The point is there is no 'self', or at least there is no 'real self'. That is the cumulative lesson of the studies of consciousness from the inside by the ancients and by direct experience still today. All we can say is that consciousness exists prior to the organization of the contents of consciousness into discrete things like selves and not-self things, and that same 'pure' consciousness still exists as that in which all such contents still continually appear and vanish in the present moment.

So the study of the self is one of the 'easy' problems of consciousness. If you want to study the self the proper perspective is this: How does the concept of a self within a cognitive model of its environment better help any organism to function within that environment? In other words why do we and at least some other animals develop a self concept as part of our cognitive model? What advantages does that convey in our ability to function successfully within our cognitive model of reality? There is your start point because from an EP perspective the concept of self must have developed for the purpose of enabling an organism to function more succesfully within its environment.

This needs to be studied in the context of how organisms which may not have a self concept, or at least a very different type of one, are able to effectively organize their actions within cognitive models of the world lacking a self concept.


On Dec 31, 2008, at 6:53 PM, Robert Karl Stonjek wrote:

You will have a long slog cataloguing all usages of the word self since every person on the planet has a different view at every different moment. Let us know when you finish! :-)

Then, after you've finished, you can do the same for all other living organisms and computer programs as well!

Have fun and report back from time to time.... ;-)

I think there is a more attainable point between each usage of the word and the general categories of the usage, at least I hope there is...


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