Reality, Soul and
the Worlds of God
III. The Reality of the Soul – Understanding Your True Self
D. How Spirit Manifests
9. The Soul pulls all These Together: The Common Faculty
[from the talks of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:]
The intermediary between the five outward powers and the inward powers is the sense which they possess in common—that is to say, the sense which acts between the outer and inner powers, conveys to the inward powers whatever the outer powers discern. It is termed the common faculty, because it communicates between the outward and inward powers and thus is common to the outward and inward powers.
For instance, sight is one of the outer powers; it sees and perceives this flower, and conveys this perception to the inner power—the common faculty—which transmits this perception to the power of imagination, which in its turn conceives and forms this image and transmits it to the power of thought; the power of thought reflects and, having grasped the reality, conveys it to the power of comprehension; the comprehension, when it has comprehended it, delivers the image of the object perceived to the memory, and the memory keeps it in its repository.
The outward powers are five: the power of sight, of hearing, of taste, of smell and of feeling.
The inner powers are also five: the common faculty, and the powers of imagination, thought, comprehension and memory.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 56: “The Physical Powers and the Intellectual Powers”, pp. 210-211)
Man is the highest species because he is the possessor of the perfections of all the classes—that is, he has a body which grows and which feels.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, Chapter 64: “The State of Man and His Progress After Death”, p. 235)