The Self-less Universe
The Self-less Universe is a radical rethinking of many deep themes of knowledge and life. It shows how “I” comes to be, how minds evolve, what drives us, and how illusory is my ‘self’.
Words are implanted, the ‘word stream’ ‘revs’ itself up. Percepts create abstractions which are ‘introjected’. Feelings are conditioned deeply into the “I” itself. Society cobbles the rest, manufacturing us. More
The Self-less Universe begins with discomfort about usual answers to life’s biggest questions. The way we assume the truth of words, the way we believe what books and experts and bibles of all sorts tell us. How life is lived with simple philosophies borrowed from many discordant and unexamined sources. How we naively imagine a virtual mental space, how we spend almost all our lives talking in our minds, talking together, yet don’t examine where words come from and how they are created.
How is the ‘thought stream’ begun? We examine in detail how language is ‘implanted’ in a newborn. The child begins the simplest differentiations and the environment starts attaching labels. The child is inducted into complex language ecologies by borrowing parent’s words and learning to build ‘word palaces’. Simple sentences start to form, the child’s mind becomes a word processor (like all of us adults), unaware of how s/he is absorbing and being absorbed in a pre-existing culture of extremely complex word worlds. Society gives enormous energy and reinforcement until it happens, the child’s individual ‘word stream’ begins. And it names itself and begins to attach many significances and conditioned values.
We examine in detail key aspects of perception. How every minute of vision is a complex of thousands of narrowly focused fovea ‘snapshots’ that are spliced into wholes giving the illusion that we see the three dimensions of the world we live in. We live in an illusion, in a composite of perception and words that flow unrecognized for what they are, for being constructs and splicings, and what’s more, in a composite of words attached to emotions that organize and constrict what we think, feel and perceive. The child becomes a unique mix of conditioned aggregations of words attached to powerfully culturally implanted themes and family/school coercions. We see culture --- micro-and macroscopically --- generating a ‘self’, composing a child into an adult who is oblivious to the deep springs of his/her own nature.
Each individual undergoes constructive influences, implantations and conditionings and becomes a fragment of the socio-cultural medium. The Self-less Universe denies the persistence of the “I”, denies that we ‘possess’ an independent ego, shows how the modern world has created a race of mammalian ‘word processors’ laboring under many illusions of unity, self-direction and will.
Much of our received ideas and cultural memes are inflated and need based, self-aggrandizing, derivative from ancient naive systems, allowing us to feel special, powerful and safe . The individual is first shaped by complex implantation of the stream of consciousness borrowed from the larger culture, administered by the nuclear family. The school follows with intensely organized themes and unrelenting conditionings, ‘introjecting’ whole classes of word-knowledge. The modern human child is constructed to process language, constrained by culture, controlled by subtle feelings attached deeply to self-nodes that manufacture the developing “I”, unconsciously. I explore hints that humans of previous cultures lived a completely different kind of existence, their minds, bodies and experience almost unfathomable by today’s understanding.
There is no persistent and unitary “self”, there is no free will, much of progress takes place outside the individual ‘word processor’, and we labor under such compelling conditionings that our lives unfold according to processes we have no words for. However, to free ourselves from everyday illusion, religious, cultural and psychological might have some very salutary unintended consequences. Freedom from guilt, false and inane strivings and some of the most egregious compulsions of the species could be interesting. Getting shunt of delusional grandiose imaginings and implanted systems that keep us yearning for more fairy tales could have salutary consequences.