Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Which One is It?

Alan Wallace, from "Equanimity: Breaking the 'I-It' Relationship with Ourselves," Live from Phuket!, April 24, 2010:

"If I feel really bad about myself, if I don't like myself, how many people are there in here? Which one is it that doesn't like the other one? Isn't there a sense of superiority? When I say, I'm such a schmuck, isn't the person who's thinking that a little bit better than the schmuck that he just judged? So how many people are there in there? It looks like at least two. When I think, Oh, I'm such a jerk, selfish person, hot-tempered person—whatever derogative comment we make about ourselves—it seems to me that it is a classic instance of it-ifying oneself. Just turning oneself into an unpleasant object from a superior vantage point and then looking down on oneself as that's the one I don't like.

But it happens not only for self-loathing, low self-esteem, lack of self-worth and so forth, but on some occasions some people feel pretty good about themselves: self-infatuation. Looking into the mirror and saying, Looking good! I am really something. And now there's one more it and this is a pleasant it. We're applauding the it as if we're watching a show. So we can it-ify, objectify, in an agreeable fashion, in which case we become objects of attachment for ourselves. We can be also objects of aversion for ourselves. And on other occasions, we can simply say, Man, you're a boring person. I don't really care much about you one way or another. So one more it-ifying.”


“When we try to make sense of other people's faults, whatever comes to mind as we paint the person, we're painting from the palette of our own minds. And so if somebody engages in evil that we can't even comprehend, when we try to imagine it, all we'll be able to do is approximate based upon our own experience. So quite literally, we bring to mind other people's faults, they are faults that we've projected based upon our own experience. They are, in fact, our own faults. It's not to say that nobody else has those faults, but whenever we think of those other people, we are in fact painting in the substrate of our own minds."