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the misconstruction of one's acts of will as uncaused, for the chain of causation is often obscure. But deeper reflection always reveals that every act of will is necessarily caused. Nor is it necessary to make the ego a transcendental entity in order to recognise in it a true causality.
The activity of the "I," above referred to, manipulates with extant elements of consciousness, and produces by its manipulations new contents of consciousness. In this way we come to divide the contents of consciousness into two classes those that are simply given, and those which we ourselves create, that is, those which we are able to call forth' at will. When a content of consciousness appears to us as simply given, we are not in a position to efface it or even modify it at will; if I stand before a green tree, I see the green tree, whether I will or not. On the other hand it is entirely different with the idea of a tree, a remembered tree. The representation of a tree is completely at my command, and I can at will modify it, or replace it by another. Phenomena of consciousness of the first kind form the material for the building up of the external world; those of the second kind are generally called the constructions of one's mind, the creations of one's fancy. The difference between seeing a green tree and remembering a green tree is so clear that there can be no question about it. We note that the two are situate in different spheres. The elements which - constitute the two and their connection are not the same. But the fundamental nature of the elements of both is the same, and is not different from the elements which build up the "I." The elements are always sensations, ideas, &c. When one finds that the phenomena of consciousness of the second kind are the products of an activity which is at work in his own consciousness, the temptation is not far to regard the phenomena of consciousness of the first kind also as the similar creations of an unknown activity. This is the error of the followers of Berkeley and of the solipsist in general. Further if one has fancied the "I" to be a spiritual entity, he naturally constructs similar ideas in explanation of the whole world. Thus have come into being the ideas of spirits and demons, gods and demigods, God and Nature, and other similar creations of mythology. Such transcen
dental hypothetical entities have proved the greatest obstacles to the advance of reason. As Kant says, transcendental hypotheses render fruitless the exertions of reason in its own sphere, which is that of experience, "For when the explanation of natural phenomena happens to be difficult, we have constantly at hand a transcendental ground of explanation which lifts us above the necessity of investigating nature."
Human personality is a compound of body and mind. Disembodied personality is no personality in the real sense of the term.* Poverty of language and practical sufficiency permit the use of such expressions as a truncated cone, a cube with bevelled edges, disembodied personality, which involve contradictions. Personality or the ego is, as has been so often repeated, really a complex of sensations, ideas, &c. But because it is possible to take away constituent parts in thought without destroying the capacity of the residual image to stand for the whole, we give the same name to the residuum. Thus has arisen the practice of regarding the ego as being made up of volitions, emotions, ideas, &c., only of a nama without a rupa. Even then what is of importance in personality is not the "I" but the elements which constitute it and the manner in which they are connected. If this does not satisfy us, and we ask, Who or What has these volitions, emotions, &c. ?, and then assume the existence of a transcendental or noumenal self, an ātman, we have only succumbed to the primitive habit of treating an unanalysed complex as an indivisible unity, like the Fiji islander who ascribes a soul to a cocoanut. This primitive habit of treating the unanalysed complex of personality as an indivisible unity has manifested itself in remarkable ways in psychology. From the body the nervous system is first isolated as the seat of psychical activity. In the nervous system again the brain is chosen as the part best suited to be the organ of the mind,
"If the immortal life," says a recent writer on immortality, "is to be more than a name for a shadow, it must be a life where men are members one of another, not less, but more than they are here. We desire an immortality which shall signify a personal life in the full sense of these words, not the existence of a disembodied spirit,' or a 'pure indivisible, immaterial substance,' and a personal life must be an embodied life,"
and finally to preserve the supposed psychical unity-imagined to be like the mathematician's point without parts or magnitude-some small part of the brain, such as the pinealgland, is chosen as the seat of the soul. The crudity of such conceptions is made clear by the following analysis taken from Avenarius's Menschliche Weltbegriffe. "Let an individual M denote a definite whole of 'perceived things' (trunk, arms, hands, legs, feet, speech, movements, &c.) and of 'presented thoughts' as I,......then when M says I have a brain,' this means that a brain belongs as a part to the whole of perceived things and presented thoughts denoted as I. And when M says 'I have thoughts,' this means that the thoughts themselves belong as a part to the whole of perceived things and presented thoughts denoted as I. But, though thorough analysis of the denotation of I leads to the result that we have a brain and thoughts, it never leads to the result that the brain has the thoughts. The thought is, no doubt, a thought of 'my ego,' but not a thought of 'my brain' any more than my brain is the brain of 'my thought.' That is to say, the brain is no habitation, seat, generator, instrument or organ, no support or substratum of thought. Thought is no indweller or commander, no other half or side, and also no product, indeed not even a physiological function, or so much as a state of the brain."
So long as one regards the "I" as a real mysterious entity behind the elements which alone are accessible, he must puzzle himself with all sorts of contradictions and perplexities. But if we regard the ego as a more strongly linked group of elements, which are themselves less strongly linked to other groups, we no longer meet with difficulties and absurdities. We then clearly perceive how the subjective feeling of unity has been generated by the ease with which the imagination runs along those of our ideas. which are closely knitted with one another through the bonds of association, and what purpose this assumed unity of the ego serves. This suppositious unity serves to delimit the ego, and thus discharges a valuable function in practical life. Just as caste bias, race prejudice, national pride, narrow patriotism may have a high value for certain purposes, so the narrowing of the limits of the ego is highly
serviceable to the intellect in the work it does for the pain-avoiding, pleasure-seeking will. Nevertheless, this practical unity of the ego has neither sharply defined limits nor is it unalterable. Each one of us knows how he is striv ing to alter the content of his ego. Is it not a change in this content that is sought after in every attempt to alter the character of a person? If the world consists of the same elements as one's ego, and if every element in the world can become a constituent of that ego, why should not that ego be so extended as ultimately to embrace the entire world? Because the elements which constitute an individual are more strongly and closely knitted among themselves than with those which constitute other individuals, he imagines himself to be an indissoluble unity independent of others. But the life of the individual has no meaning apart from collective life. That which is truly human in each one of us, the true, the beautiful, the good, has something of the universal, and is created and realised only through the communion of minds. Moreover, when the content of an ego is sufficiently wide, it generally breaks through the shackles of individuality, engrafts itself in others, and pursues an over-individual life. It is the dissolution of individuality which contributes to the greatest happiness of the artist, the discoverer, the social reformer, and all others who co-operate in the welfare of the many, and live, as Schiller says, in the whole. Says the Blessed One in the Mälunkyaputta Sutta: "The man whose heart is set on the dissolution of individuality feels cheerful, happy, and elated, like the mighty man who has swum unhurt across the swollen Ganges from the one bank to the other."
The denial of a separate self, an ātman, does not obliterate the personality of a man, but liberates the individual from an error that is liable to stunt his intellectual and ethical development and hinder his attainment of perfection. The Dharma removes from life the vanity of self, which is the result of an erroneous belief in the existence of atman and karma as separate entities. As what constitutes a man's personality is his own deeds and aspirations, he that holds his person dear should keep himself free from wickedness. The Blessed One has said:
"Let any one who holds self dear,
"Assailed by death, in life's last throes,
"Nought follows him who quits this life;
"But what a mortal does while here,
Deeds, like a shadow, ne'er depart:
Will yield a blessing in the next.”—– Samyutta-Nikāya.