‘The source of the paradoxical nature of the self is as follows: whatever it is that is said about the self, there is something other which is not said which is tacitly presupposed. Thus if I say that the self does not – or for that matter does- exist I presuppose something which asserts the non-existence or existence of that which I talk about. In the philosophical discourse of modernity, modernism and modernisation we have characteristically, powered by individualism, an ego and an anothroprocentricity coupled on to an abstract universality. In postmodernism this coupling is rejected and displaced, but the bearer of the deconstructive discourse remains mysterious, unsusceptible to the reflexive situation.
Whatever the self is, it is clearly very important in contemporary society, being the bearer of legal, social and religious rights and responsibilities. It is ‘I’ who comes of age and marries, possesses and owns, votes and talks, loves and fights, is punished and rewarded, becomes ill and dies – an event which ‘I’ either do or do not survive. We live in a very egocentric world, curiously coupled with its abstract universality.
Here I argue that the self in the sense of the ego, separated from other selves and a world of objects (including emotional states) to which it is attached, is a ‘causally efficacious’ illusion. As (emergent) embodied personalities we do however, exist, but our existence is both dependent and limited. On the other hand, everything we do depends upon a transcendentally real Self, in essence unlimited, which is the ultimate source of our causal agency in the world. Moreover, all projects of human emancipation tacitly presuppose such a self. This ‘Self’ has no sense of self (and it does not even talk or think about itself), but uniquely displays itself in the here and now of spontaneous, loving creation.
Thus the ‘I’ in the sense of ego, that is ‘I’ which apprehends itself as existing separately from other ‘I’s and asserts itself against an object world, both of which may be regarded as afield for the egos play and manipulation, that ‘I’ is an illusion in the sense that it has no real object; just as a mirage is an illusion. But though an illusion, it is like a mirage, causally efficacious, and as such is real, that is, the illusion is real, though it remains an illusion ie has no real object. This is what I have called a ‘demi-reality’. This ‘I’, this little self, is however a property of real (non-illusory) embodied personalities. These are complex, relationally defined and constituted entities, themselves stratified, differentiated, and changing- constituents of what I have called relative reality. Underneath such embodied personalities is a transcendentally real Self which is the source of their causal agency and powers, and such selves are unlimited and absolute realities.’
~ pg 71 – 72