Mankind and the Planet

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Mankind and the Planet, past, present and future Philosophical Speculations

Page 19


As already said, all these reflections are bound up with a view on the essence of self or personality. It should be noted that the concept of identity would seem to be modifiable according to whether it is applied to a material thing, to events, to the whole of reality or to psychic phenomena. Let us suppose that Mind is neither a thing nor a process (an abstraction of 'things in the process of change'), that it coincides with the body to which it is bound in respect of the aspect of the body as not confined to its self , but related to other bodies (with minds) and to the whole world. Mind, we might then say, is a manifestation and a concentration of a real component of the whole of reality within a finite individual. There could, of course, be more, indeed innumerable such manifestations.

It is an old metaphysical assumption that all finite minds ultimately converge in the identity of one world quality, namely Mind, which incorporates itself in the creation of living individuals in the actual process of the historic evolution of life. The ego, therefore, shares something of the ungraspability of the Whole of Reality; it is not a thing nor a process; nor does it belong to the body to the extent that the latter is a thing confined to itself. Personality, therefore, is and is not the body. It is the body in so far as that body is not just its self and it is not the body, in so far as the body is only itself. In so far as it is not the body, the ego need not be an individual 'soul' and could, perhaps, be more appropriately interpreted as a manifestation of the whole, which, too, is not a thing nor a process. And yet there is something true in the predicate 'individual soul', that is when this is not used to convey survival qualities, a thing-like something able to have a disembodied reality. The reality of the individual mind, envisaged apart from its body, coincides with the reality of Mind as a quality comprised by the Whole of Reality. 'Disembodied' soul  does not mean disembodied absolutely; it means being deprived of its individual body, yet being and remaining related to the material component of mind as a quality and entity of reality as a whole. There then arises the question of individuality.