• Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I think that I do remember reading Jung's view that the self is fully realised in death and finding it a bit puzzling really. It is certainly not the way we accustomed to thinking about death in the Western world and I think that such an approach is probably why a lot of people regard Jung as a mystic. I think that he was a bit ambiguous on the issue of life after death, but hinted at it more in his later writings, especially his autobiographical, ' Memories, Dreams and Reflections.'

    I find the idea of the self being realised fully in death as being a little odd, I have to admit. What I would be able to accept more, is that people may have more knowledge of the self as they approach death, in terms of reflection. I often think that the extent which we know ourselves is often in retrospect, because we don't always know who we are fully until we are placed in specific circumstances., That is because these may stretch us beyond the predictable, and may even change our innermost sense of self
  • Corvus
    963
    What I would be able to accept more, is that people may have more knowledge of the self as they approach death, in terms of reflection. I often think that the extent which we know ourselves is often in retrospect, because we don't always know who we are fully until we are placed in specific circumstances., That is because these may stretch us beyond the predictable, and may even change our innermost sense of selfJack Cummins

    Sure. An inspiring and deep thought on the point. :up: :fire:
  • 180 Proof
    5.7k
    A melody, for instance, isn't fully realized until its song ends. Same as "self". Both are nonlinear and reflexive. Just listen ...
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    Kierkergaard's understanding of the self as 'continual movement' sounds interesting. I have to admit that I have read hardly any of his writings. But, I have a few books by him, which I downloaded, so, perhaps, I should read them in the near future, and I may be able to discuss his ideas further with you, at some point.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    The question of whether the self is linear or not is a good question really. Definitely, historical developments are important but I see your point about a melody not being fully realized until the end of the song. The developmental aspect of self seems to me to be about how we integrate our latest experiences.

    I know that when I have upsetting experience, which are usually based in social life, they throw me into turmoil. They feel 'raw' and it takes a while before I achieve a sense of equilibrium again. Integrating them takes time and painful experiences often become so different at a much later stage, when they have been placed in the context of the long term memory and perspective of self. But, integrating them, does draw upon core self, which goes so far back into the distant past. So, in the larger scheme of self, past and present collide, but this process itself is part of the ongoing development of the underlying self, as a structure of meaning and thinking.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I agree that part of the problem is how we identify aspects of the self, including the fragile. But, so much comes down to how we identify and think about the self, and I am aware that many don't stop and see the self as fragile at all. I think that it is a precarious concept, psychologically and philosophically. But, many people take it for granted, for better or worse. I wonder how much different it makes, whether we analyse it or not. How much of it is an aspect of life which is behind the scenes of experience or can be brought to the forefront. I am inclined to believe that it an important aspect of the examined life, but it may be that many prefer to remain blind.
  • 180 Proof
    5.7k
    The question of whether the self is linear or not is a good question really [ ... ] The developmental aspect of self seems to me to be about how we integrate our latest experiences.Jack Cummins
    The latter sentence contradicts the former. There's no question at all – self, as I said, is nonlinear (i.e. a process that always integrates "our latest experiences" as we experience them). Just listen to a song.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    Interesting, and I do like songs so much. So, do you see the idea of self as being a juxtaposition of past, present and even the future? I think that what you are saying certainly throws most conventional understandings of self upside down. I am certainly not opposed to this, and I am glad for any further ideas on this, because I am looking towards the most critical scrutiny of the very idea of self.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I was just looking back at my thread and saw your idea of self delusion. I think that it is an important aspect of existence, and I am wondering how can we overcome this? We develop ideas to buffer up our sense of self, security and identity. But, so much is about defense mechanisms and I am left wondering what it means to step outside of these entirely. We have our identity in relation to social structures and meanings, but as thinking beings I am left wondering about the whole process and possibility of facing and going beyond self and self delusion.
  • 180 Proof
    5.7k
    "The one who plants trees, knowing that he will never sit in their shade, has at least started to understand the meaning of life." ~Rabindranath

    So, do you see the idea of self as being a juxtaposition of past, present and even the future?Jack Cummins
    You must've skipped the "tensed self" link in the middle of my post on page 1 of this thread. In short, that's exactly the idea I propose.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I am not sure if I understand fully, but tensing of the self may be extremely important in our understanding. Perhaps, you could explain your own understanding in a bit more detail.
  • 180 Proof
    5.7k
    Okay, I'm dropping you down a level to an older post from the "Deep Songs" thread to a post with Neil Young's "Old Man" followed by 3 quotes (linked to 3 other posts) and summation after them.

    https://thephilosophyforum.com/discussion/comment/511805

    It's been there the whole while, Jack, if you're interested; that's about as much spoon-feeding as you're going to get from me. Much simpler idea than it seems at a glance but, as you've noted, it does upend conventional notions of the monadic self.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I am not wishing to dismiss the ideas which you proposed in the first page of this thread, but I think that there may be so much more to be elaborated upon. I do believe that so much of self may be encoded in the biological basics of DNA, but do believe in the entire way in which this comes into play In the enfoldment of self is so much more complex.
  • 180 Proof
    5.7k
    Yet you just dismissed them. Clearly, you just skim looking for "buzzwords" that strike your fancy. Okay, Jack, while I appreciate the provocatively speculative thread topics you come up with, it's quite clear you're not interested in, or capable of, anything engaging enough for me. I won't take up any more of your time or mine on your threads. Cheers, mate.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k
    @180 Proof

    Okay, I will look at the older posts.I think.that Neil Young is great anyway. He and others such as Dylan and Cohen may be the great philosophers of our time, even though seen a little bit differently. I also think that Bono of U2 is important, and I have just managed to get hold of the music of Bono's son, in the band, Inhaler. Perhaps, philosophy goes beyond books entirely and is an aspect of the ongoing process of creative exploration and thinking in life.

    But, of course, you needn't engage in discussion with me. If anything, I have probably created so many thread topics and answering all of replies has left me rather exhausted. I will try to chill out a bit, especially before I create any new ones, for anyone who does wish to engage with me. But, perhaps, I just need some private reading time first.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    But, so much is about defense mechanisms and I am left wondering what it means to step outside of these entirely.Jack Cummins

    This is the real challenge, Jack. To be aware of the games we play with ourselves and to become cognisant of the constructed persona we have become. I don't have the answers to this and I am not recommending an obsessive and paralysing intellectual examination of everything we do and think - that would bring its own problems. However, being aware of one's self-talk and asking some simple questions about our assumptions can work wonders.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I do come from the angle of seeing outside of the various social roles which we play in life. I came across this idea in social psychology, especially through reading, 'Games People Play, 'by Eric Berne, who looks at how a person is not identical to the various roles they adopt, including parent, lover, and to some extent, we adopt masks in most aspects of social life. I think that it would be possible for people to go too far in deliberating on the nature of how we are all playing 'games' in social life, but, on the other hand, the ability to be able to think beyond the various fronts and parts we play, and be able to distance oneself, is a way of being able to step back as a self. I do believe that many people are not really able to do or think about this at all really, and do see themselves as being identical with the various roles they play.
  • Xtrix
    2.2k


    Try meditating and see if you can find where or what the self is. In Buddhism it’s called “anatta” (Pali) — non-self. Just impersonal changing phenomena.

    In our daily lives, I don’t think there’s much thought about the self. It’s an idea more basic than mind or subjectivity, but when you look at most of our activity, I don’t think “self” actually plays a big role as a concept. Much more about habit and automaticity.
  • Tom Storm
    2k
    I do believe that many people are not really able to do or think about this at all really, and do see themselves as being identical with the various roles they play.Jack Cummins

    Agree. But more importantly there are people who, for instance, think they are worthless, dim-witted and unlucky and constantly see evidence for this. But what others might see is someone who is resourceful, creative and fortunate. That's where it gets interesting. And one of the reasons Narrative Therapy was developed. People construct views of who they are based on self talk which is often triggered by negative experiences as children.
  • Amity
    2.1k
    I do believe that many people are not really able to do or think about this at all really, and do see themselves as being identical with the various roles they play.
    — Jack Cummins

    Agree. But more importantly there are people who, for instance, think they are worthless, dim-witted and unlucky and constantly see evidence for this
    Tom Storm

    I agree that many people don't spend too much time dwelling on 'self-concept', they are busy getting on with juggling the various roles.
    I think we can underestimate just how many do reflect on the conflicting aspects and demands made upon them to be e.g. good mothers, effective employees, loving wives, caring daughters, supportive friends.
    Our sense of self develops early and, even if we are not aware of the concepts, there is a constant moving to fit in with ease. If we feel or are made to feel 'different', then there can be unease, or disease...

    So, yes there is a difference between our internal view of self/ves and external evaluations thereof.
    There is overlap between the explorations of psychology/psychiatry/sociology.
    Where does philosophy come in ? Everywhere ?
    In general, how likely are people to turn to philosophy for insight into the self ?

    How does self-concept affect how we interact on forums such as this?
    We bring ourselves, thoughts and ideas. We are multi-dimensional beings. Not all of which is on display here.

    There is a clear link between self-concept and self-esteem.
    Some people can be seen as compassionate and loving carers/husbands to outsiders and are esteemed accordingly. How much of this acting a role is true ? Ask the person being looked after...or who lives with the character.

    A 'believer' might think himself like God or Jesus. A good person.
    When their behaviour is challenged e.g. called out for cruel sarcasm, they are horrified. That is not who I am ! Perhaps not, but it is how they act that counts.

    A person might not want to retire from work because that is the area where they derive self-esteem.
    Their other self/ves, as Mum/Dad or wife/husband, perhaps not so much. But hey, they now have time to look after the grandchildren - unpaid childminders have clear value.

    Anyway, enough of my early morning thoughts.
    There is a lengthy article here:

    https://positivepsychology.com/self-concept/

    Scrolling down - there are 10 examples of self-concept, including positive and negative aspects.
    How it affects interpersonal communication on internet forums.

    Our self-concept drives our motivations, methods, and experiences with communicating with others. For example, if you see yourself as someone who is always right (or who must always be right), you may struggle in communicating with others when disagreements arise.

    If that need is accompanied by an acceptance of aggression, you may use hostility, assertiveness, and argumentativeness to attack the self-concepts of the people you are debating instead of discussing their positions (Infante & Wigley, 1986).
    [ emphasis added]

    Communication on social media is also a determinant and an outcome of an individual’s self-concept.

    Sponcil and Gitimu (2012) suggested that, in general, the more friends an individual has on social networking sites, the more positively they feel about themselves as a whole. Conversely, the anxiety of social media and maintaining one’s image poses separate issues.
    Self-concept
  • Possibility
    2.4k
    But, what is 'self' exactly? Does it exist in it's own right, or as a construct? Even if we only see it as a construct, most of us do feel a sense of self, and how do we make sense of this at all in a way which is useful and meaningful for us in life?Jack Cummins

    ‘Self’ is a tricky notion. I think it’s a construct in the same way that everything is a construct, and that we feel a ‘sense of self’ in this desire to consolidate interaction - to make it useful and meaningful.

    It is what does the consolidating, though - and how - which proves confusing. This is the role of awareness, as @PoeticUniverse suggested in the image he posted, or self-organisation, as @Pop suggested - not just awareness, though, but also connection and collaboration: qualitative interaction.

    ‘Self’ as an object (3D) is consolidated by interaction as an event (4D), an act of observation/measurement.

    ‘Self’ as an event/process (4D) is consolidating through interaction as experience (5D), evaluation of intentionality/will.

    ‘Self’ as experience (5D) is open to consolidation with interaction as relation (6D), feeling potentiality/possibility.

    ‘Self’ as relation needs no consolidation - it is an awareness of unity or oneness with all of existence, of no-self.

    It is in this interchangeability between ‘self’ and ‘interaction’ across dimensional levels that we can navigate an understanding of reality enabling us to observe, experience, relate, and then feel, evaluate and act more clearly, accurately and efficiently.

    Just some initial thoughts.
  • Corvus
    963
    In Hume's case, I wonder if he was forced to admit that the idea of Self does not exist, because in his system of perception, every perception comes from the external world via impressions and ideas. But the self? It would be illogical to say the perception of self is coming from outside the external world into one's sensory organs.

    The idea of self must come from somewhere inside of one's body, if it had to be the idea of self. So it was either admitting the self is in one's mind, or the mind itself, which will demolish his empirical system of human nature, or say "self doesn't exist." He must have opted for the latter.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I definitely agree that the self is a 'tricky notion.' It is experienced meaningfully through self awareness and in connections within interaction.

    Your focus upon how this relates to various dimensions of awareness is a response which I find to be particularly interesting and, @Amity also speaks of the multidimensional aspects of the self. Several months ago, I remember discussing art with you in relation to dimensions. I do believe that the self is a construct observed and consolidated in these various dimensions. You may be right to say that the various aspects are consolidated in one dimensions above the experience.

    I think that many people would question the idea of the self in terms of dimensions, because it seems rather abstract. However, my own intuitive experience suggests that it may happen in such a way. I certainly feel that I am moving into dimensions when processing experiences. Many models of psychology don't allow for such a viewpoint. However, some perspective of consciousness based on quantum physics and various thinkers in the transpersonal approach to psychology and philosophy do point to various levels of consciousness and, offer a much wider framework for understanding the self.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I think that it varies how people understand the concept of self, within different psychology models and within the various systems of meditation. Also, I think that individuals vary in the way in which they think about the self. Some people probably operate on a more automatic basis than others, and it all depends on how much people stop and reflect on the processes. In some ways, psychology in Western society has probably made us more conscious of the self. Also, this is probably true of the focus of psychotherapy. But, I do think that the models of how we think about the self probably affect how we conceptualize the experience of self because it is an interpretative process.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    Thanks for your links on self concept and self esteem. I think what is interesting in these is the cultural aspects of thinking about the self because I am sure that the whole way we think about the self is in a social context. So, while there are probably universal elements of experience of the subjective experience of self we live in a world of social meanings and values.

    I think that the point about how self is thought about in relation to internet identity is especially interesting as well. I think that my own sense of self is affected by interaction on this forum in particular. When I feel that I am doing badly here I feel that my own self esteem is affected detrimentally, just as if it was happening at work. Similarly, when I feel that I have meaningful interactions on the site, I do feel validated as a human being, and I think that this definitely gave me a sense of self worth during the isolation of lockdowns.
  • Xtrix
    2.2k
    I think that it varies how people understand the concept of self, within different psychology models and within the various systems of meditation. Also, I think that individuals vary in the way in which they think about the self.Jack Cummins

    True— but this can be said about literally everything.

    Some people probably operate on a more automatic basis than others, and it all depends on how much people stop and reflect on the processes.Jack Cummins

    In some ways. In other ways we’re all mostly automated, unconscious beings. There’s no way around it. From our breathing and heart beating to our internal workings of our organs, there’s far more unconscious activity going on than conscious— leaving aside more complex behavior, which is itself largely unconscious (though it does vary).

    But, I do think that the models of how we think about the self probably affect how we conceptualize the experience of self because it is an interpretative process.Jack Cummins

    Yes. Our understanding of self is like the understanding of the world— it varies, it involves interpretation, perception, cultural conditioning, and so on. The same is true of human being (human nature) and existence in general. Why we think in terms of a “self” and what this term embodies is an interesting question. I think a major influence is from Descartes, but that’s not saying much.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I am not convinced that we are that unconscious and I think that we have the ability to develop as self conscious beings. In some ways, I think that the experience of suffering may often lead to a much more intense experience of self, as a waking up experience. Also, I think that we have a certain amount of choice about how we develop as individual selves, and it probably involves a certain amount of separation from the social group. We live in a society in which individualism is apparent and this probably gives rise to a stronger self consciousness, but it probably does mean that a certain amount of narcissism comes into the picture. However, I do believe that there is scope to go beyond this, with a view to greater creative freedom, especially through reflective awareness and consciousness.
  • Jack Cummins
    3.6k

    I think that it is interesting to compare Hume and Jung's understanding of self, because Jung certainly didn't think that we are just 'a bundle of experiences'. The more I think about this issue in relation to the many varying responses on the this thread it seems to me that the idea of self is interrelated to the mind and body problem. I tend towards the view that mind is dependent on the body, but I think that the body can give rise to such a sense of evolving consciousness, including heightened states of self awareness.
  • Xtrix
    2.2k
    I am not convinced that we are that unconscious and I think that we have the ability to develop as self conscious beings.Jack Cummins

    There’s nothing to be convinced of— it’s a simple fact. Yes, we can develop as human beings and we can think and plan and develop awareness. The fact that most of our existence is not directed by conscious activity doesn’t man conscious activity doesn’t play an important role in our lives.

    Also, I think that we have a certain amount of choice about how we develop as individual selves,Jack Cummins

    I’m not denying that we have choices. But when you look at your average behavior, it doesn’t involve rational choice and isn’t deliberative.
  • Joshs
    2k
    when you look at your average behavior, it doesn’t involve rational choice and isn’t deliberative.Xtrix

    General Gendlin would say it’s ‘implicative’, which is a more intricate notion and ordered notion than rational deliberation.
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