Spilling out over the side to anyone who will listen


  Saturday, December 7, 2002

Isn't New York Pretty?

My wife pointed me to David F. Gallagher's Lightning Field, a photo Weblog based here in New York. I like the snow pictures in particular.

1:27:32 PM     What do you think? ()

Is Ego Death What I'm Seeking?

Hanging out at the mall that is Amazon, I came across one of Michael Hoffman's Listmania lists. Thinking that there was an interesting conversation about ego death to be had, I followed him home, where he held forth as follows:

The mind is designed to accept the mentally projected self-representation as literally identical to oneself. But the imagined, distorted concept of self arising from this conflation is not the whole of the ego, so it's not true that "the ego is only an illusion". The ego system includes an illusion, but is more than that.
If the ego is defined strictly as the natural assumption that the mentally projected self-representation is literally oneself, then it can be said that "the ego is only an illusion". But such a narrowed definition of "ego" raises the question of what to call the real cognitive structures that reliably project that illusion. The ego is more than just an illusion. It's a large, complex, and dynamic set of mental processes, of which the deceivingly tangible mental representation is only one part.
There is a shocking feeling of helplessness upon realizing the insubstantiality of the cross-time ego.

He seemed to be starting at the point at which Freud came up short for me in The Interpretation of Dreams:

What role is left in our account for once-omnipotent consciousness, which hid everything else from sight? No more than that of a sensory organ for perceiving psychical qualities.

That always left me wondering what facility those perceptions were being conveyed to if counsciousness was merely a sensory organ. I've personally wrestled with this as therapy has dissolved my sense of a unified self. Michael Hoffman wants to explain all of this--how it relates Buddhist meditative experience, other mystical traditions, and Julian Barbour's theories of time. It's fascinating and compelling--it begins to answer the questions that I've been asking. But is it true, or am I being led astray by my intellectual curiosity? Luckily, a preacher just rode into town to straighten all of this out.

11:49:26 AM     What do you think? ()

What Is Your Winter Ensemble?

Having spent four winters in central Michigan, I can confirm that Lynda Barry has this exactly right.

10:27:56 AM     What do you think? ()

What Would Thoreau Drive?

Thoreau's actually fairly funny, too. I'd do him. He must be quite buff, from dragging all those second-hand boards and nails out to the pond and building his cabin. I'm just worried that he might talk too much and not be a good listener. He cooks though, granted it's unleavened bread and fire-grilled woodchucks he's putting on the table, but as long as I don't have to do the cooking.

With that, Moose begins her exploration of Henry David Thoreau on A Life of One's Own, which culminates in her channelling his thoughts on Power Yoga and SUVs. I'm not surprised to learn that I agree with him.

10:20:16 AM     What do you think? ()

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Last update: 11/2/03; 10:32:13 AM.


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