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Parent nodes: Metaphysics | Consciousness | The "Levels of Self" axis


Sibling node: Dualistic self


Non-Self

By Non-Self or Non-Being is meant anything that is not included within Consciousness. It may be experienced as an "other" or "object", or not even experienced at all. It can be interepreted either as total non-conconsciousness (hyle or inconscient), as phenomena or prakriti, or as other conscious beings that are experienced as other because of limitations of dualistic consciousness, or as the projection of the shadow or unwanted contents of the narcissistic ego, or as any or all of the above, and more.


Non-Self as Inconscient Matter

As nonconscious "matter", Non-Self can be either is the maximum intraphysical point of involution of consciousness, and starting point of evolution or spiritual ascent, as in the hyle (matter, non-being) of Plotinus' metaphysics, Sri Aurobindo's Inconscient, or Meher Baba's "Nothing" state. As such it represents the Negative or Nothing Pole of existence.


Non-Self as Prakriti

Samkhya is a dualistic Indian philosophy that distinguishes between non-conscious subtance, which is non-self or object (prakriti), and indivual centers of consciousness, or purusha

Both Samkhya and Kashmir Shaivism describe the unfolding of prakriti (psycho-physical "nature' or "matter" - both terms are unsatisfactory) from it's original state, in terms of an emanation of tattwas (principles, evolutes).

Prakriti is formed into vehicles of consciousness (subtle bodies) and thus becomes the support (adhara) for the individual consciousness


Non-Self as other beings

Because of dualistic consciousness, we cannot experience others as they are, but rather see them as non-self or "other" in relation to our own center of consciousness. But this is an illusion created through the veil of maya and dualistic consciousness, so the only non-self here is really the metaphysical ignorance (avidya), and lack of empathy, of the dualistic ego.


Non-Self as the Ego's unwanted contents

Psychologically, Non-self takes the form of Projection of the shadow
paranoia
the idea of the Other

Because the dualistic ego is extremely insecure and always has to justify itself by attacking others (ego-defense mechanisms) and recoiling from the intrinsic radiance of the Supreme, it is constantly generating negativity which it cannot face (because they threaten its imperious and narcissistic status as self-proclaimed master of its own insignificant microcosm). This negative is therefore repressed and becomes the shadow, which is projected outwards onto others. The shadow is the ultimate Other (non-self or non-being), just as the ego is the ultimate ignorance.

The goal of the spiritual path therefore is for non-self to be transformed so that everything becomes the Self; not the dualistic self but the Supreme Self


Non-Self as transformational

In cases of transpersonal occultism, it may involve or require plutonic transformation or metamorphosis




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content by M.Alan Kazlev
Prakriti material posted 8 November 1998, included in this page 13 January 2009, page last modified 9 November 2009