Re: virus: "the self"

Mark Hornberger (
Tue, 29 Apr 1997 01:58:04 -0500

At 04:54 PM 4/28/97 -0600, you wrote:
>At 01:20 AM 28/04/97 -0500, Mark Hornberger wrote:
>>I disagree in that I think you are mistaking the word for the thing it
>>refers to. The term "I" may create or affect our conception of what the
>>"self" is, but it doesn't affect objective reality - if we were all
>>illiterate apes incapable of abstract thought (of this magnitude) we would
>>still be individual apes. We would perhaps lack a sense of self, or
>>self-consciousness, but this would be a manifestation of our own
>>inadequate powers of perception, not an indication that objective reality
>>is fundamentally different.
>You think we could be conscious without being conscious of the fact? That
>doesn't make any sense to me. Or maybe you aren't talking about consciousness
>at all.

I mean we are individuals, regardless of our level of understanding or
abstraction. "I" is different than this, perhaps, because it may
necessitate self-awareness, but the fact remains that we *are* individuals.
Add our self-awareness to that, and you have "I."
>> Language or the use of it may have
>>ramifications in the objective world (the making of the hydrogen bomb, or
>>the writings of Henry Miller) but this is I think on a different level
>>than we started out talking about - the simplicity of "I."
>If "I" implies consciousness it isn't simple at all.

Consciousness may not be, but "I" is only the recognition that the speaker
or thinker is an individual, perhaps dependent but still separate from his
surroundings and acquaintances. I think it *is* rather simple. Now, as to
how we wish to define consciousness, that is another matter, and probably
too much for my abilities. Be fun to try though. ;-)