23 February 2013

An illusion of being

Much of what we take for granted about our inner lives, from visual perception to memories, is little more than an elaborate construct of the mind. The self is just another part of this illusion.
And it seems to serve us well. In that respect, the self is similar to free will, another fundamental feature of the human experience now regarded by many as an illusion. Even as the objective possibility of free will erodes, our subjective experience of it remains unchanged: we continue to feel and act as though we have it.
The same will surely be true about the self. The illusion is so entrenched, and so useful, that it is impossible to shake off. But knowing the truth will help you understand yourself – and those around you – better.
-- Richard Fisher in one of a package of articles on the self, in which Michael Bond notes that the self is, in large part, a social construct.

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