It is said that one of the most fundamental questions of both philosophy and psychology is "Who am I?" In one way or another all questions come back to this one.  In theosophy we have the teaching of the sevenfold nature of man which indicates a vast mystery to the question of Self. It points to various levels and aspects of human nature explored by mystics and realized by Sages at the highest levels.  We have the testimony of these Great Teachers to confirm the grand potential of human nature. We have the evidence of recent history to confirm just how low it can sink.  These ideas are the back drop to the great human saga and tension between egotism and altruism.   In theosophy there is no devilish figure running around tempting men into sin and sorrow.  Instead we are told that selfishness and by extension lack of self-knowledge lead to evil and man's inhumanity to man.

This week we will take up the grand theme of Egotism and Altruism by posting quotations from the Universal Theosophy Site and we welcome students to post their questions, comments and correlations for the benefit of the whole group. 

It is through humility, tolerance and a willingness to work for the welfare of others that the constructive force of ahimsa, or love, is released."— The Aquarian Almanac"

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July 11, 2015  Theme for the Week: Egotism and Altruism

“It is altruism, not ego-ism even in its most legal and noble conception, that can lead the unit to merge its little Self in the Universal SELF.”

—H.P. Blavatsky

“Generosity and love are the abandonment of self.  That is your staff.”

—W.Q. Judge

Could we say, for definitions sake, that egotism is essentially separative consciousness?  And by contrast altruism is the movement towards universal consciousness?

"The road to hell is paved with good intentions." says the proverb.

"Remembering the word of Masters: 'He who does what he can and all that he can, and all that he knows how to do, does enough for us.' This task includes that of divesting yourself of all personality through interior effort, because that work, if done in the right spirit, is even more important to the race than any outward work we can do."

W.Q. Judge, from letter 14 in Letters That Have Helped Me

Very nice quote.  Altruism deals with the effects and has its values.  Divesting oneself of all personality through interior effort will bring light into the darkness, enabling others to see the "emptiness of the full" and ending avidya, the cause of sufferings.     

It mirrors the grander cycles of involution and evolution.

I believe every level of consciousness, both separative as well as universal,  belongs to different planes in the universe and each plane is filled lives of devas and elementals.   In other words, our consciousness is not isolated, but related to, or even an expression of the lives on the various planes.   The purification process expunges the lower grades of lives in our being by elevating our vibrations and bringing us more in tune with the higher devic forces.      

July 12, 2015   Theme for the Week: Egotism and Altruism

“If a man constantly aspires, is he not elevated.”

 — Henry David Thoreau

Interesting:  elevation and altruism.... descent and egotism.  These parings   point to universality and isolation.

What can I do to help humanity today?

That would be the altruistic attitude.  It is interesting to me that with a question so simple we reveal just how far we need to go to really live a spiritual life, an ethical life, you might say to be a real theosophist.  So much of our daily consciousness is centered on the "needs" of the personality.  The personality is a necessary tool for the soul to interact with the world but it is a mask and does not have any permanent domain yet it commands so much of our attention. How much of our thinking revolves around Tamiko's question?  What can I do for others?

This question might have many answers, as most questions along these lines do.  

Perhaps we must consider another layer to this practice of altruism. Outer acts of kindness and compassion are not overlooked, as they are important on their own plane, but there are many planes. We must consider the inner acts of kindness and compassion directed at the millions of lives that we cannot see which often stand undetected, maliciously abused or conditioned with gluttonous desires in some cases.  They count just as much as our physical neighbor, as they are in some way the medium between us and our neighbor.  

My answer to Tamikos question;  the best anyone can do to help humanity is to apply that same universal aid to ones self.  With out this, the soul withers and will not be revived by a lifetime of good actions.  There is no use to help externally, hiding under the facade of false altruism if one is rotten morally and ethically.  It will show in time, there is no doubt to this.  We see many examples of this in the public image, from friends and family, to politicians, to hollywood icons, their empire crumbles with shifting sands. 

There is so much we can do, and perhaps are doing at this moment. 



 

July 14,  2015     Theme for the Week: Egotism and Altruism

“Every man must shun extreme self-love and follow ever in the steps of his better.”

— Plato

“Meditate on loving kindness by cultivating the wish to give happiness.  By developing compassion, overcome this self-cherishing attitude and cultivate that of cherishing others.”

— Geshe Rabten

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Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on July 16, 2015 at 2:44pm

July 16, 2015    Theme for the Week: Egotism and Altruism

“Where  the  love of self is banished, there dwelleth the love of God.”   

  —  Jacob Boehme

“Standing on the bare ground…. all mean egotism vanishes.  I become a transparent eyeball; I am nothing; I see all; the currents of the Universal Being circulate through me; I am part and parcel of God.”   

  —  Ralph Waldo Emerson

Permalink Reply by Tamiko Yamada on July 16, 2015 at 11:20pm

"To live for and as the Self of all beings."

Permalink Reply by ModeratorTN on July 16, 2015 at 2:45pm

July 15, 2015     Theme of the Week:  Egotism and Altruism

 “How can a man describe as other than himself that which, when he discerned it, seemed not other, but one with himself indeed?”

— Plotinus

 “How can one who remains attached to his own self

Go beyond time to the world where all is one?”

— Maggid Devaraw Le-Ya’Aqov