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We are a worldwide social network of freethinkers, atheists, agnostics and secular humanists.

To pursue on a thread derailment started by me HERE, about my doubts on the existence of a "core self" that experiences the universe subjectively, here's an interesting talk that describes better that I could the point I was trying to make:

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27 Powerful Quotes That'll Inspire You

Words to keep you going.posted on April 16, 2013 at 3:11am EDT



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Even after watching the talk I still believe there is some kind of core for every indidual; I agree  that we are always changing  perhaps evolving but it still is You changing through your life.

The constant is the wrapper, your body. What's 'inside' - I'm talking interior life here - is more like a bunch of rocks in a bag. 

If you've been captured by the notion that there is some kind of organizing structure in your being that organizes your experience (e.g. the absolutely questionable contention that the falls are structured by the carvings of the cliffs - the falls are the water and that cannot be captured), try having the experience I did for the last 20 years. After being diagnosed as bi-polar I was introduced to pysychotropic drugs. There was an evident experience that "my" brain (whatever "my " means) is far from constant but is more like a soup. A few dashes of clonozepam, a pinch of temazapin, few drops of carbamazepine. and the recipe is utterly altered and the world really looks different. All the sentiments posed in the laudable and, unfortunately ,laughable personality jingoism that follows the video, are subject to immediate change. Give me a few minutes with my drugs and you'll be laughing, crying, asleep -- anyone of an endless variety of mental outlooks having absolutely nothing to do with an intentionality residing in a "you" somewhere. If love is the answer - try generating it at will. If "you" manage that trick, give me a few seconds and I can come up with some chemical intervention which will cause "you" to behave irrationally, dangerously and aggresively. This "vehicle" we occupy is heading down the road on its own, free from guidance into an unknown and unknowable universe both at the cosmic and quantum physics level. Sorry, wish I had better news.(I will concede that our evolution has enabled us to function somewhat - though extremely poorly- in a sort of middle earth of actual ignorance). 

Anesthesia is the ultimate demonstration - short of death - that "I" is something quite flicker.

But now that we understand a bit better what is happening in human minds - how incredibly complex are its workings, I can only conclude that this 'self illusion' is totally essential for functioning. The fuzziness and imprecision of our perceptions allows us to surf through an existence filled with mechanics beyond our understanding.

I agree the  'self illusion' seems to be an essential ingredient for functioning in middle world, but there is a whole respected school of thought, e.g., Zen that holds as the goal of its practice is to eliminate the self and somehow, thereby embrace the universe. I wonder - does anyone who has actually examined the photos of Hubble still entertain the thought that we are capable, in any way of embracing the universe. There is the companion thought - no self - therefore guess what -- no death! Thich Naht Hahn (sp/)

No self, no death?

It's not because the self is not what it seems that there's no death. The problem with Zen selflessness is that it still implies a 'witness' and that direct experience of reality is simply not possible.

The next important question, for me I guess, is why did we have to come up with so many illusions? 

Because reality is, in reality (;-), far too complicated for us. Attention is fairly limited compared to the scope of all that constitutes the 'events' happening to us; but on the other hand, we're experts in dealing with approximations - personal and collective survival have depended on it. We're good at imagining and holding working hypotheses, it's one of our specialties. The problem with illusions is when they go haywire or become sticky and won't go away after refutation.  

Because we do not have the capacity to capture anything from the universe except illusions. All the universe I experience is incomplete and wrong on every fundamental level ( I really don't have any realization at the moment of writing this that I am - along with you - moving through space at 5 million miles or so -the computation was made a long time ago, maybe an error, but you get the idea). The "objective" world moving at an atomic level at somewhere near the speed of light is but seen through a glass darkly (to quote Paul - if he existed). All I might receive are electrical impulses, coursing through my nervous system and interpreted by a computer brain, which may or may not have a center processing system -- probably not. So I "see" an illusion much like the image on this screen, if I put a picture of a hamburger here - it ain't a real hamburger. It disappears when I power down. I believe we need these illusions to navigate on an evolutionary level through middle earth - where every damn idea is wrong in its fundamentals but useful in navigation.

 

By the way, I notice on my part that I created a biography of my past which contains many things that did not actually occur in the precise form in which I actually remember them. This, oddly enough, is more real to me that the actual past experiences - I think it's a form of my doppleganger.

Apparently, people with total recall think it represents hell on Earth. I'd love to have much better memory but I wouldn't give up the ability to forget.

Approximate doesn't mean wrong, necessarily. More like incomplete. The problem with personal 'narratives' is that they feel complete.

Michel: I want to get this down as accurately as I can, but it's after the cocktail hour, but the kick-back - time gave me a chance to think about what we are doing  at this site. It's something like this: the contributors who are actually writing are ripping out truths that they have seized upon over time as life-long rebels (there was no Baltimore Catechism for atheists). The product of the writing is there as a result of life time rebellion with an enormous amount of pain and fear by many of the writers (certainly I qualify as a cradle catholic).

Much of what comes from me is almost stream of consciousness, but I'm doing so and it's not haphazrd, and , HERE, I can utter my truths (recognizing that the words are utterly inadequat vehicles for the stunning depth and complexity of things I have learned over the past 60 years or so), I rip those words out  in a sea of compassion and thought provided by you guys. I never felt safer uttering my thoughts. Thank you all.

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