The Constitution of the Human Being

As Depicted by the Founder of Psychosynthesis
Roberto Assagioli, M.D.

1.The Lower Unconscious—The arena of repressed and traumatic memories, fundamental drives and impulses, pathological manifestations, such as phobias, obsessions, compulsive urges and paranoid delusions.

2. The Middle Unconscious—This is formed of psychological elements similar to those of our waking consciousness and easily accessible to it. In this inner region our various experiences are assimilated, elaborated and developed in a sort of psychological gestation before their birth into the light of consciousness.

3. The Higher Unconscious or Superconscious—From this region we receive our higher intuitions and inspirations—artistic, philosophical or scientific, ethical "imperatives" and urges to humanitarian and heroic action. It is the source of the higher feelings, such as altruistic love; genius, states of contemplation, illumination and ecstasy. In this realm are latent the higher psychic functions and spiritual energies. This is the place of "transpersonal" experience that connects us to the larger universe and the world of spirit.

4. The Field of Consciousness—Designates that part of our personality of which we are directly aware: the incessant flow of sensations, images, thoughts, feelings, desires and impulses which we can observe, analyze, and judge.

5. The Conscious Self or "I"—The point of pure self-awareness. The center of our consciousness, which is not to be confused with the conscious personality. From a certain point of view the difference between this "I" and normal day-to-day personality consciousness is the difference between the white lighted area on a screen and the various pictures which are projected upon it.

6. The Higher Self—Described in such works as Richard M. Bucke's Cosmic Consciousness, Peter D. Ouspenky's Tertium Organum and Evelyn Underhill's Mysticism as well as the subject of untold books presenting the Ageless Wisdom. The awareness of the Self can be achieved through the use of certain psychological methods, among which are Carl Jung's "process of individuation" and the techniques of Raja Yoga, including meditation.

7. The Collective Unconscious—This depicts the communal knowledge humans share with other humans all over the globe and through the ages. It is defined primarily by Jung as the unconscious that carries archetypal experiences.

Assagioli indicated the varying levels of unconscious with dotted lines, illustrating that these states are not rigid: they blend into each other. The outer line of the oval should be regarded as "delimiting" but not as "dividing." It should be regarded as analogous to the membrane delimiting a cell, which permits a constant and active interchange with the whole body to which the cell belongs. Processes of "psychological osmosis" are going on all the time, both with other human beings and with the general psychic environment.

The Self, in this map, describes both the "I," (a center of awareness operating at the ordinary personality level) and the Higher Self (the center of awareness in touch with the transpersonal dimension our larger experiencing of others, the universe, and spirit).