My two selves

I am conscious of my two selves (or if you prefer, two aspects of myself).

There is the self I imagine others see me as.* Heidegger would call this ‘das man’; Sartre ‘being for others’.

Than there is another self, which is a consciousness that is conscious of my body, thoughts and the world. How did this self arise?

The former self is obviously socially constructed. The latter is also, but this needs clarification.

If I did not have the language of body and thought I would have no knowledge of ‘body’ and ‘thought’. However, I would still have an objectifying capacity, which would come to be used in my engagement with the world. I would still objectify what is called body and thought (the latter upon reflection, not phenomenological experience). However, I may not distinguish body and thought as separate to the world (non-dualism) as there would be nothing/no one to communicate to me that I was a separate and distinct entity.

I might see life as a video game. There are cases of people dying from lack of sleep due to being wrapped up in a video game in which they controlled an actor. These people lost all sense of self in this world, but were concerned with an entity in another world. I can imagine myself in a world without others being concerned with the body, but not with a self.

* There is a third self, how I think others ought to see me. This and the first self mentioned may be in conflict.


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