Brief Philosophy: Illusions of Self

In reply to Matt's post, I began commenting only to realize once more that I was getting somewhat carried away. Here is the important bit from that comment.

I have now for some time subscribed to the view that all humans are born equal. Yet throughout our lives, due to experiences and our reactions to them, certain patterns develop as you have mentioned. The patterns continue to cement themselves over time, and become more elaborate constructs and mechanisms. They eventually become so numerous and intertwined, that it is impossible to see the original character of equality of our humanity.

At this point, we forget that original quality, and assume that the patterns, constructs, and mechanisms that have overgrown it are in fact our identity. We believe that this is "us" and whatever negative connotations might be part of this we assume, as you have pointed out, to be "character flaws." Yet these are no more our true nature than, for instance, hair which is cut, styled, colored, and continues to grow over.

As such, it becomes imperative that we not get hung up on believing that we have these "flaws" or shortcomings, which has a tendency to make us think that we are powerless to change them. Instead, we can only accept our character as existing, yet not claim ownership of it, in a quest to uncover the real "self."

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