Tuesday, 2 October 2012

The So-Called Inner Self

The perceiving of what is known is not a process of returning with one’s booty to the ‘cabinet’ of consciousness after one has gone out and grasped it. (Heidegger)

But how attractive of course to the self is the notion, the picture, of such a ‘cabinet,’ a treasure hoard of sense-impressions and reflections, each one bearing with it the hallmark of ownership - I have these impressions and ideas. The connotations here are of the pleasure of possession; one’s thoughts and reflections are like hoarded objects, the ‘objects’ of a collection. In this house the Self resides. And how disconcerting, by contrast, to think of one’s precious lumber out there in the thick of things, contaminated and disseminated in worldly contact. 

And yet in truth, we live outside ourselves, in our relations with others and with objects, and in these relations alone is the truth of the self revealed. Thus, we have no access to this truth unaided. Yes we have access to thoughts and memories; but the reality or the meaning of these awaits interaction. Our ‘rich inner world’ wherein we exercise sovereignty and which we seek to guard at any cost, this cloistered inner space, furnished with thoughts and memories, is perhaps only a virtual world, by which I mean a world in potentia, the meaning of which remained undecided until externalised and tested in encounters. 

And perhaps it is true for everyone, that  their ‘identity’ does not reside ‘inside’ them, in their self-image, stored inside their souls, to which they have unique access; equally, if not more, their  ‘inner core’ is outside them (as in a Richard Rogers building), in what they say and do on a daily basis.

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