Hagen Seibert wrote:
To put in another question:
If you defend your reputation this may be your illusion of self,
but keeping up this illusion to youself and to others may be beneficial on your income or position.
E.g. if you are a bouncer you have to keep up a reputation as a strong man,
once people know about a weakness you start getting a hard time...
Other examples could be found for any profession.
You do not really have to react to insult or disrespect,
but often this is just the beginning.
Often you do not know in advance...
Where does true self defence actually start ?
Is keeping up your image self defence?
Unless you are "enlightened" your self image is necessarily not the true picture. Awareness starts with not taking these ideas about oneself too seriously, not onvesting too much in maintaining these conditional images. Maintaining an image in order to be effective in a certain environment is fine as long as it doesn't conflict with your inner sense of who you arelly are. If you are in a work situation which requires that you act in ways that are out of accord with your sense of who you truely are, it is not authentic self defense to "play the game" and go against your nature just to get ahead. True self defense would be to get a new job or blow the whistle on the behavior which conflicted with your conscience... If you do damage to yourself maintaining an image it isn't authentic self defense.
Of course all of this is conditional in the Buddhist sense. Since there technically isn't a Self one can identify, all of your actions are somewhat based on false assumptions but there are ways of acting in the world which are in accord with an enlightened attitude even though your own understanding is short of what would be called "Enlightened".
I would say that actions which are more authentic would be charcterized by two main characteristics. They would not be based on fear and they would be compassionate.