Further on my exploration of self. A quote struck me as rather poignant:
“When we think of experience, we have this internal concept of a controller of the experience, an experiencer, but this is a fallacy. We invent the experiencer because it helps us process the experience. When really, the experiencer is part of the experience.”
I find matters of phenomenology incredibly hard to describe to people…it feels as though words themselves are in the way of an explanation. This seems to be the reason Heidegger is so difficult to read as well.
I am a Programmer.
Well actually I prefer Software Developer.
But I don’t just build software. I work in an advertising agency. So I like saying “I work in advertising”. A little mystery, a little bit exciting.
But, I’m just a programmer.
My mind has difficulty, feels guilt, shame, and other things when I try to think of myself as something else. Why is that?
Why has my mind become so attached to this label “programmer”. Why do I see it as a central pillar of my identity. Sure, I’ve done a lot of it, and I’m fairly knowledgable in some areas… But I also walk lots, I never think of myself as a “Walker”.
But everyone walks, just like everyone breathes, no one builds an identity on commonalities. It has to be on (perceived) uniqueness. I’m a programmer who works in advertising… that’s pretty rare (relative to walking). But why do I need this identity? What does it offer me, other than the safe confines of a pigeon hole?
Perhaps it’s societal, if I didn’t have a neat line to describe myself, it makes me awkward. Strange. Tedious? I become that guy at the pub not holding a drink, or the one who showed up to the dinner without a collar. Is identity really that shallow?
I think objectively, yes, it is that shallow. I don’t want to be part of the herd of humanity. I’m special, different… This is the loose end one ends up when they rise too high on Maslow’s hierarchy.
Just by having the concept “Self” I’ve immediately split the world. There is me, and then there is that which is not me. We are trained since childhood to have this concept. It permeates our thinking in everything we do… It is nigh impossible to think of the world sans the concept of “Self”. But it is just a concept, like any other, the world and its contents would continue to exist without it. But how does one describe such a world? A world of no-self?
I’m not sure if it applies to other industries, but I’ve found in my industry (software/technology). There seems to be a huge obsession with self improvement, specialisation, and continuous learning.
You will often find software developers who live and breathe particular technologies/languages/operating systems. It’s quite amazing to meet these people, because they are a wealth of knowledge.
But there is of course a downside to this world. People who don’t actively learn new technology, are silently frowned upon. Viewed as apathetic, lazy, or having jumped the shark. This attitude ignores the fact that it is impossible to stop learning, even if you aren’t reading the latest tech book, or experimenting with a new deployment methodology. You are still learning.
There is a place for both, active learning, and passive learning. If you focus too much on one, you seriously lack in another.