Saturday, May 7, 2011

... the self ...

"The Self is not an object or even a goal, but an activity, a process.  Gerard Manley Hopkins expressed it beautifully:  "...What I do is me; for that I came!"

The Self is the purposiveness of the organism, the teleological intention of becoming itself as fully as it can.  As the rhizome contains the fullness of the flower, so the unified self-hood of the organism is expressed through the variegations of root, stem, flower, pistil and stamen.  The Self is unknowable, though its intentionality may be inferred from its expression through the venues of body, affect, cognition, symptom, dream image and the like...As the Self embodies the totality of the organism and its mysterious, autonomous activity, so we may never know it fully any more than a swimmer could know the ocean, or a thinker conjugate the dome of Heaven.  Hence the fragile ego must content itself with "a sense" of Self, the Self forever unknown, unknowable.

Accordingly, we are always left with partiality though we may believe we know ourselves fully.  There is, in fact, no greater folly than such a hubristic claim."

~ James Hollis
         The Eden Project


  1. As I understand it, ancient Japanese warriors, specifically archers, were skilled at hitting their target by not aiming at it. Through discipline and practice they sensed the target, pre-visualized it and had a clear mental picture of it and even if their vision was obscured their arrow would find the target.

    I think knowing one’s self is similar. Don’t think about it, engage in thought and activity and proceed with efforts to enhance one’s character through whatever engages one’s mental spirits ... and somewhere along the way the Self is determined. At that point there’s no need to define it ... the Self simply is.

  2. hooray for mystery!

    without it life is predictable and too small for our souls

  3. ok, i like the opening lost a bit in 50 cent words in the second...smiles. i know a little about myself...

  4. Searching for self becomes a little tedious in the long run, much better to do, as Hopkins says.

  5. Bonnie, I don't fully agree with Hollis. I have the arrogance to believe we know the "self." Its voice gets lost in the cultural conditioning, the perception of others, titles. But when it truly counts, the self emerges always.

    I like Bill's comments very much. Perhaps like love, we don't try so hard to pin it down. It will simply happen in its own time.

  6. Oh, I just noticed the link. Thank you, I'm truly honored.


Comments are always read and appreciated.

(I am grateful for all awards received. However, I ask that this be an "award-free zone" and meme-free zone. Thanks for understanding!)