence, which is the intelligence of freewill. The difference is simply that passive intelligence is automated and reflexive and active intelligence is not. To all outward appearances they may appear the same. Its the nature of their core that makes them what they are.

      And yes, there is a Drive-to-be-Right in all humans which is rooted in the physical survival drive, for since our arrival as man if we make a wrong decision then life may be lost or injury sustained; that’s why it is so powerful. But there is also a Drive-to-be-Right rooted in the soul and the life purpose, and these drives-to-be-right intermingle and each spread across the spectrum of our being, leaning us more one way or the other, depending upon the degree of realisation of the soul to its self and its purpose, and/or circumstances and acute or immediate need. In most the survival end of the drive to be right wins out, although consider the man who risks or gives his life fighting an enemy so his family or fellow humans will live. In some, the drive to be right – when well aroused – is unhealthily stronger than the desire to live, and the individual may cause or instigate their own injury or even death to prove themselves in the right and someone else in the wrong. Consider those who step out in front of moving traffic, or make themselves vulnerable to physical and sexual attack and robbery just because they are convinced they have the right to do so and that if they are hurt or killed then they will be in the right and someone else will be in the wrong.

      Here are outlines on some different types of intelligence:

  5. Anonymous says:

    If emotion follows thought why does feeling sad make us think sad thoughts?
    this is cbt.

    • crossbow says:

      That is the kickback effect, when the impetus from emotion is greater than the outward flow of force in the natural direction of drive and puts force upward towards thought. This effect includes the momentum of stirred emotional currents continuing to drag thought with them. But regardless of such kickbacks, it is an exertion of the natural direction of drive, from consciousness out through thought, which re-establishes thought control and emotional stability. One cannot change emotion without thinking to do so; emotion follows thought. And there are coming tricks and knowhow to make it easier.

      Yes it is like Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, but this blog will cover far more than exists in CBT.

  6. grower says:

    Your clear descriptions of the relationship between emotions and thought concur with the insight discovered by many who have recovered from mental illness as a result of their personal efforts to develop self governance and ground themselves in reality. To paraphrase the documented experience of some who recovered from mental illness; “the long tem effect of subordinating natural feelings to personal attitudes (or consciously chosen thoughts) is that eventually the attitudes and feelings merge into a single team – as a horse that is well ridden will do almost anything for a good rider. In this way, feelings that were our masters were turned into servants and eventually become as friends”. I think the realisation that emotion follows thought – and importantly the integration of this into our responses to life’s challenges – is an amazingly empowering insight that can indeed change lives.
    I think you write really well too.

  7. crossbow says:

    Thanks for the feedback grower.

    Here we see Albrecht Durer’s knight on his well controlled horse:,_Death_and_the_Devil
    Symbolic of the conscious soul and the well controlled personality.

  8. Betsi M says:

    Are you saying that all Earth’s atoms–whether they be in the molecular, cellular, chemical or electrical systems that humans know, are governed by the same laws? Laws that we can see operate most clearly in the heavier materials?
    And that only humans have the potential awareness to understand and eventually ‘train’ them to do our will?

    • crossbow says:

      Yes, I agree with that, as I understand it.
      Everything is governed by natural laws, or the laws of physics.
      And the laws of physics are the laws of mind, for two plus two equals four in a material demonstration and in logic in the mind.
      The laws of physics govern all creation and all creation is within the mind of God.
      This is why mind and physics are the same, and logical thought is the building of truth in mind.
      We must learn to replicate reality in our minds, so that our mind is attuned to reality, which is God’s mind.

  9. Pingback: Centralising Judgement | Through the lace curtain


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