# Things That Define Us

#### Cognisant

##### Condescending Bastard
Literal things like the stuff we own but also things like the places we go, the things we do and the people we know and our relation to them, define us. If you work in a bar you're a bartender, to your parents your a child and to your children you're a parent, if you hang out in a bar you're the sort of person who hangs out in bars, if you collect Pokemon cards you're a loser. I know I'm just restating the obvious but there's implications to this, we don't like to be defined by these things, we like to think we define ourselves but in reality what we think is almost completely irrelevant. I'm not talking about being defined in terms of the labels that are given to us but rather the actual nature of who/what we are, if you tend a bar you are a bartender, the implications of that apply to you but it also goes the other way, your actions as a bartender change what being a bartender means.

I'm still restating the obvious...
There's a "connectedness", in Shinto there's the concept of Tsukumogami, objects that acquire a soul after a hundred years or some significant event. The myth impresses upon Japanese children the importance of looking after their things and this can be seen throughout Japanese culture with their almost fanatical emphasis on cleanliness (if you really want to insult a Japanese person tell them their toilet's dirty), keeping things well maintained (exported second hand Japanese cars are considered almost good as new due to their "look after it and it'll look after you" mentality) and the respectful way they treat objects in general (shoes neatly arranged on a shoe rack, a place for everything and everything in its place).

Of course things don't actually have souls, that's ridiculous, but with that in mind I think the notion of people having souls is ridiculous so maybe the notion of treating objects like they have souls isn't so ridiculous after all? I think we need to have a certain reverence for the things that define us, that are a part of us in the minimalist sense, you know the phrase "my body is a temple" well what if we took that notion and applied it to life in general? I think in this postmodern age we've obtained a certain self destructive cynicism, I don't mean a lack of faith (I think that's fantastic) rather I'm talking about the sanctity of our lives, that we've somehow internalized the wastefulness of consumerism.

Rick Sanchez, the hero of the current zeitgeist, he's cynical, self destructive, seeks detachment to everything and everyone around him, especially himself. His car is made of junk and only as valuable as the effort required to replace it, as is everything he makes and his every scientific discovery he has ever made is kept secret out of spite.

In short life is meaningless and that's what makes living meaningful, actually no that sounds stupid... ok remember the Tsukumogami souls thing? ...I'm trying to make a positive point but I can't figure out how to explain it in a way that isn't incredibly nihilistic.

Your life, your body, your stuff, your friends and family, your job, your hobbies, the things you do and the places you go, they're all a part of your, so where possible choose them carefully and look after them, because they're all you've got. That'll do, it's 3am and I'm tired.

#### gps

##### INTP 5w4 Iconoclast
Literal things like the stuff we own but also things like the places we go, the things we do and the people we know and our relation to them, define us.
Have you been programming via OOP by any chance?
Feminists have been ranting about objectification' for decades.
And they're right ... although the objectification going on is not limited to men vis-a-vis women.
The whole friggin Anglophone world does it by Thingifying, reifying, and nominalizing PROCESS(ES)!

My ACTIONS, processes, and deeds define' me; I'm a human doing more than a `being' .
When I'm incapable of doing, the kind of being I'll be qua BE will be a corpse.

Mu -- the question is ill-posed; un-ask the question.

#### Animekitty

##### (ISFP)
Soul simply means single isolated separate conscious entity from all other single isolated separate conscious entities. I am not you and you are not me. I am solely me and you are solely you. I have taken this question seriously for a long time. Identity simply means I have an impact on reality. I dent reality with my existence (like a dent in a car door). But when I think how the wires simply create a channel for energy to pulse through, that this is no different from a physics simulation in a computer. Then I feel like the connections in my brain and my soul may not be the same thing. I really mean this when I say that all my experiences and are just perceptions and I understand more about what Immanuel Kant means. It is all ephemeral. I am not the wires, I am not the electric impulses, but all perceptions depend on them. Connections wire up differently your cognition changes, you are not a permanent physical manifestation. Train your brain long enough and it will rewire itself to have the experience of void or the absence of physical form (your whole body disappears, it happened to me once and it was amazing and it just happened, I don't do drugs but some drugs give you this experience).

Since the brain is flexible the wiring can change and you can mold it with your attention. You can feel weightless like laughing gas does to you at the dentist. But it is not simply just the power of your mind. Cybernetic feedback control is what allows attention to direct things in the first place. It allows metacognition and it allows abstract thought, visual imagination and language semantics. It can stop pain and allow the Iceman to climb Mount Everest only in boxing shorts (extreme physiological control)

Nihilism means nothingness or nonexistence, ceasing to exist. Ex Nilo means created out of nothing. You were never created out of nothing. You are like a snowflake that one day just crystalized into existence. Allan Watt said we are like an apple that grew from a tree branch. The wires in your head began as a single-celled embryo. So what does it mean to die? In the Bible Jobe says:

and said: "Naked I came from my mother's womb, and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised."

What do the wires in your head and the way they are connected mean to you? They are your total experience but it is impermanent and even when we think that this means death is permanent the complete opposite is true. You were without space and without time, that is what they call God sometimes. When you sleep, sleep is not permanent. You sleep and wake up every day of your life. You are timeless and spaceless and then you born. And sometimes you become Enlightened where the wires loop inward and the lotus flower unfolds ten thousand petals. It is all up to you and how you pay attention.

Life is impermanent, Death is impermanent. Relationships are what matter.

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
I think it's dangerous to objectify everything. I think the subjective tells a much better story.

Not to say completely that I disagree because I think at a point what we do does define us. But I think it only defines us in an objective sense. I think who and what we are is largely subjective. A thought process one might have about something can tell a story that what someone actually does with that doesn't really factor in at all.

My thought process might be that no one has a choice in anything. If I just state this, it's not likely to really impact anything I do, but it's still a belief I hold. Likewise, someone can hold the belief that they believe in free will. That doesn't mean what they do will or won't be affected by holding this belief, but it's still something they would believe.

I believe the devil is in the details - what one does is a product of some very small things that affect someone in a drastic way - enough to influence their behavior. This can't really be represented in the objective, because the objective is the what and not the why.

#### Animekitty

##### (ISFP)
I belive Cog will like this puzzle of mine.

A satellite scans the brain of Tom Cruise from space collecting his data. A secret agent puts a sugar cube with nanomachine in your coffee that travels to your brain. The satellite sends Toms data to the nanomachines in your brain. All the connections are rearranged so your brain is now exactly like Toms' brain. Does this mean you have died and been replaced by Tom Cruise. Or is it that you are the same person just in the form of Tom Cruise?

#### Cognisant

##### Condescending Bastard
In that scenario I would believe I am Tom Cruise and think like Tom Cruise, for a moment, then I assume I would realize I don't look like who I think I am and would try to use my computer to google "Tom Cruise", a fatal mistake.

QuickTwist said:
I think it's dangerous to objectify everything. I think the subjective tells a much better story.
Do you still believe in Santa?

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
Do you still believe in Santa?
I never believed in Santa, what is your point?

#### Cognisant

##### Condescending Bastard
That the subjective is a story and if you prefer fiction to reality why not believe in Santa?
Personally I wouldn't let a story get in the way of reality no matter how good it is.

Getting back to the OP a better example might be owning a car, if you own a car you need to drive it at least every few weeks just to keep the engine lubricated, you need to have a safe place to store it, you need to make use of it to justify the expense of maintenance/registration/fuel/insurance and thus in a way when you own a car the car owns you, it changes you at least in terms of how you live your life.

There's a back and forth, a connectedness, a cause and effect style relationship between that which is owned and the owner and I think it's a connection we need to be more aware of. I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy a fedora and a mall sword if you want these things just that before you do you should take a moment to ponder them, to ask yourself if they're things you really want or substitutes for (or representing) something else?

I think that's the flaw with Rick Sanchez's character, he's duplicitous with himself, he wants to unemotionally attached and yet undeniably he loves his grandchildren so he's stuck in this cycle of treating them poorly and later regretting it. I dunno maybe I'm reading too much into a cartoon but it's easier to talk about a character everyone knows than refer to people I know in real life whose intent and actions are out of sync because they're not really sure about what they want and why they want it.

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
That the subjective is a story and if you prefer fiction to reality why not believe in Santa?
Personally I wouldn't let a story get in the way of reality no matter how good it is.

Getting back to the OP a better example might be owning a car, if you own a car you need to drive it at least every few weeks just to keep the engine lubricated, you need to have a safe place to store it, you need to make use of it to justify the expense of maintenance/registration/fuel/insurance and thus in a way when you own a car the car owns you, it changes you at least in terms of how you live your life.

There's a back and forth, a connectedness, a cause and effect style relationship between that which is owned and the owner and I think it's a connection we need to be more aware of. I'm not saying that you shouldn't buy a fedora and a mall sword if you want these things just that before you do you should take a moment to ponder them, to ask yourself if they're things you really want or substitutes for (or representing) something else?

I think that's the flaw with Rick Sanchez's character, he's duplicitous with himself, he wants to unemotionally attached and yet undeniably he loves his grandchildren so he's stuck in this cycle of treating them poorly and later regretting it. I dunno maybe I'm reading too much into a cartoon but it's easier to talk about a character everyone knows than refer to people I know in real life whose intent and actions are out of sync because they're not really sure about what they want and why they want it.
I don't see how this invalidates my point. My point being that the objective representation of reality doesn't explain the why only the what.

#### Animekitty

##### (ISFP)
I don't see how this invalidates my point. My point being that the objective representation of reality doesn't explain the why only the what.
The why question is really going into intentions. It is something like a father with a girl 3 years old who dies and He asks God why as if God intended for the girl to die. Humans have the limbic system emotions and unconscious desires. Teenagers are asked why did you do such a stupid thing and the answer is their frontal lobes are not developed enough for impulse control. But then there are premeditated murders that are prosecuted because of the intentions behind them, they knew what they were doing and must take complete responsibility.

The metaphysics of responsibility is to be fully aware of the consequences of your actions. The only reason QT you say the why and the what are separate is that you might not understand agency derives from the cybernetic mechanism of the brain. No matter how complex the control mechanism the brain is just a thing so we can objectify it / measure it. Technology is just not complex enough to do so yet. Have you seen the movie minority report with tom cruise that predicts people who commit a crime? We can answer the why questions objectively, we simply need better measurements and computing powers. Predicting people to such a detail model to know their intentions is not implausible.

Google has so much information about me the could use it to predict things about me with a 90 percent accuracy if they tried hard enough with their computer teams putting it altogether programming the prediction algorithms. It is all done in probabilities and in psychology to learn/understand motivations to infer intention. My personality will not allow me to do certain things and it will compel me to act in other situations by predictable measures. The computers at Google are objectifying my why as a collection of "whats". Psychometric are becoming super powerful. Everything online gets processed and the result is knowing the most likely reasons you have the intents you do.

All that is needed is to map your actions to your brain structure and we figure out the types of structures that lead to your actions and even the deliberations before your actions. Deliberation happens in the frontal lobes and the mechanics known so the intention is simply the frontal lobes organizing your actions by the steps, planning, and conclusions by personal knowledge. The computer can almost perfectly know why you do what you do and soon way better than people can predict our intentions.

The frontal lobes are "a what" and intentions "the why" is is just the what of frontal lobe mechanism. No matter how complex intention it is not magic it is the cybernetic mechanism of the front of your brain. Models of this in computers have broad applications for knowing actions of people. All that I have said depends on intentions being explainable in an objective way. My example still works that Teenagers intentions are hindered by underdeveloped frontal lobes, We objectively know the reasons for their bad decisions. We can objectively know the same for adults in what the mechanism for intentions is.

#### QuickTwist

##### Alive - Born Anew
@AK,

Google still works by the "what" not the "why". What Google does is look at patterns of the what to predict a what for a latter time. It still doesn't grasp the why behind your actions.

We live in a sad day of age. Even psychology has largely scrapped learning about the "why".

As of now, prolly the only people who really care about the "why" are people from PUA and NLP and they just do it at a shallow level as it is...

Like I just feel that while the objective is the nuts and bolts of a car, it doesn't at all say what the experience is like driving that car, and I think that is far more interesting.

#### Animekitty

##### (ISFP)
Like I just feel that while the objective is the nuts and bolts of a car, it doesn't at all say what the experience is like driving that car, and I think that is far more interesting.
Cybernetics was actually derived in greek as the ruder. The thing that steers the ship. The brain is connected up to steer itself as is become more complex at steering. I simply gave the example of the frontal lobes that coordinates everything. I am sure QT you realize the brain is a physical object and so obeys laws of the universe. It simply seems special because we have the ego that is between the consciose and unconscious. The when we say "I exist" we may get the idea it is supernatural and not a complex process of the brain. So the car driver is just an example of a homunculus. (a man in your head controlling your actions as infinite regress). What I am saying is that we in principle could know how the connections in the brain allow for intentions. This could lead to Software that acts human. The brain connects inward into itself as a self-referenced loop. People that create things in their mind like daydreaming and imagination are inside themselves but this is all explained with feedback control. Intentions should not be seen as magic, it should be looked at as how a network that can evaluate by means of what direction it wants to go in. Reflective thought is just the network having internal control. Once you have internal control you have intentions based on values stored on your network. I think the point is that we can know how the internal control works and then objectify it by knowing that intentions follow a logical control function with the data in the network.

(internal self-control I view as a meta perspective, it allows you to build a model of yourself and others and model the world. To have layers of abstraction generating new ways to see the way things are.)

(Lacking the ability to go inward into yourself you are more reactive and can see things in only one limited way)

#### Perfectly Normal Beast

##### unsafe
i can't find the energy to formulate a response

perhaps this will suffice: