The ego, having established a sense of the unity between mind and body, and a sense of the continuity of time (through the semantic program), is then cast in the role of the executant of the archetypal blue print of the life cycle that is systematically encoded within the genetic Self. This function the ego proceeds to perform in the illusion that it is a free agent, the master of its fate, the captain of its soul. In fact it is but a fragmentation, an aspect of the Self that is manifest in space and time. In the course of being actualized, the core Self is inevitably constrained by the living circumstances of the growing individual, especially by the personality and culture of his parents and the nature of his relationship with them.
Incarnation entails sacrifice: it means fragmentation and distortion of the original undifferentiated archetypal state: many aspects of the Self will prove unacceptable to the family and cultural milieu and be repressed, whilst others will remain as archetypal potential, which may or may not be activated at a later date. The extent of this distortion is the factor that makes all the difference between neurosis and mental health and individual transcendence of the Self. The life-long struggle of each individual to achieve some resolution of the dissonance between the needs of the conscious personality and the dictates of the Self, and to discover the aspect of individuality that is intuitively felt to transcend both of these states, is at the very heart of the individuation process.
Individuation is not blindly living out the life-cycle; it is living it consciously and responsibly, and is ultimately a matter of ethics. It is a conscious attempt to bring the universal program of human existence to its fullest possible expression in the life of the individual, and further to expand beyond this programming, not only for oneself but as a member of the human race.
What we seem to be - to ourselves and to others - is only a fraction of what there is in us to be. This is the secret of man's 'Divine discontent'. Yet for those who have ears to hear, the call to individuate ('the voice of God within') is constantly transmitted to the ego by the Self, coming from the Higher Self. Unfortunately, reception is often jammed by interference from the repressed Subconscious; and such is our extroverted concern with the struggle for survival, that few of us hear these inner incitements to greater Self-fulfillment. Most of us have yet to understand the dimension of our Being that is not genetically encoded, but is the operator of the human bio-computer and ultimately the creator or meta-programmer of this information-system we are living in. This understanding is a process of differentiation of the different aspects of the self that we clump together as one identity ('Me') in one (the current) consciousness state.
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