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Aw, not more of this “There is no ‘I’ stuff”?

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Cartloads of it these days at places like Big Think:

Jon Kabat-Zinn: If you put people in a scanner and tell them to just do nothing; just rest in the scanner; don’t do anything at all, it turns out that there’s a region in the midline of the cerebral cortex that’s known as the default mode network that just lights up, that all of a sudden gets very, very active. I mean you’re told to do nothing and then your brain starts to use up energy a lot. A lot of ATP in this, you know, activation in the medial frontal areas. And that’s called the default mode network because when you’re told to do nothing, you default to activity in this mode and when you inquire what’s going on there, a lot of it has to do with my wondering and just daydreaming. And a lot of that has to do with the self-referencing our favorite subject, which is me of course. So we generate narratives. More.

File:A small cup of coffee.JPG Narrative: Excuse “me”, but “I” want the heck out of this dam can. 😉

See also:Neuroscience tried wholly embracing naturalism, but then the brain got away

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Hat tip: Stephanie West Allen at Brains on Purpose

7 Replies to “Aw, not more of this “There is no ‘I’ stuff”?

  1. 1
    Jim Smith says:

    But what he is saying in the transcript is true, if you meditate regularly, a lot of the useless, repetitive, negative mental chatter and self-talk quiets down, and the experience of existence is nicer. When you are not stuck in a “mental fugue” you have a lot more choices for what to think and do.
    https://sites.google.com/site/chs4o8pt/meditation-1

  2. 2
    News says:

    Yes indeed, Jim Smith at 1, but it hardly means that there is no more I. Why need they always get in such a false message in order to get a hearing?

  3. 3
    Jim Smith says:

    “No self” is a real experience that many people of different faiths have during meditation. Unfortunately our language does not have the words to explain what these people experience so it can seem like a contradiction.

    http://enlightened-people.com/.....e-roberts/

    Bernadette Roberts is a Carmelite nun who reached a deep state of union through the Christian practice of contemplation. She continues a long tradition of mysticism within the Carmelite Order that goes back to Saint John of the Cross and Saint Teresa of Avila.

    “Only God is love, and for this love to be fully realized self must step aside. And not only do we not need a self to love God, but for the same reason we do not need a mind to know him, for that in us which knows God, is God.” — Bernadette Roberts

    http://www.spiritualteachers.o.....erview.htm

    Stephan: How did you discover the further stage, which you call the experience of no-self?

    Bernadette: That occurred unexpectedly some 25 years after the transforming process. The divine center – the coin, or “true self” – suddenly disappeared, and without center or circumference there is no self, and no divine. Our subjective life of experience is over – the passage is finished. I had never heard of such a possibility or happening. Obviously there is far more to the elusive experience we call self than just the ego. The paradox of our passage is that we really do not know what self or consciousness is, so long as we are living it, or are it. The true nature of self can only be fully disclosed when it is gone, when there is no self.

    One outcome, then, of the no-self experience is the disclosure of the true nature of self or consciousness. As it turns out, self is the entire system of consciousness, from the unconscious to God-consciousness, the entire dimension of human knowledge and feeling-experience. Because the terms “self” and “consciousness” express the same experiences (nothing can be said of one that cannot be said of the other), they are only definable in the terms of “experience”. Every other definition is conjecture and speculation. No-self, then, means no-consciousness. If this is shocking to some people, it is only because they do not know the true nature of consciousness. Sometimes we get so caught up in the content of consciousness, we forget that consciousness is also a somatic function of the physical body, and, like every such function, it is not eternal. Perhaps we would do better searching for the divine in our bodies than amid the content and experience of consciousness.

    Also see: The Experience of No-Self: A Contemplative Journey, by Bernadette Roberts

    I think what the author if the article at BigThink was trying to say is that the internal narrative is part of what causes us to misunderstand what consciousness really is.

  4. 4
    Aleta says:

    Our sense of self is an experience we have from existing as an integrated biological being. That in no way means that there is necessarily some non-material “self” that exists apart from our material body.

    And as Jim points out, people of all cultures sometimes have experiences of seeing the oneness of the universe, and of seeing their sense of self as an illusion, or at least as a matter of perspective that can vary.

    And last, there is some evidence, although hard to study, that people of primitive and/or ancient cultures, experienced the self differently than we do, including how they experience the location of the self (head, heart, solar plexus) and how they experience the nature and source of verbal internal thoughts.

    So if you ignore the metaphysical speculation about the existence of a non-material “I”, this is a very interesting question about psychology

  5. 5
    Aleta says:

    I just read the transcript of the video linked in the OP, and it’s very interesting. Also, I think the headline of the OP is misleading. It’s not saying there is no “I”. It’s saying, and I think this is true and important, that we constantly create stories about who we are; and that certain mindfulness techniques, which have parallels in all major religious traditions including Christianity, can reduce the constant chatter of the brain and change our sense of self to one more centered in the present and not dependent on all the stories that we tell ourselves all the time.

    Such a state helps create a greater sense of peace, and a sense of less separation from the world as a whole, including other people in it. It helps creates a different sense of self that those who experience it say is better and more really “I” than the previous chatter-based self.

    I know that this short of a summary gives no real sense of this mindfulness state, but there is a great deal of evidence, both from modern psychological studies and the history of religion, that such a different sense of self is possible and valued.

  6. 6
    Jack Jones says:

    ” “No self” is a real experience that many people of different faiths have during meditation.”

    If there is no self then who is doing the meditation?

  7. 7
    mike1962 says:

    By “no self” they mean no human personality and ego. Only consciousness observing.

    Trust me. I’ve been there. Personality and ego are a temporary “add on.”

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