Now we will take a trip to reality land, away from fantasy land or the island of illusion... And none of this will be mystical. It'll just plain be physics.
We have the right to make up our own minds.
We do not have the right to make up our own facts.
I SEE, IN SOME CASES, I AM NOT WHAT I HAVE
Most people could see that they are not their cars or their houses - and if they thought otherwise there might be a commitment to a special asylum...
But few people see that they are not their beliefs or that indeed beliefs are something they have.
WHO I ACTUALLY AM
Who I am in actuality is, at the highest level, a unique ability among animals to think and create and even experience at a meaningfully level.
That's it. That's all we really are.
AND THEN WE ACQUIRE
Despite all that great stuff, we were not born with knowledge (other than a few instincts and pre-programmed automatic operating of our bodies).
If we get bad knowledge, then we operate this great machinery to produce "bad" results.
If we get good knowledge then we get "good" results (mostly).
That's just pure physics.
Unfortunately, we have alot of poor knowledge passed on to us, plus we, mostly as children, make up some "knowledge" that is really pure BS.
And, when we have poor knowledge of how things work, we begin to believe that the bad knowledge means that we are bad! Incredible!
But note that all of it is acquired after we were born, so it is not an inherent part of who we are - the knowledge is just something we use.
Knowledge is just "bits of data" combined together in some way for some purpose.
If you HAVE knowledge, it is just something you HAVE.
If you've added it to your brain, then you've taken something that is not you and processed it in the form of data bits that are part of neuronal pathways in our brain. Those are like "recordings".
I ask you, is the recorder the same as the recording? ___ yes; ___ no
Are you the same as the recording - is the recording "you", or something taken on, attached, and just temporarily imprinted in some means of holding the recording of bits of data? ___ yes; ___ no
You have ACQUIRED these things in some way. The brain matter itself is still the same brain matter and your body is still the same body and no part of you has been changed. You are the entity that acquired these.
AND THEN COULD I CHANGE IT?
If I can change a recording by recording over it, is that recording a part of me or just something I temporarily have? Aren't I just the recorder in that case?
Wouldn't it be an "illusion" (not correct perception) if you thought the recorder was the same as the recorded data recorded into it? The "illusion" referred to in many thought disciplines and philosophical constructs is the perceiving of our thoughts and beliefs (all recordings or arrangements of data) as being ourselves (and/or as being reality).
The illusion is the failure to perceive that we are only the recorder or the holder of the data. No more than the flowers in a vase are the vase, we are not that which we hold or have.
In any event, this marvelous recording device that "learns" can only acquire the data bits it is given. Thus the "you" you think you are is the actual You plus all the additions you hold inside your brain. And since they are "inside" your physical perimeters you think it is you. If you were a vase, that means you'd be thinking that you're also the flowers. (Wouldn't you feel foolish if someone else thought you thought that????)
Granted, it seems (or appears) that those bits of data are us, as we have constantly thought that fact/data enough times that it appears always existent and therefore appears to be fixed and permanent and real. As humans if we repeat the same frame of film over and over, there appears to be a movie that says we are and have always been that thing.
Anybody educated sufficiently will see that illusion.
If you did a recording, are the data bits the recorder or the tape or the electronic memory?
In recent brain research, as we might have expected from observing changes in humans, the scientists found that we could re-wire our brains. The neuronal patterns that are held in the brain as "thoughts" can actually fall into disuse and decay, where the brain will take the materials that had been used to hold those electronic charges and use them elsewhere where they are more needed. (That function or automatic ability is simply from evolution.)
If we repeat a new thought that has relevance to the same association the brain has with something, the new thought will begin to be used more often and eventually become dominant, the pathway that automatically is accessed when that association comes up.
This section is not about the brain, but it is about the proof that we are not our neuronal pathways and that we only hold them or have them, until we choose something new.
ARE YOU FLAWED?
You might argue that you are flawed as a result of your childhood and that that is just you (...and you're doomed, stuck, handicapped, etc.). But would you argue to anyone out there that "I am my neuronal pathways and that's it. Period. End of discussion!"? They might think you were insane.
Indeed, it is insane thinking to think that you are your thoughts or even that your thoughts are a thing rather than a temporary neuronal pattern which is either sustained or not sustained.
Other than the condition that we call insanity, insanity as a noun means very foolish, absurd, unsound, ...and such. The opposite of insanity (high sanity) is using one's brain's reasoning power to find what is true and then to reason out how that could be used. Of course, without proper facts one cannot use all the reasoning in the world to come to a correct conclusion... therefore, this website and its attempt to have you gain enough "life" knowledge.
WHAT YOU'VE MADE UP IS NOT "THE TRUTH"
Thinking you are your beliefs/thoughts is a misperception and a misbelief that is not true and is therefore absurd and the same as insane. Of course, the insane thought is based on lack of knowledge or the presence of misknowledge, so it is revisable to sanity, unless your brain is actually highly impaired and unsound.
Many people also think that what they've made up is the truth and something that is permanent. But if we "make up" something haven't we actively or passively constructed in our brain a neuronal pattern? Isn't it just a recording that was made up? Couldn't a made up recording be based on poor information? Certainly that "made up" is a potentially changeable temporary thing, just electical impulses and physical pathways involved charged neurons. If that is so, couldn't we record over it?
And is it therefore not really part of us? Isn't it just a neuronal pattern we added into our brain?
CAN'T WE JUST MAKE-UP SOMETHING NEW?
If it is a neuronal pathway that is not permanent, then couldn't we make up something new and re-record over it or repeat it often enough that our brain uses it automatically instead of the old "made-up".
Isn't the concept of "good and bad" something we made up to classify things in some way? And some people use it in a useful way and others use it in an unuseful way.
The latter use it as a "pejorative judgment", attaching a meaning to it that is made up (even if in common use, it is still made up, fabricated, not "the truth").
IF YOU HAVE A THOUGHT, YOU CAN'T 'BE' THE THOUGHT, TOO
That you are not that which you have or think is one of the core concepts of reality thinking.
That thoughts are not real things, even though they might seem so, is another core concept of reality.
That fear is (only) a body sensation caused by engaging pathways that are called beliefs or "meanings" is a basic fact. (And we add meaning, such as believing there are threats in some conceptual way to such things as our self-esteem, which itself is strictly made-up and not real. The added meaning, where there is no real (physical) threat, is false, but believed. And if it is a believed threat, we will experience uncomfortable chemicals and/or body sensations, which we then interpret to mean something "bad". The secret to being miserable, though it may sound trite or simplistic, is simply making-up the thought/belief that "this is awful". If we saw that whatever happens is strictly what happens, simply reality, and we didn't make it awful and simply moved on to creating our happiness, we would virtually be fearless.
When we get to the point of accepting reality, we remove resistance to it and we remove suffering from our lives. Suffering only comes about because we set unrealistic expectations about how things "should be", in order for us to be happy. Those expectations are complete nonsense. And you should completely this. See Suffering And Struggle In Life.
AND THEY ARE NOT PERMANENT NOR FIXED (AND THEREFORE ARE NOT REAL)
Since the beliefs or "meanings" are made up (which is all that is physically possible) by me or by someone else, they are not permanent nor fixed.
However, some beliefs are useful (i.e. true, correct, functional) and may be kept and repeated to oneself - as it is useful to avoid loss of life - though technically we need not even have that fear, per se, but only a set of facts that guide us toward what we want and the desire (also made up) motivates us so emotionally strongly that we will seek to obey the rules we set.
Now, I realize it does take some practice to operate your life from this reality. After all, you've operated your life from the other made-up viewpoint so long that you think that the viewpoint is actually you - it sure seems like that. So, your default mode will be to believe they (your beliefs) are you...and then if you keep re-minding yourself and keep repeating what is actually true, you will find yourself being free of the artificial limitations and made-up fears, as they simply disappear when you realize they are made-up and therefore are not real (permanent, fixed).
Of course, you can choose to see your stories and to believe that they are real (but woudn't that be nuts?). Or you could simply distinguish between what is a story and what is real. I recommend the latter!