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Extra resources for Beyond language and reason: Mysticism in Indian Buddhism (Annales Academiae Scientiarum Fennicae)

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The so-called ego is only an ideal and indirect unity of the infinite series of reflected consciousnesses. Because consciousness is in this way empty, man's essence is nothingness and absolute freedom. 155 But the fact that man can be conscious of himself or herself only by being conscious of the external world causes bewilderment and suffering to some people l56 . Sartre calls this quality of man's being-in-the-world "unhappy consciousness". He writes: The human reality is suffering in its very being because it arises as a being that is constantly haunted by a totality that it is [= the external world] without being capable of being it.

12o To those who regard human consciousness as essentially intentional (like Sartre), this pure consciousness would have been an impossibility, but Stace defends his case by appealing to states like deep hypnosis and somnambulism where the agent responds to stimuli without being conscious of them. Thus, he or she is not unconscious although there is good reason to believe that his or her consciousness has no empirical content. 121 A distinction similar to Stace's introvertive-extrovertive is made by Walter Pahnke and William Richards 122.

There cannot be any overall meaning for my life because 'my life' is only a fiction abstracted from a series of overlapping experiences not united by any common principle l54 . According to Sartre, for instance, the notion of a substantial and internal ego as an 'owner' of consciousness is illusory. Instead, the pre-reflective consciousness constitutes itself as a sort of ego only in its reflective acts. The so-called ego is only an ideal and indirect unity of the infinite series of reflected consciousnesses.

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