Lawnchair Philosopher

Home » Philosophy » Dualism » Authenticity is Non-Dualistic

Authenticity is Non-Dualistic

August 2010
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The foundation of dualism is grammatical. It divides reality into subject and object. Subjectivity corresponds with mind, and objectivity with matter. Accordingly, what a person fundamentially is–as a subject–is not material but mind. A person is not a body, but rather has a body. The subject experiences the body as an object.

But this is alienating. The body becomes other than one’s self; and one’s self becomes a kind of a shadow. Consequently, since one cannot but think in terms of objects, one sets of seeking to find one’s self in some obscure other, either consciously on unconsciously. Most commonly, it is an unconscious search. This duality can be easily spotted.

When one seeks do discover an objective identity (since a subject can never be but represented in thought except as an object), he or she acquires the material objects and outward mannerisms which best represent that objective self. A young man may buy a pack of cigarettes and smoke a cigarrette just so. You can see the dualism directly. He stands outside himself, as if the world were a mirror, and poses for himself: an object to a subject: a man divided from himself: another to himself. He is immaterial, an idea.

But reality is not an idea. Both matter and mind are a consequence of thinking, a consequence of grammar. Don’t mistake me on this point. I do not mean that the mind literally produces the matter about us. I mean that by the time the experience has been translated into the language of reflective consciousness, a fundamental transformation takes place. Reality becomes a representation. As a representation, it becomes dual: subject and object.

Authenticity is logically prior to reflective consciousness. When a man or a woman is authentic, the categories of subject and object are simply not fundamental to the experience, though they may place some secondary practical role. Rather, when one is authentic–singing, dancing, breathing–one is no self at all.  Only in this kind  of selflessness is one authentic, is one not aliented, is one non-dual.

A person singing authentically is not a singer. There is then but singing. A person dancing authentically is not a dancer. There is but dancing. A person breathing authentically is not a breather. There is but breathing.

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2 Comments

  1. Eric Newton says:

    Congratulations on your blog. When you have a chance, please read “The Presentation of Self in Everyday Life” by Erving Goffman. While Goffman’s approach is sociological rather than philosophical, his observations may further your current thoughts.

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