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Concept of 'Self'

Ocofan

Engineer
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May 9, 2011
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#1
This is the YouTube video in question quoting Neil de Grasse Tyson:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9D05ej8u-gU

In it Neil believes there is wonder in the fact that when you look into the night sky you can feel a sense of belonging by relating the atoms in your body to those of the ones forged in distant stars.

I sort of went about it in a depressing way: that at one point in time your body has a certain set of atoms/molecules, over time this set (although conserved) has been replaced with an identical set of atoms/molecules as your body removes waste and replenishes tissues with nutrients. So then its not really the molecules themselves that you can claim 'make you, you'. Although the body you inhabit contains a specific sequence of genes it is merely the product of countless generations of living creatures before you. I feel its more like your consciousness is like a block of stone (maybe slightly affected by genes) that for the most part is sculpted by your past experiences. Your consciousness is the embodiment of a combined set of historical events specific to different times and places. I kind of felt that there's no such thing as 'you', but just a living, breathing physical body that reacts at a present moment in time based on past experiences, and that there's nothing really special about people to begin with.

I felt Neil was trying to connect people with the universe, but I ended up feeling more disconnected. What are you thoughts?
 
Local time
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#2
i think it's reassuring, if anything, to locate the "self" in continuous patterns rather than discrete particles. i don't want to consist of metaphysical fantasies :D
 

Koenio

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#3
I totally agree. You are just a concept. I love your idea about your brain being sculpted throughout time.
Your brain is trying to tell the story of who you are. Maybe for you to have something to care about.
"Right now I am analyzing an unexplored part of a large construct of concepts that my brain is telling they are a part of who I am. On the background there is a sensation of related topics and there is a mood ( in this case I waited a while to get the sense... a phycically very stimulated body and a part of the brain that seems to be waiting for another part to respond)."
It seems to depend greatly on the existence of a goal. As long as there is a sense of direction in your system over time, the moments become unified. But I think the greatest illusion is that of a social self. Your thoughts and experiences become one since they are recorded by your body and not by someone elses. Thats just a hypothesis though. But think about it. If you would'nt have other people, how could you be certain that your memories are real (which ofcourse you can't). But since you're body is constantly being labeled as a unified self by others you start to believe it.
 
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