"I"

"I"

 

Here are a few Quotes: 

I know that I exist; the question is, what is this 'I' that I know?

(Descartes 1641) 

The soul, so far as we can conceive it, is nothing but a system or train of

different perceptions. (Hume 1739) 

What was I before I came to self-consciousness? . . . I did not exist at

all, for I was not an I. The I exists only insofar as it is conscious of

itself. . . . The self posits itself, and by virtue of this mere

self-assertion it exists. (Fichte 1794-5) 

The 'Self' . . . , when carefully examined, is found to consist mainly of .

. . peculiar motions in the head or between the head and throat. (James

1890) 

The ego continuously constitutes itself as existing. (Husserl 1929) 

Any fixed categorization of the Self is a big goof. (Ginsberg 1963)

The self which is reflexively referred to is synthesized in that very act of reflexive self-reference. (Nozick 1981) 

The self . . . is a mythical entity. . . . It is a philosophical muddle to

allow the space which differentiates 'my self' from 'myself' to generate the illusion of a mysterious entity distinct from . . . the human being. (Kenny

1988) 

A self . . . is . . . an abstraction . . . , [a] Center of Narrative

Gravity. (Dennett 1991) 

My body is an object all right, but my self jolly well is not! (Farrell

1996)1

 

 

The formation of successful cultural/social units requires a certain brain set that is reflected in the type of language that is used in a cultural/social, everyday setting. The autistic individual is the antithesis of the social being, emphasising the need for a concept of self and an ability to recognise human beings as the same species as ourselves for the formation of coherent social groups. This situation demands a concurrent evolution of a language compatible with these needs. The language of culture/society is dedicated to the survival of culture and not necessarily to the delivery of truth. 

For the formation of the type of society we have had for thousands of years the human organism had to evolve a sense of self. It is obvious from the study of autism (Even when some autistic children learn to speak, it takes them a long time to use the words "I" and "me") that the existence of a model of the self-engendered by the brain is essential for  meaningful intercourse to take place between members of a group. Young monkeys that have been raised from birth on a wire surrogate mother with a bottle attached are slow to develop a sense of self, attack their own limbs and find it hard to integrate with other monkeys. 

Not only has there to be a sense of self , but in the case of an intelligent, language using animal, a method of communicating that sense of self. The greater the sense of self  and the more efficiently this individuality could be communicated in the form of vocal communication the more complex the interaction within the group could become. The ability to appreciate and communicate the idea of individuality would be of great benefit, and those members of the group that possessed these qualities would come to dominate and pass their genes on to their offspring. The evolution of the "I" , "me" language was necessary to facilitate the development of increasingly complex interactions between members of the group. 

"I"  language is useful in a cultural setting,and as far as survival goes no distinction is made between thinking about the real and unreal, all that is needed is a common consensus and/or belief for language to bring about great changes whatever its  source and nature. It is a matter of horses for courses. The words "I", "me", when referring to external acts causes no confusion. However, "I"  applied to internal brain/body action runs into difficulties. Here it is not a matter of causing no confusion it is a matter of fact. "I" is a verbal symbol for the sense of self which by its very nature can't get jokes, even if getting jokes were possible.(Part of a debate with humour researchers)

 

The concept of self arises from the fact that the human organism registers,  through perception, a body, and a body that appears to work in concert with intention. On a social/cultural level this concept of self is fortified by receiving a unique (well, almost unique) name, and certainly a unique place       in the group, emphasising the organism as an individual entity. The memetic inheritance of the word "I", as I emphasised in a prior message, is useful in the cultural/social context, and when a human organism reports to another human organism that "I" did so and so..although the statement may be erroneous in a neurological sense, it is an efficient and non-ambiguous delivery of a piece of information on the level of social/cultural intercourse.

 

As the sense of self is a PRODUCT of perception by its very nature it cannot perceive.

 


I have found, during discussions of other phenomena, that some individuals 
give explanations that would require direct access (as they would see it, 
conscious access) to certain processing areas of the brain rather than 
those areas that  register the results of processing. Silent speech in the 
brain is taken to be the act of thinking rather than the results of 
thinking decoded into natural language.

The problem is that cultural language (everyday language as opposed to 
scientific language) is the default language and, of necessity, it is 
simplistic and relies on structure and context to convey ideas that in 
scientific language would require lengthy qualification. When a farmer 
says to his wife, " I pulled down that rotting oak tree this morning", she 
does not challenge his statement as it is acceptable in a cultural 
context. However, if the pulling down of the tree were witnessed and 
described in the strictest long-winded terms, the report would indicate 
that the  human entity merely set in motion the machinery (a tractor)that 
pulled down the tree. (note: it wasn't the tractor as an object that pulled                                                         down the tree but its engine in motion.)

In some discussions concerning the nature of consciousness, the word "I" 
embraces the states of being a separate unity (an object) and  acting as 
the processing machinery of the unity, as is implied by the statement, "I 
think".  A tractor is an object but it is not a functioning part of the 
tractor. The word "I" cannot represent both a whole entity and a 
functioning part of an entity.

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