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The term Affect is here used to designate the intermediate principle in the psyche or consciousness, between the physical body and consciousness and the mental being. Equivalent terms are Epithymia and Thymos (Plato), Orexis (Aristotle, and faculty psychology), Irrational Soul (Platonism and Neoplatonism), Kama (Blavatsky), Astral/Emotional (Adyar Theosophy), Nervous Being (Theon), and Vital (Sri Aurobindo and the Mother).

In psychology "affects" refer to emotions, feelings, instincts, desires etc taht can rise up and overwhelm the consciousness. Jung for example speaks of the archetypes as being mediated in the consciousness by affects

Thus the dualism of physicalist and cartesian theory is replaced by a triadism consisting of the three principles of body, affect, and mind or cognition. (There is also the Higher Self and the higher spiritual levels above, and the chthonic subconscious and hylic inconscient below, but the psychological triad refers to the ordinary consciousness)

It is relatively easy to discipline one's thinking, as we are, indeed , "thinking beings". To control the affective nature is much harder. Many mystics and ascentics developed world-negating, guilt-ridden, body and sexuality hating philsophies and teachings out of frustration at their inability to deal with and control their affective nature. We see this attitude of ascetism in Hinduism (concerning maya), Christianity (seven deadly sins), Gnosticism ("matter" as evil), and other such dualistic teachings. However, as both tantric Buddhists and Sri Aurobindo and the Mother explain (in the respective paths of Vajrayana/Tantra and Integral Yoga), it is not that these lower faculties have to be repressed or denied (after all, repression just makes things worse) but they have to be transmuted and transformed. In Sri Aurobindo and the Mother's teachings this is done through the psychic (Higher Self, Divine Soul) conversion

The levels of the affective being (following Sri Aurobindo's lead) are as follows:

Psychophysical Level of Self Level/
Description Chakra Plato Aurobindo "Theosophy"/
New Age
Conation Intentionality Vishuddha   Vital Mind
Emotions/Feelings Feelings, Higher Emotions Anahata Mental Vital Higher Emotional
Thymos Ambition, Striving, Power Manipura Thymos Central Vital
Epithymia Desires Swadhisthana Epithymia Physical Vital Lower Emotional

In addition to the individual affective being, there is the collective and universal Kosmic Affective reality; the macrocosmic equivalent of the indidividual emotional-affective being. This is a vast region, much of it little known and little explored, even by occultists and esotericists. Cosmology and psychology go together, having the relation of macrocosm and microcosm.

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content by M.Alan Kazlev
this page uploaded 16 August 2004, last modified 13 June 2005