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Switch to Forum Live View The origin of self in relation to truth
4 years ago  ::  Mar 02, 2011 - 1:37PM #11
newchurchguy
Posts: 3,639

SDP


I think you have some thought provoking things to say in this thread.  When speaking about the development of "self-identity" - thinking in terms of Piaget's stages always seems to help me have an orientation.  (of course my structuralist/pragmatic worldview colors my thinking)


still there seems a general and ordered progression in evolving one's own personal character.  I think we can change "what we will" -- but slowly and with much effort -- people can retrain mind and brain to overcome instinct.  (Not that I am good at it)


Your other thread probing how we might overcomed being sealed off, as to our inner self - is likewise very probing.  Here is a quote from today's NYTimes science section.  I find it very interesting - and may help us all let the truth set us free as science makes us certain about what processes are the controlling factors.


 


Q. What has your research shown so far?


A. Under general anesthesia, the brain is not entirely shut down. Certain parts are turned off; others are quite active — not only “active,” but there is a level of activity that is quite regular.


Our observation is that it is this regular activity prevents the brain from transmitting information and contributes to a state of unconsciousness. It’s analogous to stopping communication down a phone line when transmission is blocked. You could block transmission another way: by sending a loud signal down the line so that that signal was the only thing you hear. So in some parts what we see is that activity is turned off, leading to unconsciousness. In other parts, we see activity that is more active than normal. This also leads to unconsciousness. In sum: the drugs alter the way the brain transmits information.




our own sense of self is balanced between too much noise in the brain and too little focal awareness.  A precious and narrow band. 


Feb 26, 2011 -- 11:09AM, stardustpilgrim wrote:


How does self arise? From birth onward, every sensation impressed upon the brain and stored there, is responsible for the formation of our cultural self, aka ego. That would be you and me.

So it seems that we are formed haphazardly by coincidence of birth parents, family, their friends, babysitters, our state and country. Only upon entering elementary school do we begin to partially be responsible for the information we absorb. Really this is not the case until probably Middle-School, age 12-13. And probably not even then, but only really beginning in the late teens or early 20's. 

Looking back, at what point, at what age, do you feel responsible for accepting your identity as yourself? Have you ever even considered the question? Or are you still the consequences of innumerable accidental sensations entering your organism? Keep in mind that these sensations consists of a mixture of truth and error, good and not-so-good, even malicious influences (just see the many books of Alice Miller on child abuse). Most of these influences you don't even recall, they are stored in your unconscious (neural network). Many of these influences are also charged with emotional content.

So how do you know what you are in relation to the truth? If your identity is based upon truth, half-truths and even lies, on what basis can one even know what the truth is? Is your cultural self slanted either toward or away from certain aspects of our world? Not knowing on what basis our self has been formed, is not what we believe to be true, in question?

Is not self a filter that lets in only what it is? If this is the case, self is an accident and you don't really determine what you think, feel and do. Life moves through you, you are merely a reaction to events.

Is this acceptable? Or is there a basis for examining the influences for the origin of self in relation to the actual manner the universe is constructed? Can we choose to be somebody constructed upon actuality and truth? IOW, was Schopenhauer (below) wrong?

stardustpilgrim      





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4 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2011 - 1:11PM #12
Servetus
Posts: 81

It is interesting that, from a purely scientific perspective (I guess), we are ourselves a 'fact' just in that we're here.  It's a fact so simple we miss it.  So I guess that's good place to begin, SDP.  Isn't that interesting that a lot our life takes place before we develop to a highly cognizant level?  An infant is absolutely helpless, far more helpless than a housecat or even a kitten.


I can still remember when I realized as a fourth grader or something, "God sakes, I'm a conscious entity!  What does this mean?"  I focused my memory just then as far back as I could go for an explanation, and it just trails off into a fog, but all so gradually.  Even still, back in the midst of the "fog" there are sharp snapshots of memory, some of them like flashes.  I have one of being placed into pediatric scale as an infant, believe it or not!  It's true, and I remember the masked doctor's face bending over me: a moment of sheer horror.


Like teilhard suggests, the idea of causes from Aristotle (Aquinas explains them more clearly for me) might offer a lot of insight on this.  I don't have the capacity to quote or paraphrase Thomas Aquinas and do it justice, but he saw the fact that there are potentialites in existence as well as actualities.  So in the instance of my saying a baby is more helpless than a housecat, I did the baby an injustice in a way.


After all, the baby has all of what it needs to become an adult human being wired into it, like an acorn has the potential to become an oak tree, given the proper conditions: for the first, nurturing and care, for the second, good soil, rain, etc.  There is plenty about us that was given to us, it's the 'soil' of us: culture and beliefs, to be sure.  But also things like mother's milk and parental care, all the basic stuff.  Or a college tuition a parent has footed for us (I had to pay for mine, but you get the idea).   


As to how does the self know its relation to truth: I think you begin with yourself, like you already said: you are a fact already.  For example, the Buddha once taught a people called the Kalamas that you must determine for yourself what is true by how good it is.  This happened because in India at that time, there were so many spiritual teachers roaming the countryside all teaching different ideas, and of course, contradicting each other.  So it became needful for Buddha to say, "Of course it's confusing, all these ideas.  You have a right to be disturbed about this." (He turns the issue to its most immediate effect on them: no one wants to be hornswaggled by a bad guru.)


What is good?  At least on the most basic level, it becomes less subject to interpretation.  For example, alcoholism isn't good, as well as whatever you can plainly see harms you when it need not.  Sloth doesn't get you very far either.  Avoiding heroin: that's a brilliant philosophical move on all accounts: forbidding yourself a gratification whereby you'll ultimately be destroyed.  It's not a complicated argument, it won't give you any kudos at the coffee house, but it's still as vital a piece of reasoning as anything else.  Perhaps any action like that alone moves the self to a closer relation to the truth. 

"The candle that is set up in us shines bright enough for all our purposes." -John Locke
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4 years ago  ::  Mar 03, 2011 - 4:02PM #13
newchurchguy
Posts: 3,639

Servetus,
 
Welcome aboard.  D.T. Suzuki is a fav of mine.
 
Avoiding heroin, to avoid losing self control to addiction is most sensible.  Yet - at the end of life - a drug routine can make a person's last days comfortable and enable "deep meaning" to take place during visits from loved ones.
 
Just previous - I posted about the strange way that ether can help control the self - to make way for surgery.  "Good" is contextual.  And maybe there is "a time for all things".
 
I like very much your focus on the simple concept of good.  Self identity is strongly placed in those things we think are good to do.

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4 years ago  ::  Mar 04, 2011 - 12:39PM #14
teilhard
Posts: 51,390

Yes ... We think it's GOOD to BE a "Self" ...


Mar 3, 2011 -- 4:02PM, newchurchguy wrote:


Servetus,
 
Welcome aboard.  D.T. Suzuki is a fav of mine.
 
Avoiding heroin, to avoid losing self control to addiction is most sensible.  Yet - at the end of life - a drug routine can make a person's last days comfortable and enable "deep meaning" to take place during visits from loved ones.
 
Just previous - I posted about the strange way that ether can help control the self - to make way for surgery.  "Good" is contextual.  And maybe there is "a time for all things".
 
I like very much your focus on the simple concept of good.  Self identity is strongly placed in those things we think are good to do.





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4 years ago  ::  Mar 31, 2011 - 2:06PM #15
Servetus
Posts: 81

Mar 3, 2011 -- 4:02PM, newchurchguy wrote:


Servetus,
 
Welcome aboard.  D.T. Suzuki is a fav of mine.
 
Avoiding heroin, to avoid losing self control to addiction is most sensible.  Yet - at the end of life - a drug routine can make a person's last days comfortable and enable "deep meaning" to take place during visits from loved ones.
 
Just previous - I posted about the strange way that ether can help control the self - to make way for surgery.  "Good" is contextual.  And maybe there is "a time for all things".
 
I like very much your focus on the simple concept of good.  Self identity is strongly placed in those things we think are good to do.





Hi, newchurchguy, and thanks for the welcome...


The approach I suggested certainly has limitations.  It was really just a stab in the dark.


I agree that defining good gets to be complex once you expand your scope beyond common-sense stuff: when you consider a wider field than where you're standing, yourself, at time t


The first level beyond this would be to get into, Good?  Good for who?  You?  The other guy?  All?


Then once the scope of an analysis of good is broadened enough to contain things like what is good for a whole country or a whole world, what constitutes a sound healthcare system for the United States in 2011, what is a good or just war (if there is one), you need to move forward to highly-developed philosophy and rely on specialists or complicated argumentation; at this point, answers in this regard are certainly not so simple anymore.  Probably any definitions I would make in those matters would fall apart in the first casual appraisal of any given person, to tell you the truth...


So, probably there is a "time for all things," to the degree in which the universe is larger and longer-lived than any one man standing at time t with a finite self, a finite duration and a finite knowledge.  


Glad someone else is into DT Suzuki.   

"The candle that is set up in us shines bright enough for all our purposes." -John Locke
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4 years ago  ::  Apr 05, 2011 - 8:11PM #16
koala972
Posts: 866

Feb 27, 2011 -- 12:42PM, stardustpilgrim wrote:


Feb 27, 2011 -- 11:07AM, teilhard wrote:


I'm not so pessimistic about The Value of Received Culture (Tradition; Science) ...


We move forward more meaningfully if we've got Something to push AGAINST ...


Every "Yin" NEEDS Its "Yang" ...




But one certain man put the value of one soul over that of the whole earth. (Check.......For what can a man get in exchange for......?)


sdp





hey god said that two, for how does it profiteth a man to gain the world (which in some sense is related to this thing you keep talking around) if he is going to lose his immortal soul?


I can't remember, you ever digged into reincarnation?  It was all the rage I hear, till the church squelched it on the grounds that if people actually believed in it they might be inclined to die and hope for a better life rather than put up with the crap those who wish to run this place dish out.  Not that that matters as God planned for it, but reincarnation is most likely something Jesus would have seriously considered when he was plannign whatever it was he was plannign with god...  and personally I think if you extend the concept of 'life' beyond the time it takes for a physical body to grow old and wear out the doors open with answers to a lot of very perplexing questions.


 


 


 


 

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 10, 2011 - 8:35PM #17
Namchuck
Posts: 11,698

Apr 5, 2011 -- 8:11PM, koala972 wrote:


Feb 27, 2011 -- 12:42PM, stardustpilgrim wrote:


Feb 27, 2011 -- 11:07AM, teilhard wrote:


I'm not so pessimistic about The Value of Received Culture (Tradition; Science) ...


We move forward more meaningfully if we've got Something to push AGAINST ...


Every "Yin" NEEDS Its "Yang" ...




But one certain man put the value of one soul over that of the whole earth. (Check.......For what can a man get in exchange for......?)


sdp





hey god said that two, for how does it profiteth a man to gain the world (which in some sense is related to this thing you keep talking around) if he is going to lose his immortal soul?


That man has a "immortal soul" is a baroque assumption. 


I can't remember, you ever digged into reincarnation?  It was all the rage I hear, till the church squelched it on the grounds that if people actually believed in it they might be inclined to die and hope for a better life rather than put up with the crap those who wish to run this place dish out. 


I think you heard wrong. The notion may have been mooted here and there, but it was hardly all the "rage". And wouldn't the Christian doctrine of resurrection have been far more attractive to believers than reincarnation? After all, there was no guarantee with reincarnation that your next life would be any better then the one you were already experiencing.


Not that that matters as God planned for it, but reincarnation is most likely something Jesus would have seriously considered when he was plannign whatever it was he was plannign with god... 


What!? 


and personally I think if you extend the concept of 'life' beyond the time it takes for a physical body to grow old and wear out the doors open with answers to a lot of very perplexing questions.


"Perplexing questions" like what, for example?


 


 


 


 





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4 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2011 - 6:32PM #18
koala972
Posts: 866

Apr 10, 2011 -- 8:35PM, Namchuck wrote:

Apr 5, 2011 -- 8:11PM, koala972 wrote:


Feb 27, 2011 -- 12:42PM, stardustpilgrim wrote:


Feb 27, 2011 -- 11:07AM, teilhard wrote:


I'm not so pessimistic about The Value of Received Culture (Tradition; Science) ...


We move forward more meaningfully if we've got Something to push AGAINST ...


Every "Yin" NEEDS Its "Yang" ...




But one certain man put the value of one soul over that of the whole earth. (Check.......For what can a man get in exchange for......?)


sdp





hey god said that two, for how does it profiteth a man to gain the world (which in some sense is related to this thing you keep talking around) if he is going to lose his immortal soul?


That man has a "immortal soul" is a baroque assumption. 


I can't remember, you ever digged into reincarnation?  It was all the rage I hear, till the church squelched it on the grounds that if people actually believed in it they might be inclined to die and hope for a better life rather than put up with the crap those who wish to run this place dish out. 


I think you heard wrong. The notion may have been mooted here and there, but it was hardly all the "rage". And wouldn't the Christian doctrine of resurrection have been far more attractive to believers than reincarnation? After all, there was no guarantee with reincarnation that your next life would be any better then the one you were already experiencing.


Not that that matters as God planned for it, but reincarnation is most likely something Jesus would have seriously considered when he was plannign whatever it was he was plannign with god... 


What!? 


and personally I think if you extend the concept of 'life' beyond the time it takes for a physical body to grow old and wear out the doors open with answers to a lot of very perplexing questions.


"Perplexing questions" like what, for example?


 


 


 


 






well i see your point of view and I guess that is the way it has to be.   All told from what I've seen I've come to think that atheists have a valid point of view and I think we are wrong to fight with you on it all the time. 


If you are in the camp of well lets not go back to the dark ages and religion brings the dark ages just know I agree with you on that...  that was not good...  although I won't agree with you on *everything*...  as one point I won't agree that the people responsible for the dark ages were actually particularly religious, they seemed more in tune with being opportunistic when they saw a way to make a power play than anything.  Kinda like, wolves in sheeps clothing.


But I hope you don't mind if I don't argue with you right now, I know I can't convince you to think anything you don't want to think and I think I'm ok with that at this point, I even halfway think it would be wrong to continue to try, so why keep beating my head against an immovable object when I know that is what I'm doing?


 

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4 years ago  ::  Apr 11, 2011 - 7:13PM #19
Namchuck
Posts: 11,698

Apr 11, 2011 -- 6:32PM, koala972 wrote:

Apr 10, 2011 -- 8:35PM, Namchuck wrote:


Apr 5, 2011 -- 8:11PM, koala972 wrote:


Feb 27, 2011 -- 12:42PM, stardustpilgrim wrote:


Feb 27, 2011 -- 11:07AM, teilhard wrote:


I'm not so pessimistic about The Value of Received Culture (Tradition; Science) ...


We move forward more meaningfully if we've got Something to push AGAINST ...


Every "Yin" NEEDS Its "Yang" ...




But one certain man put the value of one soul over that of the whole earth. (Check.......For what can a man get in exchange for......?)


sdp





hey god said that two, for how does it profiteth a man to gain the world (which in some sense is related to this thing you keep talking around) if he is going to lose his immortal soul?


That man has a "immortal soul" is a baroque assumption. 


I can't remember, you ever digged into reincarnation?  It was all the rage I hear, till the church squelched it on the grounds that if people actually believed in it they might be inclined to die and hope for a better life rather than put up with the crap those who wish to run this place dish out. 


I think you heard wrong. The notion may have been mooted here and there, but it was hardly all the "rage". And wouldn't the Christian doctrine of resurrection have been far more attractive to believers than reincarnation? After all, there was no guarantee with reincarnation that your next life would be any better then the one you were already experiencing.


Not that that matters as God planned for it, but reincarnation is most likely something Jesus would have seriously considered when he was plannign whatever it was he was plannign with god... 


What!? 


and personally I think if you extend the concept of 'life' beyond the time it takes for a physical body to grow old and wear out the doors open with answers to a lot of very perplexing questions.


"Perplexing questions" like what, for example?


 


 


 


 








well i see your point of view and I guess that is the way it has to be.   All told from what I've seen I've come to think that atheists have a valid point of view and I think we are wrong to fight with you on it all the time. 


It should be discussed. 


If you are in the camp of well lets not go back to the dark ages and religion brings the dark ages just know I agree with you on that...  that was not good...  although I won't agree with you on *everything*...  as one point I won't agree that the people responsible for the dark ages were actually particularly religious, they seemed more in tune with being opportunistic when they saw a way to make a power play than anything.  Kinda like, wolves in sheeps clothing.


Nonsense. The fact is, if anything, they were a darn sight more religious than most people today. 


But I hope you don't mind if I don't argue with you right now, I know I can't convince you to think anything you don't want to think and I think I'm ok with that at this point, I even halfway think it would be wrong to continue to try, so why keep beating my head against an immovable object when I know that is what I'm doing?


I'm no hard-hearted unbeliever and will readily convert or change my point of view if the evidence is favorable enough, so you're completely wrong in your assessment about that.


Strange post you write, really, where you both agree and disagree with me without being able to advance propositions for either side of of your Janus-headed stance.


 





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