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sense of self

Once again I am going to try to attempt to explain my most basic philosophies. I am heartened of the body of work on this blog because it will hopefully allow me to assume you may know largely where I’m coming from. I believe it is important to know what we are fundamentally, deeply and honestly, with diligent effort, and act on that knowledge to fulfill our life purpose. I believe the fundamentals of the universe are ideas; so-called physical realities are really only probabilities without an observer. Consciousness is important as it is fundamental to who we are. Consciousness is a framework of ideas built over a will built out of necessity. Self-consciousness is created through interaction with other consciousnesses in a milieu of culture, its fundamental building block is meaning. Self-conscious individuals create their own meaning both singly and in interaction with culture(s) and physical reality. Because ideas are shared and passed on and exist out of necessity (ex. “Food” is such a good idea it is eaten everywhere) they have the potential for immortality our physical selves lack. That is why we are fundamentally story. The question becomes what do we want our story to be? This is who we are; we are built out of the truth. Knowing who we are we can choose to be unaroused by any apparently negative circumstance through our control of meaning. We can give meaning to anyone or anything without limit but meaning is mediated through the truth, which thankfully is infinite. Meaning is built out of ideas and organizations of ideas, memes if you will. The more memic material you have to self-organize in an emergent process the greater your personal memic universe. Memic universes can be shared through communication, consciously and unconsciously as well as exist in culture. Memic universes are not bound by time or space but access is subject to decay and apparently termination. The deeper understanding of your own memetic existence allows you to understand others and larger patterns on interactions. By exercising our self narrative function we can enlarge and enhance our storyline within a culture, our place in the shared memic universe. We cannot force our entry onto the universal stage of known ideas without risk of unintended negative consequences obscuring the purity of the story we would have told of who we are. We need volition, but passive volition, to the greater story arc to be in balance with who-what-where-when-how we are. We allow ourselves to be part of a greater story and participate in its unfolding as it is meant to be. Knowing ourselves to be many and self-contradictory we should try to look to our highest self for direction and self-identity (internal narration). Knowing our existence to be a story we do not just look back to who we were what we were a part of but who we will be at the end of the story and what do we have to learn from that character who has finally figured it all out. What is it going to be what do I decide to do today to see this story means something.

Categories: philosophy
  1. Mike
    January 17, 2008 at 1:53 pm

    Here is a detailed comment from my friend Chad Olson who contacted me via email:

    I thought I would share a blog I wrote with you. The folowing appeared on myspace, and I know you aren’t on myspace. I enjoyed reading your blog, witnessing our development, so I though I would share.

    Things I believe:

    1. Economic systems are all more or less the same. I generally think of myself as “progressive”, but feel that elites protect their own, and power concedes nothing. Whether one calls himself a Bolshevik Socialist or a Reagan Republican is of little consequence. His actions speak volumes more than the way he chooses to label himself. Some policies may differ, even be “better”, but one party, currency, or system will not define me. While certain necessities, such as health care, housing, and nutrition ought to be taken out of the equation; capitalism and socialism are theoretical abstractions, illusions, therefore equal in their absurdity. Thus, justice happens because people recognize that human dignity is a divine concept, rather than because one has read Marx or Bakunin. I don’t think I am cynical, but think that political polarization has little to do with creating the type of world I want to live in. Decency is decency. If you fashion yourself progressive (or conservative, for that matter), try to remember what brought you to those principles in the first place. I’ll bet that the ideology followed genuine compassion, rather than the other way around.

    2. Similarly, I also assert that binary thinking solves nothing. “Either/Or”, “Good/Evil”, and “Left/Right” prevent us from having a human dialogue that acknowledges commonality. We are prevented from developing pragmatic solutions to real problems, largely due to the fact that most of us are more invested in our dogma than those solutions. So, I see no conflict in identifying myself as Buddhist, Christian, and Agnostic, for example. Rejection of the binary idea that I must choose one identity has gone a long way to ease my once angry personality.

    3. The greatest challenge we face in humanity is global climate change. Many of us (myself included) spend much time worrying about this or standing on our self righteous soap boxes while hypocritically continuing to do the one thing that could halt this crisis: drive our cars. Automotive transportation is the worst thing we do as consumers for the planet. Until I have the courage of my convictions to reject this and other wasteful consumption, I have no moral authority. I’m working on it.

    4. War is wrong. It was wrong when Kennedy ( a Democrat) invaded Vietnam, and it was wrong for (Republican) Bush to invade Iraq.

    5. Dogs are the perfect manifestation of love. In this respect, they are more evolved than people. Dogs have no malice. Dogs don’t hold grudges. Dogs are always happy to see us when we return home. I saw a cheesy bumper sticker once that said, “Lord, help me to be the person my dog thinks I am.” Pretty much sums it up.

    6. We should lighten up, have fun, and recognize the beauty that is everywhere.

    These observations may see trite or naive to some,but I also believe this: ‘Right Livelihood’ the Buddhist concept, is not as complicated as we make it. I believe that when our spiritual and intellectual selves are developed, the political world will follow suit.


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