This is a straight lift from Fr Anthony de Mello SJ’s book “One Minute Wisdom”. It speaks volumes to me:
A journalist one day asked the Master to name one thing that characterises the Modern World.
The Master unhesitatingly replied, “People every day know more and more about the Cosmos and less and less about themselves.”
And to an astronomer who held him spellbound with the wonders of modern astronomy, the Master suddenly said, “Of all the millions of strange objects in the universe—the black holes and quasars and pulsars— the strangest, unquestionably, is the self!”
In what way is ‘the self’ unquestionably stranger than a black hole?
Examine what your “self” really is, and all will be revealed.
I can’t do this for you.
I have done that, but I can’t do the same for a black hole.
Mr Dan, I would love to know what you found when you examined your ‘real self’. Would you share? There are many who have prayed or sat in the full lotus position for a lifetime without achieving what you have.
Our approaching death is like a black hole. It’s a one way trip, that cannot be avoided.
There is only one religion that shows us how to enter the black hole and come out the other side.
That is the religion of Christ, which this blog exists to teach.
Mr/Mrs Tiddles, I have gained a much better understanding of how our instinctive behaviours/influences act upon our minds, and how they are generally misunderstood and misread.
You speak of the mind and instinct, Dan, but I asked about your stated investigation of your ‘self’.
‘Snot the same thing is it?
My mind is me. I live in my body.
Another issue altogether, I think.
No, I really think I am my ‘self’, Tiddles. What do you think you are?
I think it is you who made the claim about examining the self, Dan. Not I.
I really hoped that you would clarify this.
You appear to have confused yourself, Tiddles.
Christians are allowed to keep an ego, but only as a pet.
Dan, have you ever lost your self in a labour of love? That is an experience akin to being in Heaven.
I have been absorbed in a labour of love, yes.
“Christians are allowed to keep an ego, but only as a pet” What do you mean by this BB?
That proud little prince, the ego, is a larval stage in the growth of the self. It has to be shed if we are to grow. This is what the Gospel command to die to self is all about.
Sadly, many people fail to shed their egos and you can read about their silly antics in any newspaper.
Keeping one’s ego as a pet is handy while one still lives in the world. e.g. it can go fetch the newspaper for you! 😉
Yes, people have a desire to be ‘special’, which stems from having evolved behavioural traits (competition, hierachy etc.) – animal nature gets the better of us.
We are not animals Dan, even me.
It is all about transcendence. Critters less than human beings neither understand the term nor are capable of it.
Transcendent awareness and action are only possible by the Grace of God. The Church exists to preach the Gospel but also to administer the Sacraments to people. Sacraments are the normal means by which people receive Divine Grace.
Are you a Catholic?
We evolved from animals and transcended our evolved, animal nature with a superior intellect, self awareness and the ability to share ideas. However, as I said before, our animal nature still gets the better of us. And we may consider that the superior intellect and self awareness comes from God.
Yes indeed Dan. Our animal nature still has the power to trip us up, often with a little satanic help. This won’t leave us until our body is dead. St Paul wrote about this in his famous verse about a thorn in his flesh (2 Cor 12:7). He saw his spiritual affliction as a gift from God that prevented him from getting spiritually proud, which is the most dangerous form of pride.
The weird thing about our relationship with God is that even our sins bring us closer to Him. It is like we are attached to Him by a thread. Sin cuts the thread, but God ties it back up, thus shortening the thread. I cannot counsel anyone to sin, but sin they will, repent they (hopefully) will, and closer to God they will get.
The energy required for this process is provided by Our Lord’s Passion and Death on the Cross, the most supreme act of generosity ever performed.
Does any of my exposition make any sense to you?
But it’s not a spiritual affliction, but part of our animal heritage, BB.
“our animal nature still gets the better of us. And we may consider that the superior intellect and self awareness comes from God.”
Surely Dan it all comes from God? You cant pick out the best bits and disregard the rest.
It depends on your point of view Tiddles
Sorry Dan. In this case it’s not a matter of opinion. Think about it.
“we may consider that the superior intellect and self awareness comes from God.” and so we may. Some people don’t.
Self is that part of Man that he became aware of at the Fall. Beware of self-awareness, self conscious, etc. For instance an important core teaching in Buddhism is self-love. Buddha teaches that you love the self before extending the love to others.
Our Lord has Love of God, Love of neigbour SELF Last.
Consider the following.
 For I, through the law, am dead to the law, that I may live to God: with Christ I am nailed to the cross.
 And I live, now not I; but Christ liveth in me. And that I live now in the flesh: I live in the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and delivered himself for me.
Self is Our enemy and a man that is a slave to Self is already condemned.
Roger, we owe some love to the self. If we don’t love our self, it may well turn and bite us on the bum.
Like an ill-kept pet might.
No look the great difference between The Faith and other Religions is Self. If you think of Our Lord he was always totally Selfless!
Look this is Islam
1. Self-awareness is the most profitable knowledge.
2. I wonder about the one who is searching the missing thing whereas he himself is missing and yet is not searching.
3. It makes me wonder that a man does not know himself. How can he wish to know God?
4. The climax of knowledge is self-acquaintance?
5. The biggest success is for the one who succeeds in knowing himself.
6. Do you think that you are an insignificant being whereas a great world is concealed in you
Question: Why so much emphasis has been put on self-awareness in these verses and narrations?
Answer: It is because the one who understands himself knows God, thereafter he sees nothing but Him and thereby is endowed with Divine virtues.
Consider what a Christian is
“..Ask the Lord to put awareness of Himself in you, and your self-awareness will disappear. Then He will be your all in all. Beware of allowing your self-awareness to continue, because slowly but surely it will awaken self-pity, and self-pity is satanic ..”
Because SELF is Man placing himself before God. We have to put on Christ. This is the Life of Grace.
Genesis is really important and do not be seduced from looking and learning from it. It is the first book of the Bible and it explains the CROSS in our lives. The Anathema on Man and Woman doesn’t apply to Jesus or Mary. The Immaculate Conception means without Original Sin and Our Lady isn’t under this Anathema placed on Fallen siblings of Adam and Eve.
Make no mistake do not let SELF run your lives!!
And where does “our animal nature ” come from, Dan?
It evolved through the process now known as natural selection, Tiddles.
We are not animals
Well, we all are. of course. Genetics alone tells us that. And we might as well be proud of it.
And just because we are rather lousy animals, as animals go, we shouldn’t give up hope of ever becoming as decent as, say, a pig.
But all this really boils down to is that Burro and Toad disagree as to what the word ‘animal’ actually means.
Ludwig W. was right. If we could only solve the mysteries of language, all other problems would become solvable. But we must assume we are condemned to grope around in a linguistic fog for some good reason. Or so I suppose.
Look man is (st Paul says so) Flesh, Spirit, Soul
The Flesh part has obviously a similar framework to animals senses, skeleton etc..
But Look the Spirit/soul has senses!
Understand that the Resurrection is very important. It means that Our Lords Flesh(Body) was dead! No Brain activity, rigor motis/
But his Consciousness wasn’t Dead! In other words we live outside of the Body! We have intelligence and memory and will outside of this Flesh.
Evolution denies the spirit/soul just sees things as flesh(body) Genes etc. do not explain the spirit/soul which are NOT genes. The Resurrection shows Our Lord True God and True Man ALIVE even although is body is dead!
The Flesh is IMO part of mans punishment for Original Sin Because animal nature seems to have been chnaged by the Fall. Remember teh Passion and the Immaculate Conception etc.. the whole of Our Faith is because of the Fall and the redemption of the Passion.
“The Flesh is IMO part of man’s punishment for Original Sin Because animal nature seems to have been changed by the Fall.”
So, before Original Sin, The Flesh was different? How? Or maybe it was non-existent?
Animal nature may “seem’ to have changed to you, Roger. but you don’t know if it has, or in what way, do you?
So why assume any change?
“We have intelligence and memory and will outside of this Flesh.”
We have no way of knowing that, and personally, I don’t believe it.
Makes no sense.
And if it were true, what would then be the point of our bodies being resurrected eventually?
Why would we need them?
To go to the ‘bathroom’?
The anathema placed on Eve was “..in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children, ..” Contrast this with the Virgin Birth because Our Lady remained intact as a Virgin! So there is a difference between the Virgin and Eve is there not? Similarly the Anathema placed on Adam implies changes. Then later we see the ages of the Patriachs are reduced implying changes in the Flesh of man.
These changes come from God and Nor Evolution!
“..According to Josephus, the Sadducees believed that:
There is no fate
God does not commit evil
man has free will; “man has the free choice of good or evil”
the soul is not immortal; there is no afterlife, and
there are no rewards or penalties after death
The Sadducees rejected the belief in resurrection of the dead, which was a central tenet believed by Pharisees and by Early Christians
Toad the Flesh is glorified! Sic the Transfiguration
“man has free will; “man has the free choice of good or evil””
Roger, I often see this flimsy assertion. Does it mean that (say) millions were done to death in Auschwitz or the Gulags or South America so that sadists could exercise their ‘free will’?
This ‘free will’ assertion collapses under even a mild interrogation. Are children there so that some may be killed or abused by sadists exercising free will?
I think not. So it’s back to the drawing board for the Free Willers.