Second Order of Business

In the first order of business I wrote a few of my thoughts on civilisation. I will digress from that topic for a bit and focus on the self in this post.

Most people are other people. Their thoughts are someone else’s opinions, their lives a mimicry, their passions a quotation – Oscar Wilde

Most of my life has been spent in pursuit of an original thought. In this information age can any person have a thought that is uniquely his or her own. Something no one else has even dreamed about. An original thought in my opinion is that thing which people call the soul. Not everyone has one. Many people spend their whole life searching for something, aimlessly wandering wherever life leads them. Most of times they themselves are oblivious what it is they seek. Banjara has met some people who tell him that life lies in the journey not the destination. He has also met others that claim to be winners in life.

The trouble with the rat race is that even if you win, you’re still a rat – Lily Tomlin

Can life be truly defined and do even life gurus whose livelihood depends on it offer anything but mere tautologies. It is possible to look at a pebble and proclaim “This is a pebble.” I myself have done so on many occasions. The question is can one define an intangible object such as life. For e.g. one can look at a person and say “He is as full of life as a dead person isn’t.”

“What’s your point” I hear the voices call. The point I’m trying to make is that even if I have one original idea I would consider myself wise. I would then go around spreading that idea which would, as my luck would have it, be twisted by naves and fools and used against me. Such is life Banjara thinks. What has any of this got to do with the self I hear you ask. Well if you ask me we are primarily our thoughts.

There is a face beneath this mask, but it isn’t me. I’m no more that face than I am the muscles beneath it, or the bones beneath that. – Steve Moore

Banjara has also heard people say that it is our actions that define us. What are actions but thoughts made tangible.

According to Donald Winnicott, play is essential to the development of authentic selfhood. By play in adults he refers to making art, sports, hobbies, humour, meaningful conversation, etc. Winnicott considered the self to be an integral part of emotional and mental wellbeing. He believed that people were born without a clearly defined self and had to search for a sense of self as they grew. Maybe this is the pilgrimage that people have to undergo to discover their authentic self.

But you know Bart, some philosophers believe that nobody is born with a soul. That you have to earn one through suffering and thought and prayer. – Lisa Simpson

Banjara’s had his fair share of suffering and he doesn’t really believe in prayer. If life is a journey then so be it but for those who feel purposeless maybe the pursuit of an authentic self, a soul can offer some meaning.  Banjara hopes that his entire life isn’t spent in the search for an authentic self and that he gets it sooner rather than later. He’s all for enjoying the journey but the destination seems appealing too. I will continue this in some other post where we will talk about true self and false self. What these terms mean may surprise you. You may also read about them by looking up Donald Winnicott. That’s all for today. L8er.

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3 thoughts on “Second Order of Business

  1. Nice post. While reading this, I thought mainly of Descartes and his philosophy ‘I think therefore I am’. He believed we are merely our thoughts and we should remain sceptical of the external world until we verify its true existence. For me I’m in between thoughts. A part of me believes that the self is our thoughts but if we take this too far we risk arguing that babies are not people as they can not rationalise and some may say can’t think. I suppose it depends on your definition of think. For this reason I also think self is physicality. If you take a dementia patient in their last stages I would argue they have no sense of self as they cannot think. Why I believe they are not self and the baby is, is because of the experience they have had. The fact that they have a past self (thoughts and physicality) changes our view of self in regards to them. I hope this makes sense. Great post very thought-provoking.

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    1. Thanks for reading. You do make some vaild points. The thing about babies is that they start to develop a sense of self when they are usually 1.5-2 years old. Physicallity is of course an important aspect of self. For e.g. if one feels that one is physically displeasing then it affects their self esteem which is an integral component of the self. I also wonder if people in a vegetative state retain their sense of self. What do you think?

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      1. It’s an interesting point. Personally I do not, I believe technological advances cloud our judgement of self. If we didn’t have such technology then those people would unfortunately die. Although some do ‘wake up’ very few actually do and I wonder if it is more a preservation of self for those who still exist rather than the person in the vegetative state. I think our value of human life in such a situation clouds our judgement of self.

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