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The Individual as A Brain-In-a-Jar

Updated: May 21

Imagine yourself as a brain locked in a jar. You have no ability to move by yourself, you cannot do anything on your own except thinking, feeling, and talking. One day, your jar is connected to a circus bear, and you hate bears. However, the bear is the only way for you to navigate and to physically move.

Because you are a brain in a jar and because you have authority over your new "body," your "bear" is your servant. It would do anything for you. Even if you shout at it, curse it, laugh at it, and so forth, you will always be dependent on your bear, and because your bear is loyal to you to the point of blind obedience, both of you are inseparable from each other. You may be the boss, but you cannot do anything without this precious servant, and this servant cannot do anything without you, because it needs mastery and ownership, like a dog.

If you are both stuck with each other, wouldn't it be wasteful to hate each other? You can escape from anything—family, friends, employment, and so forth—but you cannot escape your own body and consciousness. Even if you are launched into outer space, away from the world, you are still stuck in the inevitable prison that is yourself.

Hate is such a wasteful emotion; it can be very tiring, and also lead to stress and even anxiety. If you hate yourself, then this emotion is much more wasteful, because you can't do anything with this emotional resource; you may be stuck in self-hatred and self-loathing, which may damage your health and mental state.

Every organism is stuck inside themselves, like the metaphor where a brain is stuck in a jar atop a body of a bear. Because we are stuck inside ourselves, waging actions of hate against ourselves is worthless and a waste of time. Just like the brain and the bear should cooperate with each other for the greater good, you, as an individual, should cooperate with yourself for the sake of your survival, health, and happiness. It's not, after all, that you can do anything else that is as practical in that regard, as to learn how to peacefully live with yourself—with your body, mind, and all of what it entails to have them specifically.

And what emotional glue is better than love? Love is the most ideal glue that can motivate people to cooperate with each other—even with themselves. Therefore, you should love yourself, at least for the sole reason of cooperating with yourself. If you are divided between your consciousness and the rest of yourself, you may be in a state of inner war, which may harm your daily and mental functioning. There's much to achieve, to develop; treat your body like a good pet, for its purpose is to serve you and your actions.

The brain-in-the-jar and the bear should cooperate with each other until they become a unified entity, with as few unnecessary conflicts as possible, on whatever path in life you have chosen to walk in. I am aware this is a reference to a cartoon, but I find it fitting; you—the consciousness—and your body should work together, and the best way to do so is through love.

People may criticize you for your performance, and even more at times, insult and ridicule you for your lack of success in your work. Let the offensive part of this feedback be moved aside, and focus on their potential to elevate you into a better, more competent version of yourself. If a reader tells you your article has been poorly written, sinking in hatred with no further productivity is a waste of time. Instead, consider what can be improved.

Remember: loving yourself does not necessarily mean completely accepting who you are currently, especially when there is room for improvement. In such a case, self-cooperation is crucial for greater success, as you put aside hindering, counterproductive insecurities.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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