The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

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Terrapin Station
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Terrapin Station »

Fanman wrote: May 9th, 2021, 10:12 pm 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”?
It's just an understated way of talking about any odd and false belief they might have, such as thinking that the self is something like an object a la an organ, not identical to their brain, and "more abstract and immutable."
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Steve3007
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Steve3007 »

There was an old TV comedy in which one of the characters was a slightly dim guy whose job as a cleaner involved the use of a broom. He once said:

"I've had this broom for 20 years. It's had 17 new heads and 14 new handles. But it's still the same old broom."

Where I work, whenever we have lunchtime conversations about the nature of entities that have continuity of identity even though their consistent parts are fluid (as you do) we refer to this phenomenon with the shorthand "Trigger's Broom". (Trigger was the name of the character.)
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Fanman »

Terrapin Station,
It's just an understated way of talking about any odd and false belief they might have, such as thinking that the self is something like an object a la an organ, not identical to their brain, and "more abstract and immutable."
Aha, I know you're a very clever person. So I thought that you meant something very profound!
Theists believe, agnostics ponder, atheists compute. A little bit of each should get us the right answer.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Terrapin Station »

Steve3007 wrote: May 10th, 2021, 6:21 am There was an old TV comedy in which one of the characters was a slightly dim guy whose job as a cleaner involved the use of a broom. He once said:

"I've had this broom for 20 years. It's had 17 new heads and 14 new handles. But it's still the same old broom."

Where I work, whenever we have lunchtime conversations about the nature of entities that have continuity of identity even though their consistent parts are fluid (as you do) we refer to this phenomenon with the shorthand "Trigger's Broom". (Trigger was the name of the character.)
Yeah, definitely an unchanging self through time would be a misunderstanding (or an "illusion" if we like).
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by popeye1945 »

Hi Terrapin Station,

"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.
[/quote]

Well, it is reasonable to assume that apparent reality is an illusion, or perhaps there is a better word for it. What it really is, is a biological readout, think about the atmosphere just full of vibrational waves of every sort. Out of the multitude of forms of waves, there are only some of which we can sense, the rest are there, but as far as we are concern there is nothing. Think of these waves as metaphorical numbers and they are fed into you much like numbers into a computer, you process them and the sum which comes out is apparent reality. Those waves, sound, color and light are affects which effect you/your biology so your perceptions of these are reactions to the objects of the outside world. These processes occur internally. When these processes are completed one is in a position to bestow meaning upon the world. The old if a tree falls in the forest does it make any noise, if there is no conscious subject to interpret the vibrations into sound there is no sound, only vibrations.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Gee »

popeye1945 wrote: May 10th, 2021, 9:24 am Well, it is reasonable to assume that apparent reality is an illusion, or perhaps there is a better word for it. What it really is, is a biological readout, think about the atmosphere just full of vibrational waves of every sort. Out of the multitude of forms of waves, there are only some of which we can sense, the rest are there, but as far as we are concern there is nothing. Think of these waves as metaphorical numbers and they are fed into you much like numbers into a computer, you process them and the sum which comes out is apparent reality. Those waves, sound, color and light are affects which effect you/your biology so your perceptions of these are reactions to the objects of the outside world. These processes occur internally. When these processes are completed one is in a position to bestow meaning upon the world. The old if a tree falls in the forest does it make any noise, if there is no conscious subject to interpret the vibrations into sound there is no sound, only vibrations.
I find nothing reasonable about thinking that reality and self are illusions and have some thoughts regarding the above claims.

First, infants are born with a sense of self -- if they were not, they would not live. Their sense of self is their mother's self, and they are usually six to eight months old before they realize that they are no longer physically a part of their mother. They are about two years old when they begin to realize that they are not mentally a part of their mother, and that they are developing their own mental self. This is why SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) is only dangerous to infants under two years old, because a break in the bond that causes the infant to identify with the mother, before the child has their own identity, can cause death.

The other thing that seems missing from this thread is any talk of bonding, as I don't see how self can be discussed without also discussing bonding. Usually, when we talk about self, we are talking about our physical body and our sense of identity with that physical body, but there are larger "self"s. We also identify with our immediate family, spouse and children, our larger family, our race, our religion, our country, city, etc., our occupation, our school, our football team, etc.

So I tend to view self like I would a drop that falls into still water. The drop makes the initial splash, then causes rings to form in ever increasing size, which will eventually overlap with other rings made by other drops, then others, and others, creating activity that could appear to be illusion -- but it is not. It is actually a maze of bonding.

Gee
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

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popeye1945 wrote: May 10th, 2021, 9:24 am Well, it is reasonable to assume that apparent reality is an illusion, or perhaps there is a better word for it. What it really is, is a biological readout, think about the atmosphere just full of vibrational waves of every sort. Out of the multitude of forms of waves, there are only some of which we can sense, the rest are there, but as far as we are concern there is nothing.
That doesn't amount to an illusion. Just the fact that we don't sense/we aren't perceptual aware of everything that exists.
Think of these waves as metaphorical numbers and they are fed into you much like numbers into a computer, you process them and the sum which comes out is apparent reality. Those waves, sound, color and light are affects which effect you/your biology so your perceptions of these are reactions to the objects of the outside world. These processes occur internally.
I'm a direct realist, by the way.
When these processes are completed one is in a position to bestow meaning upon the world. The old if a tree falls in the forest does it make any noise, if there is no conscious subject to interpret the vibrations into sound there is no sound, only vibrations.
Sound IS vibrations in the air. So yes, it does make noise.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by popeye1945 »

Hi Terrapin Station,

That doesn't amount to an illusion. Just the fact that we don't sense/we aren't perceptual aware of everything that exists. quote

If something is not whole, do a steering wheel and a bumper constitute a car? Besides that Delimma, apparent reality is dependent upon your constitution, it seems to be the way it is because you are the way you are.

Sound IS vibrations in the air. So yes, it does make noise.
[/quote]

So, if you where there in the forest when the tree fell and you where stone deaf, or better still you had no ears whatsoever, would there be sound? Sound is the biological reaction one has to vibrations, the vibrations excite the eardrum, and the effect is interpreted as sound.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Fanman »

Gee,

I agree. The self is not in a contained vacuum of itself. It reaches out and finds accord with many different extraneous factors. Which make us who we are - If that makes sense.
Theists believe, agnostics ponder, atheists compute. A little bit of each should get us the right answer.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Terrapin Station »

popeye1945 wrote: May 10th, 2021, 4:39 pm Hi Terrapin Station,

That doesn't amount to an illusion. Just the fact that we don't sense/we aren't perceptual aware of everything that exists. quote

If something is not whole, do a steering wheel and a bumper constitute a car?
What is the analogy supposed to be there?

At any rate, if you can only see the steering wheel and bumper, that doesn't imply that what you see is an illusion.
So, if you where there in the forest when the tree fell and you where stone deaf, or better still you had no ears whatsoever, would there be sound?
Yes, of course.

Sound is the biological reaction one has to vibrations, the vibrations excite the eardrum, and the effect is interpreted as sound.
No, that's conflating the subjective experience of sound with sound period.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by popeye1945 »

Have it your way! I stated the case you either don't get it or you just like to disagree.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Gee »

Fanman wrote: May 10th, 2021, 4:41 pm Gee,

I agree. The self is not in a contained vacuum of itself. It reaches out and finds accord with many different extraneous factors. Which make us who we are - If that makes sense.
It makes sense to me.

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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Gee »

popeye1945 wrote: May 10th, 2021, 4:39 pm If something is not whole, do a steering wheel and a bumper constitute a car? Besides that Delimma, apparent reality is dependent upon your constitution, it seems to be the way it is because you are the way you are.
After viewing this post, I think I understand you better. When you state that a steering wheel and a bumper are not a "whole" car, what you are saying is that you think the "self" is a whole -- or it should be. If you see the "self" as a whole that identifies with a specific body, what you are describing is a "soul".

That could come off looking like an illusion as "self" does not work that way. Self is more a perspective than it is an identity, so the steering wheel is a "whole" steering wheel and the bumper is a "whole" bumper and the car is a "whole" car. The square inch of metal that makes up part of the bumper is a whole square inch of metal. Many people believe that the Universe is a whole and therefore has a self -- I can't doubt it.

Gee
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by Tegularius »

Liberation from the self. What does that mean? Can anyone really explain what that means? How does one get liberated from the self and what supposedly is THAT SELF that one should get liberated from; how is the value of an individual increased by this so-called transformation.

Also, how would Einstein know if there is any value in this questionable liberation. Did he ever meet anyone who actually was liberated? Or is it only one of his trite little saying in wanting to appear profound?

Actually one has no choice in eventually being liberated and to such an extent that you won't even know having been liberated.
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Re: The Self as a Highly Functional Illusion

Post by popeye1945 »

After viewing this post, I think I understand you better. When you state that a steering wheel and a bumper are not a "whole" car, what you are saying is that you think the "self" is a whole -- or it should be. If you see the "self" as a whole that identifies with a specific body, what you are describing is a "soul".

That could come off looking like an illusion as "self" does not work that way. Self is more a perspective than it is an identity, so the steering wheel is a "whole" steering wheel and the bumper is a "whole" bumper and the car is a "whole" car. The square inch of metal that makes up part of the bumper is a whole square inch of metal. Many people believe that the Universe is a whole and therefore has a self -- I can't doubt it. quote

Hi Gee,

Greater than the sum of its parts, but my thought is the spectrum of perception in order to know ultimate reality you must perceive what you do not, indeed what you cannot. Perception is reaction, the senses are limitations as well as enablers and apparent reality is a biological readout that does not perceive/react to the totality/the sum of its parts. The apparent reality is a biological expression of its reactions. Experience is always real and true to the experiencer but is an illusion to ultimate reality, so in some sense, the experiencer is one with its totality of reactions incomplete. You state the self is more a perspective than an identity, I would say experience is everything the self then is its perception/reaction to its environment which is true to itself but is itself illusion, it is a biological reaction, it is the self, it is an illusion that lives within its own illusion.
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