The Rock

I first found it in my back yard – the lawn mower ran over it and the blade took a sizable chunk out of it.  How it got there, I don’t know, as I’d mowed that section of the lawn many times.  But there it was, sort of grey with flecks of quartz scintillating in the sunlight.  And of course with a chunk missing.  Good thing rocks can’t bleed.  Still, looking at it, I felt a kind of sadness that this rock had somehow found its way into my yard only to be partially decapitated by the spinning blade of the mower.

I brought it into the house.  No point leaving it in the yard for further potential mutilation.  It wasn’t that big – maybe the size of a big melon, and seemed rather light for a rock.  I put it on the coffee table, the bloodless gash turned out to make good “foot” for it to rest on, its grey face and many faceted pinprick eyes staring up at me as if to ask some unspoken but important question.   I had no answer; even the cats sniffed it just once and promptly got bored.  Still, there it was, a stranger that had been invited into the house but that leaves an awkward silence between guest and resident, each wondering where this was going.  Each wondering, maybe this was a mistake.  But then again, the rock didn’t have much choice in the matter, did it?

As I did the various chores of the day, I’d occasionally walk by the coffee table that was somewhat reluctantly, but without complaint, holding this new burden.  I kept noticing how the living room felt different – yesterday, there was no rock on the coffee table, today there was.  It felt strange having this new addition in the house, and yet at the same time growing familiar.  Every time I walked by it I experienced surprise, a flash of “what is that?” that was replaced immediately with “oh, it’s the rock.”  This happened several times throughout the day until at one point I realized I had passed the rock without even noticing it.  Even the coffee table seemed more at ease, as if it were growing more comfortable with this new addition.

After feeding the cats their late night snack and turning off the kitchen light, I headed upstairs to bed, and on a whim stopped in front of the coffee table and gave the rock a gentle pat, whispering “Good night.”  With no light to reflect off the tiny quartz shards, it seemed asleep, eyes closed.  Yet it also seemed to feel a kind of foreboding, the way someone pretends to be asleep because they don’t know what’s going to happen next but hope whatever it is will just go away.  I decided not to disturb it further.

Blame it on the glass of Shiraz I had with dinner, or the full moon, but I awoke at 2 AM with the call of nature.  Heading downstairs, the rock was awake now, moonlight glimmering in its eyes.  Feeling a bit self-conscious in my nakedness, I stepped quickly past it.

The next morning I noticed something odd.  There were flakes of what can only be described as debris in a circle around the rock.  Sort of like dandruff or flakes of dead skin.  Maybe the cats had after all taken an interest in the rock and had brushed off some loose material when they rubbed their noses on it.  It glared up at me in the morning sunlight, its eyes dulled a bit by whatever had transpired in the night.  I decided to leave it, as I wasn’t sure if wiping it with a rag or washing it would do more harm than good.  That night I decided not to give it a goodnight pat.

Every morning, there was a new pile of this rock dandruff in a ring around it.  Every morning, I brushed it off the coffee table, being careful not to touch the rock.  The coffee table was annoyed – these flakes were sharp and left tiny, almost microscopic scratches in its surface, something that wounded its antique pride.

A week later, the rock died.  I came downstairs to find a pile of rubble instead of a rock.  It had shattered into a hundred fragments, its bones and cartilage and sinews all crumbled apart.  Perhaps the original blow by the lawn mower had created tiny internal fractures and it had finally succumbed to its wound, which must have been more grievous than had first appeared.  Its eyes were gone, only dull, empty grey ruin remained.  I grabbed the dustpan from the kitchen shelf and swept up its corpse, and was about to toss the remains into the trashcan when something in me stirred – this was an ignominious burial for my house guest.  Instead, I took the dustpan outside and scattered the remains on the lawn.

That night, in the waning full moon, the lawn gleamed like diamonds.

Junior Devs, Training, and Management

Just a random observation — I’m saddened when I encounter a management mentality that makes no effort to educate their junior devs so they can eventually become senior devs.

If you don’t have a decent knowledge of the programming language, framework and tools you’re working with, the way you “code” is like someone with a 3rd grade vocabulary trying to express a complex thought.

How do you educate junior devs?

  • Code reviews by senior devs.
  • Training sessions given by senior devs.
  • Having time allocated to learn.
  • Instilling an interest in learning!

Realistically though, nothing can overcome the “it’s a job, not a passion” attitude in the junior dev him/herself.  If the junior dev has a passion for software development, they’ll most likely educate themselves on their own time, not just the company’s time.

But then, when they have learned, they’ll move on because the work environment suddenly becomes limited.  An interesting dilemma for management, especially as they can now ask for a considerably higher salary than the company wants to pay for, which is why they hired junior devs to begin with.

Thinking, Feeling, and Willing in Relation to the Soul, Spirit, and I


From one perspective, the human being is an organism consisting of three realms, each containing three “principles” or bodies:[1]

  1. The physical realm, consisting of physical, etheric, and astral bodies;
  2. The soul realm, consisting of Sentient, Intellectual, and Spiritual soul bodies;
  3. The spirit realm, consisting of the three spirit bodies Spirit-Self, Life-Spirit, and Spirit-Man.

From another perspective (one of many), the human being is also four-fold in nature – consisting of physical, soul, spirit and I. There is an intricate relationship between the physical, soul, and spirit realms, not just in relationship with each other but also with the I.  The I works in the three bodies of the physical realm (physical body, etheric body, and astral body), transforming them such that at a lower stage, the three soul bodies arise and at a higher stage, the three spirit bodies evolve.[2]  So we can say that, interpenetrating both the soul realm and the spirit realm is the I.

The threefold form of soul, spirit, and I bring distinct and unique qualities to another threefold form: thinking, feeling, and willing.  However, a sufficiently penetrating framework of understanding of these relationships must first be built before we progress to the relationship of soul, spirit and I with regards to thinking, willing and feeling.

The Three Physical Bodies

In the physical realm, man (and all creatures) has three bodies:[3]

  1. Physical
  2. Etheric
  3. Astral


Figure 1: The Physical Realm

The physical body, being the atoms, molecules, minerals, and so forth of the physical world, is death—it is the substances that all living beings revert to upon death and is guided by the forces of decay and disintegration.[4]  During life, the etheric body is in constant battle with these forces of decay, maintaining the form and structure of the body.[5]  We see the activity of the physical and etheric whenever we take a walk in the woods and notice the teeming living plants growing around us and the decomposing dead leaves, branches, and entire trees lying dead on the ground.  We deeply experience the etheric body by observing the majestic uprightness of a living tree as well as in the tender glossy green shoots of newly formed leaves in the spring.[6]

The physical and etheric bodies are places of sleep—they do not exhibit consciousness, and indeed, even in the sleep of living, conscious, beings, the etheric body remains with the physical body during sleep.  It is the astral body in which consciousness arises.[7]  The astral body creates the ability to divide sleep from wakefulness, unconscious from conscious.  It is the force that “wakes us” to do creative work upon the earth.[8]  This is also reflected in that the astral body temporarily leaves the physical and etheric bodies when man (and animals) sleep, and returns upon waking.  Sleeping is necessary and rejuvenating as the astral body renews the forces that were used up in the physical and etheric bodies.[9]


Figure 2: Sleeping and Waking, Unconscious and Conscious

The Three Soul Bodies

Something else unique occurs with the astral body as well – it is conjoining with the first body of soul’s triune, the Sentient Soul.[10]  The astral body brings the external sense impressions to consciousness.  The Sentient Soul imbues the sense impressions with permanence.  Whereas the astral body gives us, as moments of present experiences, knowledge or awareness of an object, the Sentient Soul gives that knowledge permanence.[11]

Because of its connection with the astral body, we can associate the Feeling realm with the Sentient Soul.  However, it is important to realize that Feeling is not isolated to itself – it is in relationship with the other two soul bodies (discussed next) and therefore always in relationship with Thinking and Willing as well.[12]   We will come back to this later.


Figure 3: Sentient Soul brings permanence to the sense impressions


The Sentient Soul is also where we, as human beings, first encounter our experience of “I”.[13]  Without this ability to preserve past experiences, we would have not concept of past.  This is also the dawning of memory–not the animalistic “memory” of pleasure and pain events which are astral experiences in the animal of longing or aversion, but rather true memory in which the I experiences itself in relation to world.[14]  The difference, to put it succinctly, is that man can reflect on the experiences of the past (his memory) whereas animals cannot.


Figure 4: The I in relation To the Sentient Soul

We also encounter an important concept with regards to the I and memory.  Whereas the astral body creates a separation between sleeping (unconsciousness) and waking (consciousness), which all creatures cross between (usually daily), the I on the other hand creates a separation between memory and forgetting.  Forgetting extinguishes past experiences, which is necessary in order to “meet new experiences openly and freely.”[15] Who can claim to meet experiences “openly and freely” without the bias of our past experiences, our memories?  Furthermore, forgetting is closely related to acts of true forgiveness in which, while the objective “movie camera record” of an experience is retained, the emotional experience is forgotten.[16]  Here again we see how the astral body and I are inter-related in the Sentient Soul.  A poignant example of this “forgetting” is something most of us have experienced: the death of a beloved pet.  Often, we will not enter into a relationship with a new pet until the emotional memories of our bond and the death of our pet have been “forgotten.”  We still retain the objective memories of our experiences with our departed pet, and even of its death, but it is difficult to meet the experiences of a new pet “openly and freely” unless the emotional memories are for the most part forgotten–we may say “healed.”

In cognizance, the I elevates itself further.  Here we encounter the second soul body, the Intellectual Soul or Mind Soul.  The Intellectual-Soul (or Mind-Soul)[17] is associated with thinking.  When the I directs its activity to cognizing the sense impressions of the external world as received by the physical body, the I begins to free itself from these perceptions.  Cognizing (from the Old French conoissance “acquaintance, recognition; knowledge, wisdom” (Modern French connaissance), from past participle of conoistre “to know,” from Latin cognoscere “to get to know, recognize”),[18] is a liberating activity of the Intellectual Soul, beginning the transformation from sense reaction to sense-action through the act of knowing.  One could say that we are only awake when we know something or are contemplating (thinking about) something.[19]  Furthermore, thinking is something that streams from the past—we would not be able to think without our faculty of memory, our experiences, to guide us in our thinking.  Even thinking of the future (for example, contemplating an action) is guided by our experiences from the past.[20]


Figure 5: The Intellectual Soul in relation to the Sentient Soul

With the Sentient Soul, memory, and particularly “forgetting”, affects our ability to take on new concepts and ideas.  Similarly, there is a correlate to thinking, that being judgment.  Our thinking is not just occupied with the act of cognizing.  We are almost always judging what we cognize.  Here, our judgments are guided by our feelings, and, significantly, our ability to be convinced of the subjective correctness of our judgment is guided by feeling.[21]  Our judgment may be in alignment with objective reality or our judgment may be orthogonal to objective reality.  Development of a “right” feeling life is crucial therefore in guiding our thinking so that what we convince ourselves of subjectively matches well with objective reality.  When our feeling life is wounded (here we see how the Sentient Soul and the I, through memory, comes into play), our judgments are often inaccurate.  And necessarily, the development of a “right” feeling life requires the mastery of the I over the astral body’s / Sentient Soul’s desires – not so easily achieved.[22]


Figure 6: The Three Soul Bodies and their Thinking, Feeling, Willing Constellations

The Three Spirit Bodies

As with the astral body in the physical realm conjoining with the Sentient Soul, so the third member of the soul realm, the Spiritual Soul (or Consciousness Soul), is conjoined with Spirit-Self, the first member of the spirit realm.


Figure 7: The three soul bodies and their conjoining with physical and spirit realms

The Spiritual Soul provides a fundamentally different quality of perception to the I.  In the Sentient and Intellectual Soul, the I is experiencing external objects or is in contemplation of those external objects.  With the Spiritual Soul, the true nature of the I, where the very word “I” uniquely expresses the relationship between self and other, is brought to bear.  Here, the I becomes self-aware, it perceives itself.[23]

In will, thought is present (as is will present in thinking).[24]  Also, the very nature of “willing” can be intensified through the feeling life, for example when an activity is done with enthusiasm and love.[25]  One can contemplate the forces of feeling and thought that guide one towards “healthy” activity vs. destructive, or “unhealthy” activity, and how complex the situation becomes when feeling, thinking and judging (guided by feeling) then guide the human being into activity.  So while this may be considered a representation of “I-less” willing:


Figure 8: Feeling and Thinking Informing Will Activity

what we actually strive towards is mastery of the I, and therefore the soul bodies, such that the “…the soul in its entirety becomes at length a revelation of the I.”[26]


Figure 9: Mastery of the soul bodies

It is the self-reflective ability of the I to take control over the Sentient Soul’s feeling realm and the Intellectual Soul’s thinking realm such that what leads the will to activity can be viewed as “right feeling” and “right thinking.”  (Incidentally, I use these terms not as moral judgments of feeling, thinking and will, but rather as the ability to experience their correlates, Intuition, Inspiration, and Imagination, as streaming from the Spirit.)

Engaging the will also does not necessarily mean being active in movement or thought.  The ability to sit still, or the practice of mindful meditation, is often intense will “activity.”[27]  Engaging the will in “stillness” is a recognized technique for dealing with stress and anxiety, and has considerable healing benefits on both the body and the psyche.[28]  Will is a duality of sleep and wakefulness–we are both awake and asleep in the activity of will.[29]  For example, while we cognize our goal and move toward it, perhaps as simple an activity as walking, we are also completely unaware (asleep) as to how we move our legs and maintain our balance and posture when we walk.

Our three spirit bodies (Spirit-Self, Life-Spirit, and Spirit-Man) are the least evolved.  Whereas the development of Spirit-Self has only just begun, Life-Spirit is only germinal and Spirit-Man will only be developed in the distant future.[30]  How are these spirit bodies evolved?  This is a complex picture in which the I must work to gain mastery over the three soul bodies.  Through this mastery of the sentient, intellectual, and spiritual soul, Spirit Self enters into the spiritual soul.  This has the effect of transforming the astral body into Spirit Self.  Spirit Self can then impress itself upon the etheric body, and through the influences of art, religion, and occult training, the I, in conjunction with Spirit Self can work upon the etheric body (temperament / traits of character.[31]), transforming it to Life-Spirit.[32]  Finally, the etheric body, fully transformed into Life-Spirit, can impress itself upon the physical body and transform it into Spirit-Man.[33]


Figure 10: The I and spirit bodies transforming Astral, Etheric, and Physical

I and Soul and the I-Self Relationship

Having completed a portrait of the nine-fold nature of man, we can now begin to work deeper with the concepts of soul and I in relation to thinking, feeling, and will.  The soul is not revealed “to the I” but is a revelation “of the I.”[34]  Soul and I cannot exist independent of each other, yet at the same time they are both dependent and independent.  For example, we can say:

“I am distinct but not separate from my sensations.
I am distinct but not separate from my feelings.
I am distinct but not separate from the thoughts.”[35]

In psychosynthesis, we see a similar relationship of dependence and independence between I and Self.[36] The I “flows from…Self”[37] which reminds us of Steiner’s words, that in the Spiritual Soul (also called the Consciousness Soul), the “I first becomes revealed” and “seizes hold of its own being.”[38]  Assagioli’s Self is not unconscious (nor “the unconscious”) but is actually the source of consciousness – awareness –both of the external world and our internal “selves.”[39]


Figure 11: The I-Self Relationship

The parallel between Assagioli’s I and Self and Steiner’s I and Soul affords us a foothold in deepening our understanding of the process of the spiritualization of physical, etheric and astral bodies that “every man is working [on], whether or no he be aware of it.”[40]  Mastery of the sentient, intellectual, and spiritual soul bodies is mastery of feeling, thinking, and will.  These three soul bodies are not just isolated islands: as stated earlier, each contains aspects of the other two forming a constellation, in each soul body, of thinking, feeling, and will.


Figure 12: Predominant and Subdominant Aspects

These three bodies, with their predominant characteristic (feeling, thinking or willing), are frequently informing the I with conflicting desires, thoughts, and impulses.  If self-observed closely, the I can hear these conversations – for example, in an adversarial situation (an annoyed boss or partner, for example) the Sentient Soul may be reacting with a flight or fight reaction, the Spiritual Soul with an empathic or connecting impulse, and the Intellectual Soul with “what can I do or say or do that is right” thinking.  While it may take some practice, we can literally experience these constellations: our feelings “with our heart”, hear these thoughts “in our heads”, and experience our muscle tension (or our gut, as the digestive processes are also linked with will) with the anticipation of activity.


Figure 13: Example of Our three Soul Bodies in a Negative Experience Conflict

Because what our three soul bodies are telling us is often in conflict, each constellation with its own agenda, the I, in all the noise, can detach itself from the soul experiences leaving the driver’s seat empty, to be filled by one or more soul bodies.  We all probably have experienced this, that we later describe as “having lost ourselves” or “I was not in control” (indeed, the I was not!)  In these experiences of detachment or in more severe experiences, dissociation, we can glimpse the momentary annihilation of the I.[41]

In each of the soul bodies, the thinking-feeling-will constellation could be considered (to use Assagioli’s term) a “unifying center”, where our sense experiences of both external (the world) and internal (the “I”) continually modulate the relationship between I and Soul, I and Self.[42]  As part of the soul, these are “internal unifying centers” in the sense that our soul’s responses to current events result from past experiences of the outer world.[43]  With this model in mind, we can glimpse how each of the constellations, as an internal unifying center, adversely affects the I when one or more soul bodies experiences a “primal wound of nonbeing.”[44]

The Disidentified I

When our soul bodies are working together, the I experiences Self (Soul) as a unified force of inner and outer sensing in true conversation with self and other.[45]


Figure 14: Example of The Soul Bodies Working in Unison

In the above diagram, the sentient soul has the feeling, expressed in words “I can help”—a “knowing” feeling.  The intellectual soul expresses the thought “I want to help”, and the spiritual soul is “willing to help.”  In conversation with another person, we experience a unity with the other person when our I empathically “listens” to both Self and the other person.  An empathic relationship sees and respects the individuality of another person[46] or oneself (one’s Self.)

One way that I have worked with Goethean Conversation (empathic listening) is to consciously invite the spiritual world into the conversation,[47]  moving my-self from “the center” to the periphery.  The immediate effect is that this engages me more as “observer”, both of my Self and others:


Figure 15: Empathic Listening

In this experience, we glimpse a future where the development of Life-Spirit (the second spirit body) creates a unity of thinking, feeling and will.  At the moment, the mastery of the etheric is influenced by religion and art.[48]   To stretch the metaphor, when we experience the “art” in conversation (with Self or other), this has an actual influence on the etheric and works toward spiritualizing the etheric body, having the effect of creating unity in our thinking, feeling, and willing.  The effect is enhanced by consciously imagining and inviting the spiritual world as the center of the conversation.

The I is uniquely capable of being distinct but not separate from the content of our feeling, thinking, and will.[49]  As Steiner put it “The perception of the I in the spiritual soul has a fundamental different significance for man from the observation of what comes to him through the three bodily members and the other two members of the soul.”[50]  The ability to disidentify “from any and all possible contents of experience”[51] (to be distinct but not separate) is what allows the I to enter into relationship with the experiences of the soul.[52]  Even the word “I” is necessary to express relationship.[53]  Once we are in relationship, we have the opportunity not just for conversation, but for empathic conversation.  The “art” that we bring to the conversation is a unifying influence on each of the soul body’s constellation of thinking, feeling, and will.

The image of the Eye of Providence[54], especially as depicted on the US $1 bill, is an excellent image of this disidentifying (observing) ability of the I (and of course, the homonym with the word “eye”):


Figure 16: The Eye of Providence

Or, to put this image in relationship with body, soul, spirit, and I:


Figure 17: The Disidentified I

This disidentification enables us to create a new internal unifying center of thinking, feeling and will within the I, that is informed by the constellations of thinking, feeling, and will in our soul bodies, but is not subverted by those constellations.  In other words, the I transcends its soul experience, but this is only possible when we enter into an empathic conversation (listening) with Self.  Ironically, when we achieve this, we actually become even more open to the experiences of Self, to the experiences of our soul bodies.[55]

Conversely, becoming identified with a feeling, thought, or will impulse is like putting on blinders where the I experiences only the content of that soul body’s constellation.[56]  This almost always results in empathic failure in our I-Self relationship or I-other relationship — in other words, we either create anew or perpetuate an existing wound, within ourselves and/or within the other.  When we experience this wounding, whether as a child or as an adult, our soul body begins to create a defensive sheath to protect itself.  As a result, instead of an experience of our true self, we begin to project a false self.[57] Our soul body (one or more) and its thinking, feeling and will constellation endeavors to protect itself from the experience of empathic failure, and our I, if unaware of this wounding, responds through identification rather than disidentification to the soul’s defensive sheath.  As these identifications build up, we enter into what Assagioli termed “the primary infirmity of man”—the unconscious shifting of identifications that prevent the I from express its true self.[58]

Taken to an extreme, these constellations of thinking, feeling and willing within each soul body can become autonomous sub-personalities of the human being.  We probably have experiences where we can, on reflection, say “I was not myself” or “that was someone else that had control.”  We can have many other selves inside us, manifesting depending on what soul constellation is being activated by the situation.[59]

In Conclusion

The challenge then is two-fold.  The skill of disidentification must be developed through various practices.  Our wounds, which adversely affect the health of our soul bodies, must be brought to light and through various healing processes, the neural pathways of our identification must be replaced with new pathways that remind us and promote the practice of disidentification.  How one goes about this is not only far beyond the scope of this essay, but there probably is no prescribed way of doing this—it is most likely an individual path and therefore the challenge for the counselor, the life coach, the friend, is to walk that unique path together with the person requesting help.  For some, the pictures and concepts presented in this essay will be helpful in either holding an image of the human being in its 9-foldness or by even bringing these ideas to the awareness of the other person.  At the end of the day though, these are merely tools, and not every nail requires a hammer.


Think of a time when you “lost control” from a negative experience.  Write or draw what you were experiencing in your three soul bodies.  Was your I present?  Write or draw about your “I” experience as it and how the I experienced itself afterwards.

Think of a time when you “lost control” because of a positive experience.  This may be harder, but it we also lose our I as result of excessive sympathy responses – as an example, think of how people react on game shows when they win a huge jackpot.  Write or draw about your “I” experience as it and how the I experienced itself afterwards.

Think of a time when you connected with another person.  What was your experience of Self?  What was your experience of the other?  Write down or draw the experience of connecting, and how much of the connecting experience was the result of listening and the resonance of Self with other.  What happened when that resonance decreased, or turned dissonant?  How did you recapture the resonance?

If you could rewrite history, what event in your past would you most want to change?  Write the event as you would have liked to have experienced it.  Is this an event which results in “identification responses”?  What might you do to become aware of when this identification is triggered, so that your response is one of disidentification and empathy to Self?


[1] The Study of Man, GA 293.  From the summary of Lecture IV: “The three Spiritual Principles: Spirit-Self — Manas — Manes; Life Spirit; Spirit Man. The three Soul Principles: Consciousness, Intellectual and Sentient Souls. The three Bodily Principles: Astral, Etheric and Physical.”  Online at

[2] Occult Science, pg 102

[3] Ibid., pgs 39-44

[4] Ibid., pg 39

[5] Ibid., pg 40

[6] Ibid., pg 43

[7] Ibid., pg 44 (“…conscious powers well up”)

[8] Ibid., pg 44 “What rouses life again and again from the unconscious state is…the astral body.”

[9] S-1364 Life of the Soul in Kamaloka, Lecture III “During the day the physical body gets tired and used up, and the task of the astral body is to make good this weariness and exhaustion. It renovates the physical body and renews the forces which have been used up during the day. Hence comes the need for sleep, and hence also its refreshing, healing effect.” Online at

[10] Occult Science., pg 48

[11] Ibid., pg 48

[12] GA 205, Thinking and Willing as Two Poles of the Human Soul-Life “Naturally, however, what actually takes place in the life of the soul during the waking state is never entirely one-sided; thinking is not present by itself, nor willing by itself, there is always a mutual relationship and interplay between them.” Online at

[13] Ibid., pg 46 “With the awareness of something permanent and lasting in the changing flow of inner experiences, the feeling of ‘I’, of inner selfhood begins to dawn.”

[14] Ibid, pg 46-48.

[15] Ibid., pg 48

[16] Prokofiev, Sergey. The Occult Significance of Forgiveness

[17] Occult Science, pg 49

[18] Online Etymology Dictionary,

[19] S-3811, The Study of Man, Lecture IV, online at

[20] GA 205, Thinking and Willing as Two Poles of the Human Soul-Life “Even if we limit our observation to the affairs of everyday life we shall find that thinking always bears reference to something that is already there; it takes certain presuppositions for granted. Thinking is for the mast part reflection. Even when we think ahead, as it were, when we decide to undertake something which we afterwards carry out by means of our will, even then experience lies at the back of such thinking, and we are guided by it.” Online at

[21] S-3814, The Study of Man, Lecture V, online at

[22] Occult Science, pg 53, “…no desires or enjoyments can gain access to the soul without the I itself being the power which makes possible their entry.”

[23] Ibid., pg 52 “With the perception of ‘I’ – with self-contemplation – an inner activity of the I itself begins.  By virtue of this activity, the perception of the I in the spiritual soul has a fundamentally different significance for man from the observation of what comes to him through the three bodily members and the other two members of the soul.”

[24] S-3814, The Study of Man, Lecture V, “Just as thought is present in every act of will, so will is to be found in all thinking.” Online at

[25] Ibid.

[26] Occult Science, pg 53

[27] Spock, Marjorie, Eurythmy, pg 6 “Stillness, no less than movement, is activity.”

[28] Mayo Clinic

[29] Study of Man, Lecture VI, “In so far as we as human beings are beings of will, we are ‘asleep’ even when we are awake. We are always carrying about with us a sleeping human being — that is, the willing man — and he is accompanied by the waking man, by the man of cognition and thought: in so far as we are beings of will we are asleep even from the time we wake up until we fall asleep.”

[30] Gospel of St. John (Basle), Lecture V: “The Spirit Man will only be developed in the distant future, and Life Spirit is also only germinal in most people of the present day. The development of the Spirit Self has only just begun; it is closely united with the spiritual soul (somewhat like a sword in its sheath).” Online at

[31] Occult Science., pg 54

[32] Gospel of St. John (Basle), Lecture V: “Through the work of the Ego upon the astral body the latter is transformed into Spirit Self. But this takes place step by step, through the sentient soul being developed first, then the intellectual soul, and finally the spiritual soul; then the Spirit Self pours into the purified and mature spiritual soul. In the same way the Ego works upon the etheric body, and the impulses which are most effective in this case are the influences of art, religion and occult training.”

[33] Ibid., “This Spirit Self then impresses itself into the etheric body, as a seal impresses itself into sealing-wax, and gives it its imprint. The etheric body is thereby changed into Life Spirit. When this has come about completely, the Life Spirit then imprints itself in the physical body and makes it into Spirit Man.”

[34] Occult Science, pg 53

[35] The Primal Wound, pgs 52-53

[36] Ibid, Pg 45, “It will be proposed that Self is not an oceanic oneness or undifferentiated unity at odds with individuality, but the paradoxical source of both individuality and unity, independence and dependence.”

[37] Ibid., Pg 43

[38] Occult Science, pg 52

[39] The Primal Wound, pg 43 “…Self can have an intimate awareness of, and informed activity within, the specific unfolding life experience of the individual.”

[40] Occult Science, pg 55

[41] The Primal Wound, pg 45 “This abiding dependence of ‘I’ upon Self amounts to an ontological union of ‘I’ and Self; they are so fundamentally related that a true break in that relationship would be personal annihilation, the non-being of ‘I.’

[42] Ibid., “…Self can be experienced both internally and externally; the relationship between ‘I’ and Self is moderated by different inner and outer facilitating contexts that Assagioli (1965) called unifying centers.”

[43][43] Ibid., pg 76-77, “…active interaction with that external unifying center conditions the formation of an inner representation or model of that center, which can be called internal unifying center…In object-relations parlance, the internal unifying center comprises internalized objects or object representations that develop an abiding inner presence through interaction with the outer environment. ”

[44] Ibid., pg 44, “…this flow of being from Self to personal self or ‘I’ can be disrupted by problematic unifying centers; in such disruptions of being we find the primal wound of nonbeing.”

[45] Spock, Marjorie, The Art of Goethian Conversation, 1983, online at:

[46] The Primal Wound, pgs 94-95 “…what makes a relationship empathic is recognizing and respecting the actual. Unique, individuality of the particular human being.”

[47] Marc Clifton, “When the group meets, the techniques described above (equanimity, non-attachment, etc.) are actively engaged.  The image of the group being the periphery (easily imagined when the group forms itself on the circumference of a circle) and the spiritual world being the center from which knowledge emanates is perhaps a good mental picture to hold.  Questions, which enliven the discussion, are not necessarily asked to other members of the group but are asked rather to “the center”, and members respond when thinking, formed out of listening, creates the necessity of speech.  In this way the spiritual world is both an active participant and, through the members of the group, provides the leadership for the conversation – ‘Where two or more are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of you.’ “ online at

[48] Occult Science, pg 55 “The impulse that works most strongly in this direction [etheric mastery] are those of religion…religious emotions impress a kind of unity on all his thinking, feeling, and willing…when man penetrates with thought and feeling to the spiritual sources that underly [art], the impulses of the Ego thus receives do in effect reach the etheric body.”

[49] The Primal Wound, pg 53 “…human I-amness…has a field of awareness through which different contents may pass.  Sensations, feelings, thoughts, images, impulses, or intuitions all come and go in this field at varying distance from ‘I’…’I’ is able to know itself as distinct but not separate from these contents.”

[50] Occult Science, pg 52

[51] The Primal Wound, pg 54

[52] Ibid., Pg 54 “In such disidentification (Assagioli), we realize we are distinct from—and thus in relationship to—any particular content of experience.”

[53] Occult Science, pg 51 “’I’ is a word needed to express what he experiences in relation to the other world.”


[55] The Primal Wound, pg 57 “Whatever the scale of change involved in the disidentification experience, disidentification allows a richer and more flexible experience of oneself.  The transcendent nature of ‘I’ allows the immanence of ‘I’—the inclusion of an ever-widening range of human experience.”

[56] Ibid., pg 54, “It is as if we see the world only through the lens of the particular identification, and so our actions become limited and controlled by that particular world view.”

[57] Ibid., pg 92 when speaking of meeting a child’s fundamental needs: “the threatened annihilation of the true self causes the formation of a defensive false self.”

[58] Ibid., pg 59 “Disidentification marks the liberation from this unconsciousness, a breaking of the trance, a waking up of ‘I.’ “

[59] Primal Wound, pg 63 “…one seems to become different people or different selves in response to different situations…these are what Ram Dass called the ‘many constellations of thought, each composing an identity,’ which take over as they are triggered by changing life circumstances…Kohut recognized this inner multiplicity as well: ‘We see these various selves fighting or ascendancy, one blocking out the other, forming compromises with each other, and acting inconsistently with each other at the same time’ (Kohut, 1985, 33)”

The Programmer’s Oath Revised

Recently Robert C. Martin posted The Programmer’s Oath, to which I came up with my own version and posted on the Code Project.  It seems I hit a nerve–I don’t usually get so many up-votes for a post.  Here’s my version (slightly less harsh than my original post!)

  1. I will work not work with Ruby or other duck-typed, runtime-typed, or “script kiddie” languages (the exception being Javascript because there just isn’t an alternative–yes, typescript, etc., but still, you end up debugging Javascript.)
  2. I will not work with people that work with #1.
  3. I will code when my brain feels like coding, I will not code on YOUR time frame.  I will however work as much as it takes to ensure that agreed upon deadlines are met.
  4. I will not work in a cubicle.
  5. I will not put up with sh***y equipment and stupid management decisions.
  6. I will write code that is maintainable, extensible, commented, and documented, no matter what management says.
  7. I will spend time testing my code, but YOU damn well better have a people, resources, and the commitment to test my code independent of me.
  8. I will write code using my own well thought out architecture, not some fly-by-the-seat-of-your-pants Agile methodology bullsh*t.
  9. I will not waste my valuable time learning some half-ass open source latest rage just because every other idiot says it’s the latest rage.
  10. I will always make time to work on my own stuff because frankly, it’s usually more interesting (but not always!) than the project I’m working on that actually pays the bills.

Given the number of up-votes, I think this speaks volumes to the issues developers are constantly dealing with and to the perceived problems with software development, the burgeoning of open-source frameworks, and the constant issues with management and work environment.


D-Tier Development

Coining a buzzword (if it hasn’t been coined already), n-tier development is in the past.  D-Tier development is where we’re moving to.  The “D” can mean either “distributed” or, more in line with what I’m thinking, the ‘d’ in the word “multidimensional”, or simply “Dimensional.”

Why?  Because in an n-tier system, we still think of it fairly linearly: back-end, middle tier, and client-side, as one example.  OK, each tier may be implemented on a physically separate system, but doesn’t need to be.

A D-Tier implementation consists of autonomous entities distributed across a variety of physical and virtual platforms and interconnected in multidimensional ways.

Another aspect of D-Tier development is the highly “dynamic” nature of a distributed, autonomous entity architecture.  Entities can come and go, providing a continually changing environment of behavior that is tailored to the user’s needs.

  • Distrubuted
  • Dimensional
  • Dynamic

Start rethinking your application development in the D-Tier paradigm.

Page not rendering with IIS Express in Firefox or Chrome, waiting for localhost

There’s a lot of posts on this issue, and none of the suggested solutions worked.  In my particular case, the ASP.NET application’s page rendered fine on IE and Opera, but in Firefox and Chrome I was constantly getting “waiting for localhost”

My solution was to change the project’s web properties to use Visual Studio Development Server (screenshot below).  Right-click on the project, click “Properties”, select “Web”, and select the aforementioned radio button.  Now all the browsers can find the page.









Oddly, I have no problems with IIS Express on my laptop, so there’s still some investigation to do as to why it requires a different web server.


TDD is not the Failure, our Culture of Development Is

In the article TDD is dead.  Long live testing.  and a subsequent response The pitfalls of Test-Driven Development, both authors, in my opinion, are missing the mark by a mile. In the real world, walking into an existing code base, the reason you need TDD (but can’t use it) is because programmers didn’t spend sufficient time on good architecture practices, resulting in code that is an entangled morass of intertwined concerns, and yes, as one of the author’s points out, because the code itself was never intended to be tested except through, at best, acceptance test procedures (most likely the pen and paper variety — with the developer watching in the background hoping he rolls a 20.)  There is an overall lack of attention paid to designing a component with sufficient abstraction that it can accommodate changing requirements, and little or no attention paid to separating (decoupling) the behaviors between components such that component A shouldn’t ever care about what component B is doing. We have a philosophy of refactoring with “just get the minimum to work” to blame for that — the days of thinking about architecture and abstraction are long gone.

The metaphor of building a sky-scraper is inaccurate because anyone building a sky-scraper would know that you can’t make the walls of the first floor so weak that they can’t support a second floor. Except it is accurate because, not paying attention to the requirements and living in a “do the minimum work” philosophy, promoted by the likes of Kent Beck’s Agile Programming and Martin Fowler’s refactoring philosophies (along with their mutant child Extreme Programming), this actually is exactly what ends up happening, and thus TDD is an absolute necessary fallout of a broken coding paradigm. A more accurate metaphor would have been, the requirements called for a single story building, then the requirements changed. Again, with sufficient abstraction up front, the straw-bale walls could be replaced with titanium reinforced hay quite easily.

As for Rails (or rather Ruby, or rather any duck-typed language), TDD is again essential because duck-typing allows for variances in the behavior at runtime, both of type and function calls. The non-strictness of duck-typing is leveraged in lieu of good object-oriented design–why create sub-classes when I can just pass in an instance that quacks just like the other “ducks.” While object-oriented programming cannot be done well without object-oriented design (and yes, I’ve seen both the “P” and the “D” done horribly and have done it horribly myself) a duck-type language allows the programmer to completely eliminate the “D” — class, method, quack, quack. Perhaps we should take a clue from the name, “duck-typing”, that it is actually quackery, and like medical quackery, promises rapid “feel good” development that you end up paying for in little fragments of time running unit and integration tests because you didn’t do the necessary up front design, you haven’t clearly abstracted how the rules are handled, you haven’t clearly decoupled the behaviors of complex systems to identify the dependencies (which all complex systems will have.) If you add up all the time spent running those tests (which of course spawned whole new technologies to run those tests faster and faster) you will discover that over the lifetime of the product, you spent far more time watching little green bars (or red ones) than you would have spent on solid up-front architecture, particularly in the areas of abstraction. But nay, it quacks, and it’s fast. At first.

As for “the industry’s sorry lack of automated, regression testing”, here, let’s not blame the programmer directly even though they consistently over-promise and under-estimate, but rather, let’s blame a culture, yes, starting with “the geek” but also placing responsibility firmly on the business practices of management and the continually demonstrated lack of understanding of the importance of regression testing, and the time & cost that developing regression tests and even more costly, maintaining those tests, requires. As with essentially all other aspects of our society, we are living in a constant tension between short-term gains and long-term investment (TDD can be considered an investment) and we all know which side is winning. We have a culture that rewards quick results and punishes the methodical and (seen as) slow thinker. Some of this may be justifiable due to market pressures and real budgetary constraints, but what is lacking is the consciousness to balance planning and activity.  So what we have instead is a knee-jerk culture oriented to quick results (Agile Programming and Refactoring) which, to support a broken development paradigm, demands TDD as the “fix”, but nobody seems sees that.

When one of the author’s writes “I have yet to see a concrete illustration of how to use Test-Driven Development to test a back-end system interacting with a 20-year-old mainframe validating credit card transactions” I laugh because I have done just that — CC validation systems all have the means of simulating transactions, it’s actually trivial to write TDD’s against such systems. Yes, the author does have a point that much of the “…source code [encountered in legacy systems]…was never designed to be tested in the first place…”, but again, that’s missing the point — TDD is clearly the wrong tool for those systems. TDD works best in an environment:

  • lacking architecture,
  • most likely using duck-typing languages,
  • and, most importantly, one that has started from ground zero with testing as one of the coding requirements.

This is independent of whether it’s a 200 line gem (as in Ruby library as opposed to a “great thing”) or a 100 million line application. If those 100 million lines were written with the intention of being unit / feature tested, then there is no problem. Except that it’s TDD and probably not well architected out of the gate.  And let me be clear that TDD, when applied to a well architected application, is a perfectly valid and beneficial practice, but then TDD is also simplified because it ends up testing behaviors, not architectural flaws and geese trying to pretend to be ducks.

So, is the failure TDD? No. The failure is in a culture entrenched at all levels of software development that says that Agile Programming and Refactoring can replace thinking and it’s brothers “design” and “planning.”  We have Kent Beck and Martin Fowler (I commit sacrilege in criticizing the gods) to squarely blame for that “regression”, excuse me, “story.”  And it’s those two aspects (pun intended) of programming that should be given the boot, not TDD, which has a validity in and of itself under the right conditions.  However, even Agile & refactoring are merely symptoms  (or victims) of a cultural disease that demotes thinking (we need only look at our K-12 education systems and Common Core for proof) and promotes the short-term gain (as demonstrated by our economic, medical, agricultural, etc. practices.)