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Wednesday, October 3, 2012

The Structure and Evolution of the Human Soul


What follows is a structural model that originates in many hypotheses, conceptions and conjecture on the human soul, evolution, the dynamics of death and reincarnation and on our transcendent and immanent nature. It is a perspective that can be looked at in more depth and applied to many fields, from avant-garde transpersonal psychology to speculations of a more theoretical, religious and esoteric kind, all of which have some interesting and significant ideas to offer.

The basic concepts are to be found scattered throughout many traditions - from Hasidism[1]  to Buddhism – and in the studies and analyses of many researchers and Masters who have frequently insisted on the complexity of our spiritual and existential nature. It is made up of psychological elements as well as those intrinsic to our nature as pluri-dimensional beings, as individuals who are searching for a lost spiritual integrity and striving to recover and develop a unitary and definitively authentic awareness of reality.    
Among these researchers Aurobindo, Gurdjieff and Crowley particularly stand out. In his esoteric novel, ‘The Moonchild’[2]  Crowley gives us a meaningful description of the phenomenon which I will be developing further here.

Having considered the hypothesis of our ‘fragmentedness’, or better still the fragmented representation that we have of reality and ourselves, we can focus on the fundamental integrity and uniqueness of our consciousness and on the re-assembly of our different parts. We need to consider our uniqueness as natural and the current conditions of loss, fragmentation and conflict as the result of a path gone astray, of an unnatural illusion, but one which nevertheless has to be our point of departure.

We can basically confirm that the human being has three fundamental natures or converging states which constitute its microcosm:

1.       Physical body
2.       Soul
3.       Spiritual essence

Each of these bodies possesses a complex and organic structure: the physical body with its organs and apparatus, the soul with its multi-form expressions coloured by the divine spark in evolution and the profound spiritual component that relates the Microcosm to the Macrocosm (as above so below). The objective is to acquire full consciousness of these three bodies and of the existential dimensions related to them.

In the following table we can see this triadic principle according to different perspectives:

The three natures converge and define the individual in all its aspects, physical, subtle and spiritual. They are coordinated by the chakra which act as interfaces to the various states, refining and modulating the different spiritual, subtle and vital energies that are indispensable to existence.

The Structure of the Individual Soul

I do not know who I am, what soul I have. When I speak with sincerity, I do not know with what sincerity I speak. I am varyingly other than the I that I am not sure exists (or if it is that of others). I feel faith that I do not have. I feel multiple…plural like the universe… I feel I am living other people’s lives, in me, incompletely, in a sum of non – I s synthesized into a false I.

Fernando Pessoa

Let’s begin with this idea: the soul of each one of us is a complex and fragmented structure just as our perception of reality is complex and fragmented.

Aurobindo, Yogananda, Steiner, Bailey, Crowley, Gurdjieff, Jung, Krishnamurti, Raphael, Castaneda and Osho are perhaps the most quoted authorities on modern mystical-magic research. They have all confirmed and insisted on the necessary re-integration of the self and of a more coherent perception of reality, as an indispensable starting point for every successive evolutionary pretension.

The basic concept can be found in the fact that having lost consciousness of reality, which is much vaster than that which we currently perceive; we fluctuate confusedly between disassociated conventional states. These states are illusory and determine our likewise conventional, disassociated and illusory identity.

We fluctuate between different and always vague lines of an elusive reality, having lost our more powerful original completeness. A wholeness, which is longer-lived, broader and less dense in respect to the ‘impulsiveness’ that makes up our body in this impenetrable and fictitious reality[1]. And on these lines of reality parts of us are shattered and scattered, emerging in the course of life as diversified expressions of a confused identity, simply as a result of the casual fluctuation from one illusion to another and from one line to another[2]. But we do not have an inkling of it: it would seem that ‘here inside’ this ‘body’ there are different and disassociated personalities, in life as in death each one with its desires, character, whims and reasoning.

We are an incoherent and inconclusive collection of pseudo-lives caught up in the vicious circle of Samsara (cycle of incarnations). Asleep in our diving suits always calling ‘I’ that which confusedly surfaces, deluding ourselves that it is a real and consistent identity even though we are aware of our inner conflicts and apprehensions. And we continue to call the illusion of the moment reality just as we continue to call the personality of the moment ‘I’.

This is how from a certain point of view the many ‘packets of experience’, that we could define as ‘individual personalities’, distinguish themselves in a physical body: the developing experiences constitute a coherent structure which is incarnated in the same body, aggregated and organized in such a way as to allow the various parts to express themselves and even potentially to evolve.

Science, too, is beginning to discover that in various abnormal circumstances; totally different personalities may chase each other through a single body. […] and how, indeed, half - a- dozen personalities could take turns to live in one body. That they are real independent souls is shown by the fact that not only do the contents of the mind differ – which might conceivably be fake but their handwritings, their voices, and that in ways which are quite beyond anything we know in the way of conscious simulation, or even possible simulation.
Aleister Crowley – The Moonchild

Today, because of how we are made and because of how we perceive – in fact as a result of particular effects that we vaguely ascertain – we can theorize that many ‘individuals’ make up the complex physical-spiritual structure which is adapted to the ‘psycho-physical vehicle’ (our body); the consciousness of which is organized by mechanisms of awareness that are more or less evolved. The various parts are allowed to express themselves, to perceive and participate in some form of reality and therefore potentially evolve.
According to esoteric traditions, the structure of the soul begins to incarnate a short time before birth, to complete itself – like a sort of housing ready to be filled with human experiences – around seventy days later[3], with the first development of that experiential receptacle that we define as the ‘personality in formation’.

In fact alongside the ‘personalities’ that come together at birth (imagined as packets of experience that reincarnate to complete themselves), that originate from a more or less coherent formative path (other lives) an additional new developing identity or personality in formation is generated which refers to and represents the current existential identity and its specific meanings: the point of aggregation and the representative ‘I’ of the current experiential status. As far as we are concerned we are talking about our present life, the one we are ‘conscious’ of now.

Each individual soul is therefore a coherent structure basically composed of two parts:

   1. A combination of personalities (or the soul considered as separated into different personalities that come together in the current identity or in a coherent global identity with regard to its formative path distributed through time).

    2. A catalyzing element that, in the jargon of esoteric physics, is defined as the attractor, which constitutes the profound essence of our nature in as much as it is part of the All. It is the aggregate spiritual essence that assembles the different parts, including the personality in formation which is specific to a particular incarnation. The attractor is what we commonly define as ‘spirit’: an aspect of the Real, an absolute principle of intelligence which is equal in every individual (according to Hebrew tradition we have a psycho-physical body, Nefesh-Guph, the soul - the Ruach, and the spirit - the Neschamah).

It is called the ‘attractor’ in esoteric physics jargon because one imagines it attracting personalities to itself according to criteria of perfect reciprocal compatibility and evolutionary potential. The attractor is a principle of absolute intelligence in as much as it is an aspect of the Real that permeates every material Form. In fact, if in the transcendent the Real is Absolute Truth, its expression in immanence, fragmented into multiple relations between growing parts, it expresses itself as intelligence. We no longer have ONE absolute reference but the absolute capacity to process the multiple and changing partial truths that relate to one another and verge upon that ONE.

According to this ‘Theory of The Personalities’ the attractor, at the moment in which the soul structure is formed, just before the birth, attracts and assembles those individualities which are still incomplete in respect to their potential evolution (as if they were ‘amounts’ of experience) and which could represent the perfect synergic integration of a ‘wining team’ capable of deriving the best evolutionary result from the current incarnation, not just as a result of each individual but as a synthetic result; a new distillation.

Nevertheless – let’s not forget – we are always uniquely ‘us’ but because we participate in a fractional and discontinuous reality in space and time, our real identity is perceived and described as fragmented (and consequently in practice becomes so) in space as in time, even though it continues to be the head of a unique central spiritual essence. I say ‘in time’ because our incarnations are also nothing more than a limited perception of our simultaneous extensions as higher consciousness in dimensions of the possible. Just as our inner personalities are fragments of a central and immanent unity, in the same way our incarnations are nothing more than the fragmented perceptions of our transcendent identity.

The Counter-attractor

Another aspect worth mentioning, even though rather disturbing and the subject of a more in-depth analysis of those ‘Dark Paths’ (such as the Tiphonian Orders, the paths of the Qliphotic Kabbalah and Chaos Magick) that are certainly not easy to follow or describe, is that of the ‘Counter-attractor’ or the door on the counter-universe (Da’at) from which the compensatory forces of existence flow, the inertia that opposes life and evolution through a degenerative resistance on the psycho-physical and spiritual plane.

In spite of being negative, the ‘counter-attractor’ is also part of the great game of equilibrium and polarity but at a much higher level than the play of forces we normally refer to when we talk about positive and negative, good and evil, light and dark, yin and yang. It is thanks to the counter-attractor that the existent is able to affirm the phenomenon of Absolute Consciousness.

[1] In the process of recomposing reality like ourselves our psycho-physical vehicle will also probably change, perhaps recovering a more etheric and less material like state.
[2] The concept was admirably taken up by Vadim Zeland in his theory of ‘Reality Transurfing’.
[3] Just as after physical death the soul takes around seventy days to definitively leave the material plane.

[1] Hasidism is a Hebrew faction founded by Baal Shem Tov in the XVIII century.
[2] Aleister Crowley, The Moonchild, 1917, Chapter II.

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