Self-consciousness is a disease

All self-reflection is accompanied by a feeling of disgust. The more one comes to understand oneself as a “self,” and the ensuing responsibility of becoming his own self, the more one is inclined towards despondency and inaction – and ultimately, a loathing of the self.

In other words, the more a self becomes aware of itself, through its structural involvement in and towards the world, the less capable it is of enjoying itself and the world it finds itself. “Ignorance is bliss” is a truism, but it’s all the more illustrative in light of the fact that the heightened awareness that accompanies the understanding of having a self to begin with brings with it the burden of responsibility and choice. But such choice, insofar as one must first and foremost exercise the power to choose to become a self at all, takes place in a nullity.

To become a self is an exercise in subjectivity, and necessarily entails the responsibility of determining yourself on account of your own self, through your affirmative stance towards your being-in-the-world. At the same time, the requisite choice to become oneself is subject to the perpetual flux and contingency of the universe, and thus will forever be exist within the broader context of the nothingness.

At its height, consciousness of the self raises the concrete individual self to the highest level of understanding: namely, through the existential-structures of lived space, time, corporality and relatedness. But all knowledge, and especially knowledge of the self, exists in a direct inverse relationship to the ability to live with oneself.

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2 comments

  1. Rastko Koschka

    If self-consciousness is taken as disease, so must then life. From terminally ill theorists (or those who have suffered serious illness) we can see this metaphor not to satisfy. It seems to be that disease separates the self from the body more than it does self from self — fear, in fact, has the opposite effect of collecting all of one’s being into a ball. Self-awareness is a leisure activity.

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