Nibbana tangent part 1 (Agnosticism)

by David Turell @, Friday, May 31, 2024, 16:44 (55 days ago) @ dhw

MATT: I applaud overall your description of the self, and on most things we're closer that maybe it seems, but again, as above, you're confusing the 'self' for the 'sense of self.' One goes away and the other remains.

dhw: That is precisely what I am saying, but let’s not exaggerate. The ‘self’ will no doubt continue to retain many of its attributes (which helps us to maintain our sense of self), but you will notice that in my summary, I specified that it is the total of our attributes at any given time. Some may go away, and may be replaced, but the sense of self remains.

MATT: What I want to focus in on here is that post-meditation, I'm fully conscious, but there's no 'sense of self'. The sense of self is like an emotion that only exists for brief moments.

dhw: You have changed the subject. My comment concerned the nature of the self as I attempted to define it. But you are talking about consciousness of the self, which I dealt with elsewhere: “It’s self evident that we don’t spend our lives consciously thinking about what is or isn’t our “self”. Most of the time our consciousness is focused on other things.” You go on to talk about memory:

MATT: If you don't put energy into that memory--which we tend to do instinctively--it maintains itself and it remains firmly entrenched and lodged into the psyche.

dhw: I have no idea what you mean by “putting energy into memory”. Memories are part of the “self”, but many disappear, many become distorted – they are probably more likely than most other attributes of the self to “change” with time. But whatever is there – accurate or not – is still a part of the self, but we’re not conscious of it unless circumstances require us to focus on it.

dhw: But that doesn’t mean the self is not there!

This was the conclusion to my ruminations on consciousness/unconsciousness of the self. The fact that we're not thinking about it doesn't mean that it’s illusory. I have no idea why you go on to call this a “conflation”.

MATT: Again, the conflation. I originally used the term "concept of self" in terms of its disappearance. As I've tried to show here, that 'sense of self' has more in common with an emotion or a thought--a concept. The error that MOST of us make is in mistaking that sense of self, AS the self. You don't like me drawing the line between that sense of self and that bare-awareness or "right now" attention of consciousness.

dhw: I don’t understand why you make it seem so complicated. Of course sense of self is not the self – it’s awareness of the self! What is your “sense of self” if it is not the consciousness/awareness of self as it is right now?

MATT: the sense of future and past isn't there. Which is part of the reason Buddhism places emphasis that where the 'self' lives--is right now in the present moment.

dhw: Which is exactly what I keep saying: the self is the total of our attributes at any given moment, which = right now. There is nothing in your post that I disagree with, and so far I can’t see what there is in my posts that you disagree with.

I have enjoyed this exchange. You don't disagree and I have the same thoughts about self.


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