I've gathered some subjects that are addressed in the CassWiki. It's difficult to give the fullest definition of STO vs STS to the level that we can know it without also reading other subjects. There's more since many of the subjects seem interrelated in some way, but here's a start. It might be helpful if you can download the Wiki - it has a hyperlinked index and is a searchable pdf:
Finally, the C's tell us that Networking is an STO activity.
That subject is expanded on when read together with the subject on External vs. Internal considering -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 the Cassiopaeans. 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 at 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 George Gurdjieff’s first triad, the Sun Absolute dividing into 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 the Cassiopaeans or the cosmoses of the Fourth Way.
Depending on the context, the STO/STS duality manifests differently. Specific aspects of this duality are described in a number of other articles. Below is a list of 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 vs. 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 fourth density.[C’s]
- Creation vs. entropy. Creation is multiplicity of forms, entropy is sameness or homogeneity. STS preoccupation with control is in the end entropic.
- Being vs. non-being. See Being vs. non-being.
- Dispersion vs. 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.
- Balance vs. imbalance. C’s: :STO is balance because you serve self through [serving] 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.’
The last item above explains 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.
- Light vs. darkness. The darkness is the backdrop into which the light shines. Both are necessary for defining each other. See Gravity.
- Radiance vs. absorption. STS corresponds to absorbing or concentrating energy. STO corresponds to radiating energy outward.
- Freedom vs. 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 vs. contraction - Exploring possibilities corresponds to STO, imposing limits on others to STS.
- Network vs. 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 and Service to self hierarchy.
- Giving vs. Taking. According to the C’s, an ”enlightened” (meaning ”smart”) being can be either STS or STO. An enlightened STO being only gives, while an enlightened STS being only takes. The C’s have also commented as follows regarding the taking/consuming/eating that defines STS: 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 regarding this latter remark.
- Objectivity vs. subjectivity. Wishful thinking is the hallmark of STS. They only see what they want to see. [C’s] See Objectivity and Subjectivity regarding this aspect of STO/STS duality and mentality.
- Good vs. evil. In human ethical terms, what is generally considered evil most often corre- sponds 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 can easily be misleading. The polarization to either STO or STS cannot be reduced to an external code of ethics only. The Law of Three must be taken into account: there is good, there is evil, and there is the specific situation that determines which is which.
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 to His Grandson 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 becomes, 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.”
Additionally, doing what others ask of you is not always STO:External vs. internal considering
In Fourth Way parlance, external considering is the practice of taking others into account when acting, seeing their situation as it is and accordingly making life easy both for oneself and for others. Internal considering is the opposite – acting out of a subjective inner state and view of the situation to which one is attached, with any of a number of consequences.
External considering involves making a realistic evaluation of another’s situation and acting in ways which take this into account in a positive sense. It is however not the same thing as being socially polite or considerate, although it may be expressed in this manner.
The key concept is to be aware of and to adapt oneself to the level of being and knowledge of others. Thus, one of the things external considering involves is to avoid talking about things which would simply offend others’ beliefs or simply not be understood. (See strategic enclosure for more on this.) More generally, external considering relates to an idea of good will towards the environment, in the sense of letting the environment be as it wishes and responding to its requests in a manner that honors its right to be as it will.
External considering is rooted in objective awareness of the environment. Its opposite, internal considering, is rooted in attachment to a subjective inner state, to one’s own comfort of preconceptions or desires.
External and internal considering are not always outwardly distinguishable, although inwardly they are fundamentally different. One may for example be socially pleasing purely in order to uphold or reinforce one’s own idea of oneself as a ’good person.’ Or, be nice out of fear of being judged by others. This is internal considering and preoccupation with how others/the self perceive the self.
In some cases, external considering may involve withholding information that is seen as inappropriate, dangerous or simply unlikely to be well received. An internally considering person may also do this, but then again the motive is different.
We cannot codify with external criteria which action constitutes which kind of considering. The concepts are related to service to others vs service to self and to objectivity vs subjectivity. Usually the term considering is applied in the context of personal interactions.
Only through having external considering can one serve others. This requires responsiveness and a sense of objectivity and awareness of what is right action for the given situation. Serving in the sense of merely carrying out commands is not external considering.
Internal considering can be likened to man’s inner predator. It feeds itself by engaging in subjective fantasies where it thinks it is other than it is. It will also seek to gain external confirmation for its distorted self-image by manipulating others to confirm it in its views. Man may go to much trouble to make an impression, simply in order to have his own illusory, internally considered self-image reflected back to himself from others. All success in such manipulation feeds the predator and confirms it in its internal considering and accordingly removes the center of gravity of man’s inner life away from objectivity. Internal considering is in very concrete terms man’s natural enemy who seeks to prevent man from being himself. The predator will at all times prefer an illusion of virtue to the naked truth about itself. Still, it is not useful to morally judge or condemn the predator, just like it is useless to condemn a cat for eating mice. Still, one must disengage from identifying with this predator. Claiming to Work while engaging in internal considering is a contradiction in terms. The forms of internal considering can however be extremely subtle and one cannot always detect them, thus constant vigilance is required. The predator of internal considering may well claim to engage in merciless self-observation, to aspire to consciousness and being and any other virtues and even trick itself to believe it is progressing towards these goals while all the while only feeding its vanity and desire for recognition.
Exterior man needs the support of a group in order to help him detect the many tricky ways in which internal considering inserts itself in his perception and actions.
All taken into consideration, on the face of it knowing whether doing something for others is STO or STS may not be possible without further information. Also, at this level we can't be purely STO - all we can do is aim to get as close to it as possible.All to those who ask
The Cassiopaea material states that a service to others being gives all to those who ask. This leads to the question of what is meant by giving and by asking and who truly are the parties of the exchange.
The crux of the matter is the difference between asking and manipulation. Manipulation seeks to control the manipulated and thus by definition limit the other’s free will. Asking is an open- ended request which leaves the response up to the other party. Manipulation generally implies covert intent whereas asking generally does not. Distinguishing the two is diﬀicult and not always clear-cut. Furthermore, humans generally neither ask nor manipulate as a single, unified being. More often than not, people are amalgams of contradictory programs and impulses, some of them tending towards service to self, some maybe towards service to others.
Acceding to manipulation generally amplifies the self-serving nature of the manipulator. Thus for service to others to be expressed, manipulation should be refused. Asking by people can be highly ambiguous and contradictory. For example, some people may actually ask to be refused when they make excessive demands. With proper discernment, one can give to the parts of another that tend to serving others, and refuse to feed the self-serving parts of the same person. Denying manipulation can be seen to be doing a favor to the part which does not wish to take unfair advantage, should there be such a part.
We may for example consider lies to be an indirect request for truth. Thus giving all could be said to be giving all things their due, in accordance with upholding the principle of service to others. Discerning the true nature of the asking/request/manipulation is key here.
As with any general principle, this cannot be applied mechanically, without awareness of context. While our first connotation for giving is an exchange between persons, the idea is not limited to this. We can speak of giving all to a principle, as in dedicating one’s life to a cause. We could say that making service to others oriented esoteric information available is a giving to the principle of free will. This is on one hand a response to a spirit of spiritual questing that exists among people often disillusioned with standard religion or the New Age, on the other hand a response to the lies and half truths promoted by the control system under the guise of these same movements.
In this world of mixed contents, the motives of giving, whether for personal satisfaction or as an expression of alignment with an impersonal principle cannot always be distinguished nor do they occur separately. Pure expressions of service to others or service to self are rare.
RA: I am Ra. Picture, if you will, your mind. Picture it then in total unity with all other minds of your society. You are then single-minded and that which is a weak electrical charge in your physical illusion is now an enormously powerful machine whereby thoughts may be projected as things. In this endeavor the Orion group charges or at-
tacks the Confederation armed with light. The result, a stand-off, as you would call it, both energies being somewhat depleted by this and needing to regroup; the negative depleted through failure to manipulate, the positive depleted through failure to accept that which is given.
QUESTIONER: Could you amplify the meaning of what you mean by the ”failure to accept that which is given?”
RA: I am Ra. At the level of time/space at which this takes place in the form of what you may call thought-war, the most accepting and loving energy would be to so love those who wished to manipulate that those entities were surrounded and engulfed, transformed by positive energies. This, however, being a battle of equals, the Confeder- ation is aware that it cannot, on equal footing, allow itself to be manipulated in order to remain purely positive, for then though pure it would not be of any consequence, having been placed by the so-called powers of darkness under the heel, as you may say. It is thus that those who deal with this thought-war must be defensive rather than accepting in order to preserve their usefulness in service to others. Thusly, they cannot accept fully what the Orion Confederation wishes to give, that being enslavement. Thusly, some polarity is lost due to this friction and both sides, if you will, must then regroup. It has not been fruitful for either side. The only consequence which has been helpful is a balancing of the energies available to this planet so that these energies have less necessity to be balanced in this space/time, thus lessening the chances of planetary annihilation.
Finally, the C's tell us that Networking is an STO activity.
On the subject of wishing there are two entries in the CassWiki that might be helpful:Networking
Whereas self-serving beings naturally form hierarchies with the strongest and most ruthless at the top, service to others beings would form networks. In the words of the Cassiopaeans, the concept of networking is a foretaste of fourth density service to others.
To bring the idea into context, we can start with George Gurdjieff’s definition of a group: In a group, what is gained by one is gained by all and what is lost by one is lost by all. A group in this sense can only exist within the context of esoteric work. Such a group is free from disagreement not because of a command structure but because the same truths are seen by all.
We can distinguish two types of group effects:
The hope of esoteric work is to make these effects greater and more comprehensive. Achieving this is sometimes called the communion of saints. This goes beyond a social phenomenon and involves sharing the ’substance of knowledge’ or ’higher hydrogens’ generated in group work.
- The group descends to the level of the lowest common denominator, as happens in lynch mobs and other cases of mass hysteria.
- The group rises to the sum total of the understandings and capacities of all members. This happens to a small degree in teams displaying good synergy. However, the imperfect quality of human communication and friction coming from personality dampens these effects and usually limits their scope to a well-practiced area such as playing a team sport or playing in an orchestra.
In general we can say that a group amplifies whatever is a consistently shared and applied principle in the group’s work. This contains a catch: We often find, specially on the Internet, New Age groups that are in a sense ’open’ but where the exchange degenerates if not into a shouting match then into a more subtle feeding or pleading or manipulating contest. It seems that internal work for purifying the signal and making the self first clear is a prerequisite for a group to amplify anything but subjectivity.
For mixed, predominantly self-serving entities such as present day humans, indiscriminate sharing of everything simply makes noise. A great deal of attention is required for the participants to overcome first themselves and then act in a manner approximating service to others oriented beings, rather than according to their default impulses. Again, determining what constitutes service to others in each case is its own question but a certain skill or sense for this can form via practice – see Law of Three.
In practice, a network does not imply the interchangeability of all members. This is not achievable nor is it the goal. Having reached a similar level of development does not imply identity of personality or group think but does imply striving for seeing the same understandings. A group can involve specialization and contain teachers and students, but is by definition a voluntary structure and does not exist for the benefit of any single member or subgroup. Instead, such a group may exist for performing a specific esoteric task, as may be required by the time and context.
The concept of giving back is emphasized by the Fourth Way. Since the principle of service to others represents balance through the idea of serving self through serving others, this principle requires reciprocity in order to work. Balance cannot be legislated but it may occur naturally if the participants share the same direction, i.e. are collinear.
For fourth density harvestability, a network offers distinct advantages over working alone. The members can complete each other even though their own vibrational purity were not perfect. For graduating to fourth density service to self, the aspirants must generally work alone since the very idea of service to self sees sharing as generally undesirable.
According to the Cassiopaeans, wishful thinking is a fundamental property of the service to self orientation.
The core idea of ”wishful thinking” is that one values one’s personal subjective preference over knowledge of the objective state of matters. This is a statement to the universe to the effect that the being does not wish to exist in said universe because the being’s fantasies are preferred. This then ties with the idea of the thought center of non-being and separation of self from all which is.
In the third density, wishful thinking does not physically bend reality, it only hampers perception. According to the Cassiopaeans, the case is different in the fourth density, in which wishful thinking has the effect of quite concretely forming a sort of reality bubble. In densities beyond the fourth, beings cannot exist in pure service to self, presumably because the increased freedom of these densities would make it so the entity simply collapsed on itself and ceased interacting – either living fully in a solipsistic bubble, or collapsing into inanimate matter.
Anticipation and non-anticipation
The Cassiopaean material discusses anticipation in relation to following one’s path or interacting with reality at large. There two sides to the discussion: the first is that one should always anticipate attack in order to avoid problems by preparation; the second is that one should not be fixated on any particular imagined outcome of one’s creative efforts or intent, because such fixation or anticipation restricts the ’creative flow.’
This is the closest the Cassiopaeans come to discussing the idea that ’you create your own reality’, or ’YCYOR’.
Intent can invite realization, but anticipation of any particular realization metaphysically nullifies the intent. This relates to the distinction between service to others and service to self. Anticipation is expecting the self to be confirmed, expecting to bend the Universe to one’s will and thus falls on the side of the service to self principle. Intent is non-personal and can be generally creative in the service to others sense. Anticipation does however have its uses in a world of service to self, but this use is for the service to others candidate principally in predicting and blocking possible foreseeable diﬀiculties. This takes the form of simple physical or mental preparedness.
An alternative formulation of the idea could be that if one thinks one must have more money, the idea of having more money is projected into the future and the idea of not having enough money is asserted for the present. In the reverse, if one thinks one could get mugged and therefore avoids the side alley after dark, one asserts that one could be mugged in the future and is safe in the present and to give this idea physical expression even avoids places where muggings are the most common. If any part of mind really influences reality by metaphysically attracting events, it is not the conscious wishing part. If this part has effect on reality, the effect is rather in selecting what is an appropriate perception, hence blocking much information that would otherwise be available.
This too has a survival oriented role but it is overexpressed in people who will only accept that which conforms to their assumptions or anticipations.
Another way of thinking about this would be the idea that ignoring something is an invitation for experientially learning this something. This is generally so in the case of ignoring warnings of impending danger. The ’all giving Universe’ responds by allowing one to experience the danger.
We could say that uses of anticipation are defensive and rooted in knowledge of possible dangers. Anticipation can also be used in a controlling sense when people make precise plans about carrying out a project that has little to do with openness to the ’creative principle.’ Such activity is mostly concerned with meeting external requirements or getting confirmation for oneself being in control.
Having internal discipline is a somewhat different matter. Discipline implies staying the course and being consistent, while not ”anticipating” specific outside effects as a result of merely expecting them.
The greatest creative contribution in the service to others mode can be realized in a state of not anticipating outcomes or effects while expressing one’s fundamental nature or gift. Much work may be required to properly know this gift and where its use is appropriate. It is not a simple process of self-expression, as it includes doing this in accordance with objective reality. Openness to reality is what makes constructive and non-restricting response possible. Without this objectivity and state of non-assumption one is again forcing one’s interpretation, even if unconsciously, on reality.
Acting completely on behalf of universal principles and on an unbiased perception of reality, without any desire for the self is vanishingly rare. Still, combining intent with accurate perception can lead one to entirely unexpected openings and synchronicities. Placing too many restrictions on what are acceptable openings may simply lead one to miss them. This is more a manifestation of obsession than objective seeing.
This idea is tied to the adage that knowledge protects. Knowledge of risks makes preparing for them possible and may offer some psychic protection as well. Obsession with specific results is not knowledge, for it imposes one’s subjectivity on the world and thus does not protect, but rather blinds one to reality and leaves one open to dangers. Thus flexibility and objective perception are key.