Aug 21, 1994 10:28 AM
Thanks for showing interest in this subject.
Noticing the way I now capitalize "semi-Self" might be helpful in
understanding the concept and realizing its overarching importance.
(I wrote a whole book where I screwed up and presented it as
In a way, we are talking about the Great Divide between the
theosophical and the material-scientific point of view. The latter
generally sees consciousness as something which appears at a
certain point in animal evolution; the former, that It ("Self,"
"Undifferentiated Consciousness," _Atma_) pre-exists (along with
_Prakriti_ which also appeared at the "First Division") everything
except the One.
Because Self has no qualities other than "I-ness," It must depend
upon Its "interaction" with the Prakriti or "Cosmological Stuff"
(including not only physical matter, but everything from prana up
through Spirit) for differentiation. These "places of
contamination" ("I-delusions") appearing at a certain point in
human evolution allow the comparisons necessary for the Self to
more fully realize Its own Nature. I like the term "semi-Self,"
since even the most egregious egoic monsters get their
consciousness component and sense of "I" from the Self.
I must confess, Jerry, that my eyes used to glaze over when I would
see discussions of the topics involved here. Things changed, I
suppose, after many years of meditation when I started to see them
not as distant abstractions only, but rather--in their "microcosmic
application"--as just about the most "close to home" and practical
things theosophy has to offer. The moment-to-moment ability to see
what semi-Selves you are dealing with--in others and in
yourself--certainly must be a fundamental adept power, and its
importance probably cannot be over-estimated.
The Self is a terrible thing to waste completely in semi-Self. .
Anyway, while I am not much of a scholar, I would not be surprised
that one could find the same point of view in many traditions,
especially when they are understood esoterically. Gurdjieff
definitely comes to mind here. Perhaps, however, one might be well
advised not to "study" the subject in the usual manner; but rather,
just familiarize oneself with the general outline a little and "put
it on the back burner" until personal meditative practice suddenly
and easily makes perfect sense out of the "Divine Jumble."
High regard for you,
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