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Kant And The Dual Character Of The Ego






Category: MODERN PSYCHOLOGY

Kant distinguished the noumenal from the phenomenal ego. The former he
regarded as an idea, the latter as a reality in time. The distinction
corresponds roughly to that between person and nature. The phenomenal
ego is the nature of man. It bears the brunt of the struggle of life.
The noumenal ego is the transcendent personality of the individual--an
idea which pure reason necessarily forms and which practical reason
establishes. Though the Kantian philosophy no longer carries
conviction, it is interesting to see that Kant felt and admitted a
double current in man's being. He recognised that the superficial self
is not the true being of the man. It is not necessary, however, to go
as far as Kant went. We need not with him relegate the core of
personal being to the realm of idea. Granted that personality is not
part of our normal experience as nature is, there are times when the
depths of being are stirred. Moments of crisis drive a man deeper than
will and thought and even feeling, and make him conscious of himself as
a psychic unity, permanent and of infinite value. Personality normally
remains in the recesses of the subconscious. It is the hidden basis of
life. It is active, though its activities are for the most part
underground. It does not, however, lie altogether outside the ken of
consciousness. It may be experienced; it is experienced when great
emotion rends the surface fabric of the man and discloses the true self.





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