Assignment 2 - Final Draft

Assignment 2 - Final Draft - Elorm Avakame English 101...

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Elorm Avakame English 101 Section 27 September 30, 2008 Assignment 2 – Final Copy Selflessness Applied to Dissociative Disorder Selflessness, a term associated with Eastern Buddhism, is allegedly the discovery of ultimate reality. In “Wisdom”, by Robert Thurman, he rejects the idea of the existence of a “conceptually fixated self” (740). Thurman, a respected authority on Buddhism and a renowned educator, embraces the idea of accepting that our reality is ever-changing, and thus, we as individuals are ever-changing as well. While selflessness does not tell us that we are disconnected from the world, it expresses that we are constantly evolving entities, and therefore our “self” does not exist as a certain identity. Martha Stout, author of “When I Woke Up Tuesday Morning, It Was Friday”, tells the story of two of her patients, Julia and Seth, who suffer from dissociative disorder. That is, they experience “blackouts” from time to time in which they are physically present, but their mind is in a different place, so to speak. This is a habitual action that the brain develops as a mechanism for dealing with trauma. However, whenever the dissociative brain encounters any circumstance that it interprets as traumatic, it goes to that different place, often against the will of the individual. This is problematic because it causes the individual to have little to no recollection of the events during their dissociative episode, and also to feel isolated and mentally unstable. Thurman’s idea of selflessness, on the surface, seems like a solution to the problem. He proposes that the pressure to find one’s “self” and to conform to societal norms is more than we as humans are meant to handle, and that as long as we ensue in that ongoing struggle, we will never achieve stability. Thurman’s approach, however, would not be helpful to those who suffer from dissociative disorder like Stout’s patients. Rather, it is
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disastrously ineffective because it fails to address their situation at the root of their predicament and to provide a logical solution. Thurman’s approach is inapplicable to people like Julia and Seth because, primarily, it misdiagnoses their problems. Stout and Thurman both focus on the negative capabilities of the brain. However, there is a distinct difference between the ways that they view the brain. In Stout’s opinion, the self is the prisoner of the brain. She describes the story of a woman who suffers from “a solitary, unlockable confinement inside the limits of her own mind” (Stout 656).
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Assignment 2 - Final Draft - Elorm Avakame English 101...

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