My Consciousness Informs Me, It Does Not Control Me, and I am Separate from It
By - PunctualPoetry
Background of photo: a Vietnamese Mahayana Buddhist monk who burned himself to death at a busy Saigon road intersection in protest of the persecution of Buddhists [Wikipedia](https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Th%C3%ADch_Qu%E1%BA%A3ng_%C4%90%E1%BB%A9c)
*I am in no way suggesting suicide here - I am suggesting an understanding that one should understand their consciousness should not control them but inform them. This monk’s resolution to his cause and unhindered action while experiencing extreme pain is inspiring and can only be achieved with a clear control of self over the experience of consciousness.
To me this is one of the most powerful pictures of all time.
Yeah, idk who stepped in to take that photo but I have mad respect for them. Such a powerful image. I can’t imagine what it must be like to see something like this… knowing he made his choice and there’s almost absolutely nothing you can do to help him, except to witness & document his protest so others may learn of his protest, sacrifice, and unwavering commitment to his ideals.
This picture captures an interesting dialectic; it contains the best and the worst of what makes us human, all in the same photo and I think that’s pretty neat.
The Stoic memes reddit has better stoic content than the actual stoic reddit.
I get that "you're not your emotions" or "you're not your thoughts", but "you're not your consciousness? Then what are you? How are you separate from your consciusness?
This feels like some eastern esoteric stuff and not like something related to stoicism.
I don't want to put words in OPs mouth, but my guess is that the word 'consciousness' here refers to the part of our awareness which is mentally the most prominent and visible to us.
For example, as I am writing these words, it's as if I am hearing them for he first time as I am typing them out - I don't even know what my next sentence will even say, until I get there. The part of me that is typing, and 'hearing' the words, is the prominent/visible part. The rest of me, the core me, is the part that's actually composing this.
Our core selves generate our feelings and intuitions and preferences, and our prominent selves take it from there. Lots of people see their prominent selves as their real selves, but others disagree.
On the right path, see my response to this question above.
My belief is that you as an “agent”, or “entity”, or what some may have called “soul” is in fact not the consciousness itself. Rather the consciousness is a medium by which information is communicated. Consciousness always comes after the action, thought, consequence, etc. as a feedback/information mechanism.
How does this relate to Stoicism? I think it’s core to Stoicism. 1. Realizing consciousness acts in this ‘informative feedback’ manner should make it clear that we as “agents” do not have direct control over what happens next but only at best can influence those things (I believe through combined persistence of focus, purity of intention, and consistency of training but that’s another discussion), 2. I believe the classic philosophy of Stoicism was hinting at just this - the separation of internal conscious feedback and the actions you take, unfortunately most people are essentially driven by their conscious experience to failure, sadness, and pain like flies to a bug light - people think their consciousness IS them and of course then they seek to satisfy “pleasure” or “happiness” which is by default fleeting as any drug addict or wealthy self centered person will attest to, 3. This realization breaks the chains that we by our nature feel consciousness has over us, no longer seeing pain as something purely to be avoided nor pleasure as something universally good - rather a measured existence where the rational goals and logic in one’s life are the driver of action and thoughts, not the consciousness underpinnings of things out of our control.
This is so rubbish. Consciousness does not come before or after anything. It is not a mechanism. Consciousness is what you are, the awareness of the body and mind. It can’t be objectified. It can’t be separated into other things. It is above everything else and is not an ego or person. If you apply stoïcism in your life, you will only be upgrading your mind, because consciousness itself cannot be altered, only it’s content shifts.
Consciousness is information, it’s not you. If you put some time into pondering this and realizing it as information flow you will find freedom.
It’s someone’s lack of understanding of consciousness basically.
This is great because the early greeks apparently had contact with india and the traditions there, apparently saw stuff just like this, and that call got a bit garbled and came back to greece as 'mind over matter' and 'meditation-deep thinking---->philosophy'. The greeks tried to emulate and replicate what they had heard reports about abroad and we ended up with the start of science.