Why are we ourselves?

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For a long time I have wonder why am I myself, why did i become the person I am now, is it purely just chance and genes? Or is there something beyond who you are then your DNA, is there something that makes you yourself, and not just a mass of molecules.

What are your thoughts, and do any of you wonder the same thing?

 
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Its called philosophy,
and everyone thinks that way eventually…

 
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Ya but post your ideas on it, this is just an open discussion on our being.

 
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I think it has a lot to do with the environment that you grow up in.

 
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I think that there is something in me beyond matter. The reason I believe this is that I actually sense consciousness. If I was a bunch of atoms, I would now be able to “observe” any of this. Of course, if you were not me, you could easily explain this by the thoughts that certain chemicals yield, but I think that you know what I mean when I say I am alive and actually see, hear, smell, etc. I don’t know if you can explain being alive to yourself, but that is truly a wonder to me.

 
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I figure that it’s the combination of chance genes and will.

 
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undead how will? Did you choose to be yourself or did you just become yourself because of your actions. I don’t know about you but I didn’t wake up one day and say “I know I want to be a ________ kind of person.” I would rather agree with tesfan and say its whats around you.

I don’t think that people born into a high crime comunity chose to go into crime, or were born to be criminals, but the sad fact is that all around them was crime and its easier to go into and it has little to do with genes or will.

 
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Simply put “I” chose my actions. And for the form of will I meant the “will” to persevere.

 
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im not sure why i am myself

 
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The obvious answer is that the concept of self is an illusion perpetrated by your brain and the reactions therein. You are just the atoms that make you up, but the chemical reactions occurring in your brain are creating illusion of something more. Something intangible that you can’t quite put your finger on. I mean, obviously you are you, right? You must be you — you certainly feel like you.

In reality, its just a string of reactions that you have absolutely no control over, but it’s neat how they’ve convinced you that you exist!

Tricky!

One of the fun things about this hypothesis is that it eliminates the concept of free will. It says that no matter how much choice you think you have, you are destined to pick a certain result. Proof of this would be that everything you have ever done is what absolutely had to happen. Even though you can imagine having done something else, there is clearly no alternative to what actually happened in reality as evidenced by the fact that it happened and the alternative did not.

(Note: I speak with certainty in this post, but it is merely a hypothesis. For all I know, we might have souls. I just think my version makes way more sense.)

 
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1. Take one brain.

2. Make a duplicate copy.

3. Subject each copy to exactly the same stimulii.

4. ???

5. PROFIT!!!!

I believe that your “life” is the sum of your experiences – if you created an identical “you”, with all the experiences you have had, and subjected it to exactly the same stimulii, it would react in exactly the same way, and produce exactly the same results.

Free will is an illusion. In reality, the entire future of our universe was predetermined by its initial conditions – if one knew those precisely, one could determine the entire future of the universe.

One important subset of this argument is that it is impossible to generate a truly random number. How would you go about doing such a thing? The number that comes face up on a die is entirely determined by the environment it is released in, the state of the die itself, and its initial velocities (linear and rotational). Psuedo-random numbers generated by computers are decided entirely by the time-delay in hardware circuitry, and will produce exactly the same results under exactly the same conditions.

 
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actually you could generate a random number, ask 5 different people for a number and then add all the numbers together, then no one person had any controll over the numbers and the sum of the numbers would be purely unpredictable and rarely duplicable(is that a word?)

Also, if it is all chemicals why would we have guilt? How can one feel quilty of something they had no choice over, and even if there is an illusion of something wrong, chemicals wouldn’t allow us to feel regret and sorrow over something that was totally out of our power.

 
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actually you could generate a random number, ask 5 different people for a number and then add all the numbers together, then no one person had any controll over the numbers and the sum of the numbers would be purely unpredictable and rarely duplicable(is that a word?)

That would be 5 non-random numbers. Adding them together does not make them random, just dependent on five times as many things.

(100th post again!)

 
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EVERYONE STOP! MY BRAIN HURTS NOW BECAUSE OF THIS QUESTION WITH SEEMINGLY IMPOSSIBLE ANSWERS.

 
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Life experiences… Nuff said.

 
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Free will is an illusion. In reality, the entire future of our universe was predetermined by its initial conditions – if one knew those precisely, one could determine the entire future of the universe.

In my opinion, that is impossible to say. Some of you may or may not know that in Quantum Mechanics (the theory of that really small stuff like quarks, electrons, and photons) there is something called Heisenburg’s Uncertainty Principle. Basically, it is impossible to find a particle’s velocity and position with perfect precision for the same particle (in fact, our knowledge of a particle’s velocity and a particle’s position is inversely proportional). That rules out the possibility that, given initial conditions, one can find our current state simply because it is impossible to know the initial state. What if we reason it from the Big Bang? Another problem in Quantum Mechanics turns up. There is uncertainty in any particle’s state at the most basic level, therefore, we create not pseudo-random numbers but truly random numbers. The reason that this is not evident on our scale is that a particle usually takes on the most likely position and random fluctuations usually average themselves out. A few (more philosophical, I must say) interpretations arise from this. The first is that these are always truly random, and nature forces a particle to take on a random state when observed. The second (and my favorite) interpretation is that, at every moment there is a “chance” like I described, the universe splits into separate universes that are completely identical except that that one particle has a different state (more simply put, if a particle has a 25% chance of being in state A, and a 75% chance of being in state B, 25 out of 100 universes that split off of this have the particle in state A, 75 have state B).

Why would I put you through all that scientific gibberish? Simply because I don’t believe the universe is completely deterministic. Of course, the Multi-verse theory would say that there is a sadistic you, a good you, a dead you, and a Super-Man you (who really is scared of some element named “Kryptonite”); this may mean that you are still completely subject to what nature throws your way. However, call me crazy, I think that, simply because I feel completely alive, I may have some (and I can’t explain it scientifically) control over which “path” I take. Of course that sounds crazy, but doesn’t Quantum Theory too?

 
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my understanding (very limited) of quantum physics was that given a wave function, etc, at an initial time, it’s progression is deterministic and you could solve for it’s state at a later time, but that we can neither measure things accurately enough nor without affecting what we’re measuring, and thus we are not able to get useful enough information at any initial time, and so we must make probabilistic predictions.

 
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[matt says: whoops!]

 
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i’m not exactly sure what you’re saying, but whether or not the universe is actually deterministic has nothing to do with whether or not we are capable of modeling it deterministically or if we are capable of measuring it.

so what is the “it” are you referring to in each of those? those don’t sound like arguments against determinism at all. sounds like arguments against our ability to predict things.

p.s. sorry, i editted your post instead of replying because the buttons are so close together ;/

 
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“just be yourself, everyone else is taken”-Oscar Wilde

Because everyone else is taken!

 
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’Tis ok. And mostly those were arguments against predictability, but the deterministic aspect of a singular wave function starting at the instant of the Big Bang yields very little determined data (although, I guess, it could eliminate some impossible configurations of the universe) because, just like a wave cause by a pebble thrown in a settled pool of water, the wave function (if I am correct) quickly gives near equal probability, or amplitude, at all places after a long time, meaning there is approximately an equal chance of finding the particle virtually everywhere in the universe.

Now, to altogether prove that computing the future for humans from this wave function is impossible (and I made this proof, so it may be flawed).

Imagine a computer that has all of the laws of physics perfectly programmed into it, and its initial starting point is the big bang. Even if its computation “consumed” no energy (in the form of heat, and this is practically and actually impossible) and we completely ignore that aspect, we must consider that, in order for the computer to “catch up” to the present day and predict the future, the computer would have to eventually calculate its own existence and calculations redundantly (for, it is also part of the universe). I guess it might be possible for the computer to calculate everything if it is both sufficiently fast and virtually isolated from the universe, of course this would raise another problem. If we were to use its readout to predict the future, we would be exposing it to our universe again. Basically, even if the particle wave function determined by “intersecting probabilities” yielded useful results, we could not use it completely in our universe because of (A) the computing problem from starting at the Big Bang and (B) the Heisenburg Uncertainty Principle if we don’t start there.

Of course, I could be a babbling idiot in all of this, this is just as far as I understand, and with this virtual infinitude of possibility, determinism holds no more practical or philosophical meaning.

 
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I find your points interesting, mxmm, but I will go with damajin.

The absoluteness of all actions is proven also by the past. You cannot change the past because this will result in changing the future in which you live in, thus, preventing you from changing the past. If time travel was possible every action in the past would actually have happened already so free will is eliminated. Since the present is the past of the future, your actions are already done. You and the others may be shocked if you decide to jump off the thirteenth floor but if you do that after 5 minutes, they would know that you have done it.

 
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The absoluteness of all actions is proven also by the past. You cannot change the past because this will result in changing the future in which you live in, thus, preventing you from changing the past. If time travel was possible every action in the past would actually have happened already so free will is eliminated. Since the present is the past of the future, your actions are already done. You and the others may be shocked if you decide to jump off the thirteenth floor but if you do that after 5 minutes, they would know that you have done it.

I’m not sure I get exactly what you’re saying, but I think you’re saying that the past is concrete because of the paradoxes arising from time travel, and hence, since the absolute future will one day come, everything in the past in that day (namely, every event) would be set in stone, hence it was always set in stone.

But, for scientific reasons, I choose to disagree. If time travel were possible (back in time, of course) the changes you make would only merely make that quantum uncertainty choose another “route” through history, meaning the future you still exists, only in a different universe. If I choose to jump off the thirteenth floor, then I will have surprised everyone around me in my universe, but they will no longer be surprised after 5 minutes (in my universe). However, in another universe where the quantum uncertainty causes me to choose to not commit suicide (and there are virtually infinitely many) those people would not ever know I did that action in an alternate universe.

 
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ok we are getting a bit off topic, so i propose another question. Why are you where you are?

Why do you have the life that you have. Why do you not have a different life in a different place at a different time being a different person, and if you think its all chemicals, why is your conciensein this perticular body, not another one?

 
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You are who you are because somewhere down the line you wanted to be.

I remember that I am a drastically different person than I used to be, that’s because I decided to change.