Verisimilitude or, what is a person?


1)      the appearance or semblance of truth; likelihood; probability

2)      something, as an assertion, having merely the appearance of truth.

3)      Depicting realism (as in art or literature)

I came across this fancy word and find it useful

You, as a person, show great verisimilitude. You really do seem to exist.

My argument here is that the experience of being a person only ‘seems’ to be true and real, and that upon investigation we may find the truth quite different from our initial impressions.

Your experience is not the Truth

The common conception, and so experience, of human existence or personhood is as follows….

“I am a character, with a will and real separate existence. I think my thoughts, feel my emotions, and carry out my actions. I know I exist because I can feel it and think about it.”

Upon close inspection you will find that your existence is not what it may have initially seemed to be.

Simply speaking, the self (you) appears to be a solid entity with a will of its own, when it is in fact a holographic display of perception appearing to no one. Every perception you have of yourself is just that, a perception, and nothing more.

The experience “I am a person,” seems real until you pay attention. You experience yourself as a thing, an object, until your awareness is deep enough to notice that you are undefined consciousness.

The self is an appearance only.

Inherent in this appearance is the assertion, knowledge, and feeling that it is real and true. That is why it seems true. (it seems true because ‘me’ says so, ‘it’ says so, “I’’ say so)

What comes to be seen is that the person exists only as a process of perception. It is not a thing, and it is not you.

Our lives revolve around this self experience, and every perception is filtered through and related to it. But that does not make it real.

The reality of the separate self is in appearance alone. Ultimately there is only consciousness, Being, Reality and this can be experience and known directly. This truth can become obvious to you.

Simply notice that every perception of you is a perception, and not you.

This realization is trans-rational and requires direct experience. The rational mind cannot grasp this because of the apparent paradox inherent in subject object dualism. “Am I that?”

How does something untrue appear as true?

Assumptions about What “I” is hinders our ability to see the truth clearly for ourselves. Rather than come to understand our self-condition first hand we simply assume certain things about it and live as if those assumptions are true. One of these assumptions, the one we are addressing here, is that the self has actual existence.

You do undeniably experience something- we can call this the self experience.

The something is self related, and consistent, and coherent (for the most part). I am not denying the existence of this self experience, I am suggesting that experience is in fact mere perception.

I am suggesting that the person you experience yourself to be is a figment of perception, and not an existential reality.

Based on the self experience, which consists of the thinking and emotional processes grounded in a matrix of assumptions about reality, you assume that you are that. The truth is that you observe that experience. The truth is that the experience of being a person is just another perception that you are aware of.

Realize that “I am this person’’ is an assumption, and pay attention to its arising. Notice what it is perceptually, and contemplate what am I?

  • A lack of Sensory clarity– Attention isn’t riveted to the event, so it seems solid and real. If your were to look closely enough at that which you experience as you, it would become clear that the ‘person’ is actually a sensory event.
  • Culture– Currently, we assume and experience the separate self paradigm. Our cultural myth is that we are all independent actors with real separate existence. Because you are imbedded in this culture you automatically take on this assumption.
  • Need to know basis– You don’t ever need to dive into the ontological nature of self in order to simply survive. There is no requirement that you become conscious of what you are. So, you don’t. whatever is handed to perception is merely accepted as the case as assumed to be just so.
  • By design the self appears to itself to be a real thing worthy of defending- You wouldn’t act on behalf of your self if you clearly saw it to be unreal. Verisimilitude is generated in order to push you into survival action. The experience “this is real” is generated around events and things that seem necessary for our survival. One of these necessary events is “I am so and so person” because it is used to orent ourselves in relationship to the rest of reality.
  • Self is all there is– The self is literally your life, your thought, your person. Because it is the prime determinant and motive you are not likely to question whether it is what you are .what else could you possibly be? There is nothing else! This being the case, attention stays riveted to the contracted self identity and never deviates long enough to see the confusion or question the event.
  • Others seem to confirm your existence every time they address you– Other is very important to self. Our identity is built in and as a relationship to other. So when we engage them our reality as a separate individual is conventionally reasserted.
  • The sheer persistence of the self experience seems to validate its existence as a something– You are you when you wake up, all day, and until the last moments of consciousness before sleep. This makes the illusion quite convincing.

Come to know what is actually true.

Come to see what merely seems to be so

Discern and embrace until you understand

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