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InvisibleRavus
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Identity
    #3967410 - 03/25/05 02:20 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

If all of our cells are replaced over time, and new atoms constantly go in and out of our bodies, over years we contain completely different matter, yet we are considered the same individual with the same identity, just at a different point in time.

From the time we're born, until the time we die, we exist in completely different points of time, with completely new matter, and in a completely different location relevant to spacetime, yet we are considered to be the same John Doe we were 70 years ago when we born. How is this possible? If a rock could move, and all of its matter was replaced 70 years from now and it was thrust into a completely different place, we would logically say that this rock is a different rock from the one 70 years ago. So why do humans' egos treat their own identities without any logic, while we can view a rock with more objectivity and reasoning than even ourselves?

Identity is illusion. Atoms are consistently being renewed in our body, everything is decaying, renewing, moving around in space, so nothing stays as it is. We do not exist over extended periods of time, and after we die, we do not change any more than we did in life. Our molecules go along as they always have, moving, joining in different unities, until we do not even see a difference.

Some say our DNA is what makes us remain constant, as opposed to say, a rock, but yet humans, on average, get 100 to 1000 mutations in their DNA every single day. If we overlook these countless mutations by the time we reach age 70, we would have to continue overlooking the gradual change of DNA over time as we go back, until we were no different from the most primitive nucleic-acid containing cells from which we all evolved.

So what is identity? Why are we the same if all our matter is different? Our consciousness appears to stay in this body, but that is just a subjective feeling, and might as well be an illusion for any facts we could draw from the continuous feel of consciousness. It could be recreated at every second with the illusion of unity of all other seconds, and we would be none the wiser.

The more we learn, the more ignorance we realize we possess it seems- especially about ourselves. Philosophically, there are more gaps than even the weak concept of a slave-God could fill now.


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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Invisiblefearfect
Registered: 01/15/04
Posts: 1,845
Re: Identity [Re: Ravus]
    #3967420 - 03/25/05 02:30 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I think identity is more related to the metaphysical then to our bodies. Sure we look in the mirror and think that what we see is ourselves, but like you said, it really isn't because we are something new and different every time we look into the mirror. I think the idea of identity is related to our self conciousness in that our continuing stream of conciousness is unique to each person and in turn this creates the idea of a self identity. With this argument we cannot determine anyones identity but our own.

perhaps you are right though and that there is no such thing as identity. There will probably never be a deterministic proof of this (either way) though.


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InvisibleRavus
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Re: Identity [Re: fearfect]
    #3967444 - 03/25/05 02:39 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

If self-consciousness is simply the interaction of cells, and their molecules respectively, and these cells are completely replaced over time, the self-consciousness also would seem to be replaced over time, so that even the consciousness we possess as a child and a 70 year-old man is completely different.

If, however, consciousness is part of something else, such as a soul, that is not changed throughout our life, then the situation would change, but there is no evidence for this and so scientifically the theory would probably be cut down to more resemble the former. People like to use concepts like the soul to forget about physical problems of identity, but if we had a soul-like characteristic that was separate from matter and energy, then I believe it would create more problems than it solved. Knowledge doesn't care about what problems it creates, but since concepts such as a soul are purely speculation, by Occam's Razor they would be cut out to produce a simpler theory to fit the evidence.


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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Invisiblefearfect
Registered: 01/15/04
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Re: Identity [Re: Ravus]
    #3967471 - 03/25/05 02:52 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

is conciousness the interaction of cells? I'm sorry to go off topic, but I've often wondered what makes up our thoughts. How are we able to reason abstractly? When I am writing this sentence, is there some chemical reaction going on in my brain to determine which letter to write next? And if so, how do all the chemical reactions combine to form one coherent train of thought? What is the nexus point where they combine and where are they manifested so that I can store/recall them into memory.


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InvisibleRavus
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Re: Identity [Re: fearfect]
    #3967489 - 03/25/05 03:03 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

It's one of those problems of philosophy. Science is starting to gain knowledge on what happens in your brain when certain thoughts and such are going on in your mind, such as perhaps sexually arousing thoughts will increase activity in one area of the brain, but how do you get from the chemical interactions to this very real consciousness? Nobody really knows, we see the connection between mind and brain but while we discover more physically, there is always that jump from neurology to conscious thoughts, without so much explanation as simple correlation.

Currently the philosophers are just trying to use neurology to create theories about how your physical brain becomes your conscious mind, but the very uncertainty of this is why I was talking about the cellular reactions vs. soul theories. Scientifically we can see the cellular reactions, there is solid evidence, but there is still a jump that we cannot really explain yet. Using a soul, we fill that jump, but we have no evidence, and it creates more problems. Quite a dilemma, eh?


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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InvisibleSclorch
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Re: Identity [Re: Ravus]
    #3967555 - 03/25/05 03:46 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Damn... this is a good thread. I'm too tired right now to give you a good response. Remind me if I forget to respond (don't ask me how!).


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Note: In desperate need of a cure...


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Invisiblefearfect
Registered: 01/15/04
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Re: Identity [Re: Sclorch]
    #3968618 - 03/25/05 02:20 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I think identity is also related to memory. our memories are somehow stored in the cells in our brain, which can deteriorate. If they do deteriorate, and the memories change and become something else, then we in effect become someone else. I think the pink floyd song that says "all you touch and all you see is all your life will ever be" is very true. if we erase all the memories in our brain, we lose the idea of self since there is nothing to attach to.


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OfflineLux
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Re: Identity [Re: fearfect]
    #3970031 - 03/25/05 09:06 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Our identity is shaped by our life experience. One could also say it is shaped consciously by our will but wouldn't this urge be brought about as a result of our life experience? I don't believe the deterioration of cells is relevant, constant change is a basic inherent characteristic of the universe. Besides, the way the brain works as far as we currently know, any bit of information can be found in any physical part of the brain. You could say, according to our current understanding, that information sort of radiates throughout the brain therefore having no exact physical location. Our brains are incredibly complex, I don't see a real need for such a leap as to believe in a soul and all the theology that may come with that belief, not that I'm for or against this concept of a soul.


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InvisibleRavus
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Re: Identity [Re: Lux]
    #3970066 - 03/25/05 09:22 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Everything is in constant change, that is true. It seems that even though we lose all cells and atoms to be replaced with new ones, the cells pass their knowledge on to the younger ones to continue the existence of this individual organism, so that even though the raw materials have changed, the blueprint has been passed on to the next line of workers.

Perhaps this is a fractal vision of life as a whole, that even though every organism must change, one generation will pass their knowledge on to the next generation, so life may be completely different materials but yet follow the same blueprints with minor changes after each handing off. Eventually, in both us and the species, and life as a whole, these minor changes add up over long periods of time and create completely radical differentiations, but in the short-term we jump over chaos by communication.


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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OfflineGomp
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Re: Identity [Re: Ravus]
    #3970235 - 03/25/05 10:17 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I give it 2 months, tops.. he-he :P Good night!


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InvisibleRavus
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Re: Identity [Re: Gomp]
    #3970275 - 03/25/05 10:24 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I'll give you two months tops! *shakes fist angrily*
:mad:

Have a good night Gomp, I really don't know what you're talking about but that's nothing new for some of your posts. :wink:


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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OfflineOldWoodSpecter
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Re: Identity [Re: Ravus]
    #3970380 - 03/25/05 10:50 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I've posted the same question some time ago..
carn't remember exactly what we hace concluded..
I think it wes that it is the change that makes us us,
you know history of change


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I descend upon your earth from the skies
I command your very souls you unbelievers
Bring before me what is mine


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InvisibleRavus
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Re: Identity [Re: OldWoodSpecter]
    #3970407 - 03/25/05 11:04 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

If it is the change that makes us, then we would not be who we are if we never changed? If you were born as a baby and time froze for 70 years, I think you'd be a lot more of the same identity than if you lived and all your cells had died and renewed many times, right?

So you'll have the same identity whether you change or not. Saying the change is what makes us sounds cool, but if you didn't change you'd still be the same person with the same identity also.


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So long as you are praised think only that you are not yet on your own path but on that of another.


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Offlinefresh313
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Re: Identity [Re: Ravus]
    #3970856 - 03/26/05 12:58 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

your right ravus, identity is an illusion, the physical is everchanging, and the psychological is a direct representation of the physical in which creates it.


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Invisibleshroomydan
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Re: Identity [Re: Ravus]
    #3970858 - 03/26/05 12:59 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

The simple answer to identity within change is "Form". DNA is a good example, when the DNA molecule splits, it is destroyed, but it's original form (structure) is maintained in the new cell which comes into being. Hence it is both the same and different, old and new.

The same can be said for the form of the entire person. Imagine a model of the body made from balls connected with toothpicks. Let the balls represent atoms, and the toothpicks represent the connections between them. If you were to take out all the balls but leave the toothpicks in the same place, then replace those balls with others of the same kind, then the bodies identity would be maintained because the form remained the same while the atoms themselves changed.

Another way to visualize form is to think of a photocopied page of text. The individual ink molecules are different, but the meaning of the page is reproduced because the form which those molecules take on the paper is the same as in the original text.

This concept of form can be seen to apply to subatomic structure as well as macroscopic objects. If we take into account Einstein's special relativity, E=mc2, we know that all mass can be converted into energy and vice verse. When an electron and a positron annihilate, two gamma ray photons are produced. What changes is not the matter/energy from which these particles are made, it is the form of the matter which changes.


As such all particles and all things composed of particles are composites of matter and form. The matter itself can be best seen a potential to accept form or the necessary condition for the actualization of a given form.

All things have form, and the form of living things has traditionally been called the soul. Like the form of a Block of Granite which changes when a sculptor applies the chisel, the soul of a person can change its form. However, the block of granite will still remain the same block of granite despite being carved into a statue, and likewise a given soul retains it's basic identity despite incidental changes.

This understanding of soul as form often leads to the question of whether or not it is possible for the soul of a living thing to survive death. It is possible if the soul is known, because knowledge of the structure of the body could be used to reconstruct that body using different atoms as building blocks. Think star trek transporter.

The Christian doctrine of the resurrection of the body works on a similar principle. Once the form of the person is separated from the the matter which it is animating, a person dies, but the form (soul) is still recorded in exact detail for all eternity in the mind of God. God then applies that form to a different kind of matter to resurrect the person with a glorified body.


The difficulty of identity is amplified by materialism, which rejects the notion of form. In my opinion materialism is short sided to the point of blindness. To grant real meaning to the atoms without seeing greater meaning in the connections between those atoms is to miss the forest for the trees.


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