Han Marie Stiekema Sermes
Q. In almost any religious tradition egoism is
being condemned. Contrary to this, (post)modern people have elevated it to a new kind of
value. If everybody takes care of his or her own well-being, then the sumtotal - society -
will automatically happy. What is your position?
A. Self-centeredness is a
function, necessary for survival. Actually, there is nothing wrong with it. It is not
self-centeredness as such, which has to be scrutinized. The crucial thing (like in
everything) is awareness. Are you consciously identifying yourself with your self, or are
you unconsciously dominated by it?
Q. I suspect, that there is still much to be
clarified in this regard. Terms like I, ego, self, myself, soul, mind, psyche, Mind,
Spirit and True Self often seem to be mixed up, in such a way, that you can't see the wood
for the trees anymore.
A. Let's start at
the beginning. The two categories people are most familiar with are "I" and
"myself". What do they represent? They are part of a polarity, in which the self
represents the "substance of the personality", the storehouse of energy, desires
and emotions, while the "I" is the part, that has split off from the former, in
order to become the "managing director". The latter being the center of
identification, thinking, judgement, interpretation, commentary etc.
Q. The self being first, with the
"I" emerging out of it?
A. Actually, Consciousness is
"first". It is the Light Body of the Great Mother. All forms are contained in
it. Hence, the Buddhists saying: "Emptiness is form". Both phylogenetic as well
as ontogenetic development is taking place "against the context of
Consciousness". In practice, it means that the self is born out of the Light. This
continuously happens to nature as a whole, only to be repeated with every single life.
Q. The entire existence being embedded in
A. Absolutely. Psychology on
the other hand is ignorant about the Divine Nature of every creature. Hence, it is
focusing on "ego-development" only. It supports the idea of a separate
individual, an individual without context, unknowingly or knowingly contributing to an
alienated, isolated and addicted society.
Q. Thus, accepting your idea of the Divine
Context, would mean, that the "I" actually cannot become separated. Its
"being thrown upon oneself" being a delusion?
A. It is separated,
because you think it is.
Q. Would that also mean, that our
"condition humaine", our "fear of Nothingness" as you have elaborated
in an earlier interview, is an artificial one?
A. Fear is the consequence of
being separated from your context.
Q. The latter is always there, but we don't see
A. When the child is born, it
is still embedded in its Divine Context. That's why we call a baby "innocent".
It explains the attraction we feel toward it. In that stage, the baby (its body/mind) is
equal to the self. The self is the more "primordial" part, with the
"I" emerging from it, later on.
Q. Can this be seen against the context of the
development of mankind as well?
A. That's right. For instance,
"primitive (wo)man" wasn't primitive at all. Their self was continuously
embedded in Divine Intelligence. Their "evolution" consisted in "drifting
apart" from their Origin - according to Cosmic Law of manifestation - necessarily
developing additional (compensatory!) instruments - the mind, the ego - suitable for a
more individualized life, an adaptive measure to a changing cosmic situation. In this
regard, Echnaton, Laotze, Buddha, Pythagoras and Hermes Trismegistos weren't the first
great Enlightened at all. Before, the whole of mankind had been Enlightened all the time.
Thus, it weren't the formers' Enlightenment, but the fact, that they were the first, whose
mind has grown to such a degree, that they were able to put the Inexpressible into words.
Q. Thus reflecting the "I" having
come to maturity.
A. That's right. The same
process is repeated in every child. Sooner or later, at a stage, which the psychologists
call "objectivation", the child discovers its "I" as an entity on its
own. It starts seeing itself as disconnected from its mother. It is the stage, in which
the "I" is separating itself from the self.
Q. How does the personality comes into being?
A. The pain/pleasure
principle plays a great role here. It determines, which experience will be
"positively" and which one will be "negatively" valued. The former are
accepted, contributing to the growth of the personality, while the latter - if they are
too strong to cope with - are excluded from daily experience, eventually becoming the
"shadow". Hence, the personality resembling a medieval city. What is in, is
accepted; what is out is rejected, with a thick wall in between. To this way of thinking
everybody is a schizophrenic.
Q. Is this basic condition, in which one
rejects parts of its own mind, giving rise to the projection mechanism as well?
A. Your own rejected
parts are projected into other people. The mechanism behind is, that it would be too
painful to recognize them as parts of yourself. By imputing them to others, you safely
release the accumulated stress, caused by them. The other is the victim of your ignorance
e.g. unwillingness to work with self-integration. Eventually, it is the cause of
discrimination, racism and worse.
Q. What about the positive part of the
A. The result of experience,
education and trial and error is the formation of self-image, the way the individual
perceives itself in relationship to the outside world. It serves the interest of survival.
In the absence of awareness (the Divine Spark in us, representative of Consciousness), as
has been said above, the "I" has no other choice, than to unconsciously identify
itself with its self-image, something we call "ego".
Q. I understand better now: Consciousness is
really decisive, whether humans perceive themselves as "isolated entities" or
embedded in a secure context.
A. At this point, let me
introduce another principle. I call it the fear/bliss principle. In the case of lacking a
Context, the basic condition of the "I" is equal to anxiety. If, on the other
hand it knows itself embedded in Consciousness, it perceives itself as bliss. This is the
challenge for education in the 21st century. Are we going to offer our children a Secure
Context or are we going to push them toward further desperation? Our anxiety of today will
certainly become a "self-fulfilling prophesy", unless....
Q. Would it be possible to go back to our
starting points? How, in the light of everything been said, one should get better
understanding of how the mind works?
A. In an "ideal"
setting, the "I" and the self are complementary parts against the Context of
Consciousness, the latter manifesting itself in us as awareness, the inner observer,
Divine Spark or True Self, depending on the level of realization. The mind appears to be a
play between those three parts: awareness, the "I" (reflection) and the self.
Every part has a positive impact on the other. The miracle is this: while every part being
free, the feedback between them is optimal.
Q. This "ideal" mind is
"not too common", I presume.
A. Unfortunately so. The
Divine Spark within us -That What You Really Are - has been the greatest taboo in
Christianity. Through centuries of suppression, it has disappeared entirely from Western
culture. Only recently, with the power of the church collapsing, rebirth can be observed.
Q. What are the consequences for the
A. To be unconsciously
identified with the self means, that the latter is continuously dominating you. Your
impulses - thoughts, emotions and desires - are stronger than you are. You are addicted to
them, without knowing it. It is worse: You don't know the you, that is addicted. So,
people ask me: "me addicted?"
Q. They think, they are an emancipated
"conscious" human being. How to explain the discrepancy between how people feel
and the situation they are actually in?
A. What they experience
to be "their conscious I" is the reflection, rather than awareness or inner
observer. The former being part of your thinking, while the latter is something beyond the
Q. Thus, ego is equal to the absence of
A. That's is exactly right.
From the first moment of becoming aware, the "ego" is gone. Awareness appears to
be the center of identity, while the former has become the periphery. Important is to
realize, that the ego is not altogether "bad". Even awakened people cannot
maintain their state uninterruptedly. As a compensation for all those moments of
"forgetfulness", the ego fills in the gap. You have to grateful to the
"ego" for doing this humble work....
Love the ego.
| Autobiography | Personal
Reactions | Picture Gallery | Poetry | Q & A online
| MatriTalks |