Service to Others and Service to Self
The concepts of service to others (STO) and service to self (STS) are the central cornerstone of the teaching of first Ra and then Cassiopaea. We find these same fundamentals expressed in different terms throughout esoteric culture. The fundamental nature and extreme breadth of these concepts makes them difficult to define since these are in one way or another reflected in all things.
Ra said that for the human level, speaking of STO vs. STS was the most appropriate terminology because humans tend to think in terms of action and its ethical basis. The concepts of absorption for STS and radiance for STO could also be used as a metaphor. At any rate, the principles are beyond words.
Cosmologically, the Cassiopaeans speak of 'dual emergence' from the One. This is the source of all which is and this is where the first duality comes into being. The principle of free will, at its various levels of manifestation, mediates between these. This can be compared to Gurdjieff's first triad, the Sun Absolute dividing in three at the start of the ray of creation. In the most abstract sense, the existence of two dissimilar forces or tendencies plus free will is the simplest basis for an open universe. All the forms of creation follow from these, through a series of increasingly restricted or mechanical levels of being. These levels correspond to the densities of Ra and Cassiopaea or the cosmoses of the 4th Way.
Depending on the context, the STO/STS duality manifests differently. Specific aspects of this duality are described in many other articles of the present work. We will here list different dualities and how they can be seen in relation to STO and STS. A comprehensive description is impossible at our level and we will need to have recourse to allegory.
Spirit / matter - STS beings worship the physical universe [C's]. We could say that all is consciousness but a full half of the consciousness is asleep, in the form of matter. The second half then uses this as a canvas or material for creation. Pure STS cannot exist without some form of materiality, hence does not occur past 4th density.[C's] See '6th Density,' '4th Density.'
Being / non-being - See 'Being vs. Non-Being.'
Dispersion / collection of gravity - According to the Cassiopaeans, gravity is the fabric that ties all existence together, across all densities. Dispersing gravity corresponds to STO, collecting gravity to STS. This leads to a black hole being the physical representation of the idea of STS, as the C's put it. Light is the energy expression of gravity, in this sense radiance and the trapping of light inside the black hole allegorically correspond to STO/STS. See transcripts for much more.
Balance / imbalance - C's: :STO is balance because you serve self through others. […] STO is balance. STS is imbalance. […] STO flows outward and touches all including point of origin, STS flows inward and touches only origin point.'
This is why the terms are sometimes defined as service to self through serving others (STO) or serving others through serving the self (STS). Or as Ra puts it, worshiping God in self or worshiping God in creation, all service is thus of the One in the end. See Cassiopaea transcripts for much more.
Light / darkness - The darkness is the backdrop into which the light shines. Both are necessary for defining each other. See Gravity.
Radiance / absorption - STS corresponds to absorbing or concentrating energy. STO corresponds to radiating outward.
Freedom / control - STS is concerned with control over all aspects of self and others. STS also believes that by imposing its laws it is helping the universe to return to the One, thus it thinks its action is a service to others. STO sees creation as inherently limitless and is not concerned with determining what is 'good' for another.
Expansion / contraction - Exploring possibilities corresponds to STO, imposing limits on others to STS.
Network / hierarchy - In terms of social organization, STS naturally tends towards the hierarchy with internal competition for resources and power. STO tends towards sharing and passing around that which is received. See 'Networking', 'STS Hierarchy.'
Giving vs. Taking - C's: STS does not eat according to protocol. It takes if it is capable. STO gives all to those who ask. See All to those who Ask.
Good / evil - In human ethical terms, what is generally considered evil most often corresponds to STS. The terms are however laden with a baggage of subjectivity and what is good for one can be bad for another, thus these are easily misleading. The polarization to either STO/STS cannot be reduced to an external code of ethics only.
From a cosmic standpoint, both polarities are necessary. This does not however mean that these can be effectively reconciled at the human level. Thus the cosmic call on the human is to choose one or the other.
Gurdjieff discusses STO and STS in Beelzebub's Tales as follows:
'. "If the notions recorded on this Boolmarshano were put into ordinary language, they could be stated in the following words: "'Evidently we men, also like all the existing units of the World, are formed and always consist of the same three independent forces, by means of which the process of reciprocal maintenance of everything existing proceeds; namely, of the following three independent World forces: "'The first of these forces constantly arises from the causes which proceed in the Prime Source itself and from the pressure of the newly arisen, and issuing from it by momentum flows out of that Prime Source. "'The second World force is what this first force be- comes, when, after having spent the momentum which it has received, it strives to reblend with the source of its arising, according to the fundamental World law called "The effects of a cause must always re-enter the cause." "'Both of these forces in the general process of reciprocally maintaining forces are entirely independent, and in their manifestations have always and in everything their own properties and particularities. "'The first of these two fundamental forces, namely, that one which for compelling reasons always manifests outside the source of its arising, must constantly involve; and the second one, on the contrary, striving to blend with the cause of its arising, must always and in everything evolve. "'Owing to the fact that the first of the mentioned three independent forces arises from vivifying actions proceeding in the very foundation of the cause of everything existing and thus receives in its presence the germ of the possibility of manifesting vivifyingness, it may be considered as "Good," that is, as a factor for the actualizing of the backward-flowing effects which in relation to this first force can and must be considered as "Evil." "I Moreover, the first of these forces, which is manifested from inevitable and compelling causes arising in the Prime Source itself, can from this point of view be considered as passive. And the second backward-flowing force, because it must constantly resist in order to have the possibility of penetrating backward or at least the possibility of withstanding the opposite-flowing first passive force which has received its momentum from the Prime Source causes, must be regarded as active. "And as for the third independent World force, this force is nothing else but only the result of the clash everywhere and in everything of these two fundamental descending and ascending independent forces. "'Although this third independent force is only the result of both first fundamental forces, it is nevertheless the spiritualizing and reconciling source of every World formation. "'And it is the spiritualizing source of every World formation because it arises and must exist in them as a presence all the time while the given results exist which arise from various unusual mutual resistances occurring between the said two fundamental forces flowing in entirely opposite directions.' "And so, my boy, it was in this sense and in this meaning that the words 'Good' and 'Evil' were first used by this unfortunate Makary Kronbernkzion.' [End quote]