Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Self is a Set of Habits

A habit is no habit without continuity. You break up the continuity; then you break the habit. The self is such a habit. Habits have a momentum. The momentum of a habit forces your consciousness to go back to a certain experience in the past and get repeated, or to seek a pleasurable experience, a novelty, an excitement, something interesting and so forth. If you catch the urge as it arises, there is no need to ‘go’ anywhere or ‘seek’ anything. By interspersing the continuity with your consciousness, you ‘pulverize’ the continuity of the habit into pieces. Then the habit loses its force.

You can say the force of habit is what they traditionally called in Indian philosophy vasanas and samskaras. I think it is that accounts for what there is such an instability in consciousness when it doesn’t have to think about anything. There is a constant urge to go out and seek something, as if without that something you are groundless and unfulfilled. This can especially be noticed when we sit for a while doing nothing and feel jittery.

That which you seek of course is pleasure. You think, naturally, only of what gave you pleasure in the past. The thinking of it gives you pleasure once again right now and that pleasure creates the further urge to seek some more of the same or a similar pleasure. The self is nothing but this habitual seeking for pleasure which creates its own continuity.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Your analogy between self and habbit is praiseworthy.thankyou..