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The Observor

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posted on Oct, 23 2012 @ 09:41 PM
You can act in two basic ways: acting without observing, and acting with observing.

The former state is usually called "self awareness" while the latter state is called "self consciousness".

In terms of the first, there is an unbridled transmission of 'energy' from potential into action. This experience is a first person dynamic, the world passes more quickly, or fluidly, and there is a definite feeling of freedom or liberation from any emotional barriers.

The latter state, observing while acting, derives from the general faculty of reason, reflection, 'observing' things. Just like with reason, "things are broken down", things seem to slow, and each moment seems "too long" as opposed to the timeless feeling of action without observation. This experience is an act of self objectification while acting. It's necessarily 'split' into the self that is acting and the self that is watching the self that is acting.

The observer is an aspect of the inner critic. The inner critic need not necessarily be 'self centered', but could just be an aspect of a greater 'critical' function which can be called the 'discerner'. The discerner is there to guide the self in terms of quantity, quality and value, how much of something, but more importantly, the 'why' and 'how' of things. The reason is the bridle of the passions, and the exposer of lifes mysteries. The passions, or rather, the smooth flow of self transcendence, of not observing when you're acting, is how humans being are supposed to live. When the observer gets involved in the action itself, he has overstepped his boundaries.

Viktor Frankl is the only psychologist to have seen in this dynamic a significant truth of human existence: we want to forget ourselves; we want to get lost in the 'other', whether that be our day to day actions imbued with greater meaning, or what not, the happy life is the life well centered in self transcendent, yet, also responsive to the external needs of every day living.]
edit on 23-10-2012 by dontreally because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 23 2012 @ 10:59 PM
reply to post by dontreally

Interesting Op but for me, parts of it needs to be broken down into a simpler form. Some of it seems contradictory to me but that is probably because I don't understand what you are saying or I have a conditioned understanding that contradicts your explanation.

Sounds very much like Gurdjieff's command to observe thyself. Gurdjeirff seems to imply that it should be done in the present.

Could you help my confusion?

posted on Oct, 23 2012 @ 11:32 PM
reply to post by liveandlearn

I'm not sure what's confusing you.

Which terms in particular did you have a hard time understanding?

I think what you're referring to is different from what I'm referring to.

Frankl uses an interesting example from "the will to meaning". He talks about when a child gets his picture taken, if he's unsuspecting i.e. is not given a chance to become self aware, he looks incredibly natural, incredibly human. But if the child becomes aware, you can sense the distortion in self, the almost 'tenseness' of his 'objectifying' himself in thought.

So that love of self awareness I'm referring to is an a sense of self that does not 'objectify' itself in consciousness through observation. This incidentally, is why so many actors find watching themselves acting so awkward. To be an actor, one has "to be". One has to be enthralled and absorbed by the image in his thought. If, however, you begin to observe yourself and so 'assess' your acting while attempting to act, there is an obvious sense of self consciousness in it. The person looks self consciousness. The observation in itself prevents the self transcendence in the act. A good actor really doesn't "act" in the way we think. Rather, he tries to become what he thinks. He merely acts it out. When he watches it, he finally gets a chance to see himself "objectified", and that can understandably feel very weird.

So, when we 'act', most truly, and easily, it is to transcend ourselves.

On the other hand, there are states of meditative awareness, which is what I think you refer to, in which you specifically watch and be aware. This is a very 'responsive' state of consciousness that seeks to go beneath the banal in every moment into the 'itness' of it.

I agree, there are multiple states. But to have fun, to be happy, truly, as Frankl says, requires the 'happiness' to be a mere side effect. A thing one does not aim for, nor think of, when he is involved in something which causes the happiness.
edit on 23-10-2012 by dontreally because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 23 2012 @ 11:54 PM
reply to post by dontreally

Yes, I can see we are coming from different places and understandings. My apologies.

Gurdjieff meant for us to observe ourselves so that we could understand why we reacted the way we do. What in our background caused us to react in this way.

So for me this explanation was contradictory to my understanding.

Totally different approach to understanding oneself.

posted on Oct, 24 2012 @ 05:38 AM
Let me get this straight:
Which one s better? To live it without observing, to fully incarnate the character or to perform and observe at the same time?

Actually i am trying to train the observer mode because it makes me more calm and peaceful. But this observer observes everything, not only himself.

But its a neutral observation, there is no judging, nothing is good or bad, there is no yes or no to what is observed. I just say: i am getting angry, he is angry, i am working, i am refusing this, i am loving it.

The observer only sees things, he makes no analysis.

When you observe you activate your soul consciousness, when you don't observe you get fully immersed in the character, your souls looses control over the situation.

Your thoughts?
edit on 24-10-2012 by Manula because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 28 2012 @ 11:21 AM
reply to post by dontreally

What a great thread! I hope you don't mind if I jump in, as this is my area of specialty. Frankl was an Existential psychologist, most assuredly relying on the 20th century continental philosophy that emerged after WWII. This school of philosophy started as great thinkers began to realize that great "evil" can be done by normally ethical people. Take for example the Nuremberg trials where the excuse "I was just following orders" was used by German officers. As you stated before, and correct me if I'm wrong, but this could easily be attributed to someone "acting without observing"... a real problem when considering the outcome.

The difference between "acting without observing" and "acting with observing" can also be understood in a Sartrean sense of the "being in-itself" and the "being for-itself". I'm not the biggest fan of Sartre, but I think the language is well defined within the philosophical community.

For the self-aware mind, there becomes a large problem of how the "self-aware" perceives itself. Many philosophers have had problems while attempting to understand temporality. We might all agree that the past is no longer, and the future is yet to be, but where we fail at describing the self-aware, is just where then does it exist? Now consider the present moment; If it is a specific moment, whether observed by the aware or not, any unit is infinitely divisible, garnering a reaction from Sartre to call true existence "nothingness".

Source: Being and Nothingness, Jean Paul Sartre

I apologize ahead of time if this post seems to be didactic or condescending, trust me this is not my intention. I just really get excited about these considerations. One of my more favorites considering the "actor" and the "audience" comes from the Ontologist Hannah Arendt. I wish I had more to give you on her philosophy, but I'm not as versed with her as I am with the Existentialists. Although I would recommend reading her book, The Life and Mind.

One final note before I close my thoughts on the subject. The purpose of any of these ideas is to give ethical considerations to how we treat each other, in other words, these ideas all prescribe action. If we are to consider that life is finite, then we must have a way to ethically refuse nihilism. Nihilism, as stands easily follows from a philosophy of "Nothingness". However, because these great minds have attempted to describe what exactly the human condition is, we can use it to identify with the "other". Meaning derives from what we give it, but universally we all search for it.


p.s. Taken from my favorite of the Existentialists, Simone de Beauvoir " I should like to be the landscape which I am contemplating, I should like this sky, this quit water to think themselves within me, that it might be I whom they express in flesh and bone, and I remain at a distance."

Thanks for the opportunity to transcend my ideas into text

posted on Oct, 29 2012 @ 01:44 PM
The observer is an internal reflection point - ahead of time, you can see the mechanisms behind your own actions - you can see the drivers of instinct and you can see the programming of thought. To create pure action is a result of your own learning and your own sense of creation.

To "face yourself" occurs at the end - to see what you are behind the mask - either to rejoice, or to lament.

posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 12:48 AM
reply to post by m0n9u21

Very interesting! Thanks for the reply.

posted on Nov, 1 2012 @ 01:09 AM
reply to post by m0n9u21

The difference between "acting without observing" and "acting with observing" can also be understood in a Sartrean sense of the "being in-itself" and the "being for-itself". I'm not the biggest fan of Sartre, but I think the language is well defined within the philosophical community.

I'm not acquainted with Satre. I've sort of 'avoided' him, although I do intend to get to him some day. Right now I am racked with other books/subjects.

As for being-for-itself versus being-in-itself. Frankl noted that a pathological neurosis develops when an individual becomes overly focused on being "for" something; he doesn't just be-in-itself, free from the critical eye of self reflection, but rather, before he does something he 'aims' for a picture he wants to achieve.

A good example is the stutterer. The more he 'aims' for speaking good, the more he will stutter. His hyper-intention involves the corollary of hyper attention; thus, he becomes 'absorbed' in a very tense cycle of intending and attending to his malady.. When you aim to do the thing opposite to that which you fear, the aiming brings the thing you fear; and, you obsessively watch as you stumble your way through.

It's a grueling issue for anyone who has dealt with anticipatory anxiety, such as in OCD or social anxiety disorder.

However, I suspect being 'for' yourself is meant in the good sense, of taking responsibility for your every action. In which case, the being aware and conscious reflects the facts of reality upon the descrying conscience. This is undoubtedly good. However, one cannot 'live' in this sense.

It's interesting to note that Eve in Hebrew, Cheva, means to live. It is this impulse towards living - towards living without conscious reflection - which leads towards the sin of trusting the deceptive serpent of our lower passions. Thus, there's a major danger in just 'living' in a total self transcendent state (such as described in Nietzsches 'the birth of tragedy') detached from external developments. Rather, in my opinion, it entails a balance between responding and letting things 'be'. One is definitely subject to ones conscience, and should, I believe, respond accordingly (though i don't agree with the somewhat sanguine view that there is any 'imperative' to acting morally. An imperative does not secure fulfillment, as we can see in our morbid society)' however, it is important not to be pernickety about things. There's an ease, and a relaxation, and a need to let things 'flow' without the restrictive affects of self consciousness on the acting body.

However, because these great minds have attempted to describe what exactly the human condition is

That is truly what makes existential philosophy so compelling. So far, the replies to this thread have shown how difficult it is for some people to look at reality from a truly existential perspective. Some have mentioned eastern techniques of 'watching' and 'observing'. As interesting and as spiritually useful as sch practices can be, they are unrelated to the questions of this thread. It's as if they couldn't drop that perspective for a moment and address some basic facts of human experience.

The 'other' - being lost in the other, absorbed in some property of thought, is truly what defines the human experience. Being 'lost', forgetting ourselves, is intrinsic. Also intrinsic is the concept of relationship, since being subsumed by the 'other' implies a fundamental dualism between the self and the non-self. Therefore, relationship, and it's ethical byproduct, responsibility (to yourself, and to society) These are basic features of our experience. Its rather amazing that more religious traditions didn't ensconce such existential insights in their philosophical systems. The only one I can think of that approaches such a purview is the Hebrew Bible (if, of course, you take it as metaphor, allegory, containing the metaphysical, theological and philosophical beliefs of the ancient Hebrews). No surprise than that Frankl saw a confirmation of his spiritual tradition in the writings of Heidegger, etc
edit on 1-11-2012 by dontreally because: (no reason given)

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