Thanks. The guy who wrote that article is a neurosurgeon and 'The Speaking Tree is a sort of open column in the T of I where readers can submit and article on whatever subject they fancy. A friend of mine brought it back from India for me and apologised for bringing me 'only'
a newspaper clipping.
The short answer is: I don't know. I don't really think in these terms.So at what point does the perception of the self become “pathological” – seeing oneself as totally separate from the whole and always trying to force the whole to suit the individual will?
Words such as 'pathological' presume that there is a 'perfect' human somewhere, somehow, that we use as a datum or yardstick. Any such 'perfection' would be subjective and contingent upon the belief system of those making the call. I was going to bring up this point in Lloyd's
thread 'next door'.
As far as 'seeing oneself as totally separate from the whole', I would think that this varies from individual to individual, dependent upon culture, personal circumstances, etc, etc. People like their comfort zone and do not like that which threatens it. I don't have a comfort
zone as such but it has not stopped me looking for one for most of my life.
The other thing I find with humans is that they are great excuse makers. In my more cynical moments I think that this is what we are here for: to come up with excuses to suit each and every occassion.
Coming at this from a different angle, a couple of centuries ago during the 'Age of Enlightenment' (a misnomer if ever there was one), Voltaire famously said that 'God is dead'. That is, the dead hand of religion had been lifted and wonderful, rational science could now set us free.
A century or so later, the great Nietzsche, who loved nothing more than to attack comfort zones, said 'God is dead. Now what?'. Nietzsche saw that 'killing' God also killed the metaphysical underpinning of ethics and politics. Metaphysics, ethics and politics are the three columns of Greek philosophy (and Nietzsche thought and wrote like a Greek, specifically Heraclitus (this is the key to understanding Nietzsche)). Nietzsche foresaw that ethics and politics would degenerate into the situation we have today.
The second part of your question: "always trying to force the whole to suit the individual will" needs a bit of clarification. There is a difference between 'ego' and 'self'. Self is the individuation as outlined in the article I posted earlier. It is semi-autonomous. Ego is that part of the self which think it is wholly autonomous (a bit rough n ready that but it will do).
One of the central ideas of Nietzsche's philosophy is that of 'the Will to Power'. Despite what the modern experts will tell you, this has nothing to do with 'dog eat dog' or 'every man for himself'. Nietzsche, as per usual, chose the most provokative phrase he could just to rile
the 'experts'. It is about expressing yourself to your full potential, and to Nietzsche, human potential was virtually limitless. The operative word here is 'Will' not 'Power'. On the other had, Nietzsche was totally against the (mentally) strong dumbing themselves down to the level of the (mentally) weak (what we would call the sheeple). His, very Greek, idea was that the strong drag the weak along, or, serve as examplars to the weak.
You have no doubt heard of Aleister Crowley the so-called Beast. This muppet's catchphrase was 'Do what thy will shall be the whole of the law'. This is taken to mean 'do what you want'. But it is a corruption of Nietzsche's philosophy, where it should be 'Do what thy Will shall be the whole of the Law'.
The bottom line of all this rambling is that one cannot do anything 'illegal', in the sense of breaking the laws of nature or the universe or god or whatever label one wishes to stick on it. You are part of it, you are it doing its thing. This is why I disagree with Mague and others about forgiving. What are you forgiving them for? For breaking your rules?
The point of balance is to be found between ethics (personal conduct) and politics (group association); the fulcrum or pivot is metaphysics. So the question becomes: where do I get my metaphysics from? The Greeks answered this in two words: 'Know Thyself'. It's not easy and sometimes it's not that pleasant but it is do-able. Mague, for example, interacts with the universe in terms of spirits, wraiths etc. I do it in terms of Greek mythology (with a sprinkling of Tao). The Universe, Monad, 'pluripotent being' etc will communicate with you in whatever language you choose, but it is you who have to initiate the dialogue.There has to be a balance (overcoming duality to achieve a unity).
Understanding the Universe is like filling a trailer with sand. On the one hand it's not rocket-surgery but on the other it's damned hard work.
Sorry for the rant. I have several other irons in the mental fire at the moment and they've all got a bit mixed up there.