X-Message-Number: 10992
Date: Tue, 29 Dec 1998 17:15:38 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Self-esteem et al

In Message #10981, Timur Rozenfeld wrote:
>As for self-esteem, I don't really understand what problems you have with

For an in-depth explanation please read any of the more professionally-oriented 
books by Albert 

Ellis (which are numerous and widespread) but especially IS OBJECTIVISM A 
RELIGION? as this 

particular book was the result of a public debate on this issue between Ellis 
and Nathaniel 

Self-esteem, in essence, is an unnecessary mental step - a self-EVALUATION which
I see as 

directly causitive in most neurotic human behavior.  Again, for numerous details
and examples, 
see Ellis.  For a small partial treatment, read on.

>> (George Smith:)If you cease to identify with your experiences (actions, 
>thoughts, etc.), then this
>> enables the free and emotionally unfettered use of and understanding of
>same in direct
>> proportion.
>(Timor Rozenfeld:) I don't understand what you mean by the above.

People say (and believe) they ARE their occupations ("I AM a doctor, lawyer, 
etc") which are 
ACTIONS (processes) not IDENTITIES.

People say and believe they ARE their current emotions ("I AM a jealous, angry, 
happy, etc. 

person) which are PASSING FEELINGS (processes of psycho-somatic sensation) not 

People say (and believe) they ARE their thoughts (especially opinions) the best 

example coming from Descartes' "I think therefore I am", while thoughts are 

To identify with any experience requires a mental step of (in essence) declaring
to oneself I AM 
...followed by the process in question with which one identifies.

Once identified with said process, any criticism of it is easily perceived as an
"attack" on YOU 
(as "you" chose to identify with that process).

For example, people who study Egyptology long enough and secure jobs in that 
field usually 

IDENTIFY with BEING "Egyptologists".  When people doing geology (who themselves 

declared that the Sphinx was worn by rain, and rain had not fallen in Egypt for 
9,000 years and 

therefore the Sphinx had to be at least 9,000 years old, "Egyptologists" 
declared that these 

facts COULD NOT be correct because it did not match THEIR belief "as" 
"Egyptologists" that the 

Sphinx was constructed NO MORE than 6,000 years ago.  Thus we see another 
example of otherwise 

intelligent minds stopped dead in their tracks due to false identifications, in 
this example 

individuals identifying with a body of previous research to the exclusion of the
examination of 

new information - AND from a group with which they are NOT identified: 

>> (George Smith:) I personally think the "experiencer" is a mental illusion and
can be very
>successfully lived
>> WITHOUT.  In fact FAR more successfully!

>(Timur Rozenfeld:) You talk about illusion. But before you identify something 
is illusion, you
>must have identified something as reality. Illusion means non-real, so you
>first have to know the real. We experience things every second of our lives
>yet you claim that is an illusion. By what means have you arrived at this

If I know the magician was hiding the coin in his hand and it really didn't 
"vanish", I don't 

need to prove anything about the reality of the coin.  I only need to know that 
believing the 
coin vanished was an illusion.  What I thought was so, wasn't so.

I did NOT say that EXPERIENCE is an illusion.  (I DO suspect the EXPERIENCER to 
be a mental 

I am suggesting that YOU as the experiencer cannot BE the experience.  If you 
believe that you 

ARE what you experience, I am suggesting that THAT is an illusion.  It is 
popular and reinforced 

by language syntax (the exception being the English subset know as E-Prime which
lacks the verb 
"to be") but is nevertheless an illusion.

You are not what you do, feel, think or "own".  This is easily demonstrated.

The experiencer is not the experience.  When people identify with their 
experiences, they tend 

to defend these identifications rather than just use them.  This inhibits clear 
thinking and 
stunts decision-making as well as technological progress in general.

Mike Perry wrote under "Subject: Self, Non-Self":
>George Smith (#10979) writes,
>>I personally think the "experiencer" is a mental illusion and can be very
>>successfully lived 
>>WITHOUT.  In fact FAR more successfully! 
>This sounds very much like the doctrine of "non-self" that is prevalent in
>Eastern traditions such as Buddhism and Taoism. 

What I am suggesting is rather difficult at first but should not be identified 
with any known 

religion or philosophy.  I have found the basics in Albert Ellis' work and a few
others, but 
usually not many clear examples outside of psychology.

I am remaining very firmly grounded in the demonstrable fact that in any honest 
search for "the 

self" you cannot find "it" in any experience.  Take any experience and you can 
ask "yourself" 

"Can I know about this exerience?"  If the answer is "Yes", then IF there "is" 
an experiencer 

you call "you", quite clearly there is "you" (the experiencer) and "it" (the 
experience).  This 

can be applied to any "external" experiences (the physical universe) and any 
experiences (thoughts, memories, dreams, etc.).  

When someone drops identification with something he gains emotional freedom from
defending its 

For example, if I stop identifying with BEING an Egyptologist, and instead 
recognize I am 

"doing" Egyptology, I quickly discover I no longer feel emotionally pressured to
"defend" what I 

do.  Instead I can treat Egyptology as a "tool" in that I can use it, question 
it, and even 
possibly improve on it.

For example, if I stop identifying with my memories and behavior patterns as 
George Smith, and 

instead recognize that I am "using" the George Smith personality, I quickly 
discover I no longer 

feel emotionally pressured to "defend" George Smith.  Instead I can treat George
Smith as a 

"tool" (actually a bunch of tools) that I can use, question, and even possibly 
improve on.

I have found no need to identify with anything in particular but great value in 
dropping the 
illusion of identifying with many "things" (and processes). 

I don't know of any Buddhist
>or Taoist who has signed up for cryonics (does anyone else?). Rejection of
>cryonics is not hard to rationalize based on a doctrine of non-self. Maybe a
>good many of the "no-brainers" who do so are really "non-selfers".

I would suggest that if some members of those religions identify with the 
"non-self", then THAT 

would cause them to emotionally need to defend their religious perspective AND 
THIS is what 
probably most contributes to their rejection of cryonics.

What I am suggesting is not an affirmation of identity (WHAT or WHO I "really" 
"am") but a 
recognition of delusion based upon errors in identification (WHAT "I" am NOT).

The classic comic image of the nut who thinks he is Napoleon comes to mind.  If 
he can come to 

see he is NOT Napoleon, I am submitting he is only popularly, culturally "sane".
NOW he needs 

to stop believing he is everything else he has been doing as well to become 
"more than sane", 
the psychological condition I am describing here.

I have also noticed that in each category I have challenged and de-identified 
from, I am more 

willing to examine it for error.  It becomes simple and easy to say, "Maybe I am
wrong" and then 
consider what is being presented.

In a world where most people reject cryonics for "reasons" that truly make no 
sense at all, it 

is useful to consider that they are rigidly identified with the role imposed by 
their culture 

and are very willing to die rather than seem "odd" to their friends and 

I realize these ideas are alien to our culture - but so is "survival sanity" (to
coin a term) as 
demonstrated by the near-universal rejection of cryonics.

I feel there is a strong connection which is why I have expressed some of these 
ideas here.

-George Smith

"To be successful it is neither WHO you know, nor WHAT you know!  
It is WHOM you know."

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