What’s going on with my lack of self


Hey guys, I’m really excited about Paul Singh’s new book: “The Great Illusion: The Myth of Free Will, Consciousness, and the Self”

I added it to the list of books on George’s site:
http://causalconsciousness.com/index.html#Books%20refuting%20free%20will

It’s very big and much more in depth than Sam Harris’s book because it tries to take on three different illusions in one book! I see it becoming very popular in the future.

Also, I’ve been into the whole self illusion topic lately and have been investigating Liberation Unleashed ever since Simeon Dawkins told me about it on Facebook. I have a thread on the forum under the username pony1987

http://liberationunleashed.com/nation/viewtopic.php?f=4&t=4876

My thought is that the idea of self/soul/spirit is just as essential to many unquestioned belief systems as is free will. Indeed, we need a “self” in order to even claim free will.

For me, self is of course the material body. Even the use of words such as “I” or “me” is a convention and a vast simplification given that we are composed of uncountable atoms. Still, language has a tendency to preserve false beliefs just as the word choice seems to imply free will. I’m still in the first chapter of Paul Singh’s book but he has already cleared up that simply choosing is not free will.

The concept of the self is also required for any belief in an afterlife. This is another major reason that I want to talk more about it in future podcasts.

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Author: chandlerklebs

I have unusual thoughts on almost every subject. I am as Pro-Life as I can possibly be. I am strongly opposed to violence of any type. That includes rape, war, and (obviously) abortion. Everything I think, speak, and write must be filtered by the effect it could have on the lives of others. If I am in any way promoting violence accidentally, please let me know.

11 thoughts on “What’s going on with my lack of self”

  1. “The concept of the self is also required for any belief in an afterlife.”

    That’s never occurred to me, thanks. πŸ™‚

    “For me, self is of course the material body. Even the use of words such as β€œI” or β€œme” is a convention and a vast simplification given that we are composed of uncountable atoms. ”

    There’s no difference between the sum total of matter that composes someone while their alive and shortly after death before decay starts.

    If someone dies, and their physical body contains all the matter whcih composed them while alive a few hours previously, would they still have a self?

    1. “There’s no difference between the sum total of matter that composes someone while their alive and shortly after death before decay starts.

      If someone dies, and their physical body contains all the matter whcih composed them while alive a few hours previously, would they still have a self?”

      That’s a good point. By the definition of self I gave, even a dead body has/is a self as would any nonliving object as well I suppose.

      1. I think my definition of self was pretty much refuted. It makes too little sense to define a self other than just a collection of atoms whether they are conscious or not. We may even drop the term when it’s not required.

    1. It seems that “self”, “myself”, or “I” is just a pronoun that always refers to the person speaking. It’s only required because of human emotions where people get annoyed at using the nouns. So for example, “I like ketchup” is functionally identical to “Chandler likes ketchup”.

      1. Did you ever watch the Tool video I left in your comments for the image quote about the self being an illusion? Visually it’s a metaphor for the process in which the self is realized to be an illusion. It’s the occult version of what buddhists do, mainly it differs in style and not content.

        Anyway, consider this — how would you program an autonomous robot? What would it have to know and how would it get that information from it’s sensors?

        Firstly it would have to represent itself and it’s environment as data it can manipulate so that it can know things about itself like what position it’s arms were in and where it was in it’s environment.

        The body position information would be easy to get from from sensors in the joints of it’s arms which measure how far a joint was rotated and in what direction. Pretty straight forward, all you would have to do is read that directly and store the values in some kind of easy to reference data structure. If it has a sort of skin, the same technique can be used to track data about pressure. So, if you pressed on a place on it’s arm the data would change in the corresponding part in the data structure.

        That’s really close to how our brain tracks information about the body in an area called the sensory-motor cortex.

        Here’s an image that shows how it’s mapped in our brain’s physical structure : http://www.rhsmpsychology.com/images/sensory_homunculus.jpg

        So, you could create a similar data structure for a robot using two large arrays, don’t you think? It would be even easier if it were a 6502 because of how it’s peripherals directly use the memory. An arm is like a controller and the sensory motor cortex is like the 6502’s memory. If you were to press a button on the controller the 6502’s “controller memory” would “light up” just like if you touch someone’s hand the corresponding “hand” area in the sensory motor cortex would light up.

        So, this part of our brain generates our physical self like a NES generates “self” for the controller using reserved memory. At any time the controller memory addresses can be checked and that data informs the NES as to what’s happening with it.

        Back to the robot, so it would be fairly easy set up a physical self for the robot in the same way. (Yes, I did just say our limbs are gaming peripherals to our brain. πŸ˜‰ )

        But, our robot is like Hellen Keller at this point. It can’t see or hear. We still have to be able to allow it to use a camera for sight and and a microphone for sound.

        Both would work in a similar way, so I’ll just describe the camera. It would have to be able to take the images streaming from the camera and be able to determine what in the picture is itself and what’s it’s environment. Then it would have to coorelate and combine that the information about itseld with the rest of information from the body self. Our brain does exactly that in the thalamus.

        So, the self is how the brain tracks, processes, and makes sense of data about yourself. It’s not the physical atoms of our body, like the “controller self” isn’t the physical controller, nor is it the sensory motor cortext or the atoms composing the physical memory of the 6502 — it’s the data. This is the difference between a living human and a dead one in terms of having a self — the same difference between an NES on and an NES off. Dead humans and NESes that have been turned off can’t store or process data.

        Couple of extra points. Imagine if you severed the cord of an NES controller and caused a short circuit that caused the data to be set the memory that tracks the controller to be set and stuck. (Since it’s not receiving data anymore the memory locations never change) When that happens with people, we get phantom limbs. A phantom limb is a limb that’s been amputated but the person can still feel it as if it was still there. It’s not actually a ghost, what’s being felt is the corrupt data in the sensory motor cortex.

        Since information about an external body part like our arm comes from both sight and the sensory motor cortex and then combined into the gestalt we experience , it would be in Theory possible to fool the brain in thinking a plastic arm was our real one by touching the real arm behind a screen (unseen) and the plastic arm (seen) at the same place at the a same time. In theory, the brain would extract the rubber hand from the visual information and and combine it with the physical one of the sensory motor cortex.

        It actually works and it’s called the rubber hand illusion.

        So, in conclusion

        (I didn’t include details about this, except in the bit about vison). Sensory information is divided I to two categories: self and environment. This happens early on in our brain’s process of perception. This is necessary so he brain can figure out what’s us and not us, and so that we can experience the world as an actor (self) which has something to act on (environment).

        I, self, myself refer to the self created by our brain. Not only do we have a self independent of the words, it can be intentionally hacked and caused to malfunction.

        There’s more to it than this, for example we have an imaginary self we use to imagine what would happen if x and thus get insight on a potential action before we commit to it. Kind of like a simulation.

        In contrast the self we experience as ourselves in the moment is our extistenial self.

  2. This is my post about the self-world boundary at my old magick blog. Has some extra info about how our self deforms to include a pencil or hammer as a part of our physical self and why that’s necessary because it makes using tools easier.

  3. I think I should give you a head’s up, my language is a bit more “colorful” when I write for my own blog. As you probably already know, write with a less colorful voice here because — hey, your house , your rules πŸ˜‰

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