Visions Seminars

Here questions arise as to whether an ego is an historical extension.

We can make such assumptions sure enough, we are quite naturally inclined to believe that we are historically extended.

Therefore we need an hypothesis, perhaps the belief in reincarnation, the belief that in a former life one was a Caesar or a Napoleon or a Shakespeare-certainly no one mean.

The East needed the idea of the reincarnation of souls to explain why we have contents in ourselves which are surely not our personal acquisitions.

There are very good reasons for these hypotheses, they are by no means absurd phenomena.

Millions of people all over the world, not only in the East, believe in the migration of souls.

Again and again one hears people say: I must have been so-and-so, and done such and such a thing in a former incarnation and therefore have such and such a karma.

They would not talk in that way if they did not feel the presence of a factor in themselves for which they cannot make themselves responsible.

It was obviously not acquired in their personal lives and not even in the lives of their parents, so one can discuss the possibility, perhaps the necessity, of assimilating these historical contents, or contents remote in space, even Chinese contents.

You see, the question is whether they should not be assimilated into a new consciousness of the ego, historically extended and also extended in space.

Suppose you have some telepathic experience, or prophetic dreams.

Then you must assume that your ego is exceedingly extended in time, and that means in space also, so you reach a conception of the ego which is absolutely inconceivable; it reaches out to such an extent that you are everything, you are the creator himself, you are time and space.

But the result is that you get an enormous inflation; it is a neurotic condition.

You become entirely unreal, no longer a human being, you are lifted into the air, you are a Purusha that covers the earth two handbreadths high, as the Upanishads say.

This is a most unsound condition, besides being perfectly ridiculous.

For I cannot allow you to cover the earth everywhere-I am going to cover the earth everywhere, I am as good as you; and I cannot permit anyone to extend over the whole of history and exclude myself, I want to extend over history, I am the subject that extends everywhere.

So it is all bunk.

There is no such extension because the ego is this thing here, unique and for once only, it is right here, limited in space and time, and if anything comes in that indicates that enormous extension, then I say it is like a radio; it started somewhere and I perceive it, but it is not my own property, it is not a part of myself. In a way, it may become a part of myself; if someone writes me a letter from Australia, that becomes part of myself, I have it in my pocket and can do with it what I like; yet I have not written that letter.

So we must form a concept of the ego that allows for definite limitations, and the limitations are quite obvious, they are space and time, there the ego comes to an end; those are the borderlines of ego extension and everything that is beyond is impersonal.

It has always been so, and it always will be so. And the thing beyond is the collective unconscious. ~Carl Jung, The Visions Seminar, Page 750-751