Friday, 28 October 2016

The contiguity of Love: Christians should not seek to extinguish the Self, nor to destroy the Ego - but to transcend a strong Self in Love

This is controversial; but I regard it as a serious error for Christians to be trying to extinguish their Self or Ego - I think it a serious error because Christianity is par excellence the religion which retains the Self: the divine Self was, indeed, incarnated as a mortal Man to emphasise the point...

What Christians often do, what they feel they are instructed to do, is to press down the Self - so that they may become utterly un-selfish, may live for others.

They do this by a weird, paradoxical self-monitoring (the self keeping watch on the Self; the Self trying to suppress the Self - a futile activity); and by trying not-to-think - for example living a life of absolute Obedience (never making one's own decisions, regarding one's life as dictated and mapped out by scripture, the church, a religious superior...).

Others do this by habit - by trying to ingrain good habits so deeply that they just happen, automatically, without intervention of the Self.

All of these common strategies seem to be ways of un-Manning - ways of making ourselves into less-than Men.

And they all seem to be based on the idea that the Self is intrinsically and always depraved - so that (they argue) we cannot become wholly Good without altogether getting rid of it.

Against this, I would emphasise that the Self is indeed depraved to some extent; yet it is also partly divine - and for us each to become a Son of God the divine without must join with that divine within.

This means we must retain the Self.

Yet clearly the Self or Ego is a problem - that is where Love comes-in.

In Christianity Love is primary, and Love is what enables us to retain the Self without being selfish; to be united without losing distinctness...

The model is a husband and wife in close and perfect embrace: they are united by Love, and that Love depends on their separateness (the spouse must be another person for us to love them).

Abstractly put: Love is neither separateness nor merging; but contiguous.