Reality Series: The Virtual Self (2)

Merry Christmas (substitute your favorite holiday) everyone. It is my sincere wish that each make measurable progress toward finalizing the core for a permanent soul.

Today, we continue our exploration of that part of our psychofugal complex (our mental symphony, mindbrain or psychocerebri ) giving rise to our feeling of possessing an individual self or soul.

Generally, the earliest feeling of ‘selfness’ and ‘being distinct from others’ arise in a child somewhere between 15 and 18 months postnatal. After 18 to 24 months postnatal, concepts of ‘me-mine,’ as an author of a motor action or as a receiver of another’s motor action, is present and often expressed verbally. A child can be quite possessive during these years as to what he or she perceives ‘as belonging to me,’ responding with aggression when another child attempts to play with his or her toy.

As linguistic concepts and skills continue to expand over the next few years, the sense of self is clarified and solidified under societal guidance. By the time a person has reached adulthood, such feelings are strong and difficult to dislodge, unless a person is willing to invest effort in concentrated experiential and cognitive work (preferably in a School).

Subsequently, the first matter of business is looking into those factors which are responsible for human beings possessing the idea and feeling that an aphysical self cohabits with the physical body.

[1] The primary factor underlying our convictions of possessing aphysical selves arises from three dimensional, virtual body images which are co-spatial with our physical bodies. Such overlays constructed by an inward-imago operator using sensory, somatic, and visceral input from the peripheral nervous systems. Moreover, embedded within this virtual body is a representation of the extracellular biochemical environments of much of the body tissue.

[2] The second factor concerns the generation of accurate, virtual imagines, duplicating the spatial extent and constitutional appearance of objects in the immediate physical environment, by the outward-imago operator. As children learn to interact with their immediate environments, they gain knowledge that some of the objects are similar to them as to appearance and motor actions.

[3] The third factor concerns the interaction of the inward-imago and outward-imago operators so to enhance physical survival and successful enculturation as to ‘this is me and mine’ and ‘this is you and yours.’

[4] I opine that the human capacity for developing a ‘theory of mind ’ or ‘folk psychology’ is primarily dependent on the two imago operators. By theory of mind, I refer to our cognitive and affective abilities to imagine that another person can think what I think and feel what I feel in similar circumstances.

[5] During enculturation, the realization of our aphysical selves is solidified and ‘validated’ by the following;

a. We each have a single physical body.
b. We are identified by our name.
c. We are held responsible for the actions we author.
d. We acknowledge Verbal and physical actions directed toward us.
e. We have a feeling of personal ownership over stuff, usually respected by others.
f. We are taught to use the word ‘I’ when we initiate actions and ‘me’ when we receive them.
g. We have dreamworlds in which individuals interact with each other.

[6] During our childhood development, we are exposed to many different kinds of persons, persons with different societal roles, persons who act differently, and so on. Much of this data is automatically introjected into our subconscious minds and used to create personas or ego-state clusters. These I discussed previously.

[7] In many religions, the adherents believe in the concept of souls, spirits, and Jivas and teach such to their children by stories. Such stories possessing ‘authoritative power’ and much emotive content.

I am sure all of you can extend my list of reinforcers for our concept and feeling of self. It is likely a useful cognitive exercise to do this.

So far, today’s discussion, as to why people have egos, seems to suggest our individual selves are little more than epiphenomena associated with the biological laws involved in the operation of the human CNS and its cognitive conditioning during enculturation. Based upon what has been presented, I would agree that most of the factors supporting our belief in ‘our self’ discourage acceptance of the existence of the aphysical or the spiritual.

However, this is not the final answer to this problem.

Tomorrow, we will delve further into this matter.

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