08 | CR Book IV, Chapter 1

Everything beyond the boundaries of the self may act as an enemy to its
peace, indifferent, though vaguely suspected as hostile. The pressure of
the not-self which neither our power has subdued, nor our love has
embraced, is felt as restrictive and painful. The not-self – and thereby the
self itself – can be annihilated and extinguished by widening the circle of
self to its utmost limits. The boundless, and unbound, self ceases to be
a self. After the frontier-line between self and not-self has been abolished,
there remains nothing outside to confine our freedom, or to trouble our
peaceful serenity.*

Through both contemplation, and practical activity, a state of mind
should be reached in which no boundary lines are left between me and
other things. Meditation encourages an observation of one's personal
activities as impersonal events, a merging with other things, and a
consequent diminution of the feeling of selfhood through deliberate
identification with almost anything. We should form the habit of treating
our self and that of others alike, and of feeling towards all beings as if
they were ourselves, thereby treating as irrelevant those aspects in which
different selves differ, and thus acting as though the individuality,
particularity and separateness of selves were an illusion. Mental
attitudes which affirm the distinction between self and not-self are
"demeritorious" or harmful, those who imply or lead to self-effacement
are "meritorious" or helpful. Self-deception, greed and aggressiveness
are the roots of evil. Knowledge and insight, modesty, patience and
compassion lead to the diminution, and final extinction, of self-feeling.

[1941 Book III, Chapter 4 - 'Self' as symbol]

[1941 Book III, Chapter 5 - 'This is not my self']


Chapter 1 - Unity in Action - The needs and conditions of action
are the ultimate reason why we split up reality into different and
separate things, and why we keep things apart. The delimitation of units
depends on our practical needs, and is inseparably bound up with it.

The experimental method assumes that by regarding a thing in
abstraction from its surroundings, by isolating it, we can best find out
what it is in itself. Isolating goes hand in hand with activity, with
purposes of seeking, avoiding, manipulating, and with a preference on
the part of our mind for differentiated fields. It draws its ultimate
justification from practical activity.

Although isolating has become a well-established habit, we must
ask whether and how far we are justified in indulging in it. Not any
practical activity leads us to reality. What kind of Practice does? One
might argue that only social practice insofar as it is regularly
can lead us to true reality. The conception of regular success
contains at least two difficulties: (1) What we call "success" depends
on the various aims we set ourselves. Is the social practice of a machine
age more regularly successful than the magical practice of tribal
communities? The answer must be an unqualified "yes", if we take the
production of goods as our standard. On the other hand, as far as
adaption and social stability are concerned, there is little to choose
between the two. It looks as though the social effort at mastering nature
led to the enslavement of man, and to the estrangement not only of
reality, but of the products of his own hand and brain. Success depends
on what we want. It is not quite clear what we really want ourselves.
We cannot take for granted that it is our real purpose to control the

*Book VII, Chapter 2