Are You Surprised that You're You?

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Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby iconoclastic on May 29th, 2018, 7:43 pm 

Your existence is surprising enough (if one of your ancestors had decided they didn't want to have sex that night, you wouldn't exist), but it's even more surprising that you're you: why aren't you someone else? I'm not conscious of being anyone else, so why am I conscious of being me? Does it surprise any of you that the birth of some random person (you) was, well, you? (I'm not asking "why am I who I am and why do I act how I act". That's genetics. I'm asking why I am conscious of being myself, in other words, why am I myself).
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby davidm on May 29th, 2018, 8:55 pm 

The chances of you being you are 100 percent — 1:1 — unity.

Nothing surprising about that.

There are two different notions of probability at work here. One is the probability of you being you — that’s 100 percent. The other is the probability of you existing at all — the odds against you existing at all are astronomical, off the charts. Yet, here you are. Which just goes to show that “extremely improbable” does not mean “impossible.” Given enough trials, all events, no matter how improbable, will converge to unity.

Consider a lottery in which every person on earth, about 7 billion, are assigned a card. All the cards are blank, except one, which has WINNER printed on it. What are the odds that you will draw that card? One in 7 billion.

What are the odds that someone will draw that card?

One hundred percent.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Event Horizon on May 29th, 2018, 11:06 pm 

I'm not surprised at all. It's just bloody typical that I'm me again... My unique potential to exist is something I'm stuck with I guess.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Don Juan on June 24th, 2018, 12:23 pm 

iconoclastic » May 30th, 2018, 1:43 am wrote:Your existence is surprising enough (if one of your ancestors had decided they didn't want to have sex that night, you wouldn't exist), but it's even more surprising that you're you: why aren't you someone else? I'm not conscious of being anyone else, so why am I conscious of being me? Does it surprise any of you that the birth of some random person (you) was, well, you? (I'm not asking "why am I who I am and why do I act how I act". That's genetics. I'm asking why I am conscious of being myself, in other words, why am I myself).


There is a sense of wonder I would say. I often ask myself and others 'how come I am?'

This existence in my point of view, this I experience, is mind-blowing for me. I seem to be a hierarchically stable state of relationships of some things in time in this universe. I wish to be a scientist of my own phenomenon from within.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Serpent on June 24th, 2018, 2:11 pm 

iconoclastic » May 29th, 2018, 6:43 pm wrote:Your existence is surprising enough

No, it really isn't. We all exist, or we wouldn't be here to hoo-haw over it. In fact, there is far too much human existence, at the price of many thousands of other species ceasing to exist.
Are you ever surprised at what doesn't exist, but should?

but it's even more surprising that you're you: why aren't you someone else?

Because Someone Else is filling that ecological niche and there wouldn't be enough room for both of us, while my ecological niche would be vacant and likely fall prey to some other parasite.

Does it surprise any of you that the birth of some random person (you) was, well, you?

What makes you think I'm random? I am, in point of fact, the culmination of 3 billion years of precision nucleic acid sequencing.

I'm asking why I am conscious of being myself,

I don't know about you. My excuse is that the anaesthetic wore off.

in other words, why am I myself

Maybe you're not. If you were someone else, you would still think of yourself as "me". I know this, because everyone is convinced of him- or her-self being "me". And, as you've pointed out, the odds against the existence of even one "me" are overwhelming, so there is no way we all can be "me".
So, how do you know you're not actually someone else suffering from a delusion of myselfhood?
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby mitchellmckain on June 24th, 2018, 5:12 pm 

No.

Nor am I surprised that apples are not oranges and that dogs are not trees. The suggestion is not even coherent, and so it does not surprise be that incoherent things are not the case, for it is hard to imagine that they even could be.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby BadgerJelly on June 24th, 2018, 10:17 pm 

If I was someone else how would I know? That said thre are things we can learn about ourselves so in part we really are “someone else” that sense.

Existence is certainly a great mystery.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Angelo Cannata on July 8th, 2018, 1:20 am 

I think that the question raised by iconoclastic is so important that I would say that it is not a question of philosophy, but the question of philosophy today.
Today I see nothing more important in philosophy than dealing with our subjectivity, our perception of being I. For example, it represents, in my opinion, the basis for non-violence: I will have respect of humans and even of animals, plants and objects, on the ground of my perception of myself as I, because from here I can suspect that other people have their living perception of being I and even things, like a simple stone, can be suspected of having some kind of I, especially if we note that between our DNA and any other atom there is not a gap, but only a difference about quantities, amounts of complexity.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Brent696 on July 27th, 2018, 12:18 am 

iconoclastic » May 29th, 2018, 7:43 pm wrote: I'm asking why I am conscious of being myself, in other words, why am I myself).


The mirror that is human consciousness, to speak of myself as a body is to confuse my existence with that of the animals. A dog is a dog, it does what a dog does, but he does not ever contemplate his own doggy-ness, he simply is. A dog has no name, you might name him he might recognize the the tone and inflection, but he does not understand it as a name as it separates him from other dogs.

But then what am I, it is not this body or its existence, the mirror of consciousness that is utterly human whereby one might contemplate their own existence, where I think "I AM" for a dog does not think so. In the vastness of space, across the vastness of time, in the void of it all, that there exists a single point, an microscopically invisible singularity that is here and now.

Where is this "I" that is within me, across all the universal cosmos where there is nothing, emptiness, no identity or consciousness, and in this one place, at this one point in time, where there was no identity, suddenly in the emptiness of the void a light comes on and that void peers in the mirror that is consciousness and says "I am".

What can we say of those who see consciousness as merely neuron activity, and then pretend to understand the quantum universe, how could we even understand the quantum universe if consciousness itself was not part of it, eyes are made to see light, but sound has no reality to them. Neither does light have reality to the ears, so it is that the quantum nature of consciousness can contemplate the quantum nature of the universe.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby davidm on July 27th, 2018, 3:28 pm 

The mirror that is human consciousness, to speak of myself as a body is to confuse my existence with that of the animals.


Humans are animals.

A dog is a dog, it does what a dog does, but he does not ever contemplate his own doggy-ness, he simply is.


Evidence?

A dog has no name, you might name him he might recognize the the tone and inflection, but he does not understand it as a name as it separates him from other dogs.


Evidence? I’ve been around dogs my whole life; they absolutely understand human language, and my impression is that they have a degree of self-awareness. It may not be as sophisticated as our own, but then again, dogs, being differently cognitively wired from us, live in a world of aromas that we cannot even guess at.

But then what am I, it is not this body or its existence, the mirror of consciousness that is utterly human whereby one might contemplate their own existence, where I think "I AM" for a dog does not think so. In the vastness of space, across the vastness of time, in the void of it all, that there exists a single point, an microscopically invisible singularity that is here and now.


Consciousness is a property of all animals. No idea what you mean by the last sentence beginning, “In the vastness of space…”

Where is this "I" that is within me, across all the universal cosmos where there is nothing, emptiness, no identity or consciousness, and in this one place, at this one point in time, where there was no identity, suddenly in the emptiness of the void a light comes on and that void peers in the mirror that is consciousness and says "I am".


Again, not quite sure what the above means, but plenty of species other than humans are intelligent, are self-aware to a certain degree, and many of them possess abilities that far outstrip our own. Also, it’s quite obvious that intelligence may have arisen independently elsewhere in the cosmos. If the universe is spatially infinite, as evidence suggests it is, we should expect that there are an infinite number of inhabited planets and an infinite number of intelligent species, no matter how rare life is or even rarer human-style intelligence is.

… eyes are made to see light, but sound has no reality to them.


Synesthesia.

Neither does light have reality to the ears…


Synesthesia.

…so it is that the quantum nature of consciousness can contemplate the quantum nature of the universe.


I’ve no idea what the “quantum nature of consciousness” is. Perhaps you could elaborate. I suspect it’s the usual bafflegab.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Brent696 on July 27th, 2018, 4:25 pm 

David,

>>>>"Humans are animals." "I suspect it’s the usual bafflegab."<<<<<

Just because you see yourself as an animal doesn't mean I am, so it seems prudent that I should not jump through hoops to debate on something you have no intention of considering.

Thanks for the insult though, I'll add it to my collection,
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Angelo Cannata on July 28th, 2018, 1:55 am 

I think that this question, in order to be treated fruitfully, needs a previous clearance about the method we want to adopt.
I think that the best and most radical method is to distinguish between an objectiv way of treating the perception of I and a subjective way. The subjective way is characterized by considering our involvement inside the question (that is, not forgetting that we are inside the question, we are part of the question) whenever we think about it.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby davidm on July 28th, 2018, 12:29 pm 

Brent696 » July 27th, 2018, 2:25 pm wrote:David,

>>>>"Humans are animals." "I suspect it’s the usual bafflegab."<<<<<

Just because you see yourself as an animal doesn't mean I a ...,


Yes, you are. Humans are evolved animals, like all others, whether you like it or not.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Brent696 on July 28th, 2018, 1:21 pm 

David,

I believe this thread is how we see ourselves, not others. How we see and perceive our own consciousness.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby davidm on July 28th, 2018, 1:46 pm 

It doesn't matter how you see yourself, subjectively. Objectively, we are evolved animals, like all others.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Angelo Cannata on July 28th, 2018, 1:53 pm 

davidm, how can you say that you talked objectively, considering that you are talking from the inside of what you are saying?
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby davidm on July 28th, 2018, 1:56 pm 

Angelo Cannata » July 28th, 2018, 11:53 am wrote:davidm, how can you say that you talked objectively, considering that you are talking from the inside of what you are saying?


I didn't say that I "talked" objectively. There are objective facts about the world that are independent of our subjectivity. One of them is the fact of evolution. "Objective" is that which can be checked by others,. I can't check what's inside anyone's mind, but I can check whether evolution is a fact, and so can others. It is a fact.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Angelo Cannata on July 28th, 2018, 1:58 pm 

How can you say that it is a fact, since you are inside this fact?
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Serpent on July 28th, 2018, 2:09 pm 

Angelo Cannata » July 28th, 2018, 12:58 pm wrote:How can you say that it is a fact, since you are inside this fact?

If you cannot state facts about what you are inside of, then you can't talk about your body as long as you're inside of it, and once you're outside of it, you won't have anything to talk with.
Of course, that's a small problem, compared to the fact that none of us can establish any facts about the universe, since we're all inside of it. I believe that to be a fact, but who can say?
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby davidm on July 28th, 2018, 2:19 pm 

Angelo Cannata » July 28th, 2018, 11:58 am wrote:How can you say that it is a fact, since you are inside this fact?


This is just sophomoric.

The sun comes up every morning. Fact? Non-fact? Or can't say because you're inside of the fact of the sun coning up?
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Angelo Cannata on July 28th, 2018, 2:23 pm 

You can’t say that the rising of the sun is a fact, because you are inside your mind. You cannot inquire the reliability of your mind without using your mind, so you have no way to know how reliable you mind is.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby davidm on July 28th, 2018, 2:34 pm 

You can't say that having just typed and posted what you wrote is a fact, because you are inside your mind. You cannot inquire the reliability of your mind without using your mind, so you have no way to know that you just wrote and posted the above, right?
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Angelo Cannata on July 28th, 2018, 3:00 pm 

Yes, right.
I know that you could object that now I am relaying on my mind. But what I say is not an alternative to certainty, I am not opposing my certainty to your certainty. What I say is a development of your certainty.
I mean, in a starting point I accept your certainty, totally. After accepting it, I explore its consequences. The consequences are that I must necessarily consider the involvement of my mind into the process of the certainty that I accepted. This produces an insuperable doubt, an insuperable suspect.
So, my doubting is a result of an acceppted certainty that, if developed in its consequences, cannot escape from destroyng itself with doubt.
In conclusion, my doubting is not certainty about my doubts; it is the result of a certainty that destroys itself.
This is my situation: ruins, destruction. In this situation I try to see if my friends have something better to propose, some kind of certainty capable of resisting to self destruction. But I see that they don’t. They just did non explore the consequences of their certainty, so they don’t know that they are in ruins, as I am.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby davidm on July 28th, 2018, 3:13 pm 



OK, so you're a philosophical skeptic. Old news. Shrug. The world goes on.

No one has to "know" anything, in an absolute sense. It's like the caution you receive from the judge in a jury trial: You need not find that the defendant is guilty beyond any doubt whatever -- just beyond any reasonable doubt.

Maybe we're living in a simulation. Maybe Descartes' demon is at work. Maybe everything is a dream. Who cares? I write something, I post it to you. It seems to work. You respond to what I write. Who cares if it's all an unverifiable illusion?
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby davidm on July 28th, 2018, 3:24 pm 

Maybe you can't know that you need to eat to keep living, because this idea is inside your mind, and you can't use your mind to verify its own reliability. You can test this by refusing to eat. As you waste away from hunger, you can console yourself that starving to death is an idea in your mind and the mind can't verify its own reliability. After you're dead, you won't need to worry about it, since you'll be dead.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Angelo Cannata on July 28th, 2018, 3:28 pm 

There are big consequences if we agree about doubting of anything.
If everything is suspectable of being illusion, my general attitude will be an attitude of listening to others, exploring, never using violence, never imposing my thought to others. I think it could be a better world.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby davidm on July 28th, 2018, 3:38 pm 

Angelo Cannata » July 28th, 2018, 1:28 pm wrote:There are big consequences if we agree about doubting of anything.
If everything is suspectable of being illusion, my general attitude will be an attitude of listening to others, exploring, never using violence, never imposing my thought to others. I think it could be a better world.


WhY?
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Angelo Cannata on July 28th, 2018, 3:53 pm 

If I am convinced about a certainty, I will be led to think that whoever disagrees with that certainty must be a fool, or a lier, a person that has something not being normal. This is what led Hitler to do his crimes: if he had some doubts about his certainties, he would not commit his crime. A doubting person cannot use violence, because this person would think: what am I doing? Why? Is it right? Is it good? Is it correct?
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby davidm on July 28th, 2018, 3:59 pm 

I decide to bash someone's head in with a rock. Why not? It makes me feel good. It's all an illusion anyway. I can't rely on my mind to verify that what I did is bad, because I can't use my mind to verify its own reliability. I can't even say for sure that I bashed someone's head in.
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Re: Are You Surprised that You're You?

Postby Angelo Cannata on July 28th, 2018, 4:19 pm 

A doubting person listens other’s opinion. It is a common opinion that violence is a bad thing.
I know that this raises the question of conventionalism, that is, we recognize as good what we collectively recognize as good.
I think there is no better alternative to this: using listening of some experience data, that come out from the following sources:

- history, personal and universal
- society, common sense
- criticism, never suspended.

These criteria cannot guarantee that I will not practice violence, but I think that no other criteria are better than these that I listed. In every moment I do these listenings and do my choices. I think this is the best.

The criterion of any assumed certainty is, in my opinion, the worst criterion.

Can you tell me any better criterion?
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