Isn't ego a chemical construct?

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lord12
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Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by lord12 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:32 am

The ego is simply one perception of reality that is based on neurochemistry. To not have an ego would mean that there would not a physical neuronal structure that would support the ego. Is this true? This is why hallucinogenic drugs cause ego death as they destroy the stable neuronal structure of the ego.

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Ananda
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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by Ananda » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:38 am

The ego is simply one perception of reality that is based on neurochemistry.

Is this true?

Well, to put it simply, ego is a product of the mind, the mind is a product of neurochemisty and neurochemisty is a product of the brain. So yes, you are correct.

This is why hallucinogenic drugs cause ego death as they destroy the stable neuronal structure of the ego.
When the trip wears off, the ego reasserts itself, there is no permanency in it.

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by lord12 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:52 am

so to become aware of the ego is just another function of the brain. If somebody was dying from starvation he would not have an ego since he would not have the nutrition to support it. All in all, ego is just a word. There are always different chemical states we are experiencing and to call one state an egoless state is just a particular chemical state of mind.

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by Ananda » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:12 am

so to become aware of the ego is just another function of the brain
No, awareness is not a function of the brain, the brain is also a product of awareness as is the mind (and ego).

If somebody was dying from starvation he would not have an ego since he would not have the nutrition to support it.
Ego does not cease to exist when the body starves. Whilst ego is most basically a product of the mind it is not just a thought. It is an inbuilt, conditioned assumption, a deeply held belief. It is a scaffold on which many other beliefs and assumptions rest. When the body is starved the lack of energy means minimal brain and mind activity but it does not remove the inbuilt assumptions and beliefs (including the ego). Some may go in abeyance until the body is restored its energy, but ego is the strongest built assumption of all and is usually the primary idea from which all others spring. Even a starving body says 'I need food and water or I shall die', this implies that there is still the ego (individual sense) which identifies the Self as the body.
All in all, ego is just a word.
Ego is a word which is roughly defined as the idea or belief in the separation between the self and the world, the self and objects, and the self and others selves, in short it implies individuality. The word 'Ego' points to something more than the thought of Ego.

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by lord12 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 4:44 am

so at any moment in your life you can become the awareness behind the thoughts? Even when your about to kill someone, you can kill someone with awareness? Awareness does not side with any notion of good or evil. You could be a serial killer and still be aware of your thoughts. Is this correct? So to become aware of your ego does not mean that you ultimately will help people or be moral. You could have been a serial killer and still have been in the egoless state.

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by Ananda » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:05 am

so at any moment in your life you can become the awareness behind the thoughts?
You are already the awareness. Awareness is the Self, one's actual nature or being. One does not become awareness, one merely ceases to identify one's Self as the mind by direct insight into awareness itself.
Even when your about to kill someone, you can kill someone with awareness?
Awareness must be presupposed prior to any action or knowledge or experience. Without awareness nothing is possible. Otherwise your question essentialy reads as; Even when you're about to kill someone, you can kill someone whilst not existing? That which kills is the body, that which is killed is another body. The Self does not act but sees all action, the Self does not kill or be killed but sees all killing.
Awareness does not side with any notion of good or evil
That's right, awareness is present before any idea of morality is formed and stands distinct from the mind and it's dualities.
You could be a serial killer and still be aware of your thoughts.
One would hope that there is awareness of thoughts even when serial killing is happening, otherwise there could be no premeditated murder! But seriously, the Self (what you are) is not the body, does not act or kill or do anything like this. One kills another under the mistaken assumption that one is an individual (body) who commits action and is capable of killing another self.
So to become aware of your ego does not mean that you ultimately will help people or be moral.
You yourself will be liberated of the suffering you cause for yourself and for others. Self realization implies the removal of all ideas of duality that keep you in bondage. Duality means difference, separation. To be a separate individual implies being limited and impermanent. To be limited and impermanent implies craving for existence and survival, it implies advantage and disadvantage. To be separate means to be better or worse than others, to be greater or smaller, to deserve more or deserve less. Separation is the cause of all suffering and all immoral activity.
You could have been a serial killer and still have been in the egoless state.
Truly, the Self is always egoless, the confusion only arises in the body. It is the body which carries out action and receives reaction (karma), it is the body which kills. The Self is the witness of all action, the witness of all reaction, the witness of the ego in the mind, the witness of the mind and the witness of the body. The Self in its essence is free from all of the objects of which it is aware, it stands alone and apart as the shining seer of all phenomenon, itself being formless, all pervading existence.

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by lord12 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:20 am

So if we are awareness, how only a few individuals such as Tolle can attain that realization. How do you have this realization? Is it spontaneous? I know about the inner body but what happens if you do not have the capacity to feel your inner body(paraplegic)?

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by Ananda » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:33 am

The ignorance which is conditioned into the mind at the birth of the body superimposes the idea of individual selfhood onto subjective experience. This ignorance covers and veils the Self (making it appear to not exist and to not always be shining) but neither aspects of ignorance are actually true. The Self which sees Eckhart's body is the same Self which is reading these words and the same Self through which these words were written. Ignorance of the Self is individual, this is why it is said that Eckhart has realized the Self and I have not. This is why there appears to be enlightened individuals and individuals who are still caught in ignorance. The truth is that the ignorance which makes falsehood seem true has been removed from the body of Eckhart Tolle and so Tolle has gone on to teach and point the way to the Self for all of the other bodies caught in ignorance. Everyone knows the Self because it is that which knows 'I', however not every body is free from the limiting adjuncts projected by the mind in it's ignorance of that Self.
How do you have this realization?
Discern between that which you are and that which you are not. Discern between yourself and the objects that you are aware of. Negate all of the objects which you see and then remain only with the seeing itself- and then inquire what it is that it is seeing.
Is it spontaneous?
It can be spontaneous or it can be gradual. Or it can be a mixture of both.
I know about the inner body but what happens if you do not have the capacity to feel your inner body(paraplegic)?
The inner body is a teaching device to help the mind become quiescent by taking attention away from it and resting it on the aliveness of the body. It's not a requirement to know this technique as there are other methods of rendering the mind quiet. Even if one had absolutely no feeling of the body at all, the enquiry would then be 'What is that which knows the body but cannot feel it?'

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by HermitLoon » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:01 pm

The ignorance which is conditioned into the mind at the birth of the body superimposes the idea of individual selfhood onto subjective experience.
Rather than at the birth of the body, observation seems to indicate that only after the brain's memory is conditioned with the virtual world of language is "ignorance" created and the thinking mind born.
Infants appear to be naturally "self realized". :)
Peace

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by Ananda » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:09 pm

Well, I can only speculate about that, since I have no memory of it. But, as it is said, 'Mother is the first Other'.

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by HermitLoon » Sat Jul 10, 2010 2:26 pm

That's what a mind might say :wink:
Prior to language, no "mother" - no "I" or "other" - only pure, unadulterated experience (the direct transfer of sensory stimulus by the brain - without translation - to memory). This is the natural state of "no mind".
With repetition, recognizing the brief moments of "no mind" can transform the mind.
Peace

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by Sighclone » Sat Jul 10, 2010 5:35 pm

I've gone on about this book in other threads, but it is appropriate to mention it here: "Buddha's Brain" by Hanson and Mendius is a recent, exhaustively ressearched neuorphysiological but very readable study of the neurochemistry of consciousness, and generally confirms that the ego is a collection of neural pathways - see esp. chapter 13.

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by James » Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:19 pm

From a conventional scientific logic lord12, your presumption sounds reasonable, however are you also presuming that the awareness of which the so called ego appears in merely has a chemical basis? The biomedical model of life asserts that the awareness that you are is separate from the whole, limited, and confined to a body or even a brain; that it is a closed system. Yet even if one believes that to be true, what is the underlying reality that makes up the brain? Can you be open to the possibility that the brain is made of the same reality as the rest of the universe, whatever that reality is, that mystery that can't be named. If your brain was a closed system that you could govern, then wouldn't you be able to choose only the thoughts that you wanted? and as a result you would always choose happy thoughts, right? But do you really know what your next thought will be or where it comes from?

I would suggest beginning by putting aside all conditioned beliefs and cultural education, just put it aside for now, you can come back to it later if you want. Then challenge or deconstruct these assumptions. Quantum physics is a good place to start, there have been many threads on that subject, moderator Andy is especially knowledgeable in that area. Here is one such recent topic: Everything Is Nonlocal http://eckhart-tolle-forum.inner-growth ... ics#p53415

Or try the forum search field at the top right of each page using the words "quantum physics".
"Awareness is already present, already here, already now; before you try to be more.... In that recognition there's no effort, there's just acknowledgment"..."Awareness is not something you can understand, it's something you are."

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by gen6 » Sat Jul 10, 2010 9:34 pm

James wrote:From a conventional scientific logic lord12, your presumption sounds reasonable, however are you also presuming that the awareness of which the so called ego appears in merely has a chemical basis? The biomedical model of life asserts that the awareness that you are is separate from the whole, limited, and confined to a body or even a brain; that it is a closed system. Yet even if one believes that to be true, what is the underlying reality that makes up the brain?
But yes of course , why not, why the so called ,,awarness,, can't be product of brain?
What proof do people have that it's separate?
It's more likely it's not, think logical, that's your best shot since we as humans don't have anything else (except to feel, but you cannot feel that it's separate).
You just suppose that. Anyway both ideas are just assumptions. But as far as science has advanced, considering evolution, it's very likely that everything that happens to you is a product of your brain.
Live as if nothing and everything matters at the same time.

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Re: Isn't ego a chemical construct?

Post by Sighclone » Sat Jul 10, 2010 10:00 pm

It is the primacy of consciousness that concerns us. The sense of self we call ego comes and goes, and changes all over the place. Here is an interesting comment on how important consciousness is, (particularly at the end when the electron sensors are "on" but the results are/are not viewed.)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LW6Mq352 ... re=related

The expression of consciousness, even of the "witness," manifests in the brain, yes, but does that mean it is not everywhere?

Andy
A person is not a thing or a process, but an opening through which the universe manifests. - Martin Heidegger
There is not past, no future; everything flows in an eternal present. - James Joyce

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