Reply to some questions:
“You said your idea is true otherwise we should be able to find an example of us doing a kind deed without feeding the image of us being good people or some shit.”
Really, thanks for engaging with this. I’m glad you’re diving in.
I guess – the best way to get a fix on it is to look at the image of yourself that’s constantly being built around good feelings and good deeds.
If you feel feelings of love, your mind will put up an image of you as a loving person. If you do something nice, your mind will craft an image of you as a nice person.
Nothing complex, it seems completely normal and occurs in everyone.
The issue is, firstly, that the image of yourself in your head isn’t real. Again, pretty obvious, but gotta start here. It’s a fiction, an idea about who you are, and it always has the quality of being “good” (in whatever goodness personally means to you). Everyone thinks of themselves as fundamentally decent in some way, or if not, at least trying to become decent. Or, maybe they decided that they aren’t good, but they’ll turn that into a whole ‘it’s not good to be good’ kind of thing, that still has them on the morally correct side.
Could be an image of yourself as intelligent, loving, morally correct, whatever. “Good”, in some way.
The second issue is – our brain will automatically accept any belief about ourselves that flatters us. As long as it’s not too extreme (“I’m a fierce warrior! Muhaha”). But no one seriously and relentlessly questions the good thoughts about themselves.
Third – the feelings of love, kindness, compassion – they don’t really cost anything. They just kind of appear in our consciousness. Our brains will use them as evidence that we’re loving kind people, but they aren’t. Feelings have no moral weight on their own, but we’ll base our entire moral worth on the fact that, because we feel strongly about something, we have value.
To put it all together: what we have is a self image which is based on any flattering belief that enters our head, and any wonderful feelings we feel (or anything we care strongly for).
So, if a person could see that all their core beliefs are lies, and their feelings have no moral weight, down goes the credibility of their ego. The whole thing collapses. Ego death, essentially. It’s extremely painful for a couple days, then evens out in an incredibly beautiful way that gives you peace, a crystal clear view of the source behind all your problems, immunity from destructive emotional cycles, expansion of consciousness, all that fun jazz.
“Well I did stop cuberbullying a couple people in this group. Not to be a good person.”
Sure. But, whether or not the thought “I’m good for stopping cyberbullying” pops up in your head is out of your control. We don’t think our thoughts, they just sort of occur in our heads.
The pseudoself is incredibly compelling, but also incredibly good at camouflaging itself. “I stopped cyberbullying, not to be good, but to stop bullying” itself is a story about you as a good person.
If you do something just to be good, that’s not good. If you do something for others, that’s good. So if your thoughts can get you to believe you’re actually doing something for others, that’s an incredibly compelling ego can form around that.
But what if the point of your action is itself acting out that fictional character – the character who appears genuine.
Consider that you’re being fooled at every step of the way into crafting a story that leaves you looking good to yourself. All your efforts in self-improvement were just for the story of you as a self-improving person. Even your investigation into this is you acting out the role of “I’m trying to honestly investigate this!”
Consider that you’re being deceived into being fake.
“But I feel like the moderation of bullying was achieved. And if you see that as a good deed, then how did my ego let me do the bullying knowing it was a bad thing and possibly enjoy doing it too.”
Ego will warp bullying into a good thing. “They deserve it” or “it’s no big deal” or “I’m just trying to show them something about themselves” or “I’m just doing it for the lulz”
As long as you’re morally let off the hook, ego is fine with that. And when you realize it was wrong, it’ll go “well now I realize it’s wrong, and I stopped doing it, so it’s okay” – just another story that lets you off the hook.
“Your views about feelings being classified in terms of being a good person or bad person are false. It requires a person to identify an action as good or bad, but actions can just be actions without being good or bad. Good and bad are just two perspectives of that coin that you don’t need to flip.”
Actions are just actions yeah, but the brain will backwards rationalize almost anything into portraying you in a positive light.
Idk, like imagine you got wasted and broke something in your parents’ house. They get pissed at you. Immediately your brain might throw up a ton of excuses why it wasn’t your fault, why they should’t be so mad, yada yada.
And there are good actions, hardwired into our species, at least as far as our moral sense of self worth is concerned. Self-sacrifice for the needs of others is the big one. That’s always compelling, and its why, when couples get into arguments, they’ll almost always jump on the “look how much I’ve done for you” story.
But how often do we actually do that? Sacrifice our needs for the sake of another person, and not just for the story of ourselves being nice people?
“To have a perspective on it requires an identity. And identity requires a sense of both self and your surroundings/society/civilization/nature. Identity is by it’s very nature is the comparison and contrast of one thing to other things.”
Yes, but that identity can be built on a fictional foundations. Hitler thought he was a good person.
The identity of humans has a moral element, that’s based on our ideas about how good we are, how much we care about others and how much love we feel. But all of those can be manufactured stories, lies. None of them need to include honestly sacrificing one’s needs for the sake of another person.
So that’s how to approach this. You go:
“Every good thing about me is a lie. I don’t believe my beliefs, I just like how they make me look. My feelings of love, and the things I care about, are just fodder for a fictional story about me.”
And you look. You look for evidence of this in your own life. You keep looking until you start seeing that evidence, and you’ll start to feel awful.
But look at those awful feelings. Are you just beating yourself up so you feel good about beating yourself up for feeling bad? That’s just more bs.
See enough, and this will trigger a feedback loop where your obviously fake reaction to your fakeness triggers more fakeness, and on and on until boom – the whole structure holding up your ego is unraveled. It can no longer fool you as easily, can no longer hide in the good beliefs about yourself. Your ability to detect your fakeness skyrockets.
Then good shit happens. Real shit can happen once the fakeness is seen through.