The Nature of Self

Dialogue by Kit No Comments »

Dear Kat,

I have been musing for months on the nature of self and the idea that the universe is a unity, and have a number of ideas and data points for this.

It’s a unity at the same time as being divided and classified.  This is at odds with Aristotelian logic, so we find it hard to accept, and the appearance of division is so strong that we consistently fail to see the united aspects of the world.  Aristotelian logic has been completely refuted at the quantum level, where photons can be conclusively shown to be either particle and wave, depending on what experiment is done, but we are reluctant to accept the simultaneous existence of opposites in the world.

We think we’re just ourselves, but we are in fact a collection of 300-1000 species of microflora, which perform a host of useful functions for us.  We think we are self-sufficient like Robinson Crusoe, but very few of us could survive alone.  We think we know who we are, but we constantly use other people as mirrors in which to see our reflection.

The Eastern religions teach that the self is an illusion.

Maybe the joint experience that you and I routinely have is actually quite common, but just not recognised and acknowledged.  For instance, people may experience it when ballroom dancing, singing in a choir, acting as a mob or playing music together.  Without a mental model, however, the experience has no chance of being observed, and even when looking, the bright light of the ego can obscure that subtle, simultaneous sense.


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