Posted by: gebs | October 23, 2008

What is the Self?


The self is the reflection I get when I gaze into a mirror; it is I, yet it is malleable.  The self is not something that exists in itself (per se) ontologically.  The self comes into existence because of the reflection.       

There are two ways one can possibly shape the self.  One is to attempt a kind of modern mastery of the self.  To identify the nature of ones own self, and to try and shape the image that comes from the mirror.  Here, one is asked to use the self in order to change the self.  Any one of us who was tried this will know just how difficult it is to do.  In a sense, this path gives ontological existence to the self, equating it with all that is real. 


The other way requires another agent.  Here we argue that in order for the self (the image) to change, one must take away their focus from the mirror and place it somewhere else, and thus take away its governing weight.  It is through this gaze upon the Other, that the self is truly transformed into something other.  The self mastery path looks at the mirror and expects to see the result it has worked for.  It assumes the end before the reflection is known.  The transcendental method knows not what it is looking for.  It stares into the mirror to see what has happened, it does not yet know what the reflection will be like. 




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