Self as an enduring affliction
Chapter 9 endnote 33, from Lisa Feldman Barrett.
Some context is:
To a Buddhist, a self is worse than a passing physical illness. It is an enduring affliction. [...] It’s also a good idea to give up the fiction that people remain the same.
We go through life, day to day, maintaining the fiction that people remain the same and therefore predictable. That “asshole mechanic” who overcharged us yesterday is both an “asshole” and a “mechanic” today and forever. That president who was dishonest about his extra-marital affair will be dishonest at all times and in all matters.
This mindset is a barrier to compassion. Buddhist philosophy instructs us that suffering comes from treating the selves of other people as enduring and real. You mistake the person who is with you today, in this context, as having an essence that’s enduring in time. So each time you see that mechanic, or listen to the president, you become angry. It’s toxic negativity. But if you can take the other person's perspective—authentically experience the world through his eyes, from his point of view, even for just a moment — this allows you to understand that your own view is relative, and the event that’s taxing on your body evaporates (along with your suffering).