Thursday, March 1, 2018

703: An Overview and a Final Question...

In Search of our Self we may after dozens of lectures  ask the question, did we find anything? 
Although many philosophical debates often rather lead to more questions than answers, I'd a YES.
The Self is not just a philosophical and theoretical issue, but due to our present day neurobiological insights also an empirical matter.
In his book "Self comes to Mind" (2010)  Antonio Damasio relates many experiences of a self to all kinds of parts of the physical brain.
At least with one simple observation we can begin: no physical brain means no consciousness, consequently no mind and consequently no self.
The next step is, that where there is a brain there is consciousness and thence  there can be all kinds of levels of having a mind.
This can be confirmed by the observation that some animals are smarter than others. That means for instance, that they are more convenient in solving problems.
The next stage of consciousness and mind is, that the organism shows to be conscious of its individual existence.
We know that some animals like dolphins, elephants, some primates are able to recognize themselves.
What we see is consciousness as a continuum, where a "marker" moves from left to right,
where left means total absence of self-awareness and right means complete self-awareness.
We as homo sapiens sit at the very right end of this continuum. We are 100% self-aware and during our life we have a strong feeling of a Self.
First observation is, that our Self must be the result of the activity of the brain as Damasio explained.
What we all experience regarding our Self is a kind of continuity and coherence. The first stage is our experience of our bodily continuity.
It is what Damasio calls the "protoself". It boils down to our awareness of our bodily continuity. As a baby we discover our toes and I am aware of them still at my age.
What is essential here and what makes us differ from other organisms is our unique awareness of time and space.
When we learn to physically interact with the world around us we discover our autonomous and authentic Self: "That was ME, who did this!"
Due to our awareness of time our memories become a part of our Self, our personal identity.
Finally our Self becomes our personal narrative, which enables us to tell a uniques story about our Self.
Our body changes through the years. We acquire new skills. Memories fade, new ones are stored. The Self thus is a continuous flux.
-QUOTE- You are not subject to any restrictions. You will determine your nature for yourself according to your own free will which I have entrusted to you. 
I have not made you heavenly and not earthy, not mortal and not immortalized. As a free and sovereign artist you have to be your own sculptor, 
as it were, and express yourself in the form you prefer. You can degenerate into the lower forms, the animal, 
but you can also be reborn through your own will in the higher forms, which are divine. -END QUOT -

You can be the designer of your own Self, according to Pico della Mirandola (1463 -1494),
an Italian Renaissance nobleman and philosopher.
Already in those days they knew, that you design your own Self. Only question left is, can we improve on that.....?
Thank you for your attention... ^_^

The Discussion

[13:25] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:25] ThalesMiletus: Interesting. Thanks herman.
[13:26] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:26] herman Bergson: If you have any questions or remarks...feel free :-)
[13:26] herman Bergson: This is a kind of final conclusion on my behalf
[13:27] herman Bergson: My question is....what should be the next project be about ???? ^_^
[13:27] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Self is indeed an interesting concept, its both simple and complex at same time
[13:27] herman Bergson: Indeed looks simple but shows to be pretty complex
[13:27] ThalesMiletus: Next project?
[13:28] herman Bergson: Yes Thales....
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): speaking of that surrealist thing, maybe something relating to that like dreams or something similar
[13:28] ThalesMiletus: In what context?
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): could be interesting
[13:28] herman Bergson: So far I did about 15 projects...
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ok
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well I want more
[13:28] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:28] Ciska Riverstone: didn't u say its atheism Herman?
[13:29] herman Bergson: what is...Ciska?
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: the next project ;)
[13:29] ThalesMiletus: Btw, I don't really know what would be meant by 100% self-awareness unless we just mean relative to other lifeforms on earth. It seems there is quite a lot of unconscious activity in our brains we are totally unaware of.
[13:29] herman Bergson: I already did one on atheism...
[13:29] Ciska Riverstone: ah - I misunderstood then
[13:30] herman Bergson: Project number 12 it was :-)
[13:30] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): yes it seems familiar
[13:30] ThalesMiletus: I don't know what the projects were so it's hard for me to suggest anything without overlapping what you've probably already one.
[13:30] ThalesMiletus: *done
[13:30] herman Bergson: Yes Thales...relative to other lifeforms
[13:31] herman Bergson: All   projects are listed in my Profile picks...:-)
[13:31] herman Bergson: pick 01.
[13:31] ThalesMiletus: Right, so a scale of less and more self-aware.. but I don't think there is an absolute end to that scale.
[13:32] herman Bergson: and indeed there is a lot going on in our brain we are not aware of
[13:32] herman Bergson: that was the next question....can we improve on it...:-))
[13:33] herman Bergson: We'll talk about that in the next lecture :-))
[13:33] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm i guess most things can be improved, question is just how
[13:34] ThalesMiletus: I think the melding of philosophy and science and the resulting education from that is certainly one general way how.
[13:35] Ciska Riverstone whispers: but a very oooooold one too ;)
[13:35] ThalesMiletus: as long as it works
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): :
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess
[13:35] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thats an idea
[13:37] herman Bergson: So the question is...what would you like to be the subject of our next project?
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): what about that with dreams and what hapens in them, but thats as you said more psychology maybe
[13:37] Ciska Riverstone: Time
[13:37] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): thinking of something on this surreal theme since i started taking up that theme again today
[13:38] herman Bergson: Yes Bejiita...
[13:38] ThalesMiletus: I see that 11 was Why Science is Right... maybe something to challenge that, like... Can Science be Wrong?
[13:38] ThalesMiletus: I don't know what was said during 11.
[13:38] herman Bergson: TIME....oh my....the philosophy of time.....
[13:38] Ciska Riverstone: well I think that might be interesting no?
[13:39] herman Bergson: Oh yes....
[13:39] ThalesMiletus: Time is a crazy subject.. it seems no one can really agree what it is.
[13:39] herman Bergson: It is one of the biggest problems for us....
[13:39] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): ah
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: hheheh so its a bit like.... let me think
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone whispers: consciousness?
[13:39] Ciska Riverstone: ;)
[13:40] ThalesMiletus: even worse I think
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well self awareness we did here i think a bit
[13:40] herman Bergson: I don't see consciousness as a problem....
[13:40] herman Bergson: we know where it comes from...the brain....
[13:40] Ciska Riverstone: imeant in terms of agreeing on what it is
[13:40] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): hmm tricky but i bet there are a ton of things we have not taken up yet
[13:40] herman Bergson: what we do not know is how the brain generates consciousness
[13:41] herman Bergson: not do we know how it came into being somewhere in evolution
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Still think about this dream philosophy idea if it can be done
[13:42] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): as a project
[13:42] herman Bergson: that is psychology, Bejiita...
[13:42] ThalesMiletus: I'm still thinking about project 11. What about the difference between philosophy and science?
[13:43] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): we have not done it before and its very different from the other ones
[13:43] ThalesMiletus: So what do you mean by dream philosophy
[13:44] ThalesMiletus: To be honest, it sounds kind of like dream interpretation.
[13:44] herman Bergson: Ann...wake us out! :-))
[13:44] Ann Forbes: I like all of your ideas. I've been daydreaming about them.
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): well i m just thinking about whats actually happening, the brain can indeed come up with really crazy things when we dream, hence these surrealistic situations
[13:44] herman Bergson: yes Thales....not my line of work :-)
[13:44] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): but still can you describe it as philosophy
[13:44] ThalesMiletus: Ok, so discussing why we dream?
[13:44] ThalesMiletus: What the function might be?
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): and what happens
[13:45] herman Bergson: that still is a physiological or psychological question]
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): I guess it is
[13:45] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): just have some stuff spinning around that i try weave together in some way
[13:46] ThalesMiletus: So was this project you just finished #15 - The Meaning of Life?
[13:46] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): Self was the theme right?
[13:46] ThalesMiletus: herman?
[13:47] herman Bergson: Yes we are still here Thales...that must have a meaning ^_^
[13:47] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:47] ThalesMiletus: or was that the last one?
[13:47] ThalesMiletus: and this one isn't listed yet
[13:47] herman Bergson: It was the one before this one :-)
[13:48] herman Bergson: I updated the picks just now
[13:48] herman Bergson: so reload it and see
[13:48] herman Bergson: Project 17 is the new one...:-)
[13:48] ThalesMiletus: Anyway, I'm not a regular so I should stay out of this discussion
[13:48] herman Bergson: no no....everyone is equal here Thales :-)
[13:50] herman Bergson: WEll...
[13:50] ThalesMiletus: herman did you have some options?
[13:50] herman Bergson: Next lecture(s) will be on how to improve our Self...:-)
[13:51] herman Bergson: Yes Thales...I have a no theme here on my desk for the next project....but I wanted your opinion
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:51] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): that sounds good
[13:51] ThalesMiletus: my unequal equal opinion :)
[13:52] herman Bergson: My problem is that Ido not like to redo a project theme...
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): take your time and you /we will figure somethign good put
[13:52] ThalesMiletus: although you could do some variant of a theme that may shed some different light on it
[13:52] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): out
[13:52] herman Bergson: We certainly will Bejita :-)
[13:53] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:53] herman Bergson: You almost guessed the theme of my next project Thales :-))))
[13:53] ThalesMiletus: hmm
[13:54] herman Bergson: What is your idea Bergie?
[13:55] herman Bergson: Same as Ann, it seems :-))
[13:55] Ann Forbes: :)
[13:55] herman Bergson grins
[13:55] herman Bergson: time to dismiss this class :-)
[13:56] herman Bergson: Thank youall for your participation again :-))
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: thank you herman
[13:56] Ann Forbes: Thank you
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): same
[13:56] ThalesMiletus: Thanks herman
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): cu soon again
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako):
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: i like Ciska idea@ the time
[13:56] Particle Physicist Bejiita (bejiita.imako): bye for now
[13:56] Ciska Riverstone: take care bejiita
[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: thank you herman and class!! it was very interesting

[13:56] bergfrau Apfelbaum: byebye Bejiita:-)