There is no self: the periodic table of experience?

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There is no self: the periodic table of experience

Asher Walden, PhD


Quote:Theologian Dr. Asher Walden argues that the self can be accounted for purely as a momentary aggregate of mental factors, without any need to appeal to some additional thing that stands outside the mind-stream. Although we normally think of experience as some kind of relation between two independent real things—a subject and an object—he argues that, in truth, there is just experience; experience is the real thing.


This seems like an odd duck of an article, as he makes comments that seem to indicate a central I-self beneath these experiences:


Quote:Thus, the basic units of consciousness are these mental factors, not persons. From the Buddhist standpoint, the subjective self is not an ultimate or really existing ‘thing.’ It is simply, if you like, a localized cluster of momentary factors. The factors are enough to explain why we experience ourselves as selves, discrete and enduring in time, even though being a self is more akin to a wave or eddy in the ocean of consciousness.


This seems to run into the question that hits against any "Consciousness is Illusion" claim - who then is being fooled?



Quote:There is also the unconditioned element of nirvana, which is a kind of background hum which, here as elsewhere, we misconstrue as something private and internal. This mental factor is, I suspect, the one that gives rise to the irreducible suchness of the first-person perspective, which many people think cognitive science will simply never be able to ‘explain.’ The point is that the self can be exhaustively accounted for as a momentary aggregate of mental factors, without any need to appeal to some additional thing that stands outside the mind-stream.


If there's an irreducible 1st person POV...that seems to say something about consciousness that isn't accountable by an aggregate of mental factors?
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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If there is no self, then there is no one who needs to be freed from the illusion of self... as illusions have no reality.

Only a Self that is real can believe that it is an illusion. Thus, the idea that the self is an illusion becomes itself a delusion with no reality.


Quote:The point is that the self can be exhaustively accounted for as a momentary aggregate of mental factors, without any need to appeal to some additional thing that stands outside the mind-stream.


The Self obviously cannot be exhaustively accounted for as a momentary aggregate of mental factors, because any number of mental factors only account for at best part of the nature of the Self. The Self is the ground upon which mental factors exist ~ it is not the mental factors itself.

It is frustrating that the no-mind dogmatists cannot comprehend that the Self cannot be perceived due to it inherently being non-phenomenal. It is never possible to ever directly perceive a Self via any means. Only indirectly is it ever possible ~ whether physically, by behaviour, or far more uncommonly, psychically, by energy.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.”
~ Carl Jung


(This post was last modified: 2021-07-28, 04:43 AM by Valmar.)
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  • stephenw, Sciborg_S_Patel
(2021-07-28, 04:42 AM)Valmar Wrote: It is frustrating that the no-mind dogmatists cannot comprehend that the Self cannot be perceived due to it inherently being non-phenomenal. It is never possible to ever directly perceive a Self via any means. Only indirectly is it ever possible ~ whether physically, by behaviour, or far more uncommonly, psychically, by energy.


I would say everything experienced is experienced for a first person POV.



It's always perceived in that sense...I think? (and therefore Am? Wink )
'Historically, we may regard materialism as a system of dogma set up to combat orthodox dogma...Accordingly we find that, as ancient orthodoxies disintegrate, materialism more and more gives way to scepticism.'

- Bertrand Russell


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