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Re: Self/I-ness

Aug 22, 1994 10:57 PM
by Aki Korhonen

Hello, Jerry, you wrote...

> I am not familiar with Ouspensky's "false personalities" but
> Gurdjieff certainly taught about the Buddhist "collection of others."
> Kathleen Riordan Speeth writes,
>           "According to Gurdjieff each adult has many selves,
>           each of which uses the word "I" to describe itself.
>           At one moment one "I" is present and at another
>           there is a different "I" who may or may not be in
>           sympathy with the previous "I."  This "I" may not
>           even know the other "I" exists for between "I's"
>           there are often relatively impenetrable defenses
>           called 'buffers.'  Clusters of "I's" make us
>           subpersonalities that are related by association."
>           (The Gurdjieff Work, p 32)
> When these "buffers" are very strong, we have multiple
> personalities.  For most of us, however, the buffers are quite weak.
> But they are there nonetheless.  In this way, our personalities are
> not really monadic (the monadic human "I" is a mayavic illusion)
> but rather, in psychological terms,  they take on the nature of
> "complexes."

What I find one of the Ouspensky's strongest argument against
personality, is his notion of its changeability. It is quite easy
notice how we change by days, hours and even in minutes.

>However, she does not speak of the physical smoke or the physical
>water - but of its monadic essence.  The theosophical concept of
>individuality (which H.P.B. clearly made distinct from the ego or
>personality) is closely tied to the doctrine of monads.  To return to
>the idea of the ego being an illusion, H.P.B. said,
>    "... without an "I" no seeing or feelings would be
>    possible."(8)
>This idea was also expressed by Carl Jung who wrote,
>     "I cannot imagine a conscious mental state that does
>     not refer to a subject, that is, to an ego.  The ego
>     may be depotentiated - divested, for instance, of its
>     awareness of the body - but so long as there is
>     awareness of something, there must be somebody
>     who is aware ... The fact that the East can dispose
>     so easily of the ego seems to point to a mind that is
>     not to be identified with our 'mind.'"(9)

This reminds me of the Buddhist meditation of realising "Self".  In
it a meditator uses subject-object, a knower-known principle, and
he/she is leaded to eliminate everything that he/she can perceive
as not the knower; Everything you can perceive, internally or
externally, is not you.  Like, " I can perceive this body, so I'm
not this body(, since to perceive it I must be outside of it).  I
can perceive my thoughts, so there must be someone to perceive
them, so I'm not these thoughts..., etc.

Two assumptions of "I":

1.  The monad, or the primordial individuality, "Ego", "Self", "I"
is indestructible.  If it is indestructible then it must be
eternal.  If it is eternal, it can't have the beginning or the end.
If it don't have the beginning or the end it is always present.

2.  The awareness, seeing and feeling, etc., is possible because
there is the "I", who is aware.

Sri Ramana Maharshi has asked: " Where were you, when you were in
deep sleep?".  Our normal personality, ego and consciousness, we
lose every day.  So the consciousness we normally feel, can't be
the true "I", which is always present.  Maharshi's advise to
self-realisation is to always ask "Who am I", suggesting that we
should find the "I", which is always present.

H.B.P.  has said, that when we are awake, our "Self" is a captive,
and our body or personality is the guard.  When we dream, the
captive is partially released; he/she can walk on the prison yard,
and the guard is aware of its movements.  When we are in deep
sleep, the prisoner is running free and the guard is not able to
see it.

Rudolf Steiner says, that in normal beings, to be conscious, the
"Self" and astral body must be connected to etheric - and physical
body.  When we dream, the "Self" and astral body are only partially
connected to etheric body.  At deep sleep "Self" and astral body
are detached.  This goes well with H.B.P.

R.S.  continues, that the unconsciousness of the "Self" or Soul is
only because it has not developed its structure fit for independent
consciousness, that is why physical body is needed.

>     The ego cannot conceive of an egoless consciousness.  The
>human mind cannot conceive of a state of consciousness without a
>subject to be aware of it.  Consciousness is always subjective.

I feel this very essential, we can't operate, but on our subjective
consciousness, or I can't.  But the contents of our consciousness
can be subjective, physical-world-objective or spiritually
objective.  Or we can lose the contents of our consciousness
completely, like in deep sleep.

>However, Yoga and other schools have clearly demonstrated that
>the ego can in fact be transcended - that consciousness goes right
>on after the human mind has stopped thinking, but on another
>plane.  Carl Jung was on the right track when he says that the East's
>egoless 'mind' is probably not our everyday human mind.  Behind
>the ego lies the Ego, behind the personality lies the Individuality,
>behind the soul lies the Soul, and behind the human lies the divine.

To C.G.Jung: When and how, did you ever lost your Soul,
Individuality and Divinity?

   Peace, aki.
   Oulu, Finland.

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