Am I still myself?
Post Reply
 
Thread Rating:
  • 0 Votes - 0 Average
  • 1
  • 2
  • 3
  • 4
  • 5
19-05-2011, 05:07 AM
Am I still myself?
Imagine I have a toaster. When it breaks I replace the broken part. After a while I replaced EVERYTHING on this toaster.
Is It still my toaster? From my perspective, it is, The toaster however, is completely different. And what if I replaced one part (eg: the outer shell) with a part with a different color?

I am not the same person as I was when I was born, I became adult, much of my character changed. Although the chemical makeup of my body remained largely the same, it still changed some. The atoms are completely different however.

Am I still ME?

I guess I am! Religious folks might say that "my soul" is still the same. Yet everyone makes up a different definition of what a soul is.
Is your soul, your thoughts? My thoughts changed as well. Some of them got lost, others replaced.
Is your soul, your way of living. I can honestly say that I live a different life in regard to 15 years ago.

What, from a naturalistic world view, makes me ME?

The best I can think of is my continuous existence in time. Is "Being me" just the perception from my environment? In the same sense like I see the toaster still as "my toaster"? A sobering thought!
Different opinions?

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2011, 08:08 AM
RE: Am I still myself?
(19-05-2011 05:07 AM)The_observer Wrote:  Is "Being me" just the perception from my environment?

A philosopher or neurologist will tell you yes. "Who you are" is nothing more than the random chemical combinations and sequence of synapses firing in your brain. This is what makes "you" distinguishable from "me." I will never experience your world perceptions through the context of "you."

This is why when people get brain damage, significant portions of their behavior and thought process change. Tearful family members might argue that "this isn't the Ricky I know" or some sentimental reasoning, but the Ricky they were used to is now brain damaged Ricky. Old Ricky is not trapped inside a broken body, trying to get out.

Or say due to an overproduction of testosterone in your body, you've been angry all your life. "Who you are" is identifiable as an angry dick. But then you start taking estrogen pills. Suddenly, by blocking a chemical from reaching your brain, you have successfully altered your identity. And if you had been born with this chemical makeup, "you" would have been a completely different person.



Theists will argue that what we are more than just perceptions. That something exists within us that is capable of recognizing our own being, that the mind and the body are separate entities (I think, therefore I am) and that the mind is actually the soul.



And no, it's not the same toaster. What you've done is just a long, drawn out version of disassembling the original toaster while building a new one. Your original toaster is now in pieces scattered throughout the landfill and can still be put back together if discovered. There is no Toaster Soul remnant left behind.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2011, 09:51 AM
RE: Am I still myself?
Yes, and the same with alziemers and degenerative diseases. The person may perceive the world differently too. For example Grandma thinks I am her cousin, maybe from similar features or something.
Like everything in life, we constantly change so it's best to be the best 'you' in this moment, that way all the 'new' parts make an even better- ahem- toaster! Smile
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2011, 10:04 AM
RE: Am I still myself?
Though this does remind me of a discussion in class about "Is Reality Just Our Perceptions?" And I made the point that No, reality is independent of our personal perceptions, using the example: If I place a banana peel in a pitch black room, and someone else comes along a day later with no idea of what is in the room... he will still slip on the banana peel. The banana peel existed independently in his reality, regardless of whether or not he perceived it to be there.

And as far as Grandma thinking you are her cousin, it is technically HER reality (within the context of "grandma") but not actual reality. And we deduce this similarly to the scientific method. We bring in other existing "I's" all with different perspectives, who confirm that grandma's reality differs from the collective. Reality is very communist. If everyone had their own conflicting realities (I'm actually a bird; I'm Kartha, god of the cornflakes; I'm a ghost and no one can see me) then we would have no way to discern reality from perception.

"Ain't got no last words to say, yellow streak right up my spine. The gun in my mouth was real and the taste blew my mind."

"We see you cry. We turn your head. Then we slap your face. We see you try. We see you fail. Some things never change."
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2011, 10:17 AM
 
RE: Am I still myself?
People have a different definition for soul, and yet what proof is there that a soul exists? I think many people think of soul and what they're relating to as that ascendant part of themselves is actually consciousness. Because they think in terms of having something invigorating them, inspiring them,guiding them and yet is superior to them because they are led to believe one part of themselves is eternal.

If physics has it right, everything is created of energy that moves constantly and to a rhythm. It's ever changing and can not be destroyed, only reformed. So perhaps self is changing as frequently as what the self experiences, learns, enjoys, suffers, loses, gains, etc...
Am I the same person today as I was yesterday? The experiences that I had in the last 24 hours added to who I thought I was on Wednesday. So come Thursday I know more, I've aged more, I've lost more life time. Sense of self, is one thing and yet even that changes as we learn more of who we are. And yet what of that is really learning anything? Is it finding what's there already? Uncovering it, so as to experience it? Or is it a matter of what we learn of ourselves what is actually moving to that rhythm that flows in sync with what we're aligned with in our little circle in this world?
Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2011, 10:29 AM
RE: Am I still myself?
(19-05-2011 08:08 AM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  And no, it's not the same toaster. What you've done is just a long, drawn out version of disassembling the original toaster while building a new one. Your original toaster is now in pieces scattered throughout the landfill and can still be put back together if discovered. There is no Toaster Soul remnant left behind.
Allas poor toaster... May he live on in the memory's of Cold Sunday mornings, with hot toast, bacon and maramlade...
[Image: Toaster_of_Death.jpg]
A Clear explanation buddy christ. [Image: thumbsup.gif]
(19-05-2011 10:04 AM)Buddy Christ Wrote:  If I place a banana peel in a pitch black room, and someone else comes along a day later with no idea of what is in the room... he will still slip on the banana peel. The banana peel existed independently in his reality, regardless of whether or not he perceived it to be there.
Hmm... Isn't that just a different form of perception? nl: a slippery thing that tripped me. I might not know it was a banana-peel; I might think it was a wet leave. But I still have perception of it trough it's slipperiness...
A bit like gravity... we only perceive that trough it's effects...

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2011, 10:36 AM
 
RE: Am I still myself?
[Image: Toaster_of_Death.jpg] Now if only that was a Jesus or Virgin Mary toaster, you'd make a fortune selling the bread on eBay! Tongue Think of the mega money you'd have to buy a new toaster then.
Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2011, 10:45 AM
 
RE: Am I still myself?
(19-05-2011 05:07 AM)The_observer Wrote:  Am I still ME?

The short answer is "no".
The longer answer is "yeah, but no."

To elaborate, we will always evaluate ourselves as separate beings from our past images and future predictions. We identify an "I" somewhere in those pictures because we expect our most declarative characteristics (Jungian philosophy, a liking to strawberries with sugar topping, 13'' penis size) to still be a part of us. However, we fail to take into consideration the most discrete alterations that occur literally from one moment to the next.

An axon symplex might break, a set of neurons might wither, your blood sugar level may rise or fall, your alkalies might be sweated off. All those small things that you do not have a conscious awareness off are still part of yourself. Any change in them, means the same change in you.

So, your question should be transformed into "What am I?", "What constitutes me?", "What makes me, me?" Once you have those down, you might have a closer picture of the answer for what you asked.

Our personality is parallel to our physiology. However, certain idiosyncratic thresholds might be required to be reached before we can identify a real alternation in what we perceive as "I".
Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2011, 02:04 PM
RE: Am I still myself?
"Think of an experience from your childhood. Something you remember clearly, something you can see, feel, maybe even smell, as if you were really there. After all you really were there at the time, weren’t you?
How else could you remember it? But here is the bombshell: you weren’t there. Not a single atom that is in your body today was there when that event took place .... Matter flows from place to place and momentarily comes together to be you. Whatever you are, therefore, you are not the stuff of which you are made. If that does not make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, read it again until it does, because it is important."
— Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)

"I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason and intellect has intended us to forego their use." - Galileo

"Every man is guilty of all the good he did not do." - Voltaire
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
19-05-2011, 02:46 PM
RE: Am I still myself?
(19-05-2011 02:04 PM)daemonowner Wrote:  "Think of an experience from your childhood. Something you remember clearly, something you can see, feel, maybe even smell, as if you were really there. After all you really were there at the time, weren’t you?
How else could you remember it? But here is the bombshell: you weren’t there. Not a single atom that is in your body today was there when that event took place .... Matter flows from place to place and momentarily comes together to be you. Whatever you are, therefore, you are not the stuff of which you are made. If that does not make the hair stand up on the back of your neck, read it again until it does, because it is important."
— Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion)
It was this quote, together with one from "a small history of nearly everything" that lingered and made me think about this question.

Observer

Agnostic atheist
Secular humanist
Emotional rationalist
Disclaimer: Don’t mix the personal opinion above with the absolute and objective truth. Remember to think for yourself. Thank you.
Find all posts by this user
Like Post Quote this message in a reply
Post Reply
Forum Jump: