Author: Torsten Oettinger
2023-01-12, 8th Edition
Keywords: Psychology Metapsychology Philosophy Linguistic Religion
In this part ‘PSYCHOLOGY‘, the general classification of ‘METAPSYCHOLOGY‘ is transferred to the person.
Again, I start from an analogy between language and psyche. This leads to some new interpretations of person and psyche.
Note: The `Summary table´ offers a very compressed textual and tabular overview. The links there allow the reader to quickly switch to the corresponding chapters and to keep the larger picture in mind.
In this chapter, the terms, definitions and dimensions of the person and psyche are explored.
Since the terms ‘psyche’ and ‘person’ are rather similar, both of them will be discussed together in the following paragraphs (whereby the concept of the person is more comprehensive). Both notions will be abbreviated by the letter ‘P‘, unless further specified. While the term ‘human’ comprehends the spirit, soul and body alike, the concepts of the person and psyche emphasize spirit and soul. Therefore, the concept of the person appears better suited to discuss the topic at hand than the notion of the human.
Previously, the similarities between the ‘structures’ of the world and those of the person in their respective psychological relevance were discussed. These are similarities between the ‘outer’ world on the one hand and the person with their ‘inner’ world, their psyche, on the other hand. Due to these similarities, a repetition of certain parts already presented in the chapter ‘metapsychology’ cannot be avoided.
• The psychical Relevant (pR): Everything that is relevant for to psyche of a human.
• World (W): human and environment.
• Human: Entirety of the spirit, psyche and body.
• Person (P): The individual human especially with its psychical-spiritual dimension.
• Psyche: The personal psychical Relevant.
• I (I): Individual person in its entirety. (For more details see: Own definition of the I.) 1The term `I´ stands mostly for the first-rate form and the term `Ego´ stands mostly for a second-rate form.
• Ego: second-rate, strange I.
• Self: The Absolute of person.
• Personal something: The personal Relative (relative dimension of a person, esp. the body of a person).
The definitions of the term ‘person’ vary in specialist literature:
– “An individual in his unique character.” (Schischkoff)
– “The human as cognitive individual.” (Brockhaus)
– “The human as individual in his physical and mental whole with the capabilities of an Ego which is conscious of itself.” (Psychology)
– “Human as an individual spiritual being, in his specific peculiarity as the bearer of a consistent, conscious Ego.” (Wahrig)
I define the person as described above: Person (P) = “the individual, particularly as seen from the perspective of their mind and spirit.” Or: Person = “Totality of all forms of personal being, life and qualities in their contexts, represented by analog personal nouns, verbs and adjectives (and other language components) and their syntax in various dimensions.”
Definitions of psyche also vary widely. Two quotations show that:
1. “The prevailing understanding of psyche today refers to the ‘total system’ of all those (life) ‘impulses’ that ‘the vernacular’ has long termed as inner life or soul life, there subdividing the same into rational mind and emotional life, as does academic psychology too. This refers first to the totality of such ‘life expressions’ or self-reactions that are primarily or exclusively accessible to self-perception, and thus can only be observed and described from the subjective or today’s so-called ‘first-person perspective’ … “. 2https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Psyche 6/2015.
2) Psyche = “Entirety of subject-linked appearances of reflection of the environment caused by higher nerve functions.” 3http://www.dwds.de/cache/shortcuts/Psyche 12/2010.
While the first definition is quite in line with my conception, the second is more in line with the neuro-biological tendencies of today’s academic psychology. Their main problem, however, is that the psyche of a human being is inadequately captured by purely scientific methods.
A number of authors, including myself, attempt to overcome this shortcoming, including Frank A. Gerbode:
“In this sense, `metapsychology´ restores the original meaning of `psychology´ as `the study of the soul, or spirit´, and the applications of metapsychology reflect the perennial common goal of both therapy and religion, whether one calls this goal the attainment of sanity, of enlightenment, of happiness, or of salvation.“ 4Frank A. Gerbode in http://www.forum.exscn.net/showthread.php?5935-Introduction-to-Metapsychology
It is the objective of this discussion to facilitate an extension of perspective, rather than to exchange the one one-sidedness by another. Not: brain on the one hand and spirit on the other. Not: psychology on the one hand, and philosophy or religion on the other and still to set emphases.
New Definition of the Psyche
I define psyche as the personal psychical Relevant. 5In this publication, the terms ‘psyche’ and ‘soul’ are used synonymously.
[Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
And I define psychology as “the study of the personal psychical Relevant.”
Psyche is the sphere of a person that contains, represents and reflects everything that is relevant to it.
That includes all, which affects the inner of person itself, as well as that which is meaningful to the person outside of her/him.
That also means:
1) In terms of location, the psyche is not limited to one person. While it has a core (the Self ), which is individual and unique, it is also connected to the environment and transcends the physical boundaries of the person. Thus, the psyche of each and every person is embedded in a metapsychological sphere.
2) The psyche cannot be limited to certain topics or aspects. It can include, contain, process and reflect all that is relevant to a person. This fact is important, since there has always been a tendency of bounding the psyche to certain aspects. As I said, at present there is a tendency to limit the psyche to what can be objectified and scientifically proven.
3) For the human psyche, something may be of absolute, relative or no importance. The most important for a psyche is, what is of absolute importance.
4) Since the human is able to reflect upon himself, he simultaneously occupies the role both of a subject as well as that of an object. Here is a danger of subject-object-division, as well as subject-object-fusion or dissolution of the two. (More details in `Subject-Object-Problem´ and in `Subject-object-reversal´).
In a vein similar to all the other psychical Relevant (pR), the psyche has distinct dimensions and differentiations.
(Compare also with the explanations in The General Psychical Relevant)
The dimensions of the psyche are the following: absolute, relative (and zero) dimensions, or their 7 synonyms.
In this study, the differentiation of that which is psychically relevant, as well as the differentiation of the psyche, are deduced from the forms of language portrayed above, leading us to the define four main differentiation aspects of the psyche (`1st classification stage´):
I. Psychical forms/structures – deduced from personal substantives.
II. Psychical dynamics/ “movements” – deduced from personal verbs (and predicates).
III. Psychical qualities – deduced from personal adjectives.
IV. Psychical connections, subjects, objects, predicates – deduced from the personal syntax. The term “personal” means that the form, dynamics or quality of a matter are related to a particular person.
Examples of “personal verbs” are words such as: to identify, commit, allow, believe, feel etc.
That is to say: Psyche has something to do with what person-relevant nouns, verbs, adjectives express in absolute, relative, or void importance.
And psychic connections have something to do with what, for the person relevant subjects and predicates resp. objects represent.
A further differentiation is the `2nd classification stage´. 6As stated in the Summary table.
This 2nd classification stage´ corresponds to the second vertical column of the Summary table. A summary involving relevant keywords might say: The psyche comprises: the personal sense, identity, truth, union (wholeness), the unconditional (security), causes and triggers, freedom (a 1-a7). Furthermore: personal All and nothing, God and the world, other people and me, mind and body, gender, conditions, aspirations, possessions, possibilities, necessities, obligations, rights, new and old, actions, information, representations, meanings, past, present, future, wrong and right (individual aspects) and all related personal `movements’, thus actions and processes – which are dominated by the dimensions, i.e. with their absolute, relative or negligible role.
To a `3rd classification stage´ one could attribute all terms found in the`Summary table´.
A most comprehensive definition could formulate the concept as follows: A person’s psyche includes everything that concerns the person. All things can concern a person, but a person is most affected by what has absolute meaning for him or her. That which affects the person finds its most important and nuanced expression in language ((individual and general).
Thus, all things about which persons speak are expressions of their psyches. In this respect, what is expressed in language correlates with what concerns the psyche, and the patterns of the language used correlate with the patterns of the psyche. 7I would like to emphasize again that, whereas I do not regard language as a person’s exclusive way to express themselves, I consider it to be the most important and nuanced way of expression.
Advantage of this definition:
One can well classify psyche by using analogous language forms (differentiations) and their meanings by different dimensions. Thus we get different personal resp. psychical relevant units or subunits. Thereby the term ‘psyche´ is not limited to the realm of the mind and soul but includes the body, which is also ‘inspirited’.
In this way, the body belongs to the psyche. In my opinion, this definition expresses much more clearly that these are not two separate entities (body, psyche) but rather, this is a union with different accentuation.
Moreover, as I said, the definition of psyche is even broader, for it includes not only the person himself but also everything outside the person, which is of some significance to him.
Overview of the Classification of Person and Psyche
In this study, the terms “person” and “psyche” are discussed in the same paragraphs and used synonymously due to their general congruence.
At times, for the sake of simplicity, merely one of the two terms are explicitly mentioned. The terms first-rate / actual or second-rate /strange are used synonymously. Often, I use only one term.
The readers may apologize that I only present this extensive problematic in a nutshell.
This classification is to comprehend all aspects of the person and the psyche. (See Summary table. Here only the second classification stage).
The differentiation aspects of the person and the psyche are to be portrayed in such a way that they include all potentialities of their use, such as in everyday language.
The dimensions, in turn, indicate whether these aspects have absolute, relative or no meaning. They provide information about the position of the individual aspect in the order of priority, i.e. whether their form of appearance is a matter of first-rate or second-rate (strange), personal/ psychic forms. This distinction is important since the second-rate, strange forms play an essential role in the emergence of mental disorders. In other words, that which is second-rate, strange, personal/ psychic, is more prone to develop a disease, in particular whenever these strange parts dominate.
The dimensional orientation plays also a role in the personal dynamics in the part ‘Metapsychiatry‘.
Thus, similar to The General Psychical Relevant also the ‘classification’ of person and psyche is undertaken according to the following categories:
– their spheres (absolute, relative or 0-range)
– their 7 synonyms
– their order of priority (first / second-rate)
– their orientation pro +/ contra ‒).
• Differentiation by means of analog patterns of speech which are relevant to P.
• Units that may be relevant to P.
Note. That which is personal and Absolute will be termed the ‘Self’. In the first-rate personal sphere, the relative sphere of P is at the same time an also-self-sphere because the relative personal is enclosed by the Self. This is not the case with the second-rate, strange personal to be discussed later in the `Metapsychiatry‘ section.
(For more information, please ether see the table on the right and in the following]
Unlike the classification of the `general psychically relevant’, here the person and the psyche are entirely central. Thus, individual new terms or terms that have to be defined more specifically, have appeared and need to be defined with accuracy. These are, in particular, the terms ‘Self’, ‘I’, and ‘It’. In order to remain rather close to reality in my study, I have attributed to these terms the meaning they are given in everyday language. However, further clarification of these terms is necessary, since they are also terms which are central in psychoanalysis. There is a considerable degree of congruence with the concepts discussed in psychoanalysis, however, there are also some differences.
The structure of the person and the psyche shall be described more specifically in the following paragraphs. 81. In the place of the terms: `person’ or `psyche’, the notion: `I’ could be inserted.
2. Person and psyche are used synonymously here.
I derive the psyche (= the personal psychical Relevant) in the same the way I derived The General Psychical Relevant (see part `Metapsychology’) because the structure of psyche resp. person resembles the structure of the world as that of the world in its perception by man.
However, there are decisive differences: The person has absolute freedom of choice, the ability to create and to reflect upon himself/ herself.
Similar to the dimensions of the ‘world’ resp. the psychical Relevant in general, I distinguish with regard to the person between the Absolute, the Relative and the Nothingness. That which is the personal Absolute will be termed the ‘Self’, that which is personal Relative shall be termed the ‘personal something’, and the individual person will be referred to as the ‘I’.
(As mentioned above: `Ego´ is the second-rate I; we will return to this matter at a later stage).
Thus, what concerns psyche/person can also be divided with the help of the linguistic analogies into the four main areas and the 23 individual aspects with the corresponding dimensions.
Derivation of the four main aspects of person in their absolute and relative dimensions
(1st classification level):
Analogous to this, psyche is, classified according to the IV main aspects, the personal psychological Relevant with their being, life, properties and their contexts in absolute, relative and 0 dimensions. (The 0 dimension is not drawn here.)
Further derivation into 23 individual aspects
(→ 2nd classification level):
Illustration of the derivation of the psyche from analogies of the language with the central Absolute and peripheral Relatives.
The main forms of language of the upper row are equal to the psychically relevant aspects of the lower row.
On the right hand side you can find a list of the 23 aspects of differentiation.
This illustration should also clarify that any aspect, that is not 0 (nothing), has an absolute and a relative (grey) part.
Each form (noun) is related to certain dynamics (verbs) as action (action verb) and/ or process (inchoative verb) with corresponding quality (adjective) in a corresponding context (syntax). The syntax gives us information about the functions and relations of the named personal “elements”. We can differentiate here according to the function: personal subject, predicate / object and depending on the direction of the “dynamic”: active, passive and reflexive.
All this on the basis of different dimensions.
This categorization has the advantage that nothing personal or psychical or psychical Relevant is excluded but also taken into account the fact that everything psychical Relevant can become an absolute importance and than determines a person.
There are the following 2 (or 3) areas of dimensions of person and psyche: 9There are two dimensions if we look merely at the absolute and relative dimensions; however, there are three dimensions if the nothingness is considered to be a separate dimension.
1. personal Absolute (pA) = the Self (S).
2. personal Relative = personal something. 10This stands In contrast to the `It’ – the absolutized Relative – which dominates a person and will be discussed later.
(3. personal nothingness). 11A nothingness which is personal² however, seems to be exclusively assigned to the second reality.
Besides, there are still the second-rate, strange Selves, which I discuss more precisely in ‘Metapsychiatry‘.
„What lives is ineradicable, remains free in its deepest form of servitude, remains one even if you split it to the base,
remains unwounded even if you pierce it to the marrow and its being flies victorious from your hands.“ (F. Hölderlin)
Questions about the Self
Is there a Self? And if there is, what exactly is it? Does every person have a Self? Even a new-born? Is the Self an entity which is given at birth or is it developed with time? Is the I-self an unity, as Hölderlin wrote, or is it split, for instance into “I” and “me” (G.H. Mead), or else, as Lacan wrote, into “je” and “moi”? Or is the I-self, in line with Nietzsche’s beliefs, with regard to morals, always a “Dividual” – an entity which is divided within itself? Is the Self and therefore also the ‘I’, thus never an individual, undivided, a whole?
Self-Definition in Literature
In modern psychology, the Self is generally considered to be: 12Point 1-3 adapted from articles in: Brockhaus Encyclopedia, Mannheim, 1996, keyword `self ‘
1 – “System of conscious and unconscious knowledge of what a person believes to be.” Similarly: The Self is understood as the awareness of oneself.
2 – a “term to describe the coordinated control of these knowledge processes, frequently referred to as ‘ego’.” (S. Freud). 13A similar definition can be found in http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/self?s=t (Philosophy)
3 – a “term to describe an inherent principle of a person’s development, whereby the Self represents the cause and the purpose of the maturing and differentiation of the personality in the sense of self-realization.”(C.G. Jung, C. Rogers et al)
4 – The Self as “the sum of self-representations”. Similarly, O. Kernberg wrote: “The Self is an intra-psychic structure which is constituted by multifarious self-representations and corresponding emotions. Self-representations are affective-cognitive structures that reflect the self-perception of a person.” 14„Borderline-Störungen und pathologischer Narzissmus.“ Suhrkamp, Frankfurt, 1978, p 358.
Similarly in G. O. Gabbard: Psychodynamic Psychiatry in Clinical Practice, Amarican Psychiatric Publishing, Inc. 2005, p. 45.
5 – Kohut speaks of “the realization through action of the (life) plan laid down in [man’s] nuclear self.” 151. A similar definition can be found in A Dictionary of Psychology (4 ed.)
2. Nuclear Self and core Self are the same in this publication.
6 – Similarly, Tilmann Moser: “No-one has an innate self which could come to maturity by its own efforts … However, all men are born with a desire to develop a self …”. 16Tilmann Moser by Alice Miller: „Das Drama des begabten Kindes” in DER SPIEGEL 29/1979 of 16.07.1979, p. 141.
7 – Psychology Lexicon: Self – “The entirety of all qualities, behaviors and attitudes which one believes to be characteristic for one’s own person.” 17 In: http://www.psychology48.com/deu/d/selbst/selbst.htm
8 – Rudolph: “the self can be defined as the moment when the Ego, on a quest for an object, comes to take itself for an object.” 18Rudolf p. 63.
9 – Today’s philosophy of the mind explains it in the following way: “If by `self´ one refers to an essential, immutable nucleus of the person, some modern philosophers of mind believe that no such thing exists. The idea of a self as an immutable essential nucleus derives from the Christian idea of an immaterial soul. Such an idea is unacceptable to modern philosophers with materialist orientations … However, in the light of empirical results from developmental psychology, developmental biology and neurosciences, the idea of an essential inconstant, material nucleus … seems reasonable …. The following conception is the most widely accepted: The ‘self’ is not to be understood as an immutable, essential nucleus; rather, the ‘self’ is itself constantly changing … In this respect, striking similarities between some ideas of the modern philosophy of the mind and traditional beliefs of non-European cultures (such as Buddhism) come to light …”. 19https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philosophie_des_Geistes, 2016.
Most of the authors do not point out the difference of the actual Self and the strange Self, or the difference of the core-Self and the relative Self (also-Self).
Also therefore, there are a lot of different definitions.
Further to the different definitions presented above:
Ad 1 – A definition of the Self is certainly a matter of belief. But I believe that there is something universal and objective behind the concept of the (actual) Self. If, for instance, a person is convinced that he/she is worthless on account of an illness, then the respective person would be suffering from an inferiority complex which, in turn, convinces this person to believe that he/she is worthless. However, in reality, this person’s value is equal to that of all other individuals. This person is clearly wrong in their beliefs. They believed in that which I termed the strange Self.
Ad 2 – The term described in this definition is categorized as ‘I’ in this study.
Ad 3 – In this definition, the (actual) Self is clearly to be regarded as cause and purpose. This definition is very similar to Aristotle’s concept of entelechy, meaning that there is something within us, “which has its own purpose within itself.” 20(Schischkoff, KW `Entelechie´.)
If this metaphysical reality transcends the individual person and yet envelops him or her in a loving manner, then this would appear to be the best self-definition. However, if “maturing, differentiation and self-realization” have to be accomplished primarily by the person themselves, then these are, in my view, rather functions of the ‘I’. This, in turn, would merely identify a part of the Self (the relative Self) would be described, not the nucleus of the actual Self which is effective by itself.
I, for one, wish my children a stable sense of self-worth, whether or not they have reached their full potential, stagnated in their maturation or personal development, or even regressed to a previous state – and don’t we all have this adverse experience?
A Self dependent on any progress, however, would be subject to constant fluctuations, which would permanently endanger the person.
Ad 4-6 – The Self of Kernberg is also a limited, weak Self. In my opinion, it would merely be the sum of numerous strange Selves. The actual Self however provides the humans with a sense of an actual Self. This Self encompasses the entire breadth of an individual’s life, thus giving the person identity, dignity and strength, regardless of all people or an individual’s own conscience.
Ad 7 and 8 – While these are clearly definitions of the whole-Self, they do not distinguish between the nuclear Self and also-Self, nor do they provide any information about an innate nuclear Self.
Ad 9 ‒ Thinking the Self as the immutable core of a person’s being corresponds, to a large extent, with my beliefs. However, this definition describes solely the nuclear Self and does not take into account that its deselection is possible. Much as we acknowledge that the individual has absolute free choice of the Absolute in general, so we should also concede that they have a free choice of the personal Absolute, the Self – this means that we can confirm or reject the positive absolute nuclear Self given by God¹. This can be an, at times unwitting, activity or attitude of the absolute I-self-nucleus and would also mean that, having been given an innate nuclear self, we also possess the innate option to confirm, change or even reject the nuclear self. Thus, even the Self which we obtain from God¹ is not imposed upon us but offered to us. I consider this to be a sign of an unconditional love which neither leaves man to the necessary to find himself, nor imposes a Self upon him. 21In this study, this relationship has been characterized before as a loving relationship between God¹ and people. It is also my belief that the innate, actual nuclear Self urges the individual to further develop their personality, however it does not make this by itself but requires our co-operation. Will the actual nucleus (given by God¹) disappear whenever we are not growing? I believe that it can be suppressed but that the actual nuclear Self is continuously active as a discreet and caring companion, in such a way that we notice a certain tension and feel challenged to courageously be ourselves.
It is good to know that, notably in the Christian conception, the innate Self is inviolable, indivisible and even stronger than an individual’s active I.
(Further see in Self-strength and Ego-strength).
This conception of an innate Self corresponds to the beliefs upon which the universal human rights are based, expressly ascribing in the preamble, an innate dignity, freedom and equality with all others to every individual.
Therefore, in my opinion, there is an innate nuclear Self, such as an innate dignity exists too. If it were otherwise, every person would be easily manipulable.
Is there an immortal, eternal Self resp. I-self?
Is there a constant Self or merely a Self that is temporary and inconstant?
Academic psychology will deny the former, since it ultimately starts from an atheistic position.
However, experience shows that, alongside our inconstant self-image, we feel that we are always the same person. While I might feel different from day to day or in various periods of life, nevertheless, I have the impression that I am always myself, always Torsten Oettinger and no other person. In my opinion, both of these self-images persist alongside one another: on the one side, there is a temporary, inconstant self-image, which corresponds to the relative Self, and, on the other side, we have a constant, deeper self-image/ sense of Self that is equivalent to the nuclear Self. Reducing the person or the Self to the relative Self (or its self-representations), leads to the exclusion of the most important thing.
Contemporary psychology does not view the Self as an indivisible whole but as an entity that consists of many self-representations (see Kernberg). One might also say that a person is not thought to be an individual (indivisible) but a ‘dividual’, one who is composed of parts. [One of the exceptions in German literature: Luise Reddemann)22: “Würde – Annäherung an einen vergessenen Wert in der Psychotherapie”. Klett-Kotta, 2008.]
This view is not conducive to the treatment of mental illness, especially schizophrenic psychosis, because it is based on a concept in which the various, self-representations are not held together by a larger whole, but have weak points and fault lines that leave the affected person too exposed and broken. This can also affect groups, families, or societies. In conclusion, one might say that if the client is not granted a nuclear self resp. an absolute personal Self but merely a conditional, relative Self, the client will be much more unstable and vulnerable than a person who is conscious of their unconditional, absolute and inviolable Self.
Therefore, the therapist’s self-concept seems to be an essential factor in psychotherapy.
Overview of Criticism
Prevailing opinion in psychology/psychiatry today.
The Self is:
It is made of many self-representations, that are not
connected to each other by an indivisible whole.
Those self-representations can be lost at any time.
They, and the Self in general have to be maintained by making efforts.
The self-image is equivalent to a relative attributive Self and does not know the characteristics, of the described core-Self.
In my opinion, it is a weak, stressful self-image,
that is not an ideal basis for psychotherapy.
Christian image of Self
The core-Self is:
not dividable, indestructible.
It exists on its own, functions by itself and does not have to be constituted nor maintained by the I.
Also, the person has the free choice supported the actual Self or to establish a new one.
Since the person does not have to strive to sustain the self, it saves a lot of energy.
It is much more suitable to be used for therapeutic purposes
To me, the term ‘self´ includes, in general, any use and meaning of the word ‘self´ in the colloquial language.
Self = anywhere, where one can say ‘self’.
In order to limit the Self to the personal Self, which is our topic, we can define as it as follows:
Wherever one can say ‘self’ in meaningful, person-related sentences, it is a personal Self.
(When I speak of the Self in the following, I mean this personal Self.)
I distinguish between an actual, first-rate Self (a) and those which only appear thus so – the strange Selves (b).
1. To make it easier to understand, I will usually identify the whole actual Self (core-Self and also-Self) as ‘Self’ and name other kinds of the Self differently. As said before: Nuclear Self and core Self are the same in this publication.
2. The strange Selves are explained in detail in the section ‘Metapsychiatry’.
The issue of the Self of a person is above all an issue relating to the identity of the human person and an issue relating to the underlying Absolute or the underlying spirit.
That means that the image we have of ourselves tells us who we are.
There are many questionable answers: You are what you have! You are what you know! You are what you do! etc. And there are a lot of questions: What is self-realization? What does it mean to trust yourself? What is that kind of Self? Who am I?
The Actual, First-Rate Self
As already mentioned, the term ‘self’ is used to describe the actual, first-rate, whole Self, unless indicated otherwise. 23By Self is meant below only positive Self, unless otherwise indicated.
Similar to the description of the character of the general Absolute (A), the character of the Self is absolute, too. It is the personal Absolute.
The Self also has 7 synonyms (2nd classification stage).
The Self is:
1- absolute, 2- identical with itself, 3- actual, 4- whole, complete, 5- unconditional, 6- first-rate, 7- independent.
Question: What is a `core-Self´ and an `also-Self´? What is absolute and what is relative?
1st answer: The `core-Self´ is exclusively absolute, exclusively itself, exclusively actual, exclusively whole, exclusively unconditional, exclusively first-rate and exclusively independent. (You could also say: It is absolutely absolute, absolutely itself, absolutely actual and so on.)
The `also-Self´ is also absolute, also itself, also actual, also whole, also unconditional, also first-rate, and also independent. But at the same time, it is also relative, also different, also possible, also partial, also secondary and also dependent.
2nd answer: The core-Self = In a sentence where you can insert nothing but ‘self’ or one of its synonyms (invariant).
Also-Self = Alongside the term ‘self’, you can also insert another term without risking mutual exclusion.
Examples of the difference between core-Self and also-Self = the absolute and relative dimension of P:
– I did not understand in the past when someone said: “I myself have done this and that” – or similar. Then I thought, who else than he did that? It was enough to say, “I have done this and that.” But it seems that people have an unconscious feeling that the statement “I do this or that” does not clearly define the subject ‘I’, as if there were many Egos in a person and one correctly has to differentiates between a certain “I-self” and other Egos, which obviously could not mean the I-self, but an `I-also´ or a strange Ego. (Which corresponds to the conception of this work.)
– One says: “I have arms, legs, a heart, I have a mind, a soul, a spirit, character” and so on. I have all that and I am it, too. But what I am exclusively? Where I am only myself and not me, too?
I have assigned further characteristics of the Self to these 7 synonyms.
I mention them here in parentheses. The Self is:
- self (identical with itself, unique, exists on its own, irreplaceable, unmistakable, individual)
- actual (per se, true, real, definite)
- whole (complete, inseparable, unrestricted, unlimited, one)
- unconditional (in any case, constant, definite, existential)
- first-rate (primary, centrical, fundamental, superior, most important, determinant, ultimate, direct, primal.)
- independent (autonomous, free, detached, indomitable but available for choice, untouchable).
The Self as the personal Absolute is spirit. It also permeates the personal Relative, especially the soul but also the body, that therefore become an also-Self. (→ Embodiment).
The Self is created through love. (Strange-Selves have other origins). The Self itself is not definable (such as is God¹). 24Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology. However, it is evident, believable, plausible and can be experienced. One could say: It is defined by itself, it is self-explaining. Or: It is defined by love / from God¹.
I believe that especially parents have a natural feeling when they attribute a Self to the newborn (sometimes unknowingly). To me, it is hard to imagine that the newborn does not have a Self yet, or that it has to fight for it first or may lose it at any time. That only applies to the strange Selves or to the relative Self.
The true Self is of divine origin and a gift that can be accepted by the people. It is of divine and individual origin. One could also say: It is the sphere where God¹ and people are one; where the metapsychical and the psychical are united.
The Self in psychology is usually equivalent to the also-Self resp. relative Self that may also be called the attributive Self. That means, to the Self something is assigned that is making it a “Self”. That way, it only has a relative character, it is not constant, is not of a long duration and so on. (For details see if necessary in the German unabridged version.)
The `Self’ in Linguistic Usage
Amazingly similar conclusions about what the Self is and what its function is, you see if you consider the possibilities of the use of the term `self´: In the German language, it is connected with the noun or personal pronoun. Although it does not stand alone and grammatically leads rather a shadowy existence, it has, at closer inspection, extraordinary importance.
`Self´ stands for:
• Me and no other person resp. I myself personally. (e.g., “He said that himself.” “She has to choose by herself.”) – which means it stands for irreplaceability, individuality, uniqueness.
• Authority (e.g., “I decided that myself.”)
• Self also gives a person Identity (e.g., “I come to myself.”)
• ‘Of one’s own accord´ (e.g., “He does that by himself”) – i.e., it stands for freedom.
• ‘Effortlessly’, ‘automatically’ (e.g., “Something runs by itself.”), i.e., it stands for autonomy, easiness.
• Integrity (e.g., “He is the calm himself”).
• `Self-evidence´ (e.g., “It is self-evident”).
• `Alone´ (e.g., „Only he alone can make it “ = „To be oneself”) – it stands for independence and individuality.
• Reflection (e.g., “I come to myself”) = i.e., it stands for sense, identity.
• It stands for one´s own interest (e.g., “I am doing this for myself”.)
• Finally, ‘self’ is about ‘free choice’ (Fleischer). It has a free position in a sentence and accompanies the personal pronoun. Therefore it may be compared to a faithful and discreet companion.
• The language also shows that the (actual) “self” cannot be manipulated. It is sovereign.
• In the Greek language `self´ is called `autos’ and means there personally.
• Whenever we do or take something personally, it is related to the Self.
• There is per se no plural form of self – so the language shows that there can be only one actual Self. 25I hope these examples are just as obvious in the English language like in German
Summary (partly repetition)
– Every human person is unique, irreplaceable, once-only and individual. The Self gives a person identity. The Self is the actual and unmistakable core of the person. Although you can speak generally about the Self of a person and assign certain characteristics to it, the single I-self or You-Self, however, is unique and has its own identity if it is not strange. 26I have distinguished not strictly between the actual Self and the I-Self in this section.
To put it in a religious way: We are all God’s children but everyone is unique.
We have an identity due to our Self if that Self is actual. That well-known answer to God¹ 27Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology. to the question: “Who are you?” “I am who I am”, also applies to us, no matter who we are. Therefore, it is something absolute, maybe even holy. It is of godly origin. We have the same attitude towards our own children feel themselves. They are always allowed to be true to themselves, they are always good enough, they can always trust in their Self, they never have to deny themselves. The above-named characteristics of the Self, state in general that every one of us is unique but they cannot define what exactly the individuality of every person is. Each individual characteristic is given only by everybody´s I-self.
– The Self is the actual, vital, existential sphere of a person.
– It is the cause of the being and living of people. It is their origin and foundation at the same time. It is also a goal; and it is an answer to the question: “Why do I exist and live?”
– It is free and has autonomy. The Self is absolutely free in its core-sphere and relatively free in the relative-sphere.
– It is potentially eternal = every human is created for eternity.
– It is worthy of love and wants to be loved without preconditions. 28For people with pronounced heteronomy, it is hard to believe they could be loved for their own sake. They yearn indeed for this, but also believe that they have to prove that they are worthy of love. In parallel, they demand that others prove their love. The strange-self says: You have to earn love. The self says: Love is free.
– It is already there, basically inherent. It is for free, a gift. You do not have to earn it or fight for it. The Self is self-evident. But anything Relative is not self-evident.
– The Self is self-evident. But anything Relative is not self-evident.
– In the beginning, you are not conscious about the Self. However, one should learn to know one´s own Self and live out of it.
– The Self is also made for self-protection.
– The most important signs of the Self are: “I am”, “I want to”, and “I am free”, the preservation of the right to self-determination, a life based on the voluntary principle. The actual, first-rate life is based on it.
– God¹/Love is the key to the Self.
– The Self is in its core a last piece of the paradise within us that we should keep and protect. Its core is beyond any kind of earthly responsibility. It is beyond away from right or wrong and good or bad. It is above conscience. It is in its core also beyond anything that is relative and therefore from most of our earthly problems. One can press it and suppress it but it is not to be destroyed, as Hölderlin wrote, – unless the particular person definitely does not want that self. Otherwise, it cannot be killed.
– The Self is also the best basis for the integration of all relative and strange things. So it integrates the wrong and the relative evil, such as immoral, abnormal, sick, hardly forgivable things, without being identified with them or being influenced by them.
– The Self lives by itself in its core, therefore it is also somewhat alone – separated from the Relative although it permeates the Relative.
– The Self is unfathomable and cannot be challenged like the Absolute, like love and like God¹. It is therefore only to be believed and not to be proved. It does not need to be justified. 29Religious: God¹ loves the man for his own sake.
– It is the personal, the resource/substance, 30This is what the proverb says: Catch not a shadow and lose the substance = Do not live by the substance. the child (of God¹) within us.
– Self-confidence is the process of becoming aware of the actual Self.
– The Self can be chosen by the I, like the Absolute but cannot or does not have to be produced.
– The Self is independent of our actions and performance.
– One absolutely needs an Absolute, a Self. If one has no true Absolute, a true Self, then he must “make” a Relative to a (strange) Absolute, i.e. to a strange Self.
In summary, you can say that the Self has the function of giving a person absoluteness and to be an absolute basis for the relative sphere of a person.
What are the “disadvantages” of the Self ¹?
The Self is not conscious from the start.
You cannot enlarge it. You cannot create it. But you can choose your own.
One cannot prove that this Self is “the right one”, one can only believe it.
A person with a Self does not have more worth than another.
These “disadvantages” are essential reasons for the Resistance within us to live from this Self.
Brief differentiation of the actual Self and the strange Self:
Strange-Selves may also be called conditional, second-rate Selves; or personal strange Pseudo-Absolutes.
They manifest, whenever a person sees something Relative as absolute. Then another strange Absolute arises alongside the actual Absolute, which may become a center where second-rate realities accumulate. These are very important when it comes to the emergence of mental disorders. Concerning the strange-Self see ‘The personal It and the strange Self´.
I distinguish between personal and non-personal Relatives.
Concerning the personal Relative:
a) actual personal Relatives
b) strange personal Relatives
c) absolutized Relatives within a person = strange Selves (sS).
About a) The actual personal Relative (¹) has an actual Self as the basis. It is also first-rate. It is an also-Self, a peripheral Self. The main representative of the personal Relative is the body of a person. More comprehensively, the personal Relative is mainly the dimension of ‘something’ (or ‘it’): of things, objects, functionalities, materials, parts of a person (physical and psychical).
The actual personal Relative is less important than the core-Self and depends on it.
About b) The strange personal Relatives have strange Selves as a basis.
About c) The absolutized personal Relative is called the strange Self (sS) in the following sections. As mentioned, it plays an important role in the emergence of mental disorders, as discussed in greater detail in ‘The personal It and the strange Self´.
Dedicated to my son Robert
The illustration symbolizes relations between body, psyche, and spirit in the first-rate personal sphere.
(I see the connections between spirit and matter or being and consciousness similarly.)
The borders between them act like semipermeable membranes: The spirit permeates and determines psyche and body, just as the Absolute penetrates and determines the Relative.
In the opposite direction, the spirit is neither dominated by the psyche nor by the body, however, it is influenced in the form of conditional feedback. (Symbolized by the broken lines).
To put it very simply: a good spirit is interested in its soul and body but one cannot manipulate the spirit.
The Self as the personal Absolute is spirit. 31The terms spirit and self, I use interchangeably here in and in the positive connotation.
The spirit has different characteristics in comparison with the body and psyche and determines those two.
Body and psyche influence each other. See also the Embodiment theories. 32E.g. J. J. von Uexküll, F. J. Varela, H .G. Petzold and others).
The body and psyche may influence the spirit (the Self) but they cannot dominate it. In other words: They influence the person (P) but do not dominate him/her, as long as the person is in the first-rate situation.
Body and psyche change, depending on which Self resp. spirit the person possesses. That means that something of P (such as a feeling) changes, according to whether he/she is self-determined by the Self or strange-determined by a strange Self. Changes in a first-rate body or psyche do not change the core Self but changes of a first-rate Self always change the body and the psyche. That means also that relative changes within a person only have relative consequences.
You cannot view the body and the psyche as absolutely separate from the Self because they are not detached; They may only be viewed as dependent or relatively detached.
In the second-rate personal spheres, the relations are different: Body and psyche may become (pseudo-) absolute, (e.g., in the case of an idolization of the body). If body and psyche dominate P, they assume the role of a strange Self (sS), and P is then no longer him-/herself in this case but is strange to him-/herself, a hybrid. Depending on which sphere or part of the person has become a strange Absolute/ resp. Self, this will determine the other P-components. Then, in contrast to the first-rate P, the body can determine the psyche or the spirit – or the psyche the spirit. That kind of strange Self, however, is also unstable and costly.
Every person has one Self and usually many strange-Selves too, which act as a basis or as centers. Therefore, the body and soul of people are usually only relatively actual and also strange, relatively whole and not whole or even divided.
In first-rate personal spheres spirit, soul and body are neither separated from each other nor fused with each other. They are a differentiated unity. In the second-rate personal spheres however splittings and fusions occur.
First-rate, spirit and body appear to be two poles of a whole (the human). The “pole” spirit is little structured but lighter, more variable and flexible, whereas the “pole” body is more structured, more firm and immovable.
The psyche has characteristics of both sides and is settled in between but belongs more to the spirit, depending on how one defines psyche.
To me, it seems very important to know, especially for therapies, that the spiritual sphere does not only have much more impact on the psyche than the body but also that the spiritual sphere should be viewed as more independent and variable. It should be the focus of therapeutic interventions for personality changes.
Finally, it is also relevant, that changes that are created by a good spirit, are basically free from side effects. But of course, therapeutic approaches that focus on the material-somatic sphere (especially psychotropic drugs) should not be excluded. Indeed they are often the first and most important measures, especially in acute situations. In the long term, however, they result in a symptomatic, less sustainable and less effective therapy with more side effects than therapy with the primacy of the spirit.
It is a concept of psychology and philosophy, which is defined and described differently depending on the school.
In psychoanalysis mostly `Ego´. I use the term `Ego´ only for the strange, second-rate I.
Otherwise I use the term “I” for every situation in which “I” is used in everyday language.
Examples from the relevant literature:
• “Term for the core of consciousness, the carrier of self-awareness of the physical-psychical wholeness of a person” (Schischkoff)
• “The itself self-aware origin and carrier of all psychical actions (thinking, realizing, feeling, acting) of an individual.”
• “In psychoanalysis, the Ego is an inner agent of the psyche (next to Id and Superego), that helps with its conscious ego-functions (perception, memory, thinking, planning, learning) as well as with its unconscious ego-functions (defense mechanisms), to mediate between the different requirements of the outer world, sexual drives, the Id and the moral requirements of the superego.”
• “In behavioristic theories – the total of all behaviors of an individual.” 33The last 3 quotes from: Brockhaus Encyclopedia, Mannheim 1996th.
a) The term ‘I’ has the same meaning as in common usage.
It stands for the individual person in its entirety, who speaks of itself in the role of the subject. That is, the term ‘I’ as a personal pronoun means everything that I can say about myself. The emphasis is on the active part of the personality, its role as a subject (I act, I perceive, I feel, etc.).
b) ‘The I´ resp. `the Ego’ as an object (for example, the I as a subject becomes the object of psychological examinations) – but then, in contrast to `a’, it is possible to say: someone examines me.
a) the actual I
b) the strange I (= Ego)
c) the Non-Ego
The actual I stands for a person, that has an actual Self as the basis. It is equivalent to an I-self, or else synonymously: first-rate I = I¹.
This term not only includes the first-rate absolute dimension but also the relative dimension of the I.
The term `Only-I-self´ includes only the absolute sphere of the I, its individual unique core of being, that also distinguishes it from other people.
The relative sphere of the I-self, which could be called the ` Also- I-self´, expresses parts of me (my body, my mind, etc.) or similarities with other people. (“I am also like you”.)
Structure of the actual, first-rate I:
The strange-I = I² or Ego. Their main feature is that these parts are controlled by strange Selves (sS). 34See also S. Freud: “The Ego is not master in one’s own house.” Freud described only what I called second-rate personal, the first-rate was unknown to him.
‘Non-Ego‘= I°. For details see Genesis of the Nothingness later.
Important: The normal human being, represented by the personal pronoun ‘I’, is made of its own, actual I-self-part and strange-I-parts (resp. Ego-parts), that overlay the actual I-self. The Egos are vulnerable and destructible but not the core of the actual I-self, even though this may be overlaid by Ego parts. That fact is very important for the therapeutic attitude.
The I needs an absolute basis. The basis may be either the actual Absolute or just an alleged, strange Absolute. So, the basis can either be the Self itself or alternatively a strange Self.
The I is too weak by itself, too incomplete and (except the `absolute-choice´) too relative, to be an entire, undivided I-self.
The I chooses its Absolute(s) (possibly unconsciously or intuitively). In this way, its Relatives are also determined. If the I chooses the actual +A, the I stays the actual I. It remains I-self. The only if the I chooses +A, then it is strong enough to prevent it from being dominated by absolutized Relatives, that is, by strange Pseudo-Absolutes.
If the I chooses a Relative (R) as its Absolute, then a strange Pseudo-Absolute (sA) with strange Self (sS) arises and on the basis of it a strange I (Ego) arises. Then, in addition to the actual I, a (or several) strange Ego(s) emerge.
Thus, the I can be actual and first-rate or can be an Ego, which operates on the basis of a strange Self. The I can thus be an I-self or a strange I (Ego) or also a “Non-Ego”. In the last two cases, I do something but what I am doing does not correspond to my real intentions, not to what I myself really want. In my opinion, this situation, which is the result of `inversions´, is the most important basis for the emergence of mental disorders. (See later in ‘Psychiatry‘).
I will only briefly look at this topic since the differentiations of the psyche/ person were already described in greater detail earlier and they are very similar.
(→ General Differentiations)
Concerning the main differentiations, it is mainly about:
I. Forms of being of the I (my forms of being).
II. Forms and manifestations of life of the I (my life-forms and manifestations).
III. Qualities of the I (my qualities and characteristics).
IV. The I as a subject, object and in contexts (predicate).
As mentioned, I am guided by the words of everyday speech and not by the psychoanalytical or behavioral-therapeutic definitions of the I. That is, everything is said after “I …” or “My …”, I count to the I-sphere.
And everything where you say ‘I myself’ is only part of the I-self area.
Overview: Classification of the I
I and Self
Overview: Comparison of the Self and I
In my opinion, the use of language provides the best answer to the question of which connections there are between the I and the Self. In any sensible statement, where the first-rate I is used as subject, it is possible to replace the “I” with “I myself”. You can say, “I am doing it”. You can also say, ” I am doing it myself”. The latter formulation is used whenever one wants to emphasize the irreplaceability of the person by anything else, “I and no other, I and only I am doing that.” Adding the (my-)self shows that something is individual, non-exchangeable.
Later on, we will realize that the I can only work together with the actual Self without problems and not with the strange Self. The I and the actual Self create a natural union if the I affirms the actual Self. It is then the I-self. It is an original desire of the I to be I-self. Why we do not fulfill this need at many times, will be described later on. (→ Resistance)
The Self itself cannot act as a subject. You cannot say “(My-)self answers”, or “(My-)self acts”. The Self needs the I (and God¹) to act, such as the I needs a Self. The actions of the I would be inconceivable without some connection to something like a Self. Who else should be acting if not myself? Whenever a person does not say “I myself” but only “I”, it seems to be a simplified formulation, as if people were always acting themselves.
Or does the leaving out of `self´ show, that it is not always clearly ourselves acting, even if it seems to be obvious? I think it is so. Sure, we seem to always be the ones, which act but sometimes there are so many strange powers and emotions within us, that there is not much left of the actual Self. These other, different, strange things that also cause us to act the way we act, are called the strange Self (sS). Sometimes, we realize that kind of heteronomy. If I for example only fulfill the expectations of other people, then I am determined by others. Though I still act it is not the actual but a strange Self which determines me.
So the I can act with the intentions of the actual Self or the strange Selves. Most of the time, that will be actions and processes that happen unknowingly and unconsciously.
The I and the Self are connected but not identical. I and Self are a whole if the Self is quasi-divine.
The I-self and God¹ are then one, without loss of identity or individuality. One could also say: The I has its roots in the Self and the Self in God1 – and myself. The I finds most of its strength, its inner peace, indeed the possibility of fulfillment of all aspects of life in the actual Self, in God¹. But man must confirm the actual Self that he wants it. As said, therefore, the I is entirely absolute when it comes to the decision of affirming or declining the actual Self – so, for or against God¹– or “the good principle”. But only there.
For details, see section: “The absolute attitude” of the I”.
Besides that aspect, the I cannot be absolute without disorders occurring. In that case, it would try to be its own Self, its own God¹ and would be unable to cope.
But the actual Self can integrate all I-types – no matter how the I is: Whether it is right or wrong, responsible or irresponsible, whether it is healthy or ill, successful or inefficient, also whether it is based on a strange Self (!) or not, the person may always be identical, may feel worthy and well.
The I-self is always worth the same and basically identical to itself because it is not determined by a Relative. We cannot raise the value of the I-self and also do not have to do so. What the I-self is doing has ultimately only relative importance. The I-self is by no means free of errors. The person who lives their Self may also make more mistakes than others, the Self (God¹) will compensate for everything. The breath of life that is provided by the actual Self is almost unlimited. It is only in the case of the above mentioned absolute decision for absolute evil that the person loses itself.
“The facts of life do not penetrate to the sphere in which our beliefs are cherished; they did not engender those beliefs,
and they are powerless to destroy them …” Marcel Proust, Swann’s Way.
I, Self and something (of me) are all connected to each other. They form an undivided wholeness in the first-rate personal.
The I is rooted in the Self. I and Self form the I-self. My ‘somethings’ are like relative part(s) of the I-self. The structure of the psyche can be compared to a tree: The tree has roots, that form the basis (the Self), it has leaves (something) – and the whole thing is the tree (I-self). The concept of the I-self involves the something like the concept of the tree involves foliage. However, the term leaves does not include the tree but a tree remains a tree without the leaves. So, the term ‘something’ does not enclose the I-self but conversely the I-self remains the I-self even without the something.
So, the I can have an actual Self as a basis or as roots but it can also be based on a strange Self. Then it is like a tree with strange roots. It is a hybrid, a hermaphrodite, or a mongrel. The individual is not in-dividual (indivisible) anymore but `dividual´ (divisible). Its I is a strange-I, based on a strange Self.
In the best case, when the I is based on the actual +Self, it is identical to itself and integrates whatever is personally relative (the something). The I-self can integrate (all) something(s), everything that is relative even if it is wrongly absolutized, without being identical. The following icon shows the first-rate status of the Self towards the something.
I postulate that mental disorders can arise by inverting the roles of the Self and any something. Then the actual Self becomes some kind of something and something becomes a kind of a Self – a strange Self. It is about: Who dominates? Do I have something, or does something have me? In other words: Am I I (and also something), or am I mainly something and only a little bit of the I? (In the latter case I call the dominant something the `It’.)
Concerning mental disorders, the absolute-sphere of a person, the Self, is deranged. That is why the protection and the strengthening of the Self should be mainly focused on.
The conflict dynamism mainly occurs between the I, based on a Self and the I-parts, based on strange-Selves.
There are parallels to the general dynamics of the human person between the Absolute and the Relative or, in other words: It shows the human caught between heaven, earth and hell.
The Absolute Attitude of the I
Synonyms: absolute I-Self with the absolute basic or existential attitude/will, absolute point of decision, highest absolute responsibility of the I and the absolute right of self-determination.
Short: IA, PA. In the positive case: primary virtue, good will in principle.
This `absolute attitude of the I´ is similar to the ‘absolute I’ of Johann Gottlieb Fichte and the `absolute spirit ‘of Hegel but not identical to both.
This absolute I-Self cancels the object-subject opposition but distinguishes both and gives priority to the subject.
The center point of the I-self and thus of the person is constituted by an absolute decision point for + A or for −A on the basis of an inviolable dignity and an unconditional right of self-determination.
As a completely independent center of a person or an individual, it only corresponds to a “pure” absolute personal / individual subject, because otherwise person and individual are more or less subject and object at the same time. See also terms `subjectoid´ and `objectoid´ as terms of second-rate subjects or objects.
In this point, the highest or the most actual absolute of a person is directly confronted with the opposite actual Absolute (+A # ‒A). I already mentioned the following actual Absolutes: God¹, as the positive Absolute (+A) 35 God is still more than the + Absolute. on the one side, the negative Absolute (‒A) on the other side and the free attitude/ will of a person toward those. 36G. Herder calls man the “first freedman” (Phil.TB)
I think at least in this point, the person is completely itself and completely free. That means that the I only has an absolute relevance when it comes to the absolute, existential decision of choosing the absolute good or the absolute evil. I see here, such as Kierkegaard, Herder and others, the person in an absolute free attitude towards the Absolute (which must not be a conscious decision!). 37This `absolute attitude of the I´ is similar to the ‘absolute I’ of Johann Gottlieb Fichte and the `absolute spirit´ of Hegel but not identical to both. [Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.]
The choice of +A or ‒A is an existential right of self-determination of humans. Freud may have thought with the distinction of `libido´ and `destrudo´ (destructive instinct) in a similar direction. (Goethe saw, on the other hand, the fundamental conflict of man in the “conflict between unbelief and faith”.)
Those are only hypotheses, that perhaps appear irrelevant. But in the positive case, as I will explain later, this decision is the “only one” prerequisite for the acceptance of a fundamental, positive, absolute Self. The existence of an absolute decision-making point is also important because I believe that love, or God¹ leaves us this free choice and does not determine deterministically, which are the “good” and the “evil” humans and the individual stands on this point on the same level as God¹ and can in principle (!) want the good (+A) or the evil (‒A).
If a person is fundamentally (!) well-intentioned, then, in my understanding, he has decided on an absolutely positive, indestructible (core) Self. All of these people, I believe, go to “heaven” whether they are religious or not. However, if a person fundamentally and irrevocably wants the absolute evil, then I believe that leads to his own destruction (the so-called “mortal sin”).
38I postulate here the priority of a free will towards the Absolute instead of a conscious act of faith.
[Hint: I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology.] See also `Right and wrong´.
In all other cases, the I has only relative options and makes only relative decisions. This has a favorable and an unfavorable side. Favorable is that I have to meet, even in an absolute sense, only one (perhaps unconscious) decision, to feel basically free and redeemed. This gives the person freedom and relief! I have not to do anything. 39It is not without reason that people have decision-making difficulties without this free ‘metaposition’.
The “unfavorable” side is: I cannot redeem myself or increase my value through certain actions. Since the I is only relative (besides the absolute decision), it can become a strange Self. The I-self then alienates from itself.
A free absolute or relative will should not be confused with a will which is determined by a strange Absolute and which forces us to want to do something that we actually do not want. (“Protect me from what I want!”). (→ Obsessive-compulsive disorder)
The described choices are similar to the theses of the standpoint theories. However, those only mark relative (earthly) standpoints, whereas I assume the possibility of the existence of an absolute standpoint.
“Primary and Secondary Virtues”/ Relativity of Morality?
“The secondary virtues included in particular diligence, loyalty, obedience, discipline, sense of duty, punctuality, reliability, orderliness, politeness, cleanliness, and so on. mostly from the catalog of Prussian virtues … Instead, [later] post-materialistic values such as humanity, creativity, and self-realization were emphasized … Immanuel Kant allows only one primary virtue to be valid: `There is everywhere nothing possible to think of in the world, indeed even apart from it, which could be considered good without qualification, but a good will alone.’ If this were lacking, all other virtues could `also become extremely evil and harmful.” 40https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kardinaltugend
Similar to Kant and Kierkegaard, I believe, it is primarily a matter of the person’s conscious or unconscious absolute will (or attitude) toward the absolute, in the sense of a basic attitude toward absolute good or evil (→ absolute basic attitude), which in this work I call, in the positive case, principled goodwill. In this sense, questions of morality would be subordinated to this “primary virtue” and, in contrast (!), of relative importance.
In my opinion, a distinction between situational (relative) will and a principled existential will as an attitude towards life would also make sense. For me, the “primary virtue” in this sense would be a primarily positive will/attitude toward the good. (→ Good will)
A choice of literature
• “The principle of individuation[…] generally describes the way, in which a thing finds identity, that distinguishes itself from others. The concept […] can be found in publications by Carl Jung, Gilbert Simondon, Bernard Stiegler, Friedrich Nietsche, Arthur Schopenhauer, David Bohm, Henri Bergson, Gilles Deleuze and Manuel De Landa …” 41https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individuation#Carl_Jung, 2020
• “In Jungian psychology, also called analytical psychology, `individuation´ names the process in which the individual self develops out of an undifferentiated unconscious – seen as a developmental psychic process during which innate elements of personality, the components of the immature psyche, and the experiences of the person’s life become integrated over time into a well-functioning whole.” 42https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individuation#Carl_Jung, 2020
“Jung regarded the process of individuation as a lifelong, incomplete process with a steady approximation to a ‘distant goal’: the Self. … The person is always being asked to actively confront itself with problems occurring throughout the way of its individuation and to take responsibility for the decisions of the Self. Individuation means, not to follow ‘what someone should do’ or ‘what would be generally right’ but to listen to ones Self, to realize what the inner wholeness (the Self) wants to achieve ‘with me or through me’ in that certain situation.”43 https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individuation, 2020.
• Example for a sociological concept: Bernard Stiegler, who considers “the psychical individuation always as a collective process.” 44https://de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Individuation, 2020.
Individuation in the sense of the above is, of course, a very important process of personal self-development. In my opinion, it will be best to succeed if it takes place on the basis of a personal Absolute, which not only has to be constituted by the individual himself but already exists from the outset. This primary Absolute, this primary innate Self is rarely considered in the literature. But in fact, it corresponds to human experience, as reflected for instance in the universal human rights or in love relationships. There, the individuation is subordinated to an already existent absolute self-being, a first-rate dignity, freedom and uniqueness of the human.
In the first place is not the “becoming” but “being” and the “you are already !” An already existing absolute individuality is assumed thus and superordinated to the individuation. This innate, absolute individuality and identity does the person concerned not have to establish.
This is it which has unconditional, vital meaning, not the mentioned above individuation-processes, no matter how important they might be. However, if the latter are of absolute importance, we are fundamentally overstrained because the individual should always be on the way to find and reach the “ultimate goal” (as described by C. Jung) to feel identical with himself. (Maybe many people with identity disturbances, like above all schizophrenic patients have resigned and have given up the fight for such a self-becoming or have never got to know that primary absolute innate Self). Though, the absolute, inherent individuality does not convey the illusion of a feeling of total being identical to the Self but more realistically, the feeling of a fundamental deep and indestructible self-being, which is the best requirement for individuation.
An absolute, actual individuality and identity of a person is not provable. It is an apriori. Only relative identity – what you also are, or what you make of yourself – is provable. One should maybe say it as God¹ does: “I am, who I am”, or: “I do not have to become different. I might even regress, without losing myself.”
PS: As already mentioned, a newborn would not have any individuality without an inherent Self. However, with that Self, every newborn is already born as unique, irreplaceable, individual, endearing personality.
According to my theory individuation is a process with relative importance. The person is in the core-Self from another people totally different, whereas the relative self-areas displays similarities with other people. This theory shows the person neither as completely different from other people nor as a collective product but also integrates both concepts.
(See also “The journey is the destination” in Buddhism).
How does the concrete person present himself in this context?
Looking at the analysis of language, you could say: What the person concerned says about himself and the world, or what others say about him gives the most concrete conclusions about the person concerned.
The most important is, what is of absolute relevance for the person.
This is recognizable again in absolute statements in sentences or words.
(See also `How are inversions expressed? (Linguistic Analysis)´.
Thus it is likely that a person who uses, for example, often formulations like „I must absolutely” or “I may not”, if relative needs are absolutized (Asp.11) or if another expresses that his life aim consists in becoming once a millionaire, or if ownership (asp. 9) will be absolutized.
In this respect, an individual language analysis brings important clues to the psychological situation of the person concerned, as indeed in practice, usually what the person says about himself or what is said about him, is the most important source for the assessment of an individual. However, the thinking and the spoken words do not always match, so that such an analysis of speech has to be viewed as imperfect since the Absolute often cannot be absolute defined. But I believe that the present concept for diagnostic purposes is also very suitable, although this is not the main intention of this script. In this case, it would be the primary task to consider the respective individual Absolutes of the person, as I have tried to express in the sketchy sentences of Hölderlin at the end of the part `Metapsychiatry’ in the unabridged German script.
Abbreviations of all Parts
+ = positive
− = negative
¹ = first-rate or primary
² = second-rate (or secondary) not to be confused with coordinate
→ = ‘see or `result is´.
* = Sign for absolutizing and / or dominance. (Often used to point to an absolutizing.)
| = a sign that the German original version has been shortened at this point.
# = contradiction
A = the Absolute (+A = positive Absolute, −A = negative Absolute)
All (∀) = here strange everything, which stands in opposition to the nothing(ness).
asp. = aspect
BLQC = being, life, qualities, connections
C = general abbreviation for complexes that dominate personal and other areas of reality.
D = Dynamism D¹ = first-rate D., D² = second-rate D.
DM = Dimensions
DM = Defense-mechanisms
e.g. = exempli gratia (for example)
etc. = et cetera
God¹ = I partly write God¹ to indicate my own conceptions of God, which do not necessarily agree with definitions of official theology. → “Christian” One-Sidednesses and Misinterpretations.
I = I in general ( I¹ = first-rate I, I² = strange I = Ego)
i.e. = id est (that is)
It = dominating entity/instance, consisting of 2 or 3 cores:
2 parts: all and nothing (∀/ 0) = `dyad’ or
3 parts: pro-sA or + sA, contra-sA or -sA and 0 = `triad’
It/sA resp. It/sS: if I want to emphasize the absolute role of an It-part.
KW = keyword = headword
ns = new-strange/ new-second-rate (new secondary)
No. = Number
P = Person; P¹ = first-rate personality; P² = second-rate personality (often only P labeled)
pr = psychically relevant
r = relative
R = the Relative (R represents everything that is not A or 0.)
R* = Relativistic
resp. = respectively
s = strange = second-rate (²)
sA = strange resp. second-rate Absolute
pro-sA and contra-sA = opposing sA.
asA = absolutistic strange Absolute
rsA= relativistic strange Absolute
s0 (or 0) = strange, determining nothing(ness) = nihilistic
sS = strange Self
syn. = synonym
W = World, reality
WPI = world, person, I.
References of all parts see German Edition