Which self to forget, which self to know?

The Dilemma of Narcissus

by Louis Lavelle
Philosophy / Transpersonal Psychology / Mythology


Translated from the French

by William Gairdner

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5.5 x 8.5
230 pages
(softcover available)

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Excerpts & Info


Now and then we glimpse soul "out there." And then it vanishes, leaving us to discover where it went. Louis Lavelle's exquisite understanding of our fascination with and resistance to such moments gives this book extraordinary value and power.

"The whole art of living," Lavelle says, "consists in preventing our intermittent good impulses from going to waste and withering away. "We must take hold of them, set them to work, and make them bear fruit. The essential sin is, without any possible doubt . . . negligence. We always have enough light, if we will but accept it, to discern the best thing to do. Waiting for futher light is an excuse for evading action . . . like wilful blindness." 

For Lavelle, metaphysics is "the science of spiritual inwardness." If the Greeks of old repeat "Know thyself" and the Christians "Forget thyself," he tells us, "it is because they are not speaking of the same self; and I can only know the one on condition that I forget the other."

In this book, he shows which self to forget and which to know if we long for reality that transcends us both without and within. His deeply satisfying meditation on this existential dilemma rouses the "genius" beyond ego that sees by the light we have, and connects our evolving living-wholeness with the living-wholeness of others.

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