Thursday, August 10, 2017

Self

When pain occurs it occurs to me. Otherwise I would not merely feel pain. There is distance between myself and what I feel. --If I had no self--if there were no me--I would be the pain I feel, because there would be no distance between it and the part of my mind I call my self. I would be a room full of fire rather than a room lit by fire.

The whole is greater than the sum of its parts, which means that the whole is something completely other than the sum of its parts. The self arises out of this. The Buddha said that if one breaks down a person's consciousness into its components he finds no self. That is beside the point.

You can transcend the self, or dissolve the self, but that is a lower state of consciousness (perhaps), not a higher one. In deep states of meditation Buddhist monks feel no physical pain. That's because they've shut off part of their brains. Lower cognizance equals lower consciousness, in a sense. But it could also open up the mind to a different dimension of awareness. A dimmer switch could actually make some things more visible.

I have felt, at fleeting moments, what may be referred to as nirvana--that is, complete clarity. But I don't know whether that made me more or less like a snail, more or less like a deer, more or less like a plant. I'm talking about awareness not intelligence.

4 comments:

  1. Lower 'physical' cognizance may equal higher 'mental' consciousness.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Maybe so. Thank you for commenting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Hmmmm...you seem to be flirting with questioning the hierarchical structures that are one way of organizing things...

    But I don't know whether that made me more or less like a snail, more or less like a deer, more or less like a plant. I'm talking about awareness not intelligence.

    Awareness, intelligence...maybe there's a difference, maybe there isn't, or may be there's a difference but it doesn't matter.

    I would be a room full of fire rather than a room lit by fire.

    Subject/object...imagine the difficulties god has with this, both the room lit with and the room of...and so are we. I almost said the problem isn't in the being, but in the rathering, and then I remembered that there is no problem, only me. And that includes you too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Greg, thanks for commenting! Buddhists talk about ego as self. I'm thinking of it more as an intrinsic part of cognition. Based on MRI scans I've seen, online meditation lowers the level of brain activity significantly when the subject is in a deep state, and yet meditators experience a deeper state of cognizance, in one sense. They seem to lose their sense of peculiarity, I think. So could it be that mind is more than just brain?

      Also, I think this differentiates awareness from intelligence. Awareness is an ability to notice, perceive, and feel. Whereas intelligence is an ability to solve problems. If awareness increases does intelligence also increase?

      Delete