On Discussing the Self


I know, I know. I am a broken record with this bit but if I am honest it’s the one that is most frustrating to me since I don’t really know where to get a solid answer for this. I know the link isn’t the best but I would be lying if it didn’t raise questions on what it means to be “me”.

I read somewhere about how a Zen teacher called his students by name and then ask who is answering. Which got me wondering about names and whether it’s an identifier of an individual or something that serves as a focal point around which we build something.

As for the link, is the self something that we build out of feelings and thoughts that we don’t let go of rather than just allow them to die.

But then what is responding to those stimuli in such a manner to begin with? Why are twins different when it comes to interests? I just feel like there is so much I don’t know and answers I don’t have.


Identical twins can form different interests simply by virtue of their different personal historical experiences.

Skinner, in “Verbal Behavior” (an intense text, not pop psychology) coined the term for the words that we use as names of things and individuals. He called them “tacts”. I think he used that word because names are metaphorically a way we get a handle on what/who things/individuals are. (Tact referencing tactile, I think.) Tacts are taught by social reinforcement by persons in one’s verbal community.

I imagine that a child learns its name in association with learning that he is an individual. He learns the tact “boy”, (iow he learns to name “boy” and learns that he is a boy. He learns his own name. He learns to name his own feelings (of all sorts). Pretty soon, you have a thriving, developing sense of self.


Well that’s all I know in regards to what we think the self is.

What I’m REALLY trying to get at is what the link I posted said. Like how the self is just in relationship to other things or claiming that nothing is truly our “own”.

What it means to be “me” is not complicated. Grappling with the truth about the self is the problem. Jean Klein, in your link, has not figured it out and is just fudging it.

Why do you want to know the truth about the self? I can share my discoveries with you. There is nothing spiritual about them.


I highly doubt what you say is going to be right or better than what the Buddhists have found

Sree: "I can share my discoveries with you."
Please do. I know you can do beating about the bush and avoidance. Can you do succinct?

Xain had stated that he is not receptive, and neither are you, Citizen. Be that as it may, since you asked, I will piss in the wind then. Hopefully, you might get the drift if the wind of fortune blows your way.

Jean Klein, like all spiritual teachers including the Pope and the Dalai Lama, is talking about an otherness, a state of oneness with the universe, or God, when the sense of self vanishes.

The self, a state of separateness as define by physics, is essential for practical life. But to you, and others like Xain, it’s not physics but material fact. This means it is real, and you can test it by banging your head against the wall. And that is called scientific evidence. Right?

I have to stop here. I am laughing, at you.

Once you get through entertaining yourself, perhaps you can try explaining what you are trying to say without all the irrelevant side comments, that are focused framing me into some image you want to believe.

You think I don’t know what mediating is?

You don’t think I’ve ever dabbled with “losing the self”? or “feeling the oneness”?


It’s hard to take you seriously because you don’t seem to take anyone else seriously.

So how about, cut the shit and try explaining what you are talking about, since that up there is a total fail. Except you’ve convinced me you feel rather superior. Yippy I’m impressed.

Now, can you seriously describe what “fractional living” is like?

Or can you unwrap this one once your finished rolling on the floor: “it’s not physics but material fact.”


Physics is what the physicist tells you about the self in terms of physical dimensions of space and the force of gravity the self exerts on the weighing scale. The self has no inherent substantiality and, therefore, is not factual in a material sense.

Look Citizen, all that I tell you are just a bunch of words if you cannot process the meaning I am trying to convey. The reason is because physics, one of the languages of science, is the program that you are running on. It’s logic and reason can only spit out the reality of a physical self that has qualities of weight, height and body mass index.

If you run on the program of evolution biology, another language of science, the reality of your self will appear as an ape.

No Sree, not true at all.

I understand, Xain. I broke out of your reality paradigm a long time ago.

I think you mean lost your sanity. Your paradigm simply isn’t true and you are missing the point of the topic. What I think the link means is “who are you when everything is taken away?” “What can we call us if it all comes from somewhere else?”.

We are apes, there is no doubt. What is in doubt is this “self” or what most seem to consider “a soul”.

I am not an ape, and there is neither me nor we. The self doesn’t exist. It is just a figure of speech, a metaphor with a name and a form to facilitate navigation through existential reality invented through mentation. Lose all identifications (passports, social security card, credit cards, driver license, finger prints and other biometric records and photo id’s, etc., and have amnesia) and try convincing any public authority that you exist. This is the first stage.

Next, lose your eye-sight. After that, lose your sense of hearing. How are “you” doing so far? After losing the sense of touch, “you” will be almost gone.

Xian, Sree prefers to confuse. He doesn’t want to figure anything out, just knock others down.

Sree the is a lot of that which is wrong. Even if I lost all those public records I would still exist, but just not be in the public record.

Losing senses still doesn’t mean there is no me either. Same with hearing and touch.

You are an ape, of that there is no doubt. But like I said, a “soul” is what is in doubt. Also the self not existing isn’t entirely true, there is some evidence to suggest otherwise. It’s not a figure of speech or a metaphor and I don’t think you really know what you mean when you speak.

You are an ape/body, the real debate is about whether there is a ghost in the machine. Some evidence suggests it’s an emergent property of the brain, so in some sense it is “physical” not a metaphor.

I know he just wants to knock others down. When it came to CC’s reply he had nothing for it but put downs. He seems to be a pretender but little more from what I see of his posts.

Xain: “You are an ape/body, the real debate is about whether there is a ghost in the machine. Some evidence suggests it’s an emergent property of the brain, so in some sense it is “physical” not a metaphor.”

The real debate is between you and people who also believe they are apes with bodies, and you folks want to figure out the ghosts in your bodies. I will leave you to your debate.


A sense of self exists when one is doing self awareness behaviors (any of the variety of cognitive behaviors that involve self-awareness. Iow, often, at the moment in which someone is thinking, that someone one has a sense of self, while they are thinking).

The ancient bipedal hominin (pictured below) who lived around 400 years ago, was a confirmed deist. But despite his shortcomings, he said something that has a ring of truth:

“Cogito ergo sum.”


Cogito, ergo sum is a Latin philosophical proposition by René Descartes usually translated into English as “I think, therefore I am”. (Wikipedia).

The critique against the proposition is the presupposition of an “I” doing the thinking, so that the most Descartes was entitled to say was: “thinking is occurring”. (Wikipedia)

You see, Tim. It’s not only me but there are folks out there questioning the existence of the self, the thinker doing the thinking. Is it science or pseudo scientists jumping to the conclusion (i.e. forming a baseless belief) that the self exists and it came out from the brain?





We know Sree. We also know the limitations, or as some call it, The Cartesian Error. But what’s the way out? As Simon Blackburn put it

The kind of sceptical problem embodied in the Evil Demon is somehow quiet­ly forgotten, while Descartes tries to engineer his way off the lonely rock of the Cogito. And this might suggest that he has put himself on a desert island from which there is no escape.
It is not easily solved. Perhaps some Wittgenstein will illuminate
We feel then that in the cases in which "I" is used as subject, we don't use it because we recognize a particular person by his bodily characteristics; and this creates the illusion that we use this word to refer to something bodiless, which, however, has its seat in our body. In fact this seems to be the real ego, the one of which it was said, "Cogito ergo sum". "Is there then no mind, but only a body?" Answer: the word "mind" has meaning, i.e., it has a use in our language; but saying this doesn't yet say what kind of use we make of it.
But shedding light is not really your game, is it Sree?