Saturday, 31 December 2011

Origins of the self


I was pleasantly surprised when I chanced upon this article on the BBC website, since it is an area of personal interest to me. This article is about the awareness of others thinking and is actually related to a primate study. Here is the BBC's overview: http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/16305600

Whilst this has not been published yet, we can still look at the potential implications and have a glance at the science behind it. We can also see how it relates to our favourite insight around here, which relates to the insight of the 'self' not existing in real life. 
If you are new to all of this basically the core insight, is that what you perceive of as “you” does not exist in real life. If you actually look in to the truth of this, you will discover that there is no abiding “you” or “I” controlling your life, it actually lives itself and what you thought to be “you”, is actually a convincing illusion manufactured by the mind. 


Don't worry this is not far fetched, Buddha worked it in 500 BC and modern day philosophers such as Julian Baggini and Thomas Metzinger and also various pioneering neurologists, would also agree that the self is an illusion. It seems inconceivable but it is something entirely demonstrable in real life and once you have seen this insight, you are able to see through the illusory and false aspects of reality.

The one thing that hovered over me since I was liberated and became clear to me, was that if there was no self, then there could never have been a self that ever existed. Not once since the big bang, could a self have ever existed and as a consequence of this, there had to be a logical series of steps, leading up to the development of cognitive faculties, language and eventually Homo Sapien's unique “sense of self”, which I originally believed, invoked a structural requirement that we all confused for something real. This never really tallied with me and I thought it was a real mystery so I started researching everything I could about cognitive evolution.

Of course if we look at some Vervet monkey studies, such as the ones conducted by Seyfarth & Cheney (1997) and Fischer (et al 2000); we clearly see a pattern of communication, that was purposeful between primates and this was an extension of just mere animal calls, that denoted emotional states. In the study, they managed to identify the alarm calls that Vervet monkeys make, in response to different predators such as, snakes, birds of prey and leopards. It would seem to follow, that communication could have appeared by a combination of gestures and grunts originally and this was passed on as a very primitive 'proto-language'

In order for this to happen though, the faculties had to be in place already, for pattern recognition of communication and in particular, a basic network of mirror neurons was already needed to be established. So how did this network already exist? Theists would have used the fully blown intellectual surrender strategy, of intelligent design, however, it is obvious that another explanation is more likely, so we need to dig deeper to unravel this mystery.

We see that there is a complex network of mirror neurons in primates, since various studies have been conducted and we can see the similar brain structures that are used in human communication skills. Notably, these are 'Broca's' and 'Wernicke's' areas.



These regions appear similarly in primates and it is apparent, that these parts of the brain also play a role in pattern recognition. In the 80's and 90's, the researchers at Parma university established that certain actions done by a primate would stimulate the same brain area, as when a primate witnessed a researcher copying the same action, when scanned in an fMRI scanner. This led to the hypothesis that these neurons are important in recognising the behaviour of other animals. 

Whilst there are objections to this hypothesis, they seem to be the work of dualist philosophers and whilst the brain is so complex, we cannot reduce the action down to the neuron itself being intelligent. It would seem obscene to do that really anyway, since it is an instrument in an overall system. The fact remains, that the mirror properties of neurons, serve a functional requirement, in the pattern recognition of behaviours, that it seems, is unquestionable. The human brain is far more complicated but it appears that we have more complex layers of neurons exhibiting mirror properties.

Now, once we read this outline of the study on the BBC site, we see a feasible line of how this neural network came to be. Rather than language developing a structural requirement of self, we see that quite plausibly, there has to be a structural requirement of self present before a proto-language can appear. So in this sense, we get to a position where we would have to acquire certain skills first, before we can conceive of a language. So what we need to do is think up of a few instances where the ability of behaviour prediction would give us a survival advantage as a primate. Before recognising knowledge in others, we would have to have certain faculties developed, in order to recognise the world around us first.

Obviously the first two striking ideas, are preempting a violent outburst from another primate and also preempting the behaviour of prey when hunting. We can descend further down the tree of mammals, to see that these things are ingrained throughout many species. We do not necessarily need mirror neurons here in order to react to challenges and react to the movements of prey but in having knowledge of how other primates and objects are behaving and being able to predict their intentions, now that is a useful faculty. 

We see this faculty in ourselves now, except it is not always expressed as a thought. We have all had gut feelings about a pub fight, someone being dishonest and various other scenarios. These are not always expressed as thoughts but as feelings or actions, as instinct.

To illustrate simply, lets just say that I surprised you by bouncing a ball at the wall from the far side of the room and as I threw it, I shouted “catch”. You were able to almost catch it on the rebound but it all happened so fast. At no point did you have to think about the trajectory of the ball bouncing off floor, walls and ceiling, it is just an innate ability to do something. In the same way that there are actions that are just taken, we also have intuitions, can tell when people are in a bad mood without speaking to them, spot someone ill etc...

This innate ability to do certain things, is below the level of thought, we would likely label these as facets of the subconscious. We have this innate pattern recognition and these things in humans, are represented as thoughts ABOUT the fact of the matter. We can sometimes say Miss X is in a bad mood, I should cheer her up but at no point do you have to engage your faculties to spot someone in a bad mood, this is done automatically for the most part.

From here you will act according to the parameters of this interaction, you will likely speak to them in more sympathetic tone for example. Here we are representing a far more advanced system, which has been shaped by evolutionary psychology, social parameters and various other things. The point being made here though, is that behavioural recognition is an innate ability.

So with these intuitions of the behaviour of objects and people, we create a reasonable argument for communication, becoming an extension of these intuitions. Particularly in the case of the Vervet monkeys, it figures that the extension of alarm signals could feasibly come from behavioural recognition but I was never entirely satisfied with this explanation.

So, in taking this idea that primates are showing awareness of another's knowledge, this represents an even further incursion, in to our notions of what intelligence is required, to have an idea of another precondition, for purposeful communication. It would seem that a precondition of foresight and intuition was not enough alone, to facilitate anything more than basic purposeful communication, comprised of alarm calls. It just seemed to be that awareness of some one else's knowledge, might just be one of the missing keys in unlocking the mystery. In order to show awareness of another's knowledge, this indicates a structural requirement of awareness of another subject, having the ability to think and exhibit certain behaviours. In order to recognise that behaviour in others...

That must mean it is recognised in your self.

Then we have this structural requirement before any complex proto-language appears and voilĂ : we invoke a self concept, whilst we were still howling in the trees.

So to have this innate intuition about the knowledge of others, must mean that we are aware of others as separate thinking beings. Of course their language is very limited in scope but we see here, that there is a structural requirement in that very recognition of another as a separate thinking creature. Here we have already made a distinct split, that the other creature is a living, thinking being.

So lets prod this with a stick a little since it is pretty out there. Now does this prove there is a self? I mean I just admitted it there did I not? This structural requirement is necessary and therefore, it must exist. With me so far?

Well lets see, I have backed myself in to a corner here, having invoked a structural requirement but unfortunately, that means we are jumping to a dogmatic conclusion. To demonstrate, as a structural requirement, the brain has to make this distinction of separation and this would logically figure. Does this make the distinction real? More to the point, should the question really be “Is this distinction true?”

We would like to say yes on the level of concepts. Yes there is a distinction to be made and yes, it has a relevant truth value, in terms of us being able to conceptualise about the objective world right in front of us but the reality is....

The truth in real life is.... it is NOT true at all.

The truth of the matter is this:

The mind produced that clear distinction and nothing that the mind creates, can ever be true in of itself.

Anything the mind makes can only ever be and is never anything more, than a representation of the noumenal* world.
(*Remember Kant's distinction is that we can only ever be aware of a representation of the noumenal world, which we call the phenomenal world. The noumenal is the world as it actually is and the phenomenal, is the world as we perceive it by means of representations of the senses).

It follows that your 'self' can never be true, since it is never anything more than a representational split of the noumenal world by the mind.

The mind made the distinction but it is merely a representation of perceptions and therefore, it is nothing more than a thought produced by the mind. From this division we can layer whatever concepts we like, such as self ownership, agency, free will, no matter what properties you think up about the self.

Underneath it all though, there is a concept that your entire life rests on, this distinction made by the mind. With all this stuff added on it does not mean one iota because it is all based on a mind made thought.
a concept + a concept = a new concept or 2 distinct concepts
No matter how we alter this, we always end up with concepts, since we always start with a concept. Therefore “you” can never be anything more than a concept. You do not exist, you never did, you are an illusion.

Seriously, take it back that far and the mind produced an intuition of separation, in order for it to make this division. Self is entirely the product of the mind, a concept. It has no truth value in of itself, it is a representation of the noumenal world. That is about as blunt as we can boil it down, there is no you.

Ahhh... but who made the distinction in the first place? I hear you cry. In order for the mind to distinguish between two things, there had to be a self already there. So now you have to come up with a solution that allows a primate to invent a self concept, meaning the self was there all along, before it could even conceptualise.

A self that didn't think?

No that doesn't work. It could mean that every organism, had to have a self regardless of whether it could conjure one up or not. So how about a simple organism? Can you plausibly tell me that a common cold has a self? It is no more absurd for me to say this, how do you know every organism has not got a self and only primates? You could use the brain as the self to identify with but there again, you don't think you are a brain, you clearly believe you are more than just a brain.
 
I would agree, that there are other species, who have a structural self requirement and it is a product of the mind, that much is observable. It certainly has utility the concept of self but you just have to keep in mind, it is only a concept. Actually believing this illusion is real, can cause all sorts of problems, like living a lie and beating yourself up over it.
The findings may be proved wrong in this study eventually but to be fair it seems pretty obvious that this is a logical step, in facilitating communication and that it represents a missing link. It also shows that the self is made by the mind, which is true, all you have to do is look.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

What does it mean to be you?

This is a response to this video presentation, by the philospher, Julian Baggini for RSA.org. Julian's presentation, is in relation to his book “The Ego Trick”. Watch the video first here:


or... here is the link


Then I will add a few cents to his discussion.

0:00 – 7:11

Julian's presentation is bang on the money so far, I cannot fault a word that he says.

7:11 – 7:16

This sentence he uses the term “we are the aggregates of mental life”. Now for us to assume that there is no mental life would be untrue, of course. We are aware of thinking happening, imagination, memory and so forth. In this part Julian identifies the “we” as the mental life. 
Now, it would be absurd for me to say there is no “we”, because in language, semantically speaking, we have a useful tool for distinguishing a group of people, I cannot even communicate with you without using the term “we”! 

So, there is nothing wrong with what he says here or anything but the fault in his thinking, is the unquestioned assumption of there being a self. Here he uses the assumption that “we” is an identity for the mental life. 
Here, he is backing up his preconceived notion of the self, which he believes exists and takes as a truth or a priori.(existing in the mind prior to and independent of experience, in the same way we know 2+2=4, it is a fundamental knowledge).

8:21
Here Julian is rightly questioning the assumptions made by Descartes, who of course came up with the famous Cogito ergo sum: I think therefore I am. I will mention this, because the world view of Cartesian dualism, is still rife today. 
We are still using 17th Century ideas that form the basis of our understanding of reality. We just always assumed that “I” refers to a subjective entity, separate from the world. 

Unfortunately, Julian uses Descartes same flawed assumption, that there is a self in the first place, despite the fact that he concedes it is not what we think it is. The investigation in to no self, will lead you to question these assumptions.

10:15
Exactly right! People do not generally take the view it as an illusion, since our existential experience dictates to us that it 'must' be a real thing. Preceding this, Susan's statement on the projector and Julian's analysis is that Buddha was saying there is a self in certain contexts and we will clear this conundrum up shortly.

10:24
Julian's view is that the self does not exist, is nonsense, because... Well lets look at the validity of his reasoning here.

Firstly lets look at the definition of illusion. 
Susan Blackmore states “An illusion is basically something that is not what it seems to be, or is in some way misleading, intellectually or perceptually”. This definition is important, this will become apparent later.

Julian's reason is “because of the water and all those other things”. We have to question what exactly he is offering, as his reasoning? He is very vague unfortunately but we can take his position so far as his reasoning and do some thought experiments, to see if we can ascertain what he is saying.

Lets just say we saw a puddle of water on the floor. It would be natural to assume that it was water, or maybe even dog piss, or even a spilt drink. Lets just say the puddle is too big, to be anything else, our label of water applies. 
We can reasonably see that it is water, it conforms to our knowledge of water, we would have no reason to think any differently. We could even test it by slurping it up out of the puddle! 

As that is disgusting, we decide to collect a sample and take it to a lab for analysis. Upon testing it, we would see that it weighs more than water, so we assume it has a higher mass. When we freeze it and place it in normal H2O, it actually sinks, rather than floats. 
We can rule out it is salt water, because it freezes. We test its radiation absorption properties and find these are higher. Then we conduct various tests with other reagents and yet it still conforms to the properties of water, in chemical reactions.

We use a mass spectrometer finally and then we deduce that the water is made up of Deuterium or what is known as heavy water = D2O. What had happened, was a tanker containing D2O, came past and leaked some of its contents outside. 
 In actuality, what we had presumed to be water was D2O and this accounted for its slightly different properties. We would conclude, that it was actually heavy water D2O and not H2O, our problem appears to be solved.

The H2O was actually non existent, since it no longer conformed to our expectations of H2O. If we use Julian's idea that the self is not what it seems to be, we can draw the conclusion that the water on the floor was an illusion. We were tricked in to thinking that it was H2O but because of our empirical methods and logic, we were able to see that really, it was not what we originally thought it was.

To use Julian and Susan's definition of illusion:
An illusion is basically something that is not what it seems to be, or is in some way misleading, intellectually or perceptually”.

The idea that the H2O was there, was an illusion.

So this simple idea of our illusion, is easy to grasp, now we can use another analogy to emphasise our point. However, we are dealing with a tricky subjective view of a self and we have to introduce a relevant conundrum. 
Suppose we are in the desert and in the distance we see a mirage. We both know that we can see what looks like water. This mirage conforms to my expectations, where heat rising from the ground, interferes with the light particles (or waves :)), which in turn produces an observable optical phenomena that looks like water in the distance. You turn round to me and say “LOOK, water!”

I turn around and say “But how do you know its water?”

Now in this situation, as you have not been subject to this illusion of a mirage before, you could not be sure what the substance is, you see in the distance. As it looks like water from your point of view, you assert that it is water, because experience tells you that it is unlikely that any other substance would appear, in a naturally occurring oasis.

Now here, you have choices of what it could be, and possibly we could also introduce other clear liquids but again, we rule these out, because experience tells us that it is very likely to be water, that you are seeing. It is naturally occurring, it looks like water and it is very unlikely to be anything else, even though we are in the desert.

At this point I decide to compare the spectrography of the light reflected in the mirage with our portable apparatus. From this, we could deduce that the properties of the mirage, were in fact like that of D2O and not H2O
We had been mistaken the whole time, that we had said a mirage propagates the illusion of water but actually propagates the illusion of heavy water. Now to some, this is quite a limb to go out on, we are trying to conclude a fact here, that we had just assumed to be true.

However, this is not really a big deal. It makes no difference to you or me whether the illusion was actually water, saline, heavy water, nor, a combination of the three. It doesn't make the blind bit of difference to anyone, what it actually is that appears in the mirage, since we are equating it with a clear liquid, that for useful purposes, is easy enough to call water. This allows us to derive a clear and convenient label, for the purposes of communicating.

Nevertheless, we find ourselves in a situation, where you have failed to see that the D2O does not really exist and it never did, we were just examining the properties of the illusionary mirage and how it conformed to our empirical measurements. 
You failed to see that the liquid was not even really there. Only by running off in to the distance, to experience “no water”, could we actually derive any useful conclusions from this illusion. It is here that Julian Baggini's argument falls short.

So lets break down what he is saying and compare it to our analogy.

Of course, we can actually look at the properties that make up the mirage. There is real heat, real photons and a real perception of the illusion. These are all real phenomena that can be directly experienced and conforms with our understanding. 
The only way we can empirically test if the mirage is real, is to actually go and LOOK to see if it is, unless we have seen one before and know this to be an illusion. Now of course, you may be thinking that the unreality of a mirage, in no way equates with the unreality of self but I will show here that we can indeed draw parallels.

There are real thoughts, which we can perceive and validate experientially. By the use of MRI scanning, it is reasonable to assume that as a result of brain activity and neurons firing, a thought is produced in such a way. 
Each thought arises in response to the environment. Consequently, our knowledge is accessed when an event demands it. A memory is recalled when an event demands it, even if this event does not appear to us on the level of consciousness. Our desires also arise in response to a stimulus, such as a hunger pang, seeing food, or even the thought of food.

Our beliefs shape our thinking, as our beliefs are the construct of a subjective map that we make of the world. Through these beliefs, we frame a position in relation to a perception and as such, beliefs influence how we react to certain things. This mechanism I have outlined in detail before but to many, it is self evident and requires no further explanation.

(If you want this outline: http://ghostvirus2011.blogspot.com/2011/06/beggaring-belief-part-ii.html )

All of these processes are completely real. Like the heat, the photons, the sand, the air, these mental phenomena we discussed are all real. Our experience tells us, they definitely exist in real life. 
Yet despite all of this, the sum total of these things all propagate an illusion, which is by dictionary definition “a mistaken perception”. We mistakenly believe we are an abiding “self”, we mistakenly perceive the water in a mirage to be real.

The self and the water in the mirage are not real, yet the components that propagate the illusion, are completely real, this is not in question. To illustrate here, we use Julian and Susan's definition of illusion:

An illusion is basically something that is not what it seems to be, or is in some way misleading, intellectually or perceptually”.

Breaking this further down we get:

1. Basically the self, or the water in the mirage is not what it seems to be. It seems to be 'real', but it is not.

2. It is misleading intellectually, because we think it is real.

3. Perceptually, we only have experiences to go from, therefore, it conforms to our best guess from past experiences.

From this we can see the self is plausibly false, however, Julian uses this definition to mean a watered down version of illusion, where if it is not what it seems to be, it must be something else. Here he has taken this to mean, it is something else that really exists, when in actual fact, there is no self and we can experientially validate this, if we actually look. 
In our metaphor we were looking at D2O and H2O as the contents of the mirage and Julian is simply identifying the bundles of thoughts and feelings etc... as something else to identify a self with. He has not looked to see if the mirage, or indeed the self, is real.

He did admit there is no abiding self but he failed to logically conclude that the self is not real, since logic can NEVER bring us to this conclusion. It is naturally an illogical conclusion, to say “there is no self”, since we were ALL born with the assumption that the self exists. 
Having a self to us, is a priori. It is just the way we have constructed the world, our beliefs dictate to us that we see the world, with a frame of reference of 'self'. Just as it used to be obvious that we used to take the fact that the earth was flat as a priori, because it conformed to what we could reasonably deduce from our direct experience.

This is why 'no self' cannot be explained in a coherent manner and we are forced to use this LOOK maxim. On an empirical basis we mistakenly perceive a self but in reality it is not there at all, “I” refers to nothing. We can only know this by looking in real life, which Julian has not done, so he would obviously derive the conclusion that there is a self, since he has never had need to question this 'a priori', and neither has anyone else.

Even when David Hume presented the bundle theory of self, again he took the self as an a priori, even though he couldn't perceive it. He pointed to the components that made the self and labelled the self as the bundle but by his own admission, he couldn't crack it. Julian has made little more progress than Hume did. Hume's notion of self, represents the brick wall of understanding, for 99% of philosophy students, that there has been since.

10:30

Now, the next stage is reliant on the assumption that there is a self there. My comments at 7:11, indeed highlighted the assumption he makes. Now we are talking about the sum of its parts. Julian goes on to assert that:“we don't discover that something doesn't exist, just because we discover it is a collection of parts”
This premise is true. Just because we find a car is made of parts, it is unreasonable to say that there is no car. His error is in this a priori of there being a self there, which we unquestioningly take as a given.

However, we have to look at the label that we assign to an object. Of course, if I suggest 'unicorn', we know what it is; a mythical horse with a horn sticking out of its head. Of course, a unicorn has no basis in reality, it is a made up fiction for the purposes of story telling. 
As with our 'self' it is actually a fiction for the purposes of communicating. Naturally, when things are observed, it is apparent that for the purposes of functionality, we attribute a label to them. If we suppose that we evolved from a primate and one day the first spark of self awareness flickered to life, which in turn eventually led us to develop language, this would lead us to a structural requirement of self, as Kant suggested.

Whilst this structural requirement of language, tricks us in to believing that “I” is real, it makes sense that we use the label “I”, “you”, “myself”, “themselves”, “ghost”, or whatever. These are structural components in our language and without these structural components, communication would never be facilitated. 
Whilst some languages do not use obvious pronouns, there is ALWAYS reference to another subject in some capacity, even in sign language. We just take the fact that communication is ongoing with another, to assume that they are also an abiding self. We just assumed that “self” actually referred to something real, when in reality, it is a useful structural requirement of language, nothing more.

Going back to Susan and Julian's idea, that Buddha talks about the self as being real, this is just a total misunderstanding. We cannot communicate without invoking this structural requirement of self, therefore they have misinterpreted Buddha. 
Because he mentions the self, they take it to mean he is referring to something real. If you read any of the blogs here, you will also see that we speak of a self in such terms but just because we do, we are not stating it is real and neither was Buddha. Anatta or no self IS the core teaching of Buddha. To try and deny this is nonsensical, although to be fair Julian thinks it doesn't follow because there must be a self. Here lies his mistake.

Now finally, we have the idea that because of this structural requirement, we have psychological phenomena and since this illusion of self exists, then the illusion is a real illusion, therefore this makes the self a real thing. 
Now this seems to be true on our first look. We believe we experience the self, it is necessary as a structural requirement and it would be reasonable to infer that since the phenomena exists, the illusion lies in what we think it to be, as Julian suggests and therefore; it seems logical to conclude that the self exists.

However, the clear absurdity, lies in the fact that we are trying to establish. Were you to say that the water in a mirage over there was real, I would no sooner tell you to grab your speedo's and go for a swim. 
No matter how hard you wished there to be water there, no matter what your previous experience told you, the net result is “no water”. The phenomena exists but the content of the illusion is false, whichever way we look at it.

It is no more absurd for me to suggest that Harry Potter exists in real life. Of course the phenomena exists as a fiction, it is something tangible in the world as a real fiction. As with the self though, they are both fictitious, therefore they don't exist on the level we know as real life.

12:16

Here Julian comes to the conclusion that the problem of Personal Identity as originally formulated, is non existent. That would concur with there being no self.

13:57 – 16:00

Of course it doesn't make sense, you still take the self as a priori Julian!

Just because there is no self, it doesn't mean that there is no sense of self there. In order for this illusion to be effective, we have to believe it is true and we all have what we can term “a sense of self” as such. It just naturally feels true to us, this is indisputable.

Now if we take the idea that we are trying to escape from this sense of self, then here lies the absurdity. This sense of self does not disappear after liberation, it was never there in the first place. We can no more lose this, than we can lose our thoughts.

In coming to an intellectual understanding of no self, we can start to say we are more detached and so forth but the reality is nothing changes because we still identify with the “I” in our thoughts. Even if we know the self is not real, it makes no difference until we actually SEE it is not real and herein lies the difference between understanding logically and seeing.

17:00

Of course this is the truth, there is no need to sit in isolation to dissolve your ego, this is the most dangerous thing one can endeavour to do.



Well thats all, of course Julian has stopped short here but he deserves kudos for getting most of the intellectual understanding, by logic alone and he has raised some very pertinent issues here that we can explore.



But the main question as always, of course: Is there a self?

Saturday, 10 December 2011

Death of Ruthless Truth

Remember the box on the table example, you have assumed what is in the box, questioned me, countered my claims but really I have seen the contents already, so it is kind of a non argument for me. However, I will definitely concede that some of the assumptions that I made around this discovery were conceived dogmatically and you, my fellow readers and objectors, have helped me to temper them in to something workable. We have explored ontology, epistemology, psychology, even ethics and neuroscience, which was fun. You have even inadvertently pop riveted heavy armour plating on to the argument. Thing is, it does not need this armour plating.



It never did, it actually stands all on its own, because it is something true that can be observed by anyone willing to take the time to see it.



It is like, well... real.



As in 'real' real, in real life and not just a notion of belief, or comfort thinking. There is no you, you do not exist. It is actually a falsifiable claim but if you do not reach the gate, then it is falsified in your mind and you are hopelessly lost. Now this creates a problem, since we have a proposition that:

a) May or may not be true.

b) Even if you don't see what I see, then you are still wrong.

c) The only evidence we had, has been deleted by our benefactor, who has gone to start a no self cult that costs £1000 to liberate you, or else, we would have a list of a few hundred people who can verify this experience.



I mean... That is quite a big problem from where we are both standing and how do I explain ridiculous claims like this?



It sounds like bull shat before we start. Yep... it does.

This is what screwed ruthless truth.



Since it requires a degree of belief that it may be true or not true before we start, as in you have to treat it like a real hypothesis and try to falsify it, it is actually easily to falsify in your mind and walk away from. It actually requires a degree of belief to see it through to the end. You have to believe that your freedom lies at the end of it somewhat. The only clue we can give you, to show you that there is truth, is that we can highlight your utter dishonesty with yourself and that validates your reasoning for going down the path. Some give up, others have the courage to push to the end. It is a matter of you seeing your own dishonesty that counts. We don't like to be told how dishonest we are but to be fair, we have seen the dishonesty that humans are capable of round these parts.



You, are likely not of that persuasion, you scoff and point out flaws in the argument. You have a degree of disbelief and so are unwilling to even look. Well, that is because I can't persuade you to look. I can't appeal to your reason and I cannot stand the reams of junk, that is your precious self. I am sick of slashing out at your ego, only for you to run away and regroup your dishonest thought patterns to preserve your vanity in anyway that you can. Quite frankly it does disgust me. In many ways humanity is becoming a cesspit of toxic waste. I feel bad I couldn't do more but its like the toxicity is irreversible in many ways, that is why it needed a die hard attitude and a fire and brimstone approach but... it was unsustainable.



That is the problem we are subject to here and I am put in the position of an almost lowly religious theologian. The hilarious thing is... I actually have something huge to show you that requires no belief to see if it is actually real or not.



As I started on forum incursion, I used a few brain dead arguments, such as, putting the burden of proof on to you, which I will shamefully admit. I will also admit the parallels with the theist argument for intelligent design. It amounts to nothing more than a cowardly cop out. It is the absolute paragon of the failure of humanity's intellectual capacities, the equivalent of a weak and slithering human surrender, I am incensed by their god of the gaps thinking and I have had to draw parallels with what I am doing here.



Every time you have another explanation, I can always trump it with no self. I know it is actually true in real life but it must come across as almost “god of the gaps thinking” in style, to other people. Any argument can be usurped with there is no self and it must sound like a crock of nonsense to some. I admit it, it does. The actual proposition is nonsense at first glance that no one can relate to, yet it is a universal truth that is a fundamental aspect of reality, there is no you, you don't exist. Life lives itself, LOOK.



Literally, some arguments require I really dive inside what you are saying and I am mindful of making mistakes but I'm driving a tank of truth, which can easily crush your lies but you would never thank me for it and you can reassemble the fragments of your precious ego in to a new defence, before I make another pass. And this can go for time. And quite frankly. And quite frankly. And quite frankly it sends me to sleep. That you cannot muster the requisite honesty to look in real life. I cannot complain it took me two weeks of slithering before I looked but I did it myself. I was one of the most dishonest laden, excuse mongering weakling and even I managed to crack it on my own. This bodes well for you and humanity at large.



I have not wanted to argue with you despite the useful learning exercise, I have only tried to get you to accept that it might be worth looking at this proposition, I have maintained this from the start. Just that one thing LOOK, there is no you, you are nothing more than a thought.



Now I look and I know, for a fact, I am coming from a ridiculous position. Really, it is completely ridiculous to the point of incredulity. This is the impossible situation I am arguing from. Its a no brainer.



My argument follows this burden of proof idea and I cannot escape this flaw. I mean jeesh... what else can I say, I am levelling with you here. I am coming from a defensible position but like a slithering theist, that is all that they have, a defensible position. All I have is something that may or may not be true, except mine is actually true! Do you not see how stupid this sounds? Well I didn't see it this way because I know what I am doing is true and real.



Does this sound familiar to another bunch of crackpots LMFAO!!!



How does this sound to others? It even sounds like a worthless theist cop out, no different in how it sounds, actually. In fact it is amazing, the one thing, the actual one thing that could stop a lot of mankind's unnecessary suffering is, wait for it.... packaged up in nearly the same way as a theists version of “saving mankinds unnecessary suffering”. It requires an experiential proof that I can only say will be discovered for yourself.



It would be laughable in the highest degree, if it wasn't for how frustrating this fact is.

In mimicking this position inadvertantly, I look like I am on a conversion mission, which inherently, as this is life changing, that is exactly what it actually amounts to by the very act of selling this or pushing people in to it.



Everyone automatically puts up resistance to the idea and so are unwilling to look at it. If there is nothing in the idea to start with, it is pointless looking for people and you, yes YOU fit this category. The only way I can get people to look is focus on the liberation aspect as a used car salesman, or bully them in to looking by being hostile on forums and carving up their ego, such as you saw with my initial tactics.

I'm like a theist saying “Come to my church and pray and see if there is a god, just LOOK, see if there is a god, just look honestly drivel, drivel...”.



Yes, it is total garbage on face value and you are right not to look, I concede. It is only my claim that I have evidence which, in a philosophical world, if I am honest, is less than nothing, since I can't actually demonstrate it, you can only do that for yourself. Therefore this claim is worthless, without investigation and you know what? You are so full of odious shit and lies, that you won't even bother, you will just shrug your shoulders and walk away back to your pitiful story, or, you have the honesty to face up to the lies you tell yourself, that is the challenge.



How do I dress up the truth any differently? Easy answer, it can't be done. Ever.



The best camoflauge for anything of real value, is disguising it as something, that parallels a worthless religion. All I can really do is laugh at the irony of it. You could not make it up, really. This alone would point to evidence of a god fucking with us!!! (please know I am kidding yeah?)

Lets be real though, there is no god and there is no self. The Budhists know it, the upanishads, the advaitans and the Hindu's know it. The Zen, the cha'an, they all know it. Now... so do you, there is no self in real life, you don't exist.



The more I pressure you to look, the less likely you are to look.

There is no self, look and you will be free

Let Jesus christ in to your heart and you will be free



I mean what is the difference really?

I know one is true bwahaha!!!! Wow if we could assign a value to statements, they wouldn't be worth wiping my ass with. Religion is a crock of garbage we can never prove is false, it is just as absurd to you to look at no self, than it is to look and see if there was a god. Except I can save you the bother, neither exists and no self is something we can experientially validate, if you can be bothered to look.



So thats it. Don't look. Honestly, don't bother now its over. I don't care if you look or not so drop the assumption I am trying to get you to look from now on, I am focussing on getting people free who want to look and debating the implications of no self for humanity, in order to show people how they can deepen their freedom. Funnily enough, the guy who discovered this has started charging money to free people (£1000) and a further £500 to deepen their freedom.



We are human, we are flawed, seeing no self does not mean you are fixed, you are still the same flawed human being but the difference is, you can see when you are being dishonest, if you really want to and you are free from the burden of lying to yourself and can work at your flaws, or accept them.



So if you keep telling yourself its going to be ok, its not true, at all, your life is an abject failure. If it was not true, why would you have to tell yourself everything will be ok? Do you not see this lie you keep propagating? No. You have never likely squared up to look at your life and to be fair honesty is something to fear rather than a virtue.



The truth? You can't handle the truth. Why not see if something is true and escape from this mess that you call your life. I only promise that you will be able to see through the reams of shit you have accumulated and that is very liberating. That is all there is on the table, nothing more. Your freedom to live however you want to live. This is not freedom from anything, this is freedom to. This is what we are talking about.



I genuinely believed this would be something that would prevail. I thought this one thing would save humanity, I was wrong. It is so tragic. I am part of the reason it failed. I believed the lies that I told myself “once I do this, I'll have more time to devote to freeing people” and I denied that I seeked an identity from liberating people. I did in all reality and I lied to myself. I failed too. I am not writing this as my excuse, we all have books of excuse, I have no further need to justify myself other than I failed because I got sucked in to another lie.



I'm a failure, I'm a worm... Oh well shit happens, lets go and get an ice cream.


All that is left is for me to do is get this shit out there and make it available to people who are interested. I don't want to charge people for liberations from self and I think a non aggressive approach is all I can realistically do now. I can't sell it, as it is cunningly disguised as a worthless religion, that was the problem all along but you can take it for free, just email me and I will help you to see it. All it will be, is me highlighting your dishonesty in your investigation of the claim. No belief required in fact an anti belief stance will be useful.



So, I don't think I can be any more honest than that really, I am lucky that the position I am arguing from has been highlighted to me and the tragic similarity to religion makes it a non argument to most people. But... every word I have said is true, there is no self and I stand behind it wholeheartedly. You don't really exist, you are an illusion. But if you want my help for FREE, I will push you to the truth, cajole you and I will lay down the fire when necessary. Sound fair enough? I don't care about your story, we all have a make believe fantasy in which we invest and we all have vasst quantities of baggage that really, it is all our own fault, except we were lied to. We believed in the self.



If you are interested in being honest, then give me a shout. Its down to you now people, you are responsible for your own liberation, I will help you if you want but I am not hard selling it and you will have to work towards it yourself. If you are new to this, you should count yourself lucky that I am willing to guide you to this realisation for free.



The choice is yours, this is your freedom we are talking about here.



Can you face your own dishonesty? Is the challenge I present to you.

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