Negative aspects of Ruach

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Negative aspects of Ruach

Postby Bryan » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:20 pm

Been thinking about the ego, or "self-structure" or illusory "I" a lot lately. I read Colin Low's "Notes on Kabbalah" a while ago, and I recall his description of the Ruach to be very similar to my understanding of the abstract self-structure which is divided against reality. But this seems to conflict with other descriptions of Ruach that I have read, and I'm trying to clear up some of the confusion I've got about this. Low writes of the Ruach,

The Ruach is the rational soul... [It is] not seen as something that one was given automatically, in the words of Scholem, it is a "post-natal increment"... Ruach exists in varying degrees from person to person - it is not present by default in equal measure.

The Ruach is based on the ability to create abstract models of the world in consciousness and reflect on them... If we ignore the questionable value of being able to reflect on the morality of our decisions, we are still left with the ability to reflect: we have the ability to reflect on ourselves, perhaps even to reflect ourselves, and create a "self image".... Because the Ruach can reflect upon itself, and create a self image, it can become an entity in its own right, perhaps even dissociating itself from the body and its needs... We have millions of people reflecting upon themselves and concluding that they are "wrong" in some way - the wrong shape, the wrong size, the wrong color, the wrong age.

My own view of the Ruach is profoundly negative. Our culture develops this single aspect of consciousness to such an absurd degree that the Ruach is incapable of forming a sensible notion concerning either the Nephesh or Neshamah, and turning its face away from both the lower and higher worlds, becomes obsessed with its own creations. The Ruach has a tendency to reduce the body to an object and often lives a life completely at odds with the needs of the Nephesh. Where there is a spiritual aspiration, the Ruach produces a monstrous and bloated reflection, "itself made perfect", and aspires towards this illusory caricature of itself. The Ruach is a patchwork monster, a grotesque reflection of its creator, and it lurches about the world trying to make sense of what is happening, sometimes playing like a child, sometimes leaving a trail of destruction. It is the king that needs to be slain, the god that must be sacrificed.


What do yall think? That description sounds pretty darn Yesodic to me. Might this just be one aspect of Ruach? Do you think it's accurate to associate the Ruach with the symbol of the "king that needs to be slain, the god that must be sacrificed"? Is it the same thing as the ego, or an accumulation of sensations within memory that is identified with?
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Re: Negative aspects of Ruach

Postby Jim Eshelman » Sun Nov 27, 2011 7:28 pm

The Ruach is the same as the self-conscious ego with its collateral components (intellect, desire, memory, volition, etc.). It has all the same advantages and problems.

Just substitute "ego" for "Ruach" in the quoted paragraphs, and it will read easily and sort itself out.

Certainly this part of the psyche can produce the phenomena he describes, such as ego-inflation which contacted by spiritual forces. It is the only part of the human psyche that has the capacty for self-reflection. It can become alienated from the body (that's hardly a rare phenomenon to observe with respect to intellect and ego-distinction). Etc.

Where I would seriously disagree is in his statement that the Ruach is "profoundly negative." But it's hardly a rare position, since there are a bunch of ego-demonizers in occultism and religion.
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Re: Negative aspects of Ruach

Postby kerlem93 » Mon Nov 28, 2011 7:57 am

In the latest episode of Speech in the Silence, Dr. David Shoemaker presents a segment on The Role of the Ego in the Great Work that discusses this topic. I posted a link to it here on my blog:

http://unusmundus-melie.blogspot.com/2011/11/podcast-speech-in-silence-episode-24.html
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Re: Negative aspects of Ruach

Postby Bryan » Mon Nov 28, 2011 3:30 pm

Thanks guys. Your comments have helped. From the wide variety of opinions people have about the ego/Ruach, it is sometimes difficult to sort out what exactly they are talking about. When one person exalts it and another person demonizes it, can seem like the two people are talking about entirely different things though using the same terms. It seems that my investigation of this matter is similar to trying to learn about a person by only studying hir when se's ill.

Admittedly, I find illnesses fascinating and they can make great stories... :booze:
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