So long as one takes oneself to be a substantial center of subjectivity or agency, as opposed to a causally connected stream of momentary psycho- physical phenomena, one is mired in primal confusion that makes the cultivation of compassion and the liberation from suffering impossible. Only by recognizing that our identities arise only from our own imposition of a unity and coherence on a complex, multifaceted stream of events and processes can we escape that confusion.
— Jay Garfield, Just Another Word for Nothing Left to Lose
“One of the main functions of organized religion is to protect people against a direct experience of God.”
― Carl Jung
When I suddenly see myself in the mirror, I take fright. I can scarcely believe that I have limits, that I am outlined and defined. I feel myself to be dispersed in the atmosphere, thinking inside other creatures, living inside things beyond myself. When I suddenly see myself in the mirror, I am not startled because I find myself ugly or beautiful. When I haven't looked at myself for some time, I almost forget that I am human...there is so much in me beyond what is known, so much that remains ever silent.
| Clarice Lispector
An ecological understanding allows us to identify "things"—rain, cloud, river—at the same time that it reminds us that these identities are fluid. Even mountains erode, and the ground below us moves in giant plates. It reminds us that—while it's useful to have a word for that thing called a cloud—when we really get down to it, all we can really point to is a series of flows and relationships that sometimes intersect and hold together long enough to be a "cloud."
At this intense place of physical, psychic, and soulful communication, we transcend the limits of our finiteness, the boundaries of controlled observation, we pass through walls of skin and self to another union difficult to explicate because we are using words for an emotional event that transcends the literal, the linear, this format of speaking and writing. The impulse to form surges gently from the entirety. Not like a flash and over. A continual gentle surge to be let out, to give form.
“Humanity’s potential is worth preserving, he argues, not because we are so great now but because of the possibility, however small, that we are a bridge to something far greater.”
anecdotal evidence from narrative self-reports suggests that drug-induced ego dissolution may be related in some cases to reversible retrograde amnesia, specifically regarding abstract information about oneself (i.e., semantic autobiographical memory). For example, one subject responding to an online questionnaire on ego dissolution reported “forgetting that I was a male, a human, a being on Earth—all gone, just infinite sensations and visions,” while another stated “I no longer felt human. I didn't remember what a human was”