Self-awareness and ultimate selfhood

Religious Studies 13 (September):319-325 (1977)
The fruit of several centuries of rationalistic thought in the West has been to reduce both the objective and the subjective poles of knowledge to a single level. In the same way that the Cogito of Descartes is based on reducing the knowing subject to a single mode of awareness, the external world which this ‘knowing self’ perceives is reduced to a spatio-temporal complex limited to a single level of reality – no matter how far this complex is extended beyond the galaxies or into aeons of time, past and future. The traditional view as expressed in the metaphysical teachings of both the Eastern and Western traditions is based, on the contrary, upon a hierarchic vision of reality, not only of reality's objective aspect but also of its subjective one. Not only are there many levels of reality or existence stretching from the material plane to Absolute and Infinite Reality, but there are also many levels of subjective reality or consciousness, many envelopes of the self, leading to the Ultimate Self which is Infinite and Eternal and which is none other than the Transcendent Reality beyond. Moreover, the relation between the subjective and the objective is not bound to a single mode. There is not just one form of perception or awareness. There are modes and degrees of awareness leading from the so-called ‘normal’ perception by man of both his own ‘ego’ and the external world to awareness of Ultimate Selfhood, in which the subject and object of knowledge become unified in a single reality beyond all separation and distinction
Keywords Awareness  Epistemology  Level  Metaphysics  Reality  Self-awareness  Selfhood
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DOI 10.2307/20005423
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Michael L. Anderson & Donald R. Perlis (2005). The Roots of Self-Awareness. Phenomenology and the Cognitive Sciences 4 (3):297-333.
Seyyed Hossein Nasr (1988). Self-Awareness and Ultimate Selfhood. In George F. McLean & Hugo Anthony Meynell (eds.), Religious Studies. Lanham: University Press Of America 319 - 325.

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