The mental gymnastics required to talk about who and what I am

It requires a lot of mental gymnastics to talk about anything at all, and talking about who and what I am is no exception.

THE WHO & WHAT DISTINCTION

In this context, “who” and “what” refer to two different things.

“Who I am” refers to this human self.

“What I am” refers to what I more fundamentally am in my first-person experience – what my field of experience happens within and as. (A thought may call this consciousness.)

This is a sometimes useful distinction, and it’s created by my mental field as all distinctions are.

MENTAL GYMNASTICS

What are some of these mental gymnastics? What’s required to distinguish between who and what I am?

(A) There is what’s here in immediacy which is simpler than any words. If I were to put words on it, it would be a “seamless whole”, although even that’s a bit too much. This is the first mental gymnastics and the first distinction.

(B) Then there is a distinction between what I more fundamentally am (AKA consciousness) and what it forms itself into (the field of experience). In immediacy, there is no such distinction. It only appears when my mental field creates that distinction in order to communicate and explore certain things.

(C) Then, there is a distinction within this field of experience between this human self and the wider world, into me and not-me. In reality, the field of experience is seamless so it requires quite a bit to differentiate out these two.

USEFUL MENTAL GYMNASTICS

These distinctions are sometimes useful. As I mentioned above, they help me communicate with myself and others, and they help with certain types of explorations. (Although I sometimes wonder how useful some of those explorations are!)

It’s also helpful to notice that these are mental gymnastics. What they refer to is far more simple and immediate and words cannot really touch it1.

It’s also interesting to notice how much energy all of this takes! It doesn’t come for free.

A FEW MORE WORDS

There is always more to say about this.

For instance, I can imagine further distinctions: (a) Seamless whole. (b) Calling it consciousness. (c) The field of experience it forms itself into. And (d) it as capacity for all of it, capacity for itself.

Capacity is inherent in what I am, it seems, just like the rest.

NOTES

(1) Just like words cannot really touch anything they refer to. This is inherent in words, not what they point to. More accurately, it’s inherent in the difference between the mental field (mental images and words) and what they point to.


INITIAL DRAFT

Seamless whole

I sometimes write about who and what I am, where “who” refers to this human self and “what” refers to what I more fundamentally am in my own first-person experience (what this field of experience happens within and as).

That’s a neat and sometimes useful distinction, but it is created by my mental field as all distinctions are.

In immediacy, it’s all here, it’s a seamless whole.

Whatever is here in this field of experience is what I am and all what I am not.

Again, the mental field needs to come in to create distinctions and put words on it. It’s all what I am since what I am (what a thought may call consciousness) forms itself into all of it. It’s all what I am not since it all comes and goes I am more fundamentally am what forms itself into all of it.

There is a further sometimes useful distinction here. Some of this field of experience is the wider world and some belong to this particular human self. That too is a distinction created by the mental field. Some is “me” in a conventional sense and some is “not me”.

Another distinction that all this rests on is between what I more fundamentally am (AKA consciousness) and what it forms itself into (the field of experience). This too is created by the mental field. There is no such distinction in immediacy.

So there is a lot of mental gymnastics needed to talk about “who” and “what” I am.

There is what’s here in immediacy which is simpler than any words. If I were to put words on it, it would be a “seamless whole”, although even that’s a bit too much since it makes divisions.

Then, there is a basic distinction between what I am (consciousness) and what this forms itself into (the field of experience). As all distinctions, it’s arificial although sometimes useful for communication and exploration.

Then, there is a distinction within this field of experience into this human self and the wider world, or me and not-me.

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