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One can function quite well without connecting with the essence. However, it’s important to realize that what one experiences is appearance, or a version of reality, mediated by the senses and also by how one learned to approach things. One’s way of making sense of things is conditioned by the world into which one is born. Grammar or language itself is a product of culture and history. One thinks and communicates through a preexisting set of symbols and signifiers. The essence would be some sort of direct experience with all cultural, social and biological filters stripped away. Such an experience is not possible. One can’t see without eyes, or think without a mind. A mind is formed by what one learned or absorbed from others. So-called direct experience passes through the filter of sense organs, sense consciousness and the conceptual apparatus existing in the mind.
This could be threatening to ego, which would like to master or control what’s going on. However, what one wishes to control lies always just beyond grasp. Even ego itself cannot be located as a single fixed entity. Ego, under close scrutiny, turns out to be a heap of habits, reactions, concepts or received ideas, attitudes, memories, associations. Even if one associates ego with body, it’s not possible to single out any one part of the body as being the seat or essence of ego. The body undergoes constant change. Compare photos of yourself taken at various moments in your life and the change in appearance becomes progressively obvious as the time difference between photos increases. Lohbado could hardly recognize Lohbado in pictures taken thirty or forty years ago.
This little expose was inspired this morning as Lohbado read a few pages from Theodor Adorno’s Contribution à une métacritique de la théorie de la connaissance, translated by Christophe David and Alexandra Richter. Paris: Payot, 2011, "Plus le sujet persévère radicalement dans l'identité et aspire purement à établir sa maîtrise, plus l'ombre de la non-identité qui porte sur lui croît." page 110.
The search for essence arose from noticing the limitations of one’s knowledge. Being aware of limitation is an inspiration to keep exploring. Life is vast and profound. Nobody is likely to ever succeed at a summary all that there is or to accurately conceptualize the essence.
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