An Ego, A Self ...

An ego, a self, or an individuality, can only be conceived as an object extended in space-time.

When time is recognised as a spatial measurement interpreted as sequential duration, i.e. as a series of 'stills' or quanta perceived as movement, the purely conceptual nature of all possible objects becomes evident. Such is the composition and nature of all phenomena, and the sensorially perceived universe is nothing else.

As phenomenal objects we are only that, but if we were only phenomenal objects we could not know phenomena as such, for 'the perceived cannot perceive', as Huang Po stated, i.e. if we were flowing in the stream of time we could not know it was flowing. What-we-are cannot be in the temporal stream in which objects appear to us, therefore we must be intemporal, outside the stream of sequential duration within which objects appear.

An autonomous 'self' that 'lives' and 'dies' is necessarily a part of this temporal phantasy which is responsible for a see-er, thinker, actor, and things seen (or otherwise sensorially perceived), thoughts and deeds. There have never been any such entities otherwise than as figurants in the phantasy, but the function-ing implied - the doing as opposed to the do-er or the deed apparently done - is functional, that is not a conceptual interpretation of a percept but perceiving as such, which is the subjective or prajnatic aspect of immutable Dhyana or what we are.

That is why 'thinking and feeling' in their functional aspects, uninterpreted as thought and emotion, are not then subjected to the dualistic process of subject and object in a time-sequence of A thinking a thought, or B feeling an emotion; they are still impersonal, non-objective, and are not yet apparently experienced by an experiencer, but are the experienc-ing which is all that in fact 'he' can be.

(Note: In order to 'experience', to suffer any 'experience' relatively, we must necessarily be what we 'experience', for what 'experience' is must be what we are absolutely.)

They can be described as 'insee-ing' and 'infeel-ing', as long as the 'in' is not in reference to an implied see-er or experience-er looking 'within', but to the 'within' which is the source of the function-ing, which is what he is, that is not to any phenomenal object that might be supposed to be suffering experience but to the origin of all apparent manifestation including seeing and feeling. The terms should be less misleading as 'within-seeing' and 'within-feeling'.

Such thought, called 'the One Thought' by Shen Hui, or 'a thought of the Absolute (absolute thought)', and such impersonal non-objective affectivity, is not an interpretation of quanta as movement, is not, therefore, temporal: it is the arrière-fond, the immutable background of the phenomenal process of 'living'. It is Dhyana, what-we-are, in our functioning aspect called Prajna. Subjected to sequential duration it becomes thought and emotion, concept and ratiocination, love/hate, and pleasure/pain.

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The Goose

'Destroy 'the ego', hound it, beat it, snub it, tell it where it gets off?' Great fun, no doubt, but where is it? Must you not find it first? Isn't there a word about catching your goose before you can cook it?

The great difficulty here is that there isn't one.

(© T.J. Gray, 1968)

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