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Burden of Self-Consciousness

While all sentient creatures evaluate stimuli, and are therefore capable of pain along with pleasure, only self-conscious beings can be said to suffer, which requires knowledge of one’s condition. The natural state of any organism is perforce one of limitation, mortality, and participation in an evolutionary contest whose rules and playing field dictate the creature’s perception, behavior, and very being. For a self-conscious organism, there is suffering in the awareness of these constraints, in the longing for possibilities it can conceive beyond these (or any) limitations. The very fact of being able to see the natural context of one’s life implies a ground on which to stand apart from it. This imaginative ground is the terrain of the inner subjective world, where the flag of the self is planted. Rebellion breeds in this soil against the constraints of embodiment, and here the plot is hatched to overthrow the humiliating yoke of nature.

RELATED TAGS: [self-consciousness (and suffering), self-conscious being/organism, natural/embodied condition, suffering (and self-consciousness), evolutionary contest/race, (self) transcendence, subjective world/milieu, rebellion against nature/embodiment]

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