The terms mentioned in the heading are difficult to separate. Probably many would have their difficulties here and there, which is quite understandable. In this article I would like to briefly introduce my personal definition of these four elements. They are closely intertwined, but have to be distinguished from each other to understand my explanations.
The Human Being
Human beings are first of all mammals from a purely biological point of view. We are also part of the food chain, fight for survival and compete for dominance in the world – we are actually animals. We often hear utterances like “ The Humans and the Animals…“ or “ The Animal and Human World“ as if we were separated from them, as if we were above the animals, as if we had forgotten that we are part of nature.
This forgetting is fatal. The consequences are already very noticeable today.
Spiritually, the Human Being is indeed something special. The reason for this is formulated in different ways in the different religions. However, the reason can be summarized to a common denominator: we have the gift of consciousness. This fatal and divine power gives us unlikely possibilities.
Of course, different creatures besides humans also have a certain degree of consciousness. This manifests itself, for example, in the abilities of some apes to recognize themselves in a mirror, or of intelligent crows who can process multi-level dependencies, or in the highly developed social structures of elephants.
Man, however, has been blessed with an even higher gift with which he has already done many wonderful but also many terrible things in the world. This gift has made us arrogant. It has blinded us. At the same time we have forgotten how powerful it actually is.
What is consciousness? In my opinion, consciousness is the ability to reflect every action, be it thoughts, physical actions or spoken words, to plan them, to visualize their various causes and possible effects. The boundary is the treasure of personal experience which, if it has a well-formed richness, could be called wisdom.
I have consciously avoided the word intelligence here. In my opinion, intelligence is not necessarily connected with consciousness, because there are different forms of intelligences that do not necessarily have to be connected with human beings. Intelligence is for me a concept of rational logic; as we know only too well, we can also consciously perform very illogical and irrational actions – for me one of the indications why humans differ from the other mites by a higher form of consciousness.
The Ghost and the Self
The ghost has received many names in the course of human history: Soul, essence, power, ghost, breath of God, observer, etc. Personally, I prefer the term ghost, but the underlying concept is more or less the same in all expressions, often formulated in different ways.
For me, the ghost is to be seen separately from the self. Therefore, what I understand by ghost has only conditionally something to do with the concept of the ghost, as it is depicted in various films: as a disembodied figure of a living being who still walks on earth, because it does not allow a certain cause, which took place during his lifetime, to come to rest – I don’t mean this at all.
To me, the ghost is the unchangeable. The self, on the other hand, is constantly changing. The ghost is free of human feelings, because its task is to „evaluate“ feelings. It observes and evaluates the „feelings“ that are perceived in the form of stimuli by the human senses. In my opinion, this is the true core of what we like to generalize and mix with the concept of the self.
The ghost now gives these feelings an evaluation and sends this evaluation back into our construct of experience, which I call the self. That’s right: the self, by my definition, is just a construct built from the experiences we have throughout our lives.
This is the true reason why we are all the same in our core, why even everything that is animated by a ghost is in our innermost core a brother and a sister at the same time. In the innermost core, categories such as gender or species are meaningless. They are only „surface representations“.
The fatal thing in human thinking is the feverish thinking in itself. For we no longer understand the mechanism of thinking. In order to fully understand the process of feeling and thinking, we must see the different instances separately, which are closely interwoven.
The dominance of self-thinking is a trend that has long determined the actions of mankind and ends in wars, destruction and senseless death. Because we do not understand the conception of the self, we accept these things as given, as unchangeable, even as „natural“.
We identify our self with all kinds of things in the outside world: job, status symbols, „successes“, appreciation by others, social status, wealth, etc. All these things are changeable, transient and man-made. The eye for the inside becomes cloudy, it dulls, it goes blind. If we do not understand our innermost being, how can we presume to want to understand the entire whole?
This the english translation of the article:
Der Mensch, das Bewusstsein, der Geist und das Ich
By Marco Lo Voi