“The larger a society or confederacy, the greater the amalgamation of collusive factors – which is typical of every large organization – the more aggravated the moral and spiritual degeneration of the individual.”
The absurd depends as much on man as it does on the world. For the moment it is all that links them together. It binds them one to the other as only hatred can weld two creatures together.” “The absurd is born of this confrontation between the human need and the unreasonable silence of the world.”
I am attempting to reclaim the term “Authentic Self” in the name of Science. To be specific the sciences of psychology and philosophy.
I am reclaiming it from Dr. Phil, Eckart Tolle, Andrew Cohen and anyone else who currently uses the term outside the empirical.
My thesis is that Authentic Self may be achievable satisfactorily through psychology, at least to the point of dealing with the psyche. Without due philosophical consideration to the social causation of the “Unauthentic Self” through purpetuated societal norms, we are dismissing a larger problem and losing the opportunity to solve it.
We can’t see the fire for the trees.
Dr. Phil and folks like him are dealing with individual problems. They “put out” individual fires without acknowledging the overall forest fire that’s about to take over. This results in the perpetuation of the problem.
The following is taken from my website where you can read my post far to lengthy to host here. You will also find helpful, educational links that help me illustrate my argument:
Human ability to interfere with our own ideas gives us the unique power to work against ourselves or defy what nature would likely do. It doesn’t seem logical when stated as such, nevertheless, to date, we are the only species we know of to act in this way. Through my interests, hobbies and eventually my studies since 1995 I have come to understand at least a part of why this has happened, how it works and what can be done to help facilitate the necessary corrections. I am not alone in claiming this feat, there are many books, films, classes etcetera that can help you find peace, understanding, knowledge, strength, God, whatever it might be that you find yourself lacking. There has been self-help type books and seminars for thousands of years. The philosophy generator should prove to be more of a habit of consideration than a recipe for success. Success is a matter of opinion and we are primarily concerned with fact. This is of a different sort of “self-help” type information, it doesn’t promise to give any warmth, hope or even strength. It is quite probable that some readers may even become upset with the understanding that can be achieved by the following chapters, for it is within you that you must find it. …and we, you and I, my friend, are a mess!
This is a primer that, in plain and efficient language, with a tireless commitment to reason, can provide you with nothing less than an original point of view. A way to find a place to come from that will, if you need it to, change the way you experience everything. A new standard by which you can measure truth or worth and thereby decide smartly, or not at all. After we’ve established the standard, we will use it to re-examine our realities. Other “procedural manuals” are composed by authors often specializing in one discipline. Many of these fine lessons illumine my chapters. The difference being that we will be examining these lessons from both sides of the story and ultimately from within ourselves.
The term “Authentic Self” is valid and there is certainly a very real opportunity to make money by selling pathways to it, but the definition being touted by its proponents is inaccurate. So you have Dr. Phil talking about Authentic Self as “who you were created to be instead of who you were taught to be…” (from his website.) You may have seen Eckhart Tolle, spiritualist and author on the Oprah Winfrey show teaching that our ego’s are products of our experiences and possibly should not be trusted, certainly at the least scrutinized. Both basically the same argument, ‘you are a product of your paradigms and they require evaluation.’ It turns out that we agree with each other, even to the point of creationism. But the problem with many of these works is that there is still a leap of faith insisted upon us. Not that my issue is that Dr. Phil uses the word “created,” (he could after all mean ‘biologically created,’) or that Mr. Tolle goes on to re-interpret the New Testament Bible to apply validity to his theories. I’d be guilty of wearing the same blinders as they if I were to argue with them and I’m not here to take anything from anyone. (Neither of us can prove or disprove the existence of God.) Is a classical psychotherapist’s opinion any more valuable than a spiritualist if the topic is the human worth of globalization with centralized governance?
The individualistic approach of the new age self-help movement, also denies much of the source of our self-defeating behaviour, namely societies influence. It’s important to stress that I am not claiming that the tenets of any particular faith are invalid, I’m arguing that the requirement of faith in order to explain fact is. (Besides, you’re going to find that even the facts are very strange…)
You are now, and will remain eternally, entitled to believe whatever nonsense you like. You’re going to do it anyway. You can’t help it. It comes at you from all angles, twenty-four hours a day. Don’t bother trying to blame T.V. or other modern distractions for the consistent barrage of often questionable information. It’s been this way for all of recorded history. This is right, this is wrong, this was bad, this will be good, you are this, I can’t be that… Only the delivery vehicles have changed. It is now systemic. It is automatically ingrained, as you are, after your birth, by practice and by influence, dragged unhappily away from purity and into reality. As are your children, as are your grandchildren, until someone, perhaps the black sheep, says “No!”
Have you ever thought about why it is that “reality” must be taught? Furthermore, why is it that what we learn is so very often different from what we use? Who decided that the lessons we receive are better than the pure existence we are borne into? Have you ever wondered about the origin of the rules: how or why a particular, seemingly unconscious moral finds it’s way to be expressed through your personality? Do you have the courage to take a long look at ideas that go directly against what you’ve come to understand as truth? Can you summon the foresight to imagine that you are not, in fact, fully in charge of your thoughts, then contemplate what that means? These are not light questions and shouldn’t be thought of as such. They are extremely and equally powerful personal affronts. They are akin to the great questions of all time, “Why are we here?” “Is there a God?” “Is there a purpose?”
There are tangible answers to be found within this new awareness. Not that anyone but you could decide upon them but everyone deserves the opportunity to understand themselves and their environments. If the veil of other people’s ancient thoughts and opinions can be known it can be made transparent. Then you can, perhaps for the first time in your life, make up your own mind. The word ‘philosophy,’ like a lot of words, has more than one definition. We are concerned with mainly three: 1.) A person “does” philosophy by logically examining ideas with fair but critical eye. (Reasoning.) 2.) A person “has” a philosophy, an outlook, a position, an opinion on any particular subject. (Paradigm.) 3.) Calmness in temper and judgement. (To be philosophic is to be contemplative.)
In a way, The Matrix, as depicted in the Wachowski brothers’ trilogy of films, is true. Not that humans are full grown embryonic batteries fulfilling some necessary mechanistic energy need, rather that humans go through the motions of life, barely contemplating the steps we take. We never mind at all why we take them. That is not to say we don’t plan things. We do, despite our plans not necessarily being in our best interest. Yet even our plans are not our own, in most instances. Within this “Matrix,” there are forces that, by being aware, are able to have some form of control, or more precisely, a usable understanding of the true nature of reality. Unfortunately, I’ve not yet figured out how to warp time or space like Neo and Agent Smith, (see next book.) I can tell you that most modern humans are in a near constant state of trance and you can use nifty “Jedi mind tricks” in your daily lives.
The popularity of the ideas expressed in the Matrix films, the paranoia epitomised at the Y2K non-phenomena and the events of September 11th, 2001 are social manifestations of forced paradigm shift. The term “paradigm shift” was coined by Thomas Kuhn. It is used to describe a broad stroke “changing of minds” on any given idea. For instance; Before air travel was common the idea of getting from Europe to America in one day was unthinkable. These paradigm shifts can also be different ways of exposing the lack of control we have over our own existence. In the Matrix films, every human, thinking he or she is alive, is actually a computer program with all the events of a life predetermined. At midnight January 1st, 2000, no planes fell out of the sky, no bank machines started spewing money due to the roll-over of “old” computer clocks. Almost nothing out of the ordinary happened. Yet, it was all we could talk about, millions of dollars were spent preparing for it and millions of dollars were made selling the fear of it. In Manhattan, on September 11th, 2001 a lot of minds were changed all over the world on a good number of ideas. Since that day, minds continue to change and be changed to such a marked degree that it may someday be hailed as the largest contributor to the new enlightenment. Exciting, isn’t it?
The place where many of your decisions are made is built from concepts that have been exposed to you. Some things you will have decided upon but for a large part, you know things because somebody wanted you to. Accepting this as fact is a good and necessary start. However, it is as liberating as it is frightening to take the next step and ask, “Is it right?” This is where the argument currently begins and ends. For you will fight forever with the demon and angel on your respective shoulders trying to separate ideas or ideals with the confusion that clouds your mind from years of indoctrination. Herein lies an unfortunate Human truth: Until there is a drastic change not only in what we think, the way we think as well as the way we learn to think, the deciding over ideas/ideals will remain left to opinion, be it falsely developed, socially engineered or naturally exposed. It was this belief, through my discovery of self, what self entails and by my own curiosity that I began to discover what I might come to believe if left to my own devices. Is that not our ultimate goal? To make up our own minds and trust the decision?
It’s important that we understand the significance of the concept of Paradigms for five reasons:
1.) We can understand our thoughts are formed by associations.
2.) We can examine the constructive associations of our paradigms and evaluate their validity.
3.) We can assign or re-assign importance or value to our paradigms using Assignee’s Prerogative.
4.) We can reclaim identity through the formulation of our own, original opinions. (Authentic Self.)
5.) If the examination exposes previously unconscious paradigms, you have by definition, discovered at least some of your Authentic Self.
‘If exposing Paradigm creates Authentic Self and Evaluation is the key to exposing paradigm, then Evaluation is the key to Authentic Self.’