Image by Darren Hopes in New Scientist
Congratulations! You have acquired a Self. Every one is different, but in some respects each is identical to all others. If you are still a small baby, this manual will probably not be useful to you until you are older, at which time it will answer a lot of questions about your Self. When you’re ready, here are some answers to questions you may have.
As a result of buying this Self, you are now entitled to call yourself ‘I’, ‘me’, and ‘myself’. You can describe your Self variously as a person, or as an individual, or by a name that you invent or which others may bestow on you, reflecting your Self’s connection with their Selves. You can now claim ownership of thoughts and feelings that arise in the body in which your Self is installed. In fact, you can claim ownership of that entire body — provided you know that with ownership comes responsibility. Note that you are now responsible for everything this body does, including what it thinks, feels and says, things that previously just arose and happened. Now they’re all about you.
Ownership of this body and its components provides you, for the first time, with a sense that you are separate, apart in space and time from everything and everyone else. For the first time, you are alive and conscious — Self-conscious! No going back to just being one with everything, now.
This separateness is actually just an illusion but it will appear quite real through your Self. This will take some getting used to, but soon it will be automatic, and you will start to act as if your Self, and everything it invents, is real. You will start to perceive people and places in space as real, and map them to keep track of them. You will start to perceive events in time as real, and chronicle them as if they really happened, or might happen in a time that has not yet arisen. You will start to believe you have a Life, and that you know things. Imagine it as a VR role-playing game, where everything looks real, where you can act as if it were real, and where you can perceive things as happening as a result of your Self’s actions. It may be disorienting for awhile, but you’ll get the hang of it, and the many other Selves around you will show you how to play. In no time, you’ll be playing your Self as well as they do!
Your Self has a lifetime guarantee. But having bought it, you cannot transfer it to another owner, and when the body your Self is installed in ceases to function, your Self will also cease to function. So take care of it — your Life depends on it!
You may find the operational controls for your Self difficult, at least at first. With the Self comes a sense of free will and choice, and it can be unsettling when the body your Self is installed in does or says something that you did not specify. Because you are now responsible for your Self, this can result in serious repercussions you did not anticipate. So be careful with your Self — it can get you into a lot of trouble and cause a lot of pain.
Other Selves will teach you how to acquire Morals and Ethics (in some models referred to as Right Living, the True Path, God’s Way and other terms) to keep your Self out of trouble. These are free add-ons to your Self that will help with navigation and with defending the Self’s actions, but they will require regular updates and maintenance to function.
The Self categorizes things in accordance with these add-ons as ‘Right’ or ‘Wrong’, and these categorizations do not always align with those of other Selves. It is very important to learn and follow this categorization scheme. You will learn this along with other categorization schemes that come with the separateness feature of your Self, such as Mine and Yours, Subject and Object, Past and Future, and many more. Although none of these distinctions is real, they must be mastered for proper functioning of your Self. Fortunately, thanks to the conceptual framework of the Self, all of these distinctions will appear quite real, so learning them is, while not easy, quite possible with careful attention.
Every morning the operating system of your Self must be rebooted, to recall all of the Self’s knowledge and reactivate its add-ons. Failure to do this is fatal for the Self. A program built into the Self will normally do this automatically, but in the case of injury, accident or exposure to certain chemicals (taken externally or induced internally at unexpected times by the body the Self is installed in), the Self may critically malfunction or even become totally inoperative for some time. Fortunately, this is almost always a temporary condition and the Self will self-repair and return to full operating condition in due course.
You may at times get exhausted and frustrated with your Self. That’s normal; things were probably much easier without it. But there’s a no-return policy on your Self, so you’ll have to get comfortable with it. It likes to escape from all its anxieties, so offer it plenty of distractions: mindless entertainments, addictive substances, music and obsessive preoccupations will often do the trick. There are a variety of therapies, meditation techniques and spiritual paths that can help ease some of the chronic fear, anger, shame and sadness that can often afflict your Self. You will learn to live with your Self, and it will get easier as you get older.
Finally, remember that your Self is not real. It’s just a piece of software. If it’s not performing to your expectations perhaps an upgrade is in order. Talk to your doctor or spiritual advisor to see how your Self might be improved to operate more exactly as you and those you love might desire. New add-ons and upgrades are being developed all the time.
Enjoy your Self, and good luck!