The Static Self

In the various schools of Buddhist thought there exists a concept that is called anatta in the Pāḷi language. This term roughly translates into “non-self”. The belief is that your inner consciousness, your self, does not last forever, but is transient and always changing. You will not be the same person you were in twenty years, nor are you the same person you were twenty years ago according to this idea. Your very self, the core of your being, is ephemeral.

Or so they claim. I take issue with this claim, however. If I’m constantly changing, is it possible for my self at one point to be good and warrant going to heaven while a later self is bad and is damned to hell? Now, I can only really base my judgment of this concept on personal experience, and it seems to me that the idea is lacking. I am exactly the same person I was all my life. To prove this, I submit to you an excerpt from a book report I wrote while in first grade entitled Green Eggs and Ham — a Literalist Approach:

When Theodor Geisel first wrote these immortal words:

You do not like [green eggs and ham]./So you say./Try them! Try them!/And you may./Try them and you may, I say.

which are now enshrined in his magnum opus, Green Eggs and Ham, he, quite simply, intended us to take them at face value. Through the words of Sam-I-Am, Seuss is directly stating to the reader that, despite the fact that we find the prospect of eating green eggs and ham revolting, we may, in fact, enjoy them. It is not as the Seussian apologists of the playground state: that we should try things before passing judgment on them. No, this is simply false dogma.

What they close their eyes to is the fact that these were actual events transcribed by Geisel. The unnamed, hatted protagonist was not some character created for a child’s amusement, but an actual flesh and blood person. And, with this account of his encounter with Sam-I-Am, Seuss reveals to us a universal truth: we may like green eggs and ham.

It is very much like this one fable I wrote […]

As you can see from this passage, I have not changed one iota in terms of expressing my thoughts in the written word. Now, the Buddhists can go on believing their nonsense about the “non-self”. Perhaps, due to their fickle, ephemeral nature, they will eventually come around to the truth.

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~ by norealname on April 24, 2008.

2 Responses to “The Static Self”

  1. Did that book report earn a gold star?

  2. And a smiley face!

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