The Self and the structure of the personality — part 4c
Some diagrams
author: Matthijs Cornelissen
last revision: May, 2017

To make it easier to visualise the relationships between the various concepts discussed so far, I will now put some of them together into three diagrams. The reader may keep in mind that reality is always much more complex than the models that can be made of it, and these diagrams are intended only to depict in graphic form how the different parts of the personality conceptually relate to each other. They are not intended to depict reality in any other way.

Figure 1-2-4a. The three lowest levels in the concentric system

Figure 1-2-4a indicates how the concentric system (depicted in Figure 1-2-1a) intersects with the three planes of the lower hemisphere: the physical, vital, and mental. The grey sheet labeled “Section” on the right side of Figure 1-2-4a serves as the backdrop for the conceptual relationships indicated in Figure 1-2 -4b and Figure 1-2-4c.

Figure 1-2-4b. A simplified overview of the structure of the personality 

Figure 1-2-4d indicates the most prominent elements of human nature together in a simple, two-dimensional diagram. The ego and the outer nature are on the right. It may be noted that in the outer nature, the distinction between mental, vital, and physical is not as clear as the separate circles indicate. In the inner nature, they are clearly distinct, but in the outer nature, they are always mixed up together. An important issue that is visible, even in this highly simplified diagram, is that the inner nature, which in mainstream psychology would be counted under the self, is in Indian systems like Vedānta and Sāṁkhya unambiguously part of prakṛti, the non-self.

Figure 1-2-4c. A slightly more detailed depiction of the same

Figure 1-2-4c shows a somewhat more detailed rendering of the same model. Along the vertical axis, there are listed the various planes belonging to the Sevenfold Chord of Being. The subsequent discussion has added the cakras and the corresponding parts of the inner nature; below the diagram, a few additional terms have been added to indicate the concentric system. In Figure 1-2-4b and 1-2-4c, on the left of line A is the Self, the puruṣa, the carrier of our individual consciousness. On the right of line B is the outer nature, which is all of which most people are aware. In between the two vertical lines are the inner worlds. The arrow-head lines under “inner being” indicate that the center of the inner being can be in the inner realm itself, in the corresponding cakra, or in the plane-specific Self. The lines under “psychic influence” indicate that the psychic being evolves over time: It gradually brings first the true being, then the inner being, and, ultimately even the outer being under its control.

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