Is it possible to have a coherent view of the "self"?
- One line of explanation is quoted below, for why people "then"
didn't have "much" of a sense of sin. Given that explanation, how
could one presently know more of one's surround and true condition
than could the Athenians or Danes, self-justified explainers from
cradle to grave, except by Socrates' method?
"How should I live?" is answered by Socratically reflecting, if not
thinking, on what is ethic.
If one assumes Christianity's claim to absolute ethical standards,
of a Lord that changes not, and of a Saviour that fulfilled the Law
and the Prophets, then living as Christ lived--what would Jesus,
Paul, or John do--is the answer.
How does one move from Socrates to Paul, except by letting that Mind
abide, which was also in Christ Jesus?
"Our form is the ego: it is this mysterious incapacity to be other
than oneself, and at the same time the incapacity to be entirely
oneself and not 'other-than-Self.' But our Reality does not leave
us the choice and obliges us to 'become what we are,' or to remain
what we are not. The ego is, empirically, a dream in which we
ourselves dream ourselves; the contents of this dream, drawn from
our surroundings, are at bottom only pretexts, for the ego desires
only its own life: whatever we may dream, our dream is always only
a symbol for the ego which wishes to affirm itself, a mirror that we
hold before the 'I' and which reverberates its life in multiple
fashions. This dream has become our second nature; it is woven of
images and of tendencies, static and dynamic elements in innumerable
combinations: the images come from outside and are integrated into
our substance; the tendencies are our responses to the world around
us; as we exteriorise ourselves, we create a world in the image of
our dream, and the dream thus objectivised flows back upon us, and
so on and on, until we are enclosed in a tissue, sometimes
inextricable, of dreams exteriorised or materialised and of
materialisations interiorised. The ego is like a watermill whose
wheel, under the drive of a current--the world and life--turns and
repeats itself untiringly, in a series of images always different
and always similar....The ego is ignorance of what is 'the other;'
our whole existence is woven of ignorances; we are like the Self
frozen, then hurled to earth and split into a thousand fragments; we
observe the limits which surround us, and we conclude that we are
fragments of consciousness and of being. Matter grips us like a
kind of paralysis, it imposes on us the heaviness of a mineral, and
exposes us to the miseries of impurity and of mortality; form shapes
us according to such and such a model, it imposes on us such and
such a mask and cuts us off from a whole to which we are none the
less tied, though at death it lets us fall as a tree lets fall its
fruit....Hell is the reply to the periphery which makes itself the
Center, or to the multitude that usurps the glory of Unity; it is
the reply of Reality to the ego wanting to be absolute, and
condemned to be so without being able to be so....The Center is the
Self 'freed,' or rather that which has never ceased to be free--
eternally free." (pp. 101-102, "Gnosis: Divine Wisdom," Frithjof