Ego as Emergent Phenomenom

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William Irwin Thompson:

"There are many reasons not to be satisfied with this first extension of Buddhism into cognitive science, for now, Kevin Kelly, the editor of the hip Silicon Valley psychedelic review Wired, is proclaiming that there is no self in the brain or anywhere; there are only "swarm mentalities." This strikes me as something of a projective self-description of the collectivity of Wired, Mondo2000, and Howard Rheingold's Whole Earth Review, but the difficulty with this sort of trendy boutique Buddhism is that it serves the corporate electronic state only too well, for it eliminates the politics of the European Enlightenment in which our practice of individual civil liberties are based. The Western esoteric tradition in which I am situated would see the ego as an emergent phenomenon that is coming from precisely this interface between the music and the meat, so it has more of an angelic, emanationalist quality to its descriptions of the self that emerges in self-organization from noise.

Literature gives us a wonderful way of coming at this problem of the multidimensional nature of the self, and this is one of the reasons why I have constructed this narrative (i.e. Coming Into Being) not simply with philosophical works but with the major literary texts of history. If you want to think about perception, time, and the nature of identity, then it is not enough simply to read Edelman's Remembered Present or Dennett's Consciousness Explained; to be a good cognitive scientist you also have to read Proust. From my point of view, what we have been talking about with the idea of the delay-space is really what Proust's famous scene with the madeleine is all about."