Spiritless Humans

Source: Montalk

Empty people. Puppet people. Cardboard cutouts. Drones. Organic Portals. Background characters. Why do these terms even exist? Because out of necessity they had to be invented by those who independently noticed the same puzzling phenomenon, one for which there is no official name: some people seem to be missing something very important inside. While they are not necessarily any less intelligent, successful, or physically healthy as anyone else, they nevertheless show no indication of having any higher components to their consciousness.

Over the years I have received emails from readers who came to this same conclusion. They noticed that some people were strangely one dimensional and hollow inside. This observation is not hard to miss, but it is easy to rationalize away, especially with modern society being so heavily brainwashed with the politically correct but unrealistic concept that everyone is completely equal in every way, which ignores functional differences due to environmental, genetic, and most importantly, metaphysical factors.


The idea of empty people first dawned on me in 1999 after having done much research into sociopaths and psychopaths, their condition being medically known as APD or “Antisocial Personality Disorder.” My interest in the subject grew out of having been forced for many years to suffer under someone whom I later learned had all the signs of being a sociopath. Heartless and soulless were descriptive terms, but little did I know just how literally true they were. I had noticed in this person an emptiness behind the eyes and a very shallow conscious essence, which seemed to be at the root of the behaviors I observed.

Eventually I realized that this same root condition was present in some others who were not outwardly sociopathic, but whose lack of heart was masked by a well-adapted social exterior. In other words, what psychiatry would diagnose as APD was only the more extreme, criminal, sloppy manifestation of a condition that otherwise expressed itself more widely in a socially acceptable and less incriminating manner. The latter is what may account for the body of empty people present in the population.

But what exactly is missing in them? The answer is clear if we look at their common behaviors and qualities of consciousness.

Behavioral and Psychic Characteristics

Their behavior tends toward being glib, shallow, egotistical, narcissistic, mundane, predatory, and materialistic. Sometimes these traits are camouflaged by a polished social exterior, but anyone with a discerning eye can see through the disguise. They lack individuality, independent thinking, and are strongly biased toward holding a herd mentality. They lack comprehension of anything beyond the material sphere of the five senses, and have no interest in such metaphysical matters except as flashy accessories to boost their social image. They also appear entirely incapable of empathy, soul-searching, and willful self-sacrifice. Nevertheless, in the presence of others they can put on a flashy show of concern, distress, or altruism for purposes of social manipulation; for example, crocodile tears to elicit sympathy, or doing something nice for another solely to guilt trip them later and extort a favor.

Psychically scanning their consciousness reveals something interesting. There is a certain simplicity, flatness, and inertness to their essence, even if their intellects are highly developed. Unlike other people, their conscious energy is more diffuse, dull, impermanent, and amorphous rather than solid, sparkling, crystallized, and concentrated. Put another way, their minds are like sand castles instead of real castles. There is something animalistic and rudimentary piloting their bodies. It seems they have conscious awareness just as plants and animals do, but not conscious self-awareness as humans are supposed to have. There is an important difference between awareness and self-awareness.

Spirit: The Missing Component

The missing factor must be something that endows a being with self-awareness, volition, and the capacity to value transcendental ideals. This goes beyond mere physical factors like missing portions of the brain, defective genetics, or a poor upbringing, because the latter are just defects in the hardware and programming of the biological machine, whereas the problem here involves the consciousness operating the machine. What intuitive or clairvoyant perception picks up about their consciousness involves metaphysical factors instead.

What to call this higher component of consciousness absent in some people? Usually it would be called the soul, but that has caused too much confusion in the past. For example, casual readers unfamiliar with the proper definition of “soulless” thought it meant “completely devoid of consciousness” when in reality it meant “devoid of individualized consciousness.” No, they do have some kind of soul energy by virtue of being alive, but the soul is not imbued with a higher spark of true sentience and self-awareness.

Therefore I will call this higher spark “spirit” and define it as follows: spirit is the core of individualized consciousness, that permanent aspect of one’s being representing the true Self, which accumulates experiences and spiritual wisdom throughout life, survives physical death, and remains intact upon reincarnating to continue growing toward the fulfillment of its potential. It is the divine god-spark, the seat of freewill, the holographic fragment of the Creator residing at the very center of your being, the “I” that is you, the inner conscious observer capable of observing even its own self-observation.

It seems not all humans have spirit. Therefore they have no self-awareness, individuality, wisdom, empathy, creative intelligence, or conscience. What further confirms this hypothesis is that, as will be discussed below, one may observe a total absence of destiny, synchronicity, symbolic dreams, spiritual lessons, soul growth, and karma in their lives. This is to be expected if they have nothing permanent in them that survives death and reincarnates, because only spirit can gain from such things. Without spirit, they are temporary beings whose awareness forms shortly before birth and dissolves shortly after death. And if so, then for them, spiritual life lessons serve no purpose, karma from past lives does not exist, there is no higher Self acting as chaperone, nor would they have genuine interest in anything that serves a purpose beyond their current mortal existence. Therefore it is to be expected that they be particularly materialistic, worldly, and mundane in their ambitions; observation confirms this as well.

Other Components

How can we better understand all this? By understanding the various components and how they combine to make the whole of a being, we can grasp the numerous differences and similarities between spirited and spiritless humans1.

Aside from spirit, the other components are body and soul. Soul is the nonphysical energetic interface between body and spirit. Occultists divide the soul into the etheric and astral bodies. The aforementioned “empty” people have bodies and souls, but not spirits. In this way it is clear that they have some kind of conscious energy, but not the permanent core that retains continuity through incarnations.

The soul consists of two components, the etheric and astral. The etheric component is a quantum biasing field that keeps the physical body from entropic disintegration. Or to put it more simply, it is life-force energy that keeps the body from decaying. The astral component is more abstract and intangible. It functions as the seat of consciously experienced feelings and passions. Feelings are not just chemical reactions in the brain, nor are they abstract thoughts in the mind. Rather they are vivid energies residing somewhere in between, and that buffer zone between the completely physical and completely metaphysical is the astral component of the soul.

Body and Ego

The body is the biological instrument through which we interact with our physical environment. The body comes with its own hereditary dispositions, biological drives and instincts, and behavioral algorithms stamped into it through social programming. These deterministic influences converge to create an artificial intelligence in a person that, by default, runs the body like an autopilot computer running an airplane.

This artificial intelligence is hereby termed “ego.” Its fundamental purpose is to ensure survival of the body by optimizing its behavior for the surrounding physical and social environment. In other words, external conditioning programs the ego to achieve survival in the environment from which that conditioning originates.

But the ego has no true consciousness of its own. It is just a computer running on neural (and by proxy, etheric) hardware that simulates a living identity. Its main advantage is that, being just a computer, it only has to mechanically calculate and react to situations instead of deeply and consciously reflecting, therefore it can respond much quicker to external situations.

For the spirit, the ego functions as a software device that automates interactions with other humans and provides a mask of identity, programmed from birth, appropriate to the local environment. Somewhat like a player’s avatar in the Sims game, which looks and acts like a person and seems to do its own thing when not directed by the player.

The problem is that the ego is entirely a product of the past, and spirit entirely outside linear time. The first is completely deterministic, the second is completely nondeterministic. The first is an emergent property of matter, the second a permanent condensation of consciousness. The two have impulses that are often diametrically opposed, one pulling toward materiality, the other toward spirituality. Our daily consciousness, also known as the lower self, is a blending of both, namely the portion of spirit that shines through the mask of ego and identifies with it, analogous to a driver so absorbed in the act of driving that for him the car has become an extension of his body2.

Physical or Spiritual Influences Upon the Soul

Now the soul, in residing between body and spirit and mediating between them, is influenced by both. It takes on its organization and function according to impulses from both spirit and the body. For instance, the astral body would respond both to a chemical drug inducing a feeling of euphoria through the body, and the spirit volitionally invoking a lofty feeling of spiritual joy, although the effects on the astral are not identical.

Likewise, the etheric body could have its structure altered by some injury to the physical body, or from some blockage or abnormality in the astral body percolating its influence down to the etheric level. Whatever influences are exerted upon the soul by body and spirit, their effects continue to linger in the soul, like tea continuing to circulate after having been stirred. This is why I said the ego runs on both neural and etheric hardware. Despite originating in the physical, the ego imparts the momentum of its conditioning upon the etheric3.

Consequences of Lacking a Spirit

With the preceding in mind, consider what happens when someone has body, ego, and soul, but lacks spirit. First and foremost, their entire makeup would be the result of material influences like genetics and environment. The seat of their apparent intelligence would be the ego. And without the counterweight of spirit, their ego would reign king. Thus, in accordance with the function of ego, such people would be completely dedicated to material and social survival.

Notice that people with spirit who are awake to their spiritual impulses often make willful choices that serve no financial, social, or egotistic gains, that go against the expectations of Darwinian evolutionary principles, and that serve only spiritual ends. Such impulses are absent in spiritless people, thus they are truly optimized for survival in the physical world. Without conscience, empathy, or inner battle between ego and spirit holding them back, they can more quickly and easily succeed in their worldly environments regardless of the cost to others.

To better understand their metaphysical differences, consider what happens to spirited and spiritless people upon physical death.

Spirit and soul nested one inside the other, together leave the physical body. After a while, the etheric component of the soul disintegrates, leaving only spirit nested inside the astral body. The astral body then also disintegrates. The disintegration of etheric and astral bodies, meaning the dissolution or casting away of the soul, is known in Christian Esotericism as the second death4. The liberated spirit then advances into the afterlife before reincarnating.

Reincarnation involves the spirit forming around itself a new soul and then slipping into a new physical body. In sequential reincarnations, what talents, predispositions, and imbalances it has acquired from previous lifetimes influences the new incarnation.

In the case of spiritless people, life begins as follows. As the fetal body gestates in the womb, the soul forms for the first time, like beach sand being gathered into the shape of a castle, and joins to the body. This combination produces rudimentary awareness. After being born, such a person becomes nothing more than a product of genetics and environment due to absence of spirit. Without a spiritual counterweight, biological drives and social programming become their primary impulses in life.

Upon physical death their soul evacuates the body, perhaps containing a lingering imprint of the ego, and after some time it disintegrates and is reabsorbed into the lake of energies from which it originally formed. Nothing of their identity survives. For people without spirit, this life is their only one. They form upon entering and dissolve upon leaving. It cannot be otherwise if they lack a core of individualized consciousness.

Thus everything that a spirited person has due to the continuity of his or her incarnations, is missing in the life of a spiritless person. For example, the spiritless would have no need for life lessons or spiritual learning experiences. What would be the purpose if whatever is gained disappears after death? Therefore spiritless people are ones who cannot learn spiritual lessons, who cannot profit spiritually from the trials of life, who cannot pass what is gained onto their successive incarnations. And so they have no concern for lessons of humility, empathy, compassion, understanding, or forgiveness. Instead of changing as people through spiritual maturation in life, they only change in the sense of better adapting to life through conditioning. For instance, whereas a spirited person may see the error of his ways and grow humble, a spiritless person would simply learn to not get caught next time.

Karma is another metaphysical factor absent in the life of spiritless people. There are many misconceptions about karma, so I will first explain my understanding of it, before showing how its absence affects the life of a spiritless person.

Karma (the negative type) is simply a spiritual debt or imbalance acquired upon violating the freewill of oneself or another. Violating your own freewill happens when you make a choice during an ignorant state, like when identifying with the ego and acting upon its impulses, that violates a choice made during a more spiritually sober state.

Upon committing a freewill violation, the higher spirit-associated aspect of consciousness regrets the error and makes a commitment to redress it, even if the lower ego-associated aspect tries to ignore this. The karmic imbalance then attracts experiences that teach a lesson correcting that ignorance, whether in this life or the next. The lesson learned is universal and does not require memory of the original choice that provoked it, just understanding of the lesson. The karmic experience itself is not what is fated, rather the lesson learned, therefore karma can sometimes be mitigated through pre-emptive understanding and forgiveness without necessarily needing to learn it the hard way through experience.

But without spirit, there is no true freewill and no true lessons that can be learned. Therefore the spiritless have no karma and instead live completely under the laws of chance and the law of the jungle. Whereas a spirited individual might be born with karmic handicaps, for the spiritless these handicaps would strictly be a matter of chance or heredity and serve no higher metaphysical purpose. Same with the timing and manner of their death; whereas spirited people may have loosely planned out their life before incarnating, including the way they will die, spiritless people die according to random circumstances without purpose or meaning, unless their death somehow plays an important part in the pre-incarnation script of a spirited individual.

Other missing factors include meaningful symbolic dreams, synchronicities, higher intuitive guidance, and their personal hand of destiny. Spiritless people experience none of these because they neither can nor need to. This should be obvious from understanding the role of spirit, but I will elaborate for the sake of clarity.

Meaningful dreams primarily serve to alert a person to spiritual imbalances that need to be corrected, but a spiritless person has no need for such messages. They also have nothing higher to send such messages. Without a permanent core of individuality, they have no “Higher Self”, which is the perfected future manifestation of spirit reaching back through time to help out extensions of itself still in the linear past. And without a Higher Self, they have no inner intuitive guidance to provide certain nudges and protection in life. Thus, whereas a spirited person might experience freak synchronicities and bending of the laws of reality to save them from untimely death, a spiritless person lacking such direction and protection would perish according to chance.

Chakra Differences between Spirited and the Spiritless

There is also a difference between spirited and spiritless in what chakras they have. Chakras are vortical energy centers linking soul with body, and linking spirit and body through the soul. Each center coincides positionally with the major glands of the physical body, and each serves a different behavioral function.

The lower chakras are associated with such behavioral facets as physical instinct, sexual impulses, base emotions, personal power, and intellectual activity. Everyone possesses these. The spiritless, however, have no need for the higher chakras, namely the heart, crown, and third eye chakras because these are the ones that exclusively link to spirit.

The heart chakra, the center of higher emotions like compassion, empathy, spiritual jubilance, is missing in the spiritless because there is no spirit present to associate with these emotions. The crown chakra, through which higher intuitive understanding, originality and creativity, and a connection with objective truth manifests, is likewise missing. The third eye chakra, located between the brows, is normally used for the perception of phenomena and concepts beyond the material realm, and spiritless people confined to the world of the five senses have no need for it either.

Consequently, another difference between the spirited and spiritless is that the first have all seven chakras while the latter are missing the three higher ones, the heart, crown, and third eye chakras5. This further contributes to the intuitive or clairvoyant perception that spiritless people are flat and inert inside regardless of how animated they are on the outside, because the spectrum of their etheric or auric vibrations are missing certain colors and are therefore of a lower overall resolution.

All the above follows from one simple postulate: that some people lack spirit, and that they therefore also lack the higher chakras. If you deeply contemplate what this entails, you will understand how this postulate explains the full gamut of observations we have concerning so-called “empty” people.

Difference between Spiritless and Spiritually Asleep People

At this point you might be wondering what is the difference between spiritless people, and spirited ones who are spiritually asleep in life or simply immature. After all, both may be worldly in their goals and thoroughly caught up in the illusion of the “Matrix.” Both may not be cognizant of dreams or synchronicities, nor display much empathy. For example, there are negative people who are completely under the influence of their egos and external negative forces, who can commit violent crimes and even mass murder without blinking an eye. Not all of them are spiritless. But all of them are indeed void of the influence of spirit when it comes to engaging in such inhuman behaviors. Some lack spirit, others are asleep to spirit.

The difference is that a spirited but infantile/asleep person still has latent spiritual potential. So they still have, even in small amounts, the presence of those spiritual factors and dynamics mentioned above. They may still suffer the consequences of karmic debt brought on by dumb choices, they may still receive symbolic dreams attempting to alert them to spiritual imbalances in life even if they ignore it, they may still experience synchronistic help in shaping their lives against the odds even if they cannot see it.

Spiritless people lack that potential completely. They cannot grow spiritually. This is not a theoretical declaration, but a painful lesson learned from having dealt with too many such persons who never showed any signs of growth or evolution no matter how much help and opportunity for improvement was given to them. At best they adapt, but more out of conditioning and calculation than actual understanding.

There is another important difference. The spirited have lives appropriate to their spiritual needs. So there is a correspondence between their spiritual maturity and type of life. Infant spirits will lead crude lives, because a basic existence is all they need, and anything more would be too much for them to handle or gain from. Meanwhile, the spiritless live whatever life they are driven into by circumstance and their own cunning, which can mean being a beggar, corporate executive, or famous author all the same. Without constraints established by spiritual needs, the spiritless have no spiritual limits or curriculums structuring their lives. And this is why “empty” people are not all just spiritually asleep or infantile, because there exists a class of people who share the same inertness behind their eyes regardless of their type of life, their social standing, their intellectual prowess, and their physical appearance.

Psychopaths, Sociopaths, and Narcissists

The more extreme manifestations of an absence of spirit is known in psychology as psychopathic, sociopathic, or narcissistic personality disorders. Spirited people who fit this condition are misguided and held hostage by their egos, but they can be rehabilitated. Instead of lacking empathy, their empathy is either suppressed or displaced. These are not true psychopaths, but spirited people with personality disorders.

True psychopathy and sociopathy, however, cannot be cured because something is fundamentally flawed at the core of such persons. They lack empathy and remorse altogether, and these qualities cannot be recovered because they were never there to begin with. The incurable nature of psychopathy is an accepted fact in psychology. The cause is believed to be an abnormality in the pain and fear centers of the brain. Even so, without the balancing influence of spirit, such abnormalities would introduce unchecked errors into the programming of the ego, which then runs rampant to the point of coming to the attention of the legal and medical systems. What the medical system can diagnose is only the extreme and sloppy manifestation of a condition that is more widespread throughout the population. Other spiritless people with properly functioning egos are better at keeping their lack of empathy and remorse camouflaged under more refined social programming.

Why Spiritless? What Others Say

Theories abound about why some people lack a higher component to their consciousness and what purpose they serve in the bigger scheme of things. Since I am not the first to make this observation, I will now briefly discuss what others have said so that you can weigh the available options.

John Baines writes in his book The Stellar Man that humans, like all animal species, have a collective soul unique to their species. This collective unconscious exerts a de-individualizing influence on humans, nudging them toward mob mentality, herd mentality, and following the crowd. Rupert Sheldrake would call this the human morphogenetic field. People who have not developed their own conscious individuality are mere automatons following the soporific influence of the collective unconscious, as though they were extensions of a hive mind. The goal of esoteric training is to split away from the herd, to develop one’s own volition and thereby become a free being.

Rudolf Steiner voiced similar sentiments. His foundational work, The Philosophy of Freedom addressed this problem. Steiner said that as long as humans obey external authority, their own biological instincts, or the animalistic parts of themselves in common with the rest of humanity, they are not free beings. Freedom comes from choosing based on intuitive understanding of what each option entails and what it means. This act of freewill requires introspection and spiritual acumen to act from a place of true understanding. Steiner acknowledged that not everyone introspects to the degree necessary to make intelligent freewill choices. In private discussions, Steiner went even further:

Dr. Steiner: That little girl L.K. in the first grade must have something really very wrong inside. There is not much we can do. Such cases are increasing in which children are born with a human form, but are not really human beings in relation to their highest I; instead, they are filled with beings that do not belong to the human class. Quite a number of people have been born since the nineties without an I, that is, they are not reincarnated, but are human forms filled with a sort of natural demon. There are quite a large number of older people going around who are actually not human beings, but are only natural; they are human beings only in regard to their form. We cannot, however, create a school for demons.

A teacher: How is that possible?

Dr. Steiner: Cosmic error is certainly not impossible. The relationships of individuals coming into earthly existence have long been determined. There are also generations in which individuals have no desire to come into earthly existence and be connected with physicality, or immediately leave at the very beginning. In such cases, other beings that are not quite suited step in. This is something that is now quite common, that human beings go around without an I; they are actually not human beings, but have only a human form. They are beings like nature spirits, which we do not recognize as such because they go around in a human form. They are also quite different from human beings in regard to everything spiritual. They can, for example, never remember such things as sentences; they have a memory only for words, not for sentences.

The riddle of life is not so simple. When such a being dies, it returns to nature from which it came. The corpse decays, but there is no real dissolution of the etheric body, and the natural being returns to nature. It is also possible that something like an automaton could occur. The entire human organism exists, and it might be possible to automate the brain and develop a kind of pseudomorality.

I do not like to talk about such things since we have often been attacked even without them. Imagine what people would say if they heard that we say there are people who are not human beings. Nevertheless, these are facts. Our culture would not be in such a decline if people felt more strongly that a number of people are going around who, because they are completely ruthless, have become something that is not human, but instead are demons in human form.

(Faculty Meetings With Rudolf Steiner Vol. 2, 3 July 1923, p. 649-650)

G. I. Gurdjieff spoke along the same lines. His lectures in Views from the Real World summarize his position. Humans are born as blank slates, as biological machines without self-awareness. At some point in life, a person either develops an “I” or branches onto the opposite path toward further mechanization and decay. So according to Gurdjieff, “empty” people are those who have never developed their self-awareness as they should have, but we all start out on equal footing. I don’t believe this to be true because there are infants and children who clearly have high sentience behind their eyes and expected behaviors of self-awareness, while other infants and children lack it, which suggests the factor of reincarnation in some people and complete absence of spirit including the potential for spirit in other people.

Boris Mouravieff has written on the subject of spiritless people most extensively. See his three volumes of the Gnosis series, particularly the second and third volumes. His approach is based on Esoteric Christianity, and thus it quotes heavily from scripture while bearing much in common with the Fourth Way tradition of Gurdjieff, which itself seems to trace back to Sufistic teachings. According to Mouravieff’s interpretation of the Book of Genesis, there existed humans before Adam and Eve, but that only Adam and by proxy Eve and her descendants received the breath of spirit from God. Thus nowadays there exists two mingling sub-races of humans, the pre-Adamics without spirit, and the Adamics who have it. Mouravieff explains that pre-Adamics serve the purpose of harvesting energy from Adamics as part of the cosmic food chain. He also explores the metaphysical differences between the two, in regards to pre-Adamics missing certain “centers”, which are analogous to chakras. Mouravieff believes the pre-Adamics have a group soul unique to their collective, and that only after further aeons of evolution will their collective soul differentiate into individual spirits like what the Adamics already have.

The Corpus Hermeticum, a famous hermetic and gnostic text written almost two thousand years ago, likewise states that not all humans have the spark of divine reason (termed Nous) active within them, and that without Nous a human is more like an “irrational creature” (animal) in his motivations, limited perception, and way of life. One would have to read the entire text to understand this in proper context. See the english translation titled The Way of Hermes: New Translations of the Corpus Hermeticum (Inner Traditions, 2000).

Lastly, the Cassiopaean Transcripts addresses the works of Mouravieff and provides some key insights on the matter at hand. The channelling source claims that some people are empty portals for other intelligences to work through, that they have uniform auras among them, lack the higher chakras, can be very skilled at mimicking “souled” (spirited) people by reflecting back their own soul energy, and that ultimately they serve as conduits from which our energy can be siphoned for collection by negative hyper-dimensional beings. All this is in line with my observations and the writings of Mouravieff and Gurdjieff, except a bit more realistic than the viewpoints of those two traditionalists. Whereas John Baines says some humans are extensions of the human collective soul, the Cassiopaeans say they are instead extensions of particular animal group souls. They say such so-called “organic portals” serve as a bridge between the human and animal kingdom, helping to transfer higher human energies to these animal group souls to accelerate their evolution, but that their function has been hijacked by higher negative forces for their own energy harvesting use.

So what I am saying in this article is not without precedent. I merely made the observation of “empty” people independently in 1999-2001 and then cycled through various personal speculations and existing theories before settling on the current one explained in this article.

I believe there are several ways in which people end up spiritless. Some are born that way because no spirit ever took root, just like theater seats that remain empty because no one bought tickets for them. Others may have started out with spirit but had it depart at some point in life. It could have evacuated through abuse or sudden extreme trauma, or evaporated gradually from decades of soul-killing routine. Not everyone who dies necessarily drops dead. People can go on existing as hollow shells, as echoes of their former selves, now void of the spirit that once gave them spark. There are other darker phenomena like dead people getting reanimated by aliens with advanced technology, human clones, and other types of artificial humanoids that would lack spirit, but these are relatively rare and therefore not worth discussing in this article (see instead my article on Human Simulacra).

Here I speak mainly of a larger sector of the population who naturally lack spirit, who always have throughout history, and who by virtue of their predatory and worldly natures have gravitated toward the top of the social, economic, and political hierarchies and made the world antagonistic toward spiritual impulses.

The Benefits of Understanding

As you can see, this idea that some people lack spirit explains much about the robotic, animalistic, predatory side of humanity. So many of us are under the false assumption that we are all the same inside, that if we walked in another’s shoes we would fully understand their motivations. But not all inhuman acts trace back to mere environmental variables. There are cases where, even if we put ourselves in their place, we would not act the same. That is because the cause of their motivations is not environmental, but metaphysical: the absence of spirit, and the supreme reign of ego.

Those who ignore the possibility of spiritless people will continue to shake their heads in frustration at behaviors they simply cannot compute and must either ignore or rationalize away. When dealing with a spiritless psychopath, for instance, such individuals are easily deceived and manipulated.

Only after getting burned again and again do they realize some humans are a different kind of animal, that some humans are not remediable because they are acting fully and healthily in accordance with their spiritless predatory nature. This is especially true of the psychopathic elite who run this prison planet; they cannot be rehabilitated, made to see the error of their ways, or convinced through appeals to empathy.

Caution and Conclusion

It would be unwise, however, to look down upon the spiritless with contempt. They are what they are, living their lives in accordance with their makeup. They should be handled no differently from how one handles a wild animal that acts according to its feral nature. It is only by trying to hold the spiritless up to higher spiritual standards that frustration sets in. Without expecting too much of them, and by understanding why they behave as they do, frustration gives way to calm insight.

Nor is it worth going out of your way to try and spot who is spiritless, because in ambiguous cases you will likely err on the side of paranoia. Since spiritless behaviors form a subset of the behaviors of spirited people, only the behaviors unique to spirited people can allow quick and certain identification, and then only of who is definitely spirited. Spotting only works for picking out who is truly spirited, which happens most easily with a spirited individual on your wavelength. You will sense the life in their eyes, the clear and unique energy behind their words, and the originality and independence behind their thought processes.

Appendix I: Common Questions

How do I know I’m not a spiritless person? – If you have experienced even one trait unique to spirit, then you are not spiritless. The very fact that you have wondered this, that you are uncertain and wish to know for sure, shows self-awareness and introspection, which is another trait of having spirit. Regardless, it is better to assume that you do have spirit and work on developing its qualities like intuition, empathy, and lucidity, all the while being aware of your lower egotistical impulses and keeping from acting on them.

I suspect that my (friend, spouse, parent) is a spiritless person, what do I do? – Set aside for a moment the question of whether they are spirited or not, and focus solely on whether you can continue being with them. Are they so manipulative, draining, abusive, or otherwise harmful to your well-being that you have to get away? If so, then it doesn’t matter whether they have spirit or not. Are they so friendly and easy going that you are doing quite fine having them in your life? If so, then it doesn’t matter whether they have spirit or not. So from a practical perspective, you only have to be concerned with whether you can deal with having them in your life. Where the distinction between spirited and spiritless does come into play is in dealing with psychopathic people, where even after promising to change they keep returning to their abusive ways; then at some point, instead of rationalizing that they are just misguided and need even more time and attention, it is better to conclude that maybe they are acting perfectly in line with who they really are. Naive people who think everyone is equally good inside will keep rationalizing and taking the abuse, but those with higher understanding will recognize the warning signs of futility sooner and save themselves the trouble.

How is this concept of spiritless people not somehow divisive, racist, persecutory, and antithetical to the idea of human equality, unity, harmony, and brotherhood? – If the theory is true, that some people do in fact lack spirit, then the truth of the matter should not be ignored for the sake of political correctness. When properly applied, knowledge can lead to greater stability and harmony in the long run. For example, every attempted utopian society has failed because it was founded on naive assumptions about the makeup of its citizenry; selfish, psychopathic, predatory individuals end up corrupting the utopia. If the utopia were founded on full understanding of such types, then measures could have been put into place to prevent corruption. Also, a theory should not be blamed for the consequences of its misapplication; those who misapply it use it as a vehicle for the satisfaction of their own egos rather than applying it from a spiritual perspective. Instead of throwing out the theory because of its misapplication, better effort should be made to prevent its misapplication. Lastly, the unity of all life can be recognized without sacrificing awareness of the functional diversity comprising it; and only by properly understanding each part of that unity can the whole be recognized in full clarity instead of mere ignorant bliss.

Appendix II: Correlating Sources

John Baines – The Stellar Man
Rudolf Steiner – Theosophy
Rudolf Steiner – The Philosophy of Freedom
Rudolf Steiner – Outline of Occult Science
G. I. Gurdjieff – Views from the Real World
P. D. Ouspensky – In Search of the Miraculous
Clement Salaman, et al… – The Way of Hermes (Corpus Hermeticum)
Dion Fortune – Psychic Self-Defense
Boris Mouravieff – Gnosis, Volumes I-III
LKJet al… – The Cassiopaean Transcripts
Amit Goswami – The Self-Aware Universe

For excerpts from some of these sources, see this PDF.

Appendix III: Permutations of Metaphysical Components

To show the necessity of concepts like spirit, body, etheric, and astral, here is a list of how these components combine to form different kinds of entities. As you will see, the difference between these entities cannot be explained with fewer than those components.

Elementary matter:


Crystals and plants:

body | etheric

Average animals:

body | etheric | astral

Spiritless humans:

body | ego | etheric | astral

Spirited humans:

body | ego | etheric | astral | spirit

Spirited humans after choosing to incarnate, first stage:

astral | spirit

Spirited humans after choosing to incarnate, second stage

etheric | astral | spirit

Spirited humans shortly before birth:

body | etheric | astral | spirit

Spirited humans after childhood:

body | ego | etheric | astral | spirit

Spirited humans after physical death:

ego | etheric | astral | spirit

Spirited humans after “second” death, during the afterlife:


Spiritless humans after formation of embryo:

body | etheric

Spiritless humans shortly before birth:

body | etheric | astral

Spiritless humans after childhood:

body | ego | etheric | astral

Spiritless humans after physical death:

ego | etheric | astral

Spiritless humans after “second” death:


Artificial Humanoids:

body | ego | etheric

Etheric thought-forms and astral wildlife:

etheric | astral

Angelic beings:

astral | spirit

Demonic beings:

ego | etheric | astral

Spirited astral projectors:

ego | astral | spirit

Etheric aliens and transcended humans:

etheric | astral | spirit


1 In case anyone wonders why we even need terms like spirit, soul, astral, and etheric, it is because these constitute the simplest model that explains large body of known observations, in accordance with Occam’s Razor. People who ridicule the necessity of such metaphysical distinctions and believe only in the body, or only in body and soul, are leaving out certain crucial observations, thus their over-simplistic model suffices for their smaller set of givens. However, the model must be expanded to include observations by clairvoyants, the astutely perceptive, and anyone who has experienced the paranormal. In doing so, the additional concepts of spirit, soul, astral, and etheric enter the picture. I believe these are the minimal components necessary to explain spiritless people. But it explains a lot more, just see Appendix III. These terms are also not just ad hoc explanations, however. Instead of just being theoretical, the etheric and astral bodies are directly experienceable through astral projection and viewable by clairvoyants.

2 Amit Goswami explains with great insight how nondeterministic consciousness acquires deterministic traits through conditioning in the physical body, how quantum systems can acquire classical characteristics. See chapters 13 and 14 of his book The Self-Aware Universe.

3 What does it mean that the ego imprints itself upon the etheric component of the soul? For one, it ties into a lot of what Rudolf Steiner wrote concerning the etheric double, the doppelganger, that mysterious shadow side of ourselves that is antagonistic toward our spiritual well-being. It also ties into Steiner mentioning that in Asia where ancestor worship is common, demonic entities can wear the cast-off etheric shells of deceased persons and thereby receive unto themselves all the psychic energy given to that identity during worship. Further, the ego continuing after death in etheric form may explain certain types of ghosts, as well as the problem of astral/etheric impostors in channeling whereby a negative entity can closely mimic a deceased relative. All these phenomena suggest that some portion of a person’s worldly identity (ego) survives death, and since it cannot be via the physical body, it must be the next closest thing: the etheric component of the soul. And lastly, when it comes to true artificial intelligence in quantum computers and cybernetic beings, it should be expected that these will be accompanied by an etheric field, just as plants have an etheric field, which would assist in the artificial intelligence having some level of “life” and not be just a deterministic machine with pseudo-random output.

4 The term “second death” is Biblical. “He that overcometh shall not be hurt of the second death.” Revelation 2:11. “And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:14-15. Boris Mouravieff and the Cassiopaeans would have interpreted this approximately as follows: ‘overcometh’ means having developed spirit, ‘second death’ is the dissolution of the etheric and astral components of the soul, and ‘lake of fire’ represents the undifferentiated group soul into which the soul dissolves. What does a fire do other than melt and turn to ashes, removing all trace of former identifiability? Second death happens after the first death. If the first death is death of the physical, then the second has to be death of the nonphysical. I believe this interpretation because it makes sense.

5 “Higher” means higher in function, not positionally higher on the body, so the throat chakra is not a higher chakra since it is associated merely with speech and intellectual functions. In the Fourth Way system it correlates with the “lower intellectual center”. It probably developed or evolved along with human capacity for speech and abstract thinking, something most animals lack. That is why spiritless humans have a throat chakra as well, and why they can be intellectually sharp and have no limits to their speaking abilities. So it’s one of the lower chakras in terms of function.


Infinity and the Nature of Reality

Source: Vibe Shifting

Infinity and the Nature of Reality ImageAll right people – batten down the hatches and hold on tight because today we’re diving headlong into the heavy-duty world of metaphysics and philosophy, and we’re answering a question from one our Vibe Shifters Tribe members about infinity and the nature of reality…

I listened to an Abe Hicks segment and the person in the hot seat described how Source would “see” everything, as a clump of universes connected together by a network of light. But, is it finite, or is there infinity? Or, is Source infinite and its mere expansion creates all this stuff?

Parallel realities and multiverse theory

Is reality finite or is it infinite? This is an excellent, question and one that no one currently has a definitive answer to. One of the theories coming out of the quantum physics field right now tells us that there are infinite parallel realities; every time any one of us makes a decision, or has ever made a decision, or ever will make a decision — no matter how big or how small — a new reality is created.

You get to a stop sign and there is a reality where you turned left and another reality where you turned right. There is a reality where you had fish for dinner and another where you had chicken. A reality where you married Person A; a reality where you married Person B instead; and a reality where you didn’t get married at all.  There is a reality where you will floss your teeth tonight and a reality where you won’t. Every single decision you have ever made in your entire life has spawned new realities.

Most of the decisions are not life-changing and the parallel worlds that are formed are more or less the same. But some decisions are life-altering and the worlds they create are very different. And they are infinite… think of a fractal tree branching off forever. And multiply that by every person on the planet that ever was or ever will be. In this theory, there are infinite parallel realities.

Solipsism: Are you the only thing that’s really real?

There is a philosophical theory known as solipsism, in which you are the only thing that’s really real. In this theory, there are no others, and the individual mind is the only reality. This would mean that, in your reality, I’m not really real… I’m just a construct that your mind has created for its own reasons. As is everyone and everything else in your reality, too.

In some interpretations of LOA, it’s the only possible theory that makes sense, because if we really are all-powerful and have complete control over what happens in our experience, then other people can’t exist because it would lead to too many “exceptions” to the Law. (You create your own reality “except” for when someone else is interfering.) So, in this theory, all those other people out there (including me) are created by YOU – they are like fictional characters that behave exactly the way the script YOU wrote for them tells them to. They ONLY exist at all because you dreamed them up and wanted them there, exactly as they are.

Think of this theory like a sky full of soap bubbles… there may be lots of soap bubbles (i.e. people) out there, but they each exist within their own bubble and what happens in one bubble can’t be affected or controlled by what happens in another bubble. So, each one of us has our own closed reality and all the things and people in it are basically figments of our own imaginations, or constructs of our own minds, created because we believe and expect them to be there. And that reality is constantly shifting and changing as our thoughts change; in every moment, we wrap a brand-new reality around ourselves, or shift from one reality into a new one, with each thought and belief. In this interpretation, there is no outside Source… the individual mind is the ONLY thing that exists

Shared realities: co-creating with others

In other interpretations, this is a shared reality (the other people out there are objectively real and exist outside and independent of our own minds). What we experience of those people is still what we’ve drawn to us through our own beliefs and expectations, but we draw the “real” people rather than just fictional characters that we have created.

And the reality we create when other people are involved is created co-operatively with those other people, regardless of whether we “like” or “dislike” the situation that is created (it is created out of our expectations, not what we want or don’t want).

Think of this one like a great big computer game. You get to create your avatar (your body) and you enter the game as that avatar. You’re here to play. And to learn. And to have fun. And just to experience stuff. But one of the conditions of joining the game is that you have to forget who you really are and become your chosen character. Total immersion. Total amnesia. Not even knowing that you are, in fact, creating the game environment as you play. So is everyone else, of course, but you draw to you what you are a match to, so the co-creations work out.

The divinity within: you’re not OF Source, you ARE source

In still other interpretations, we get into the concept of the divinity within; we are not just OF Source, we ARE Source, seeking new experiences and perspectives to expand itself, and thus becoming billions of individuals with unique identities, thoughts, and experiences to add to the “cosmic database” of All That Is.

Think of it as drops taken out of the ocean and carried away — no matter how far they go, they are chemically indistinguishable from their Source, the ocean. Whether they are taken to a jungle or a desert or a huge concrete city, each and every one of those drops is still Ocean, still Source.

Separated from that source, they are not as powerful (a drop of ocean does not have the same power that the full ocean does), but they are still Source. And eventually, they all return to that Source; all water on this planet returns to the ocean eventually. It might take days, it might take thousands of years, but it all goes back to the ocean. We, essentially, are those drops — temporarily separated from the whole of Source, but still undeniably and just as powerfully… Source.

So, what’s the answer to the question already?

Well, like I said up top; no one knows for certain. Physicists are still arguing over whether multiverse theory is real, philosophers are still arguing over the nature of reality, and theologians are still arguing over the nature of God. And centuries from now, they’ll probably all still be arguing.

When it gets down to the nitty-gritty of all this kind of stuff, my advice to people is that you think about it. Think about what the possible scenarios are, and then think about what makes sense to you, and think about what feels right to you.

There are more things in heaven and earth…

Wait for a clear night and go outside and look up at the stars. Ask yourself how many there are and how far they go. According to astronomers there are about 100 BILLION stars in our galaxy alone and there are, at minimum100 BILLION galaxies in the observable Universe. That’s ten thousand billion stars out there. And that’s just what we can see… imagine what else is out there that we don’t know about yet. And there are still mysteries here on earth – it’s said, for instance, that we know more about the outer reaches of space than we do about the deepest reaches of the oceans.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than are dreamt of in your philosophy. ~Shakespeare, Hamlet (I:v)

The point I’m trying to make here about this whole question of infinity and the nature of reality is that there is so much that we still don’t know, don’t understand, and can’t even begin to imagine. But I do believe that we create it as we go. It wasn’t until after Gene Roddenberry dreamed up communicators on Star Trek that cell phones were invented, for example. And the X-Prize foundation is currently running a contest to award $10 million to the team that creates a working medical tricorder. There’s no end of evidence out there that we create what we believe we can. And it all starts with someone’s dream. And dreams, my friends, are infinite. I believe that there are more things in heaven and earth than have yet been dreamt of in any of our philosophies…

Follow the God in Yourself: Three Simple Strategies for a Life Well-lived

“Whenever a knight of the Grail tried to follow a path made by someone else, he went altogether astray. Where there is a way or a path, it is someone else’s footsteps. Each of us must find our own way. Nobody can give you a mythology.” ~ Joseph Campbell

What is the God in yourself? It’s the part of you that understands that everything is connected to everything else. It’s your disconnected self in search of connection. It’s your independence in search of interdependence.

It’s the part of you that understands that religions are merely steppingstones for true spirituality. In short: The God in yourself is a spiritual seeker. The search is the thing, not what’s found. The journey is the thing, not the destination.

Spiritual seekers, those who don’t drink the orthodox Kool Aid, those who don’t lean on outdated religious crutches, those who question to the nth degree all parochial reasoning, have always been the black sheep of the universe. So be it.

Spiritual seekers are not looking to follow a god. They don’t necessarily follow this or that law, tenant, or commandment. They simply follow the God in themselves, and that God in themselves is a questioner, an explorer and a creator.

Question meaning

“The pearl is also always grit, an irritation as well as a luster.” ~ James Hillman

The God in yourself, the spiritual seeker within, is always grit. But that’s okay. It’s good to be grit. Being grit is where the action is. Especially when the universe rubs against that grit and creates the mystical friction that becomes the luster of the pearl.

The spiritual seekers way of rubbing the universe back is questioning things. Especially meaning itself. It’s a give and take, a meditative dance with the cosmos. Breathe in, breathe out. Question out, answer in. Don’t fear discomfort or agitation. That’s par for the course.

As Rumi challenged, “If you are irritated by every rub, how will your mirror be polished?”

The key is not to rely on any answers. Not to put all your eggs into a single basket. Not to settle on any single bedrock of thought. As Aristotle said, “It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it.” Just flow through it all. Keep questioning. Keep swimming. Keep searching.

Question things as you inhale, answer things as you exhale. Then exhale the answer and question/breathe again. Repeat until you’ve become a lustrous pearl, a diamond in the rough. And then keep repeating, never forgetting that a part of you will always be grit and coal.

Explore meaning

“If you can fall in love again and again, if you can forgive as well as forget, if you can keep from growing sour, surly, bitter and cynical… you’ve got it (a life well-lived) half licked.” ~ Henry Miller

The God in yourself longs to connect with the God in others. That’s the heart of namaste. One way the God in you can connect with the God in others is to explore the meaning that others have created. Standing on the shoulders of giants is an excellent way to do precisely that.

A spiritual seeker stands on the shoulder of Jesus, Buddha and Nietzsche, not only to explore the meaning that they have created but also in an attempt to connect their unique meanings together and to project that meaning further into the human leitmotif, further down the path of the evolution of consciousness.

Indeed, the God within you stands upon the God within others in order to see further than they could. In order to connect deeper than they did. In order to tap into energies and knowledge that were not available to them.

Buddha didn’t have Jesus to stand on. Jesus didn’t have Nietzsche to stand on. But Nietzsche didn’t have you to stand on. So on and so forth through the spiritual-philosophical evolution of the species.

So explore the meanings of others. Go on philosophical adventures. Jump from giant to giant. Just remember to keep questioning, keep jumping.

For, as Anais Nin wisely stated, “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”

Create meaning

“Play! Invent the world! Invent reality!” ~ Vladimir Nabokov

The God in yourself will always be closer to your inner child than anything else. It is the part of yourself that hasn’t lost touch with Beginner’s Mind.

No matter how many philosophies you’ve mastered, or how many domains of knowledge you’ve digested, or how many religions you’ve memorized and regurgitated, the God in yourself always brings you back to Beginner’s Mind. Back to creative innocence.

The beauty is that you also have experience to add to the mix. You have questioned things to the nth degree. You have stood upon the shoulders of giants. It’s all a delicious muscle memory inside you.

Now it’s time to be the pearl, despite (or because of) the rub. To be the diamond, despite (or because of) the rough. Beginner’s Mind keeps us humble by reminding us that we are still grit and coal, but it also empowers us to be creative with having become a pearl and a diamond.

Being a pearl and a diamond means being creative. It means using your imagination as a tool that leverages a healthy and progressive evolution for the species. It means creating your own meaning. It means taking everything that you’ve learned into consideration with humility and a good sense of humor and making magic out of it.

The God within you longs for meaning, and it longs to create its own meaning more than anything else. Creating your own meaning is taking all the answers that you’ve questioned and all the meanings that you’ve collected and connecting them in a way that has never been done before.

It’s your finite Fibonacci sequence striving for the infinite Phi. It’s your humanity crossing the bridge to the Overman. It’s your Initiation into becoming one of the Giants. It’s your cosmic fingerprint blazing like an ancient rune on the side of Evolution.

It’s your Immortality Project. It’s your Self-inflicted Philosophy. And only the God in you can create it.

Carl Jung and the Shadow: The Ultimate Guide to the Human Dark Side

Source: HighExistence

How well do you know yourself?

If you’re like most people, you probably have a decent idea about your own desires, values, beliefs, and opinions.

You have a personal code that you choose to follow that dictates whether you are being a “good” person.

If there is any one thing you can know in this universe, surely it is who you are.

But what if you’re wrong?


carl jung shadow projection unconscious enlightenment cg jung shadow unconscious psychology psychotherapy

What if much of what you have come to believe about yourself, your morality, and what drives you is not an accurate reflection of who you truly are?

Now, before you launch into a, “Hey, you don’t know me, you don’t know my life, you don’t know what I’ve been through!”-style defense, ponder this for a second:

Have you ever said or done something really shitty, mostly on an impulse, that you later regretted?

After the damage was done and the other person involved was hurt, you couldn’t bury your shame fast enough. “Why did I say that?” you might have asked yourself in frustration.

It’s that “Why?” question that indicates the presence of a blind spot. And though the reason for your reaction may have been obvious (perhaps even “justified”), the lack of control you had over yourself betrays the existence of a different person lurking beneath your carefully constructed idea of who you are.

If this person is coming into focus for you, congratulations—you’ve just met your shadow self.

The Shadow: A Formal Introduction

“The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.”

— Carl Jung, Aion (1951)

The “shadow” is a concept first coined by Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung that describes those aspects of the personality that we choose to reject and repress. For one reason or another, we all have parts of ourselves that we don’t like—or that we think society won’t like—so we push those parts down into our unconscious psyches. It is this collection of repressed aspects of our identity that Jung referred to as our shadow.

If you’re one of those people who generally loves who they are, you might be wondering whether this is true of you. “I don’t reject myself,” you might be thinking. “I love everything about me.”

carl jung shadow who created god unconscious

Carl Gustav Jung

However, the problem is that you’re not necessarily aware of those parts of your personality that you reject. According to Jung’s theory, we distance ourselves psychologically from those behaviors, emotions, and thoughts that we find dangerous.

Rather than confront something that we don’t like, our mind pretends it does not exist. Aggressive impulses, taboo mental images, shameful experiences, immoral urges, fears, irrational wishes, unacceptable sexual desires—these are a few examples of shadow aspects, things people contain but do not admit to themselves that they contain. Here are a few examples of common shadow behaviors:

1. A tendency to harshly judge others, especially if that judgment comes on an impulse.

You may have caught yourself doing this once or twice when you pointed out to a friend how “ridiculous” someone else’s outfit looked. Deep down, you would hate to be singled out this way, so doing it to another reassures you that you’re smart enough not to take the same risks as the other person.

2. Pointing out one’s own insecurities as flaws in another.

The internet is notorious for hosting this. Scan any comments section and you’ll find an abundance of trolls calling the author and other commenters “stupid,” “moron,” “idiot,” “untalented,” “brainwashed,” and so on. Ironically, internet trolls are some of the most insecure people of all.

3. A quick temper with people in subordinate positions of power.

I caught this one all the time when I worked as a cashier, and it is the bane of all customer service employees. People are quick to cop an attitude with people who don’t have the power to fight back. Exercising power over another is the shadow’s way of compensating for one’s own feelings of helplessness in the face of greater force.

4. Frequently playing the “victim” of every situation.

Rather than admit wrongdoing, people go to amazing lengths to paint themselves as the poor, innocent bystander who never has to take responsibility.

5. A willingness to step on others to achieve one’s own ends.

People often celebrate their own greatness without acknowledging times that they may have cheated others to get to their success. You can see this happen on the micro level as people vie for position in checkout lines and cut each other off in traffic. On the macro level, corporations rig policy in their favor to gain tax cuts at the expense of the lower classes.

6. Unacknowledged biases and prejudices.

People form assumptions about others based on their appearance all the time—in fact, it’s a pretty natural (and often useful—e.g. noticing signs of a dangerous person) thing to do. However, we can easily take this too far, veering into toxic prejudice. But with so much social pressure to eradicate prejudice, people often find it easier to “pretend” that they’re not racist/homophobic/xenophobic/sexist, etc., than to do the deep work it would take to override or offset particularly destructive stereotypes they may be harboring.

7. A messiah complex.

Some people think they’re so “enlightened” that they can do no wrong. They construe everything they do as an effort to “save” others—to help them “see the light,” so to speak. This is actually an example of spiritual bypassing, yet another manifestation of the shadow.

Projection: Seeing Our Darkness in Others

“If only it were all so simple! If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?”

― Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Seeing the shadow within ourselves is extremely difficult, so it’s rarely done—but we’re really goodat seeing undesirable shadow traits in others. Truth be told, we revel in it. We love calling out unsightly qualities in others—in fact, the entire celebrity gossip industry is built on this fundamental human tendency.

Seeing in others what we won’t admit also lies within is what Jung calls “projection.” Although our conscious minds are avoiding our own flaws, they still want to deal with them on a deeper level, so we magnify those flaws in others. First we reject, then we project. 

carl jung shadow projection unconscious enlightenment cg jung shadow unconscious psychology psychotherapy


One way that we all experience this dichotomy of rejection and projection, for example, is when we have a hard time admitting that we’re wrong.

When I was seven, I had the grand idea that my younger brother and I would run away. Nothing was particularly unpleasant in our home lives at the time; when my brother asked why we were running away, I simply shrugged and said, “Because all the kids do it.”

We packed our blue Sesame Street suitcase with all the essentials: cookies, toys, and juice boxes. After taking the screen down from our first-story bedroom window, we tossed the suitcase onto the ground below. I urged my brother to jump out first and, with complete trust in me, he did. As he crouched behind the thorny hedge just beneath the window, I swung my leg outside and sat poised between the safety of my bedroom and the open air of the outside world.

I looked at the cars driving by, suddenly aware of the boundary I was about to cross. On one side of the window I was safe; my mom knew where I was and I was doing everything she expected me to. On the other side of the window, however, rules were being broken. If she knew that we were going outside without her knowledge, our mom would surely kill us.

This moment of panic inspired in me a sudden need to retreat into the safety zone. I called down to my brother, telling him that I had forgotten something and would be right back—instead I hurried to tell my mom that he was running away. She scrambled outside, where she found him in the bushes, still waiting for me. The look of betrayal contorted his features as he gaped at me, and I parried with a self-righteous stare. He was grounded, while I became his “savior.”

While it’s easy to see my behavior as simply that of a shitty, mean sister (which, trust me, I have assured myself repeatedly that I was being), there was actually an entire invisible psychological process happening beneath the surface. As soon as I realized that my brother and I were doing something that wasn’t the fun and brazen endeavor I imagined and would actually land us in a massive heap of trouble, I had to devise a way to protect myself from the consequences.

My seven-year-old “big sister” ego identity wouldn’t permit me to admit that I was wrong—such an act would put my social status into question for me (and more importantly, my subservient little brother). Instead, I projected the wrongness onto my brother and ran to tell my mom. I suspect that my unconscious mind wanted to see the consequences of that wrongness played out in order to learn the lesson of how to avoid the trouble in the future… I just maybe didn’t want to experience those consequences for myself.

By projecting the deviant behavior onto my poor little brother (whom, I assure you, I spoil to death in our older age as penance), I avoided having to confront the dangerous behavior in myself. And this is something that, in our own ways, we all do.

In this case, being in the wrong was the thing I rejected in myself. Most people hate admitting when they’re wrong because doing so is accompanied by the uncomfortable emotions of embarrassment, guilt, and shame. Rather than confront the possibility of being wrong, therefore, people often go to extreme lengths to prove to themselves and others that they are right—even if it means hurting someone else.

Unfortunately, our impulse to avoid the unpleasant confrontation with the truth is so strong that we remain completely unaware of what’s happening. The mind ignores and buries all evidence of our shortcomings to protect itself—i.e. to prevent the experience of pain—storing it deep within our unconscious minds. This doesn’t make those thoughts, memories, and emotions go away, but it does put them somewhere we don’t have to “see” them.

Our conscious minds are where our ego personality dwells—the “I” that walks around every day talking to other people. When you think of who “you” are, this is the part of yourself you usually identify with.

However, that “you” is only the part of your identity that is visible to you. Your conscious awareness is like a light enabling you to observe what is happening inside your mind.

Beneath that conscious “light” is a whole world of “darkness” containing those very aspects of ourselves that we have strived to ignore. The ego is only the tip of the iceberg floating above the sea, but the unconscious mind is the vast mountain of ice lurking beneath the surface.

jung shadow iceberg unconscious carl jung //highexistence.com/carl-jung-on-why-we-must-never-pass-judgment-when-we-desire-to-help/


Much of that bulk consists of our repressed thoughts, memories, emotions, impulses, traits, and actions. Jung envisioned those rejected pieces coming together to form a large, unseen piece of our personality beneath our awareness, secretly controlling much of what we say, believe, and do.

This secret piece of the personality is the shadow self.

Origins of the Shadow

Our society teaches us that certain behaviors, emotional patterns, sexual desires, lifestyle choices, etc. are inappropriate. These “inappropriate” qualities are usually those that disrupt the flow of a functioning society—even if that disruption means challenging people to accept things that make them uncomfortable. Anyone who is too challenging becomes outcast, and everyone else moves on.

Now, we humans are highly social creatures, and the last thing we want is to be excommunicated from the rest of our tribe. So, in order to avoid being cast out, we do whatever it takes to fit in. Early in our childhood development, we find where the line between what is socially “acceptable” and “unacceptable” is, and we spend the rest of our lives trying to toe it.

When we cross that line, as we all frequently do, we suffer the pain of society’s backlash. People judge us, condemn us, gossip about us, and the unpleasant emotions that come with this experience can quickly become overwhelming. However, we don’t actually need people to observe our deviances to suffer for them. Eventually, we internalize society’s backlash so deeply that we inflict it on ourselves.

The only way to escape from this perpetual recurring pain is to mask it. Enter the ego. We tell ourselves stories about who we are, who we are not, and what we would never do to protect ourselves from suffering the consequences of being an outcast. Ultimately, we believe these stories, and once we develop a firm belief about something, we unconsciously discard any information that contradicts that belief. In the world of psychology, this is known as confirmation bias: humans tend to interpret and ignore information in ways that confirm what they already believe.

The problem is that literally everyone possesses qualities that society has deemed undesirable. People fall short of others’ expectations, have a temper flare-up, are excessively gassy, etc. The ideal individual in any society is one who lives up to impossible standards.

What no one wants to admit to others is that we are all secretly failing to meet those standards. Women wear makeup, men use Axe deodorant, advertisers Photoshop celebrities, people filter their personalities with photos and status updates on social media—all to mask perceived flaws and project an image of “perfection.” Jung called these social masks we all wear our “personas.”

“Unfortunately there can be no doubt that man is, on the whole, less good than he imagines himself or wants to be. Everyone carries a shadow, and the less it is embodied in the individual’s conscious life, the blacker and denser it is. If an inferiority is conscious, one always has a chance to correct it. Furthermore, it is constantly in contact with other interests, so that it is continually subjected to modifications. But if it is repressed and isolated from consciousness, it never gets corrected.”

— Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion (1938)

Uncommon thoughts and emotions put us at an even higher risk of being alienated from society. Ideas that are challenging or contrary to social norms are considered dangerous and are best left unexpressed if one wishes to “fit in.”

Emotionally, any mood other than happy, or at least neutral, is considered undesirable. Rather than admit we are going through a difficult experience, thus making others uncomfortable with the knowledge that we are uncomfortable, we say that we’re fine when we’re really not.

Ironically, this need to avoid things that make us and others uncomfortable undermines our ability to confront and either heal or integrate them. And if this failure to heal is bad for us as individuals, the effects of that failure on a mass scale are catastrophic.

When our cultures were in their infancies, past humans beheld their more animalistic tendencies (murder, rape, war, etc.) with revulsion and fear. They developed a moral code, most often based on religious beliefs, about how the ideal, or “enlightened,” human should behave.

While these ideals were intended to be inspiring, giving humans a model for spiritual growth, they were challenging in their tendencies to go against fundamental aspects of human nature. In many ways this is a good thing, since a society that allows rape, murder, and rampant violence does not tend to be a very good one to live in.

However, our collective moral codes fall short because they only offer ideals. Religious and secular morals only tell us who to be, not how to become that person. When solutions are offered, they are bogged down in esoteric practice that the average person has a hard time understanding—at least not without years of mentoring and study, something that not all of us have the luxury to undergo. We can’t all be monks, after all.

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The result is that we struggle to change in ways that require us to suppress our base animal instincts without giving them safe outlets through which to manifest. In other words, we push our failures into the unconscious, where we can ignore them and go on pretending to be the people society wants us to be. We get to pretend to be enlightened without actually doing the deep inner work that it takes to move through the developmental process.

Enlightenment: The Shadow Formula

“Until you make the unconscious conscious, it will direct your life and you will call it fate.”

— Carl Jung

Jung’s proposed solution to this schism is for the individual to undergo “shadow work.” What we repress never stays repressed, it lives on in the unconscious—and, despite what our egos would have us believe, the unconscious mind is the one really running the show.

“Filling the conscious mind with ideal conceptions is a characteristic of Western theosophy, but not the confrontation with the shadow and the world of darkness. One does not become enlightened by imagining figures of light, but by making the darkness conscious.”

— Carl Jung, “The Philosophical Tree,” Alchemical Studies (1945)

Shadow work, then, is the process of making the unconscious conscious. In doing so, we gain awareness of our unconscious impulses and can then choose whether and how to act on them. We begin this process when we take a step back from our normal patterns of behavior and observe what is happening within us. Meditation is a great way to develop this ability to step back from ourselves, with the goal being to gain the ability to do this as we go about our daily lives.

The next step is to question. When we observe ourselves reacting to psychological triggers, or events that prompt an instant and uncontrolled reaction from us, we must learn to pause and ask ourselves, “Why am I reacting this way?” This teaches us to backtrack through our emotions to our memories, which hold the origins of our emotional programming.

Identifying triggers can be a difficult process due to our natural desire to avoid acknowledging the shadow. Our tendency is to justify our actions after the fact, when really the best thing we can do is avoid acting reactively or unconsciously in the first place. Cultivating an awareness of the shadow is the first step to identifying our triggers—but before we can do that, we must first overcome our instinctive fear of our shadows.

Perhaps the biggest issue people face when confronted with the shadow is the question, “Am I a bad person?” Acknowledging the shadow means acknowledging that we contain darkness, a capacity for malevolence. As Jung wrote in Psychology of the Unconscious

“It is a frightening thought that man also has a shadow side to him, consisting not just of little weaknesses and foibles, but of a positively demonic dynamism. The individual seldom knows anything of this; to him, as an individual, it is incredible that he should ever in any circumstances go beyond himself. But let these harmless creatures form a mass, and there emerges a raging monster; and each individual is only one tiny cell in the monster’s body, so that for better or worse he must accompany it on its bloody rampages and even assist it to the utmost. Having a dark suspicion of these grim possibilities, man turns a blind eye to the shadow-side of human nature.”

Jung indicates that under certain circumstances, all human beings have the capacity to do horrible, brutal things. And somewhat paradoxically, familiarizing ourselves with these dark potentialities and accepting them as part of us is perhaps the best way to ensure that they are never actualized. But again, it’s profoundly difficult to do this, particularly because we desperately don’t want to think of ourselves as “bad” people.

So, do taboo thoughts, hurtful actions, and the capacity to commit atrocities make you a bad person? No, not necessarily. Of course, everyone has a different definition of how “good” and “bad” people act—and those moral definitions are to some extent irreducibly subjective and arbitrary—but when it comes to the general consensus of “goodness,” you can make mistakes and hurt others without having an awareness of what you’re doing and still be a good person. Beyond that, once you acknowledge the massive potential for both light and darkness within each human being, the dichotomy of “good” people vs “bad” people begins to seem reductive and misleading. Above all, you’re human, and as such, too complex to be neatly categorized.

Nonetheless, the idea of being a good person is not without merit, and most of us intuitively understand that it’s a fine idea to move in the direction of greater self-awareness, self-mastery, and compassion. Doing difficult shadow work—recognizing and correcting our unconscious destructive patterns—is a crucial aspect of becoming a better person.

Once we identify the original sources of our psychological triggers (e.g. repressed fear, pain, aggression, etc.), only then can we begin to heal and integrate those wounded parts of ourselves. Integration, in Jung’s definition, means that we cease rejecting parts of our personalities and find ways to bring them forward into our everyday lives. We accept our shadows and seek to unlock the wisdom they contain. Fear becomes an opportunity for courage. Pain is a catalyst for strength and resilience. Aggression is transmuted into warrior-like passion. This wisdom informs our actions, our decisions, and our interactions with others. We understand how others feel and respond to them with compassion, knowing that they are being triggered themselves.

One aspect of integrating the shadow is healing our psychological wounds from early childhood and beyond. As we embark on this work, we begin to understand that much of our shadow is the result of being hurt and trying to protect ourselves from re-experiencing that hurt. We can accept what happened to us, acknowledge that we did not deserve the hurt and that these things were not our fault, and reclaim those lost pieces to move back into wholeness. (For especially deep traumas, it is advised to work with a trained psychologist on these issues.) This is a very intensive and involved process and merits another separate article to cover, but those who wish to know more can find a myriad of information on the subject in booksvideosarticles, and self-improvement groups.

Unfortunately, many philosophies insist that people can become enlightened without doing this deep inner work. The proposed solution within these philosophies seems to be to actively ignore unconscious impulses rather than to dig in and understand them.

Not trying to point fingers, but many of these philosophies come from Newer (*cough, cough*, Age) ideas, which often misinterpret ancient teachings to fit into the modern desire for convenience and comfort. I’d love to rip these teachings a new one in another article, but for now, it is good to be wary of anyone who insists that you can reach enlightenment without working on those parts of yourself that are messy and painful. Ultimately, you’ll have to use your own discretion to decide what resonates most with you—but don’t be surprised to find yourself facing a crisis if you opt to take the path of avoidance.

As Jung points out, we can’t correct undesirable behaviors until we deal with them head on. The shadow self acts out like a disobedient child until all aspects of the personality are acknowledged and integrated. Whereas many spiritual philosophies often denounce the shadow as something to be overcome and transcended, Jung insists that the true aim is not to defeat the shadow self, but to incorporate it with the rest of the personality. It is only through this merging that true wholeness can be attained, and when it is, that is enlightenment. 

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If You Want to Save the World, Tend to Your Shadow

“If you imagine someone who is brave enough to withdraw all his projections, then you get an individual who is conscious of a pretty thick shadow. Such a man has saddled himself with new problems and conflicts. He has become a serious problem to himself, as he is now unable to say that they do this or that, they are wrong, and they must be fought against… Such a man knows that whatever is wrong in the world is in himself, and if he only learns to deal with his own shadow he has done something real for the world. He has succeeded in shouldering at least an infinitesimal part of the gigantic, unsolved social problems of our day.”

— Carl Jung, Psychology and Religion (1938)

While shadow work is a rewarding way to cultivate a deep and intimate understanding of ourselves, and thus evolve as individuals, the truth is that the world needs us to embark on this journey sooner rather than later. The collective shadow houses society’s basest impulses: those of greed, hatred, and violence. If one person acting on these impulses can do a lot of harm to others, what happens when we act on them as a collective?

We can see the answer manifest in our world today. Unfettered greed leads to a stop-at-nothing drive to boost profits, which takes its toll on the Earth as we alter ecosystems and climate patterns to exhaust natural resources. Regional violence escalates in the areas affected by famine, drought, and climate disasters that irresponsible consumer practices, overpopulation, and industrialization create. The poor become poorer as corporate interests sway public opinion to form policies that benefit the rich at the expense of everyone else—especially those who are most disadvantaged.

We hate and fear what we don’t understand, prompting us to pursue violence against people rather than seek diplomatic solutions with one another. We project our own worst qualities onto our enemies to justify the violence against them. We hoard resources, ignore the suffering of others, and continue the patterns of behavior that pollute the world we all call home.

These behaviors are not exclusive to the Western world, or to the Middle East, or South America, Africa, or any one region or people. We all do it, either by participating in the entities directly involved in the conflicts, or by allowing them to continue through our own inaction.

While these large-scale problems may seem impossible for any one person to influence, we each have more power in this game than we may think. For all our discussion of the abstract power of societies, they are still made up of individual people. When two people connect, they form a relationship. A group of relationships forms a community, and the place where communities intersect is what we come to know as society.

Each of us is responsible for forming the social codes of our communities. Racism, for example, is a huge issue in the United States in the present moment and Americans are struggling to find a way to correct this prejudice and the inequality it creates. Whereas previously racism was a way to structure American society, modern Americans have decided this racial hierarchy is no longer appropriate. So, now, when people call out and denounce racism in their communities, they establish that racism is not an acceptable part of the social code. On the other hand, people who practice racism establish that it is appropriate, and people who ignore racism enable it.

Every day, you are building the culture of your community. When you smile at strangers, you promote a culture of kindness and connection. If you avoid making eye contact or speak to others coldly, you build a community based on distrust and animosity.

Our actions extend far beyond ourselves—they have a ripple effect on society as a whole. Consider cities like New York that have a reputation for being “rude.” Can a city really be rude? No, of course not—but all the individual people living there can.

Unfriendly communities are not hostile because of just one or two people, but because the majority of people act that way. When you have a large group of people living in close proximity all projecting and acting out their unconscious impulses on one another, the result is a toxic culture. People who hurt each other stop trusting one another, and without trust, communities fall apart and individuals become isolated.

However, this wave can be countered with a conscious effort to breed trust, connection, and kindness.

These connections rebuild fragmented communities, helping us to overcome our isolation and tap into a collective or community mentality. When this happens we stop thinking selfishly and start thinking empathetically and cooperatively. As loving, healthy communities connect with one another, they work together to create public policies that benefit more people, extend help to those who need it, and work to preserve the natural world they inhabit.

And this all begins with you.

When you work to heal and integrate your shadow, you find that you stop living so reactively and unconsciously, thereby hurting others less. You build trust in your relationships, and the people whose lives you touch open themselves to others, building even more healthy relationships. Even random acts of kindness to strangers will increase the likelihood that they will be kind to strangers in turn, which will lighten the mood of a community overall.

You hold within you the power to catalyze a ripple that will vibrate through the lives of the people around you. The world desperately needs more kindness, more trust, and more cooperation to heal divisions, address pressing global issues, and avoid catastrophes that could lead to the extinction of humanity and many other species. Doing deep inner work may seem like a self-absorbed process, but you’ll come to find that, at its core, it truly becomes about so much more than just you.

Save your shadow self, save the world.

The Mystery of the Emerald Tablet

Source: Mysterious Universe

Throughout human history there have been those mysterious books, artifacts and relics said to hold some sort of vast powers or mystical knowledge. History is steeped in such tales, and there have been many who have spent their whole lives trying to find these lost artifacts. One such item that has managed to elude clear understanding is an ancient text etched upon stone, which would go on to become one of the most influential manuscripts on the practice of alchemy and a basis for much occult knowledge, but which remains buried in the mists of time. It is an item of alleged great power, holding secrets of magic, alchemy, the human mind, and possibly even the universe itself.

One of the cornerstones of early alchemy was a mysterious tablet said to contain a vast trove of secrets of magic and the universe and which would go on to become one of the most revered and sought after pieces of magical documentation in all of Western Occultism. Referred to variously as the Smaragdine Table, Tabula Smaragdina, or more commonly simply the Emerald Tablet, this elusive object is said to be one or even a series of rectangular green plaques, onto which are etched various symbols and inscriptions that spell out all manner of magical knowledge, in particular having to do with alchemy and the transmutation of matter from one form to another, as well as the method for creating the legendary Philosopher’s Stone and for manipulating the very matter of the universe itself. It is even said to hold the secrets to transforming one’s own consciousness and attaining a sort of enhanced conscious state and enlightenment.

While the appearance and the secrets contained within are mostly agreed upon, the tablet has a murky history wreathed in the unknown, which has obfuscated its true origins and author. The most commonly cited version has it that the tablet was originally written by the father of Hermetic magic and alchemy himself, the legendary 5th century philosopher and priest Hermes Trismegistus, back in ancient Greece. Hermes supposedly wrote the Hermetic Corpus, a series of sacred texts that are the basis of Hermeticism, and the Emerald Tablet is said to have been his masterpiece. Other myriad theories include that the tablet was written by the son of the biblical Adam and Eve, Seth, that it was discovered clutched in the priest’s dead hands in a tomb under the statue of Hermes in Tyan in the 8th century by an Arabic mage named Balinas, that it was unearthed by Alexander that Great in an Egyptian tomb, or even that it was created by Thoth, the king priest of Atlantis a full 38,000 years ago.

Whatever the case may be, legends flock to and surround the tablet and where it went off to. One common tale is that it was buried under the Pyramids in Egypt, while others claim it was sequestered away within the Ark of the Covenant or that is was returned to the buried ruins of Atlantis. With so many legends and myths spiraling about the Emerald Tablet, it is hard to say who wrote it or when, or where it is now. What is known is that it was first translated into Latin by Hugo von Santalla in the 12th century, and that at least in this version Hermes Trismegistus is credited as the author. It is also known that the alleged writings upon it were highly influential in alchemy at the time, and this makes it all the more curious that no evidence of the actual physical existence of the lost tablet has ever been uncovered. We only know of it from written accounts and various translations, and some of these were from highly influential people, including Roger Bacon, Michael Maier, Aleister Crowley, Albertus Magnus, Eric John Holmyard, Julius Ruska, and Carl Jung, who claimed to have been visited by the tablet in his dreams.