• Andrew4Handel
    1.4k
    I think the idea that the self is an illusion does not make sense. The obvious first complaint is who is having this illusion?

    It is obvious to me that perception requires a perceiver likewise experience needs an experiencer and I think these things are indispensable.

    I agree with Thomas Nagel that Objectivity is a view from nowhere. I do not see how it is possible to have knowledge without a self or language and other mental representations, concepts and symbols or pain.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    I think the idea that the self is an illusion does not make sense. The obvious first complaint is who is having this illusion?

    It is obvious to me that perception requires a perceiver likewise experience needs an experiencer and I think these things are indispensable.

    I agree with Thomas Nagel that Objectivity is a view from nowhere. I do not see how it is possible to have knowledge without a self or language and other mental representations, concepts and symbols or pain.
    Andrew4Handel

    "I think the idea that the self is an illusion does not make sense. The obvious first complaint is who is having this illusion?" I agree with this completely

    On the second thing yous said:

    If there is no god (and i acknowledge that possibility) then all of history is interpreted by flawed humans and flawed perspectives very often create even more or even worse flawed perspectives.
  • Philosophical Script
    7
    i think its possible that the idea of an individual self could be an illusion and instead we could all be a collective entity
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.4k
    instead we could all be a collective entityPhilosophical Script

    In what sense? I only experience my own thoughts I have never experienced anyone else's inner life world.

    Ironically the main proponents of no self are Buddhists yet they believe in reincarnation and people have questioned what then is being reincarnated.

    But because Buddhism is compatible with atheism I think they have had an easier time with this inconsistency.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.4k
    If there is no god (and i acknowledge that possibility) then all of history is interpreted by flawed humans and flawed perspectives very often create even more or even worse flawed perspectives.christian2017

    History is an interesting case. Historians are supposed to look at primary sources such as diaries, photos and archaeology etc to draw conclusions.

    We are expected to look at the evidence ourselves and decide upon it's validity. My beliefs about history are personal beliefs based on the persuasiveness of the evidence.

    However, there are always conspiracy theorists and alternative historians to challenge majority beliefs.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    If there is no god (and i acknowledge that possibility) then all of history is interpreted by flawed humans and flawed perspectives very often create even more or even worse flawed perspectives.
    — christian2017

    History is an interesting case. Historians are supposed to look at primary sources such as diaries, photos and archaeology etc to draw conclusions.

    We are expected to look at the evidence ourselves and decide upon it's validity. My beliefs about history are personal beliefs based on the persuasiveness of the evidence.

    However, there are always conspiracy theorists and alternative historians to challenge majority beliefs.
    Andrew4Handel

    I agree.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    i think its possible that the idea of an individual self could be an illusion and instead we could all be a collective entityPhilosophical Script

    its actually hard for me even as having my chosen religion to completely reject the concept of collective consceeeence or collective soul. It just is so intuitive that its hard to completely put away. A certain holy book says "the mountains praise him.....". Humans are a subset of the universe and i would argue anything that has feeling is a subset of the whole universe and the whole universe is one living object/entity/creature.
  • praxis
    2k
    No-self simply means that no enduring changeless thing can exist. It applies equally to everything and not just the self. Everything is an illusion, or so they claim.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.4k
    A basic point is how we could understand a sentence without a self.

    A sentence can be quite long and so we have to process a sentence from the beginning to the end.

    For example. "I went to the shop yesterday to buy some milk but they had sold out."

    I think you have to be the same person from the beginning to the end of this sentence to process its meaning and then I see no reason why you should not be the same person from then on forward.

    I accept Descartes "Cogito Ergo Sum" that thinking conforms your own existence.

    However due to the inaccessibility of mental states to science they are an easy target for elimination.
  • Andrew4Handel
    1.4k
    No-self simply means no enduring changeless thing can exist. It applies equally to everything and not just the self.praxis

    What about the sun? The sun has existed for Billions of years. It may not be changeless but it is enduring as an identifiable entity.

    However I don't think the self is an issue abut changes. I have never met anyone who thinks they have never changed.

    I define the self as a perspective that of an a perceiver and experiencer.

    However to if people randomly changed bodies and had memory lapses that would be very confusing. But there is enough continuity in a body and memory etc to maintain a self.
  • praxis
    2k
    What about the sun? The sun has existed for Billions of years. It may not be changeless but it is enduring as an identifiable entity.Andrew4Handel

    From some other perspective, a billion years is a blink of an eye. Regardless, we know that it will eventually burnout.

    However I don't think the self is an issue abut changes. I have never met anyone who thinks they have never changed.Andrew4Handel

    Yet we all endow people and things with an identity of some sort. Of course, we realize that they change but still there is a continuity to their existence or enduring sense or idea of what they are.

    I define the self as a perspective that of an a perceiver and experiencer.Andrew4Handel

    Do you really? Then how do you distinguish various perceiver/experiencers?
  • Alvin Capello
    76
    I think the idea that the self is an illusion does not make sense. The obvious first complaint is who is having this illusion?

    -

    I could not agree with this more. I really think the only way we can make sense of the 'no-self' doctrine is to take a Meinongian approach, viz. if we understand it to be saying that the self is a non-existent object. The 'illusion' comes in when we erroneously assume that the self exists.
  • DingoJones
    1.6k


    Have you tried any psychedelics or achieved a deep mediative state? In other words, have you actually done anything that would result in the loss of your sense of self?
  • Alvin Capello
    76


    What is the thing that loses the sense of self when in a deep meditative state? Is it not the self that loses the sense of self?
  • praxis
    2k
    The thing that loses a sense of self is the self?
  • DingoJones
    1.6k


    Nothing loses the sense of self, the sense of self dissolves and is no longer present. The “I” part of your consciousness goes away and “you” becomes removed from the experience of consciousness.
    Its difficult to explain, but this is where the “self is an illusion” comes from.
  • Alvin Capello
    76


    That's what I'm asking. I've often heard it said that psychedelics provide empirical evidence for the no-self view, because when you ingest them you lose your sense of self. But if this is the case, then something must be losing the sense of self. What else could it be but the self?
  • Alvin Capello
    76


    Then what was experiencing the sense of self before this transformation occurred?
  • DingoJones
    1.6k


    Nothing. Your self isnt experiencing itself, “self” just a thing that's present and in certain conditions it isnt.
  • Alvin Capello
    76


    I see. Well I would think that is different from the no-self view; because, as I understand it, the no-self view affirms that the self is never present at all.
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    Have you tried any psychedelics or achieved a deep mediative state? In other words, have you actually done anything that would result in the loss of your sense of self?DingoJones

    I hope I can phrase this in a way that is not total gibberish...

    Wouldn't it be impossible for anyone to be aware of it if they have achieved it? Only "I' know anything. If I lost my sense of self what would "I" be aware of...nothing because "I" would not exist. It is not like we suddenly have access to some overmind.

    Isn't a "loss of self" really just a sensation of the loss of self that "I" am totally aware of?
  • Xtrix
    554
    If there is no god (and i acknowledge that possibility) then all of history is interpreted by flawed humans and flawed perspectives very often create even more or even worse flawed perspectives.christian2017

    True, but the same is true with God existing. God itself, one may argue, is a name for a "perspective" too.

    I think the idea that the self is an illusion does not make sense. The obvious first complaint is who is having this illusion?Andrew4Handel

    To ask "who is having this illusion"? is begging the question. Maybe "one" has illusions about a "self" - this doesn't mean we reject our being. It means we reject concepts like "I," "self," "subject," "experiencer," etc. - at least in terms of traditional thinking. That we are isn't really in question, but what we are and who we are have a long history of interpretations.
  • christian2017
    1.2k
    If there is no god (and i acknowledge that possibility) then all of history is interpreted by flawed humans and flawed perspectives very often create even more or even worse flawed perspectives.
    — christian2017

    True, but the same is true with God existing. God itself, one may argue, is a name for a "perspective" too.
    Xtrix

    I guess it depends on how capable that god is at seeing "at all angles" and making accurate discernments/judgements. It also is contigent on if that god is good and/or doesn't take bribes and doesn't prefer physically attractive women. Lets be honest god is a man. lol.
  • Xtrix
    554


    It's not inconsistent. What gets "reincarnated" in their view isn't a "self" or even an "object" in our Western sense of the term. What we are as "individual entities" or beings, we're part of a bigger "being" as well, which in their view is Anicca -- change. Since they notice all things change in the present moment (and always), ideas about "reincarnation" make sense. But the Buddhists don't stress this, and if they do it's not what we've come to believe it is in the West.
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    but what we are and who we are have a long history of interpretations.Xtrix

    And what is wrong with summarizing these interpretations with words like "I" or "self"...otherwise we need to preface every opinion with a whole book of information that describes where this opinion is coming from. It is so much easier to say "I like ice cream" than to say "some entity with a unique consciousness that can only be shared with other consciousness in a very limited way, and this entity has existed on this place we call earth since 1981. The entity has been contained in a biological package. The entity has a brain that seems to be the birth place of this consicousness, but it can't be said for sure...and on and on and on, like ice cream".

    Perhaps another way of phrasing it...what purpose would it serve to admit there is no self...? Would we act differently? Would we know anything new? Do we gain anything?
  • Xtrix
    554
    True, but the same is true with God existing. God itself, one may argue, is a name for a "perspective" too.
    — Xtrix

    I guess it depends on how capable that god is at seeing "at all angles" and making accurate discernments/judgements. It also is contigent on if that god is good and/or doesn't take bribes and doesn't prefer physically attractive women. Lets be honest god is a man. lol.
    christian2017

    Yeah, I just think "god" is a word that refers to "being," that which is "bigger" or larger than "us." Interpreting "it" as a person-like entity is understandable, but almost certainly wrong. We see this instinct in every culture, but there's no reason to take it too seriously.
  • DingoJones
    1.6k


    The illusion of self is present, and once it dissolves you see that all the things “self” was doing are actually a collection of processes the “self” had no real presence or control to start with.
    Do remember the carnie rides as a kid, where a car goes around on a track? They have steering wheels and you’d grab it and turn it and it felt like you were the one driving, taking the turn etc but by the end of the ride you figured out you were never driving at all. Its like that.
    Now, some people might think of the ride itself to be the “self”, but it doesnt feel that way just like it doesnt feel that way once you let go of the wheel and just tide the ride.
  • NOS4A2
    2.9k


    I think the idea that the self is an illusion does not make sense. The obvious first complaint is who is having this illusion?

    We can discern the answer simply by looking in a mirror. I think the problem of whether the self is an illusion is that it is always argued from the perspective of someone who cannot see his own ears.
  • DingoJones
    1.6k


    Well there is still something going on, an experience is happening but its not the “self” thats experiencing. When the “self” returns, it can access the experience via memory for reference. Its present before, and after just not during..
  • Xtrix
    554
    but what we are and who we are have a long history of interpretations.
    — Xtrix

    And what is wrong with summarizing these interpretations with words like "I" or "self"...
    ZhouBoTong

    Nothing. As long as we don't take it too seriously.

    What the Buddhists will say is that we become "attached" to the "I," the "self," and that this is a cause of suffering.

    Perhaps another way of phrasing it...what purpose would it serve to admit there is no self...? Would we act differently? Would we know anything new? Do we gain anything?ZhouBoTong

    I think that's a possibility. One watches a Buddhist monk burn himself alive and not move, and one has to wonder if there's something to this practice of "non-self." So we can certainly act differently, and I think it is a kind of "knowledge" in the sense of recognizing a concept that isn't what we normally think it is -- that it doesn't have a locus. I don't know about "gaining" anything per se. But, again, maybe.

    Nothing wrong with referring to yourself as "me" or anything like that. As with most ordinary speech and thinking, we know what we mean by it.
  • ZhouBoTong
    837
    Well there is still something going on, an experience is happening but its not the “self” thats experiencing. When the “self” returns,DingoJones

    If "I" remember the experience, how do "I" know that "I" was ever NOT present? It feels like semantics more than a concrete occurrence?
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