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September 18, 2022


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One could (and does) get really bogged down in all this consciousness, non-thinking, no-self stuff. I often wonder if it's all a spin-of from the fact that we think (and overthink) our way into numerous mental dead ends and perhaps create problems that don't exist in reality. But of course, questions are bound to arise for us as we ponder and question what on Earth is going on and who/what am 'I'?

I guess I'm actually somewhat skeptical of the whole questioning/seeking process. Not in the sense of asking technical questions that could lead to improved living conditions or accepting one another's differences, but those never-ending questions that basically revolve around the egocentric search for a 'me' that is better and more 'me' than I actually am.

We're very wedded to the idea of 'there must be something else', something more to me (or life) that if only I could find it I would be free and happy. Hence the search for teachers, for various spiritual and meditation systems and so on.

Maybe all that is needed is a realisation that this is it, this, that is me and everything, is all there ever is. Perhaps just to naturally notice the perpetual patterns of thought is, without resort to some promising system, just plain old meditation.

It is a matter of direct intuition. One can directly know it in meditation.

Words fail.

Ron E, I resonate with your comment, agreeing with most of what you said. I do try to keep my practice of meditation as simple as possible. It's the theoretical side that, as you said, can lead to a lot of confusion. I guess I sort of see the theoretical side as akin to a mystery that demands solving.

Logic and a review of evidence can help a lot in solving the mystery, but sometimes the evidence is of a lack (such as an enduring self) rather than a presence -- as in the Sherlock Holmes story of the dog that didn't bark being a highly pertinent clue.

" ... You could not in fact have a conscious self, in the sense that you have one now, without having encountered other conscious selves.

Consciousness is something "caught." ... "

..........That is a very interesting observation! That if you brought up a child in the middle of nowhere, tended to by robots, or maybe by human beings who deliberately left off any positive or negative nudges as far as the child's self-hood, then the child wouldn't "grow" a sense of self at all. Very, very intriguing.

Is it true, though?

That Buddhism has got one thing right --- Anatta, non-self, I mean to say --- does not necessarily mean it would get all things right, or that people who are into Buddhism and generally ruminating away will necessarily get it all right. Getting it right just the once might simply be a matter of happenstance. After all even a broken clock gives you the right time twice a day (or maybe once, if it's digital). With the hundreds, maybe thousands, of things that different traditions speak of, often with uncanny authority and certitude, is it any wonder that one or two of those might hit home? It is simply a question of happenstance!

So, does science bear out this out, the quoted portion I mean to say? That our sense of self is chimerical has already been established, I believe. But that this chimerical self-hood hasn't been evolved directly as programming into our brains, but is wholly and entirely a learned trait, a socially learned trait, at the level of every single individual human being, is that also something that is borne to by bona fide science? *That* is what is the million dollar question.

Don't remember having seen this specific question discussed. Haven't nosed around looking, so far; but I'd love to know the answer to this question.

(I guess a related question might be: Do animals have a sense of self, and consciousness as well, in the sense that we humans have it? I'm not cent per cent sure on this, but if I were asked to take a stab at answering, then I'd guess Yes, they do, the higher animals at any rate. So that one might actually experiment and see for oneself, isn't it? Experimenting on humans is obviously out of the question; and experimenting on rats is something we do all the time; I imagine it would not raise insurmountable ethical concerns to carry out experiments of this kind with chimpanzees, or bonobos, or maybe dogs. So, has something like this ever been done, I wonder?)

Oops, commented on the wrong thread, sorry! That was meant to have been a comment on your latert post.

After noticing my mistake, I copied this comment on to the correct thread, twice in fact, but while the comment took, both times, but when I refreshed the page it doesn't show up there. I don't know, maybe because it's a verbatim copy of this same message, and a fairly long comment too, so maybe the spam filters on the software stop it getting posted, or something like that? (Just guessing, because the comment got published here, but not in the other thread, even thoough it is the exact same comment.)

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