Re: virus: self and speech

SwiftRain (
Wed, 31 Dec 1997 02:05:58 -0500

JakeHarvey wrote:
> Perhaps it is misleading to say that perception has a "center", but it
> necessarily involves a perciever and a percieved.

why? why not "thoughts but no thinker" (and perceptions but no
perciever)? and how does a perciever connect to the idea of self? is
the self the perciever of its environment?

let us examine an example. (apologies for any mistakes of fact,
though the details aren't really the point.)
there is a human body, and in its environment are some quickly
moving molecules -- heat. the vibrations of these molecules are
percieved by nerves in the human's skin.
these nerves then send off signals, which are percieved by other
nerves. eventually these signals reach the brain, where they diverge
into numerous trails of perception and retransmission, combining and
interacting with other trails of thought, with established habits, and
with the genetically created landscape of the brain.
eventually, some of the resulting signals become strong enough to
cross a threashold and become outgoing messages -- to move the muscles
of the arm and remove it from the fire, say.

now, who in there is the perciever and who is the percieved?
and where is Mr Self? is he the habits, the memories which engender
selection, the preestablished metaselection tools, the pattern of active
thoughts, or what?


> inevitable? how about this: "there is an idea that Self is
> harmful, a cause of suffering -- and this idea has helped to condition
> the idea that the elimination of Self from speech would inhibit its
> transmission and reinforcement, leading to the easing of suffering."

> Oh, very good example! Says who? :-)

well, the question-word "who" presupposes a person as its subject,
so a response along the lines of "the conditions within which the idea
occured" would probably be cheating...

> They have no sense of self. Everything just happens and they are
> passive observers.

*who* is just a passive observer? their Self, of course!
this is part of the problem with Self -- since it is not a real
thing, it can be expanded or contracted at will. this is what leads to
the various calls to "take responsibility" -- if some Self is not
expanded to contain the acts in question, then there is no one to blame
for their occurance.

in fact the whole process of finding someone who is "responsible" is
a false goal, an illusion. in the actual swirls of energy which
comprise the world there is no one being or thing responsible for any
action -- the conditions under which each thing arises are so complex
that digging backwards through time to locate them is impossible.
in the case of these boys, you are asking them to "take
responsibility" -- but does this mean that the actions were somehow
created out of nothing inside of their heads?
no, no! they were conditioned by the way their brains were at the
time of their actions. and what conditioned that? their past
experiences, and (including) their genetic construction.
consider it! each one of their past experiences traces back to the
life histories of every person they have ever met! their genetic
features are caused by nothing less than several billion years of

when asked: "what caused this action, the torture of this animal?"
there is nothing to answer except: "the world."
if we look for a simpler answer -- if we blame a human body which
was part of the conditions of the torture -- we are fooling ourselves.
we might as well blame the fact that the animal walked this way instead
of that in its past travels.

the question of "who caused this thing" is never a source of
anything except suffering. the way to *end* suffering is to ask, "how
can we move forward from this action in love, how can we overcome the
cycles of karma which have brought us to this hatred?"

really, the notion of Self encourages responsibility only in a very
dull and reluctant sense.
the notion of the Non-Seperate-Self nature of reality, the
interconnectedness and relatedness of phenomona, encourages the
responsibility -- and the positive, change producing action -- of every
flow and grain of existance.
it is a light which casts shadows out of the mind, and lays bare the
actions which can be taken to create cycles of love, compassion and

the notion of Self encourages responsibility in the sense of
proferring up someone to punish and accuse when there are harmful
actions. the notion of Nonself encourages actions which break down the
cycle which *leads* to harmful actions.

> Initiative and taking responsibility are things which require actors
> and agents.

why? they are things which *arise,* and there are conditions under
which they arise. these conditions are what is required, not an "actor"
to "create" the conditions.

> Illusions and suffering in and of themsleves are not necessarily bad
> things.

"bad things" implies moral judgement! morals can judge things
however they please, as they are accountable to no higher judge (by
their own reasoning). any statement that could here be made about the
"goodness" or "badness" of suffering or enlightenment would be just as
useless as any other.

suffering is simply a description of a particular mental state -- a
state conditioned by *grasping* and *craving,* by ignorance and by
Buddha (who is a state, not a person) saw this suffering, and found
a method by which it can be overcome. it is not a matter of desiring to
suffer or not to suffer, but only of shining the light of enlightenment
on suffering and watching it disappear.