"Well, that's just, like, your opinion, man."

Know thyself...

4/13/18, 9:51 AM

I follow Nigel Warburton (@philosophybites) on Twitter (may have mentioned that already - there's a search feature here, I should probably learn to use it) because he often posts interesting things. This morning he posted a link to a BBC video at Aeon Magazine. It's a short video, well illustrated and worth your time.

But it's also important to think about the video too, because if you don't, you may be left with some misleading conclusions.

Spoiler alert: The video concludes with one modern psychological view that the "self" is an illusion. Which is fine with me, because the Buddha came to that conclusion a long time ago.

But that's not to say that there is no value in introspection. The "inner narrator" is an unreliable witness. It is always important to interrogate the inner narrator to see if what he or she is relating to you inside your head is really true. Since it occupies a privileged position in your experience, far too often we don't question it at all. But once you begin to, you'll discover that much of what he or she speaks is merely fiction.

Implicit in all that, in case you didn't catch it, is that the "inner narrator" is not you.

But the important thing is that it is through the process of vigorous introspection that one can learn that the inner narrator is an unreliable witness, not always to be trusted.

As to the "self" and whether or not we each have or are one, well, that's another layer of the onion, isn't it?

I've been getting up early and working out on the elliptical lately. Based on what's going on inside my head, I suspect my time might be better spent getting up early and meditating instead.

What a "self" is, and how that relates to your being in the world, is more of a process than a fixed answer. How that process works is, to some extent, accessible to us; and the direction it takes is subject to the choices we make. So, in some ways, it's as Hogarth Hughes learned from Dean McCoppin, "You are who you choose to be."

And there's your semi-obscure pop cultural allusion for this weekend. I'll give you a clue:

"Superman."