The Self does not Exist, Free Will does
- We often hear people wishing they were somebody else: a woman who wishes she was born a man, someone who wishes he was born taller, someone who wishes he was born in another country, etc.
- You can't be someone else: if you were someone else, that someone else wouldn't be you.
- In fact you are not even you as a child: that was a different self. You and that child only have in common a memory which has emotions attached to it, so you feel that it's the same person, but in reality that child "died" and will never exist again as "you".
- You die every second and a new self is born every second.
- It's not that you "change": you die and someone else is born.
- A person cannot "change": if s/he changes, then s/he is someone else.
- Buddha was right: the self does not exist. Your life is a sequence of billions of selves.
- Two identical selves can potentially exist but not necessarily in the same body because the body changes all the time: it could be that at some point someone else is identical to you as you were some time in the past. For a second that "self" would be reborn. But only to die immediately afterwards.
- Selves are illusions. We need a word for the thing that really exist: the ephemeral self that is born and dies in a few instants.
- However, free will does exist: the sequence of "selves" does have a choice at every point in time.