Sam Harris: The Self is an Illusion

Sam Harris describes the properties of consciousness and how mindfulness practices of all stripes can be used to transcend one’s ego. Harris is the author of Waking Up: A Guide to Spirituality Without Religion (

  • Peter (116) July 4, 2015

    I’m sorry to say this, but I’m getting tired of this “The self is an illusion”-enigma – why can’t we just accept the fact that – though there may be underlining connections between ourselves and the universe and eachother in some form or way (I’m not discarding that possibility, far from it..but..) – the direct experiential truth to existence is that You are an individual and you have control of this entity that is You, the self is awareness of the entity that is You and is almost more “real” than anything else ’cause it’s the foundation of what makes you You.. loose that, like I imagine an alzheimers patient does, and that person is no longer “Himself” but rather just a shadow in form of a human body left in limbo.. no wonder some describe it like “turning into a vegetable”, a thing without consciousness.. a thing without “Self”..

    There’s no need to transcend what you are ’cause it can’t be done (what is it that people expect to happen?).. Why is it that so many is sensible enough to reject religion and it’s dogmatic influence but somehow keeps on regurgitating the most fundamental underlining to its delusional narrative.. transcendence..

    Maybe I have different interpretation of the word “Self”, maybe there’s something I’m missing in what is trying to be said, but I’m just expressing my honest feelings here, it’s what I feel..

    • Jordan Bates (4,636)A July 7, 2015

      thanks for expressing yourself, Peter. i think that in some sense the self is illusory and that my deeper identity is the entirety of existence itself. i also think that in another sense the self and my personal narrative are entirely real and deeply significant. i think one can hold both perspectives at once.

      • Peter (116) July 10, 2015

        Sorry, didn’t see you had replied to this :-)

        I can completely align with that, go with both perspectives at once – I believe that’s the most “correct” stance to take to this issue, because we don’t really know ;-)

        When you use the word “self”, what does that mean to you?

        I can totally agree with the thought that we “basically” are the entire universe, that our consciousness is the energy of the entire universe “connected” to this single entity, but I fail to see how that makes the self “illusory”, because “we” :-) have manifested as these seperate entities and though we “behind” all this, is the entirety of it all, these entities are just as real as the rest of the universe, right?
        If this entity is an illusion, then it’s all an illusion isn’t it? then there’s nothing “real”, I think it’s the word illusion that bothers me in this context… Hope it makes sense and thx for your response :-)