The illusion of self.

For (69) nine years I have been living a illusion of living. Not knowing how to handle stress my ego took charge and I thought I was living. I joined a psychology forum and was awakened. I also love philosophy while I missed learning while I was living my illusion of living. I am now learning my innate qualities (which) I never knew plus many more new philosophies and psychologies.The philosophy of psychology is so loosely related it is hard to combine the two for discussion. Philosophy studies understanding and the love of wisdom as does psychology.

I know a little more about psychology and the mind that I use to know. Meditation is a step in the right direction plus philosophy and psychology forums like this one.There is hope and help out there.The words ego and innate are two great words to ponder.Thoughts please. pljames :-k

what if you are now in another illusion?

Whats next?

Hi PL,

It might be a similar awakening to mine, in the sense that it happened at a time when we found ourselves with a lot more free time (away from work and/or other obligations).
I may be wrong so forgive me if thats the case.

I found personally when I had more time I spent more time thinking - previously my mind was occupied with other things.

Perhaps you should read some of Adler’s theories of human psychology, which effectively state that all animals have an innate ‘will to live’ and it is this which the animal uses their intellect for. In the human context this would mean our work and familial obligations. Our minds are busy thiking about dropping the kids off at school or booking a meal at a restaurant, having one’s hair cut, filling up the car and so on…
All of these thoughts are related and most of us go our entire lives without ever happening to break free from this constraint on our thoughts.

When one has more time one invariably begins thnking more abstractly, and in my own experience it is a life-changing event as though there have been funny goggles over your eyes all your life and they’ve finally been removed and you can see things more clearly. In my case, I was diagnosed with ME/CFS and subsequently haven’t been able to work for around 5 years now. Living housebound is tough but gives a person a whole lot of thinking time.

:slight_smile:

EDIT:
I just wanted to add that the birth of agriculture was the beginning for human life as we know it; before agriculture around 10 square kilometres was required per person to survive (as Neolithic hunter-gatherers) but once we’d learned how to plant crops and domesticate plants we were then able to live in larger and larger populations and became settlers. It was at this point that more and more men and women found themselves not needed by their agricultural industry as we learned how to use less labour to make more food. Those not needed were subsequently free and able to explore areas of human interest which were at that point, for the most part, unexplored. Such areas included astronomy, art, science, philosophy and much more (pretty much everything which didn’t relate to the previously prioritsed hunting and gathering, a.k.a. the '‘will to live’ (as Adler puts it)

The needless distinctions between areas of the self, vis: hombound self, outdoors-up and around self; hurt/unhurt self, aware/unaware, wise/idiotic, enlightened/conventional, young/old, and the list goes on------------in pop psyche they call pigenholing various “areas” of the self with the mind/brain as a sort of connector—to get in touch with our self. I see this process in the symbol of an onion with layers. The peripheral layers may be the least significant,(but not always) and as you shed more and more layers, you get “deeper” into the self, the suppressed, the archaic, the forgotten childhood, the hidden happy memories. These “deep” kernels are still separated but they are separated less distinctly. So my self is no longer an illusion, but a workable system. The functions can be varied, adapted, and relationally congruent.(To its environment, its objects). If we come up from the deeper regions, the illusion will become appearant because of lack of depth. There may exist almost a supressive need to navigate in the deep, and find like minded Beings there, or come up singly or individually, and enjoy the chimera of what we call illusion. For some reality is always illusionary, and for others it is always reality. “Illusion” is as illusionary as anything else, and if we restrict everything to be an illusion, we all through to Wonderland, because in the end up nowhere. We our self become a metaphor of illusion. A good example of this process, is narcissism. Narcissus was condemned and punished by being turned into a flower. And what’s wrong with metaphor? It escapes the conventional reason, and it can fly , and there are friends there too. No need to fear pure conceptual thinking, as there is no need to fear an existential abandonment into the mundane. They are both there.

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:-k Great answers all. I see I feel therefore it exists. I have been on drugs I understand illusions delusions and such. I have also discovered we’re our own friends or enemy by our own choice and beliefs and thoughts. I only see formed matter not unformed matter. You see what you want to believe and see. Philosophy and psychology has taught me well. But all disciplines are flawed as or the creators. pljmes

I’ve said before that “self” is the unique arrangement of thoughts, memory, belief, etc. that are the essence of the individual. Since thought can be measured and changes in thought patterns can be shown and analyzed, where is the ‘illusion?’–unless the EEG and lie detector machines are illusionary.

The “illusion” (so to speak) would be in the perception that this “essence of the individual” is fundamentally distinct from - and operating independently of - everything else that exists.

That’s a good definition of certain types of mental illness if it’s a constant, all engrossing thought. We all know we’re distinct from any other ‘self.’ No one else has our thoughts, our memories, our fears, our guilts. If they did, we wouldn’t have our ‘self.’ I don’t know about “operating independently of - everything else that exists.” really means.

To me, what you’re saying is, “I used to live in an illusion and that my ‘illusion’ took up much of my life.” IOW, you didn’t acknowledge your ‘self’, but did what so many of us do–grow into adulthood, work, have and raise a family, bumble along until, one day, you asked yourself what you’d really accomplished that made you unique–and what do you have yet to accomplish that could make pljames a unique individual?

Imm, you’ve recognized and questioned your past life and call it an ‘illusion.’ That, alone, is a giant step forward in the search for ‘self.’ Kudos, pl.

I just hope you don’t throw everything out. Your ‘illusionary’ life is a major part of the individual you.

Well, how one defines “mental illness” is often pretty arbitrary. We are only distinct from other selves according to our own self-definitions. Which is fine, but we shouldn’t kid ourselves - we don’t operate independently of the rest of reality. i mean “everything else that exists” quite literally. You, me, them, we’re all just parts of the same process.

i don’t intend this as a profound insight, i only say it to explain the way in which selfhood can be seen as being illusory.

Ugly people fucking & Lizbethroe, =D>
Excellent analysis. I was and now I see and understand. I was part of my experience and am better for it. I was my own created illusion. Now I am aware of my realty. What a interesting creature I am, that can create it’s own illusion and deny it’s own reality. Yet how does one help others who are in the same boat as I was. I love this forum. “I once was blind but now I see” NT. Thoughts please pljames

 " The preception that this 'essence of the individual'" is fundamentally distinct. I am having trouble with this---although limitations of language usage can prevent their other then common sense meaning, the following can be raised.  How do we perceive. The "essence" of the individual? , why, once we "perceive" it, can we unequivivically state that they are illusionary because "they are fundamentally" different?  

 A case can be made that the difference is not fundamental, but topical.  And further, what does the "essence" of the individual consist of?  I am getting which way you are trying to go with this, but you are facing hurdles in describing "illusion"

 Of the content and structure of mental illness is one of the divisiveness, and although you do not quantify divisiveness: it may be assumed that you do not wish to, presuming its two.  Between "reality" and illusion". This assumption causes a confusion, since if the self is illusory (by your definition), then what is the real.  You could qualify your preception, but you can't because of this basic confusion.

 Can you clarify this?  The reason I am saying this is there are religious people, who would hold that the soul is not an illusion, it is a real created entity. 

  So this is probably why illusion is only perceivable beyond the limits of language and understanding.  So if this is the case, the illusion of ourselves is of our making, but the foundamental sense of our self is the reality of our God given self, or if you don't believe in God, our ethereal self. I don't know if I ammaking sense?

Bill, :-k
Excellent photo of defining illusion. pl

Thanks for the response Obe, but i must confess i don’t entirely understand everything you’ve said, which makes it difficult to address your questions.

There’s a reason i put “illusion” in quotes. Illusions can be very real, in that they have real life effects - they cause things to happen. You are correct that the term “illusion” can be a tricky one. Probably closer to what i’m getting at would be mental construct or something like that - “real created entity” might work, but if you’re coming at it from a religious perspective, then we probably differ upon the hows and whys of that creative process. In any case, i’m not saying the self isn’t real (whatever “real” means), more that it’s a function of the way we perceive.

Perhaps that helps?

 Yes , of course.  I think you are right in asserting "the illusion of self" in that respect.  But, when there is an illusion , and again I grant you coming from the other position), there need be a "real" in the sense of having it compared to.  If there is no "real" self, we cannot have an illusion of it.  Why?  Because, illusions are always compared with the real.  Unless, all selves are illusionary.  In that case, we can speak of the real self in different modalities, perspectives points of view, etcetera.  

 If all reality is an illusion, the ground under our feet may collapse.  I can only know uncertainty.

 In spite of the fact, that there is a quantum world of uncertainty, does not exclude the "real" world as a secure , well grounded place, within limits.  These limits are as real, as the illusionary reality out of bounds.  What binds?  That's a good question, and for me the answer is not even religious:  it is the aesthetics of human love.  It is a binding force, that perhaps has been overlooked.  None can deny it.

Even when we recognize an illusion we still have to play into it. How many of us our right now playing into our “illusions” posting on a message board that has little to do with it? My illusions still offer me hope and fantasy. My “Self” still largely controls everything.

Okay, so where do you draw the line between the illusory and the real?

  Maybe I couldn't you are again right.  M)be I would be hard put to do that because it would press on the problem of qualifying what the illusion is relative to the real.  In common sense. I think it the problem is, that we are accustomed to qualify something as real as opposed to it being illusionary, by qualifying it as belonging in the domain of reality.  The secondary differentiation of a qualified "real" thing, then, has to go through the tests of such constructs as the so called "social construction of reality", or Wittgenstein common sense approach of "family resemblences", or the linguistic analysis approach of meaning by presumption.  
 If "reality" "tests" pass unchallenged, we may then speak of the reality as tested.  Otherwise we have to disqualify it, and call it illusion.
 It's not that we can draw a line between them (reality and illusion), but perhaps we can see it as a test with a margin of error, within acceptable limits.

What do “you” mean “pljames”? Can “you” cite some quotes or authors? “I” also had a big awakening not so long ago when “I” discovered Eckhart Tolle, Ramana Maharshi, and Advaita. Are “you” meaning like that? “I” also had a kind of new way of seeing added after discovering Marshal Rosenberg’s “Non-violent Communication”