Spirit

Equivalent and interchangeable with the term mind. Higher self. Outer cortex of the brain. Changeable self (though change can be difficult in some cases). Formed during the childhood programming process, with maximum social conditioning usually attained shortly after puberty, and gradual dimunition of social conditioning thereafter, as the self attempts to free itself of excess conditioning, so as to allow better satisfaction of the soul's desires.

Glory and downfall of humans. Glory because spirit allows us to shape the material world to our needs (develop technologies to produce more food and store food for lean times, protect ourselves from cold, conquer wild beasts, cure ourselves of illnesses). Most importantly, at its maximum development, spirit allows us to transcend the material world. This is because overall happiness is a blend of spiritual and bodily happiness. As spirit develops, the role played by spiritual happiness comes to dominate, to the point where overall happiness can continue to be high regardless of bodily unhappiness (think of martyrs smiling as they are tortured to death). Downfall because high development of spirit opens the possibility for mental illness, especially of the depressive form, where spiritual unhappiness dominates.

Spirit is highly malleable, so that to switch from despair to elation, for example, is often just a matter of changing our point of view towards a situation, which can occur in a flash, as some thought passes through our mind. By comparison, soul cannot be changed at all and the material world can only be changed with great difficulty. In theory, this perfect malleability of spirit should allow us to remain in a state of permanent elation. In practice, few can accomplish this feat, and the more common outcome for those who become ungrounded (those who attempt to live mostly in their minds) is to remain in a state of permanently despair. Spirit is like a hall of mirrors, in which it is only too easy to wander forever in circles. Few indeed can find their way through this labyrinth. The safer path is thus to shrink the head, plant the feet firmly on the earth, and resign oneself to the slow and tedious manipulation of matter so as to create bodily happiness.

Spirit is mostly subconscious, with just a small portion conscious at any given time. Consciousness allows us to manipulate or reprogram spirit. If consciousness recognizes that spirit needs reprogramming, but the reprogramming is incomplete, then there is at that moment a conflict between conscious and subconscious. Consciousness is not enduring, but simply represents the most highly active thought processes of spirit, so to speak conflict between conscious and unconscious is misleading. True conflict can be either between aspects of spirit, aspects which may or may not be visible to the conscious mind, and between spirit, soul and/or the realities of the material world.