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Is the self real?

“Is the self real? And is the world, as seen by the self, real?”

I have written my views about this issue, just scroll this page up and you’ll find it.
It’s a bit long maybe but if you are interested and don’t get bored you might have a look at it and tell me if that makes sense to you.

Seems to me like a good working definition of the “sense of self”.

It has the same nature, but what makes the ego different from the self is that the self is an identity used on occasion, and the ego is an identity that can’t be dropped.

I don’t understand, could you please give your reasoning or describe how you came to this conclusion.
Also, who is using the self? Who is using the ego? Who is using these identities?

There is no “who”. The self is created by the mind to serve a useful purpose only when needed, and the ego is the self established by overuse. That is, when used constantly rather than occasionally, the mind forgets that it is nothing but thought and is deluded into thinking it is the identity it created for occasional use.

Tricky stuff - If I followed that correctly, it would seem that its all just thought playing tricks on itself.

It seems that way at first, but the mind is not playing tricks on itself. If the mind behaves a certain way often enough or continuously, that behavior becomes the new normal, or default mode. So if you spend more time with other people than alone, you “become” the identity used for that purpose; you forget that your identity is a fabrication.

So the mind is not tricky, its just forgetful?

About thought playing tricks on itself it’s interesting to listen to a video of Bohm about this matter: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emAeFuwtelQ&list=PL0C3373847C423315&index=48&t=2s

Thought being a mechanical process is not intelligent so it puts itself in a cul de sac…

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Is the self real ?

Yes - its a form of deception.

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…and it’s such a hard work to unveil this deception!

I think there is a link between patterns, habits, ego and deception. It’s something I’ve experimented myself in myself and in others. My job consisted in working with motor patterns, i.e. those patterns we learn in our infancy and which allow us to move in a functional way like walking, standing, running, playing a musical instruments and so on.

The nervous systems, at an elementay level, works through patterns. Some are inherited and some are learnt. The problem with motor patterns, for instance the way one walks or stands, is that once this pattern is recorded and used for long time we feel it’s perfectly OK, that it’s natural even when it’s not. This is a deception.

I’ve been trained to recognise unfunctional motor patterns in myself and in others and to replace them with a functional one. This may have a decisive importance with people who suffer from back pain for example.

K. Spoke often of habits and habits are only patterns of the nervous sysem. Again we find a deception because we feel that our habits are natural. As in motor patterns, it requires a deep awareness to discover they are not natural at all.

You can’t imagine how we can be deceived by our nervous system (which works mechanically), I’ve seen people doing absurd things with their bodies and yet when I pointed that out to them they refused or were incapable of seeing they were using their bodies wrongly.

The ego is a bundle of memories, recordings, patterns, habits. The ego IS a habit.

Your affirmation implies that there is a “true” identity opposed to a mannered one. Is that so?
All identities constitute the ego. We are the sum of our identifications and this identification process is responsible for the birth of the I. A baby does not have an ago at first, then he starts identifying with his body, his inner sensations, with his mother body, and slowly with all the expeiences he has untill he distinguishes between himelf and the outerworld.

It’s adaptable, plastic. If the social identity (self) is used frequently enough, it becomes the default mode of operation.

I have been reading a very interesting dialogue between Dr. Bohm and K in the book, Limits of Thought. Thought thinks that it is a living entity. It’s not, of course. But it has invented the self to represent that illusion.

Unfortunately, no amount of effort can get rid of the deception - learning that the self is not a thing that exists of itself and that it is the definition of suffering itself might one day come in useful. But the self cannot get rid of the self.

The deception can only be seen as deception when we are willing to abandon the self . But being willing to give up the self is like dying. This is very scary - nobody in his right mind would do such a thing - there must be an inescapable need - something seen as more important than the self.

To see that fear and suffering is a deception of the self - we must abandon all hope and give up - there must be an urgent need to see if there’s anything on the other side - and obviously some trust in the fact that there is.

The first time I saw that suffering was a deception of the self was when I decided that I was going to stay still in an uncomfortable position despite the fact that the severe pain I was feeling led me to believe that I would sustain serious injury by doing so - the instant I decided that I was honestly willing to sacrifice myself - the pain completely dissapeared.

The deception dissapears if we are willing to let go of it - Its not an effort, its a giving up - and it certainly does not dissapear forever - the self is constantly arising

Yes Jack tha’s right. And it has also invented the thinker , separate from his thoughts, as a permament entity trying to consolidate his impermanents thoughts. All what the thinker do is keep repeting all the gathered informations, dead memories, . And it is trying to find something new, about time , or meditation or whatever. But thought will never discover anything new. Thought is just an accumulation of knowledge, experiences, and nothing new will never come out of it. Thought and his pseudo separate thinker is like a dog chasing his tail. Direct experience is something different. Without direct experience, all is but speculation, illusion, confusion.


What a great and honest answer you have written! I agree totally with all you say.
Mine was just a wise crack. You managed to pin the core of the problem -which is also an answer to the question: why we did not change after all these years.

The self cannot get rid of the self. There has been a precise moment in my search and study of K. that I had the precise realization “This is like comitting suicide. I don’t want to die”. And that was the end of the whole thing.

“There must be an inescapable need - something seen as more important than the self.”

That is another thing which I have felt and which prevented me from throwing in the towel. I feel that there is a huge reality which is not me - life - humanity - nature - and I feel my response to that is inadequate. There is an idea in Indian traditional spirituality, that life pushes us towards illumination. This could be true in the sense you pointed out: the discovery of something more important than the self.

I read your post just after I got up from bed this morning: a fine way to start the day (:slight_smile:

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Isn’t this an irreconcilable conflict?

I don’t doubt your experience but what uncomfortable position were you forcing your body to stay in? I ask because bodily pain is an interoceptive alert signal, and not to respond to it could lead to injury.