Anthropology: A New Scope

The Identity of the "Self" (the " Ego" )

All living beings have a "self." That is how they can resist harmful factors. In plants, the "self" is limited, and they cannot defend it against everything. The resistance against harmful factors in plants is not vast.

In animals, the "self" is more apparent, for they tend to reach pleasure and avoid pain. Animals are able to fight natural, fatalistic laws much more than plants. 

In the case of human beings, however, we see a "self" consisting of many units – cognition, intelligence, imagination, affirmation, hallucination, discovery, decision, free will, interest in beauty … 

Man possesses several "selves":

1-A "self" the same as other living beings.

2-Wider selves like cognition, intelligence, imagination, thought and many others.

If psychological terminology does not allow us to call these phenomena 'selves,' we can express it in another way: the 'self' together with dozens of other highly significant means that have arisen in various fields, and can reinforce and supervise human endeavor and activity units." 

3-Deep "selves:" Using his "self," man can supervise and dominate his actions much better.

Considering the vastness of the human "self" and its tendency toward progress and perfection, we may categorize it via "width and length" categorization:

a)Wider selves: Having gone through the preliminary stages of development, man possesses a natural self. This natural self is the non-self-conscious aspect of the self, and develops as time goes by.

In fact, man acquires a "moral" self, possesses a 'scientific' self, gets a 'social' self, and has an exclusive 'divine' self.

b)"Length" selves: Since birth, man develops both from a physical, natural point of view, and the development and perfection of his "self." As Jalal-addin Mohammad Molawi (Rumi)  says:

از جمــادی مـُـردم  و نامــی  شدموز نمــا مُردم ز حيـــوان ســر زدم

مـُـردم  از  حيوانی  و  آدم   شـــدمپس  چه ترسم؟ کی ز مردن‌کم  شدم

حملة  ديگــــر  بميــرم   از  بشــرتا بـــر آرم از ملايک بـــال و پـــر

وز  ملک  هم  بايــدم  جستــن ز جوکلّ  شـــــــی هالـــک الّا وجهــه

بار  ديگر  از  ملک  پــرّان  شــــومآنچـه آن در وهــم  نايــد،  آن  شوم

پس  عدم  گردم،  عدم  چون  ارغنونگويــدم  کانّا اليــــه  راجعـــــون

(Apparently, I stopped being like an animal; it seemed that sort of life died in me. But that death elevated me to higher states of human perfection. So why should I fear these successive deaths, for they are lifting me up toward development? These deaths made me even more alive. I was not losing anything; I was merely heading for a higher stage of life. After that, I was at the stage of humanity for a while. Now if I lose my human body and give myself to human death, angelic spirit will fill my soul, and fly me toward divinity. Soon, I will even surpass angels, and head for a hugely greater world. No point or state living beings move on the path of has stability or eternity, for everything is mortal, except His Divine Essence. Then, I will even climb beyond being like angels, and reach a state reason and wisdom can never fathom; I will head for oblivion, which is the general rhythm of the universe conducted by God's Mighty Will, telling us that 'we will all return to God'.) 

We can also present another classification for the self:

1-The Natural Self: This kind of self is common between man and animals. The natural self cannot step out of fatalistic circles, or supervise and dominate various affairs. At the level of the natural self, man acts in accordance with fatalistic factors and principles.

2-The Human Self: Having stepped out of the natural self, man finds his human self. Justice, love for other human beings and paying attention to other morals and virtues become significant. With this kind of "self," man can bring the natural self and its various activities under control. He is not totally free of fatalistic issues, however, for the natural self is combined with the human self, and plays a role in man's deeds. 

3-The Human-divine Self: If man's soul and spirit are elevated, he can go beyond his normal human self, and reach a "human-divine" self. The spirit is released from all the chains trapping it, and finds divine freedom.

We may divide the identity of the self into two kinds:

a)The self with the identity of the natural self conveys the management of purely natural life, which exists in all living beings, from animals to even just, spiritually elevated humans. Its only purpose is to inflate the self and dominate anything other than the self, considering everything else at the service of enhancing the inflation and dominance of the self. All good or evil are evaluated by selfish criteria. This kind of self will trod on all moral virtues to get what it wants, burn down the whole world for a meager desire. It is totally "self-oriented." This is the self that has caused the natural and animal-like aspect of the history of mankind to continue, hindering the history of humanity. The qualities of the purely natural self are:

●It considers itself the leader, and obeys itself.

●It is morbidly selfish and arrogant.

●The natural self fights anything that does not appeal to its desires.

●It worships itself.

●It has a tendency toward hedonism.

●It can mislead man from righteousness and justice.

●It denies all harmony and order in the universe.

●It considers wishes and favoritism prior to discipline and order.

●It regards itself as the end and others as the means.

b)The self with the identity of dynamic progress toward perfection: This form of self is always elevating; it never spins around itself. It does not lose its perfectionist, progressive identity, for it never falls into selfishness or arrogance. This kind of self never regards the purely natural self as the criterion for morals and virtues, for it knows too well that man's true rise to perfection is possible only outside the natural self, which merely aims to achieve pleasure and repel harm.

When man possesses a dynamic self, he will at least:

●always assess himself, 

●take himself seriously, and

●care about himself.


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