Internal Tug of War: Who Controls You?

A person carries two voices, two souls: The animal soul and the Divine one. In the words of Ecclesiastes, "The human spirit ascends on high; the spirit of the beast descends down into the earth." They are in constant struggle, with the animal soul seeking instant gratification and pleasure (like the Id), and the Divine soul seeking transcendence and unity. The animal spirit wants to be "more animal," hence more self-ego. The Divine spirit wants to be "more Divine," more selfless.

The domain of the animal manifests in the impulsive emotions, while the domain of the Divine spirit rests in the reflective mind, which can control and temper impulsive reactions. A young child for instance, is controlled entirely by emotion, and yells out "I want it and I want it all now." Similarly the animal within us selfishly barks "give, give." As our minds develop we gain the ability to reflect, repress, temper or channel our impulses.

The question of course is, which is our most dominant force?

The answer is the Divine soul. The inner good in man is the most dominant force in our lives. Yet, this force is locked in battle with the animal soul. We have the freedom and the ability to overcome any temptation if we so wish through self control ("moach shalit al halev," the mind’s dominance over the emotions).

Posted on January 15, 2014 .