X-Message-Number: 11039
Date: Wed, 6 Jan 1999 00:29:53 -0600 (CST)
Subject: Re: CryoNet #11026 (long reply)

In Message #11026 Scott Badger wrote:
>To George Smith:
>I must confess that, unlike yourself,  self-esteem issues were not the 
>of attention in my program, so please clarify a couple of points for me,
>You appear to be suggesting that it will be to my advantage to disassociate
>myself from my behavior.  

Yes.  Or more precisely to recognize that this is already the case and to 
NOT choose to identify with what you can easily demonstrate is NOT "you".

And I appreciate that considerable emotional
>distress can result from over-identifying with one's opinions, job, etc.
>But if I am the experiencer and not the experience, I'm not sure who "I" 

I am suggesting that you DON'T have to be sure "who" you are, just what you 

It may not even be possible by definition to identify the experiencing 
"self" since if you were able to identify it, THAT could not be "you" 
either.  Such endless loops can be avoided by skipping the need to "seek the 
self" but to, instead, consider the benefits resulting from identifying what 
you are NOT.  It is NOT necessary to take this to extremes to find numerous 
such benefits, I might add.

>You make it sound like I (the experiencer) am little more than a view-cam.
>Who IS the view-cam?  The view-cam merely watches.  It has no traits of 

All we can say in all honesty is that if there IS an experiencing "self", it 
CANNOT by definition have "traits".  "Traits" are the EXPERIENCES, not the 

It cannot be differentiated from other view-cams.  If I am not what I
>do, think, and feel . . . just what are you suggesting I am?  What's left?
>Some soul-like entity?

Many Eastern religious philosophies claim to "know" the nature (traits, 
etc.) of the "self" (the experiencer) but I am not making this claim here.  
I suspect that I CANNOT know whether the "view-cam" behind MY eyes "is" the 
same "view-cam" behind YOUR eyes, or anyone else's eyes for that matter 
since I strongly suspect that the experiencer is a delusion formed from 
language and recursive memory loops (what I believe Professor Ettinger 
refers to as a "self-circuit").

I see the problem in the verb "to be" as when you intelligently ask "what 
are you suggesting I am?"  If the experiencer is simply a feedback system 
based on linguistics and recursive memory loops (in other words, if the 
"self" is a mental process) then to ask what the experiencer IS, is itself 
the CAUSE of such a problem.  Reminds me of asking if the steak is hot or 
brown, when it is both.  

This problem comes from using a question which has nested implications 
regarding the nature of the self, such as when Thomas Donaldson in message 
#11025 suggested that "our sense of identity is a fundamental".  The "sense" 
of identity ITSELF requires that IT not be the experiencing self, as I have 
been carefully defining it here.  That "sense" may or may not be 
"fundamental" but in itself is not the experiencer.  Discussing this topic 
can be incredibly challenging in most languages such as English in which 
self-identifications tend to be implied by the most fundamental structures 
of the syntax (subject-predicate-object, for example already implies a 

The philosophy of Theraveda Buddhism makes the claim that the "self" is a 
cognitive-linguistic illusion and actually does not exist except as an 
ongoing mental process, much like a computer program. For example, your 
"view-cam" doesn't actually watch anything.  There is not little guy inside, 
behind the lens watching what the view-cam is shooting.  It is all just a 
machine able to record and play back experiences (pictures).

Undercut the cognitive structures which imply an experiencer-experience 
dichotomy and I have found it possible to have a peculiar perspective of 
experience alone, lacking even a whisper of the sense of a "self" identity.  
I might add that everything stays the same.  No thunder, lightening nor 
religious choirs of singing angels.  The problem here is that normally our 
minds are so embedded in a "self-other" perspective that this absence of an 
experiencer appears (pardon the pun) self-contradictory.   

Nothing this rigorous nor extreme is necessary to provide other very 
splendid benefits which come from simply recognizing that if you accept the 
hypothesis that "you" "exist" (the experiencing self) then dis-identifying 
from what you are NOT can remove many common problems at a stroke and 
generate sometimes truly extra-ordinary willpower to accomplish goals 
desired by one's mind (remembering that the "experiencer" can FEEL desire 
but is not IDENTICAL to it).

>You see, to my way of thinking, I am the "Experience" and not the
>"Experiencer".  More specifically, I am Process.  

Yes. I suspect this is probably the case in the sense I outlined above.  

>The view-cam inside me
>that watches is more of an illusion than the experiences it watches. I am
>not who I was and will not be who I am.  

Now that you speak for the qualities of the experiencer ("I am..."), I have 
to ask how do you know this?  Again, the verb "to be" reifies the process, 
making "you" something, an experience and not the experiencer.

>And even though I believe this to
>be the case, a part of me resists the notion because it wants to hold on to
>the idea that there is some immutable Experiencer.

Please note that you can also experience these thoughts, any thoughts, and 
thus the "part of me" you refer to is actually a part of the mind, which you 
are not.  It is NOT the experiencer which thinks the thoughts which cause 
you to identify with something or to reject that identification as an error.  
It is your MIND.  Because you can experience your mind, you cannot BE that 
mind, whole or in part.  ...or the entire dichotomy of experiencer-
experience is ITSELF a mental error, as the Theraveda Buddhists claim (and I 
suspect may be the case).  

Because of the incredible weirdnesses which arise when trying to seek the 
self, to identify the experiencer, I have found it very useful to simply 
focus on dis-identification for the benefits which result and the problems 
thereby reduced or avoided.
>And when you suggest that self-acceptance is healthier than self-esteem. . 

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