The polarity in the consciousness: the ego-Self axis

the distinction of the self-conscious and the unconscious

The initial step of creating the pictorial model is to make the distinction between the impulsive contents of the self-conscious and those of the unconscious. The elements that make the mind unstable belong to the self-conscious and those that allow the mind to be stable belong to the unconscious. The pictorial model is gradually formed from this fundamental distinction between the contents in each region that mediates our physical feelings.

These feelings of stability and instability in consciousness are originally a reflection of the basic movement of life; its division and its synthesis. The picture of the spirit has to be based on this basic movement of life behind the phenomenal images. This movement provides the major poles for the pictorial representation of the spirit.

the inflation and contraction of ego

Another aspect in forming the picture is an awareness of the difference between a natural ego and an inflated ego. The inflation of the ego causes the mind to be stressed, and arouses suffering and anxiety. It becomes more vulnerable to the external environment. The contraction of such inflation makes for the recovery of balance between the self-conscious and the unconscious and allows our mind to be free and stable. Our physical senses place the inflation of ego in the upper areas of the picture and its contraction in the lower. When we are unstable and anxious, we feel that our mind is somewhere in the upper region and it does not function well. On the contrary, when our mind calms down in the lower regions, it functions well.

contrast between self-centered attitude and unselfish attitude ; noumenal Jew

A self-centered attitude characterized by arrogance, hautiness, etc. which leads our mind to the upper region of the diagram, deteriorates the function of the mind. On the other hand an unselfish attitude, characterized by humbleness, innocence, etc. which leads our mind to the lower region, causes the mind to function well. The former becomes the cause of the instability, and the latter the cause of the stability on the phenomenal side. As the level of attitude is on the phenomenal level, this connotes that there is another noumenal level that originally induces instability and suffering by the strong impulse of life. Some people, containing elements of self contradiction, carry an image of strong contrast between good and evil; very genuine on the one hand and yet very proud on the other. This is called metaphorically 'Jewish' or 'Israel', the suffering souls. Hence, Jesus was sent to the lost sheep of Israel. His disciples were also supposed to look for and stay in the houses of Israel, or visit towns of Israel. The meaning of 'Jew' will be discussed later in chapter3.

notice to the polarity through conversion

It is through a conversion experience that we can notice clearly the polarity between the self-conscious and the unconscious. Our pious attitude in prayer or meditation also makes us feel the contraction of the ego. The action of John the Baptist at the river Jordan, in immersing people who had repented in the water is a sign that there exists such a polarity. The initial episode of the gospel indicates this initial distinction in the soul. And we call this polarity the first polarity (to distinguish it from the active-passive polarity, which will be discussed later).

negative and positive quality of life

The feeling of instability is a reflection of the negative qualities of life: death, the evil, and nothingness. The feeling of stability, on the contrary, is a reflection of the positive qualities of life: life, the good, and being. Just as animals sense the proximity of danger, we naturally sense instability in the upper region away from the ground of life and stability in the lower region at the ground of life. So we can initially assign to each of the poles those vital yet conflicting concepts such as being and nothingness, life and death, and good and evil.

'inclination and impulse' and 'the good will'

A typical example that is similar to the self-conscious and the unconscious polarity is the relationship between 'inclination and impulse' and 'the good will' in Kant's Foundation of Metaphysics of Morals (as has already been suggested). Since Kant did not mediate the system of symbols, it is rather an undifferentiated expression of human attitudes. But it at least represents the basic polarity between good and evil in our psychological posture. Kant's polarity fits into this stage of analysis in the Paradigm.

an introduction to Plato's dialectics

After fixing the major axis based on the fundamental movement of life; its division and synthesis, formed by the self-conscious and the unconscious impulses, it is possible to radically classify the impulses of life. Instead of plunging into it immediately, we need a gradual process from the visible to the invisible, from the phenomena to the noumena. Step by step we will try to make a synoptic picture so that the proper recollection (anamunesis) of our true nature can be recovered. It is both a dialectical method in Plato and a formal reduction in Phenomenology.


It is the transformation of human attitude that allows the control of impulse. We can see both controlled and uncontrolled impulses in a person from changes in attitude. Any authentic religious teachings also encourage the transformation of attitude towards unselfishness; towards the lower region in the diagram. Therefore we start our analyses from the classification of attitudes on the foundation of the first polarity. Then we will identify the characteristics of major impulses which are more essential than those attitudes.


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