05 | CR Book II, Chapter 1 & 2
diction itself. A material contradiction operates both as a driving, and as
a destroying force. It results in change, and the present state is replaced
by another state. Yet the thing is not at once torn to pieces by its
contradictions. It may maintain a certain identity for a time in its self-
contradictory states, an identity within perceptual change. Seen from
another angle, however, a material contradiction is a movement towards
nothingness, as far as the particular individual unit is concerned.
[1941 Definitions of self by linguistic uses] & [table A: self]
[1941 Book I, Chapter 4 - Our symbols and their limitations]
BOOK II - LIMITS AND BOUNDARIES
Beginning with the units of our everyday world, as they are shaped
by the joint effects of sense perception, practical needs, and speech,
we find that we cannot assign definite boundaries or limits to any of
them. It is impossible to decide accurately where one thing begins, and
where another thing ends.
Chapter 1 - The boundaries of ourselves are not at all definitely
demarcated. Let us consider the self, as we speak of it unphilosophically,
when in everyday language we use the words "I", "me", "myself", or
combinations of the word "self" (like self-reliance, self-satisfaction,
self-assertion, etc.) and as we experience it in everyday life in the self-
feelings (pride, shame, etc.) which are connected with the acquisition,
loss and control of its constituents. The boundaries of this "self", or
of the total personality, fluctuate continually. Its extension may vary
almost between infinite and zero. Its contents are continually exchanged
with the outer world, except for a fairly stable inner core. Usually the
self cuts out for itself an indefinite and continually varying conglomeration
of objects - body, clothes, property, thought, convictions, emotions,
likes and dislikes, home, relatives, friends, reputation and name, persons,
with whom we identify ourselves, and specific (habitual) environment.
The attitude to these "parts" of the personality varies with circum-
stances, mood, purpose. On occasions this or that part of the world is
claimed as a part of myself, and is included in the self as belonging to it.
In other circumstances it may be felt as other than the self, constraining
or dissipating the self, and it is than often disowned, excluded, rejected.
There is no certainty, fixity, or consistency about the frontiers between
myself (the inner core which cannot be taken away), me, and the mine.
In general, one may distinguish degrees of closeness, and shades of
intimacy. But under the impact of fortuitous circumstances almost each
constituent may be pushed almost any distance from the inmost "self
itself". Nor are the parts separated from "myself", since they somehow
"participate" in, or "represent" my self.
Chapter 2 - As objects of sense-perception, things seem to have
clear limits in space. It seems that we can quite easily, with the help of
our senses, distinguish one object in space from another object in space.
It seems easy to know where the one begins, and where the other one
ends. But even here objects owe much of their appearance to an
accidental environment from which they cannot be separated. In doubtful
cases, we regard something as a unit if we see that it undergoes local
movement while its surroundings remain at rest. It is, however, question-
able whether the sight of local movement tells us much about the thing's
nature and being. The sensory limits need not coincide with the limits
of things as far as they have being, and the fact that objects are near one
another in space indicates, in itself, no intrinsic or essential unity