Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Revamp

I've been M.I.A. for quite some time now, for a lot of reasons.

I suppose the main ones are the collapse of Truth Strike (a forum that was dedicated to explaining how to trigger the phenomenological recognition of the absence of a self), distractibility (I lost motivation for whatever reason), and schoolwork (which I'll go into on this post).

I have no qualms with the philosophical approach to no-self, and think it's by far the best way to gain a deep and personal recognition of what it means about our daily lives. That said, this world doesn't take philosophy nearly as seriously as science, so science is the way I'm going.

I'm currently working towards graduating college with a major in psychology and cognitive science, and will use this blog to start preparing for my graduate research, which I definitely plan to base around this whole no-self thing. Starting now I plan to explore, compile, and comment on the various research in this area, and see how far that takes me.


I'm currently reading The Self Illusion: How the Social Brain Creates Identity by psychologist Bruce Hood. So far it's decent, though it feels more like an intro to psychology book than a book on the self. That said, he does give some of the most accurate definitions of a self-image that I've ever read. I'm curious to see how (if) he relates all the experiments he discusses.



Before that, I read Into the Silent Land by neuropsychologist Paul Broks. This is, by far, the most incredible science book I've ever read. Broks is an amazing writer who comes across as deeply passionate about neuropsychology, and is just an overall fascinating guy. He's fascinated about the absence of a self and hits on it from many many angles (excluding therapeutic, but I've yet to find any scientist who's explored that).

I'll give a more thorough review of these two once I (re)read them. In addiction, I'll be scavenging psych databases to see what studies I can dig up. This shall be fun, I'm curious what'll turn up.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Update: How to Deal with Anxiety

I figure it's time for an update.

I haven't posted here in ages, for a couple reasons: I haven't had much to say, and I'm currently tapering off of anxiety medicine, which has the exact effect you'd expect: lots of anxiety. My two excuses kind of go hand in hand; I've been focusing on keeping my calm moreso than digging for insights, or helping out at Truth Strike.

While I'm not completely off the meds yet, I do believe I've found enough ways of dealing with the panic that I can get back on track with this freeing people business, and dig myself out of this lazy muck I've fallen into. I'm almost excited.

Now while this whole ordeal has highlighted the limitations of no-self (it's not magic, emotional states are still subject to brain chemistry), it has also shown it's strengths. The main one is that it still stands; even if my emotional stability, clarity, and sense of well-being go away in the midst of a full blown panic attack, they always return, and always will. Gives me something to look forward to.

Anyway, onto the nugget I've found. This has gotten me through even the worst panic attacks, to such extent that I can drive during one, fall asleep during one, even hang out with friends and carry on a calm conversation during one.

I didn't come up with this, so I'll link you the original article. It's novella-sized, but it's greatly worth it if you've got ongoing anxiety:

http://nothingworks.weebly.com/

The summary of this is: Ignore the panic. Ignore the anxiety (as long as it's just irrational anxiety, of course). Go through life "pretending" that everything is alright, living as you would if you weren't freaking out. This "tricks" your brain into actually thinking everything is alright (which it is), and over time you become much less reactive to the panic. It begins to fade.

This has helped me a ton, hope it helps you if you've got similar issues.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Intention Experiment

It just hit me exactly what I recognized all those months ago.

I was trying to work out the "There's no me" thing, and couldn't get past the overwhelming feeling that there was. I mean, the evidence for a me was plain: The intention to perform actions was mine, I willed thoughts into existence. 

I think, therefore I am.

How could there be no me when I was clearly doing stuff? My existence didn't just seem ironclad, it felt ironclad, right down to the core. But, if you've been reading this blog, obviously now I'm pretty damn vocal about there being no self. 

So what was it? What was that single click, the thing that permanently took what I thought to be my life, sucked it out of its thought-constructed fantasy world, and slammed it right into the simple place called "reality"? 

Well, nothing nearly that epic. It was just seeing that the intention to do things isn't my intention: it isn't caused by an intender, willed in by a willer, or anything like that. Intention itself is the cause of intended actions.

All credit for narrowing this down goes to StepVheN by the way, he's been digging into this stuff for a few months now.

Anyway, here's an experiment for you to try:

Think of a flying pig.


Just popped in your mind automatically, right? Right. I'm magic.

Now think of your personal favorite animal. Flying. For 15 seconds.
.
..
...
....
.....

Takes a bit more effort, doesn't it? Notice the feeling of that effort, that intention. If you haven't seen no-self yet, you'll interpret this as the feeling-equivalent of the effort *you are* putting into thinking. Just take note of that, how the driven thoughts feel different than the automatic ones.

Now raise your arm. Same feeling of effort, right? The intention.

Blink consciously. Wiggle your toes. Same thing, yeah?

Of course, man, get to the point!

Well, instead of looking at these actions as you are causing them to happen, look at them instead as if intention itself is the driving force behind them. Effort is the driving force behind them.

Look at how much better that fits what's going on. For everything. Everywhere where it feels like there's a you which causes the action, look at if as if the drive to do the action itself is driving it. Inseparable from the action, as well.

Look at how the intention doesn't come from a you. It may be triggered by curiosity, or passion, or any other reason.

If I remember correctly, the action that got me to see this was wiggling my toes. Could've been any conscious action.

The point is, it's that simple. Once you see it there's no going back. And by seeing, I mean seeing - noticing, directly in the world of phenomenon, how this plays out. Scientifically. It's insane.

Now at the time I just interpreted this as "Life's is running automatically on it's own, no core causer in control", which is true. But when I try to explain that to people, I keep getting the "But it feels like there's a me" argument.

Sometimes it's fancier, like "The sense of self is necessary, why are you saying we should get rid of it?"

I'm not saying you should get rid of it. I'm saying it's not a sense of self - it's a sense of effort, of intention, of a drive to do something (also the sense of an experiencer to life, but that's a different angle to take this). Tacking an "I" onto that drive, and saying that it causes the drive is false. That's the error that the entire human population is stuck in, however.

Obviously, don't agree with this, don't disagree with it, etc. etc. etc. This isn't an argument, it's an experiment. Try it out, and give me the results.

Friday, February 3, 2012

Philosophy's Gone Astray

Philosophy is fucked.

Which is a shame, because it has amazing potential. But unfortunately, it's lost it's practicality, because it's lost it's direction.

I'm talking about modern philosophy - analytic philosophy, academic philosophy, linguistical analysis - anywhere where the focus is on argumentation and logical structures.


I'm not talking about the greats: Socrates, Kant, Schopenhauer, Hume, Magee, all of these guys knew what the smart game was: destroy their false assumptions and look at how the world actually works. That's how they were so good - that's where their passion came from.

Philosophy to them wasn't a hobby, it was a deeply personal investigation. Even Descartes, who's main conclusion is the polar opposite from that of this site, had the right idea.

Why am I talking about philosophy?

Well, I've brought up the subject of no-self to a lot of online philosophers, or philosophy hobbyists. Every time, I get asked things like "Do you have any proof?", or "I know this is true, x already said it, why are you bringing it up?" or the dreaded "If there's no you, why do you keep using the word 'I'?"

And these are understandable. From the perspective of the people asking them, it does look like I'm jumping to conclusions, or restating the obvious, or contradicting myself. But that's because their goal, and if you're a Westerner, probably your goal, is one of building up and defending belief structures, as opposed to tearing them down in favor of recognizing the reality they should be based on.

It just doesn't make sense to them that ideas about reality can be tested by watching how reality works.

For example - If your a passionate atheist, you'll often seek out new proofs and reasons for why gods don't exist. But how many challenge that assumption? How many will be able to honestly set aside their beliefs, give the whole god-thing the benefit of the doubt for even a day a day, and really at the world through the eyes of another perspective?

And this applies to literally all positions, not just major religious/political ones.

It's hard - I still have trouble doing it. Even after drastically cutting down on the pull of my self-image (do that here, it's awesome), it still feels unnatural to challenge my beliefs so radically. Belief structures just don't like being fucked with.

But to live an honest life, it has to be done.


And as long as people aren't willing to get humble and feel the burn that comes from doing this, we'll never grow out of our immaturity. As long as you're not willing to do this, you'll be a slave to unchecked beliefs. (Heh, it's not always as bad as I make it out to be, a lot of the time it's like facing fear, which is one of the more awesome things in life).

The goal of a philosopher shouldn't be to increase the general "knowledge" of their subject while the possibility of turning themselves into a weapon of clarity, capable of doing the same to others, is wide-open.

But of course, it doesn't appear to be wide-open. Only a lucky few stumble onto it by chance, because the idea of challenging assumptions to a radical degree (and I mean radical, surrendering each thought/concept to the phenomenal reality it's supposed to represent) isn't found anywhere in our culture.

Obviously start with your core delusion, the assumption of a self. Much of this blog is dedicated to this goal - I'd recommend clicking on the "Start Here" link above. I like writing about this stuff 8-)

What's your goal: having a nice collection of ideas, or seeing the world as it actually is?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

How To Trigger A New Way Of Living

First, see that there is no you.

Hold on, let's back up a bit.


What do I mean by "a new way of living"? I've spent a good portion of the last 8 months exploring the answer to this question. At first I thought it was a way of living with less suffering, or more emotional stability, or increased mental clarity.


All of those are a part of it - and I must admit, they are nice. But what all of those stem from, and what this really comes down to, is a way of living in which life is free from having to maintain a fictional self-image. A way of living in which authenticity and honesty seem more sane than drama and lies.


Living for the sake of living, not for the sake of an image.


If that's of interest to you, keep reading - it's about to get a lot more interesting. If you're skeptical, keep at it, you'll need skepticism to trigger this.


Test the credibility of everything I claim in your own life.



"There is no you"- Sounded odd when I first heard it. I didn't know what to take it for.


I mean, I spent my whole life being me, of course there is a me. But, I was open to the concept, though only because I was interested in the supposed benefits (for me, of course).


Anyway, what it basically means is this: What you think of as you, what the self-concept in your brain and the sense-of-self in your body both allegedly refer to doesn't exist.


These words exist. Well, the perception(/experience) of these words exist, obviously. That reality in which they exist, the reality of experience happening exactly right now, does not include a you.


What we think of when we say "I" (and test me on this, look at how credible it is in your own life) isn't the human organism. We sometimes say that's what it means, but in reality, "I" refers to an alleged, personal experiencer of life to which life and experiences happens, and which pilots thoughts and actions.


Right? When you say "I think", you mean there's something outside of the thinking, doing the thinking.


"I breathe"? Something outside of the breathing, doing the breathing.


"I feel"? Something behind the feeling, to which the feeling is happening.


Your entire life you've lived through the perspective that this you is real. You've probably asked "Who am I?", or if you're especially philosophical, "Am I?", but the real question, the new game in town, is "Is it possible that there is no I, that there's just life happening on it's own?"





If you ask that, with a full honest intention of discovering if it's actually true (which means ignoring concepts and looking at the reality to which they're supposed to refer), you might just see that it is.


Some people who have tried this noticed that it's genuinely credible that there's just experience, and no them experiencing it.


I noticed that all of life runs on autopilot - thoughts, feelings, actions, drives, and experiences are all definitely happening and locatable, and they all seem to be triggering each other. A self outside of them, causing them to happen or experiencing them, isn't part of the equation at all.


Basically, what happens when you see this is that your mind's belief in the self is permanently recognized to be false. From there, the self-image loses its significance, and attention naturally focuses on authentic reality as opposed to fictional beliefs.


This isn't the end of all problems, or dishonesty, or the self-image, as you'll find. What it is, is a major stepping stone in dealing with all of these.


It's in life's best interest to check this out.



If you need any help doing this don't hesitate to ask, either through the comments or email me at undisguisedlife@gmail.com


Good luck.


---

I'll be updating this post regularly with questions from confused readers:



So are you saying that we are simply just observers to what our mind/body is doing? That we don't have free will? We are just experiencing?


No, I'm saying that there isn't an observer to what the mind/body is doing. There's just the observation, of which the actions and qualities of the mind/body are a part. The body's known AS an experience, right? Sights, feelings, etc. Thoughts are known AS experience. Hell, everything is.


You're assuming that there's some you watching these experiences go on as if they're a move. An audience and a film. But in reality, there's only the film.



I'm saying that it's not your mind/body, there is no you to own it. It's just a mind/body.


There's no us to have free will.


There's no you to experience - no experiencer at all. There's just the experience flowing about. No you in the audience watching the film, there's just the film.


And most importantly, I'm saying if you test me on this, and see if it's true by looking directly at the present moment reality, your mind will be permanently and effortlessly liberated from having to maintain a fictional self-image.


A trigger. See it once, and that's it.




or that the ego is my automatic response thought, action, drive etc ? Is there something I want to disolve/or kill?

Well, look at the reality behind the concept of "ego". I mean, it's really referring to your self-image, right. Which, in reality, is nothing more than thoughts about a self.


How in the world can you dissolve thoughts? You can't - anymore than you could dissolve a traumatic memory.


What you can do is see that the beliefs that give credibility to false thoughts, are false. Said in another way, you can test to see if a thought is true by seeing if it's contents are still real independent of the thought.


Is there a real computer in your room, independent of the thought about one? Is there a real pink elephant in your room, independent from the thoughts about one?


Is there a real you experiencing and piloting life, independent from the thoughts about one?


If you see that there isn't, and if it's actually, really true that there isn't, then there's no need to "dissolve" the ego - your mind won't give it any credibility anymore. Your mind's evolved not to take seriously false thoughts, as long as it sees that they're false.