Thanks for posting the short video. It is an interesting observation, and makes a good case for the unreality of the individual person (ego), but that is not the end of the investigation! Once the assumption of an individual personality inhabiting the body is done away with (this philosopher does so by pointing out the fact that an independent person cannot be found amongst the assemblage of component parts constituting the body), he then fallaciously equates the self merely with those very parts. The reasoning follows thusly;
1.The self is said to be an permanent distinct entity with a body, mind, memories etc.
2.This self cannot be found amongst or apart from those body, mind, memories etc.
3. Therefore the self is not an permanent distinct entity.
4. Therefore the self is nothing over and above the body, mind, memories etc, and there is nothing distinct from them that is permanent.
This is an old Buddhist argument, but the reasoning is flawed because 3. does not follow from 2. and therefore 4. cannot follow from 3.
Just because a distinct self cannot be found amongst the conglomeration of body/mind etc it does not therefore follow that such a self is non-existent. Rather, the opposite should hold true- if there is a self distinct from all these, there is no reason that it should be found amongst them. The philosopher, and the Buddhists, overlook the self-evident fact that there is an undeniable distinction between the self and the conglomeration of the body with which it is either associated with through identification or ownership.
This distinction takes the form of the Subject-Object dichotomy present throughout all subjective experience. The philosopher denies the existence of the permanent distinct self on the basis that it cannot be counted amongst the impermanent collection of objects constituting the body and yet he makes this denial with the aid of that very self! How so? Because it is through the existence of that permanent, distinct, self as the Subject of knowledge by which the impermanent objects constituting the body are known and comprehended as distinct objects. It is the existence of oneself as the Subject that makes objects knowable. In a previous thread, the question was asked 'is I (the self) a combination of the body, mental processes, and consciousness?', to this I replied, in part;
If the self, then, cannot be found amongst the components of the body, can it be found apart from them? It cannot be found as another object (hence the basis on which the Philosopher's fallacious reasoning extended) but it can be recognised as the sole distinct Subject. In the other thread I mentioned that a thorough discriminative investigation is required in order to recognise it;Is the "I" not the combination of the body, the mental processes and consciousness?
There is an invariable factor which is present through all of your experiences. When you say 'I' you are knowingly or unknowingly referring to this invariable factor and nothing else. Is the mind variable or invariable? The constituents and components of your mind are many, its condition is in flux, it has birth and cessation, it can be molded, thoughts arise and dissipate constantly, and it is experienced. The very fact that your mind is experienced should reveal to you that the mind is an object- it is known by another. What is the other? It is the Subject, the content of 'I' which knows and sees the mind as its object, including all of its variables. 'I am stupid', 'I am intelligent', 'I know little', 'I'm an expert', 'My mind was elsewhere', 'I remember it', 'I have no memory of that', 'I am thinking too much', 'my mind is silent'. All of these conditions which make up the mind are many but they are perceived by a unity- by an entity which is singular and distinct from them all.
Is the body variable or invariable? The body is just as fickle as the mind! All of the constituents of your body have been and are replaced during its existence, in fact the word 'body' denotes simply a large organism of shifting biological conditions. You know 'this is an old body', 'this is a young body', 'this is a sick body', 'I am hungry', 'I am thirsty', 'I am happy', 'I am tired', 'I am attractive', 'I lost a leg', 'I am blind', 'I am deaf'. 'my body is numb here', 'I looked this way as a child, but now I am older' . The Subject 'I' is the invariable factor which connects all of the experiences of the object, the body, together. The body is variable and subject to change all of the time- but the Subject is that which knows these changes because it perceives the body as something other than itself. Do you see?
Now, if the Subject, the 'I' is neither the body nor the mind, then, is it consciousness? Well, what do you mean by consciousness? Many people define consciousness as 'conscious experiences' as opposed to unconsciousness, such as in deep sleep. If that be so, then the Subject can not be consciousness either. When the contents of the experience of the waking state, such as your body, senses and the external world, are sublated by the dreaming state, then the Subject (dreamer) persists into the dream state, as the Subject of the dream world, and dream objects. In the dreaming state there is no perception of the external world, but the mind continues to be active, and it is the mind which, creating the contents of the dream experience, is perceived by the Subject as he dreams. When the dreaming state is sublated by deep sleep, then there is no external perception via the senses, and neither is there any internal perception via the mind. In that state there is nothing there to be experienced, and therefore there is no distinction between Subject and Object, or, knower and the known. When the deep sleep state is sublated by the waking state, the mind and the senses again become active, and so there arises internal and external perception, along with the knowledge of the absence of internal or external perception in the state of deep sleep, as when one says 'I was not consciousness of anything', 'I didn't dream'; this knowledge is inherent in the knower, the Subject. This whole process happens every night, thousands of times in your life. States of experience, therefore, are variable- but the thread which connects them all, which knows them all and by which they are known is invariable. That factor is the knower, the Subject. Whenever you say 'I' you are referring to this knower, because you are conscious, you are sentient, you exist and have the inherent capacity to know the presence or absence of other things, of objects, including your body, your mind, and your states of consciousness.
So, is the Subject, then, a combination of the mind, the body, and states of consciousness? If the mind, the body, and states of consciousness are changeful, then can a combination of these be unchanging? If the mind, body, and states of consciousness are objects, then, can the three of them together constitute a Subject?
All that is known to you, all that is cognizable in your present experience as 'this' or 'that', that's graspable, concrete, tangible, all of this pertains to objects, and not to you, the subject. You are the seer of the concrete things, but you cannot see yourself amongst them. You cannot become an object of your own knowledge in the same way any tangible item presented to your senses or your mind can be. You have to recognise yourself through discrimination instead. You have to reject 'this' as 'this' and stop conflating it with 'I'. All of the things under the category of 'known' are tangible and concrete objects. These pertain either to your mind, your body, or the external world. The I is the knower of all of them, it stands apart from them, does not change, but becomes identified with the objects and this is why discrimination is needed to recognise the distinction between them.
What is it, in your whole life, in every single experience that you have, that is enduring? What is it that has stayed the same within you, even though everything else, inside or outside, has changed? What is the link that connects all of your experiences together? You have to find this thing out. You should reject everything that is transient, everything that can be designated as 'this' or 'that', every object available to sense perception, and every internal cognition pertaining to physical feelings within the body, emotions and the mind (such as memory, thoughts, imagination, and concepts). All that is transient in your life is so with reference to an intransient, stable basis. All that is known to change in your life is so with reference to an unchanging knower of it. This knower cannot be denied by anybody, it cannot be rejected, it cannot be removed, it cannot be sublated or negated, it cannot be dropped, lost, gotten rid of, changed, created, destroyed, hurt, cut, diseased or cease to be a knower. This knower is 'I', the real content of the word 'I' when all of the objects mixed in with it are removed through discriminative knowledge. Find it!
I hope this post can be of service to you, and check out my blog posted in my signature if you want to know more about discrimination of the self (I post irregularly on it lately due to other work commitments, but feel free to send me a private message or post a new thread if you have any questions).
My friend Ashley,
Thanks for relaying to us your experience!
The seeing of the Self is never obscured, for it is by its seeing that all kinds of thinking is seen, including its capacity to obscure...Apart from following these simple instruction no further intellectualization or mental pondering is required, in fact any kind of thinking will obscure the clarity of the Single Eye Seeing... which is an alignment with the Now or Present Moment. You could also call this seeing pure awareness or no-mind.
Pure awareness is both mind and no-mind, and there is nothing but Pure awareness in the past, future, or the Now.