The Sensation of “Otherness” and “Other Than ”

By Alan D. Griffin

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The idea of the Sensation of “Otherness” and “Other than” seems to be a reoccurring theme in relation to God-talk.

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My question is this:
Isn’t the sensation of the presence of “selfness” a better explanation than the sensation of “otherness”?

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Please someone explain to me why the sensation of “otherness” should lead to a belief that there is an “other” would make more sense than the sensation of “otherness” is the result of one simply experiencing one’s true self?

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Our identities are built from without, not from within. From the very moment we arrive in this life what we label as self is anything but the self. what we identify as self is wholly “other”.

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Are we a good son/ daughter?
We determine this solely from our perception of our parents perception of us.

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Are we a good student?
We determine this solely from our perception of our teachers perception of us.
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Are we a good friend?
We determine this solely from our perception of our friends perception of us.

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Are we funny?

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Are we annoying?

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Are we loving?

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Are we caring?
All are determined by our perception of other’s perceptions of us.

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So and and so forth etc. etc… we build our perception of self from others and wholly from others.

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We label this ” otherness” as self.

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So when we are able (and if we are able) to perceive ourselves unhinged from our perception of other’s perception of us. This is quite a different sensation. This is the “self”, the authentic “self” wholly built within and not from without.

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But then we find this to be quite a conundrum.

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We have already from a very young age associated “other” as “self”.

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So what do we do when we experience the “self” unhinged from the ” other” ?

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We feel quite compelled to label the ” self” the authentic “self” as “other.”

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Thus the sensation of experiencing oneself is mislabeled as a sensation of experiencing “otherness”.

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Can anyone give justification for why this is not the case?

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Why does this explanation make less sense than there is some unknown “other” that is being sensed?

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“There was a young man who said though, it seems that I know that I know, but what I would like to see is the I that knows me when I know that I know that I know.” — Alan W. Watts
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This sense of ” other than” seems to me to be a product or by-product of the level of awareness we have reached.

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It comes from the fact that we are not simply aware but aware that we are aware. The fact that we have introspection, retrospection, and abstract thinking creates the sensation of “other than”.

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I think the Alan Watts limerick speaks directly to this.

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I know ( aware)

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I know that I know ( aware of being aware)

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I know that I know that I know ( aware that we are aware of being aware).

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The I that knows me when I know that I know that I know. ( The Sensation of “other than”).

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This “other than” in my opinion is the infinite regress of the infinite progress of higher levels of consciousness.

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If I were to see the I that knows me when I know that I know that I know. I would simply strive to see the I that knows the I that knows me when I know that I know that I know. and so on and so forth at infinitum.

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We are able to step out of ourselves and look back at ourselves as “other than” Thus we have the sensation that there exists something “other than”.

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I find this makes quite a lot of sense. I find it has warrant and justifiablity. Is it fact ( an undebateable proposition) far from it. But, I feel it has legs.

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your thoughts?