« The 'Experience-Stretching Hypothesis' | Main | On 08-08-08: Fascination with Eight »

August 04, 2008

TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
http://www.typepad.com/services/trackback/6a00d8341c3e6353ef00e553cabea68833

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference This is my final post... on 'Self-Improvement':

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Iqbal Latif

Reflections…

I thought you will enjoy this on self reflection...

http://iqballatif.newsvine.com/_news/2008/08/03/1717751-reflections

The Financial Philosopher

Thanks, Iqbal, I enjoyed the post...

Kent

nonzero

Enjoy your article and blog!

Just a comment on the concept of self/mind/body

The self that forms (is born) at the beginning of one’s life is probably very primitive, with a level of awareness much lower than that at old age of the life. It then is under constant development by different stages, during which both mind and body will interactively contribute to the formation of the self. Or maybe the mind and body are just part of the self. Obviously self/mind/body cannot be separated; the life wouldn’t be fully a life without each one of them. They are part of the whole life. A broken body will add some new stuff to the mind and ultimately the self. A soldier’s mind/self will never be the same after losing his arm. A computer installation can be completely removed by un-installation; but a human’s learning cannot be completely wiped out by unlearning. The learned mind upon unlearning is no longer the old one, rather a new mind.

The Financial Philosopher

nonzero:

Thanks for the comments and welcome to TFP! I would like to reply to some of your outstanding thoughts:

"A soldier’s mind/self will never be the same after losing his arm." I believe that the soldier's self-image would change but not his true self.

"A computer installation can be completely removed by un-installation; but a human’s learning cannot be completely wiped out by unlearning." The unlearning process is one of "uncovering" what has covered the self. It is not creating a new one.

Thanks for provoking thought! I hope you return again...

Kent

The Financial Philosopher

nonzero:

My previous reply to your comment was rushed so I wanted to add a few things:

It is also possible that the soldier who lost his or her arm would not be "disabled" but actually "enabled" to find his or her true self. Often, a life "shock" or even a near-death experience can help us find meaning in our life.

My "unlearning process" does not suggest "wiping out the mind" but perhaps we could say "cleaning it out."

Thanks again...

Kent

nonzero

Kent:

Definitely, the lose of arm, like many other life-changing events, could be an enabler rather than a disabler for him or her to end up with a lifted self.

I'm not quite sure what it means to find one's true self. The use of true-self implies something such as a target or a destination, that is predetermined; it is just up to you to find it. I tend to believe that the true self is in constant development/forming, shaped by all kinds of forces/events in life. There could be many possibilities for the self, like you said, it's a potential. Because of that, it may be OK to say "to find one of your true selves". Hopefully it is a good one. :)

Re "unlearning process", my point is, in computer science, you can return to zero by un-doing or being reversed, like 1 + (-1) = 0.
Not so in human activities (nonzero), where things cannot be reversed, because time as a measure of life is not reversible.

Thanks!
Nonzero

The Financial Philosopher

nonzero:

Thanks for the follow-up response. I believe we are understanding eachother more now.

I would not suggest that the true self is "predetermined" -- I would suggest, however, that it already exists and our path toward it will not be a straight line; therefore, our destination (where we "end up") is not necessarily predetermined -- it is a potential or possibility that we seek...

By "unlearning" I primarily refer to the gradual elimination of bad habits (usually from external influences) and the formation of new and useful habits (from within). Unlearning is essentially the mind overcoming the brain...

I like your "nonzero" idea. We certainly cannot undo what has already been done, at least beyond computer science!

I also agree that we are shaped by "forces/events in life" but I do not agree that they necessarily change the self -- they only affect our behavior or what we do -- not "who we are."

For example, I have seen studies of identical twins separated at birth who re-connected as older adults. The similarities in their choices during life were astonishing, even having grown up in different environments.

Thanks again for joining me in this dialectic.

I have learned much from readers of this blog and thoughts such as yours help me to test and clarify my own...

Kent

nativekee

hi there.. great to read your post & the comments... i can't wait to read more of the blog as this is the first time i've stopped by. & i would just like to add one note...
that i believe as we start to live more from our truest deepest selves, the 'i which cannot be pictured in the imagination', the idea of self - improvement becomes non-relevant. the self which we know from our mind and senses was always the one for which 'self improvement' is the focus. & we can more gently laugh at it's idiosyncrasies, and let go of it's negative habits.
hope i said that clearly.
thanks again for the post.

The Financial Philosopher

nativekee:

Thanks for the comment and I agree!

The conventional definition of self-improvement would be more helpful if those seeking it would realize that their "self" is not flawed -- it does not need "improvement."

We just need to do a better job of "being our self."

If self-improvement and self-awareness are both able to arrive at self-discovery, then the means to arrive at that end matters less.

My concern, however, is that many people are being misled by self-improvement because they think their self needs to be improved and they follow a path that may or may not be helpful to them...

Thanks again for the comment! I look forward to hearing more of your thoughts in the future...

Kent

The comments to this entry are closed.