"Self-Consciousness" as a Social Malignancy : Its Diagnosis, Aitiology, Prognosis, and Remedy
The term /self-consciousess/ is commonly used in two contrary/conflicted ways (though it can also be considered, as it may be in abstract metaphysics, fairly neutrally), one of which is as a synonym for a propensity toward shynessness with a likelihood of becoming easily embarrasssed (and this is beneficial toward politeness, by withholding one from imposing improprely on others); but in the other way, as a synonym for a propensity toward thinking excessively self-centredly with an arrogant tinge of greed, and with a likelihood of impropre supercility toward others. In the remaindre of this essay, we are discussing only the latter of the two ways of using the term, along with how the latter (i.e., the inappropriate) can be guided back from malevolence ("malevolence" commonly implying an excessively-restricted benevolence, excluding from its scope-of-benefit the majority of persons being treated withal, and instead exploiting or otherwise maltreating the majority) to benevolence (of including in its scope-of-benefit essentially all persons encountred).
Self-consciousess is historically widely-ignored (although readily diagnosable as a psychological affliction) as a prime (and severe) social malignancy, viz., as the deleterious cause of the social ills all-too-overly ascribed (especially in the inhaerently inadequate conventional schemes for ordinary socialism, communism, etc.) to oikonomic factors -- such oikonomic factors, specifically, as class-rule (including capitalism) within the historic course of society.
Moreover, when-and-where (such as within Bauddha metaphysics) self-consciousess is specifically diagnosed as a social malignancy, the diagnosis proffered and the remedy recommended tend historically to be excessively restricted to individualistic (and even -- in its Jaina variant -- to solipsistic) factors, without adequate recognition of this malignancy's sourcing in inadequacies of conventional epistemology and of conventional ontology -- the diagnosis all-to-restricted to indications of personal misunderstandings, and the remedy all-to-restricted to typically inadequate methods such as "emptying the mind" (thus opening it to vagueness), recitation of some gimmicky slogan ("mantra"), isolationism (eremetism -- often at some remote locale), etc. In such inadequate conventionalities (as suggested by historic Bauddhatva), aitiology and prognosis of this malignancy ("self-consciousess") tend to be neglected in conjunction with overly-confidently recommendations (by a ruling-class-promoted institutional "religion", including historic Bauddhatva) of misleading diagnosis and of ineffective remedy. Furthermore, the meditational techniques recommended by Hina-yana are severely hampred by a slandrously subversive theology -- although this may be somewhat mitigated in Maha-yana and particularly in Vajra-yana theologies.
The neglected solution (involving adequate attention to aitiology and prognosis of the social malignancy known as "self-consciousness") must involve resolving the paradoxical situation of contrasting metaphysics : speciously mutually incompatible systems of apparent (though none-too-realistic) contrast between (1) so-called "Occidental"/European (mostly scientistic -- i.e., heavily involved with the unrealized inadequacies of gross materialism) notion of a supposed necessity for "self" in any supposed of definition of /consciousness/, and (against) (2) the so-called "Oriental"/Asiatic (largely ignoring all -- and especially modern -- findings of material science, even where no conflict is evident with traditional theologies/metaphysics) axiomatic supposed necessity of obliterating experiential "self" from any definition/description of /consciousness/. This contrast is [not so much a paradox of formal logic as] an impasse of being "worlds apart" in unstated assumptions as to meaning and at to purpose. Of course, the gross materialism of conventional scientism (as officially expounded in the academies, colleges and universities of capitalist materialism), in its dogmatic denial of the possibility of anything beyond the material, must pontificate a postulated non-existence (in the universe) of meaning, a non-existence (in the universe) of purpose, etc. : such dogmatic denial of [which it may term] "teleology" resolving (whether immediately or gradually) into absence of public ethics -- and along with deleting public ethics (a major of objective of blatant ploutokatic capitalism), there is substituted in place of public ethics instead a public mendacity in politics, with a promotion of international violence to enforce mendacity in politics, and of incessant warfare substituted for the ways of peace.
But the realistic (practicable) solution would entail (such as the objective of the European Renaissance was a restoration of the antique philosophies in the place of the gross socially-promoted hypocrisy which conventional Christianity -- and, incidentally, Theravada -- had historically developed into) restoration of the metaphysics/theologies existent worldwide prior to the advent of class-ruled societies -- with (parallel to the added ingredient in the prospectus of the European Renaissance of guaranteeing absence of political despotism/tyranny) the added ingredients of (1) conveniences (especially litteracy, printing, and the more recent development of publication via the internet) of modern technological invention, and (2) an internationalism/internationality intent on embracing (not only the fullness of modernity in technology, but likewise) the plenitude of experiential understandings (acquired in dreamings, trances, etc.) entailing whatsoever may be, or become, known in and of the subtle planes of consciousness beyond the gross material-plane.
Transcendence beyond the material-plane by consciousness/consciousnesses whose portal for such transcendence is the material-body temporarily housing (from the viewpoint of the material-plane) the consciousness/consciousnesses which is/are the means of such transcendence, is a status comparable with the statu[e]s of immortality, and must carry with it a comparable cosmic ethical responsibility, a cosmic ethical responsibility to be maintained with ongoing mutual assistance of and with existent telepathically-networked committees of immortal denizens of such subtle planes-of-existence.
When governed by telepathy maintained by adequately-networked mutual-assistance committees (which, for denizens of the subtle-planes, extended to an all-encompassing, universe-wide scope), the mode of self-consciousness is variable in accord with needs of contexts (i.e., of projects being undertaken) being communicated concerning; and therefore the self-consciousness will be automatically withheld from declining into any non-beneficial function.