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Old 10th-January-2017, 12:42 PM   #1
AndyC
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Default Deconstructing Identity

I thought of this a little while ago, but it sometimes gives me the courage to do something that I normally would not. Anyways, when it comes to identity, it's obviously inconsistent in a lot of different situations such as the Theseus Conversion. Say if you had a clone, hypothetically, and I'm sure this would be the case, you would not be conscious inside both your body and your clone's body. And when you think about using quantum entanglement to transfer information from one electron to another, in order to 'teleport', your left wondering why you would do that for the same reason you wouldn't want to be replaced with a clone or along those lines and if you are willing to live.
Combining that with Last-Thursdayism and the idea that the present only exists we are left with such a scenario that in every instance, your current consciousness 'evaporates' or 'ceases to exist', and is replaced by a new one in which you have no connection to, yet it has all your memories.
Well, I thought that was interesting even though deep down it's not that clever or original. What do you think?

The main emphasis of this thought experiment was on the idea of dying in every instant.
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Last edited by Hadoblado; 11th-January-2017 at 03:06 AM. Reason: Double post
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Old 10th-January-2017, 08:43 PM   #2
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Default Re: Identity and Trippy Crap

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The main emphasis of this thought experiment was on the idea of dying in every instant.
I guess the only issue I can come up with about that is (1) is it possible to think a complete thought or speak a complete sentence if you are recreated every instant -- i.e., how does a thought stretch across multiple instants of destruction/creation -- and (2) how would we ever know, and what relevancy does it have if that form of existence is identical to the common narrative?

The cloning/teleport scenarios have been discussed before. (I was amused to see it come up in a breaking bad episode as well.) But yeah, in essence if you are just recreating yourself with a teleport double, you are murdering your old self and creating a duplicate each time... so maybe it matters to your old self but from the outside observer POV, they would not recognize any notable difference.

Jack Chalker referenced the idea in his Lords of the Diamond series, where the protagonist of each book is a mental copy of the overall protagonist... but to them they feel like they are the original and it's extremely unsettling to realize they are just one of the "copies." Still, at the point of split existence, they each diverge into very different people from each other and the original, partly based on the new bodies they each inhabit + the divergence of personal experience from that point forward.
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Old 11th-January-2017, 12:06 AM   #3
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so for (1), if we assume infinitesimally small instances, such completion of thoughts is possible, and I think when I said 'evaporates' it gave the wrong idea, it's not a creation or destruction process, it is 'ceasing to exist' etc. and the super small instances can remove this dilemma. For (2), it's not that relevant, but the proposed perspective is that in every moment nothing that is to happen in front of that moment isn't relevant to you. But then you keep on going, and it feels intuitively disproved, but that only means that self that was thinking that thought had died and you had 'replaced' them. The finishing conclusion is that in any given moment your current conscious presence may cease to exist instantly, whilst more of you continue along the same path completely unaware of the many you/them's before you/them who's 'lives' have ended abruptly.

As you can see it is merely the achieved conclusions through this skewed version of mainstream thought experiments that make this particularly interesting. And the only way it IS relevant (because it is barely connected to any modern scientific principals it is not so much), is through these conclusions. In case I wasn't clear in the first post, these conclusions are that the given consciousness/awareness will end abruptly at one point, whilst the residents of the future subject will be completely unaware and experience the same fate, without the knowledge of such without this thought experiment.

BTW sorry, it was late last night when I posted that, so i didn't include everything I wished i had.
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Old 11th-January-2017, 12:22 AM   #4
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Default Re: Identity and Trippy Crap

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so for (1), if we assume infinitesimally small instances, such completion of thoughts is possible, and I think when I said 'evaporates' it gave the wrong idea, it's not a creation or destruction process, it is 'ceasing to exist' etc. and the super small instances can remove this dilemma.
You need to explain this better, as I'm not sure what relevancy "infinitesimally small instances" even means exactly. You could make any claim whatsoever without ever being able to show anything at all. You're claiming it wouldn't affect a macro thought (like my even typing this sentence), you're claiming I could cease to exist and reexist an infinite amount of times without the sentence being disrupted... but how? Why? What mechanism? I.e., your claim is not verifiable.
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Old 11th-January-2017, 01:35 AM   #5
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Default Re: Identity and Trippy Crap

*Facepalm to myself* I meant infinitely small, or infinitesimal instances, sorry. In such a way, if we were to get smaller and smaller instances, the more continuous time would become, so this is about as continuous as it gets, forgive me if I am wrong, because if I am, my whole argument is defeated. The how and the mechanism is just speculation to do with the nature of time's flow and reality being separate instances. Why? I'm not sure why, to be frank, I'm not sure why I'm here either. Your argument is valid, sure because it is highly likely to be true that consciousness is a byproduct of neurological activity, nothing connected to the universe or anything, it would not be impeded by any shifting of identity. That's what I meant by saying it wouldn't follow modern scientific principals but would have been interesting to add to older less knowledgeable philosophy.

But consciousness may work in such a way that it occurs as instances, thought separate, and the same sequence of events occur. But that's stupid so forget it.
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Old 11th-January-2017, 03:45 AM   #6
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Default Re: Deconstructing Identity

Things change, the mind changes. The future is contained somewhat in the present and we can travel forward or backwards any length of time through our inner projections, of course the actual future will differ from the projection. There is entanglement across distances because space is of a higher dimension than 3. There is a world which we travel outwards into mentally and receive signals from, and a feedback loop arises. As time goes on, we incorporate into the subject differing elements of the object. Time travel and communication are almost synonymous. In truth, the future is a different permutation on the elements of the present but there are infinite permutations due to infinite elements making up who we are even though almost all of them are infinitely small in size.

It is hard to reconcile the future states existing with the present, and this can give rise to a manner of living which is overly present focused and we may note poor present states to have resulted in this. The key is to bring the future into the present by creating a projected image of it. Done successfully, we are able to make good decisions for the future by being influenced by our projection of it, and this is the best way I have thought of for living in a way which leads to higher states down the track.
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Old 11th-January-2017, 03:56 AM   #7
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Default Re: Deconstructing Identity

From one state to the next, an interaction must take place at a small interval before deconstruction and reconstruction. This moves a thought forward like frames on a tv screen. Atoms must rearrange themselves a little bit each frame. The mind really does this with brainwaves. 120 Hz is the maximum. The contraction and deconstruction would need to take place faster than 120 Hz. But because the mind is already set in frames it is questionable that the person is not just the same person as it is questionable that they are the same person as before. This is because the frame rate is happening slower than the deconstruction and reconstruction. It is happening between the frames, frame rate, so it is possible this would not change identity.
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Old 11th-January-2017, 02:12 PM   #8
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Default Re: Deconstructing Identity

Consciousness is not a thing, it is a label we give to a process, like water flowing in a particular place in a particular way being called a river. The river cannot be moved, the water can be redirected but there is no thing that is the river to be moved, the river cannot be deconstructed or reconstructed. Every river is it's own river or every river is the same river just in a different time and place, the distinction is moot, reality is what it is but the river is subjective.

@AK - This means anime characters are just like real people, or to put it less delightfully our existence is no less pointless or arbitrary than the "existence" of fictional characters.

" title="YouTube" target="_blank">YouTube
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Old 11th-January-2017, 08:53 PM   #9
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Default Re: Deconstructing Identity

When I read this, I got the impression that Andy wasn't trying to describe reality as it is... but as it might be. Just a hypothetical thought experiment or something. I'd hate to put words in hir mouth though.... so this is just my impression and my response to that impression.

So... about the issue of continuity of "self" is destroyed every infinitesimal unit of time, I guess I'm kind of thinking about it as a video? A video represented on a computer is just a bunch of static images that are displayed quickly to make it appear as though there is motion. I guess perhaps the same could be said for the situation that Andy is describing. That would imply that there is some sort of overhead that's causing the "motion" to take place. (glancing up, it looks like AnimeKitty had the same thought.)

Andy, it looks like you're drawing parallels between the idea of LastThursdayism and the idea of creating a clone, destroying the former clone, and so on? I suppose I see some similarities (the destruction of one consciousness replaced by another copycat) but there are some issues, with it, as well.... I think. One is a passive mechanism of this world you're hypothesizing about but I think the clone situation is a little more complex. I don't know how the clone is being used, what happens to the original (or former clone, if a train of them are created) and so on. There's actually a funny video on this topic that I'm sure plenty of you have seen:
" title="YouTube" target="_blank">YouTube
But conceptually, I can see how you'd draw the parallel between the two scenarios - if we're destroyed and reconstructed every infinitesimal unit of time, there's only the illusion that we're "building" onto previous experiments while, in your world's reality, it's just a new creation with more stuff added to it.
I suppose if you can take anything from it at all, it might be to value yourself a little less because you are never really "you", as you're constantly being replaced with another entity, which might make pseudo-immortality through cloning appear more appealing. :P

***edit:
Oh, right... so, this thought arose from the topic although it's not the focus (dying every instant) of the thread... but I don't know how to talk about that for a lengthy period of time.
So, your "self" is dying every instant and being replaced but what about the rest of the world? What happens to it? How does the overhead work? What's causing this mechanism to work?

Last edited by Dalyth; 11th-January-2017 at 08:57 PM. Reason: Other questions
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Old 12th-January-2017, 01:41 AM   #10
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Default Re: Deconstructing Identity

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Originally Posted by Cognisant View Post
@AK - This means anime characters are just like real people, or to put it less delightfully our existence is no less pointless or arbitrary than the "existence" of fictional characters.
The brain is a 3D structure. A TV is 2D. A fictional characters existence is a flat existence with no growth or development. It is not that their story is less complex than a person in 3D but it is that they have no brain at all. If their brain was in a computer that would be a different matter because then they would not be static but dynamic. A DVD has not dynamic elements. And most characters in video games are limited also. Try teaching Mario how to drive a car in grand theft auto. You can't because Mario is not dynamic enough. A cartoon of Mario is even less dynamic. If Mario wanted to be as dynamic as a real person they would need a brain inside the computer. Then they would have a dynamic frame rate like the brain. And this brain could be programmed with an anime story, but a cartoon on a TV is flat 2D with no brain. A video of the story of Mario has no cybernetics like people do or simulated brains do.

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Old 12th-January-2017, 04:01 AM   #11
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Default Re: Deconstructing Identity

That’s not what I meant.
I’m not saying fictional characters are real, I’m saying our sense of identity/consciousness is fictitious, a story the brain tells itself and it believes, a hardwired insanity that makes us deadlier, sillier and more perverted; relating our delusional existence to the non-existence of fictional characters just amuses me.
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