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[RD] Are you who you were and when do you stop being you?

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by amadeus, Aug 9, 2020.

  1. Birdjaguar

    Birdjaguar Hanafubuki Retired Moderator Supporter

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    Hauntology (a portmanteau of haunting and ontology[1]) is a neologism introduced by French philosopher Jacques Derrida in his 1993 book Spectres of Marx. As a philosophical concept, it refers to the return or persistence of elements from the past, as in the manner of a ghost. It has since been invoked in fields such as visual arts, philosophy, electronic music, politics, fiction and literary criticism.[2]

    Derrida used the term to refer to the atemporal nature of Marxism and its tendency to "haunt Western society from beyond the grave."[3] It describes a situation of temporal and ontological disjunction in which presence is replaced by a deferred non-origin.[2] The concept is derived from his deconstructive method, in which any attempt to locate the origin of identity or history must inevitably find itself dependent on an always-already existing set of linguistic conditions.[4] Despite being the central focus of Spectres of Marx, the word hauntology appears only three times in the book, and there is little consistency in how other writers define the term.[5]

    In the 2000s, the term was applied to musicians who were said to explore ideas related to temporal disjunction, retrofuturism, cultural memory, and the persistence of the past.
     
  2. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    Yeah

    Even if there was a soul how do we know it's not hard-wired/detirministic?
     
  3. RobAnybody

    RobAnybody Emperor

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    Like, far out man. :) Kinda kidding, but also not. I think I'm more confused than I was when I simply didn't know what it meant. Does it boil down to: you understand that I am confused because we have, in the past (EDIT: not explicitly, but inherently, which sounds key to all this), agreed on what I mean by the words "I" "am" & "confused"? And that conveys my meaning to you. If so, I guess that's true, but doesn't seem useful. Sort of like accepting axioms in math to me. My instinctive reaction is: ok, now that we've established that unnecessary step, can we discuss the topic at hand? (not directed at you, but at the idea of hauntology)
     
    Last edited: Aug 9, 2020
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  4. amadeus

    amadeus As seen on OT

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    We don't. Well, I don't.

    But I think that question takes us too far off topic. :)
     
  5. El_Machinae

    El_Machinae Colour vision since 2018 Retired Moderator

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    I'm mostly a biological determinist, but that's not really to do with what I was saying.

    We feel like we're the same person as before, and so we all just agree that we are. Go back far enough, and that feeling gets fuzzy. I think the thread then asked for a bit of philosophy on the topic. I'm not so sure it can really work, since that feeling (that I think we post-hoc explain) is going to be subject to basically the mood that you're in right now. If people have ever been cognizant of mania or depression, then they're familiar with how there's no new 'real' information, but our interpretation of that information can vary wildly. And our confidence in that interpretation can be pretty strong.

    The sense of coherence with my previous self is itself subject to biological whim. You'll feel more deeply coherent at some times and less so other times.
     
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  6. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    Its your thread, you can give it a long leash if you like :)
     
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  7. amadeus

    amadeus As seen on OT

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    This will be my last divergence from the topic: the regular smiley appears on my phone to be wearing a Santa hat.

    It’s August. Has no one noticed or said anything?
     
  8. topsecret

    topsecret Believer

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    Spoiler explanation :
    I don't usually post in off-topic but I wanted to answer your off-topic question in off-topic. It's your browser cookies hanging on to the old image, most likely.
     
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  9. amadeus

    amadeus As seen on OT

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    It was exactly that!
     
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  10. RobAnybody

    RobAnybody Emperor

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    Relevant to the thread: Because I chose to Post Reply rather than to just find this thread interesting but not worth participating in, I am now up well past midnight EST, posting multiple times on this thread, posting on other threads, playing a video game, & have noticed South Park: Imaginationland: The Trilogy is on & re-watching it. If instead I had chosen to not Post Reply earlier today, I'd have probably just watched something random on Netflix, gone to bed as usual, not posted on any other threads tonight, & had an entirely different day. Possibly an entirely different tomorrow.

    I'm going to be slightly more tired tomorrow. Perhaps make a mistake I wouldn't have made at work (unlikely, but possible, it's just a couple missed hours of sleep). However, I advanced farther in Wasteland 2 & won't do those missions in future days, contributed to threads here & spurred responses changing other people's behavior, watched different shows than I would have, had a mild but interesting discussion about consciousness... all because of that one tiny decision hours ago to hit a button or not.

    I am a different person between then..
    ...and then.
     
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  11. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Some of my posts here refer to "my ____-year-old self" because I know I think and feel and perceive some things very differently now than I did then.

    But there are some things that all of my selves will be constant in thinking and feeling and perceiving: Brussels sprouts are not food.

    As for the rest, it depends on so many factors large and small, that even I'm amazed when I think back to how I was at some points in my life and how I am now (would anyone here believe that I used to fear and loathe cats?). That was over 45 years ago, and after my dad gave me a kitten and I realized that my mother had taught me her own distorted nonsensical views, I've never been catless since.

    Do you mean physically, or how/what we think?

    Just because physical cloning can be possible, that doesn't mean the mind inside that cloned body will be identical. Two of my favorite science fiction authors had different ways of dealing with this. Frank Herbert used some sort of mystical silliness to awaken a ghola's (clone's) memories of its original self - subject the ghola to enough psychological stress and its original persona would suddenly snap into place.

    C.J. Cherryh took a vastly different tack. The cloned person was cloned as a newborn infant (in an artificial womb) and from birth, was raised and taught and nurtured in conditions as close as possible to the way the original person was. Obviously this takes a great deal of time, and the character involved - Ariane Emory - succeeded beyond anything her guardians thought could happen. The original Ariane was murdered at age 120, and she was a geneticist and social scientist of incredible intelligence, whose projects needed her to ultimately succeed. So her relatives re-created her with the help of an immense number of files and millions of pieces of data the original Ariane had put away exactly for this project (the point is made in the novel that for psychogenesis to really succeed, the subject has to be amenable to coming back as a replicate of the original).

    So were these characters the same as their predecessors? No. None of the Duncan Idaho gholas were exactly like the original even though all had DNA from the original. They were "reborn" over and over during a period of 4500 years, and nobody involved in this had ever asked them if they wanted to be reborn at all, let alone into a future alien to them.

    Ariane Emory the Younger was genetically identical to her predecessor, but in spite of her guardians' attempts to recreate her life as it had been before, there were some things they simply could not recreate - and those things made the younger Ariane's personality different, her thought patterns different, and her decisions about those important ongoing projects intended to take a couple hundred years or so were different. Not extremely different, but enough to change what her predecessor had set in motion. As time goes on, each new Ariane would be genetically identical to the original, but the circumstances and environment she grows up in would be different.

    F.M. Busby called this "the copy machine effect" in his Hulzein Saga novels about a dynasty of women who reproduced by parthenogenesis in a bid to control more and more of Earth each generation. They discovered that the process was reasonably safe for about 3 generations, and then genetic mistakes were more prevalent, leading to unhealthy daughters who were also psychologically unstable.

    For those who don't read French: I think, therefore I am.

    I register the smell of bacon and then get annoyed, because I'd rather have sausages. Unless it's bacon-flavored potato chips on offer. That's my current favorite flavor.

    The thing is, your brain can register the smell and you might salivate, but you can also choose what to do or not do about it.

    It doesn't terrify me as much as it annoys me. There are days when I feel much older than I am, but my thoughts are still the age I am now.

    What happens when you're raised by grandparents and most of the company who comes to the house consists of their friends is that you get accustomed to the idea that old people aren't some alien species. They're just older people, with thoughts, opinions, attitudes, a sense of humor (or not), and they can surprise you.
     
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  12. Gorbles

    Gorbles Load Balanced

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    I mean, yeah. I was reinforcing that! :)

    That said (this is me, there's always got to be something), that's the way I was perceiving things to be going. That's the scientific question right? The search for answers (in a good way! At its most sincere and pure). The focus on identifying things in quantifiable terms; identifying change according to biological and greater scientific principles - that's an attempt at creating an answer (by way of a definition).

    It's natural. I just wanted to expand on it a little bit, is all.
     
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  13. The_J

    The_J Say No 2 Net Validations Retired Moderator Supporter

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    That's all kinda right and wrong.
    The DNA part used for identification is indeed (hopefully) unique. It's only a part though, so it would not capture changes in other parts of the DNA.
    In theory, your DNA should indeed not change, but the aging part which Amy mentions does change parts, but these are for many things not considered relevant (like for the identification part).
    There is also epigenetics, which kinda changes parts, but these affect per se not the makeup of your DNA, but rather it's activity.
    (and also other things, like cancer, change your DNA, but that's getting waaaayyy off topic).


    To the actual question: No clue.
    I am not the same person anymore as 10 years ago. Not even if we neglect gradual changes, since I had a massive change at a rather short time point.
    For me the question is more: Does it matter if I stay the same or not? Is it maybe not more important that whoever I am is happy and doing the right thing?
     
  14. amadeus

    amadeus As seen on OT

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    I think it's more important that you're happy and doing the right thing.

    I guess it only matters to you if it matters to you. That sounds like flawed logic, but I mean that only you can determine the importance of something like it.
     
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  15. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    Sure. Essentially it's the notion that there is no such thing as a "present," as everything exists as a relationship between the reflection of the past, or, rather, our understanding and recouperation of that reflection past, and as an anticipation of what is to come.

    **** philosophy uses the example of a melody to explain this. At any given moment, you can only hear one single note, and at no point does there exist a thing which you can point to as being "the melody." It can only ever exist as a consequence of our experience of previous notes and our anticipation of the notes which are to come. So the melody doesn't ever really exist in-itself, but only as a relationship between what exists (what is present) and what doesn't (but which, paradoxically necessarily needs to exist for the thing to be, hence it haunts us like a ghost).

    So that concept is also true for humanity. We are never really "us" inasmuch as "us" isn't a thing which exists in-itself, but rather as an interplay between the interpretation and narrativization of the past with the anticipation of the future, both of which are conditioned at the same time by each other. We always imagine the past, not as itself, but as mediated through the present, both teleologically - i.e. we know what happened next so we will place greater emphasis on things which we perceive to have been important, etc., but also aesthetically, morally, etc. And likewise, anticipation of the future is necessarily mediated through the past. We can only anticipate things which we have past data to inform us as being possible, and when we imagine a future, we necessarily work within our own existing ontology.

    So the answer to the question "are you who you were and when do you stop being you," to me, is, respectively: no, but also yes; now, but also never.
     
    Last edited: Aug 10, 2020
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  16. Farm Boy

    Farm Boy You gave me my own tail?

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    I quite like the comparison of a life to a series of notes. Stretch them out long enough and you have part of a song. Still not a shade on the complete harmonization, dissonance, and suspension scene.
     
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  17. warpus

    warpus In pork I trust

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    Technically you are never the same person, the cells in your body die and get replaced all the time. That doesn't mean that your concioussness doesn't have continuity between all these changes you go through - it does.

    You self-identify as the same entity, but you are forever changing. So you are both the same person you were 20 years ago.. and a completely changed individual as well. No contradiction there. Same thing as Disney World being Disney World even though they might tear down old rides and put new ones up.
     
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  18. Valka D'Ur

    Valka D'Ur Hosting Iron Pen in A&E Retired Moderator

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    Chords are made up of more than one note. Playing those one after the other instead of simultaneously means the teacher will be upset.
     
  19. schlaufuchs

    schlaufuchs La Femme Moderne

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    it's an analogy my dude
     
  20. Narz

    Narz keeping it real

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    Listening to this at gym, kinda on topic
     

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