Excerpt About Ipseity

Issues of Self-Esteem in Spiritual Work

When we are alienated from our essential presence—that is, when we are narcissistic—we are inevitably alienated also from the quality of Value. We are disconnected from our sense of innate value by the mere fact that our identity is situated in the conventional dimension of experience. This alienation from Value becomes apparent when the manifestations of central narcissism begin to approach our consciousness. We become aware of the lack of Value inherent in our normal sense of identity as this identity becomes transparent and is revealed as empty. This understanding of the issue of self-esteem or value is satisfactory if one accepts our view of narcissism. In contrast, the theories in depth psychology that explain self-esteem are diverse and unclear. Our view does not contradict these theories, which are basically accurate when applied to the dimension of common experience. The diversity of views simply points to the deeper ground of the issue of self-esteem. It also shows that the question of self-esteem is always problematic for the normal individual, for the “normal” self is always alienated from the intrinsic Value of the true self, regardless of how narcissistically healthy it is. So in spiritual work, the issues of self-esteem that manifest as the narcissistic constellation arises, are simply the intensification of a condition that has heretofore been in the background.

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