"Is there a Self?"

Casual discussion amongst spiritual friends.
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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by auto » Mon Feb 19, 2018 6:57 pm

layers what make up a being are also being itself? its logical that layers what make up a being isn't being. Basically a ball isn't a ball.

There is a self, soul and its mutants but are empty of itself.

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Sam Vara
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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by Sam Vara » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:04 pm

Hi aflatun,
aflatun wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 6:42 pm
Sam Vara wrote:
Wed Feb 14, 2018 11:51 pm
Yes, I'm wary, but only if the perception and consciousness, etc. are actually the Buddha's khandas. There may be no reason why sanna, vinnana, etc. should not arise independently, but...
I'm not sure what you were getting at here Sam, could you explain?
Yes, sorry, it was poorly expressed. But it's not all that essential, so don't worry if the following attempt is just as botched!

I meant that I'm OK with the "subject" being a condition of perception and consciousness, providing that the perception is merely apperception/labelling (sanna), and the consciousness is merely sense-consciousness or the awareness that it is occurring (vinnana). These might conceivably be some kind of "blip" in existence, but to constitute any kind of meaningful experience for us, they must be subsumed by some unity of consciousness which transcends them. We can only make sense of any of the khandas by conceiving them alongside the others. "Pure" vinnana or sanna are not possible; they are abstracted parts of our experience.
Thank you for clearly pointing out the difference between structural, atemporal conditions and efficient causes which is very important here! That said, this is where I run into trouble. If there is no entity that provides or is that condition, then what is it? Isn't the entire Kantian-Schopenhauerian enterprise built on the premise that there must be a mind with its categories and process of synthesis in place in order for there to be experience such as we have it?
This might be a mere matter of terminology. The unity of experience is an "entity" in that it is a potential object of thought and discourse - it's not nothing - but it's not, of course, a thing which is known as part of our experience. Our experience of it is only our experience of a concept. I'm not sure whether we need to call it a mind, even if Kant and Schopenhauer were forced to.
"TUA is the condition of all possible experience" as I understand it posits a mind and synthetic process that is the effector of that unity. If we remove them, we have

"All experience by definition is unified."
Yes, I'm happier with the latter, but would limit it somewhat: "unity is an aspect of experience". Not all experiences whatsoever are unified, at least outside the mind of God or Brahma or whatever; some are forgotten about, and excluding solipisism there is something bounding my experience from those of others, which is equally important for the puzzlement I am experiencing here. (Bill V. has touched on this in some of his blog posts, but not in the one linked in the OP). Not only is there something which appears to underwrite the continuity of my experience, there is something which links the disparate elements (i.e. senses, intellect, action, etc.) and there is something which delimits my experience from being universal in content, if not in concept.
What I am not so comfortable with, and this is why I'm a poor-or no longer-Kantian, is the inference from the unity of experience to a principle (the Mind with its categories, or an actual unitary self) or process (synthesis) that is the condition of this unity.
Yes, I agree - BV might want to go that far (he wants to admit the idea of soul, I guess...) but I'm not going with him. "The mind with it's categories" and a "unitary self" (not sure what you mean by this last phrase) seem to imply some self-existent thing, and a "process" is definitely temporal, and would imply the prior existence of that which somehow brings about the unity. That's all ruled out as being impossible; we could not know the temporal ordering of a process that takes place prior to our capacity to order or to temporalise. That's why I'm happy with the "two sheaves leaning on one another" solution here. Neither the content of our experience, nor the ordering thereof as per above, can be temporally or even logically prior to the other. More of which later, but I'm happy with one of those sheaves being the means to answering all those questions about "what gets reborn, etc., etc." I wouldn't be surprised if the problem lies in attempting to eliminate all conceptions of the word "self", without a sufficiently rigorous check on what the Buddha meant by the term atta. Here's a self that definitely exists - I haven't got one, but I have known several people who did have them: http://old.gccfcats.org/breeds/brself.html. (The Buddha denied they existed, of course.)
I might be wrong, but I do actually read the Buddha as more or less referring to " all possible experience" here, given that there is no (ordinary) experience without hedonic tone. What do you think?
I think hedonic tone here is imported into the argument as an axiom, and I would be just as happy with the idea of "experience". The argument points to one of the sheaves and asks how it could stand up without the other. But there is as much reason to ask the same question while pointing to the other sheaf.
And so the way I understand the argument would be something like: Without experience being there, given beforehand, the attribution of that experience to Self would not be possible. So rather than Self-the unseen seer, the unheard hearer, etc- being the condition of all possible experience, its the other way around.
Yes, that's an excellent summary. My point is that in this an all other cases, there is no "given beforehand". That's back to temporalising the issue. I cannot conceive of an experience which is not transcendentally unified, any more than I can conceive of that unity lacking something to unify. And - what is worse - I cannot conceive of a beforehand which can serve as the necessary condition for my conception of time.

Many thanks again for your contribution and patience. I've given up coffee for lent, and am relying entirely on strong English breakfast tea. If we are on entirely different chemical wavelengths, I apologise!

Regards,

S. :heart:

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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by boundless » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:24 pm

aflatun wrote:
Sun Feb 18, 2018 7:04 pm
...
Hi aflatun!
I have to admit that BV arguments are very good, but IMO again they do not go beyond "proving" that there is either an "empirical self" or a "something" that cannot be consider a self, per argument of DN15.

By the way I try to give some counter-arguments.
Here is where I disagree. While it is certainly true that both Hume and Wittgenstein reject the substantial self of Descartes and of the pre-Critical rational psychologists, Wittgenstein does not reject the metaphysical/transcendental subject. Nor should he, even if he accepts Hume's argument from the non-appearance of the self. For the metaphysical self, as the limit of the world, is not an object in the world and so cannot be expected to appear in the world. Its non-appearance is no argument against it.

That Wittgenstein does not reject the metaphysical/transcendental subject is also clear from Wittgenstein's claim at 5.641 that "there is a sense in which philosophy can talk about the self in a non-psychological way" without, I may add, lapsing into a physiological or naturalistic way of talking about it. He goes on to reiterate that the "philosophical self" is not the human body or the human soul, and therefore no part of the world. It is the "metaphysical subject," the limit of the world. ...

Why call this philosophical self or metaphysical subject a self if it only a limit? Can a limit be conscious of anything? Why should the self be a philosophical as opposed to a psychological or neurophysiological topic? How does the self get into philosophy? Must the self get into philosophy for antirealism to get off the ground? "What brings the self into philosophy is the fact that 'the world is my world'." (5.641) This harks back to the opening antirealist sentence of Schopenhauer's The World as Will and Representation: "The world is my representation." Die Welt ist meine Vorstellung. The world is my world because, tautologically, the only world for me is my world. The only world for me as subject is the world as object. As Butchvarov puts it, though without reference to Schopenhauer, "The tautology is that the only world we perceive, understand, and describe is the world perceived, understood, and described by us."
BV starts from an empirical observation: we have a subjective experience, which is private etc. Since it is a perspective then there must be one subject who "holds" that perspective. Wittgenstein says that the self "enters" in philosophy when we consider that the world is a "particular", i.e. private world. In fact while the "eye analogy" shows that the "eye is not found in the visual field" we need, according to Wittgenstein, to speak about the "eye" because the "visual field" is unitary. It is a visual field, after all. The eye is not part of it, but the fact that the "visual field" is "one" reflects that the visual field is "private". BV incorrectly says that "There is nothing outside it [i.e. the world]". The unity of the world is seen as a "proof" that it is a "distinct" thing. Therefore the "metaphysical self" of Wittgenstein, its "limit", is a sort of "label" of the world, it represents the fact that the world is "my" world, i.e. "this" world. It shrinks to an extensionless point because it is simply a "name", a "sign" that distinguishes the world as "this" world. This, of course, conceptually. But as I said in my previous post this does not "prove" what it was intended to prove, i.e. the existence of some sort of "real" self.

In fact if we use Wittgenstein's analogy we do not even find something that can be called a "subject" IMO. We simply find a label, a sign of the distinctiveness of the world. The problem is that it is a simple label, it is even not a "precondition" of the "privateness" of the world, it is simply a "reminder" that the world is "this" world and not, say, that world. Wittgenstein says IMO that "solipsism becomes pure realism" because the subject is merely reduced as a "sign", a label, an identifier. So what remains it is really "this particular world". It is quite ironic that the eye-analogy is quite poor, since without a "functioning" eye the visual field disappears. Here instead the self is not a cause of the world, but its mere limit, or even better a sort of "identifier". This is why Wittgenstein IMO says:

"Wittgenstein Tractus"
6.43 If the good or bad exercise of the will does alter the world, it can
alter only the limits of the world, not the facts--not what can be
expressed by means of language. In short the effect must be that it becomes
an altogether different world. It must, so to speak, wax and wane as a
whole. The world of the happy man is a different one from that of the
unhappy man.

6.431 So too at death the world does not alter, but comes to an end.


Again here Wittgenstein speaks as if his world was the only world. But IMO he thought that every world had a definite label, a definite limit. And in fact surprisingly we have that he does not speak as if the subject changes and the world remains the same. He says that the world changes because it becomes an "altogethere different world". "Good" and "bad" are labels of the world, like the subject! In fact there is a parallel between the "good...bad", "wax..wane" and "happy...unhappy". It is not casual. The meaning is that if the subject is the label of the world, then a change in the label means a change in the world in its entirety. The most radical change is at death: according to Wittgenstein every world ceases. It is "my" world that ceases. Not "me". "I" am only a label. Wittgesntein's subject therefore is only a label.

IMO Wittgenstein while still "believing" in a sort of self, has reduced the self to an "extensionless" point, a mere limit. But this argument does not mean anything for our life. The "empirical self" is not a "label". The empirical self is conditioned by the world, and conditiones the world. It is not a "mere label". Wittgenstein is a perfect example of one who wants to explain the "privateness" of experience by using a conceptual fiction. In reality Wittgenstein has simply stated that every "world" is "a world" and nothing else. Kant's self IMO instead is similar to Samkya's atman: a "detached observer". But again it is not our experience.We do not experience ourselves in that way. But again all these variants of "selves" are not in fact "real selves", since a "timeless" self cannot be self-aware. Therefore it is a "useless concept". It is an abstraction inferred by experience. But a non-self aware thing is not a "self", IMO (again I am wondering if the "personalists" held a similar view of Wittgenstein, Kant etc...).

The "empirical subject with his passions" (to misquote Kierkegaard) cannot be compared to this "abstract unity". The empirical self is a living "process". The "trascendental selves" are abstraction of this "empirical unity". But these abstractions do not really mirror the "reality".

By the way this reminds me of "Rohitassa Sutta" (https://www.accesstoinsight.org/tipitak ... .than.html):


AN 4.45


[When this was said, the Blessed One responded:] "I tell you, friend, that it is not possible by traveling to know or see or reach a far end of the cosmos where one does not take birth, age, die, pass away, or reappear. But at the same time, I tell you that there is no making an end of suffering & stress without reaching the end of the cosmos. Yet it is just within this fathom-long body, with its perception & intellect, that I declare that there is the cosmos, the origination of the cosmos, the cessation of the cosmos, and the path of practice leading to the cessation of the cosmos."
The "cosmos" (or world) is like the "empirical" subject an empirical "world". The duality between subject and world ceases when there is no more "I am", i.e. at Nibbana. cessation of the world = cessation of experience (feelings) = cessation of "I am". What remain is the Unconditioned, "where" nothing is felt.


:anjali:
Circle5 wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 5:39 pm

Hello. Sorry for the long time to respond but I simply keep forgetting about this topic because it's in the lounge section and I keep browsing the general therevada one.

Very good point made in this paragraph and finally this topic is touching the hearth of the problem, the thing people here kept avoiding. The way to refute that argument is through explaining how this feeling that there is a self, or this feeling that experience is subjective originates.

I kept posting here that, just as Buddha said, whatever argument one might make for a self existing, it all comes down to this feeling that experience is subjective. Here is where the trickery to understanding no-self lies. But, without understanding the whole higher dhamma this will be impossible to understand on it's own. Nevertheless, let's discuss the trickery a little.

At 22:49 there might arise a feeling that "this X thing is mine" or similar feelings tainted by conceit. As a matter of fact, almost all the time the feelings, experiences that will appear are tainted by this coinceit. Most of the experiences (feelings, perceptions, etc.) that will appear in one second or another are tainted by conceit and therefore feel like "being mine" or "being subjective".

It is because of this that the opinion "there is a self" arrises. The logic goes like "why does this subjectivity of experience exist ? Well of course because there is a self. If there would be no self, why would this feeling/subjectivity of experience exist ?" This is how the logic of "uninstructed wordlings" goes.

I kept trying to bring people to this hearth of the problem during this topic, but they did not seem interested, not even when they themselves quoted people making this very same argument.

Buddha said this too. He said that all attempts to justify a self all come down to this feeling, to this "feeling of subjectivity" and as you can see from this topic, both the quote you are reffering too and many others, such as what Alfatun posted all fall down to this argument. This is the hearth of the problem, this is where the trickery lies.

But why should I post the answer to this, since nobody seems interested ?
Hi Circle 5,


Yeah I agree. Self-awareness is "something" that can exist with feelings. But IMO also with change. To be self-aware we need to percieve change. Without change there would be no self-awareness. All eternalist arguments that are based on "trascendental arguments" miss the point, by positing a "timeless" self-aware self, which IMO is an inconsistent concept, as I said to aflatun and Sam Vara (actually based on the argument found in DN15). So I agree with you, these "arguments" do not prove the existence of a "self", because we need "self awareness".

Regarding Nanavira I do not know his philosophy. I only read his thoughts on Nibbana and I disagree with them. But I agree that it is not that we need the idea of "I" to regard things as mine. IMO it is almost the opposite. We need feelings and change to be self-aware (of course I am referring to the "sense of self").

:anjali:

auto wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:03 pm


About the flow is, that if you are on the shore, then it is flow, but if you enter the flow then it is particles or elements or whatever makes up that flow. It is possible to catch the deathless element or what is unchanging element.
---
If you look tree without active awareness, that is pitch black state, it is not for real pitch black because sense organs are functioning, you just are state what is sleep.
Coming out of pitch black state is when seeing something like bird flew, it is becoming, birth of consciousness: if there is clinging, attraction.

It is possible to appear in that state where the awareness of sense organs, body is disappeared. That possibility ends after you are able to appear in body, making your body as your head.

In short, when you look objects then they are empty, the state you are is dark, you supposed to see nothing, but because of clinging to body you see things.




Hi auto,

I agree with your points. The "sense of self" is real, nobody IMO is denying it. It is the "empirical self".
But as you say we are in the flow. We are not "observers" of the flow. We participate in it.

However there is not only the "flow".
There is also the Unconditioned element :)

:anjali:


P.S. As I said, in the next days I will be slower in my responses.

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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by Circle5 » Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:59 pm

boundless wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:24 pm
Hi Circle 5,

Yeah I agree. Self-awareness is "something" that can exist with feelings. But IMO also with change. To be self-aware we need to percieve change. Without change there would be no self-awareness. All eternalist arguments that are based on "trascendental arguments" miss the point, by positing a "timeless" self-aware self, which IMO is an inconsistent concept, as I said to aflatun and Sam Vara (actually based on the argument found in DN15). So I agree with you, these "arguments" do not prove the existence of a "self", because we need "self awareness".

Regarding Nanavira I do not know his philosophy. I only read his thoughts on Nibbana and I disagree with them. But I agree that it is not that we need the idea of "I" to regard things as mine. IMO it is almost the opposite. We need feelings and change to be self-aware (of course I am referring to the "sense of self").
We were not speaking about self awareness. Your post to which I responded was a little older, I was late to respond. What you were talking about was "subjectivity of experience", this feeling that things are mine. There is this feeling there, nobody can deny it.

Here is where the trickery to understandin no-self lies. Here is where Buddha insight comes at play. Sam Vera and Alfatun are not interested in it. If you are interested in this, I can explain it and post the suttas in question. This is the hearth of the problem, this is where the trickery to understanding no-self lies.

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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by binocular » Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:12 am

aflatun wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 1:48 pm
I believe what he's getting at is much more primordial than the kind of concern and importance you're referring to. He's taking about the fact that experience points to, signifies, presents itself as for, the self same subject, as Kant and BV have argued, like the melody example in the OP's link.
The analogy with the melody doesn't take into consideration the cultural specificity of melody. For something to be perceived as a melody, the listener has to perceive it as a single entity. For one, tone deaf people can't do that, so for them, the analogy is moot. For two, the existence of atonal music speaks in favor of the cultural specificity of melody. Atonal music on principle avoids melody (at least melody as we're used to it from much of European classical music). A person who doesn't know anything about atonal music could listen to a piece by Schönberg and it would seem like a series of tones, disjointed, not making any sense together, not seeming connected to eachother. Similarly, someone who doesn't know anything about, say, traditional Balkanese music, couldn't hear the melodies there.

My point is that one's perception of the unity of something, of something being one entity is culturally conditioned, and not a given. (I have heard that when Mesoamerican natives first saw Europeans on horses, they were surprised that there was no blood when the men dismounted the horses. They thought there was one entity, which in our terms would be called a man-horse.)

It also seems to me that one's sense of self is primarily conditioned by external factors, by the unity and continuity of external factors. It's because from early on, other people refer to a child in a relatively consistent way, that the child becomes a person with a (particular) sense of self.
In contrast, if people were to call you by a different name each day, your sense of your own unity and continuity would be diminished. Something similar can be observed in people who grow up in unstable circumstances where they are treated inconsistently (like children who frequently move from one foster home to another, or children who grow up with parents who have a mental illness) -- their sense of self is diminished. Which speaks in favor of the idea that selfhood is something conditioned, culturally specific, not innate, or a given.

Of course, we have no real evidence to the contrary, only a few non-scientific experiments were infants had minimal contact with other humans (all those children soon died).
He's taking about the fact that experience points to, signifies, presents itself as for, the self same subject, as Kant and BV have argued, like the melody example in the OP's link.
Perhaps for someone who is unaware of atonal music or other tonal/scale systems (like the ones used in folk music) ...
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:44 am

binocular wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 9:12 am
My point is that one's perception of the unity of something, of something being one entity is culturally conditioned, and not a given.
The point is not so much about the unity of something which is presented to us, but the unity of the "us" to which those things are presented.
It also seems to me that one's sense of self is primarily conditioned by external factors, by the unity and continuity of external factors. It's because from early on, other people refer to a child in a relatively consistent way, that the child becomes a person with a (particular) sense of self.
In contrast, if people were to call you by a different name each day, your sense of your own unity and continuity would be diminished.
Yes, that's probably the case, but in this case, one is talking about a "sense of self", which is different from the unity of apperception. One can imagine sentience without a sense of self - we even experience it - but not experience without the various elements thereof being presented to an identical subject. William James' "blooming, buzzing confusion" wouldn't even begin to capture what this was like; in fact, it couldn't be "like" anything, as comparisons could not occur. That's why the cultural and physiological specificity of structures which are presented to us (e.g. tone-deafness, unfamiliarity, etc.) are not so important here. Experience might not be structured this way, but it is structured some way.

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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by binocular » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:04 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:44 am
The point is not so much about the unity of something which is presented to us, but the unity of the "us" to which those things are presented.
Of course, and I'm saying that the unity of this "us" is a conditioned construct. Other people assume we are such a unity, and they project this onto us from early on, and we then think of ourselves as such a unity (because of such projection?).
Yes, that's probably the case, but in this case, one is talking about a "sense of self", which is different from the unity of apperception. One can imagine sentience without a sense of self - we even experience it - but not experience without the various elements thereof being presented to an identical subject. William James' "blooming, buzzing confusion" wouldn't even begin to capture what this was like; in fact, it couldn't be "like" anything, as comparisons could not occur. That's why the cultural and physiological specificity of structures which are presented to us (e.g. tone-deafness, unfamiliarity, etc.) are not so important here. Experience might not be structured this way, but it is structured some way.
This is impossible to prove empirically. For one, because it would be prohibitively unethical, and for two, all the pseudo-scientific experiments about this so far resulted in the death of the tested infants, or at least in psychosis.
In other words, the matter at hand seems to be a theoretical one.
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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by binocular » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:18 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 10:44 am
unity of apperception
identical subject
Imagine if you were to really dedicate yourself to "living in the present moment", always tuning into your current situation as it is (I'm using "situation" the way Ven. NN does). This means that all your standards would be recalibrated as you go. So, for example, what was "a lot (of effort, time)" yesterday, would be "ordinary (amount of effort, time)" today. You would have no consistent or stable likes and dislikes, they would change from moment to moment. You would have no reference point for this "you", except in some very abstract sense.
I can't imagine what it would be like, but I imagine it should be possible to apply this "living in the present moment" also to the process of perception itself. I imagine doing so would make perceptions discrete, singular activities, not in any way unified anymore.

You would exist as an "identical subject" only in a purely abstract sense, as a placeholder, like a page, but an empty one.

A properly identical subject would have to be recognizable as such; such as by having persistent, consistent features throughout time.


Edited for clarification.
Last edited by binocular on Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:22 am

binocular wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:04 am

Of course, and I'm saying that the unity of this "us" is a conditioned construct. Other people assume we are such a unity, and they project this onto us from early on, and we then think of ourselves as such a unity (because of such projection?).
Well, it's obviously conditioned by whatever is present. But again, thinking of ourselves as a unity is beside the point, as those thoughts are presented to the same unity of apperception, and are objects of consciousness. This seems to be confusing object and subject.
This is impossible to prove empirically. For one, because it would be prohibitively unethical, and for two, all the pseudo-scientific experiments about this so far resulted in the death of the tested infants, or at least in psychosis.
Again, you are talking about a particular structuring of a particular sentience, which is a scientific matter. I'm not really talking about science. Science is about object, not subject. Self-awareness, thinking about self, having thoughts about self, are objects of consciousness.

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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:29 am

binocular wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:18 am
Imagine if you were to really dedicate yourself to "living in the present moment", always tuning into your current situation as it is (I'm using "situation" the way Ven. NN does). This means that all your standards would be recalibrated as you go. So, for example, what was "a lot (of effort, time)" yesterday, would be "ordinary (amount of effort, time)" today. You would have no consistent or stable likes and dislikes, they would change from moment to moment. You would have no reference point for this "you", except in some very abstract sense.
Yes, not having a reference point for me would be very much like living in a world where objects change, where I can't find any object of consciousness which is worthy to be called "me". This includes likes and dislikes. I'm well used to that!
A properly identical subject would have to be recognizable as such; such as by having persistent, consistent features throughout time.
No, having persistent consistent features throughout time is the criterion for an identical object.

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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by binocular » Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:41 am

Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:22 am
Self-awareness, thinking about self, having thoughts about self, are objects of consciousness.
This is a theory of mind or a theory of selfhood (and we get such theories from other people).

What one thinks "self-awareness" is is informed by particular theories that one hears or reads about. One's thinking about oneself is not somehow neutral, above, or immune to the multitude of theories that exist about that. More to the point, the very distinction "subject vs. object" is something we learn, and we apply it in culturally specific ways.
Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:29 am
binocular wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:18 am
A properly identical subject would have to be recognizable as such; such as by having persistent, consistent features throughout time.
No, having persistent consistent features throughout time is the criterion for an identical object.
In seeing ourselves, we objectify ourselves -- and this is inevitable.
An identical subject is inconceivable.
Every person we save is one less zombie to fight. -- World War Z

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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by auto » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:50 pm

boundless wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:24 pm
auto wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 4:03 pm


About the flow is, that if you are on the shore, then it is flow, but if you enter the flow then it is particles or elements or whatever makes up that flow. It is possible to catch the deathless element or what is unchanging element.
---
If you look tree without active awareness, that is pitch black state, it is not for real pitch black because sense organs are functioning, you just are state what is sleep.
Coming out of pitch black state is when seeing something like bird flew, it is becoming, birth of consciousness: if there is clinging, attraction.

It is possible to appear in that state where the awareness of sense organs, body is disappeared. That possibility ends after you are able to appear in body, making your body as your head.

In short, when you look objects then they are empty, the state you are is dark, you supposed to see nothing, but because of clinging to body you see things.




Hi auto,

I agree with your points. The "sense of self" is real, nobody IMO is denying it. It is the "empirical self".
But as you say we are in the flow. We are not "observers" of the flow. We participate in it.

However there is not only the "flow".
There is also the Unconditioned element :)

:anjali:


P.S. As I said, in the next days I will be slower in my responses.
Hi,
The unconditional element could be a black hole(a cavity), since there will happen something, the feel or sense goes from head to the bottom if i haven't use that channel longer time and then will see things differently, objects seem float and are part of the perception like objects are water and i am water.

In short there is claims that some say that tree and the observer are one and same, it can be that person somehow went from head to the bottom and viewing things from back side.

It is possible to use eyes in a way that particles are seen. Just holding on that focus, there are seen different kinds of particles, no need to look for they just pass by and mist start to appear or cloud. These aren't the dust from dead cells floating in air. Some of them are with intense blue light.
But sometimes there appear a bigger light compared to these little ones, it is rare sight. That type of sight is also a channel a certain way of using eye and it affects other places, seem like it is quantum mechanics like.
------------
it is boring, but quantum mechanics is somehow spot on how to practice.

there is no way to know what to do, but it is possible by trying out different cominations and probabilty is to make a right combination and change happen, and your mind registers it.
Also still you can't manully yet do it, but next thing is waht happen is your mind notices the relevant thing and leaps towards it, and then next time you can do it.

It reminds me why there is so much repetitions in Suttas, quantum mechanics could be a piece of the puzzle.
Last edited by auto on Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:56 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Sam Vara
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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:52 pm

binocular wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:41 am
Sam Vara wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 11:22 am
Self-awareness, thinking about self, having thoughts about self, are objects of consciousness.
This is a theory of mind or a theory of selfhood (and we get such theories from other people).

What one thinks "self-awareness" is is informed by particular theories that one hears or reads about. One's thinking about oneself is not somehow neutral, above, or immune to the multitude of theories that exist about that. More to the point, the very distinction "subject vs. object" is something we learn, and we apply it in culturally specific ways.
Yes, all of this is true, no doubt, but not what I am talking about.
In seeing ourselves, we objectify ourselves -- and this is inevitable.
Same applies. True, but not my point.
An identical subject is inconceivable.
Given the preceding, I'm not sure what you mean by this.

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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by boundless » Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:27 pm

Circle5 wrote:
Mon Feb 19, 2018 10:59 pm

We were not speaking about self awareness. Your post to which I responded was a little older, I was late to respond. What you were talking about was "subjectivity of experience", this feeling that things are mine. There is this feeling there, nobody can deny it.

Here is where the trickery to understandin no-self lies. Here is where Buddha insight comes at play. Sam Vera and Alfatun are not interested in it. If you are interested in this, I can explain it and post the suttas in question. This is the hearth of the problem, this is where the trickery to understanding no-self lies.
Greetings Circle 5,

In my opinion there is a sort of misunderstanding here.

I agree wit you that the reason why the belief of self arises, according to Buddhism, is because we feel "the subjective experience". From the "subjective experience" we (incorrectly) infer that there is a "self".

So the problem is like this as far as I understood it. We have the feeling of "subjective experience". You, following the suttas, in my opinion are arguing that we cannot "find" the self as an "object" of our experience and therefore searching the self is useless. This leads anatta etc.

BV (but also Kant, Schopenhauer etc) instead are arguing that the "self" cannot be an object of experience because it is the subject of experience. In the same way you do not see in the eye in the visual field. Therefore the argument of "unfindability" against this position is incorrect because it already says that the "subject" exists but cannot be found, i.e. it cannot be an object of experience. So in my opinion arguments like "the self cannot be found in experience, therefore is like the rabbit's horn" cannot be applied against this type of "self theories". So if the arguments you want to share argue for "anatta" are like these, IMO they cannot refute this particular view (about the "unobserved observer", or better "unobservable observer"). This is the reason why IMO Sam Vara and aflatun are not interested in arguments from "unfindability of the self in experience" (and they cannot be used here to disprove the "trascendental self" argument).

For this reason I tried to argue that the "unobservable observer" is simply a concept that is valid epistemologically but cannot be regarder as a self, because it does not entail self-awareness. I was trying to prove that the view itself is in some ways inconsistent without arguing from the "unfindability" of the self.

I hope to have been clearer this time and/or to have not misunderstood what you are trying to say :smile:

By the way, I am interested in your arguments, for simply the sake of learning the Dhamma (actually, being nothing more than a beginner I am here in DW for this reason...). But if they argue for "anatta" from the conclusion that a "self" cannot be found in experience, then IMO they cannot be applied to refute BV's position (and maybe this is the reason why Sam Vara and aflatun are not interested in them...).

Thank you in advance!

:anjali:

auto wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 12:50 pm
...
Greetings auto,

than you for the response.

Sorry if I do not answer now. I will respond you as soon as I can.


:anjali:

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Re: "Is there a Self?"

Post by Sam Vara » Tue Feb 20, 2018 6:31 pm

boundless wrote:
Tue Feb 20, 2018 5:27 pm

BV (but also Kant, Schopenhauer etc) instead are arguing that the "self" cannot be an object of experience because it is the subject of experience. In the same way you do not see in the eye in the visual field. Therefore the argument of "unfindability" against this position is incorrect because it already says that the "subject" exists but cannot be found, i.e. it cannot be an object of experience. So in my opinion arguments like "the self cannot be found in experience, therefore is like the rabbit's horn" cannot be applied against this type of "self theories". So if the arguments you want to share argue for "anatta" are like these, IMO they cannot refute this particular view (about the "unobserved observer", or better "unobservable observer"). This is the reason why IMO Sam Vara and aflatun are not interested in arguments from "unfindability of the self in experience" (and they cannot be used here to disprove the "trascendental self" argument).

For this reason I tried to argue that the "unobservable observer" is simply a concept that is valid epistemologically but cannot be regarder as a self, because it does not entail self-awareness. I was trying to prove that the view itself is in some ways inconsistent without arguing from the "unfindability" of the self.
Hi boundless,

Many thanks for your contributions to this thread, and in particular for this very nice summary. My point about the unity of apperception being a potential candidate for some type of selfhood (briefly mentioned in one of my posts above) is that I don't think that self-awareness is a necessary requirement of the type of self that Sam Harris and Hume are concerned to deny. In terms of a coherent conception of anatta, I don't think it is necessary to eliminate either a unity of apperception, or self-awareness, although both of them may well be dependently originated. (Self-awareness certainly is...)

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