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  1. #1
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Default Now there's no self either

    It kind of reaches a point were I think that so called "science" needs to give me a break with the amount of things its telling me dont really exist:-

    Most of us believe that we possess a self - an internal individual who resides inside our bodies, making decisions, authoring actions and possessing free will. The feeling that a single, unified, enduring self inhabits the body - the 'me' inside me - is compelling and inescapable. This is how we interact as a social animal and judge each other's actions and deeds. But that sovereignty of the self is increasingly under threat from science as our understanding of the brain advances. Rather than a single entity, the self is really a constellation of mechanisms and experiences that create the illusion of the internal you. We only emerge as a product of those around us as part of the different storylines we inhabit from the cot to the grave. It is an every changing character, created by the brain to provide a coherent interface between the multitude of internal processes and the external world demands that require different selves.
    http://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/1...pf_rd_i=468294

    I wonder sometimes if its just the seemingly unassailable cultural ascendency of ideas such as a vague, "feeble buddhism" or consumer friendly spirituality impinging upon serious theoretical scientific investigation.

    It could just be some kind of madness.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Munchies's Avatar
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    The "self" or EGO lieks to think it exists. It lieks to attribute characteristics to itself to enhance it's image. To go further, it finds identity with like minded people. And loves to take advantage the MBTI system to put everybody in a familiar box. But of course non of this leads to investigation of the self, and usually all judgments based on this foundation are only superficial speculation lacking depth.
    1+1=3 OMFG

  3. #3
    Senior Member wildflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post

    I wonder sometimes if its just the seemingly unassailable cultural ascendency of ideas such as a vague, "feeble buddhism" or consumer friendly spirituality impinging upon serious theoretical scientific investigation.

    It could just be some kind of madness.
    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.

  4. #4
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Lark, I can't help but notice you're quite the fan of the argument from incredulity.

    Even if it were true, in the grandest metaphysical sense, that the self is an illusion, at a practical, day-to-day level, what difference would it make? Why does the notion make you feel so threatened?

    (I should mention that I'm pretty sure you're just trolling, but some people might be wondering the same thing, so it's a point worth considering.)
    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 --

  5. #5
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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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.
    Freud's tripartite personality is interesting because lots of others before and afterwards happened to be tripartite too, there's other tripartite aspects of most major religious or ideological theories too, like the god, jesus, holy spirit concept in Christianity. Sorry that's a digression but I thought about it recently quite a bit.

    No, this is something further to the idea which croped up in a thread a while ago that scientists had put character beneath a microscope and it disappeared, the researchers are suggesting that we are all just a sort of organic automaton responding to external stimuli in bio-chemical fashion and the only "self" which could exist is that which exists in stories told by others or constructed by others. Thinking of the meme theory, which I dont like much, it seems that not only is God a viral idea/concept but so is individuality and pretty much everything else to boot.

    I really dont like the direction this is all going in to be honest. Not to be too apocalyptic about it but it feels as though beneath it all there's something unconscious which is just undermining all certainty or certitude of a particular kind.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    Lark, I can't help but notice you're quite the fan of the argument from incredulity.

    Even if it were true, in the grandest metaphysical sense, that the self is an illusion, at a practical, day-to-day level, what difference would it make? Why does the notion make you feel so threatened?

    (I should mention that I'm pretty sure you're just trolling, but some people might be wondering the same thing, so it's a point worth considering.)
    I'm not trolling.

    I'm not making any arguments from incredulity.

    Incidentially, I think I know you from another site, on which I'm ignoring you, did you think that you could skip in here and I wouldnt?

  7. #7
    The elder Holmes Mycroft's Avatar
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    Well, I've been on these forums for about two years longer than you have, so that would have been pretty proactive of me.
    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 --

  8. #8
    Senior Member wildflower's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    No, this is something further to the idea which croped up in a thread a while ago that scientists had put character beneath a microscope and it disappeared, the researchers are suggesting that we are all just a sort of organic automaton responding to external stimuli in bio-chemical fashion and the only "self" which could exist is that which exists in stories told by others or constructed by others.
    i read the one customer review for the book and he mentions a self that is socially constructed. edit: that is related to postmodernism. ok, it is a little different but social constructionist views are very similar to postmodernism.

    I really dont like the direction this is all going in to be honest. Not to be too apocalyptic about it but it feels as though beneath it all there's something unconscious which is just undermining all certainty or certitude of a particular kind.
    yes, postmodernism. (minus the unconscious something underneath it). while i haven't read derrida i have read a little about his ideas. i think he would be the go to guy here. i don't know if you are at all familiar with the whole emerging conversation in the church but it's based on postmodernism. i learned a bit about it thru that. now, we don't take it so far as to say there is no center or God but notions of absolute truth and certainty are definitely questioned and rightly so. truth isn't based on universal absolutes. truth is relational and based on faith. that doesn't mean there aren't any truths we can hang our hat upon but there is a lot more complexity and variety than the moderns would have us believe. postmodernism actually allows for faith whereas modernism does not. in that way it is much friendly than modernism to someone like you or me. if you read the link i posted that will give you a bit of perspective where this book you linked is probably coming from. there is a chart at the end of the article that sums it up nicely.

  9. #9
    @.~*virinaĉo*~.@ Totenkindly's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mycroft View Post
    Lark, I can't help but notice you're quite the fan of the argument from incredulity.

    Even if it were true, in the grandest metaphysical sense, that the self is an illusion, at a practical, day-to-day level, what difference would it make? Why does the notion make you feel so threatened?

    (I should mention that I'm pretty sure you're just trolling, but some people might be wondering the same thing, so it's a point worth considering.)

    I don't think he's purposefully trolling; his values just don't seem to permit serious exploration of the idea, so the question is expressed in a loaded fashion. He also doesn't like the moral outcome of what not having a self might mean, since it can lead to abuse of humans by other humans. The topic itself of whether the 'self' exists, though, is worthwhile to explore.

    As far as I can tell, the dissection of 'self' is a natural outcome of setting aside one's personal religious and philosophical values and searching for a physical "free will" mechanism vs a deterministic approach.... and that discussion has been happening a very long time, it's just that hardcore science is finally to the point where we can begin to explore those things on the biological level rather than just the philosophical. We're also possessing enough technological advancement at this point to begin extensively simulating AI and seeing how thinking ... or behavior that simulates conscious thinking... can be programmed. So it simulates a self but doesn't seem to just 'exist' as some sort of untethered consciousness, it's all generated as a byproduct of the machine and we perceive it as a self.

    the self also seems to be a generated narrative of incoming data; prior determinations of what the "self" is become screening mechanisms by which to filter future data. so the self is self-reinforcing and in a sense self-generated. Our past decisions influence future and we are kind of "naturally creating" our concept of ourselves. But all those decisions seemed to be based on the past decisions (deterministically); it's quite the puzzler.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lark View Post
    I'm not making any arguments from incredulity.
    It certainly seems that way to me, so maybe you should actually reconsider, if only to understand how your posts can come across as such, rather than just simplistically denying the criticisms. The ability to deconstruct one's own arguments and beliefs is a good thing... although I guess your whole premise of this thread is you not liking having your premises (and in this case, the self) explored and challenged, so that it must somehow just be dismissed as another form of attack upon what the way of things should be and a degredation of culture. (just look at the sarcasm inherent in the title of this thread.)

    Mycroft predates you by a wide margin, he's one of the original members of this site. I just haven't seen him around for awhile.
    "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. #10
    Senior Member Survive & Stay Free's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jennifer View Post
    I don't think he's purposefully trolling; his values just don't seem to permit serious exploration of the idea, so the question is expressed in a loaded fashion. He also doesn't like the moral outcome of what not having a self might mean, since it can lead to abuse of humans by other humans. The topic itself of whether the 'self' exists, though, is worthwhile to explore.

    As far as I can tell, the dissection of 'self' is a natural outcome of setting aside one's personal religious and philosophical values and searching for a physical "free will" mechanism vs a deterministic approach.... and that discussion has been happening a very long time, it's just that hardcore science is finally to the point where we can begin to explore those things on the biological level rather than just the philosophical. We're also possessing enough technological advancement at this point to begin extensively simulating AI and seeing how thinking ... or behavior that simulates conscious thinking... can be programmed. So it simulates a self but doesn't seem to just 'exist' as some sort of untethered consciousness, it's all generated as a byproduct of the machine and we perceive it as a self.

    the self also seems to be a generated narrative of incoming data; prior determinations of what the "self" is become screening mechanisms by which to filter future data. so the self is self-reinforcing and in a sense self-generated. Our past decisions influence future and we are kind of "naturally creating" our concept of ourselves. But all those decisions seemed to be based on the past decisions (deterministically); it's quite the puzzler.



    It certainly seems that way to me, so maybe you should actually reconsider, if only to understand how your posts can come across as such, rather than just simplistically denying the criticisms. The ability to deconstruct one's own arguments and beliefs is a good thing... although I guess your whole premise of this thread is you not liking having your premises (and in this case, the self) explored and challenged, so that it must somehow just be dismissed as another form of attack upon what the way of things should be and a degredation of culture. (just look at the sarcasm inherent in the title of this thread.)

    Mycroft predates you by a wide margin, he's one of the original members of this site. I just haven't seen him around for awhile.
    You're wrong on all accounts, I suggest you give some serious thought as to why, I could tell you but you're already defensive when it comes to ANYTHING which I post and all too easily project all kinds of things onto my posts and also, it has to be said, myself which are inaccurate, distortions corresponding to just how strongly you feel about certain topics.

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