drawing boundaries of self

You get to draw your own personal boundary: the boundary between self and not-self. Choosing to be a big person involves drawing the boundary as far out as possible -- much further than your skin or your aura -- so that all achievements are your achievements, all disappointments are your disappointments. When you get big enough, there's nothing but you.

The original insight comes from the work of philosopher Daniel Dennett, who wrote words to the effect that everything's local if you're very big; everything's "non-local" (universal?) if you're very small. Talk about context-dependence!

Sorry but I can't remember the exact words. I could google it, but I'm lazy, so I'll leave that task for you to perform.


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Antares said...

Yes, using "local" and "non-local" to describe phenomena is very useful as it bypasses the need to construct a hierarchic universe. The greater the circumference of one's awareness, the more "local" one becomes - I like that :-)

Faycin A Croud said...

I'm pretty thin-skinned so I tend to keep my boundaries pretty high. Every now and then I let someone in. I'm not sure how often I live to regret it as compared to how often I'm glad I did it.

masterymistery said...

Faycin, the smartass response would be to say that if you let someone in and feel glad about it, and it only happens once and never again, still it would outweigh all the regrettable times put together. I suppose that makes me a smartass -- says he, who has "let in" maybe 2 people in his entire life.

masterymistery said...

Antares, you've taken it one step further (as usual!) with your statement "The greater the circumference of one's awareness, the more 'local' one becomes". I hadn't thought of it in those terms but it makes a lot of sense.

As an aside, there's the great phrase of Einstein's ("...spooky action at a distance...") expressing his dislike of the Locality Principle in Physics.

Thanks for your comment.

mgeorge said...

Modern knowledge and communications have brought in an epoch were it is easy to see inter-relatedness. In the rear-view mirror, we can see how "one became 2 and 2 became many" - or at least how business as usual will hit where it hurts. But, as has been said before, intelligence is over-rated. "The dogs will bark but the caravan will go on." Insecurity, ambition and propaganda rule!

masterymistery said...

mgeorge, oh for the day when the caravan stops and the dogs go on! Who said intelligence is overrated? Must have been an unintelligent person!

somewhere in this blog is a post that wonders why intelligence is perceived and believed by many if not most to trump all other qualities.

weirsdo said...

Thank goodness, the nightmarish autonomous self has been pretty thoroughly debunked by now, though we all still like to fantasize.

masterymistery said...

weirsdo, it's a very hard one to let go of... maybe the reason why smarter people tend to be less "enlightened" is they have bigger egos, more to lose, to give up