Peter’s Correspondence on Mailing List B
Correspondent No 13
PETER: Just a brief note to your comment on the Otto Kernberg article –
RESPONDENT: Later on in his interview he describes ego as something that develops from birth. At birth an individual comes with a bag of core functions that are native to the ‘central nervous system’. From this point on, the individual baby’s significant associations, lead to two way relationships (dyad symmetries), and a function of how they relate to each other, in the brain-memory. All these come together to form the individual/ego.
PETER: The more easily understood description for this would be one’s social identity. ‘Who’ you are programmed to think you are by your parents, peers and the tribal group you grow up in.
RESPONDENT: This is a persuasive theoretical framework. All possible observations are accounted for, in this theory. However when one asks, what is the core function that an individual comes with, in the first place? – the answer lies in biology (?).
PETER: The core function is a set of survival instincts, the main one’s being fear, aggression, nurture and desire. These are blind nature’s somewhat clumsy software program, genetically encoded in every human being so as to ensure the survival of the species. This core function is our instinctual self – ‘who’ we feel we are, deep down inside. This is the other half of our identity.
The modern challenge is to free ourselves of both of these programs – both social and instinctual. To do this we have to push beyond the traditions of the past, for they have failed to address the elimination of the instinctual passions. Traditionally the ancients ones regarded the instinctual passions as bad spirits and Evil, hence the spirit-ual search is to transcend or rise above these spirits and become one with the good spirits and God.
Surely we can do better than that?
PETER: Just a private note given No 7 now censors my posts that question the spiritual status quo –
RESPONDENT: I read your reply. Thanks for the mail. I agree with you totally in ‘freedom is the modern challenge’. In response to your mail, I found the Kernberg interview very thrilling. It explains the development of the ego and I wondered what constitutes ego? Especially, does he touch upon the self (the part referred to in the spiritual sense)? Is there a point of union between the scientific and spiritual worlds ... was what I was curious about? Perhaps this is reflected in my post. From his interview, I thought ego was much more than social identity. I am missing the point?
PETER: And then –
RESPONDENT: Hi! How are you doing? In my last mail, on the mailing-list I made a typo. I wrote: I am missing the point? as opposed to what I meant to write : Am I missing the point? Sorry about my mistake. I read my reply again and it sounds different.
PETER: I wonder whether there was another typo in your post for you said ‘I agree with you totally in ‘freedom is the modern challenge’ whereas I said –
clearly meaning freedom from both ego and soul.
Are you agreeing with me about this totally?
I am very curious, for if so, we may well have something to talk about. I am an actualist with an avid interest in neuro-biology and the psyche and would welcome a dialogue with a spiritual biologist should you be interested. It would have to be a private exchange and not on the mailing list as I would like to dig in a bit deeper and question all of the traditional pre-conceived ideas.
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