Freitag, 23. September 2011

A case of mistaken Identity

The question, "Who am I really?" is probably asked by every man who queries the nature of things. The answer, if insufficient, strangles him intellectually or makes him mystical. Either is undesirable towards a healthy, productive life, the output of which one decides to spend as he may.

Before answering this question I would like analyze (fondly, might I add) how the solution, of this singular demand to oneself, has progressed. In the dawn of human intellect, man realized that nature was generically reducible. He saw the elemental nature of things and realized that things were reducible to their atomic parts. Reductionism was obvious and so imperatively true, that it dominated the thinking of man for very long time.

Thus when the early thinkers inquired about thoughts and ideas and their place in the world, they automatically came to a standstill: For of course, all they found was brain and never the thought. It might have been this particular dilemma that has led mankind, towards a spiritual approach, for the concept of a soul. All of intellectual, 'higher' ideals, that belonged not to this world but to another. This mystified the entire nature of one the most important character of man: The identity.

Now we come to the important part of the theory behind the argument I will be making to forward my agenda of realism:

Since the cultural thinking of mankind is not an equilibrium process, it is guided by the KINETICS rather than the THERMODYNAMICS of the culture. This statement may be ambiguous to some, hence here is an example:

If you are driving from Point A to point B, if you drive slowly enough, your complicated hairdo will not be disturbed. On the contrary a fast ride will give you some hair-raising experience. literally.

Meaning, if some things happen too fast, other things can't always keep up with them.

Since mysticism was the chief means of defining soul for millennial periods, when science was practically suddenly made a rudimentary part of culture (especially because it was SO successful), the first response towards the idea of soul was rejection, when it should have been redefinition and re-examination. Soul was not the only thing that was rejected. A lot of other mystical ideas that were concerned with the nature of Humanity and individuality, were abruptly deemed ridiculously wrong. And this, as you might guess created a vacuum, because we can make ideas obsolete but not their effects that survive through languages and culture. This vacuum has not been satisfactorily filled because of parallel movement within popular culture, that rejected scientific rigour and rather clung to its more political outlook to suit their private agendas. e.g. Post-modernism, Modernism. The ideas that have become a part of our life from these movements I will disdainfully label here as the Vacuum ideas.

Now that we have established (without citations!) a cultural backdrop, we can discuss what identity REALLY is and what its evolution is like. Since I am writing this article I will give myself special privilege of deciding what is the right way it should be handled.

Identity in crude but still accurate to sufficiently necessary terms is a combination of one's genetic makeup and memories. It is the mental/intellectual/ideological behavior of an individual in response to various stimuli.

Let me explain where these terms go exactly.

The genetic part determines your metal capacities and your physical appearance and dexterity. The memory part determines your experiences. BOTH have (cross) feedback, that originates from environment and themselves. So of course they are not simple. e.g. when you find yourself particularly good at some sport/activity, you know inherently, that you can do it with ease. It gives you confidence in that matter. If you develop your life ('career') in that direction your personality becomes confident in general. Similarly if you are good looking and are reminded of that particularly often, even that gives you confidence (see how that requires a stronger EXTERNAL influence though). Sometimes your experience shape your identity: You see someone around you destroy their life of insobriety and decide to become a teetotaler (or even an abstainer) and eventually a stoic and so on and so forth. This behavioral part of you is stored into your brain in form of an algorithm, that knows how to act when. Essentially your identity becomes consciously or subconsciously the way you define your behavior.

So You are who you act.

At this juncture the definitions stop. More important questions are plaguing your mind:

Am I really alive? What if all of this is just like an illusion? Do I even have control?

The first question is rubbish. It is mystical and NEED NOT be answered. It is a product of ancestral (cultural) thinking we need to get rid of. The second question is the output of a mixture idiotic ancestral (cultural) and modern-value thinking (the vacuum) and should disqualified with reason. The answer to the third question is a matter of definitions which DO give a meaningful answer: YES.

So the second question: So if this is only happening in my brain, then is it an illusion?

The stupidity of that question is not evident as it should be. Illusion is something that DOES NOT EXIST. The ideas in your brain EXIST, perhaps not materially but they exist as something else. Let me wear my smug smile. This 'ideas = illusion' is a direct output of failure of Reductionism mentioned early on. When people could not find the elemental components of thought they ascribed to soul (behavioral morality) a divine/spiritual nature. When scientific thought was made popular, the belief in divinity was withdrawn, but the NEW ideas of EMERGENCE were not clearly grasped that could explain soul. Emergence is the property of being MORE than the sum of its participating elements. An elegant example is computer software: IT IS REAL. IT EXISTS. BUT NOT MATERIALLY. It exists as interaction between objects. Thus is more malleable and fluid than the objects themselves and can take a very large number of forms. The same is true of thought and thus identity, which is a VIRTUAL (to be distinguished from illusionary) creation that has physical manifestation through emergence, its 'hardware' being the network of neurons.

And now the third: Do I have control?

The answer to this is more difficult and requires a lot more explanation to be found here. The gist of which is, that free will (control) is not about taking decisions that are independent of bias (that doesn't even make sense by the way) but rather knowing that multiple choices exist. Since you identity exists too at the same time you can actually know WHY YOU ARE MAKING A PARTICULAR CHOICE if you are really vigilant enough. That is free will.

Thus as you know by now, identity is fluid: It changes slowly and that's not bad. You are not a beautiful, unique, snowflake as media would have you believe but rather a means to something greater: an individual who can actually make use of his brain and think independently.

So there.

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