Monday, May 9, 2016

to be somebody

acrylic painting by Lohbado
To be somebody when examined closely is quite ordinary and at the same time mysterious. Self could be like a lens which brings physical and mental objects into focus. Self could be a focal point of sensual and intellectual events. Self could be compared to a computer software, maybe like a browser. The browser surfs the web and picks up data, a world of games, videos, information. Similarly, one's self navigates through the world of the senses and picks up sense data plus psychic waves in the form of thought, concepts, ideas, stories, daydream, memory. When the brain functions smoothly, one successfully interacts with others in the world. Problems happen when someone begins to have distorted ideas about oneself.

Self, when one looks at it, might seem like a big deal. One could fall into delusion, thinking one is the centre of the universe, or that one is somehow more special then everyone else by virtue of being me. Myself is the most important self because it belongs to me. If one tries to be superior to other people, it leads to conflict. If one has illusions, they will collide with reality, leading to disillusionment. If one has a clear perspective, it's easier to adjust. If one is strongly attached to one's self, taking oneself to be so extraordinary, then loss of illusions could be quite painful. Of course, to be alive is extraordinary. What exactly is going on? Why is this happening....?

Each self is like a sand grain in a world containing as many sand grains as there are on a beach. Imagine if each sand grain insisted it was more important than all the other sand grains. How would they work it out if each sand grain wanted to be the centre of the universe? 

Another interesting thing to consider... where does the sense data come from? What is the source of thought, ideas, memories? What originates the invisible waves of information picked up in the brain and sorted out into images and thoughts? If the brain is like a computer, what is the source of the data that the brain receives? As one contemplates these questions, it becomes clear that one is not the centre of the universe. One participates in a vast process inside a cosmos which existed long before one was born and which will continue to exist long after one dies.

What exactly does it mean to be somebody? What processes are involved? How does one relate to or interact with others and with the world? A well balanced software would enable one to stop making a fuss about oneself, so one could interact in a harmonious, sympathetic, friendly, kind and reasonable manner with others. One would respect oneself, be confident and strong and feel love or empathy.

Of course, the way of the world is not easy. It's filled with turmoil of strong emotions, aggression, constant hunger, craving, desire and vast quantities of ignorance. The human condition involves conflict. That's why it's helpful, especially after one has been having a hard time, or a lot of heartache, sorrow and pain to get out the map and compass and sort things out. After being lost in the woods, to sit down and look at the map and check the compass could enable one to make a fresh start, perhaps in another direction. One could try to avoid the endless sidetracks that lead off the beaten trail into a jungle of confusion.

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