Austin Philosophy Discussion Group (APDG) Message Board Philosophy for Real Life Monday night group › Choices for Self Identity (part 1/2)

Choices for Self Identity (part 1/2)

Leonard H.
LeonardHough
Austin, TX
Post #: 38
Well, a 22 ft^3 refrigerator probably holds 100-200 lbs
of minerals, proteins, fats and mostly water.
Some fridges are more dense, some are rather empty.
Some are rich and some deprived.
All contain far more empty space than substance.
You can't get anything out of them unless you first put
something in.
But if you leave something in too long it will grow undesirable
things or become sour, so rapid turnover of contents
is advisable.
Its even advisable to occasionaly empty them completely
and cut the power for a while with the doors open,
but not for too long.
Very nice, Phillip!! I think I'm one of the empty, deprived, substanceless refrigerators that you speak of--with lots of undesirable, sour stuff on the inside. Somebody pull my plug!
Jeffrey S.
JeffreyStukuls
Austin, TX
Post #: 8
Please find the book/treatise here:
Book Called Potentizing
Jeffrey S.
JeffreyStukuls
Austin, TX
Post #: 9
I'm fascinated by this "jingoistic" and self importance angle Leonard. It seems to really bother you. This is not my fuller answer to your earlier questions. Rather it's a reaction to your recent post. I owe you more after this, but will likely only get to it over the weekend.

The lack of understanding of the implications of that concept keep us in relative bondage to the notion that we are something we're not - creating importance of a self that doesn't actually exist, except in our individual conceptual systems. This is the source of errors, pain and suffering we see around us. Given that we are here, why would we settle for an underperforming system - one not living up to its own unlimited potential? Especially when the source of the limitations is simply a conceptual one.

When the understanding arises from one that is who we are, we act toward ourself in a cohesive manner toward our ongoing evolution. This is not mysticism, just rather functional - how the system works. We lose the concept of individual self importance, and instead gain the recognition that our emotional guidance system can help direct our gaining greater clarity into what actually is and how it can improve. This arises as a reflection of what is perceived as happening before and logically inferring what it can mean toward the future. By this is meant why does all this transformative capability (found in humans) exist in the universe? While it might not have an importance, per se, it appears to be here.

For a simpler mind, like mine, I wonder what our existence will be like when each vantage point is living up to its full evolutionary potential. When all the basic 'problems' of our human existence are solved through mutual cooperation - problems like hunger, strife/violence, political freedom, limited energy, poverty, lack of education & information access. What then can we work toward? What then can we discover about our existence and how to further our unlimited potential? It is these simpler concepts that drive inquisition toward clarity and understanding at this local vantage point.
Jeffrey S.
JeffreyStukuls
Austin, TX
Post #: 10
@ Leonard - Posts #34 &35, 2 part comments:

First of all, thank you Leonard for such thorough analysis & comments. Criticisms and suggestions are taken as just that, ways to improve the clarity of the information being shared. Hopefully what is written below are improvements. It will become apparent by everyone's reactions!

***
I need to know if you’re positing that there are supernatural or spiritual factors that are involved with the self
Quick answer: no. Longer answer, my understanding is those concepts arise in part out of misunderstanding of awareness (watching/sentience/reflection/etc) which is a function that can only be logically inferred, as well as needing to apply an answer to how things work when a more accurate one is not yet apparent.

***
The only difference...the point of view—that is being employed when thinking about them.
Indeed, what else is the sense (or definition) of self except a conceptual representation of how we finish this equation: I=_?

***
...why the content being transient causes suffering. It could just as well cause joy--especially if we use that transience to improve our self so that we start to produce “the best possible results for the entire system,” as you suggest.
I like the putting together of concepts here from the self-less and intrasystemic - it is the leap of logic that makes this all very worthwhile. Based on that I'm guessing the inversion of your answer is the answer. But not to duck the question, let's take Wikipedia's answer: "Suffering, or pain in a broad sense, is an experience of unpleasantness and aversion associated with the perception of harm or threat of harm in an individual." It depends on both the focal direction - aspiration or aversion - as well as the sense of self - whole or individual. Your 'improve' and 'entire system' concepts are aspirational whole, both likely to lead to joy. Most identify with 'aversion' and 'individual' and thus suffer (or at least include a lot of it in the thought processes that arise). If we take 'aspiration' and 'individual' we'll feel joy (as long as we ignore the suffering of others). Or 'aversion' and 'whole' and it is only suffering.

***
Please explain why the watcher (watching) function is unchangeable. Being a biological function, it surely must change often. {Here’s a clue as to what I think your best response might be: “The biological implementation of watching changes all the time, but the FUNCTION of watching--the role; the task; the idea—remains the same.”}
Yes, yours is good. Jumping ahead, I'd add that it is the same among any being that has it's capability. For instance, the watching function among beings alive elsewhere in the universe is the same watching function found among living beings here on earth.

***
This is the point where you've moved from the individual “self,” that we all agree exists, to a metaphorical “self” that is not a self at all, but is a group of selves. This is why I, and I suspect others, will prefer to treat this networked-humanity self metaphorically. Kind of a family-of-man thing—we’re all intimately related in the ways that you have described, but must we call it a “self” as well? Would it be more accurate to call this circle a “circle of influence” or a “circle of relationships?”
I think this is the crux of the issue. "Self" keeps being identified as the body and it's systems - very inline with Wikipedia's definition: "The self is an individual person as the object of his or her own reflective consciousness." I'm not sure if what is needed is a new word (self identity?), or if there is openness to defining self as the answer to "I=_?". For instance, you said earlier in this reply, "Being a materialist" which I believe identical to "I=materialist". In other words, you conceptually identify as a materialist. Similarly, you've indicated that "I=within the surface of the skin", which means the boundary of self is the body, or that the body is your self (i.e., "I=body"). I'm positing that self identity is the answer to that core kernel of conceptual code in the biological system through which interaction with the world happens; and that it is re-writeable. Whatever is there now gives rise to the framework that generates aspirations and aversions, in other words both positive and negative reactions to what is perceived. Hence, "I=humanity" is equally valid to "I=body" or "I=materialist", only that each generate differing conceptual positions to build upon or defend. (I'm excited to hear what questions arise from this answer!)

***
The computer metaphor gets strained, here. Because the truth of premises like “…the watcher function is a function of the whole itself” and “…the seamless unity of the universe…” depend on how well the computer metaphor projects onto reality, the mapping of this metaphor to reality must be absolutely clear and applicable
From my vantage point & perspective that we are part of a system, and that we operate via feedback loops mediated by conceptual representations of our world is very much how I understand what is occurring. This is so close how computers operate that it is simply the best metaphor I can think of, while being very open to better ones.

***
...because science tells us that space, actually, is not empty.
I believe the current understanding is about 5% 'ordinary' matter, 25% dark matter, and 70% dark energy. So I stand corrected. So let's thus assume it is all connected via these discernible (even if as yet undetected) elements, and that there is no empty space. I think that just shifts the point rather than negates it. 95% of it being 'dark' still means that dark part is still continuous with the rest of it and spread throughout the other 5% as well.
Jeffrey S.
JeffreyStukuls
Austin, TX
Post #: 11
***
I don’t think that a metaphor nested within a simile can, in any way, be claimed to be evidence that there is a “seamless unity of the universe.” There needs to be more.
Fair enough that more is needed to explain this, it's true I was being overly concise. In fact, as I attempt to further this, it's likely that I'll leave more out than I put it, as this topic fills careers, let alone quick postings for discussion. (To be honest, this is the area I have the most fun with, as science keeps generating ever greater granularity into this understanding. It's amazing how far it's come just in the last few decades, let alone the centuries before.)

Just because our senses need to differentiate between things in order to interact with them doesn't mean there are actual separations. The way I understand the science 'touching' never really happens, our skin just get so close to apparent objects that the sub-atomic energies resist getting any closer and thus generate the sensation of touching. And even apparently 'hard' objects is just a relative reference, as neutrinos fly right through 'hard' objects as if they're not there at all. Coming back to the content of the universe, I have yet to see how there are actual separations throughout it, regardless of the local densities of energy. Pulling in the 'empty' space discussion above, the best representations of the functioning of subatomic particles that I've found (see BestOfSciences 9 part discussion on Youtube) shows tiny bits of localized energy flying around others, through what must be dark energy/matter. There isn't any solidity to them - they are fully in motion. Even as these atoms of mostly moving elements connect to others, they do so without really forming hardness. Rather their bonding process prevents other energized sub atomic particles from crossing through their co-opting boundary. Sufficiently dense accumulations of atoms ('matter') creates apparent boundaries to our sensory apparatus, yet the fundamental nature of the sub atomic reality stays the same, and is seamless. I hope this is a better attempt to explain.

***
Would you agree with me, that there is no such exception—so long as we refrain from taking the “watcher” metaphor too literally; re-thinking it to its new role as the “watching process?”
Yes! It's interesting to share this material with others. So far I've been a net learner, and done very little sharing. Which is why I'm coming to these meetings.

***
As Gene has pointed out, there is no way to know what the best possible results are.
This is a journey, and that's the destination which we'll never arrive at. So I guess that's right. Is it fair to say that the more closely our conceptual framework represents reality the more likely we are to produce the best possible results?
Leonard H.
LeonardHough
Austin, TX
Post #: 41
More dialogue with Jeffrey:
(again, in 2 parts)

Leonard:
"This is the point where you've moved from the individual “self,” that we all agree exists, to a metaphorical “self” that is not a self at all, but is a group of selves. This is why I, and I suspect others, will prefer to treat this networked-humanity self metaphorically. Kind of a family-of-man thing—we’re all intimately related in the ways that you have described, but must we call it a “self” as well? Would it be more accurate to call this circle a “circle of influence” or a “circle of relationships?”

Jeffrey:
"I think this is the crux of the issue. "Self" keeps being identified as the body and it's systems - very inline with Wikipedia's definition…. I'm positing that self identity is the answer to that core kernel of conceptual code in the biological system through which interaction with the world happens; and that it is re-writeable. Whatever is there now gives rise to the framework that generates aspirations and aversions, in other words both positive and negative reactions to what is perceived. Hence, "I=humanity" is equally valid to "I=body" or "I=materialist", only that each generate differing conceptual positions to build upon or defend. (I'm excited to hear what questions arise from this answer!)

Leonard again:
I agree that this is the crux of the issue. I also agree that self identity is what determines whether a person *thinks of himself* as any one of your four categories: the fragmented individual self, the self-less self, the networked-humanity self, or the intrasystemic self. I highlight *thinks of himself* because, despite how we *think of ourselves*, what we *are* is the fragmented individual. I'll omit the word fragmented, because it is a pejorative word that is being used to lend subtle support to your thesis that we are somehow not whole unless we are a united humanity (or universe). In fact, we are not fragmented individuals; we are--each of us--complete individuals. Each of us is individual--separate and apart from the other--because each of us has unique DNA. This is not metaphor; this is physical fact. Because one individual's DNA is similar to that of another, this links us together as a species. Each lovely, joyous, unfragmented individual human is part of humanity, but *is* not the whole--just as a galaxy is part of the universe, but is not the universe. I agree that if individuals would "identify" more often with the rest of humanity, there would be fewer problems in the world. I also agree that the "conceptual code in the biological system…is rewriteable," IF the code you're referring to is the memetic code. Even if genetic code is rewritten, each individual will still be an individual. These are the sorts of ideas that you will need to address right up front in your paper, if you are going to make a solid case. You will have to demonstrate an actual Networked-Humanity DNA, rather than talk about a metaphorical networked humanity. Why not go with the conventional meaning of the word "self" and create another, more accurate word for the relationship of individual-to-humanity and individual-to-universe? Why insist on redefining the word? Why pick a fight, over semantics, that isn't even important to the overall point that we're all in this together?

***

Leonard:
"...because science tells us that space, actually, is not empty."

Jeffrey:
"I believe the current understanding is about 5% 'ordinary' matter, 25% dark matter, and 70% dark energy. So I stand corrected. So let's thus assume it is all connected via these discernible (even if as yet undetected) elements, and that there is no empty space. I think that just shifts the point rather than negates it."

Leonard again:
I'm not trying to negate your point. I just think that this needs to be addressed in your paper, lest it be a stumbling block for some reader.

***
Leonard H.
LeonardHough
Austin, TX
Post #: 42
***

Jeffrey:
"Just because our senses need to differentiate between things in order to interact with them doesn't mean there are actual separations. The way I understand the science 'touching' never really happens, our skin just get so close to apparent objects that the sub-atomic energies resist getting any closer and thus generate the sensation of touching. And even apparently 'hard' objects is just a relative reference, as neutrinos fly right through 'hard' objects as if they're not there at all. Coming back to the content of the universe, I have yet to see how there are actual separations throughout it, regardless of the local densities of energy. Pulling in the 'empty' space discussion above, the best representations of the functioning of subatomic particles that I've found (see BestOfSciences 9 part discussion on Youtube) shows tiny bits of localized energy flying around others, through what must be dark energy/matter. There isn't any solidity to them - they are fully in motion. Even as these atoms of mostly moving elements connect to others, they do so without really forming hardness. Rather their bonding process prevents other energized sub atomic particles from crossing through their co-opting boundary. Sufficiently dense accumulations of atoms ('matter') creates apparent boundaries to our sensory apparatus, yet the fundamental nature of the sub atomic reality stays the same, and is seamless."

Leonard again:
I'm happy to say that I agree with your explanation of the current state of knowledge in subatomic physics. But the last sentence I've cited is a stretch, I think.

I can't say that the nature of the subatomic reality stays the same, because nobody knows what that nature is. Right now, we think it's all fields--even though we don't know what a field is. We think it's all waves in the fields--even though we don't know what it is that's waving. In what sense can the subatomic world be thought of as seamless, given that particles are continuously created out of nothing and annihilated back to nothing? Everything there happens in discrete quanta of energy, not in smooth, seamless steps. And below the subatomic level, at Planck volumes, things are even worse. We think nature, there, is chaotic and unfathomably un-seamless.

Suppose I granted you "the seamless reality" of the universe. Still, this is not the same as "seamless unity," which you proclaimed. What is the meaning of "unity," as you use it?

Suppose, further, that I granted you seamless unity at the subatomic level: As you said, "…our senses need to differentiate between things in order to interact with them…" Does not our self need to interact with things, as well--including interacting with other selves? Do you propose that selves interact at the quantum level? If so, why? How can you begin to demonstrate that? Let's talk about the granularity that you mentioned earlier. Isn't the self created at and doesn't it exist only at the level of granularity at which our bodies exist? Don't the fragmented individual, the networked humanity, and the intrasystemic self operate at that level? The granularity at the subatomic level is 30 orders of magnitude finer than the granularity at the level of human life. Given that all human functions, including consciousness and the feeling of "self," exist only at the gross physical level at which we exist, how then can the fact that "the subatomic reality … is seamless" have any bearing on human notions such as the self. What bearing could the subatomic level granularity have upon such gross entities as these?

***

Jeffrey:
"Is it fair to say that the more closely our conceptual framework represents reality the more likely we are to produce the best possible results?"

Leonard again:
Yup.

Gene R.
user 10589442
Austin, TX
Post #: 230
Jeffrey:
"Is it fair to say that the more closely our conceptual framework represents reality the more likely we are to produce the best possible results?"

Leonard again:
Yup.

Gene: Yup. But also the more likely we are to produce the worst possible results. Knowledge gives power, and power can be put to all kinds of uses
Bill M.
bmeacham
Austin, TX
Post #: 139
Here is an interesting take on one essential feature of being a self: the ability to hide your subjective experience from others. "Privacy and the Threat to the Self," by Michael P. Lynch.

http://opinionator.bl...­
Kim
user 7355689
Austin, TX
Post #: 686
Jeffrey:
"Is it fair to say that the more closely our conceptual framework represents reality the more likely we are to produce the best possible results?"

Leonard again:
Yup.

Gene: Yup. But also the more likely we are to produce the worst possible results. Knowledge gives power, and power can be put to all kinds of uses
As applied to social science, integrating all known applicable conceptual frameworks seems to yield the best possible results. http://www.gwu.edu/~l...­

Conceptual frameworks help the researcher view the phenomena of interest more acutely, to see details that otherwise might not be apparent. It should be noted, however, that like a microscope or telescope, conceptual frameworks also narrow one's field of vision. That helps limit the scope of a study, and no study can examine everything that might be applicable. It can, however, also lead a researcher to miss important features.
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