View Full Version : The Atman Project by Ken Wilber

04-16-2009, 10:05 AM
The Atman Project, Eros, Thanatos

The Atman Project concept posits that every person intuits that he or she is God, but corrupts that intuition by applying it to his or her small "s" self, and will then do whatever's necessary to confirm that distorted intuition.

Eros wants perpetuation of its own existence, to transcend its obvious physical fate. So it creates a series of symbolic substitutes for that Self, and pretends to be cosmocentric, independent and immortal, e.g., king/god figures. Rituals are used to control the world, to transcend the world, to appear supernatural. Eros also causes the fervent drives to achieve wealth (possessions), fame, power, knowledge.

Thanatos is the pull of Wholeness, that would tear down the boundary between self and other, the primary dualism, which would lead to death, dissolution, transcendence. So the Atman Project seeks to avoid all that threatens the separate self's dissolution. It finds substitute sacrifices for the lost Whole: if you won't surrender, you need to find substitute sacrifices, ie death to others. In other words, the desire to kill is Thanatos extroverted.

Culture's purpose is to manufacture surplus Eros and reduce Thanatos.

The further along a civilization and the development of the individuals therein, the greater the intuition of the Atman lack, and therefore the more difficult the substitute gratifications are to achieve and sustain. So the Atman Project becomes ever more intense to make up for an ever increasing intuition of the Atman lack.

"Through substitute seeking (driven by Eros) and substitute sacrifices (driven by Thanatos) individuals propel themselves through the ocean of equally driven souls, and the violent friction of these overlapping Atman Projects sparks that nightmare called history."

Has anybody read his work? (its amazing) the above is a brief over view.

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04-16-2009, 05:00 PM

well, in short, he talks about how everything is aimed at finding 'atman' or God.and we do this constantly, in everything (this is known as the atman project)

so for e.g we want money, fame etc...but really all along we are trying to find substitue gratifications for the our lack of God in our lives. and we can never find him in material things, but foolishly we keep hoarding more and more in the attempt to fill that empty whole that only God can really fill.

We wish to be at one with him, but refuse to give up our ego.It is only when we have used up all susbstitue gratifications that we realise nothing can satisfy us except god.

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