“Self Is Like a Unicorn”: Buddhas Brain

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Self-related representations abound in the mind and thus in the brain.
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Those patterns of information and neural activity are certainly real.
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But that which they point to, explicitly or implicitly– a unified, enduring, independent “I” who is the essential owner of experiences and agent of actions– just doesn’t exist.
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In the brain, self-related activities are distributed and compounded, not unified; they are variable and transient, not enduring; and they are dependent on changing conditions, including the interactions the body has with the world.
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Just because we have a sense of self does not mean that we are a self.
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The brain strings together heterogenous moments of self-ing and subjectivity into an illusion of homogenous coherence and continuity.
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The self is truly a fictional character.
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Sometimes it’s useful to act as if it’s real, as we’ll see below.
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Play the role of the self when you need to.
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But try to keep remembering that who you are as a person– dynamically intertwined with the world– is more alive, interesting, capable, and remarkable than any self.”
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