What’s Wrong With ‘I’ and ‘We’?

The Four distinctive kinds of ‘I-abuse’ and ‘we-abuse’ that arise from imposing a false discontinuity between energy and space are identified and their damaging influence briefly described in this article. Natural Inclusional awareness of all form as flow-form, a mutual inclusion of energy in space and space in energy, relieves and releases from all these forms of identity-abuse.

The Rationalistic Abuse and Natural Inclusional Care of Self- and Group-Identity

 We live in an age when it has become commonplace to denigrate any notion of ‘self’ or ‘ego’ as a mirage or social construction that can only bring trouble and strife.

We live in an age where many have been led to believe that genetically, we are born selfish, and that the only alternative to competitive success is co-operative success.

We live in an age where it is still scientifically disreputable to say ‘I’ or ‘we’ did this instead of ‘this was done’

We live in an age where conflict between those who place themselves on either side of a dividing line is regarded as inevitable

We live in an age of conflict between logic and emotion, where to express love of neighbour and neighbourhood is regarded as irrational and embarrassing – at best romantically naïve, at worst sickly sentimental or perverse.

At the root of all this is a rationalistic way of thinking that contradicts how we naturally are in the world as it naturally is, by imposing a false discontinuity between two mutually inclusive natural presences – energy and space – and embedding this in the definitive logic that underpins classical and modern mathematics, objective science, orthodox religion, adversarial governance and selective education.

This false dichotomy can be exposed – and the remedy for it revealed – simply by carefully and imaginatively addressing the question, ‘what, most fundamentally needs to be present to enable natural form to be distinguishable from its surroundings?’ The film below may help with this question.

This false dichotomy gives rise to four distinct but interrelated forms of abuse of self- and group-identity:-

  • Excommunication of local subjective influence by objective detachment, such that, for example, the use of the personal pronoun in 'objective scientific discourse' is banned. Natural uniqueness of local viewpoint and agency is hence disregarded – the 'I' is discounted – in the quest for an independent, emotionally detached ‘lowest common denominator’ or general rule that applies equally to everywhere and everything. Reality is thereby fractionated into individualized objects as wholes/parts. This results in a lack of emotional concern for self and others' needs. It restricts awareness of the origin and co-creativity of natural relationships, based on an assumption of complete individual independence or freedom.

As Charles Darwin himself put it: 

"A scientific man ought to have no wishes, no affections, - a mere heart of stone."
  •  Assimilation of individuality into a collective 'we' that acts as a 'Whole' or 'One' that is by definition greater than the sum of its emasculated constituents who must conform to its overarching (monistic) authority. This produces various manifestations of oppressive (power-over) collective totalitarianism based on an assumption of complete interdependent or deterministic interconnectedness that is policed by security systems to sustain the status quo.
  • Encapsulation of local subjective influence within a narcissistic local self that is dislocated from its neighbourhood and acts self-referentially to satisfy its own desires. The encapsulated self lacks appreciative empathy for or conscientious awareness of its influence on other and vice versa. In terms of personal power, this produces various manifestations of despotism, or, in its weakest form, total self-doubt.
  • Annihilation of individuality through dissolution into out-of-body nothingness, a condition of 'blissful ignorance' or 'no-self', lacking motivation and sensitivity to bodily or psychological pain, although capable of feeling compassion for the vulnerability of others still confined by their embodied self-identity. Abuse is passively accepted, even deserved and encouraged, not resisted.

Natural inclusional (NI) awareness of all form as flow-form, a mutual inclusion of energy in space and space in energy, brings relief and release from all these forms of I-abuse and we-abuse. Here, the vitality and needful vulnerability of self-identity as a natural inclusion of neighbourhood is understood to be both loving and capable of experiencing pain as mutually inclusive qualities. Abusive reaction is not seen as the only possible response to abusive action. See Rayner 2011 and http://en.wikiversity.org/wiki/Natural_Inclusion.

NI awareness correspondingly accepts and appreciates the vitality of a dynamically embodied, perceptive human self as a co-creation of tangible (formative) and intangible (spacious) presence in ‘place-time’ (‘natural energy flow’; See Rayner 2011, 2012 and http://www.bestthinking.com/article/permalink/1902?tab=article&title=deep-relativity-a-brief-explanation-of-place-time). The fullness of human nature as a dynamic inclusion and manifestation of natural energy flow cannot be expressed or experienced sensitively without or outside this embodied self as flow-form. Neither can it be fully appreciated by a mind that, through exclusion or seclusion, exempts its body from inclusion in the continuous intangible presence of natural space everywhere, without exception. A dynamically embodied natural inclusional self of both being and becoming (existing and changing) does not excommunicate its body from its infinite spatial neighbourhood. It naturally includes other flow-forms in this neighbourhood within its receptive (~gravitational) reach or influence (and itself within their reach or influence) as vital inclusions of its identity. It is intrinsically and inescapably an immersed participant with others in its neighbourhood. Each lives within and reciprocally complements other’s natural influence and identity. Identity-abuse begins when one and/or other have it mind, one way and/or another, to deny this reality.



References

Rayner, A.D. (2011) Space Cannot Be Cut: why self-identity naturally includes neighbourhood. Integrative Psychological and Behavioural Science 45, 161-184.

Rayner, A. (2012) What are natural systems, actually? Advances in System Science and Application 12, 328-347.

Acknowledgements

I would like to thank Roy Reynolds and Mona Kreipe for their helpful comments on and suggestions for amendment of drafts of this short essay.  

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