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From KNOW THYSELF: Adventures in Getting to Know My Own Mind by Steve Perrin. Available on Lulu.com.

43. The last thing I want you to do is blindly accept what I say as true—that would be no better than accepting the world as true or real in itself. But I do hope you’ll bear with me as I make my case on the basis of my lived experience, and follow along by exploring your own experience as I have explored mine for the past thirty years. (Introduction, p. xxviii.)

44. Unique as each of us is, we are in this world together and owe it to one another to be as clear as we can about the reality we supposedly share. (Introduction, p. xxviii.)

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40. It helps me to remember that such perspectives are a contribution made by the evolutionary descendants of worms, worms now having not only alimentary canals but backbones supporting arms and legs as well, appendages enabling us to stand up and look around at the richness of what our senses allow us to discover and our minds make meaningful. (Introduction, p. xxviii.)

41. My first chapter . . . is based on instances when I have misjudged or misunderstood situations that seemed perfectly obvious until I was undeceived, or managed to undeceive myself. The world is what I make of it, not what it is in and of itself. (Introduction, p. xxviii.)

42. How I do that is the matter I deal with in these pages as drawn from my personal experience. (Introduction, p. xxviii.)

 

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37. Stars at night don’t form constellations; we project the swans, serpents, and dippers we bear in our terrestrial experience as if they were waiting in the night sky to reveal themselves to us. (Introduction, p. xxvi.)

38. The magic is not in the stars themselves but in how we select, arrange, and categorize them to suit ourselves in making them familiar and therefore memorable in awareness. (Introduction, p. xxviii.)

39. So do we tame the wildness of the stars, jungles, city streets, inkblots, and other minds. In the beginning was chaos until we bestow a pattern upon it, and then a conceptual meaning of what it might signify to us from our perspective at the time, tying the whole into a memorable narrative of understanding. (Introduction, p. xxviii.)

 

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34. If I do not give myself to my surroundings, as far as I know there is nothing worthy of note and I am not functionally situated at my body’s GPS coordinates, but rather at mental coordinates of my own choosing. (Introduction, p. xxvii.)

35. The truly hard part of introspection (looking within) is surrendering the firm assumption that we all live in an external reality we regard as “the real world.” (Introduction, p. xxvii.)

36.We see the sun rise above the horizon with our own eyes—except the image is a pure illusion because it is Earth’s turning toward the sun that creates that impression. (Introduction, p. xxvii.)

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32. My personal bent is to look for reality—the true situation—within my mind in terms of restless couplings of conceptual ideas with sensory figures in mutual fulfillment, . . . My personal reality is not something I outsource to any world or academic discipline, but a quality I recognize in my own struggles to match sensory patterns to meanings, meanings to patterns, whether on the level of metaphorical speech or the overarching order of my personal understanding. (Introduction, p. xxv.)

33. The image I have in mind when I think of loops of engagement is that of a juggler keeping different aspects of her preferred reality in the air at once by flinging them up, catching them, then flinging them again and again, keeping them aloft through pure willpower, making them conform to a plan in her head—the world as she would have it be from her unique point of view—as a kind of personal metaphor for a world she is unable to grasp in immediate experience. (Introduction, p. xxvi.)

 

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29. By nature, I am an inquirer, full of curiosity about what lies beyond the next turn in the road. I hate to turn back before exploring every nook and shadow of a new landscape. I was born asking questions, and will die with the phrase, “What next?” on my lips. (Introduction, p. xxiii.)

30. Out of seven billion human minds on Earth, only one is available for me to explore—should I choose to do so. If I choose not to examine that one, I remain ignorant about any and all minds, and about humanity in general. (Introduction, p. xxiii.)

31. Consciousness is prime, with any sense of the surrounding world amounting to a construct of the only mind I have any reliable access to. My world is of my making and interpre-tation. How I go about making my personal world is the true subject matter of these thoughts. (Introduction, p. xxiii-xxiv.)

 

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26. If I don’t understand myself, how can I hope to know anyone else, much less grasp the mystery of life? (Introduction, p. xxiii.)

27. After much confusion, I discover I am a unique being unlike any other person on Earth. Scary thought, but there it is. When I speak for myself, I speak only for myself and no one else. (Introduction, p. xxiii.)

28. I find the currency of my inner world to be distinct from that of the world around me. Outside, to get things done, I need some form of physical energy (or money, its surrogate); inside, I rely on mental energy propelling the flow of awareness across the landscape of consciousness. (Introduction, p. xxiii.)

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23. No time to wait around, to figure things out, to stay in touch with oneself. The clock ticks, ticks, ticks. I can hear it from here. (Preface, xv.)

24. Imagine rushing off to die, like a stampede of buffalos over a cliff, but in effect that’s what society is asking of us. Just form a line behind those coming through. That way, the herders do the planning, and we dutifully obey. How simple it is, and how self-destructive, (Preface, xv.)

25. Inner discovery through introspection is my method, providing self-knowledge as a ready platform for making myself happen as I choose, while providing the best defense against others controlling who I am and what I am to do with my life. (Preface, xv.)

 

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20. Where do words come from, that they can be so affecting from afar? I don’t even know where my own words come from when I open my mouth to speak, or sit at a computer as I am doing now, writing this very sentence. They flow from my mind, that I know, and within it from the dynamic forces making up the situation I believe myself to be in at the time. (Preface, xiii.)

21. I view the rush of modern American life as the enemy of introspection and knowing my own mind, which takes time to get the hang of and to savor. So much to do, so little time. What a sad little story, as if we are born to scurry around doing errands and not conduct our own lives. (Preface, xv.)

22. Whose life are we expected to live,  anyway? Not our own, certainly. Thoreau liked a broad margin around his inner life, and today such leeway is hard to find because social pressures leave little room for musing and self-direction as alternatives to rushing to work, to school, to shopping at the mall. See ya, gotta go. (Preface, xv.)

 

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16. It helps to remember these four things: 1) we have only a very short time to learn everything we’ll ever know; 2) none of us lives in the so-called real world; 3) we’re still the same little kid who developed a caricature of a world as a child, and much of that caricature persists to this day; and 4) the way we see the world is the way we see the world, not the way the world is. (Preface, xii.)

17. To be effective, we must know ourselves inside-out. (Preface, xii.)

18. In truth, we can’t know anyone else nearly as well as we can know ourselves. (Preface, xii.)

19.We are not here to live up to others’ expectations, but more to fulfill the destiny we forge for ourselves through dedication, concentration, and years of hard work. (Preface, xii.)