Commentary on False Personality and Self-Love.docx

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  • 7/27/2019 Commentary on False Personality and Self-Love.docx



    Questions are asked at different times in which the term "self-love"

    is used. I have explained that this term "self-love" is not used in this

    system of teaching and when I use it myself I have usually added thatit is not a technical Work expression. In the early days of the Work in

    London we often discussed among ourselves why this word was not

    used and I remember someone saying that perhaps it was because it

    was either a worn out word or it did not contain any clear meaning.

    On one occasion, at a private talk among a few of us, Mr. Ouspensky

    said that if we could find another term for it, it might be of some use

    to describe False Personality. Various words were suggested such as

    "self-esteem", "self-admiration", "self-importance", and others, but

    when the term "self-liking" was suggested, he said that perhaps it came

    nearest to what he had in mind. He added that the whole question lay

    in the emotional reactions of False Personality in a man or woman.

    He said man, or woman, must be shaken to their depths to get rid of

    False Personality. We are easily offended and upset because False

    Personality is our feeling of ourselves and it is an imaginary thing, an

    acquired artificial mask, a pretended person that we like to imagine

    ourselves to be and are not. This False Personality takes itself as a unity

    and this is how Imaginary 'I' arises; it borrows, so to speak, the idea

    that it is a real person and so says 'I'. The keeping up of the False

    Personality takes a great deal of force. It makes us internally consider:

    it exhausts us. Mr. Ouspensky said that the False Personality

    always justifies itself in order to maintain its existence. This wastes

    force. In regard to the False Personality, which in my case is called

    Nicoll, he said that one has to be able to see that it is not really 'V.

    He said it was composed of a certain grouping of rolls in centres and

    groups of 'I's which may shift from time to time in regard to their

    composition according to the environment in which one happens to be,

    and yet at the same time it always has the same quality of falseness, of

    something kept upsome invention. A man, for example, may amongst

    lower class people assume a certain pretence of himself and amongst

    higher class people assume another pretence of himself, and yet at the

    same time it is all the same thing

    that is, it is False Personality. Hesaid that we have to come to the point of being able to say to ourselves

    internally "this is not really I". He said that this inner separationin

    my case from Nicollwas the most important point in the Work, and

    was connected with making the Personality as a whole passive. He said

    that the study of False Personality was almost a life task and eventually

    could only be understood through the development of inner taste which

    led into Real Conscience. He said that Real Conscience apart from

    Acquired Conscience was one of our greatest internal senses, and that

    unless it had been given us, no one could awaken. Acquired Conscience

    is, of course, merely a matter of how we have been brought up and whatwe have been taught is right or wrong. He said that Acquired Conscience

  • 7/27/2019 Commentary on False Personality and Self-Love.docx


    is different in every nation. It could be anything. It was a matter of

    imitation. Some people are taught by imitation and education that it

    is right to have many wives and others are taught that it is right to have

    one wife, and so on, in a thousand different ways, but Real Conscience

    is the same in all people, but it is buried beneath the surface of

    the False Personality. He said further that no one of course could ever

    act without some admixture of selfthat is, in the sense of self-interest

    but that usually it was allself-interest. People did not externally

    consider. He said that we are told to love our neighbours as ourselves

    and that one meaning is that we could not do things completely without

    self-interest or self-liking, but that half of it should be self and half love

    of neighbour.

    I asked him to speak about the stages of emotional development

    that is, the development of the Emotional Centre to its highest receptive

    powersas it was formulated in the Gospelsnamely, "love of oneself,

    love of one's neighbour, and love of God". It is recorded that Christ,when he was asked by one of the Pharisees which was the great commandment

    replied: "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself".

    (Matt. XXII 37.) It is only possible to attempt to give a summary of what

    Mr. O.'s answer was. He began by saying: "False Personality loves

    itself only and all that flatters it or agrees with it. Unless a man can

    find something to love greater than himself he can never modify this

    inner state. Nowadays," he said, "people have got a very strange view

    of the Universe and take it all for granted as if it created itself and see

    nothing marvellous in it. How can a thing create itself? Scientists

    ascribe every discovery to themselves, not understanding that they arestudying a Universe already given them which existed long before they

    were born. They even call stars by their own names. It is absurd. But

    False Personality ascribes everything to itself. In more ancient times

    when a man had sense of the miraculous and worshipped God as the

    Creator, both of himself and of the Universe, he was emotionally in a

    far better state than exists nowadays in the average human outlook.

    His understanding was better. He could stand underhimself. In regard

    to what is said in the Gospels about love, you must realize that this is

    said in a very big sense, on a very big scale, and has meaning within

    meaning in it. These meanings destroy False Personality because whenthey begin to be understood by a man or a woman then the sense of the

    smallness of themselves in comparison with the great mystery of Creation

    begins to affect them emotionally. All greater emotions destroy the

    small self-emotions which arise from the narrow contracted sphere of

    the False Personality and its own minute self-liking and self-importance".

    He said, in so many words: "You know already that all sayings

    and parables in the Gospels contain immense density of meaning which

    reveals itself as we change in level of Being. To argue about whether

    Christ existed or not as an historical fact has little sense. In fact He did,

    and carried out his role deliberately. The point is that any man withany kind of discrimination and understanding who reads the Gospels

  • 7/27/2019 Commentary on False Personality and Self-Love.docx


    for the first time knows at once that these brief records, these words, are

    completely different from anything that has ever been written since that

    time. But people read the Gospels mechanically; they do not understand

    what they read. They read about the Pharisees and Christ's

    continual condemnation of them, but they do not see that it applies to


    to their own False Personality. The Pharisee in you is

    your False Personality; it is always pretending to be what it is not. It

    is the Pharisee living in you. People even think sometimes that it is

    easy to understand that one must love God with all one's heart, with

    all one's soul, and with all one's mind, and imagine they do. They do

    not understand that this means first making Personality passivea long

    task. They must give up completely the idea that they are their own

    creators, realize practically, by blow after blow, that something

    infinitely greater than themselves exists and that they are nothing. The

    trouble is that they think they understand what Christ said, and even

    quite religious people profess that they love God and do not observethat they insist on their own opinions and are a mass of False Personality

    so that really in the long run they love themselves". He added:

    "For example, they are liable to judge and condemn everyone who

    behaves in a way they do not like. That is, they hate in secret. Now

    what does "love of neighbour" mean? Who is one's neighbour? Some

    people perhaps think it means the person who happens to live next

    door. Psychologically it has to do with those nearest you in Being,

    those near you in understanding, in what they seek, or who are going

    along the same road. That is why we must make a conscious relation

    to those in the Work

    the second line of work. And then what does loveof self mean? Which self?We have many selves. And finally, how can

    we understand what "love of God" means? It is something tremendous,

    something we may imagine we know about, but cannot know yet. Yes,

    people say they love God and then go and kill one another or hate each

    other, or talk evilly. How can that be love of God? Perhaps No. 7 man

    knows what "love of God" meansthat is, a man belonging to the

    highest development possible to Mancertainly ordinary mechanical

    Man cannot know what it means. He may love his own opinion of God,

    the God he supposes he worships, but that is subjective, and if someone

    disagrees with him, he will be angry and even persecute him and wishto kill him. A state ofobjective consciousness (i.e., the fourth state of

    consciousness) would have to be reached befo