Consider the Baby…

Consider the baby.

From birth up until the age of about 16 months,
there is little sense of a self
separate from the world.

By the age of 24 months,
the sense of a separate individual
seems more or less universally in place.

What a difference a self makes !

What are the two words that appear at/around that time
as the sense of separation is developed ?
( Parents do not need to read the next sentence)

The words are “I” and “no”.

Where does the separation come from ? Language acquisition.

Consider experience. 
Seamless, continuous, unitary.
There is no real boundary
to be found in any of it.

How to refer to an aspect,
a corner of the vastness
streaming in and out constantly ?

Language allows reference to a single part
or aspect of experience, so that the reference may be shared.
This capacity to refer comes at a price.

Unitary, seamless experience
is fractured into thousands of shards,
each with its own label.

And if there is a label for “other” ,
there must also be a label for “not-other”,
the self.

Thus, “I” comes into existence,
almost 2 years after we are born. I

it’s no coincidence that the “terrible twos”
follow shortly thereafter.

“I” does have practical utility.

You (over here) don’t put your hand on the hot stove (over there). You (over here) leave your little brother alone (over there).

It’s easier to teach kids practical matters through duality.

But the label becomes mistaken for reality.

And the label-maker has named itself “me”.

As the child grows older,
the mistaken identity is reinforced
by family,
by friends,
by school, b
y society,
by advertisers,
by political groups
and by religions.

It all points in one direction – you are separate.
In a group, we are separate.
The mistaken identity remains 
unsuspected, unexamined, unseen.

So, if there were no consequences
from imagining “me” into existence every day,
there would be no mid-life crisis,
no search for meaning,
no existential suffering,
no wondering where do “I” fit in ?
There would be no religions,
no depression,
no anxiety,
no addictions,
no worry for the future,
no vendettas, 
no family quarrels,
no aggression by governments,
no armies,
no nuclear weapons,
no crime,
no meditation,
no practice to know the truth of one’s nature,
and no Awakening.

But all of those things exist,
all from the construction of imagined “me”,
to the seeing through of the imagined “me”,
and realizing that the “me” was never really there,
any more than a dream is ever there.

The dream of “me” starts with an innocent mistake,
ends with a single, clear, direct look at the dream character,
and for all the story of suffering
between the invention and the dissolution of the “me”,
the “me” never acquires a single atom’s worth of reality
more than it started with.

Step out of the dream.

Find out what real freedom is.

It’s easier than your “me” wants you to think ….



For a more along this line, I suggest:

Thanks to this site for the baby pic:



About dominic724

A former seeker starts blogging.
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Consider the Baby…

  1. msarb says:

    I think you will like the peice that I am working on now!!! When you read it, keep in mind that it is practically finished BEFORE I read your “Consider the baby. . .” I’m thinking we have more in common than we thought!

  2. Sam Watts says:

    I like this post, dn. Language is a lot like magic. We come under its spell before we are capable of comprehending just how it works. Though I think there’s more to awakening than recognizing the deceptive nature of language, this is definitely a necessary part of the equation. And it doesn’t happen for us as children (because it can’t), which is why I’ve never met any awakened toddlers.

    The only other thing I would add is that, in my understanding, the first real perception of separation from the point of view of the infant (we could say, “the birth of the point of view”) is probably pre-verbal. During infancy a child may learn through experience that biting their blanket doesn’t hurt, but biting their fingers and toes does. Though there is no verbal understanding of the difference between “me” and “mom”, the infant wakes up to sensation in a new way. I could be wrong, but I think this is what precludes the all-too-familiar “separation anxiety” that infants experience at about 8 months (I could be wrong about the age).

    What happens at 18 months – 2 years is a little different. It’s not just the recognition of “I”, but that of “mine”. When the child sees their family dog, it’s no longer just “dog”, it’s “MY dog.” And this is where “No” comes in. The child is not their body anymore. Their body is “mine!”

    Sorry for the huge comment! Just thought I’d chime in with some extra info.


    • dominic724 says:

      Thanks for the elucidation. This is a wonderful comment. Please leave them as long as you like – there is no limit. It adds to the total picture. Kind Regards, – dn

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