Category:Question & Answer

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The Self and the living Atom

by Athos A. Altomonte

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Q : Hello Athos, could you please explain to me ‘what is the Self'?

A : Referring to the Psycho-synthesis studies I can tell you that: ‘the personal Self is the conscious self of the normal being. The center of his personal interests, his emotions, passions, desires and aspirations. In a superior sense it is his conscience, his reason, his moral nature.

In a healthy person this self usually has a certain control over the conscious personality; on the contrary, an indirect control on the unconscious elements is sufficient to prevent harsh conflicts, unrest and rebellion among the various parts involved.

The superior Self, on the contrary, is an active permanent principle and it is the true substance of our being. The personal self and its ordinary conscience (personality) are only a reflection of the superior Self or true Self projected in time and space. Unique and at the same time universal, the superior Self is spirit because it is the infinite effusion of the Whole and unique in its essential centrality.'

If you have the patience to read some more, I can anticipate a fragment of an unpublished work of mine. You will be able to find, I hope, some more inspiration on the topic:

‘…with this we profess the theory of an ‘outward' journey, so to speak, where we get deeper into the conceptual solidity; followed by a ‘return' journey to the synthesis. In the instance of a conceptual resuming stage, man will remain within the field of emotional reason (unreasonable) and then of logics (reasonable reason); but if we wanted to go beyond this point we would enter the field of intuition that leads to the intellect and to the synthesis of thought (cit. the egoic barycenter ).

Many thinkers agree in considering the presence in man of the two mental spheres as a physics born to respond to the impulses of the physical body and an abstract one that responds to the subliminal impulses of the metaphysical conscience. They belong to an intellect that finds its own habitat in the vigilant spheres of activity of the physical reason (memory and erudition) and another that finds its habitat in the super-conscious and metaphysical sphere of man (superior Ego). For clarity, in our article we use the term reason to indicate the physical sphere of conscience that contains the personal self, whilst the term intellect is only used to indicate the super-conscious sphere, seat of the transpersonal Self or superior Ego.

But there have been quite a few misunderstandings originated by the use of these terms. In communication within the esoteric field, every term is not considered as a reality but pure convention, on the contrary of the word where elements of high psychic nature are merged. Therefore any judgment must be expressed keeping our own observation on the level of meanings, without considering the literal form or dialectic verbalism where the concept is kept to be transmitted. In other words, a concept will be judged for its essence and not for the form used to express it, or for the more or less attractive appearance of the terms used to manifest it. This can also be used as a criterion to judge men; indeed in this process we must disown the fictitious and imaginary forms that cover his essence or the intriguing masks that he uses to attract and appear what he is not.

The descent of the essential man in the matter (the model or the archetypal idea that responds to the need to manifest oneself as a unity on the physical plane) stops when, even in the blunting of his own existence, he has started to identify himself with the speculative models which, although often irrational, express the first results of a reasoning.

Gradually going back from ordinary models to refined ones, although still imperfect, determines a backward journey that we might consider as the ‘return journey' mentioned above (see Appendix in Aura. Hell and Heaven on Earth ). This backward journey leads more and more towards the focalization of the personal self in a mental plane which, although material, is already so subtle and complex that it is assonant with the metaphysical essence of our own superior Self, which has a sonorous nature.

This point of contact is called egoic barycenter and it is, as we will see, the point where the maximum of the minimum and the minimum of the maximum meet in a particular mental idea; that is, this is the point where the top of the conscience of the personal self meets the bottom of the animic conscience, the transcendent and impersonal Self.

When we say that a man walks the ‘initiatory path', it means that he pursues the joining between the existence of the phenomenal self and the essence of his own transcendent Self…'.

: I also have another question, as big as a mountain; perhaps I should wait and ask it after I get the answer to the first one, but the thirst for knowledge is too big. So here it is: in your opinion, what is the Universe like? Or perhaps ‘what is it'?

A : I hope you don't mind if such a big question receives such a small answer: do you want to see the universe? Try and imagine an atom, what it is like, what it contains, how it moves, where it moves and the sphere (aura) of energy that surrounds it. This is a beautiful image to help you understand the ‘universes'.

Q : ...and about Steiner, what do you think? I've read some of his works ... Kind regards, M.

A : Stainer was a follower of the philosopher Johann W. Goethe. To him we owe the first and second building of the Goetheanum, a library dedicated to him in Switzerland .

Stainer was a consistent theosophist, a modest initiate but a good popularizer. I suggest the reading of the conferences he held in Paris on the topic of Rose and Cross, all mentioned by Schurè. Stainer was always a great admirer of Nietzsche and he used to attend his house often. The great thinker and philosopher, annoyed by his insistent although deferent presence, said: ‘I hope that when I die he will not be the one to write the epitaph on my grave'.


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This article comes from Esotericism Readings

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