individual person as the object of their own reflective consciousness
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In philosophy, the self is the idea of a unified being which is the source of an idiosyncratic consciousness.
- There is good evidence for a sensorimotor self, an emotional and motivational self probably represented in the right hemisphere, a social self-system, and perhaps an appetitive self. All these self-systems ordinarily work in reasonable coordination with each other, though they can be in conflict at times.
- Bernard J. Baars, "Understanding Subjectivity: Global Workspace Theory and the Resurrection of the Observing Self" Journal of Consciousness Studies, 3, No. 3, 1996, pp. 211-16
- One way to think of 'self' is as a framework that remains largely stable across many different life situations. The evidence for 'self as stable context' comes from many sources, but especially from the effects of deep disruptions of life goals. Contextual frameworks are after all largely unconscious intentions and expectations that have been stable so long that they have faded into the background of our lives. We take them for granted, just as we take our health and limbs for granted. It is only when those assumptive entitlements are lost, even for a moment, that the structure of the self seems to come into question. Losing a loved friend may be experienced as a great gap in oneself. ...It helps to take this common tragedy seriously as a basic statement about the self in human psychology.
- Bernard J. Baars, "Understanding Subjectivity: Global Workspace Theory and the Resurrection of the Observing Self" Journal of Consciousness Studies, 3, No. 3, 1996, pp. 211-16
- Oddly enough, in the sensorimotor area on top of the cortex there are four maps of a little upside-down person, distorted in shape, with every bit of skin and muscle represented in detail. This upside-down map is called the sensorimotor homunculus, the little human. The nervous system abounds in such maps, some of which appear to serve as 'self systems', organizing and integrating vast amounts of local bits of information.
- Bernard J. Baars, ibid., "Understanding Subjectivity: Global Workspace Theory..."
- The Arch-flatterer, with whom all the petty flatterers have intelligence, is a man’s self.
- Francis Bacon. ‘On Love’, Essays (1597-1625)
- The one self-knowledge worth having is to know one’s own mind.
- Francis Herbert Bradley (1846–1924), British philosopher. Aphorisms, No. 8 (1930)
- Identities are not tangible anymore. If you look for an identity you find inequality. The self has been refracting.
- Giannina Braschi, in the Postcolonial novel United States of Banana (2011).
- I read, among many others... Sri Ramana Maharshi..., whose Path of Self-knowledge I sought to follow. Through his meditation on "Who am I?", I found myself precipitated into a sense of identity with the whole phenomenal world: the earth, the sky, the houses and people; the trees and birds and clouds, I saw to be my self. I disappeared as a separate being, yet retained full consciousness, a consciousness expanded to include everything. I saw that this was the true Reality, that one's normal waking consciousness simply covers this, keeps it hidden, through wrong identification with oneself as this body. I also saw this phenomenal world as a kind of ritual, a ritualised shadow-play, acting out a dream or desire of That which alone existed, alone was Real, which was also myself.
- Benjamin Creme, in The Reappearance of the Christ and the Masters of Wisdom, (1980)
- Hope, in the more occult sense... is the realization of the inner connectedness of all things; of your life and your daily activity with the cosmic scheme of things. The awareness of who you are, that you are the Self – that gives you faith or hope. Faith and hope stem from the same inner, intuitive realization of who you are, that you are here for a purpose and that nothing on Earth can shake that.... To have hope is to have complete faith in life. It does not mean to say that everything is going to go smoothly. It does not mean that on the outer, physical plane you will have a life of ease... Many people think that if everything works easily and smoothly they are somehow on the right track. Following the line of least resistance is not necessarily the right way to live one’s life...
- Benjamin Creme, Maitreya’s Mission Volume Two (1993)
- Maitreya says: "The Self alone matters" (the Self meaning the divine aspect, the Lord). "You are that Self, an immortal Being." And, He says, our pain, our suffering, our problems, are due to the fact that we identify with everything and anything other than that Self. He says, ask yourself "Who am I?" If you do so, you will find you are identified with this physical body, which lasts only for one life at a time and is renewed successively, so it cannot be the eternal Self.
Or you identify with your emotions, your feelings, your energy sensations, which are transient — one day you feel one thing, another day you feel another. They are not the Self. Or you identify with the constructions of the mind, with your beliefs, ideology, whether you are Christian or Buddhist or Hindu or whatever, and with all the traditions that go with that. It does not matter to the Self for one instant whether you are a Christian or a Buddhist or a Moslem or a Hindu, or of no religion at all; what matters is that you register yourself as the Self, that you identify with the Self, which is the same as God. Self-realization is God-realization. If you practise right identification and detachment, you come inevitably to Self-awareness, which leads to Self-realization. It is not a belief, not a religion, not an ideology, but something which benefits all people and is, in fact, the goal of all life.
- Benjamin Creme in The Ageless Wisdom, An Introduction to Humanity's Spiritual Legacy, (1996)
- Self-realization — The process of recognizing and expressing our divine nature.
- Benjamin Creme in The Ageless Wisdom, An Introduction to Humanity's Spiritual Legacy (1996)
- Self-realization is the same as God-realization. When unity or at-one-ment has been established between the individual in incarnation and his or her soul, and through the soul with the Monad (in Theosophical terminology) or Spark of God, Self- or God-realization takes place.
- Benjamin Creme in Maitreya's Mission Vol. III, (1997)
- Self-realization is God-realization. If you practise right identification and detachment, you come inevitably to Self-awareness, which leads to Self-realization. It is not a belief, not a religion, not an ideology, but something which benefits all people and is, in fact, the goal of all life...
The nature of the Self is not happiness, but it is continuous, unbroken joy; it never changes. Or something nasty and painful happens and you are miserable, have a sense of loss, pain, disillusionment, depression. What has happened to that happiness, where did it go? Neither the pain nor the happiness is anything to do with the Self. These are the experiences of the man or woman in incarnation, the physical, mental, emotional vehicles of the Self. The Self itself knows none of that; it has no emotions, no thoughts, it alone is, it is Being, manifesting through physical body, emotional structure, mental body. These are vehicles for the Self to experience at this level. When you are detached, the Self can go in and out of these at will. It can use these vehicles but does not get attached to them.
- By wrong identification the Self, which is pure Being, gets fixed, as it were, trapped in a net on the physical plane, for example, where someone has, perhaps, total addiction to drugs - he cannot help himself. You have to get the person to realize who is taking the drugs. When you find out who is taking the drugs, you can distance yourself from it, and the process of rebuilding the connection with the Self takes place.
- Benjamin Creme, Maitreya's Teachings, FAQ (1999)
- Mind, spirit and body are the temples of the Lord; the Self experiences in these "the supreme Being and Becoming of the Lord. Spirit, in the Sanskrit terminology, is Shiv-shakti, which is energy. Mind is Brahma, which is thought-formation. Body is Prakriti, which is material substance and can also be thought of as material activity. These terms can be regarded as objective facts, but they can also be thought of as movement or processes. The destiny of the Self is to be free. Considered in its freedom, in its Being, it is called Atman. Within the limitations of time and space, in its becoming, it is the soul, or Jiva. The Self is not energy (Shiv-shakti, spirit); the Self is not thought–formation (Brahma, or mind); the Self is not material activity (Prakriti, the body). The destiny of the Self is to enter and leave these temples of the Lord at will.
- Benjamin Creme, The art of Self-realization (1999)
- Maitreya teaches that everyone needs their ‘inner space’, where there is no direction, no one telling you where to go and what to do. No one can lead you. You are born to be aware of yourself, to know the Master in yourself. Your inner space is sacred. It is where all things, all problems, dissolve. It is where you go... when you want to be left alone to find your own space.
According to Maitreya, “You have been given that space so that the confusion and chaos around you will dissolve. You must never surrender that space to anyone, except your true Self. Meditation is really a journey back to that space to find peace and happiness”. Be what you are “Be what you are,” He tells us. “Do not follow one another. If you practise honesty of mind, sincerity of spirit and detachment, you will know your Self, you will know me, you will know the Lord.” If you follow others instead of being yourself, you lose your sparkle and cannot reflect the light of individuality. Without that light, there is no progress in life. To follow another means to copy, imitate or identify with another, forgetting your real Self.
- Benjamin Creme, The practise of Self-realization (1999)
- For in every action what is primarily intended by the doer, whether he acts from natural necessity or out of free will, it is the disclosure of his own image. Hence it comes about that every doer, in so far as he does, takes delight in doing; since everything that is desires its own being, and since in action the being of the doer is somehow intensified, delight necessarily follows... Thus, nothing acts unless [by acting] it makes patent its latent self.
- Dante Alighieri, De Monarchia (1312-1313) Libri iii, Caput XIII, (XV.) Translation as quoted by Hannah Arendt, The Human Condition (1958) p. 175.
- Cogito, ergo sum.
- I think, therefore I am.
- Descartes Discours de la Méthode, Discourse on the Method (1637)
- Identity is an illusion, a temporary state. Everyone is searching for it, but it’s only a brief reflection in a very shallow pool of time.
- Olivia Dresher (b. 1945), American poet and publisher. ‘Aphorisms by Olivia Dresher’ on, Olivia Dresher.com
- And when you think of others, far away, think of yourself
And say: I am a candle in the darkness.
- Mahmoud Darwish, Think upon others edinburgharabicinitiative.wordpress.com, aldiwan.net (Arabic)
- Human beings are so constituted that we take for granted the fact that a direct awareness of our past selves is preserved... We take for granted the durability of the individual self. ...But ...the preservation of memories ...is as great an exercise in magic as the transfer of memories from the dead to the living. ...How the magic works ...is still a dark mystery. ...When once the technology exists to read and write memories from one mind to another, the age of mental exploration will begin in earnest. ...[W]e will look at nature directly through the eyes of the elephant, the eagle and the whale. We will... feel in our own minds the pride of the peacock and the wrath of the lion. That magic is no greater than the magic that enables me to see the rocking horse through the eyes of the child who rode it sixty years ago.
- Freeman Dyson, Infinite in All Directions: Gifford Lectures given at Aberdeen, Scotland April-November 1985 (1988) Ch. 17 Butterflies Again, pp. 289-291 (paperback edn, 1989).
- If there is a community of computers living in my head, there had also better be somebody who is in charge; and, by God, it had better be me.
- Jerry Fodor, "The Trouble with Psychological Darwinism" London Review of Books, Vol. 20 No. 2, 22 January 1998, pp.11-13
- Self-correction begins with self-knowledge.
- Baltasar Gracián. In maxim 69, The Art of Worldly Wisdom (1647)
- The self really is an illusion—and realizing this is the basis of spiritual life.
- The best mirror is an old friend.
- George Herbert Jacula Prudentum (1651) (17th Century English proverb)
- It appears to be an inborn and imperative need of all men to regard the self as a unit. However often and however grievously this illusion is shattered, it always mends again. The judge who sits over the murderer and looks into his face, and at one moment recognizes all the emotions and potentialities and possibilities of the murderer in his own soul and hears the murderer’s voice as his own, is at the next moment one and indivisible as the judge, and scuttles back into the shell of his cultivated self and does his duty and condemns the murderer to death. And if ever the suspicion of their manifold being dawns upon men of unusual powers and of unusually delicate perceptions, so that, as all genius must, they break through the illusion of the unity of the personality and perceive that the self is made up of a bundle of selves, they have only to say so and at once the majority puts them under lock and key, calls science to aid, establishes schizomania and protects humanity from the necessity of hearing the cry of truth from the lips of these unfortunate persons.
- Herman Hesse, Steppenwolf, B. Creighton, trans., (New York: 1990), pp. 58-59
- If I am not for myself, who will be for me? And if I am only for myself, what am I? And if not now — when?
- Hillel, from Leo Rosten's Treasury of Jewish Quotations (1972,) p. 459
- How much easier is self-sacrifice than self-realization!
- Eric Hoffer, "Thoughts of Eric Hoffer, Including: 'Absolute Faith Corrupts Absolutely'"; in The New York Times Magazine (April 25, 1971), p. 60
- In its widest possible sense, however, a man's Self is the sum total of all that he can call his, not only his body and his psychic powers, but his clothes and his house, his wife and children, his ancestors and friends, his reputation and works, his lands and horses, and yacht and bank-account. All these things give him the same emotions. If they wax and prosper, he feels triumphant; if they dwindle and die away, he feels cast down.
- William James, The Principles of Psychology (1890)
- Your identity changes with how you perceive reality.
- Vithu Jeyaloganathan, as quoted in SACRED SPACE: Your Identity (July 11, 2009), The Times of India, SACRED SPACE: Who are you? (September 21, 2011).
- Variant: “The identity of one changes with how one perceives reality.” As quoted in Between Dog and Wolf: Understanding the Connection and the Confusion (2012) by Jessica Addams and Andrew Miller, Dogwise Publishing.
- Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.
- Carl Jung, Memories, Dreams, Reflections (1963)
- “A human being is spirit. But what is spirit? Spirit is the self. But what is the self? The self is a relation that relates itself to itself or is the relation’s relating itself to itself in the relation.”
- Soren Kierkegaard. (1813-1855) "Sickness Unto Death".
- Rose: Does something like a "self" exist inside of you?
- Colonel: That which you call "self" serves as nothing more than a mask to cover your own being.
- Rose: In this era of ready-made 'truths', "self" is just something used to preserve those positive emotions that you occasionally feel...
- Colonel: Another possibility is that "self" is a concept you conveniently borrowed under the logic that it would endow you with some sense of strength...
- Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty written by Hideo Kojima and Tomokazu Fukushima
- Self: that invisible chain that snaps tight whenever we stray.
- Yahia Lababidi (b. 1973), Egyptian-Lebanese essayist and poet. Signposts to Elsewhere (2008)
- Knowing others is wisdom.
Knowing oneself is enlightenment.
- Laozi, Tao Te Ching, Ch. 33, as interpreted by Stephen Mitchell (1992)
- At the highest level of satori from which people return, the point of consciousness becomes a surface or a solid which extends throughout the whole known universe. This used to be called fusion with the Universal Mind or God. In more modern terms you have done a mathematical transformation in which your centre of consciousness has ceased to be a travelling point and has become a surface or solid of consciousness... It was in this state that I experienced "myself" as melded and intertwined with hundreds of billions of other beings in a thin sheet of consciousness that was distributed around the galaxy. A "membrane".
- John C. Lilly Tanks for the Memories : Floatation Tank Talks (1995)
- No Self, No Fear.
- Joseph Ledoux, The Deep History of Ourselves, ref.
- The self is a simplification of the notion of soul, created to serve the purposes of the modern sciences of psychology and economics, both of which want you to be happy in a simple, straightforward way they can count.
- Harvey Mansfield, “How to Understand Politics: What the Humanities Can Say to Science”
- Music is reflection of self, we just explain it, and then we get our checks in the mail.
- Marshall Bruce Mathers III, "Sing For the Moment", The Eminem Show (2002)
- Self-awareness is a complex, but carefully constructed illusion: we rightly place high value on the work of those mental agencies that appear able to reflect on the behavior of other agencies—especially our linguistic and ego-structure mechanisms.
- Marvin Minsky, "K-Linesː A Theory of Memory" Cognitive Science 4, pp.117-133 (1980)
- One's present personality cannot share all the thoughts of one's older personalities—and yet it has some sense that they exist. This is one reason why we feel that we possess an inner Self—a sort of ever-present person-friend, inside the mind, whom we can always ask for help.
- Marvin Minsky, The Society Of Mind (1986)
- Should one think of a city as having a Self?
- Marvin Minsky, The Emotion Machine (2006)
- It strikes me that self, not just my self, but all self, the phenomenon of self, is perhaps one field, one consciousness – perhaps there is only one ‘I’, perhaps our brains, our selves, our entire identity is little more than a label on a waveband. We are only us when we are here. At this particular moment in space and time, this particular locus, the overall awareness of the entire continuum happens to believe it is Alan Moore. Over there – [he points to another table in the pizza restaurant] – it happens to believe it is something else.
I get the sense that if you can pull back from this particular locus, this web-site if you like, then you could be the whole net. All of us could be. That there is only one awareness here, that is trying out different patterns. We are going to have to come to some resolution about a lot of things in the next twenty years time, our notions of time, space, identity.
- Alan Moore, in "Alan Moore Interview" by Matthew De Abaitua (1998), later published in Alan Moore: Conversations (2011) edited by Eric L. Berlatsky
- We are unknown to ourselves, we knowers: and with good reason. We have never looked for ourselves — so how are we ever supposed to find ourselves? ...We remain strange to ourselves out of necessity, we do not understand ourselves, we must confusedly mistake who we are, the motto, 'everyone is furthest from himself' applies to us for ever, - we are not 'knowers' when it comes to ourselves…
- Friedrich Nietzsche, On the Genealogy of Morality, Preface
- Of course, "O'Blivion" was not the name I was born with. That's my television name. Soon, all of us will have special names — names designed to cause the cathode ray tube to resonate.
- Professor Brian O'Blivion, in Videodrome, a 1983 film directed by David Cronenberg
- Nosce te ipsum.
- Know thyself.
- Delphic maxim originating in Luxor Egypt inscribed in the pronaos (forecourt) of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi as quoted by Pausanias, Description of Greece, 10.24.1.
- The key to self-generated happiness (the only reliable kind) is the refusal to take oneself too seriously.
- This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.
- William Shakespeare, Hamlet (c. 1600-1602), act I, scene iii, lines 78–80. Polonius is speaking to Laertes.
- People often say that this or that person has not yet found himself. But the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates.
- Thomas Szasz (b. 1920), Hungarian-American psychiatrist, writer and academic. The Second Sin (1974)
- You want to be yourself, idiosyncratic; the collective (school, rules, jobs, technology) wants you generic to the point of castration.
- Nassim Nicholas Taleb, The Bed of Procrustes: Philosophical and Practical Aphorisms (2010) The Universal and the Particular, p. 54.
- Human nature is so constituted that all see and judge better in the affairs of other people than in their own.
- Terence, The Self-Tormentor (163 BC), III. i. 503.
- What we do belongs to what we are; and what we are is what becomes of us.
- Henry Van Dyke, Ships and Havens (1898), chapter 2, p. 10.
- Self is the only prison that can ever bind the soul.
- Henry Van Dyke, The Prison and the Angel
- To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance.
- Oscar Wilde, 'Phrases and Philosophies for the Use of the Young', (1894)
- Self-image is the beginning and ending of living, I think.
- Henry Winkler (b.1945), American actor, producer and director. Stated in his appearance on, The One Show, BBC1 (UK) television talk show, 15th May 2009.