"I"



We are born into a particular culture and receive a language from that

culture which does not communicate reality in a concise manner. Of necessity

we speak in a kind of shorthand. If I were a farmer who used a tractor to

pull down a tree, I would probably not communicate the act in those terms. I

would likely say: "I pulled down a tree this morning". when, in fact, it was

the power of the tractor that pulled down the tree.   We  speak in similar

terms about all our actions, when the "I" is a model, an abstraction, that

in reality doesn't do anything. The brain and body do the lot.

 

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 not 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.

 

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 ( a product of observing),

by its very nature it cannot perceive.

 

Consciousness is an illusion.


The fallacies that the unity "I" of language and culture represents the 
whole being and functioning of the organism to which the pronoun is 
attached, and "I" is able to understand and construct meaningful language, 
coupled with the ability of areas of the brain to register sensation and 
simulated sensation, make up the illusion of consciousness.

"I" is conceptual - it is not a causative agent- and only meaningful in 
language driven cultural within the realm we have termed "consciousness".

Looking closely at what constitutes "consciousness" - the things of which 
we are aware.- There is:
 (1) Seeing or vision describes the ability to detect light and interpret 
it as "sight". 
 (2) Hearing or audition is the sense of sound perception and results from 
tiny hair fibres in the inner ear detecting the motion of atmospheric 
particles within (at best) a range of 20 to 20000 Hz. Sound can also be 
detected as vibration by tactition. Lower and higher frequencies than can 
be heard are detected this way only. 
(3) Taste or gustation is one of the two "chemical" senses. Smell or 
olfaction is the other "chemical" sense. 
(4) Tactition is the sense of pressure perception. 
(5) Thermoception is the sense of heat and the absence of heat (cold). 
(6) Nociception is the perception of pain. It can be classified as from 
one to three senses, depending on the classification method. The three 
types of pain receptors are cutaneous (skin), somatic (joints and bones) 
and visceral (body organs). 
(7) Equilibrioception is the perception of balance and is related to 
cavities containing fluid in the inner ear. 
(8) Proprioception is the perception of body awareness and is a sense that 
people rely on enormously, yet are frequently not aware of.

Add to these senses, emotional feelings, the special auditory and visual 
stimuli that constitute spoken and written language, an awareness of that 
strange phenomena silent speech, dreams and imaginings, and that is the 
limits of what we call "consciousness."

Our hearing and understanding of speech is not  the decoding of the sounds 
of language in the realm of "consciousness", any more than seeing is an 
awareness of processes that give rise to it. We are only "conscious" of 
the results of processing and not the processes themselves.

As "I" is conceptual, and only exists within the realm of "consciousness", 
it has no access to any of the neural processes that produce sensations. 
If  "perception" is defined as "the process of organizing and interpreting 
sensory information.",  then all perception is unconscious. We are 
not "conscious" of perception, only the effects of perception on sensation.

A span of "consciousness", as a continuum of externally and 
internally generated, or internally simulated, processed sensations.
Therefore, there is a hard question concerning "consciousness", only a                                                             hard question concerning sensation: How does the brain utilise diverse                                                         stimuli and manifest them as sensation.


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.)

The supposed entity "I", that delivers the results of the coding of 
thinking to the page or to other "I"s, exists in the world of language 
driven culture and does not represent the organismal processing machinery 
of the brain.

Imagine the situation where one human entity says to another, "Shut the 
back door", and the order is carried out. The human entity that closed the 
back door could say, "I understood the instruction", and to an observer, 
the actual shutting of the door confirms this.

Now a scenario inspired by Searle's Chinese Room:

There are two human entities represented by two windowless huts facing 
each other with an individual at the front of each hut and two individuals 
inside each hut.

One individual inside each hut only speaks and understands a unique code; 
the second individual speaks and understands both code language and a 
natural language. The individual at the front of the hut does not 
understand code or natural language. The one who speaks and understands 
both languages can whisper through a thin area of wall behind the 
individual outside.

The hut A unit wants the hut B unit to open the back door of their hut. 
The individual in front of hut A is heard to utter something, and 
immediately the back door of hut B is opened.

The two individuals in each hut represent processing functions of the 
brain and the individual outside each hut represents the aspect of the 
units that functions in the natural world and the world of culture, the 
supposed "I".

From this it is possible to grasp that the "I" need not understand 
language at all and merely parrots the noises (that constitute a natural 
language) whispered from inside the hut.

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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