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Self

Self
December 15, 2010, 10:27:11 AM
Whaddya guys think about the notion of "self"? Is it real? If so, what is it?

Does the mere action of thinking substantiate the thinker as a distinct and real entity, à la Descartes? From a materialist point of view, "I think, therefore I am" makes sense. However, more spiritually-inclined folk would contend that its just that gosh darn ego of ours, jus' tryin' to keep us sane and make sure we pass on our genes.

Folk like that Buddha, I mean. That gook would probly argyew that "self" implies something that remains constant and unchangin' in our dynamic and ever-changin' world -- but thar ain't nuthin' 'bout us that stays tha same fer two consecyuhtive moments -- includin' our own thoughts! Makes sense, don't it?

So where does this idear of self s'posed ta come from, you ask *hyuck*? Well, it comes from desire, the root of all sufferin' in this world... Hwhen ya realize that there ain't no self, and thus no reason ta want nuthin', yur sufferin' ends.  Er So Sais Booduh, a'least. 

Now, you're probly thinkin' "How the fuck would the human species even exist without desires? Isn't desire an innate aspect of the human condition? Isn't it rather solipsistic to want to free yourself from desire, ie disconnect from the world?" Well, I dunno. Why dontcha shoot the ol' Chinaman an email. What, have you been living under a rock? OF COURSE EMAILS CAN BE SENT THROUGH TIME! Hm? I dunno, somethin' to do with tachyons. Uh-huh. Yes, very expensive. Can we talk about this later?

Ahem... And then the Hindus think there's a little piece of 'God' in all of us which is our "true self" -- the ego is just our "small self". Sounds pretty reasonable. But then again, those people smell.

So. What is your take on 'self' and how does it influence your life?

Re: Self
December 15, 2010, 11:15:26 AM
I've seen "self" explained as that which is beneath the conscious (ego + senses), beneath the subconscious, and beneath the unconscious. It's definitely not a physical thing in itself as far as we know.

The ego is often treated as an insignificant thing for the eventual domination and mastery of it, but this may not be for all of us.

At the least I think anyone and everyone can benefit from a rudimentary understanding of how ego works, and I think a lot of people here are capable of that.

Re: Self
December 15, 2010, 02:30:32 PM
The self is one of the many illusions ingrained in us to better our survival.  The ego should take backseat at times though, to allow the person to better understand the strange situation into which he has been placed.  I think there are two completely different spiritual paths in regard to the self.  Gazing inward, into the self's passions, desires, and fantasies seems to be the more natural tendency (at least for "civilized" man), while a religion like Buddhism seems to be gazing outward and becoming more like the universe and more in tune with it.  Personally I think that's almost like fatalism.  We should be Satanic, rejecting the universe that spawned us, but consciously know that we are doing it.  Even though we know we can never win against the "creator" (the universe that spawned us), we are still here now, and while we're here we can affirm what we are and fight for it, even if it might make us miserable at times.  So we shouldn't follow our instincts or meditate all day, but instead we should create art and journey into space.

I haven't thought about the self too much though, so I'm not confident about any of these ideas.

Re: Self
December 15, 2010, 02:40:25 PM
The self is one of the many illusions ingrained in us to better our survival.  The ego should take backseat at times though, to allow the person to better understand the strange situation into which he has been placed.  I think there are two completely different spiritual paths in regard to the self.  Gazing inward, into the self's passions, desires, and fantasies seems to be the more natural tendency (at least for "civilized" man), while a religion like Buddhism seems to be gazing outward and becoming more like the universe and more in tune with it.  Personally I think that's almost like fatalism.  We should be Satanic, rejecting the universe that spawned us, but consciously know that we are doing it.  Even though we know we can never win against the "creator" (the universe that spawned us), we are still here now, and while we're here we can affirm what we are and fight for it, even if it might make us miserable at times.  So we shouldn't follow our instincts or meditate all day, but instead we should create art and journey into space.

I haven't thought about the self too much though, so I'm not confident about any of these ideas.

I agree, but if the self is an illusion, who is it illuding?

Re: Self
December 15, 2010, 02:52:12 PM
Anybody who thinks of themselves as being whole, complete, unique entities, somehow separate from the body and cosmos in a dualistic sense.  Such as thinking that they are the soul, and the body is just the vessel.  You don't have to be monotheistic to fall into this type of thinking.  On the other hand, I think that view of the self is probably a more natural one, because it is certainly more comfortable and more fun to think of the self like that.  And so that's the illusion.

Edit: Oh, nevermind, I misunderstood what you were saying.  That's a good point.  Does it have to be illuding someone for it to be an illusion?  I'll have to think about that.

Re: Self
December 15, 2010, 03:07:24 PM
As you can see the problem seems to be deeper, altough of course I'm not pretentious as to say the self can't be an illusion in the way you described, but as I pointed out, if there is an illusion, it's likely that something or someone is being fooled, and it leaves the question of who is that someone.

Also you surprised me (comparing by the views of this website) by declaring that the way of buddhism to adapt to the world as being less preferable than satanic rebellion, and even more when you said to reject the world. Not that there's anything wrong with it, but from my understanding, from the perspective of the self as an illusion it makes more sense to follow nature, but with a "true self" the rebellious view (as exposed, I think, by the gnostics, or miguel serrano and the demiurge concept) seems to make more sense.

But a person having to realize that it is being deluded and that in fact it does not really exist, while at the same time wondering how can it be that he is, is quite messed up.

I recommend the writings of samael aun weor on the subject:

http://gnosticteachings.org/the-teachings-of-gnosis/the-writings-of-samael-aun-weor/

PS: I understood what you said by rejecting the world, like a satanic attitude of keeping things fresh

Re: Self
December 15, 2010, 03:44:05 PM
When I think of the concept of self, it appears to be more of a practical term.  I understand what people mean when they talk about self.  Whether or not it is actually an illusion seems to be almost irrelevant.  However if you're discussing self in some technical way relating to the operation of conscious or sentient beings, then the question would seem to be far removed from the limitations of such a forum.

Re: Self
December 15, 2010, 11:23:05 PM
Not to be a prick, but let's get our semantics straight before we get any further with this thread. Are we discussing "self" as in "I, me" ego, or "Self" in the Vedantic sense?

I'd like this clarified so we express our knowledge more easily.

Re: Self
December 16, 2010, 08:43:50 AM
Not to be a prick, but let's get our semantics straight before we get any further with this thread. Are we discussing "self" as in "I, me" ego, or "Self" in the Vedantic sense?

I'd like this clarified so we express our knowledge more easily.

In my view the self is a label referring to an individual agent of consciousness, in this case in the context of a human being.

Now what about one's person isn't part of one's person?

As the adage goes, whosoever shall seek to save their soul shall lose it.

Re: Self
December 17, 2010, 12:53:50 AM
Even though ANUSian philosophy looks down upon egoistic masturbation, ie hipsterism, could we all here agree that metal is selfish? For instance...

Quote
Nonconformity In My Inner Self
I Only Guide My Inner Self

I Won't Change My Way
It Has To Be This Way
I Live My Life For Myself
Forget Your Filthy Ways
Blame And Lies, Contradictions Arise
Blame And Lies, Contradictions Arise

Nobody Will Change My Way
Life Betrays, But I Keep Going
There's No Light, But There's Hope
Crushing Oppression, I Win

or

Quote
I RIDE THE FLESH AND THE SINNERS OF HELL
I AM BELIAL
I BEND KNEE NOT BEFORE MY SELFISH DESIRE

Ego is obviously important. Metal tells us so. But where's the line between being confident and proud of one's self and being HIV+?





It's definitely not a physical thing in itself as far as we know.
This comment smells like dualism. Please explain more.

Re: Self
December 17, 2010, 01:15:29 AM
I agree that it is selfish sometimes in that it glorifies the self, but not egotistical. And I think ANUS oppossed not online egoistic masturbation, but masturbation itself.

Re: Self
December 18, 2010, 01:28:08 AM
It's definitely not a physical thing in itself as far as we know.
This comment smells like dualism. Please explain more.

Self is an abstract concept, like God and mind and consciousness, hence non-physical, just like an operating system on a computer or the data stored on a hard disk are non-physical and abstract. There are physical things that facilitate consciousness though, such as the brain and the mind within it, and the body that supports the brain.

No brain = no mind and no consciousness. Mind, as a part of one unified body, is merely an instrument for the Self and an expression of the Self, from my understanding.

Re: Self
December 18, 2010, 08:48:08 AM
Self is an abstract concept, like God and mind and consciousness, hence non-physical, just like an operating system on a computer or the data stored on a hard disk are non-physical and abstract. There are physical things that facilitate consciousness though, such as the brain and the mind within it, and the body that supports the brain.

No brain = no mind and no consciousness. Mind, as a part of one unified body, is merely an instrument for the Self and an expression of the Self, from my understanding.

It depends on whether you look at it from the perspective of physical -> non-physical or non-physical -> physical.