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The model of the self

By - Mar 28, 2010 - Category Lectures - Print Print - Version française


What is it in me that says “I”? What is the nature of that consciousness of my self? What is my spirit made of? How am I psychologically constructed? We can ask this question in so many different ways, replace one term by another, we will always return to the same enigma: what is it in me that produces the feeling of existing, but also rules my behaviour, my thoughts and my emotions? What is this thing, which we could call the self, that enables me to think, to decide, to feel; that keeps all my experiences and gives me the innermost feeling of being myself, of having my own identity?

This lecture explores The model of the self according to Bahram Elahi as compared to the models put forward by neurosciences or Freud’s psychoanalytic model.


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  1. MH Mar 29, 2010 7:15 pm 1

    Thanks for this test! Good way to know how I understood the different models…
    … I made two mistakes: how could I know the right answers, please?

  2. Erin Mar 29, 2010 8:07 pm 2

    I really enjoyed learning about the model of the self from the different points of view. The format was concise which I find conducive to learning and I’m grateful that the editorial board also included the ideas of neuroscientists and the Freudian model as well. Also it was fun to do the quiz afterwards to evaluate how much I’ve learned.

  3. kf Mar 30, 2010 2:37 am 3

    The lecture was very helpful to understand the concepts of self and human behaviors; furthermore, the quiz made the experience greatly educational for me, which highlighted the key points and learning factors of the lecture and helped me to understand the lecture and the actual origins of the concepts so much better practically. Also, I found the explanations and examples that were given in case of any incorrect answers extremely sufficient and useful to understand the concepts better. Thank you so much for the lecture and the quiz.

  4. Amir Mar 30, 2010 5:08 am 4

    What an amazing interactive learning tool. It simplifies such a deep and complicated concept.

  5. Elsa Mar 30, 2010 5:51 am 5

    Thank you. Absolutely wonderful! Loved the quizz, made me think, re-think, digest and learn the material in a fun and interesting fashion 🙂

  6. Sy Mar 30, 2010 6:28 am 6

    Very nicely visualized. Especially the visualization of the “Total Ego” was very helpful to make it much more tangible for me. Thanks!

  7. Zulu Mar 30, 2010 8:27 am 7


    At the very end of the quiz – where you get your results – there is a link to review your answers/correction.

  8. ramin Mar 30, 2010 6:53 pm 8

    I read it few times and everytime i learned new things and at the end the quizz was great.I thank you so much for analyzing the subject (self) so profoundly.

  9. neuro Mar 31, 2010 3:39 am 9

    A wonderful presentation and format…

    I am a bit unclear as to what it means to “surpass ourselves”…does this mean to overcome the natural impulses of the Id?

  10. Dara Mar 31, 2010 6:14 am 10

    great and amazingly simplified educational. is imperious id part of “total self”?

  11. sp Mar 31, 2010 7:22 am 11

    An overwhelming content plus a high level presentation, it was a great experience for me.

  12. MH Mar 31, 2010 9:11 am 12

    Many thanks, Zulu, for your kind understanding of my own case! 😉

  13. Mel Mar 31, 2010 4:28 pm 13

    Thank you so much. This method helped me to understand the concept of self in much deeper level. Specially the TV metaphor made it tangible for me, that the ego is not soley limited to that of our present psyche, but also includes all of the egos from our past lives.

  14. mag Apr 01, 2010 1:20 am 14

    It was great, thanks. More to learn every time you listen to the lecture, helps you understand yourself better.

  15. FS Apr 01, 2010 3:34 pm 15

    @Neuro I looked up this word because I had the same question. According to my search surpass=transcend that means
    1- to rise above or go beyond the limits of
    2- to triumph over the negative or restrictive aspects of; to overcome
    3- to be prior to, beyond, and above (the universe or material existence)
    So I have the same understanding as you, that surpass ourselves means overcoming natural impulses of the id and specifically the imperious self, to improve ourselves beyond the borders of material life.

  16. FS Apr 01, 2010 3:54 pm 16

    @ Dara
    According to The Path of perfection, the imperious self does not have a creational existence and it is the state that derives from the dysfunction of the irascible, concupiscent and imaginative faculties. Therefore, the imperious self has no substantive existence and only its effects on our psyche remain in our beings and are recorded in our total ego after death.

  17. Mel Apr 01, 2010 5:15 pm 17


    My understanding is that the id, which is part of the “total self”, has two parts: the worker self and the imperious self. The imperious self is the harmful side of the id.

    Total Self = Ego + Super ego + Id + Super id

    Id = Worker self + Imperious self

  18. FS Apr 02, 2010 1:29 am 18

    Regarding this lecture, our Real or total self includes all the egos, super-egos, ids, super-ids of the current and past lives.
    In my point of view, the id is not a mixture of the imperious and the worker self: it is a single entity with two potentials, moving in the right way or the wrong way!
    Imperious self ——————————————————— Worker self
    – ID +

  19. FS Apr 02, 2010 1:34 am 19

    It was mentioned that the total ego includes the egos of this life and past lives but here, the total ego was defined as the whole psyches of this life and past lives.
    Could you clarify the concept of total ego?

  20. david Apr 03, 2010 11:58 pm 20


    So the primates’ id does not have an imperious self mode, right? So a human being without a celestial soul does not have the imperious self mode?

    About the sublimation theory: Does the choice of the word “coherent” (there is no coherent theory about sublimation) mean that” it works” but “not so well”?


  21. HSH Apr 05, 2010 11:57 am 21

    With thanks for such a valuable test which has a compact but meaningful course in it. It has been designed in an excellent way to learn people like me the essence of successive lives in natural spirituality.

    With Thanks / HSH

  22. FS Apr 07, 2010 2:41 am 22

    Primates just have terrestrial souls so there are no opposite powers (celestial and terrestrial) leading to internal conflicts in animals.We just can come up with definition of two modes of terrestrial soul (imperious and worker) if there are two struggling poles.Therefore, two modes of imperious self can not be explained because there is just one pole and no free will in animals.

  23. SM Apr 09, 2010 9:44 pm 23

    @ david

    It is my understanding that the imperious self is a concept unique to human beings (at least as far as living beings on Earth are concerned) because by definition, it implies a choice.

    The “imperious self” (as a mode of the id and not a separate existence), is not the actor; it simply “commands” or “urges” the individual to act in contravention of some ethical right or duty. Ultimately, the choice remains with the individual whether to “listen” to the imperious self. Given that human beings are the only creatures that appear to have been endowed with free will, I think it is logical to conclude that they are the only ones who have a choice to go against their nature and their instincts and are therefore susceptible to an entity such as the imperious self.

  24. Livia Apr 10, 2010 8:37 pm 24

    This model of the self described here is far more complete than the one given by psychologists who don’t consider the spiritual dimension of human beings.
    It is clear, simple and very well explained. Thank you so much for all this remarkable work.

  25. Mel Apr 14, 2010 4:33 pm 25


    Does it mean that an animal has an imperious self but no worker self?

  26. David Apr 16, 2010 1:41 am 26

    The link to the video below makes me appreciate this lecture better (one can also find it in http://www.nourfoundation.com).

  27. Ali Tinat(Zoghi). Apr 19, 2010 5:31 pm 27


    It is of little importance whether the imperious self has a creational existence/pattern or it is formed as the result of malfunctioning or dysfunction of other faculties. What matters most is that we humans all are imbued with this element and for a very good reason.
    Had it not been for the existence of the imperious self, hence our constant battle to tame it to our advantage, there would not have been any progress of our souls toward perfection.

  28. Ali Tinat(Zoghi). Apr 19, 2010 5:48 pm 28

    The notion of free will, a human gift in contrast to animals who lack it, seems to pop up in all these discussions pertaining to imperious self and choices that we as humans make. Here’s an article entitled: Animals and Freewill. I found it pretty useful in regard to definition of free will, its functions, and its various modalities in us humans in contrast to animals. Hope you’ll find it helpful:

    Human beings have much in common with animals. They eat, breathe and sleep; we eat, breathe and sleep. Are we different? Or is a human being just a walking, talking gorilla?

    A dog wakes up in the morning and decides what to eat first – his water or his Purina. A human being also wakes up and decides what to eat for breakfast – some cereal or a bagel.

    Humans and animals both seem to make decisions. What is the difference? Do dogs worry about going on a diet? “My gosh,” cries Fido, “I’ve got to control this appetite!” Do they question whether it’s right to finish off the last drop of milk and not leave any for their kennel-mates? Does a dog wake up in the morning plagued with existential questions like, what is my purpose in life? Does he worry how he is making a difference with his life, or if he is actualizing his potential?

    We do have a lot of things in common with animals, but free will is not one of them. Choosing your favorite ice cream or what to eat for breakfast is a matter of preference, not free will. Free will is the choice between good and evil. To exercise your free will, the choice must include a moral dimension and precipitate a struggle between right and wrong.

    Only mankind has the ability to discern right from wrong and to make moral judgments. It is this ability that makes human beings responsible for their actions.

    When we hear the news of a shark attack, we don’t blame the shark. We know he’s just doing what comes naturally. We don’t suspect the shark chose to attack out of evil intent and really could have called upon his nobler instincts and spared his victim.

    But when a human being attacks, he is held accountable for his actions. A choice was made and he is responsible.

    Free will is mankind’s unique and crowning distinction. The Torah says that only mankind was created “in the image of God.” Yet God doesn’t have an image! It means that only mankind has the true freedom and independence that comes with the power of choice. In that way we resemble God, who is completely free and independent.

    The next time you encounter a moral dilemma, use your free will. You can rise above your baser instincts and ennoble your life through choosing good. We have the choice to strive to be good, not animals. This is our unique responsibility.


    * Even though every person is born with a distinct personality and is given a unique set of circumstances, we all share the power to choose freely.

    * Free will is not choosing an ice cream flavor. It is the ability to choose between good and evil.

    * Free will engenders responsibility. People, not dogs, are accountable for their actions, since only people can discern between right and wrong.

  29. MT Apr 21, 2010 9:46 am 29

    Thanks indeed for the user-friendly e-learning & test about the most important subject for human “Perfection”.

  30. viki Apr 23, 2010 3:49 am 30

    I’ve studied this subject many times before. This time, much clearer understanding… The quizz was a great tool as well.

  31. Banoo Apr 28, 2010 12:47 pm 31

    Thank you for this great lecture. It especially made learning easier when I could press pause, or go back to re listen or to even see the words as the speaker was speaking. The quizz was excellent, because it reinforced learning and because I could go back to questions answered incorrectly. I look forward to the rest of this lecture.

  32. sjr May 03, 2010 2:40 am 32

    Very educative lecture. I just have one question: If the superego is really immortal, which means that earthly time notion does not apply to it, then it should contain the past, present and future experiences all at the same time and every time it manifests in a human brain. How can it improve itself when it already has the future in it.

  33. SM May 09, 2010 3:23 am 33

    Mel: “Does it mean that an animal has an imperious self but no worker self?”

    I don’t believe so. Animals are pure instinct. An animal cannot, by definition, have an imperious self because the imperious self is a malfunction; it is not a creational existence. And because animals do not have a transcendent reason or free will, the notion of making decisions between the so-called “good” and the “bad” is not applicable to them.

    Ali Tinat(Zoghi): “It is of little importance whether the imperious self has a creational existence/pattern or it is formed as the result of malfunctioning or dysfunction of other faculties…”

    I respectfully disagree. I think it matters a great deal for us to be aware of the fact that the imperious self only has an incidental or functional existence, rather than a creational existence. As a preliminary matter, God, by definition does not create anything evil; therefore, as a basic axiom, the imperious self CANNOT have an independent existence.

    Second, this is a fundamental fact about the self, and if we assume that our goal is self-knowledge, then what the self is made up of and how it functions is highly relevant. Third, this is relevant for the additional reason that this fact will help us fight the imperious self.

    The reason is that by knowing that the imperious self is not this “thing” within us that is responsible for our “bad” acts (we cannot “blame” the devil within), we will be forced to acknowledge that we were the ones who committed a “bad” act by allowing one or more of our other faculties to go out of balance. By tracing the source of these imbalances, we can diagnose the root of the problem and either remedy it and/or prevent a future occurrence. Of course, on this highly theoretical level, this is much easier said than done, but based on personal experience, I believe that the theory works.

    A very simple example to illustrate the point is the following: I get very angry and lash out at someone without justification. I recognize that this anger comes from my imperious self. Now what? I need to find the source in order to neutralize it. If I assume that there is an independent source of anger in me, I would have difficulty finding and controlling it (because my premise would be wrong, if you accept O. Elahi’s theories). It also might give me an excuse to see the problem somehow separate from myself.

    But if I recognize my anger as what it is, i.e., an imbalance on my irascible faculty, then I can trace all my feelings back to my instinct of “rejecting loss” (FSN) and try to find out where and how something that is natural and warranted in the first place transformed into something that crossed a line and violated a right. This process is the essence of gaining self-knowledge, which I do not believe is possible without having the basic facts about the self straight.

  34. SM May 09, 2010 3:35 am 34

    sjr: “If the superego is really immortal, which means that earthly time notion does not apply to it… How can it improve itself when it already has the future in it.”

    I am far from an expert on such matters as the time and space continuum, but I understand this concept a little differently. I do not believe that our earthly concept of time applies to the meta-causal world. We read in Ostad Elahi’s Knowing the Spirit that one minute in the interworld (which is still in the causal world) can correspond to a completely different measure of time (year, month, etc.) on earth.

    But what I do believe exists even in the non-material world is the concept of progression. According to Ostad Elahi’s view, everything is contingent; only God is sempiternal. My understanding of that is that creation is gradual, and therefore, there is a notion of progression, even if it is beyond my grasp and inexplicable by my limited vocabulary and understanding regarding time. The process of perfection is also a gradual process. So the self cannot know all that it will eventually come to know, or the entire process would be futile, and God, by definition, does not do anything that is futile. So I think the natural and logical conclusion is that the process of learning (acquiring and retaining knowledge and information) is gradual and has a temporal nature, even if it does not (and it most likely does not) correspond to how we understand time.

  35. Bijan Sep 25, 2010 2:40 pm 35

    I appreciate this nice job! Both the lecture and the test were helpful for me to acquire a better understanding.

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