Appearance and Self-Reference


Consciousness, pure being, is considered to be non-changeable and static. Something which cannot be described. But what is appearance then? Appearance is the result of a subject-object split of consciousness produced by some delusive energy that is an epiphenomenon of consciousness. False identification with the subject of this subject-object split leads to awareness and self-separation of consciousness in form of the ego-thought. The mistaken identity that is built this way is the observer of the subject-object world we experience through our senses. But how does this self-referential functionality actually provide a continuous ego-identity when the appearances in our different states of being are different?

As mentioned in earlier posts we human beings know three stages of awareness: the state of being awake, the state of dream during sleep, and dreamless sleep. Since during dreamless sleep we are in a state of pure consciousness without awareness this delusive energy creating appearances seems not to be active. So let’s have a closer look to the other two stages: being awake and dreaming during sleep.

In both stages there is awareness, there is a subject-object split created by the delusive energy of consciousness. But obviously the delusion is different if we compare the state of being awake with the state of dreaming.

The creation of the self as it is experienced during our state of being awake in an earlier post was described as a two-step procedure. In the first step the human mind uses the subject-object splitting functionality it was given by the delusive energy of consciousness and names and defines things, which it observes through it senses, according conventions influenced by our environment and culture and that way falsely takes them for reality. In the second step this same subject-object splitting functionality starts making a definition of itself based on a collection of all these self-defined external phenomena that it somehow relates with itself.

More or less the same way the self is built during dream. The only difference is that the ‘reality’ on which the self is based in dreams is definitely of another type of the ‘reality’ experienced during being awake. Let’s have a closer look in which way the ‘reality’ in dreams is different from the reality when being awake.

Although we experience our dreams with awareness since we experience the environments in our dreams through our senses exactly like in the state of being awake, and we act in those environments also comparable with the state of being awake this awareness is not the same as wakeful awareness since we do not introspect. For example we do not wonder about being transferred between places that are very distant from each other within seconds, we do not wonder about meeting people that are actually dead, etc. We mostly also do not make decisions; we just follow the flow of the narrative line without questioning it and mostly without even trying to influence it.

Another difference with our experiences during the state of being awake is that things happened in our dreams are mostly not remembered, and consequently do not become part of our memory. The strange thing is that although the experiences of our dreams do not become content of our memory during dreams we have full access to the memory of our experiences of our state of being awake. We recall scenes of our live or we even re-experience them be it in the original or in an alternated version.

One last significant difference with the ‘reality’ experienced in the state of being awake is that every time we dream the phenomenal environment of our dream is different again. In our state of being awake the environmental environment is always the same. Unless we manage to stop identifying ourselves with the subject of the subject-object split taking place in our mind the environment we experience in our state of being awake will be the same from birth till death. This is not the case in dreams.

In the state of being awake it is understandable or at least logical explainable that through the delusive perception of our awareness of the world of phenomena as a continuous almost static thing we also experience a continuous ego-identification. In dream state we deal with another situation. In dream state we also experience a continuous self-referential ego-experience although in every dream we are thrown in a complete different phenomenal environment. Respecting the theory that the ego is a result of false identification with its environment, it would be expected that the self that is experienced in dreams must be another self as the one experienced when being awake. Nevertheless we identify with those different selves as the same constant ego. Even more complicated it turns with regards to the dreamless sleep state. At that time individual awareness has disappeared and even the ego-perception has returned in the pure state of being. Nevertheless, waking up from this dreamless sleep state the first thing the human mind does is remembering the self-refering ego.

So somehow, to guarantee this continuity of the ego-thought, the delusive energy of ego-formation must be adaptive to the different and each other interfering states of being awake, dream state and dreamless sleep.


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