The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

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popeye1945
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The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by popeye1945 »

Well, the Buddhists say that there is no self, I suppose this is saying the same thing in a different way. Most people think of the self as their identity, but you did not have an identity when you were brought into this world, you acquired it from your reactions to your environment. What came into the world was a constitution either healthy and hardy or a little less so and a little frailer. This constitution in the process of gathering through its experience an identity becomes its experience, it becomes a storyline ever developing, ever adding. At some time one probably procreates and renews the constitution, that spark of life which is relatively immortal, your constitution eventually fails your function realized and your experience storyline enters into oblivion, and the process is relatively immortal, as it has renewed itself as it has for eons.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Nick_A »

popeye1945 wrote: May 9th, 2021, 6:33 am Well, the Buddhists say that there is no self, I suppose this is saying the same thing in a different way. Most people think of the self as their identity, but you did not have an identity when you were brought into this world, you acquired it from your reactions to your environment. What came into the world was a constitution either healthy and hardy or a little less so and a little frailer. This constitution in the process of gathering through its experience an identity becomes its experience, it becomes a storyline ever developing, ever adding. At some time one probably procreates and renews the constitution, that spark of life which is relatively immortal, your constitution eventually fails your function realized and your experience storyline enters into oblivion, and the process is relatively immortal, as it has renewed itself as it has for eons.
But it is your self or this no self which lives your life for you. Should you experience it or ignore it as an illusion?

Albert Einstein — 'The true value of a human being can be found in the degree to which he has attained liberation from the self.'
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
popeye1945
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by popeye1945 »

Hi Nick,
I would say let that no self live out of your being aware it is an illusion. It seems to be somewhat of a tonic against the fear of death when you realize what most people fear losing never was there. That said, there is little doubt in my mind of the value of others in a life worth living. Albert is right about that, the realization is not quite like the incorporation and acting out of that reality, but even the effort, is worth the trouble.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Nick_A »

popeye1945 wrote: May 9th, 2021, 10:21 am Hi Nick,
I would say let that no self live out of your being aware it is an illusion. It seems to be somewhat of a tonic against the fear of death when you realize what most people fear losing never was there. That said, there is little doubt in my mind of the value of others in a life worth living. Albert is right about that, the realization is not quite like the incorporation and acting out of that reality, but even the effort, is worth the trouble.
Animal man and the lower self is real. The fact that it has been corrupted as Plato explained in the Chariot analogy creates the illusion which governs our lives and prevents Man from experiencing his objective purpose of consciously uniting the levels of reality know as above and below.

Since this human condition governs our lives it is dominant and doesn't want to die for the sake of human need for truth
Man would like to be an egoist and cannot. This is the most striking characteristic of his wretchedness and the source of his greatness." Simone Weil....Gravity and Grace
popeye1945
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by popeye1945 »

Animal man and the lower self is real. The fact that it has been corrupted as Plato explained in the Chariot analogy creates the illusion which governs our lives and prevents Man from experiencing his objective purpose of consciously uniting the levels of reality know as above and below.

Since this human condition governs our lives it is dominant and doesn't want to die for the sake of human need for truth
[/quote]

Hi Nick,
You need to put things in your own words, contemporary to the present and for those not as well read---LOL!!!
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Terrapin Station
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Terrapin Station »

Maybe some people have some quirky idea of what selves amount to ontologically, and that idea would be a fiction or illusion, but basically what you're describing--the dynamic, subjective, individual flow of a set of experiences, mental phenomena, including "self consciousness," etc. is just what selves are, so that can't be an illusion.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by popeye1945 »

Maybe some people have some quirky idea of what selves amount to ontologically, and that idea would be a fiction or illusion, but basically what you're describing--the dynamic, subjective, individual flow of a set of experiences, mental phenomena, including "self consciousness," etc. is just what selves are, so that can't be an illusion.
[/quote]

Hi Terrapin,
When a child is born, it has no identity, so are you saying at the time, the time of birth it is something else, or that it already has an identity?
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Terrapin Station »

popeye1945 wrote: May 9th, 2021, 2:27 pm
Maybe some people have some quirky idea of what selves amount to ontologically, and that idea would be a fiction or illusion, but basically what you're describing--the dynamic, subjective, individual flow of a set of experiences, mental phenomena, including "self consciousness," etc. is just what selves are, so that can't be an illusion.
Hi Terrapin,
When a child is born, it has no identity, so are you saying at the time, the time of birth it is something else, or that it already has an identity?
We're talking about a personal identity or sense of self. If we assume that infants have no sense of self or personal identity initially, what would be the issue re acknowledging that a sense of self/personal identity develops? How would that suggest that self is an illusion?
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by popeye1945 »

The sense of self is just that a sense it is not real. It is as you say acquired, it is the constitution as a subject in relation to its experiences of its environment. It is something which arises through experience, the constitution becomes its experiences. Take the same constitution with its preferences and all, and it will be a different person than the one that would have been raised in a different environment. In other words, your sense of identity is what you've experienced, you are the totality of your experiences. In essence I think a lot of people think their sense of self is innate when it is a relational product. I stated it was a highly functional illusion, which it is, we could not do without it, it is indeed necessary for survival, and like a thought there is nothing tangible there.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by popeye1945 »

I just had an interesting thought, what I described to you as relational emergence, the constitution and its experience of its environment being a sense of self, is exactly the definition of how apparent reality arises for a conscious subject. Einstein said himself, that "Apparent reality is an illusion, be it a persistent one." So, according to Einstein the sense of self is as real as apparent reality.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Terrapin Station »

popeye1945 wrote: May 9th, 2021, 5:32 pm The sense of self is just that a sense it is not real.
Wait. If there's a sense of self, how is that not real? You'd presumably not be using "real" here a la denoting whether it's external to persons, because that would be nonsensical. Obviously selves wouldn't be external to persons.
It is as you say acquired, it is the constitution as a subject in relation to its experiences of its environment. It is something which arises through experience, the constitution becomes its experiences. Take the same constitution with its preferences and all, and it will be a different person than the one that would have been raised in a different environment.
Okay . . . and how would that suggest that it's an illusion?

In other words, your sense of identity is what you've experienced, you are the totality of your experiences. In essence I think a lot of people think their sense of self is innate when it is a relational product. I stated it was a highly functional illusion, which it is, we could not do without it, it is indeed necessary for survival, and like a thought there is nothing tangible there.
That you might not be born with it doesn't imply that it's an illusion. You're not born with your adult teeth, but your adult teeth are not an illusion.
popeye1945
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by popeye1945 »

Hi Terrapin Station,

Wait. If there's a sense of self, how is that not real? You'd presumably not be using "real" here a la denoting whether it's external to persons, because that would be nonsensical. Obviously selves wouldn't be external to persons.Quote

Well, I am struggling with this a bit myself, did you read the follow-up post where I mentioned Einstein? He says, and it is the same process, that the resultant, and here he is talking about apparent reality, and says it is an illusion although a persistent one. The sense of self indeed isn't out there, I guess one would have to conclude the sense of self is a feeling, so its a real as the feeling of anger or sadness perhaps. So its an activity of the body chemistry and hormones and the like. It never the less is a feeling which arises from the relation of subject and object or apparent reality but apparent reality is an illusion. I guess we have to conclude we live in a dream world and the sense of self is part of that dream world---sorry if I took you on a bit of a journey there.


Okay . . . and how would that suggest that it's an illusion? quote

Well to be consistent one has to consider it all illusion but it is as real to the subject as apparent reality itself. The premise still stands I think that the constitution/subject would experience themselves a different person raised in a different environment having different life experiences so the sense of self is dependant as much on the environment as the subject himself.


That you might not be born with it doesn't imply that it's an illusion. You're not born with your adult teeth, but your adult teeth are not an illusion.
[/quote]

Well, this has been a bit of a journey for me too. It just might be a touch of nonsense that an illusion is acquired from an illusion but that is where it seems to stand.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Fanman »

Terrapin Station,
Maybe some people have some quirky idea of what selves amount to ontologically, and that idea would be a fiction or illusion, but basically what you're describing--the dynamic, subjective, individual flow of a set of experiences, mental phenomena, including "self consciousness," etc. is just what selves are, so that can't be an illusion.
When dealing with the ontology of the self.
If someone has a conception that is “quirky”, why does this equate to fiction or illusion? What is the general rule relating to the understanding of the self? When there are philosophies such as nihilism and solipsism? If there was a generic ontology of the self or a consensus, wouldn’t every interlocutor here be saying the same thing? If the perception of self is inflated or not fully realised - a description of its ontology will construe a misconception. Is that what you meant by “quirky”?
Theists believe, agnostics ponder, atheists compute. A little bit of each should get us the right answer.
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detail
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by detail »

I do agree , the self as an assumption is not forced as an assumption by logic. But the brain, even in the most simple animals makes some some sort of neural time series analysis. So the foundations for the assumption of a self, were made somehow by some sort chi-square or covariance analysis of some neurons , that somehow simplified the logic assumptions for the brain , by assuming a self. The assumption of a self is somehow a data dimension reduction made reasonable for the simplest beeing with neurons. This reduces data trash in the beeings brain and is the true source of the assumption of a personal identity. Certainly buddha seems from his philosophical ethical standpoint quite likely to be supported but the reason for a personal identy lies in maths and physics especially statistics. A personal identy certainly supports egoism and anti-social behaviour this is clear for the philosophical thinking person but the realist knows the true reason for the existence of a self .
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Terrapin Station »

popeye1945 wrote: May 9th, 2021, 8:57 pm
Well, I am struggling with this a bit myself, did you read the follow-up post where I mentioned Einstein? He says, and it is the same process, that the resultant, and here he is talking about apparent reality, and says it is an illusion although a persistent one. The sense of self indeed isn't out there, I guess one would have to conclude the sense of self is a feeling, so its a real as the feeling of anger or sadness perhaps. So its an activity of the body chemistry and hormones and the like. It never the less is a feeling which arises from the relation of subject and object or apparent reality but apparent reality is an illusion. I guess we have to conclude we live in a dream world and the sense of self is part of that dream world---sorry if I took you on a bit of a journey there.
This may be part of the disagreement. I don't agree that apparent reality is an illusion, either. This isn't to say that illusions aren't possible, but apparent reality isn't categorically an illusion. When illusions occur, we know what's going wrong perceptually, which means that we're also getting something right with respect to apparent reality, otherwise there is no ground for saying there was an illusion in the first place.
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