Thursday, 20 September 2012

Some Key Questions about the Self

Dear All,

Welcome to this Blog - that is connected to my section of Core 1001 - Perspectives on the Individual (Fall, 2012, FDU Vancouver).

Since the objective of this course is to encourage you to develop your own philosophy of the self, I would suggest you keep a journal, in which you record your ideas about the topic. 

We have talked a bit about different philosophical concepts of the self at the very beginning of this class. Please think about these models - and others we will discuss later - and try to evaluate them by comparing them to your own ideas and personal experiences about "the self." 

Feel free to include insights you have gained about "the self" in other context, for example, through your familiarity with certain spiritual traditions (e.g. Buddhism, Hinduism, Sikhism, Islam, Sufism, Judaism, Christianity, Shintoism, Shamanism, Indigenous Spirituality etc), or, of course, by reading novels, stories, poems, and myths, as well as by listening to certain kinds of music, by looking at certain works of art, or by watching dance performances or movies etc.

Questions you can keep asking yourself - and answer in your journal in interaction with the course texts and other texts and/or ideas you come across this term - include (but are not limited to) the following:

  • Who am I?
  • What is it that defines me? or: What is it that makes me me?
  • How important are my thoughts, words, and actions in defining who I am?
  • What role do stories, experiences, and memory play in giving me an identity?
  • Does my identity depend on the body I inhabit? If yes, what happens to my identity when my body changes?
  • What exactly is it that changes about my identity over time and what remains the same?
  • Is there a difference between the way I see myself and others see me? If yes, what does this imply?
  • Is it important for the way I see myself to take into consideration what others think of me? If so, why? If not, why not?
  • In what ways/areas is my life pre-determined? What are the choices I have in this situation?
  • In what ways/areas am I free to do what I wish? Where are the limits of my freedom and why?
  • What can I do to change my identity - or the things I CAN change about my identity? What can I do to live with whatever I cannot change about myself?
  • Do I have a "spirit" or "soul"? How do I know? What follows from that for my life and/or my actions?
  • What is consciousness? Where is it located? Who - and/or what - has consciousness?
  • What does the fact that science has proven that animals and plants have the same consciousness that we as humans possess mean? Why do so many humans ignore this fact?
  • What constitutes life (life in general and the life of an individual human/animal/plant)?
  • What is the purpose and meaning of life in general - and of my life in particular? 
  • What do I want to do with my life?
  • What is my relationship to the world (planet, other people & animals, the future, etc)?
  • What are my responsibilities to the world (planet, other people & animals & plants, the future, etc)?
  • What is important to me?
  • What do I love doing?
  • How can I serve the world best with my own specific talents?

I hope you will enjoy thinking and writing about this topic - and get to know yourself and the world you live in more intimately!


Some general introductory - and easy to read! - information can be found at the following sites:


  1. I am a school of thought at a given point of time. Thoughts may be positive or negative in a given situation based on my conception, or experience or governed by prejudices. My thoughts govern my actions. I am in harmony with my body when my thoughts are in co existence with my surroundings.

    I am the set of principles that I have acquired and by which I live.

    I am a belief.

    I am the change for I am on the move. I change constantly.

    I am the ability to adapt, change and progress in constant basis.

    I am in harmony with my body when my school of thoughts and set of principles are not disturbed.

    I am the strength when I believe in my thoughts and principles.

    I am a set of emotions and feelings that my body recognizes and reacts to or responds to.

    I am an ego when I over rate myself.

    I am a depression when I under rate myself.

    I am happiness when I am in harmony with my thoughts.

    I am sorrow when my expectations have been shattered.

    I am justice when my principles have been questioned.

    I am revenge when an injustice has been done against my body or mind.

    I am the voice when I state my thoughts.

    I am an action when I apply my thoughts.

    I am a spot in the universe.

    I am a unit in relation to other units.

    I am energy.

  2. Hi Viren,

    I like your poem/ definition/ description a lot! Thank you very much for sharing!