Second Nature Home > Short Essays by Dan Bruiger >

What is it like to be a Self?

How I relate to my body is of key importance, reflected in how I relate to the world of “body” at large. If my body is my personal attendant, sports vehicle, entertainment center, and pleasure dome, why would I not relate to other objects in the same way? For, the basic dualism lies between self and world; this body is just the first tier of outerness and otherness in relation to “I.” Every form of egotism, subjectivism, self-indulgence, addiction, sexual and economic exploitation, manipulative attitude, substance abuse, and obsession with power likely stems from this root opposition of self and world. And what a different world it would be if this self were seen as a usurper, a fiction, a dream, or perhaps merely a detail of language! But the self, of course, is utterly convinced of its own existence. Descartes doubted the reality of the world, but never that of his self.

RELATED TAGS: [relation to body/embodiment, body of the/as world, opposition/duality of self and world, grammatical self(hood), Descartes’ cogito/skepticism/certainty]

© Copyright Dan Bruiger 2008. All rights reserved.