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And now I see the face of god, and I raise this god over the earth, this god whom men have sought since men came into being, this god who will grant them joy and peace and pride. This god, this one word: 'I.'--Ayn Rand

I just saw this quote on the Forum Homepage on here. I realize that I want joy and peace and pride, but I don't understand how it relates to the word I.

Does its functioning have something to do with what you say in your mind? Personally, when think of the word "I" in my head it is just a sound, not really related to me. I never understood the concept of ego. What is its function within your being?

Robert

Edited by Hazmatac

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Are you seriously not self-aware? Are the words "foot", "chair" also just sounds in your head? Since you can compose posts here, I assume you are a speaker of English and you don't have a language problem. In that case, you are conscious (surely there will be no doubt about that), and I assume you also have no problems with grasping the fact that "consciousness" is not just a floating thing out there, it is consciousness of something, by something. You are that agent. Now you have the concept "I" grounded in something.

Perhaps the problem is that since you are always aware of yourself, you are having problems imagining the denial of "I". Of course it should be hard.

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Your ego, your "I" is your mind. It is you. Your mind isn't somehow separate from your ego; they are one and the same.

That quote is from Anthem, you might want to read it if you are having these questions. It's short--can be read in a couple hours-- and is available free online--legally.

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I realize that I want joy and peace and pride, but I don't understand how it relates to the word I.

Does its functioning have something to do with what you say in your mind? Personally, when think of the word "I" in my head it is just a sound, not really related to me. I never understood the concept of ego. What is its function within your being?

Robert

You want joy and peace and pride, but who is going to get them for you? Someone else? You must exist to want something and be self-aware to do something in order to get it.

I could argue that the word "I" means the difference between you and everything else in the Universe. Can't you really grasp such a simple fact?

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I realize that I want joy and peace and pride, but I don't understand how it relates to the word I.

You should really read Anthem, because that will put the quote into context, but very briefly, it's about how individualism and selfishness allows men to experience life fully and live together in peaceful cooperation.

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Rob, you couldn't even post your question without using the word "I" in reference to yourself six times. All of those instances indicated the existence of you, of an ego. I is separate from we, me is separate from them. and as an individual you would not be able to function if you didn't distinguish the two. Self-directed action is the ego at work to fulfill its needs.

Don't confuse an ego with the kind of stupid arrogance that most people (wrongly) attribute to egotism, it isn't that at all it is an acknowledgment of self, your strengths and weaknesses, not foolish bravado or petulant arrogance.

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Don't confuse an ego with the kind of stupid arrogance that most people (wrongly) attribute to egotism, it isn't that at all it is an acknowledgment of self, your strengths and weaknesses, not foolish bravado or petulant arrogance.

Bold mine

FYI, this is also why Miss Rand used the term egoism--not egotism--to describe her ethics, to differentiate between what she meant versus what is commonly attributed to the concept, Zip.

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Are you seriously not self-aware? Are the words "foot", "chair" also just sounds in your head? Since you can compose posts here, I assume you are a speaker of English and you don't have a language problem. In that case, you are conscious (surely there will be no doubt about that), and I assume you also have no problems with grasping the fact that "consciousness" is not just a floating thing out there, it is consciousness of something, by something. You are that agent. Now you have the concept "I" grounded in something.

Perhaps the problem is that since you are always aware of yourself, you are having problems imagining the denial of "I". Of course it should be hard.

Most of the time, yes. I can imagine a chair, and I know what it is without words, but when I think of the word chair it is just a sound.

Self-Aware... when I think of the word "I" it doesn't make me aware of myself. Is that how it should be?

Edited by Hazmatac

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Self-Aware... when I think of the word "I" it doesn't make me aware of myself.
Sounds don't automatically cause you to focus on what they refer to. Actually, nothing automatically causes you to focus -- you have to choose to focus.

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Your ego or your self -- your I -- is that which makes it possible for you to be asking all of these questions lately. The desire to know and the ability to think things through until you understand them is a function of the self or your I. The mind is individual, and you must learn to operate your own mind, to direct it and to organize it. Your self or your I is also that which you observe when you look in a mirror and are cognizant of you recognizing you. There is no mind / body dichotomy in Objectivism, so the I is not just that which you are conscious of internally as guiding your mind and your actions. That's one reason why the hero of Anthem looking into a river or a stream and seeing himself is so significant.

In other words, the I is not something separate from you, like a little man in there guiding your thoughts and actions -- you do that; just as it was you or your I that keeps asking these questions.

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I just saw this quote on the Forum Homepage on here. I realize that I want joy and peace and pride, but I don't understand how it relates to the word I.

Here is something I brought up to a friend of my on talking about what would one be proud of having done when one is 80 years old: In Objectivism, since pride is a primary virtue, it is forward looking. That is, pride is not a reference to what you feel when you accomplish something (though that is involved) but rather pride being moral ambitiousness as identified by Dr. Peikoff means pride is the ambitiousness to achieve that value. So, if you are looking for joy and peace, then it is up to you to be forward looking and decide what you want out of life -- to be ego driven to accomplish your goals and values for yourself. Sure, along the way you may very well experience a great deal of confusion and uncertainty and drifting and even suffering and doubtfulness, but in the end, to achieve joy and peace means to introspect on what you want out of life and to go for it (be prideful in aiming and achieving). It also means to work through your confusions yourself by being motivated to have rational certainty -- but that is something you must do, it is not something others can provide.

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Ok, ok, I know what the word I means! The thing is, I rarely if ever use it in my head. I was laying in bed recalling something I read in a book about meditation about people attaching a lot onto that concept in their heads, and also recalled how most meditation instructors say how there are countless thoughts running through peoples heads all the time. Well, I thought there might be a connection. Anyway, I thought the thought "I" two times, and upon hearing it I knew two things: it was MY voice, and it meant me. Well, I stopped thinking it as I was just trying it, but it felt pretty natural. I was just "trying" the thought and I think I cut it off prematurely. In the future if I get the chance again I won't "cut it off" so quick. I felt a connection to the thought, and got the impression that it is something that is easy to get used to, and as those meditation books say, make you think a lot.

Edited by Hazmatac

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