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Turning the ego trick

“There is an Ego Trick, but it is not that the self doesn’t exist, only that it is not what we generally assume it to be. Perhaps the simplest analogy is with a cloud. From a distance it looks like an object with fairly clear edges, but the closer you get to it, the more indistinct it becomes. Get really close and you can see it’s just a collection of water droplets. Does this mean clouds don’t exist? Of course not, it just means they are not chunks of cotton wool. The self is like a cloud that not only looks like a single object from the outside, but feels like one from the inside too. Knowing the truth doesn’t change the way it either looks or feels, and nor does it conjure it out of existence. It simply makes us recognize that at root each of us is an ever-changing flux, not a never-changing core. The solidity of the self is an illusion; the self itself is not. The Ego Trick is not to persuade us that we exist when we do not, but to make us believe we are more substantial and enduring than we really are.” – Julian Baggini, The Ego Trick

Published inLit & Crit

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