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  1. #21
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Mmmm... murderous drug-filled rampage.... isn't that what we've been waiting for all of our lives? Ah, the anticipation of the freedom to wreak havoc and leave my burning footprint upon the throat of the world!

    Really, morality is unconnected to this kind of thing. It's like saying an atheist is prone to be a villain because he doesn't believe in some sort of dominating moral reality. Yet that's not how it typically plays out. Villains and heroes reside in all ranges of the spectrum of belief -- from the ultra-religious to the purely deterministic. I can have doubts about the validity of the self as an objective entity, but apparently it hasn't changed how I live; in fact, I find myself more compassionate and other-centered than at any other time in my life.

    (for what that is worth.)

    Quote Originally Posted by Magic Poriferan View Post
    EDIT: Based on another comment I'd saw here, I find it very important to add that even if this scientific analysis and post-modernism both press one to question the concept of self, they are very different things, deeply lacking in commonality.
    True. The mechanisms have different priorities, perspectives, and approaches to the world.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  2. #22
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Haven't read the whole thread yet, but the concept of self as illusion makes sense to me. One way I've illustrated the concept of self is that it is like a reflective sculpture. Every detail about our physicality is the result of genetics combining with environment. There is nothing that exists outside the intermingling of those imposed forces. Psychologically we are built from the impressions of experience down to the detailed nuance of our language and accent, our mannerisms, our turns of phrases, and facial expressions. These are not independently invented, but combined from a myriad impressions. Our ideas are an amalgamation of other ideas and narratives presented to us. The manner in which we are able to process any ideas comes from the language taught us, the systems of problem solving, and the interactions with the physics of the concrete world which we react to.

    If there is an independent self what is it? How is it defined and made distinct from everything which has made it? You can extend this question to that of a tree. What is a tree? Is it that moment in time when it possesses the form of a trunk with branches and leaves? Does it include the time it grew from a seed or the process of decay? Is it still a tree fallen half rotten, half living on the ground from which new saplings have sprung? Where does one tree end and the next begin? A tree is an object defined by an arbitrarily selected span of time found in a process of growth and decay that intermingles throughout a forest.

    We perceive the world in boundaries. There are seven colors in the rainbow, eleven pitches in the chromatic scale, minutes and hours, and yet this is only an illusion since the light spectrum, sound waves, and time are each a continuum. This too is what the self is - it is the tree for a portion of the cycle from which it emerges, self is the minute marked in time, the color named red, the pitch named A.
    Step into my metaphysical room of mirrors.
    Fear of reality creates myopic morality
    So I guess it means there is trouble until the robins come
    (from Blue Velvet)

  3. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildflower View Post
    when we are conceived of as an atomized self independent from others then we really doesn't consider how our actions affect others.
    The "atomized self" affects others, as does the "absence of self". Why would there be anymore reason to consider the effects we have on others if this type of self doesn't exist?

    It'd be interesting to see a functional difference between the self and no self, in this context. Seems like two different subjective views of the same object. One view has made an abstract category called the self, the other points out that it's abstract.

    Even with a ghostly soul, or a Cartesian Theater viewer, the self constructed from it is still abstract. As with any object constructed from a plurality.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    Research attitudes become social attitudes in all kinds of ways, with political, social and ethical implications.
    Yes this is true, and vice versa. There's something I've been struggling to put my finger on in this area.

    It's the idea that you can give a mechanical description of anything. Mundane things, souls, magic, energy and such, literally anything real or fictional you can imagine can be described in terms of its functions. This mechanical description seems to change things for people, and cause confusion, even though you are literally listing the traits an object has by describing it functionally/mechanically.

    One example is free will (the metaphysical kind, not merely one's ability to act on mental volition). People start to say things like "you are controlled by your hormones", when of course the mechanical description was treating the hormones as part of you, a functional description of you. So "you are controlled by part of you" is effectively the same. "These hormones can be manipulated", which again fits perfectly with "you can be manipulated", yet it's suddenly a kind of mind control detrimental to free will (how is it more relevant to free will than anything else affecting or "manipulating" you, as constantly happens every second?). This is the reason why I await a description of an observable difference between metaphysical free will and the lack of it.

    There are many other examples, but this is something I'm still clarifying mentally.

  4. #24
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by wildflower View Post
    while i haven't read more than the quote you posted i don't think it is referring to a buddhist notion so much as a postmodern view of having many selves that are created by our various circumstances or life stories. this is a fascinating read about 4 various notions of the self: selfhood. there is the modern view of the independent self, people in community, the dialogical self, and the multifaceted postmodern selves. i think there is probably an element in each of these theories that is true and i think it is neither nature or nurture but both.

    in psychology there are some really interesting things happening with internal family systems therapy or similar types like ego state, etc. it is the idea of not having one inner self (or inner child) but many inner selves. some of the thinking is based on systems theory and the complexity and multiplicity of things including our brains. in these types of therapy there is still one core personality, like freud's ego, but there are other personalities that have arisen due to various life circumstances. even freud propounded a multiplicity of selves with his id, ego and superego. basically, it's all about modern vs. postmodern views of life and the self/ves.
    Thanks. You don't take definitions for granted. The more people do, the more we may as well be speaking different languages.

  5. #25
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Mmmm... murderous drug-filled rampage.... isn't that what we've been waiting for all of our lives? Ah, the anticipation of the freedom to wreak havoc and leave my burning footprint upon the throat of the world!
    Dost thou love Life? Then do not squander Time; for that's the Stuff Life is made of.

    -- Benjamin Franklin, Poor Richard's Almanack, June 1746 --

  6. #26
    Ginkgo
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    Mmmm... murderous drug-filled rampage.... isn't that what we've been waiting for all of our lives? Ah, the anticipation of the freedom to wreak havoc and leave my burning footprint upon the throat of the world!


    Really, morality is unconnected to this kind of thing. It's like saying an atheist is prone to be a villain because he doesn't believe in some sort of dominating moral reality. Yet that's not how it typically plays out. Villains and heroes reside in all ranges of the spectrum of belief -- from the ultra-religious to the purely deterministic. I can have doubts about the validity of the self as an objective entity, but apparently it hasn't changed how I live; in fact, I find myself more compassionate and other-centered than at any other time in my life.
    Watchmen.

  7. #27
    royal member Rasofy's Avatar
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    Now you're looking for the answer. But you won't find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.
    -----------------

    A man builds. A parasite asks 'Where is my share?'
    A man creates. A parasite says, 'What will the neighbors think?'
    A man invents. A parasite says, 'Watch out, or you might tread on the toes of God... '


    -----------------

  8. #28
    Senior Member wildflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by erm View Post
    The "atomized self" affects others, as does the "absence of self". Why would there be anymore reason to consider the effects we have on others if this type of self doesn't exist?
    my initial sense was this book was coming from the postmodern notion of having multiple selves rather than no self. looking at the author's blog where he does mention more buddhist notions of no self it looks like he may be talking about something different than i was thinking. i'm not totally sure where he ends up and maybe he is even saying having multiple selves is ultimately the same as no self? what i was saying is that when those of us living in the west are raised to see ourselves as primarily autonomous beings it can lead us to have less of a focus on others and the consequences of our actions. i wasn't denying that those actions exist, quite the contrary. i'm not sure at all what the no self idea would be like functionally.

    It'd be interesting to see a functional difference between the self and no self, in this context. Seems like two different subjective views of the same object. One view has made an abstract category called the self, the other points out that it's abstract.
    abstract or that it doesn't exist even abstractly (nonmaterially)? yeesh, this discussion is making my no self hurt.

    One example is free will (the metaphysical kind, not merely one's ability to act on mental volition). People start to say things like "you are controlled by your hormones", when of course the mechanical description was treating the hormones as part of you, a functional description of you. So "you are controlled by part of you" is effectively the same. "These hormones can be manipulated", which again fits perfectly with "you can be manipulated", yet it's suddenly a kind of mind control detrimental to free will (how is it more relevant to free will than anything else affecting or "manipulating" you, as constantly happens every second?). This is the reason why I await a description of an observable difference between metaphysical free will and the lack of it.
    similar to how we say something is a mental experience, like mental illness, rather than a physical experience as if our brains aren't a part of our bodies? i remember someone once explaining to me the difference between a physical and psychological addiction. he said a physical addiction is characterized by physical symptoms like tremors, etc but if there are only nonphysical symptoms like a craving then it is considered a psychological addiction. so, if it's in your head, so to speak, it's not physical. but our heads (brains) are part of our bodies so color me confused.

  9. #29
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ginkgo View Post
    Watchmen.
    Well, that's hilarious since the sullying of heroes such as in Watchmen has come up before in discussions with these particular participants.

    Quote Originally Posted by Rasofy View Post
    Now you're looking for the answer. But you won't find it because of course, you're not really looking. You don't really want to work it out. You want to be fooled.
    Abracadabra.
    "Hey Capa -- We're only stardust." ~ "Sunshine"

    “Pleasure to me is wonder—the unexplored, the unexpected, the thing that is hidden and the changeless thing that lurks behind superficial mutability. To trace the remote in the immediate; the eternal in the ephemeral; the past in the present; the infinite in the finite; these are to me the springs of delight and beauty.” ~ H.P. Lovecraft

  10. #30
    Occasional Member Evan's Avatar
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    @Lark: what is it exactly that you disagree with about this conclusion? The way I read it, it's not that the term "self" is meaningless, it's that the concept of self as a single entity is predicated on slippery premises. It doesn't mean there is no such thing as "self" -- the term clearly describes something or we wouldn't use it all the time.

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