Do you exist? No but really. Do you?
Hi, I know this is going to sound insane absolutely mental but it seems as though one of the basic facts of life is that the person we think we are and the role is a fiction.
I want to share this piece with you all. I’d love to get some feedback on this:
There is no one here, there is no one else. There isn’t even you. There are bodies with brains that think they are people but they are just bodies with brains that think they are people. These brains are aware of themselves only. They perceive reality on behalf of themselves. That’s all, just matter arranged in a certain pattern. Each seemingly unique but made of the exact same stuff as everything else. Each seemingly individual point of view is in complete isolation, is the only point of view a brain can know of reality.
Don’t waste your time buying into other people. "People" exist in your mind you layer them on top of reality where all that exists is a human body and brain. People are a corkboard for your labels. Their own current version of themselves exists as the content of thought. That is to say. It is not a version of themselves at all. It is a thought about as self where one doesn’t exist. In reality their idea of "self" is just more thought. It exists as the content of a thought about self. It does not exist as self. It does not exist. There is no one home. There is just reality. The brain experiences reality alone. It experiences ONLY reality, and it experiences it ALONE, on it’s own. From it’s own unique point of view.
Welcome to reality. There is no one here. Reality alone. Embracing reality is not about doing something to get you there. It’s about NOT doing the things that take you away from it.
It’s not looking around at a world of things that think they are people and buying the shit they think of their non existent selves. You are alone. It is about Reality Alone. If you did exist I would say it is about YOU, but you don’t. The focus of all of this is reality alone. The two fold implication. The brain is alone in its experience and that there is only reality.
Embrace "people" for what they are. Don’t use the lack of existence of self as an excuse to completely cut yourself off from the part of reality called "people". Those things that think they are people, you know the truth of it. They are reality. They are another part of it all, they are not what they think they are, but they are reality just like "you". Just like the ground upon which they stand. They are reality alone.
There is no journey to reality. There is just giving up the ATTEMPT to get away from it. Surrender to reality. Stop deluding yourself. Most are on a treadmill, trying to run from reality, believing they are running back to it. Reality is the treadmill and the runner.
Give up there is reality alone. That is all their is. Any thought in your head that denies the nature of reality , that tells you, you are apart from reality influencing it, needs to go. You are not apart from anything. There is no you just the flow of experience. Reality alone. Any belief you blanket yourself in to ward off the uncertainty of reality needs to go. You need to get real, by stripping back anything in you that is not real. Starting with "You". There is no you. Reality alone.
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It doesn’t need to be an abstract concept if you leave the concept aside and simply take a look at your experience f reality. Pay attention to reality. Where is the self?
Sure, thoughts talk about self there is a concept of self (a definition for what a self is assuming it exists) but there is no actual self. Just as the concept of a unicorn does not point to anything in reality.
Self concept, my concept of me, Stephen, points to nothing in reality. The concept exists, sure, but, well look around.
What is really going on here?
Just take a casual look.
Is there a thinker thinking thoughts? Or do they just appear? (thrown up by the brain is the conceptual explanation of this)
Is there a you making decisions?
And Matt the problem with “I think therefore I am”, is that the sentence pre-supposes that a self exist to do the thinking in the first place. It says “I think”. It assumes there is an “I”
I’m not too sure about the rules on posting external links here so I’ll copy this article into this post.
It chronicles a normal guy taking a look at reality and relaying what he sees:
Is it True?
I asked a question a while back. There is no you. Is it true?
I decided to answer it for myself:
There is no you, is that true?
My body is moving now and my hands are typing this, but I didn’t move my hands or my body they just moved to get into the most comfortable position and to express these thoughts. Even the word express I heard it deep in my mind before I wrote it, I did not pick it it just came up. I don’t pick any words they just come up form the depths of the brain.
Is the self at the depths of the brain, giving ideas? or pulling them up? All that is at the depth of the brain is thought. That is where analysis recognition and impulse take place. Maybe impulse is down even deeper. In fact it is. And these things thought recognition impulse I have always considered to be apart from me, faculties I posses but not me. These are faculties of the brain body.
This voice keeps talking in my head, its going on automatic, “I” can interfere and choose to talk about something different though. Or does the thought of choice, and interference simply arise in the brain, and then the brain acts out that thought?
The thought arises I see it arise. Then it is carried out. The thought is not initiated by an “I” either.
The body goes on automatic too. I scratch my chin. Automatic. I notice the way I am walking or sitting. Automatic. No choice was made. Not by me anyway. The brain is just running on automatic.
What is this sense of “I”? It’s not built into the brains deep faculties but the brain thinks it owns them. The brain thinks this “self” owns it. It thinks it is in control of it. THINKS. Thought. This is all just thought. The sense of self is thought. BUT I am jumping ahead, I’ll keep looking to be SURE for myself that this is thoughts.
There is an underlying fear here that I will never realise I do not exist. It must become part of the brains automatic program, that you do not exist. The brain must realise that pattern in life. I’m not even typing here.
I can hear the thoughts in the head but I’m not speaking them. funny thing is I can hear what the voice is about to say, I know what it is about to say before it says t in my voice. Repeating deeply rising thoughts in a different voice, more slowly with some emotion. Is that how the self perpetuates itself. Through an Imagined voice?
If it has a voice it must be real. BUT it doesn’t have a voice. It’s words are the thoughts of the brain thoughts arising from conditioning and circumstance.The brain is just reading it’s own thoughts aloud in a theatrical voice. That’s not a self.
This is an animal. A body and mind as completely self perpetuating as a dog is.
Do you follow. There is a body here.
I am not in it.
There is a mind here.
I am not in it.
These eyes are seen through this skin is felt through and it all is experienced through the brain.
It all belongs to me as much as a dog on the street belongs to me. Which is to say not at all.
This brain has an active imagination. It’s created a character because it thought that was what was needed.
What is really happening here is the body and brain are part of life in constant feedback loop with their environment. Their environment and situation is what lends cause to their effect, and in turn the mind and body lend cause to the environments effect.
We look at life as thought there was a self. An initial point where choice, free will and thought originate. We say that this is the cause that effects the mind, makes it choices thinks it’s thoughts, but how could it be. What causes self?
We imagine that it is uncaused. It stands as the beginning of our experience of reality. Nothing is uncaused. We imagine the self. It does not exist. We simply THINK it does.
Those thoughts alone are not a self. They just describe a self. A self that controls our minds and brains, makes our choices, thinks our thoughts, feels our emotions. The instigator. We imagine an instigator other than reality. This is not possible.
An imagined self is just a label made to represent a thing. It is not the actual thing. We think up this label of self, but we don’t have the actual self to pin it on.
We don’t have it, and we can’t. Because this instigator, we imagine as the first point on some linear experience of reality. A source all of our choices, thoughts etc. flow from. But that is not possible. There must be something before the self to give rise to it, other wise it exists in a state where it effects reality but is not affected by reality, and EVERYTHING, is affected by reality. Worse still look at your sense of “self” it is so very easily affected by reality.
Why? Because, there is no self. Only your thoughts of self. They exist in reality and can be affected by reality in a feedback loop, same with everything else in reality.
BUT they only exist as thoughts. An actual self cannot exist in reality. And because of the fact it can’t exist, your sense of self needs to be constantly fought for and re-enforced. If it was true it would not require you constantly prove that it would just be true.
What is really happening is that the body and mind are in a constant feedback loop with reality. Reality affects the body and the mind and in turn the body and mind act things out in reality. It’s a perfect feedback loop and all of it is happening in reality. None of t can happen outside reality. Nothing can. The idea of a self is a fairy-tale.
The self does not exist. Life is automatic and self perpetuating. Your thoughts of self a re false. There is only reality, feeding back into itself in a loop. Reality causes an effect in your mind/body, which in turn causes an effect in reality. A perfect unbroken loop in reality. There is nothing outside of reality. No self. Thoughts of self in reality point to something that is just not there. That can not exist ever. It is just not possible that a self exist. It is neither required nor possible. Any thought to the contrary is false a fairy-tale that represents nothing in reality. Self can never be true.
Stephen, If I could facebook like your posts, I would. Very very interesting view on reality, the self, and life. What I find interesting is that you use the ‘self’ and what is known as the ‘ego’ in a lot of philosophical discussions of the same topic interchangeably. I personally believe there is a difference between the ego and between the self.
I’ve thought these things before, but I have different answers I want you to contemplate.
You asked “Where is the self?”. I’d say that the self is “you”. So then you’d ask, “Who are you?”. I’d say you are the choice maker responsible for the body and mind of the person your parents named ‘Stephen’.
Just as I am the choice maker, the one responsible, for Krish.
A question I would ask you now would be. Are you the PERCEIVER of your mind? Or Do you exist WITHIN your mind?
Trippy question, I know. While I don’t know your answer. I would answer that I am the perceiver of my mind. I have possession over my mind like I have possession over my body. It is part of the (normal) human experience, to utilize an able body and a conscious mind.
You mentioned the idea of your hands typing on the keyboard, and how they just move, “without you really thinking about it”. While you think you are not really in control, take a look at your posts again, they are filled with the word “I”, who is this I? haha
I have an experiment for you. I want you to take your right hand put it in the air and shake it around while simultaneously repeating to yourself “stop shaking your hand”.
What happens? You continue to move your hand while you speak. What does this mean? The way I see it, the I, the ME, the choice maker, the self, has control over both these functions (body and mind) of the human experience. Because the body is physical, it is easier to command and control. The mind and all that mindstuff however is an intangible substance. Because of this, we dont understand the fact that “You control your mind, your mind doesn’t control you!”
Another idea I want you to consider goes as follows, “You are what you are thinking”. This intrigues me on a few levels. I came up with this idea a few weeks ago. Basically whatever you are thinking at the time, that is what you are. You are what your name is when you introduce yourself to someone, you are the math problem you are doing when you are performing calculation, you are the song that is stuck in your head. It makes sense and it doesnt, kinda like your whole idea on not existing :) Further, in terms of meditation, disilussion of the go, and enlightenment. If you are experiencing absence of thought, what are you?!?!? Nothing! Similar to what you are saying, you don’t exist. What do you think?
And while i love the ideas about not really existing, in a weird way we really do. You have a name, address, social security number, physical description, thoughts, friends, school, work, responsibilities. You are alive by no choice of your own and you are going to be here living through every second of your life until you die – then who knows what happens (what do you think happens when we die btw?). So at the end of the day, while we may or may not really exist, we are still here.
“A question I would ask you now would be. Are you the PERCEIVER of your mind? Or Do you exist WITHIN your mind?”
I don’t think I exist. It seems that there is a concept of Stephen. It’s act out as though it were real, but stop acting or lose your memory of the concept in a car crash and it’s gone.
“You mentioned the idea of your hands typing on the keyboard, and how they just move, “without you really thinking about it”. While you think you are not really in control, take a look at your posts again, they are filled with the word “I”, who is this I? haha”
Yeah, there is no way around using that word. The word “I” as I use is it is a pointer to experience of reality, there is no way to communicate this stuff effectively without using the flawed yet helpful language we have to work with. It’s a shame, but the language was built by people who thought they were people (lol) so it’s unavoidable unless you start talking all abstract and mystical like a douche =D ha ha
“I have an experiment for you. I want you to take your right hand put it in the air and shake it around while simultaneously repeating to yourself “stop shaking your hand”.
What happens? You continue to move your hand while you speak. What does this mean? The way I see it, the I, the ME, the choice maker, the self, has control over both these functions (body and mind) of the human experience. Because the body is physical, it is easier to command and control. The mind and all that mindstuff however is an intangible substance. Because of this, we dont understand the fact that “You control your mind, your mind doesn’t control you!””
Cool.I just did your experiment. The hand moved the mind said stop. I didn’t experience or see any kind of evidence of a self. I’m not talking conceptually here, I mean in that experiment there actually was no experience of a self.
Here’s a video you might like about how choices are made and what not it relates directly to what you talk about here:
I don’t see this self anywhere in experience. I can see the concept of it. I see that. I just don’t see the actual thing
“Another idea I want you to consider goes as follows, “You are what you are thinking”. This intrigues me on a few levels. I came up with this idea a few weeks ago. Basically whatever you are thinking at the time, that is what you are. You are what your name is when you introduce yourself to someone, you are the math problem you are doing when you are performing calculation, you are the song that is stuck in your head. It makes sense and it doesnt, kinda like your whole idea on not existing :) Further, in terms of meditation, disilussion of the go, and enlightenment. If you are experiencing absence of thought, what are you?!?!? Nothing! Similar to what you are saying, you don’t exist. What do you think?”
That’s really interesting stuff. In fact I’ve a huge interest in it. The dissolution of the ego however, is not possible. All that’s needed is for a person to clearly see what the ego is. A concept. After that, well, when you realise it is just a concept, and you are not a self you are not your ego. That’s liberation in my opinion . Just that honest clear seeing. That is all that’s needed for enlightenment.
“And while i love the ideas about not really existing, in a weird way we really do. You have a name, address, social security number, physical description, thoughts, friends, school, work, responsibilities. You are alive by no choice of your own and you are going to be here living through every second of your life until you die – then who knows what happens (what do you think happens when we die btw?). So at the end of the day, while we may or may not really exist, we are still here.
Yeah exactly all those things exist and are real. But the thought that they are owned, that they are your’s and all connected and all part of you, that is false as far as I can see anyway.
I think, we don’t exist. BUT, there is still life, still existence, just no individual selves, the selves are just concepts. And oh I should add. I talk of the self as the decision maker and thinker that owns the body and mind, and the ego as the role we play, the false person we pretend to be to make up for the fact that, well…. we don’t exist =/
Yeah great convo.
I got a simple experiment for you if you’re up for it. Just watch, don’t try to clear your mind, just let everything happen. Even the thoughts that say “don’t try to clear your mind, let this all happen” se it all clearly take a look around.
What is going on? Is there a self? Can you find it? See it’s influence anywhere. Is there a concept of self? Does the thing it describes exist?
This is good stuff =D
This seems like a unique mixture between “brain in a vat” philosophy problem and Fight Club mentality. You should look at both and refine this, because being in reality alone is an abstract concept hard to bite into when explained that way.