The Illusion of Self

I’d set out to write about ‘what makes you you’ and did quite a bit of research but because I figured you’re here to read my thoughts and not an essay, I’ll try keep it chilled. 

For now. 

From the School of Google there are varying thoughts on what makes you, well, you. Some say your brain defines you, some say your memories… Head over to Wait But Why here, the author did such a good job that by the end of it he realized he didn’t know who he was. 

‘What makes you you’ didn’t churn out a lot results online so I headed over to a few psychology websites to answer ‘who am I?’ And basically I’m a fake. 

And you’re a fake, and everybody is a fake!!! Yaaaa!!! Fake for everybody!

Disclaimer: I’ve had no sleep last night so I am a bit dark. 🤓😁

It’s called The Illusion of Self. It basically says that the illusion of who we are is in the mind, not nature. Perfect example: afrer a girls night at my friend’s, these two women (oh dear, I think they have a point🙈) have the audacity to tell me that I am heartless and emotionless. I commuted twice to feed someone’s cat while they were away for crying out loud! I’m a nice person! 

Or so I tell myself. 

Our perception of reality and even ourselves is generated by our brains. ‘Self’ is an intergrated individual inhabiting a body, ‘I’ is the conscious and aware present version of ourselves and ‘me’ is who we think we are with regards to our past, present and future. You can see the problem already. According to the author of The Ilusion Of Self (2012) *Bruce Hood, the illusion is ‘an experience of something that is not what it seems’. The dictionary could have told me that but the ideas I’ll share with you are his, but the spice and sauce is mine. 

So in my mind I think of myself as nice because I try to be a decent human being but my inability to register facial expressions ranging outside the ‘go kill yourself’ spectrum has people thinking otherwise. This ‘nice’ self is generated by my brain to help me relate with the outside world causing me to, well, be nice. Because good Christians are meant to be nice people. Illusions are also a great way of showing us that our brain is playing tricks on us. How people look at the same image and see two different things or one person think someone is nice and the other think that a homocide is in order just shows how the ‘self’ is a mish mash of different parts of our brains that combine our thoughts, experiences and behavior into a narrative. 

We are storytellers and the main charater in our drama. 

Oliver Sacks, a neurologist, through study has found that an inability to form a narrative of self hampers our path to meaning, satisfaction and happiness. This was the case in patients who’ve lost functions in some areas of their brain specially the region where memories reside. I thought I let you know that a narattive is important lest you despair. 

Totally unrelated: My dad’s uncle (Maureen, you mean your grandfather? 🤔) has dementia but this man, though he has no idea who anyone is, told my dad, ‘Good people live here.’ That’s how you know what a beautiful spirit his wife has. #goals

Basically guys, there is no you or me. Saying you know yourself is an oxymoron. No one is solid, we are changeable, often mechanical and delusional. We think we can figure life and ourselves out but we can’t, we can only perfect the narrative of who we think we are. I know I haven’t, that’s why I’ll tell myself things like, ‘If only they got to see the real me’… *cue Jesus*

You don’t have to take my word for this, there are counter argumets and different schools of thought out there. I just thought I work on being whole and balanced, not just partaking in one narrative given to me since birth.

Anyhoo, who does your narrative say you are? 

Cheers

*Accreditation is sexy.


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Teachings from a 4am cereal eater: Part 3

How many people do you know or have heard about that died as a result of a misdiagnosis?

Stepping away from our bodies, how much crap have you gotten into by operating governed by a wrong perspective? It could be someone set you up or your brain led you to operate from pre-existing biases and you absolutely, spectacular and completely missed the mark, but point is it sucks to be in that space. Some times you can do damage control, sometimes it costs you the very thing you wanted to keep, be it a job, relationship or health. 

From Google


I realize that alcohol, and this is an obvious example, is often used as the ground many stick their heads into for safety like an ostrich. What people think when consuming copious amounts is rewarding a rough week or just having fun with friends but for me the shame in the morning was like, ‘Child, even water won’t help you with that!’ 

But let me ask you this- darn it! Lost my train of thought.

Appeal to your subconscious mind: 

Soooo muuccchhh of how we perceive life is modeled after core beliefs that were cemented in us by the age of 6. Peripheral ones change with new information but the former type of belief is basically what forms our identity. If you have a dysfunction in your life that you know is wrong and have ‘owned’ it with ‘this is how I am’, have a meeting with your childhood  self and find out what the root is.  

Often we treat the symptoms: you are bored with your boyfriend, get a new one. Your girlfriend is verbally abusive, smack her. You are stressed, medicate with food, sex and other vices. You hate your job, complain, take shortcuts, steal or quit. The attendant is being slow, murmur. Someone doesn’t give you positive feedback, attack them. You crave attention, talk and lead on multiple people.

I could go on, but everytime you have a negative reaction to something, check in with yourself. My current struggle is being blue ticked especially mid ‘intimate’ conversation like when you’re telling your girlfriend a juicy story that you need immediate affirmative feedback. I dunno if men have this problem… And yes I’m talking about you, you can quote this back to me 🙄. But as sure as the neighbor’s cocks are crowing and a mosquito is testing my patience, I know that calling someone an ass or repaying in kind isn’t helpful. That’s a misdiagnosis coz surely, in the grander scheme of this, will this matter in 24hrs? So the idea is to find the source of the illness, not just treat the symptoms.

These examples seem trivial, but think about instances where fear, anxiety, anger, shame, the works, based decisions altered your life. Saying sorry or changing things isn’t permanent as the same things will keep recurring in different costumes until ‘death’ in that area takes place. Here you can again, pretend it never happened or that you don’t care, or you can treat the disease correctly and get out of the cycle of vices, self help books and church to blur reality. 

This was long and exhausting but hope you got the point. Plus I’m almost done with my cereal.
Cheers guys.


PS: JA and fellow grammar enthusiasts, cut me some slack, I’m tired. I’ll proofread this again later.