Excerpt About Man of the World

Accomplishing the Task of Separation – Individuation Cannot be the Acme of Human Realization

Here we return to our dialogue between the man of the world and the man of spirit. In developmental psychology, emotional independence and ego autonomy are seen as the culmination of ego development. While this perspective explains one of the deepest aspirations of the man of the world, the desire for autonomy, it does not take into consideration the values of the man of spirit, and the deepest insights of man’s most profound teaching. object relations theory, at least as it is understood in the United States, does not take Being into consideration, but rather takes the self-image as the core of human realization. And as we saw in Chapter Two, from the perspective of the man of spirit, the self-image is not real, it is only a conceptual construct. Thus the accomplishment of the tasks of separation-individuation, however necessary, cannot be the acme of human realization, since it is based on an illusory identification. Of course in object relations theory much more than establishing the self-image is involved in ego development; it involves an integration of the various developmental achievements and the various so-called ego functions such as perception, memory, thinking, synthesis, defense and so on. But the basic “accomplishment” is experiencing oneself as a separate individual, based on a self-image composed of memories. From the perspective of the man of spirit, however, one is actually a Being independent from mind, existing outside the field of memory. From this perspective, the accomplishment of ego autonomy is ultimately a prison. In identifying with the self-image constructed through the process of ego development, we cage ourselves. How can this be autonomy, this bondage which is the primary source of human suffering?

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