Awakening - Talking, Feeling, Willing/Doing: Part 2

- September 17, 2012

"...let us now glance at three constructs of mind or soul or consciousness"

In order to proceed to a synthesis in Part 3, let us now glance at three constructs of mind or soul or consciousness. But first I feel the need to balance my rather grim opening in Part 1 by sharing a spiritual perspective. From the lightening flash mind of Paramahansa Yogananda regarding our coming to be and consciousness-being: "I am the Ocean of Spirit that has become a human wave." I have never heard a more startling and consoling thought, and nearly everyone with whom I share this is momentarily taken aback. (Not within the scope of this article, but of course there is astrology and its concepts of foreordaining and characterology).

Three Character Constructs

Naturally Not-So-Good

Thomas Hobbs held that a strong government is required to control and regulate human nature which is “nasty and brutish.” Freud offered that the id (it) “is the part of the human personality that is made up of all our inborn biological urges that seeks out immediate gratification (guided by the Pleasure Principle), regardless of social values or consequences.” ( Through socializing and educating processes, the raw conscious-forces of id (it) are curbed, monitor and managed, says Freud, by an ego and superego.

Regarding again the “oceanic feeling," Sigmund Freud criticized this Rolland idea in his "The Future of an Illusion and Civilization and Its Discontents. “Freud cannot sympathize with such feeling since he admits he cannot find it in himself. It is not easy, he says, to analyze emotions scientifically. . . .To [Freud] “this feeling is a fragment of infantile consciousness when the infant begins to differentiate himself from his human and non-human environment.” The baby evolves with animal nature “au naturel,” part of which is aggression.

Dr. John R. Evaldson of Santa Fe, gave me the most succinct operational definition of aggression: “How much will be given? How much can I get?”

My spin on it is: “How much can I get? How much can I keep?”

But the story does not end here. Humans are also wired for “altruism.” Viewing Tom Shadyac's film “I Am” will totally convince you of that. So there are, as the saying goes, two sides at least to everything: We are both aggressively selfish and warm-heartedly altruistic.

The original-sin teaching of Christianity puts forward that humans are flawed. Hindus and Buddhists say that rebirth means coming back freighted, partly, by negative karma.

Naturally Good

Jean-Jacques Rousseau side-stepped aggressiveness, saying the baby is born pure and noble in character, and is then corrupted by society.

Tracking with Rousseau in modern times is Carl Rogers. “According to Rogers . . . The concept of self-actualization focuses on human strengths rather than human deficiencies.” (Google Person-Centered therapy / Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders)

Islam teaches that all children are born pure. The first to enter the kingdom of heaven are those with heart and mind of children ---according to a member of this faith.

Naturally Neutral

John Locke 's theory of mind goes by the name “tabula rasa” ---- “ the epistemological theory that individuals are born without built-in mental content and that their knowledge comes from experience and perception. Generally proponents of the tabula rasa thesis favor the "nurture" side of the nature versus nurture debate, when it comes to aspects of one's personality, social and emotional behavior, and intelligence. (Wikipedia)

Next: Part 3 Moving forward