‘Know Thyself’: Gnothi Seauton. In the Sanskrit: Atmanam Viddhi. You can find variants of it in every literate culture. The oldest, most ubiquitous injunction in Language.
Self-Inquiry is an absurd idea. I can inquire about any and all things in this great and grand world of ours. Except inquire about me.
Self-Awareness? I can never be aware of that which is aware. I can be aware of anything but the source of my awareness.
Self-Knowledge? I can know about all things in this our magnificent cosmos. But I may never know myself.
Just like a thought chasing Thought, mind chasing Mind, consciousness chasing Consciousness, any Self I can inquire about, be aware of or know, is not me, but a model of ‘Me’. A confounding of ‘Object as Subject’.
[Gnothi Seauton. The celebrated words on the forecourt of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi. Theodosius razed it to the ground hoping to end all remnants of Paganism. It didn’t work. Oscar Wilde proposed an appealing alternative, a big hit with the New-Age community: ‘Be Thyself’.]
Perhaps one of the strongest convictions of this less-than-luminous Age is: ‘I am my Body’.
The excerpt below is from the findings of Dr. Paul Aebersold’s [Smithsonian: 1953-54] radioisotope experiments. Earlier he had helped build the first Cyclotron at Berkeley.
‘Studies at the Oak Ridge Atomic Research Center have revealed that about 98 percent of all the atoms in a human body are replaced every year.
Experts..have concluded that there is a complete, 100 percent turnover of atoms in the body at least every five years. In other words, not one single atom present in your body today was there five years ago.
You get a new suit of skin every month and a new liver every six weeks. [Stomach] lining lasts five days…bones are not the solid, stable, concrete-like things you [thought]…the bones you have today are different from the bones you had a year ago.
This revelation brought great excitement to the New-Age community which claimed it confirmed their long-held belief in out-of-body experiences. It was vigorously attacked by more sober scientists who after diligent research showed that the number was not 98% as claimed, but in fact only 91%.
Later findings on neural-cell DNA and Tooth-Enamel further brought down the number. Perhaps you are your Tooth-Enamel.
Self-Liberation is realizing that there is no ‘Self’ that needs to be liberated. ‘I’ am never Liberated; to be Liberated is to see that there is no ‘Me’ that needs to be set-free.
Absolute Freedom is absolutely absurd. For to be unfree is part of the prerogative of being free. [‘Divine Reason’; Do you smell the Self-Eating Expression hereabouts?]
I am free to be unfree. To be Liberated is to be freed of trying to be free. [As must be evident, ‘Liberation’ unlike the expression ‘Freedom’ has an intentional connotation of release.]
And Liberation cohabits with no one. You cannot seek ‘Happiness’ and ‘Liberation’ at the same time [in spite of Thomas Jefferson’s silver prose]. Take your happiness when it comes; but don’t compromise on your freedom to be unhappy.