Philosophy of self

[This is going to be a collection of comments on the data that exists on the subject of self. Quotes and comments are going to be continually added here. Readers are welcome to put their thoughts in the comments section.]

Original comment of May 29, 2011

From Wikipedia:

The philosophy of self is the defining of the essential qualities that make a person distinct from all others. There have been a number of different approaches to defining these qualities. The self is the idea of a unified being which is the source of consciousness. Moreover, this self is the agent responsible for the thoughts and actions of an individual to which they are ascribed. It is a substance, which therefore endures through time; thus, the thoughts and actions at different moments of time may pertain to the same self. As the notion of subject, the “self” has been harshly criticized by Nietzsche at the end of the 19th century, on behalf of what Gilles Deleuze would call a “becoming-other”

Vinaire’s comments:

It is consideration that brings into existence the essential qualities that make a person distinct from others. Therefore, self may be viewed as a unique combination of considerations. Self may be called a substance because it is made up of considerations

It is incorrect to assume that self is the source of consciousness. More likely, as I see it, self is a filter of consciousness. The idea that thoughts and actions come from self, and that self is responsible for them is again not a very accurate picture. More likely, self is as much a part of the situation as those thoughts and actions are, for which it is being made responsible. Self does not stand outside of the situation.

What is beyond self is also beyond consideration. It is, therefore, unknowable (meaning it cannot be considered).


May 30, 2011:

SOURCE: Wikipedia

SUBJECT: Philosophy of Self

KEY WORDS: Subject, subjective consciousness, consciousness, awareness, object, reference, objective

(1) Consciousness or awareness has to do with the interaction between observer and observed, or between subject and object.

(2) An object is something thrown out there, or put forth to be observed. It becomes the point, place or source of origin of information carried back to the subject.

(3) The very act of thinking delivers self-knowledge to the thinker.

(4) “Cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am)” –  René Descartes


June 1, 2011

These comments have been converted to the essay: Comments on Descartes’ Works


June 5, 2011
From Wikipedia: Friedrich Nietzsche

(quotes from Wikipedia are in italics) 

Nietzsche’s works remain controversial, and there is widespread disagreement about their interpretation and significance. Part of the difficulty in interpreting Nietzsche arises from the uniquely provocative style of his philosophical writing. Nietzsche frequently delivered trenchant critiques of Christianity in the most offensive and blasphemous terms possible given the context of 19th century Europe. These aspects of Nietzsche’s style run counter to traditional values in philosophical writing, and they alienated him from the academic establishment both in his time and, to a lesser extent, today.

When looking at knowledge some people react to the writing style.  Usually, one is influenced by the writing style to the degree one is looking through a filter that reacts to that style.  It is possible to look at knowledge without being influenced by the writing style, and simply recognize knowledge for what it is.  Please see Looking at Knowledge.


A few of the themes that Nietzsche scholars have devoted the most attention to include Nietzsche’s views on morality, his view that “God is dead” (and along with it any sort of God’s-eye view on the world thus leading to perspectivism), his notions of the will to power and Übermensch, and his suggestion of eternal return.

Morality may be defined as a cultural filter deemed necessary for the proper functioning of that culture. It codifies what is right and wrong from the viewpoint of that culture. It is not an absolute code even when presented that way in some cultures. A culture may be improved by improving its sense of morality.

It seems that Nietzsche was trying to do just that. He declared “God is dead” simply to de-emphasize the use of God to present morality as absolute. It was Nietzsche’s way of saying that the conventional Christian God is no longer a viable source of any absolute moral principles.

Nietzsche’s notion of the will to power seems to emphasize that man does not have to be subservient to some arbitrary will of God. His notion of Übermensch seems to emphasize that man can be fully responsible without requiring “God” as a prop.  In my view Nietzsche is right on both counts.

Nietzsche’s suggestion of eternal return is a concept inherent in Hinduism that the universe has been recurring, and will continue to recur, in a self-similar form an infinite number of times across infinite time and/or infinite space. What it really means is that the universe is a perception of “unknowable” through a viewpoint. The universe is there as long as a viewpoint is there.


June 12, 2011
From Wikipedia: Friedrich Nietzsche on Morality 

Nietzsche rejected the established laws and institutions of his time as they encouraged pretension of virtues, moral or religious beliefs, principles, etc., when one did not really possess them. His motto became, “Be, what you are.” He believed that one should follow one’s own “inner law,” and let morality shape itself. One’s uniquenessness should not be suppressed because of some arbitrary sense of morality.

In Nietzsche’s view, the sense of good and evil impressed by Jewish and Christian traditions was born out of a feeling of inferiority. It was designed to make one not feel inferior, but it did not resolve the individual situation. Nietzsche then tried to present a new, more naturalistic source of value in the vital impulses of life itself.


September 13, 2011

These comments have been converted to the essay: Going Beyond Self


September 21 2011

The following seems to be parallel between life and mathematics:

If self is equivalent to one, then nirvana (or, Brahma) is equivalent to zero, and the universe is equivalent to infinity.

On this “scale” God would be one because God is also self (individuality). Similarly, Jehovah and Allah would rate one.

There would always be conflict among supreme selves, because there cannot be more than one supreme self.

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  • Elizabeth Hamre  On May 30, 2011 at 12:31 AM

    Vinaire, I love this one. right up my alley.


  • vinaire  On May 30, 2011 at 4:09 AM

    Thanks. I love it too.



    • Elizabeth Hamre  On May 30, 2011 at 4:46 PM

      Vinaire, why not start off with own self, how you see what you are? you invite, there is food for the thought but my cup is empty there is no water, has the Spring gone dry?


      • vinaire  On May 30, 2011 at 6:10 PM

        What self? Ahh… you mean this self called “Vinaire”? What do you want me to do with it?



      • vinaire  On May 30, 2011 at 6:18 PM

        This self “Vinaire” loves to simplify what it comes across.



      • vinaire  On June 16, 2011 at 6:25 AM

        I believe that “self” is the way one sees the universe. The universe is simply a reflection of self.

        (1) What is out there is unknowable (cannot be considered).
        (2) That unknowable filters through self to become knowable.
        (3) That knowable is what we call the “universe”.
        (4) Attachment to self is attachment to universe.
        (5) Or vice versa.



  • Elizabeth Hamre  On June 2, 2011 at 9:15 AM

    Vinaire, your whole blog shows a very complex person who explores many avenues in search of simplicity. The search to gain knowledge gives one the many side since each view point becomes you yjr self


    • vinaire  On June 2, 2011 at 10:12 AM

      There is no person. You are looking at the subjects of KNOWLEDGE and SELF.



  • Elizabeth Hamre  On June 2, 2011 at 1:38 PM

    You right again I used the wrong words


    • vinaire  On June 16, 2011 at 6:28 AM

      There is no right and wrong.

      There are just one’s considerations.



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