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Self, Ancient Names


Almost from the beginning of antiquity humankind has been intrigued with survival after death. Much speculation has circulated as to the cause of this ancient fascination, and one thing is certain, there is evidence of its existence. Terms denoting this fascination are found in the languages of ancient cultures. The Egyptians expressed it as the concept of the Ba-soul; the Greeks called it man's inner daimon; and the Romans worshiped it as man's "genius," which was native to each individual. In more primitive societies it was frequently envisioned as a protective spirit embodied within an animal or fetish.

The ancient Roman held that the "genius" of man was the divine force that survived after the person was diseased. It was a living entity that passed from one generation to another through the head of the household. This genius spirit of the father was personified in art, which linked him with the ancestral spirit. (see Lares)

In modern society the "Self" has be designated as the center of man by the psychiatrist Carl G. Jung. Jung described this "Self" of man as the totality of the whole psyche in order to distinguish it from the "ego," which comprises only a small portion of the psyche. A.G.H.


Sources: 78, 215; 79, 161.