Wednesday, May 04, 2005

What is a whole person, anyway?

I articulated above a “three bodies (+ three etherics)” model of the form of the whole person. But a whole person is more than that! A whole person must be understood to include spirit as well: a person is body (broadly understood to include these several bodies and etherics) and spirit. Spirit is the undying aspect of the self. These bodies can and do pass away, but our spirit is everlasting. The bodies pass away in the sense that they can be shed like the layers of an onion, but at the core of the onion is light. The frequency of that light/spirit is modulated or “flavored” by the layers which have accumulated around it, and the light retains those nuances even after the layers have been peeled. The light shines the brightest and truest when the layers are shed, and at the same time the flavoring/frequency modulation arrived at throught the experience of the human forms is valued and in fact intended by the source of all. To the extent that the spirit retains the frequency modulation obtained through the experience of the form, you might say that the body forms of the person, or the “personality,” lives on. However, I will resist overating the personality here!

The personality, as we generate it and generally experience it, is one of the most overated aspects of the whole person going in our culture! Commonly understood in humanistic atheistic scientistic public culture today, the body is a machine, the personality is a function of the brain, and the spirit is a myth attributed to the first two by ignorant religionists. It’s safe to assume I am wanting to develop a somewhat different train of thought and experience here! I have already given some attention in an earlier post to the fallacy of attributing truth to a model once its functionality has been demonstrated. I discussed this in terms of the mechanical model of the body subscribed to somewhat dogmatically by establishment scientific and medical culture. Viewing the body through the lense of the mechanistic model does not legitimize the conclusion that the body is a machine any more than viewing the world through purple sunglasses permits the conclusion that the world is in fact purple, and nothing but.

That the personality is commonly believed to be a function of the brain you can readily conclude by flipping through the psychology department listings in a university course catalogue, or reviewing the dissertation topics of a recent crop of psychology Ph.D. candidates. It is true that personality can be modified through injury to the brain or by tinkering with the brain's pharmacopia with psychoactive drugs or exogenous electromagnetic frequencies. It is also true that one can correllate certain thoughts and activities and emotional experiences with localized and mappable neuronal firing. It is not fair to conclude from these injuries or tinkerings or mappings, however, that the personality is therefore merely a function of the physical brain, or conversely and also erroneously, that the personality as a function of the magnificently wonderous human brain is therefore implicitly deserving of exceedingly high regard and esteem.

If a car has a flat tire or throws a fan belt, or if someone tosses a monkey wrench into the works, pours water in the oil reservoir, gas in the radiator and oil in the wiper washer fluid container, the vehicle performance will be substantially altered. We cannot conclude from this that the driver is a bad driver or that the driver no longer exists in virtue of the car’s total breakdown (though we may suggest the driver hire a new mechanic!). In fact, it's quite possible for the car to be totalled and the driver to walk away without a scratch. Likewise, if a surgeon in an emergency needs to perform an operation with a Swiss army knife, cloth bandages from a ripped shirt, a straight needle and thread from a sewing travel kit, a pen and a pocket lighter, hi/r skills may not reach the height of their expression under the circumstances. The surgeon may enjoy the challenge, however, as a test of skill under duress, and take pride in the accomplishment of the surgery performed, even while the execution was limited by the material circumstances. In the same way, the vehicle of the brain can distort the soul’s expression through a personality according to the limits of its material condition, and the instrument of a particular physical brain may represent a rudimentary tool for an advanced personality or mature spirit, yet these are the kinds of challenges spirits incarnating frequently choose to face as a test of skill, a learning opportunity, or a means to achieve balance relative to other experiences previously generated.

The error of the “scientific” community’s reduction of the personality to brain function is like mistaking the rider for the horse, or more accurately, the rider’s costume for the horse--a more ridiculous error still. That’s because the personality itself, like a costume for the spirit, represents an accumulation of thought forms and experiences, a “totality of elementals,” some of which are handsome and others in bad taste, in which the spirit/soul has outfitted itself. The personality is a work in progress, and will be differentially mature, dependent upon the level of mastery you have achieved. The personality will also be channelled and expressed relative to the particular endowment of the given physical body (brain and all!). That’s quite a bunch of variables. And should the physical body (the horse) expire, the psychical body and the noetical body continue to represent more costuming particular to the rider characteristic of hi/r choice in clothing, as it were.

Whenever we are expressing a personality with a physical body, the thought forms, whether emotion-thoughts, or thought-emotions, which accumulate to us, and which we generate willy nilly or conscientiously, must be dealt with on the terms of the particular physical endowment. The physical form serves as a lense with which to focus and interpret a personality on the part of an incarnating spirit. The spirit can no more be reduced to the terms of the body than can the personality be reduced to the terms of the body, and the spirit likewise cannot be reduced to the terms of the personality. This is about ordering perceptions. You cannot look at a person’s physical body alone and conclude something definitively about their spirit, and you cannot look at a person’s personality and conclude something definitively about their spirit either, any more than you can conclude definitively about the heart of the rider by analyzing their horse or outfit. Clothes really don't "make the man," at least in this case.

For those who can grasp that the body is a gift, and that expressing through one is a bit of performance art for a spirit dressing in the outfits of personality, accumulated in the wardrobe of life experience, this all makes a lot of sense! On these terms, the spirit in union with the human forms (physical/etheric, psychical/etheric and noetical/etheric) consititute a whole person incarnate. The personality of the whole person, we encounter as the accumulation of the thought forms and experiences of that spirit interpreted through the endowment of those particular forms. Where a body is “broken,” limit cycles of an additional order are placed upon the interpretation.

As for the spirit itself being nothing more than a bit of fluff and fancy sprinkled upon the passing “meat” of reality, well, everybody is entitled to their delusion, I guess! All I can say is that the atheistic humanistic scientistic materialists of our popular and public culture are in for a pleasant surprise upon the death of their physical bodies! Such belief systems are sometimes necessitated by an otherwise tentative commitment to the incarnational process. For many, the challenges of life would seem overwhelming if they could readily remember how sweet life can be without a body, and they might attempt to escape the opportunities of their own spiritual design if they dared to entertain such an option. Temporary forgetting is actually a highly functional choice, and should be respected by others. It is less important that everyone grasp the ins and outs of the incarnational processes than that they develop for themselves a compelling rationalle for embarking upon a path of self mastery and service!


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