A review of Bruce Hood’s book by Maria Popova on Brain Pickings
Science seems to confirm what has been central to Buddhist philosophy for hundreds of years, that the self that we identify with has no intrinsic existence, and is merely imputed from an aggregate of our experience and dependent upon our body as a basis. The self that we believe to be inherently existent is impermanent, illusive and ultimately illusory. No matter how much you search for it, or identify with it, it simply is not there.
The startling message of this realisation is not that nothing matters (nihilism), but that your “self” is a mental construct caught in a web of causality that seeks to label all experience in terms of “self” and “other”. There is a way out of this causal loop offered by those that have reached enlightenment, and that is a letting-go of all attachments, even to the point of radical departure from seeing things as inherently existent. Once a perceptual mode of emptiness is established, labels such as “I” and “mine” become irrelevant and superfluous to an experience of the present moment.