16 | CR Book VII, Chapter 2
level of self-activity would be one of self-extinction. On the highest, the
self would be active by itself in complete liberty.* On the medium levels,
the self would be partly active and partly passive, alternately the one
more than the other. The self and reality might be reached on any
of these levels.
I am (at least partly) active when II control an event, when i feel
that I make it happen. I am predominantly passive when II am controlled
by some constraining force inside or outside me, when the event happens
to me. I am inactive when it happens. The nearest to this are reflexes, and
the automatic movements of heart and intestines which have no reference
either to me (non-assertion), or to an object (non-attachment).
The experience of "activity" and "passivity" depends on two
conditions: An imaginary cut must split an event and its conditions†
into two external parts. The "I" must be distinguished from, and
opposed to, the not-I, the conditions fixed by me to the conditions fixed
forme. The chief impulse or cause for the action or event is then placed
either inside or outside the "I", which is described as "will", and which
identifies itself with a decision, a goal, an intention, an impulse or
conation, a like or dislike, claiming them, rather arbitrarily‡ as its own,
as free expression of itself. In the process of my striving against an
otherwilled environment, or against another, and, as it were, foreign
will inside myself, the impression of struggle and effort, of achievement
and failure, decides about whether the feeling tone is predominantly one
of activity and freedom, or of passivity, submission and compulsion.
The medium levels of self-activity are the product of vague feelings,
which owe their existence more to vanity, self-deception, and man-made
divisions than to the objective circumstances of the situation.
In self-extinction, the self jumps out of the conditions which now
seem to make for activity, and then again for passivity. In a state of
genuine self-extinction, the self, on the level where it is an individual and
separate entity, is annihilated and counts itself for nothing. The self,
though in a sense it is (has being), is neither actively nor passively
involved in events.
Self-extinction therefore requires that the inside of our person
should be unified, and that, in addition, the opposition between us and
things should cease. Nothing inside the person remains outside the real
self, to disturb or constrain it. Singleness of purpose, unification,
simplification, one-pointedness of mind enable us to feel that all self-
activity has ceased. The self gives up everything we call "mine",
ceases to hold its own, and thus finds itself on a new level.
There the self loses itself and all measure, sinks into a measureless
being that is without limitations, foundations and determinations. It is
devoured by being, in which no more one thing is opposed to another.
In consequence, there is nothing to which the person opposes himself.
This is achieved by identification with all things and events as they come
along, and as they are. In inactivity, non-assertion (of oneself) and
non-attachment (to objects), in acquiescence and resignation, in aimless,
effortless, quiet and cheerfully indifferent contentment one accepts life
as it is.
The self relaxes and becomes empty. The entrance of reality is no
longer barred by predilictions of one's own which, being peculiar to
*Chapter 3 - †Book II, Chapter 5 - ‡Book II & Book III