First we need to look at that word 'self."
[Some might say we deconstruct it, still a popular word, experts still argue about what it actually means.]
The idea of a self distinct from not-self is a concept. Concepting is a way of putting a frame around something. Put a frame around a urinal and it transforms it into a priceless work of art. The act of concepting is a way of saying the Whole is made up out of little parts. Highligt some of it, hide some of it; title this picture World or Creation or Universe and in so saying set yourself apart from it.
[I've heard it rumored in the halls of the Academy that Hegel had it figured out but Hegel's depth and subtlety reads gibberish to me and apparently most everybody so don't try turning to Hegel for help.]
Many years ago I read a question. I think it was R. Buckminster Fuller [appeal to authority]. I can't quote it verbatim but only gistly. Does this system we call universe have a minimum number of parts it needs to keep running. You can strip quite a few components from a running car before you have just "four wheels and an old tin can" in a pile of similar rubble. Going up from that a few notches, what is the minimum number of species needed in this earth planet system for human life to be able to continue as a 'part' of it?
This is a dangerous question to ask because we seem to be replying, "Lets find out! Perform the Grand Experiment in Ontology." It is the brute fact of the creation of the idea that humans stand out, and usually as better than, superior to, everything else that we are in a major geologic transformation. We are witnessing a grand extinctioning: one intelligence after another––bludgeoned or poisoned, pinned or powdered––erased out of being. Because of the idea of humanity. After the idea comes the presence. It a brute fact that humans are here. Arguments about free will and all that are entertainments, academic circle jerks.
Can we really apply an intentionality to humanity? There is no such thing as humanity. It is a myth. It has no moral center, no collective single will or appetite, no intention or direction. We put humanity into a larger category: Life.
[This sense of the word life only came into existence in modern times, oozing into existence maybe some time in the 17th century; in scientific literature not until 1959.]
Categories of distinction, Linneus, probably even the periodic table, arbitrary and imposed; not organic, of the nature of the world. An infinite web of connections and relationships.
One old white philosopher, Ortega y Gassett, wrote something I think is true and you don’t have to be a great philosopher to understand it. The question really is, Will I commit to it?
He wrote, “I am I and my circumstances (in Spanish mi circunstancia), if I do not save it, I do not save myself.”
My only question to that, does anything need saving? There is a theological view that everything is always saved. It is a leap of faith to choose this view, so counter to the prevailing opinion, the myth of the broken world.
Self is probably not the sort of self you think it is, feel it to be. You are a forest and a tree, one and same. You are not being selfish in the pejorative usual sense, nor are you being selfless. You can only be fully self by being fully other. Is it from this perspective that a world not in need of saving is possible because that itself is the salvation?
The vision is for Ongoingness; Life continuing on . . . .
Richard Valasek 1501 Kuloko St Pearl City HI 96782
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and, if I do not save it, I do not save myself. —JOSÉ ORTEGA Y GASSET
Whatever affects one directly affects all indirectly. For some strange reason I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. And you can never be what you ought to be until I am what I ought to be––this is the interrelated structure of reality.
—MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR.
Now, more than ever . . . our place in the universe and the place of the universe in us, is proving to be one of active relationship. That is more than a scientist's credo. The separateness of our lives is a sham. Physics, mathematics, music, painting, my love for you, my work, the star-dust of my body, the spirit that impels it, my politics, clocks diurnal, time perpetual, the roll, rough, tender, swamping, liberating, breathing, moving, thinking nature, human nature and the cosmos are patterned together.
—JEANETTE WINTERSON Gut Symmetries
What you do, what you become, is not my concern. –ROBERT MCCALL