human identity: the machine in the ghost?

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human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby iambiguous » Fri Dec 24, 2010 8:23 pm

In my view, philosophy comes down to this: the extent to which we can demonstrate to others that our own sense of reality is either embedded in truth objectively [and thus accessible to all rational minds] or is, instead, reflective only our own particular existential interpretation of what constitutes a "reasonable" assessment of reality from moment to moment as dasein.

If the "self" ceaselessly constructs, deconstructs and reconstructs fragments of "reality" is it not, in turn, merely a reflection of its own uniqurely existential moments from birth to death? And, if so, how then can we ever trust that each moment of reflection itself is not just a calcultated assumption regarding the relationship between what we think is reasonable [in a sea of conflicting variables] and what may or may not be construed as reasonable from a broader or more sophisticated viewpoint?

Whatever we know about something...there is always more to know; and it can always be viewed from different points of view.

Further, to the extent that so-called "postmodernist" thinkers exclude their own point of view from their own point of view is the extent to which they offer us just another subjective narrative. After all, how many are able to grasp the inherent irony embedded in deconstructing an old text only to invent a new one in its place?

We are all, it seems, in the same boat here philsophically. And it is only a matter of acknowledging it is 1] riddled with holes and 2] that the holes cannot be patched by sticking words in them.

The boats are, in fact, leaking like a sieve as new experiences, new relationships, new points of view deluge us incessantly on our journey from dust to dust. We can either learn to live with incessant contingency, chance and change [the inherent "agony of choice in the face of uncertainty"] or we can invent psychological defense mechanisms like Self or Enlightenment or God.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby JohnJones » Sat Dec 25, 2010 11:59 am

iambiguous wrote:In my view, philosophy comes down to this: the extent to which we can demonstrate to others that our own sense of reality is either embedded in truth objectively [and thus accessible to all rational minds] or is, instead, reflective only our own particular existential interpretation of what constitutes a "reasonable" assessment of reality from moment to moment as dasein.

If the "self" ceaselessly constructs, deconstructs and reconstructs fragments of "reality" is it not, in turn, merely a reflection of its own uniqurely existential moments from birth to death? And, if so, how then can we ever trust that each moment of reflection itself is not just a calcultated assumption regarding the relationship between what we think is reasonable [in a sea of conflicting variables] and what may or may not be construed as reasonable from a broader or more sophisticated viewpoint?

Whatever we know about something...there is always more to know; and it can always be viewed from different points of view.

Further, to the extent that so-called "postmodernist" thinkers exclude their own point of view from their own point of view is the extent to which they offer us just another subjective narrative. After all, how many are able to grasp the inherent irony embedded in deconstructing an old text only to invent a new one in its place?

We are all, it seems, in the same boat here philsophically. And it is only a matter of acknowledging it is 1] riddled with holes and 2] that the holes cannot be patched by sticking words in them.

The boats are, in fact, leaking like a sieve as new experiences, new relationships, new points of view deluge us incessantly on our journey from dust to dust. We can either learn to live with incessant contingency, chance and change [the inherent "agony of choice in the face of uncertainty"] or we can invent psychological defense mechanisms like Self or Enlightenment or God.


What?
I can't see what the title has to do with what you wrote. And what you wrote was a jumble of atheist doctrine, psychologese, materialism... and just to fill any conceptual gaps you included your own version of the god of the gaps in a philosophical get-out-clause based on the supposed ambiguity of language.
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby todaytomorrow » Sat Dec 25, 2010 2:25 pm

JohnJones,

You make me laugh. I've never seen you get fired up that way before. Well done. But what I'm laughing is that you laid the accusation that the title was divorced from the content of the post, and then you levy a criticism that apparently has only to do with the title...?----because it has nothing to do with the content! HAHAHA!

iambiguous wrote:We can either learn to live with incessant contingency, chance and change [the inherent "agony of choice in the face of uncertainty"] or we can invent psychological defense mechanisms like Self or Enlightenment or God.


Well, don't dump it in our lap; which do you prefer?
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby iambiguous » Sat Dec 25, 2010 7:29 pm

JohnJones wrote:
What?
I can't see what the title has to do with what you wrote. And what you wrote was a jumble of atheist doctrine, psychologese, materialism... and just to fill any conceptual gaps you included your own version of the god of the gaps in a philosophical get-out-clause based on the supposed ambiguity of language.


You have heard the expression "ghost in the machine", right? It was Gilbert Ryle's reaction to Rene Descartes's ethereal "mind"---a mind [soul] floating ghost-like in the so much more solid matter we know as "the brain". Later, Arthur Koestler wrote a book about this. For him the ghosts are actually embedded in the deepest, most primitive parts of the brain.

My point though is that human identity is equally as elusive---even illusive. It is a prefabricated point of view we acquire adventitiously at birth. And then for years as a child we are indoctinated to view ourselves and the world around us as any particular historical age and culture dictates. And, even when acquiring more autonomy as adults, we merely refabricate it over and again as we are forced to integrate all of our new experiences, relationships, sources of information etc. into all of the old ones. It is ever an existential work in progress until the day we die. Especially in the fractured and fragmented world we live in today.

But, emotionally and psychologically, this elusive and illusive "i" can perturb some folks. They insist instead their own identity is rock solid. They have an essential core Self that transcends the transient nature of the ever evolving existential "self". Indeed, it functions much like a machine in which there is a place for every part and every part is in its proper place. That way, they insist, they come to view the world precisely as it is---and not merely as a particular dasein might view it situated in a particular circumstantial context reacting to the world from a particular point of view.

And, perforce, language is always ambiguous when we discuss relationships as complex as these. After all, the human mind is not just ordinary matter is it?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby iambiguous » Sat Dec 25, 2010 7:47 pm

todaytomorrow wrote:
iambiguous wrote:We can either learn to live with incessant contingency, chance and change [the inherent "agony of choice in the face of uncertainty"] or we can invent psychological defense mechanisms like Self or Enlightenment or God.


Well, don't dump it in our lap; which do you prefer?


You miss the point. It is precisely because emotionally and psychologically we do prefer the Self to be grounded in one or another Whole Truth, that we obviate contingency, chance and change by way of subsuming them in a Self, a God and/or an Enlightened moral or political framework.

My point is more, "is this or is this not reasonable?"
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby finishedman » Sat Dec 25, 2010 8:24 pm

Some feel a sense of power with the acquisition of much knowledge. In the world of ideas, those who possess more know-how and adroitness do wield a kind of advantageous ‘intelligence’ simply because their performance in their society allows them to derive gains. Iow, they function well. Yet, it does not suggest that by using the indoctrination purposes, one is exempt from the realization that this way of life is not an indication of a self experiencing reality. It is merely a ‘self’ that has taken on the form of an imposed reality. And there is no harm in that.

Using this ‘arbitrary reality’ is one thing. Investing one’s entire being and existence in the knowledge that society dictates -- and expecting to find peace, happiness and certainty in it -- is wrong thinking. Even the thought that you are trapped in that thinking is also wrong thinking. If you believe that, all the more you will try to get out of the trap by utilizing the same instrument that caused you to think that you are trapped in the first place.

Thought seems to be the main controller, the chief manipulator, so watch how much it is instrumental in separating you from what you in fact are. That is, what you are when you are still and not constantly using anything else of what all of mankind has felt known and experienced: the main ingredients of thought.
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby iambiguous » Sat Dec 25, 2010 8:44 pm

I was just re-reading Susan Sontag's introduction to Emile Cioran's, The Temptation To Exist, and thought it fits in well with this thread.

To wit:

We understand [the world] by locating it in a multi-determined temporal continuum. Existence is no more than the precarious attainment of relevance in an intensely mobile flux of past, present and future. But even the most relevant events carry within them the form of their own obsolescence. Thus, a single work is eventually a contribution to a body of work; the details of a life form part of a life-history; an individual life-history is unintelligable apart from social, economic and cultural history; and the life of a society is the sum of 'preceding conditions'. Meaning drowns in a stream of becoming: the senseless and overdocumented rhythym of advent and supercession, the becoming of man is the history of the exhaustion of his possibilites.

[my emphasis]

The paradox of the modern age [or postmodern age if you prefer] is that we have never been so fragmented. Try to imagine the enormous gap between our world today and living out your entire life in an aboriginal village---a proper role for everyone and everyone in their proper role. Many today pick out a lifestyle as they do tubes of toothpaste and car models.

They choose their niche, in other words, and envelop it: music, film, art, career, love, sex, relationships, the home team, the very latest technological gadgets. They set themselves apart as though the sleek and sophisticated manner in which they do makes it so. And then "something happens" and they move on to another lifestyle. Soon, I suspect, there will literally be lifestyle malls. You go into the store that is most "you" and you spend and spend and spend to make it more so.

It's a superficial farce, perhaps, but at least it's out there for sale. It's there if folks want it. And, so many want it very, very badly, right? The new "identity fashions" today revolve increasingly around pop culture, mindless consumption and celebrity worship.

It's straight out of Paddy Chayefsky, isn't it?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby iambiguous » Sat Dec 25, 2010 9:01 pm

finishedman wrote: Yet, it does not suggest that by using the indoctrination purposes, one is exempt from the realization that this way of life is not an indication of a self experiencing reality. It is merely a ‘self’ that has taken on the form of an imposed reality. And there is no harm in that.


Perhaps I don't understand your point, but can't it be argued the manner in which children were raised in Nazi Germany---to embrace fascism [and genocide]---was quite harmful to, say, the Jews? There are imposed realities and then there are imposed realities.

finishedman wrote:Using this ‘arbitrary reality’ is one thing. Investing one’s entire being and existence in the knowledge that society dictates -- and expecting to find peace, happiness and certainty in it -- is wrong thinking.


I agree. But this does not mean that, in probing the world around us [more autonomously], we can find our "true identity"; one that necessarily leads to those things. This will always be embedded largely in dasein, in my view, in individual points of view we seek to share with others. I certainly do not subscribe to the idea that we can know, "what you in fact are".
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby finishedman » Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:04 am

…. this does not mean that, in probing the world around us [more autonomously], we can find our "true identity"; one that necessarily leads to those things.


It’s in the moments when there’s no probing, no searching for certainty that one can be at peace with what he has and what he is. Yet, for some reason, people want to be at peace with themselves. When every individual is seeking certainty for himself there can be no certainty in this world.

This will always be embedded largely in dasein, in my view, in individual points of view we seek to share with others.


Not all thoughts are characteristically cultural; not our immediate perceptions and emotions, which are ours alone and which we may not pass on. However, once we express them or speak about them to others, be it our feelings or our ideas, they are passed on. Culture may go through modifications this way.

I certainly do not subscribe to the idea that we can know, "what you in fact are".


Exactly. Once you understand that clearly, there is no more helplessness, your helplessness no longer exists. Then you actually don't know what to do. And, if you expect that something will happen to give you an identity from what you then call your 'clarity of thinking', or something similar, then you’re lost forever. Because that is not the true clarity. When you let it all go, whatever is left can begin to express itself freed from the stranglehold of thought. But don’t expect that what does express itself will be a help to society. If that’s the intention then you get dragged down into the machine again and begin to take on the form of an identified, defined, structured ‘self.’
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby von Rivers » Sun Dec 26, 2010 5:21 am

iambiguous wrote:It is precisely because emotionally and psychologically we do prefer the Self to be grounded in one or another Whole Truth, that we obviate contingency, chance and change by way of subsuming them in a Self, a God and/or an Enlightened moral or political framework.


...Speak for yourself. ...I never order the same thing twice.
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby finishedman » Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:47 am

Monooq wrote:
iambiguous wrote:It is precisely because emotionally and psychologically we do prefer the Self to be grounded in one or another Whole Truth, that we obviate contingency, chance and change by way of subsuming them in a Self, a God and/or an Enlightened moral or political framework.


...Speak for yourself. ...I never order the same thing twice.


… and your choices are limited to what comprises the self.

The self is an illusion, a product of thought, a high order abstraction which thought uses to perpetuate itself.

Thought is always limited to its knowledge and how far it can be made to continue.
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby JohnJones » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:31 pm

iambiguous wrote:
JohnJones wrote:
What?
I can't see what the title has to do with what you wrote. And what you wrote was a jumble of atheist doctrine, psychologese, materialism... and just to fill any conceptual gaps you included your own version of the god of the gaps in a philosophical get-out-clause based on the supposed ambiguity of language.


You have heard the expression "ghost in the machine", right? It was Gilbert Ryle's reaction to Rene Descartes's ethereal "mind"---a mind [soul] floating ghost-like in the so much more solid matter we know as "the brain". Later, Arthur Koestler wrote a book about this. For him the ghosts are actually embedded in the deepest, most primitive parts of the brain.

My point though is that human identity is equally as elusive---even illusive. It is a prefabricated point of view we acquire adventitiously at birth. And then for years as a child we are indoctinated to view ourselves and the world around us as any particular historical age and culture dictates. And, even when acquiring more autonomy as adults, we merely refabricate it over and again as we are forced to integrate all of our new experiences, relationships, sources of information etc. into all of the old ones. It is ever an existential work in progress until the day we die. Especially in the fractured and fragmented world we live in today.

But, emotionally and psychologically, this elusive and illusive "i" can perturb some folks. They insist instead their own identity is rock solid. They have an essential core Self that transcends the transient nature of the ever evolving existential "self". Indeed, it functions much like a machine in which there is a place for every part and every part is in its proper place. That way, they insist, they come to view the world precisely as it is---and not merely as a particular dasein might view it situated in a particular circumstantial context reacting to the world from a particular point of view.

And, perforce, language is always ambiguous when we discuss relationships as complex as these. After all, the human mind is not just ordinary matter is it?


I don't know what you mean by an elusive "i". "i" is a mathematical term, as far as I know, and has something to do with the square root of two, or was it minus one?

Identity is not elusive.

My name is John Jones. Proof of my identity can be got from my passport and from people that know me. No mystery here.
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby JohnJones » Sun Dec 26, 2010 1:35 pm

finishedman wrote:
Monooq wrote:
iambiguous wrote:It is precisely because emotionally and psychologically we do prefer the Self to be grounded in one or another Whole Truth, that we obviate contingency, chance and change by way of subsuming them in a Self, a God and/or an Enlightened moral or political framework.


...Speak for yourself. ...I never order the same thing twice.


… and your choices are limited to what comprises the self.

The self is an illusion, a product of thought, a high order abstraction which thought uses to perpetuate itself.

Thought is always limited to its knowledge and how far it can be made to continue.



How can the thought "I am..." get in my way?
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby Ganapati » Sun Dec 26, 2010 3:14 pm

finishedman wrote:Some feel a sense of power with the acquisition of much knowledge. In the world of ideas, those who possess more know-how and adroitness do wield a kind of advantageous ‘intelligence’ simply because their performance in their society allows them to derive gains. Iow, they function well. Yet, it does not suggest that by using the indoctrination purposes, one is exempt from the realization that this way of life is not an indication of a self experiencing reality. It is merely a ‘self’ that has taken on the form of an imposed reality. And there is no harm in that.

Using this ‘arbitrary reality’ is one thing. Investing one’s entire being and existence in the knowledge that society dictates -- and expecting to find peace, happiness and certainty in it -- is wrong thinking. Even the thought that you are trapped in that thinking is also wrong thinking. If you believe that, all the more you will try to get out of the trap by utilizing the same instrument that caused you to think that you are trapped in the first place.

Thought seems to be the main controller, the chief manipulator, so watch how much it is instrumental in separating you from what you in fact are. That is, what you are when you are still and not constantly using anything else of what all of mankind has felt known and experienced: the main ingredients of thought.

Even if there is an experience when thought is absent, how can one remember and communicate such an experience without thought? How does anyone conclude the entity experiencing in the absence of thought is the "real" self and not the self that is the product of thought? If there indeed is a "real" self that is not a product of thought isn't it upto this "real" self to come out of hiding and control thought, since thought by its very nature would be incapable of transending itself and let the "real self" be?
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby finishedman » Sun Dec 26, 2010 6:51 pm

JohnJones wrote:How can the thought "I am..." get in my way?

There is no entity there in ‘my’ separate from the ‘I’ in “I am.” It is thought itself splitting itself in two creating the illusion of subject and object.

When it comes to thought, in order to perpetuate itself thought creates many experiences. It is only thought that can identify experience. In the absence of thought identifying and recognizing we have no way of knowing an experience of a certain kind. Thought uses the mechanism of knowledge to perpetuate itself, to create a continuity and permanence for itself.
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:01 pm

finishedman wrote: It’s in the moments when there’s no probing, no searching for certainty that one can be at peace with what he has and what he is. Yet, for some reason, people want to be at peace with themselves. When every individual is seeking certainty for himself there can be no certainty in this world.


At birth we are all given a sense of certainty by those who indoctrinate us to view reality in one way rather than another. Then, as we grow older, we come into contact with existential variables that either cement into place all the more this dogma or begin to poke holes in it. Until it becomes a sieve allowing for many alternate "realities" to take hold. But this varies considerably from person to person; and it is always manifested through the cracks and the crevices of contingency, chance and change.

finishedman wrote:...if you expect that something will happen to give you an identity from what you then call your 'clarity of thinking', or something similar, then you’re lost forever. Because that is not the true clarity.


Clarity being the absense of clarity itself. I agree. But in acknowledging this, one can still feel lost. Or at least I have. I find myself tugged in both directions---relishing in the freedom afforded me in not being tied down to only one sense of reality, but also feeling that vertiginous sense of bewilderment in having nothing really substantial to anchor my "self" to.

Especially when confronting the gaping maw that is oblivion.
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:09 pm

JohnJones wrote:I don't know what you mean by an elusive "i". "i" is a mathematical term, as far as I know, and has something to do with the square root of two, or was it minus one?

Identity is not elusive.

My name is John Jones. Proof of my identity can be got from my passport and from people that know me. No mystery here.


Perhaps you don't want to know. And if you really do reduce your identity down to the information on your passport what in the world are you doing in a philosophy forum? That's the sort of explanation one gives in an elementary school excercise we used to call "show and tell". Or is this all just an exercise in being cleverly ironic?

You know, like Andy Warhol used to be when asked about his art?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby iambiguous » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:13 pm

JohnJones wrote:How can the thought "I am..." get in my way?


Perhaps you will understand this more clearly when you reach the part that goes like this: "I am...about to die".

Or is the Lord waiting for you on the other side?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby finishedman » Sun Dec 26, 2010 7:20 pm

Ganapati wrote:Even if there is an experience when thought is absent,…

there is no experiencing an experience when thought is not there to identify it as such.

… how can one remember and communicate such an experience without thought?

When thought is not there, you are not there. Why would there be a concern if you are not there?

How does anyone conclude the entity experiencing in the absence of thought is the "real" self and not the self that is the product of thought?

At some point I asked myself, “How the hell do I know that I am in a blissful state?” That was when I suddenly realized how stupid it was to believe in this kind of nonsense. Obviously the knowledge of the blissful state that is passed on to me is from one who tells me that the state I am in is called blissful. “This is bliss. You are blissful. You are in a blissful state,” he says. Otherwise-if I wasn’t told I would have no way of knowing whether I am in a blissful state, or in the state of eternal happiness, or that I am bored, or that I am in any kind of state. The experience itself, never ever tells me that I am in a blissful experience. And after having known a so-called blissful experience for the first time, there is bound to be a demand to have more blissful experiences and to have fewer not-so-blissful experiences.

If there indeed is a "real" self that is not a product of thought isn't it up to this "real" self to come out of hiding and control thought, since thought by its very nature would be incapable of transcending itself and let the "real self" be?

It is precisely the thought that a ‘real’ self can come about and control thought -- and that this new state will be a much more improved state -- that keeps the real self from coming to terms with itself and its life as it is.
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby JohnJones » Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:46 am

finishedman wrote:
JohnJones wrote:How can the thought "I am..." get in my way?

There is no entity there in ‘my’ separate from the ‘I’ in “I am.” It is thought itself splitting itself in two creating the illusion of subject and object.

When it comes to thought, in order to perpetuate itself thought creates many experiences. It is only thought that can identify experience. In the absence of thought identifying and recognizing we have no way of knowing an experience of a certain kind. Thought uses the mechanism of knowledge to perpetuate itself, to create a continuity and permanence for itself.


I said how can the thought "I am..." get in MY way?
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby JohnJones » Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:49 am

iambiguous wrote:
JohnJones wrote:I don't know what you mean by an elusive "i". "i" is a mathematical term, as far as I know, and has something to do with the square root of two, or was it minus one?

Identity is not elusive.

My name is John Jones. Proof of my identity can be got from my passport and from people that know me. No mystery here.


Perhaps you don't want to know. And if you really do reduce your identity down to the information on your passport what in the world are you doing in a philosophy forum? That's the sort of explanation one gives in an elementary school excercise we used to call "show and tell". Or is this all just an exercise in being cleverly ironic?

You know, like Andy Warhol used to be when asked about his art?



When we are confused, lost and disempowered the angels will ask us to say our name. That's sufficient for purposes of identity and to restore a sense of who we are. An identity-less person is a person who may have no culture, who has lost his memory, or some other calamity like disempowerment. There's no other meaning to the word identity. You want to make a mystery out of the commonplace.
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby JohnJones » Mon Dec 27, 2010 12:53 am

iambiguous wrote:
JohnJones wrote:How can the thought "I am..." get in my way?


Perhaps you will understand this more clearly when you reach the part that goes like this: "I am...about to die".

Or is the Lord waiting for you on the other side?



Is there another way of going my way other than it is I who am going it?
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby iambiguous » Mon Dec 27, 2010 1:19 am

JohnJones wrote:You want to make a mystery out of the commonplace.


Is that the machine in you talking? Or do you pay someone to think this stuff up?
He was like a man who wanted to change all; and could not; so burned with his impotence; and had only me, an infinitely small microcosm to convert or detest. John Fowles

Start here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=176529
Then here: viewtopic.php?f=15&t=185296
And here: viewtopic.php?f=1&t=194382
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby Ganapati » Mon Dec 27, 2010 9:36 am

finishedman wrote:At some point I asked myself, “How the hell do I know that I am in a blissful state?” That was when I suddenly realized how stupid it was to believe in this kind of nonsense. Obviously the knowledge of the blissful state that is passed on to me is from one who tells me that the state I am in is called blissful. “This is bliss. You are blissful. You are in a blissful state,” he says. Otherwise-if I wasn’t told I would have no way of knowing whether I am in a blissful state, or in the state of eternal happiness, or that I am bored, or that I am in any kind of state. The experience itself, never ever tells me that I am in a blissful experience. And after having known a so-called blissful experience for the first time, there is bound to be a demand to have more blissful experiences and to have fewer not-so-blissful experiences.

You cannot know the state when you are in it, since knowledge requires thought and you ruled out the existence of thought in that state. So the knowledge of that state has to occur after it ceases to be i.e when you remember it. Any "demand" for it is necessarily a product of thought. Unless it is some drug induced state, the very demand will have to prevent the recurrance of the state.
If there indeed is a "real" self that is not a product of thought isn't it up to this "real" self to come out of hiding and control thought, since thought by its very nature would be incapable of transcending itself and let the "real self" be?

It is precisely the thought that a ‘real’ self can come about and control thought -- and that this new state will be a much more improved state -- that keeps the real self from coming to terms with itself and its life as it is.

Whether it controls thought or not is not relevant. Since the "real self" is absent when thought is present, every attempt to communicate anything about the "real self", such as what you are doing, is a product of thought and not anything about the "real self" itself, unless you can claim you are in that state when typing the sentences and the words are not product of thought, but somehow coming from a thoughtless state.
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Re: human identity: the machine in the ghost?

Postby finishedman » Mon Dec 27, 2010 7:16 pm

Ganapati wrote:You cannot know the state when you are in it, since knowledge requires thought and you ruled out the existence of thought in that state. So the knowledge of that state has to occur after it ceases to be i.e when you remember it.


When happiness occurs, it is being recognized or witnessed as happiness. That’s an experience. That’s all there is to it.

When there is no thought, how can the mind experience anything? How can you experience anything when there is no thought? Without mind, there is no experience.

It may be claimed that in a moment of contentment or satisfaction – for instance when a strong desire has just been fulfilled -- there is no thought containing a further desire or aversion -- and that’s what is meant by “thought free.” But, if you were in a thoughtless state, you’d be dead.

A lot of people say they have been in a thoughtless state; they have experienced the total absence of thought. Those people were kidding themselves. How can you experience a state in which there is no thought? In any experience, thought is very much there.



Any "demand" for it is necessarily a product of thought. Unless it is some drug induced state, the very demand will have to prevent the recurrence of the state.


Why? If thought tells you there is something more interesting, more meaningful to do than what you are presently doing it will try to solve that ‘problem’ by making comparisons between the knowledge of past pleasures and pains and the present. It will pass judgments and in the process avoid the present by concocting a future and pursuing it. But for the comparisons that thought makes there is no problem with our ‘real’ life as it is; and there is no other life. That’s what I mean when I say that it’s precisely our thought of a better state that prevents us from coming to terms with life as it is.
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