You, I, We - Time for a Change in Perception
(Top Posts - Philosophy (FREELOVER) - 051102)

Compare the following to the philosophy entailed in religious
faith (and modern societies). Consider the way in which all
events, including human activities and choices, naturalistically
occur. Compare that to the way in which ancient religions and
cultures, as well as the modern societies which evolved from
those systems, have misperceived the human experience. Con-
template changes which might lead our one and only *sure*
life experience to accurately reflect our naturalistic state of
being, the manner in which genes + stimuli + random brain
activity results in the totality of being for each of us ...

Philosophically speaking, every act and every deed and every
thought in every now, both random -and- caused, entails an
unfathomably vast "we" including everyone and everything
else, all results of all that is and all that ever was ...

Here's a thought. If your brain and my brain changed places
tonight, and I woke up tomorrow morning in your body and
you woke up in my body (I know, scary thought, that) ... how
would your life change?

My theory is that you are your brain but the way you are treated
by others is in no small manner a result of the combination of
your brain and body. In other words, we all are, in essence,
brains surrounded by requisite matter for the functioning of our
brains, but the way we are treated is in large measure a result
of the body mass our brain is enclosed in and surrounded by,
despite the disconnect that exists between body and brain.

Being in my body, you would either have to convince others that
you were yourself in my body -or- you would have to adjust to
life and folks who knew me would have to adjust to my new views
and personality change.

You might have a difficult time convincing folks that you were
not me, being that to folks, despite your personality change,
you look like me and (for all you know), it would behoove
you to become me, albeit a different me that others would have
to adjust to, rather than trying to convince folks that you were
yourself trapped in my body.

Likewise, my brain would have to adjust to your body and the
way your body, that which others perceived to be you, existed
in your world.

Here's another thought, what if you and I switched places entirely
tonight, and I awoke tomorrow morning with your body and brain,
becoming you in essence, and you awoke tomorrow morning with
my brain and body, becoming me in essence. Would you not be
me and would I not be you? How would we know, for having
changed brains -and- bodies, I submit you would think you are
me and have been me for over 46 years and, likewise, I would
think I was you and would carry on your life as if I had always
been you.

The point, there (and, I know, most will find it difficult to walk
down this path of reasoning, but nevertheless) is that in essence,
each of our brains is a genetic / stimuli response entity, and each
of us is a result of those factors which make for our brains and
body mass requisite for the brain.

The brain, then, is a result of all that it has been exposed to, and
in large manner, the way the brain has been treated has been the
result of the body container it was enclosed in. Therein is our
perception of uniqueness, no more than a consequence of differ-
ing stimuli and different packages (containers) for our brains, as
well as the enormously complex mapping which transpires through
the chemical / electrical "wiring" which takes place in our brains
over a lifetime, a large deal of which occurs in our formative years.

Put another way, if all males were 5 feet 8 inches tall, and looked
exactly alike, and all females were 5 feet 4 inches tall, and looked
exactly alike, despite the factors detailed, we might very well be
inclined towards more of a "we" approach, naturalistically, just
based on appearances being so similar ... however, our brains
would be just as variable as they are now - only our perception
of who we are, due to differences in body containers, would

Our neurons are a result of an evolutionary path which rewards
prioritizing self. Our brains have been influenced via close to
4 billion years of evolution to be survival-perpetuation units. It
was incumbent on our prehistoric ancestors to work in groups
and tribes for survival - our minds knew not of anything other
than food - clothing - shelter - sex and competition for scarce
resources (along with some art in the past 30,000 to 70,000
years and, likely, along with some gods thrown in to explain
all unknowns and to offer ultimate reward / ultimate guilt).

We now know that our group / tribe is 6 billion strong and we
have, or are on the verge of having, the requisite knowledge to
understand the illusions of "free will", choice, self, and the way
in which genes + stimuli + random brain activity totally explains
all actions / deeds / words by each of the 6 billion carbon units,
results of all that was and all that is, a continuum in the eternal
now that both enslaves and enraptures us.

We, all of us, are a result of the genes + stimuli formula, and given
different genes and stimuli, we are interchangeable. The last step
in this logical flow, I could very well be you and if I was you,
I would have your joys and happiness as well as your trials and
tribulations. I would read this post and think exactly what you
would think. I would be you.

In essence, that's the nature of the "we" I am referring to, the fact
that the way in which we think of our speciality is a simple conse-
quence of the fact that there are no genes + stimuli mating between
individuals ... sure, identical twins have the genes angle, but their
stimuli differs - also, there's the random brain activity factor, the
competition between a vastly complex web of neurons in our brains,
making for different forks in the road in each moment of existence,
thereby diverging our experiences and presenting to us the appear-
ance of speciality and "free will".

Carried to its logical conclusion, over 6 billion of us in the current
day, a consequence of all that has preceded us, all our moms and
dads and their moms and dads ... back for over 7,000 generations
and before, the chimpanzee-like species we all descended from, and
before ... back - - - back - - - back - - - in time - - - to the common
ancestor of all life, and therein resides the "we" of which I speak,
a common thread and a certain destiny based on the naturalistic
forces at play, a result of all that was and all that is.

We should delight when any of us succeeds, we should share in
the success. We should grimace when any of us fails, we should
share the burden of the failure. The success, that's easier for many
to contemplate, relating to how any of us might succeed given the
genes + stimuli to do so. The failures, that's a much more difficult
concept for us to bear, the knowledge that given the genes + stimuli
to do so, any of us might fail. If one can grasp both sides of what
"we" entails, therein resides the hope that a humanity of all humans
for all humans can be the credo we live by ...

I, my own self, need to apply that "we" more often. It's not some-
thing culturally embedded in me, so it doesn't come to me based on
the stimuli I was exposed to in childhood, for the most part (but, hey,
after all, it's here now, so I must have been exposed to some stimuli
leading me to this conclusion ... perhaps, it was my dad's pro-human
attitudes and interest in people having a better life emotionally, and
his reluctance to be condemning towards anyone, that resides at the
core of my strong interests in "we" and pro-humanism).

My ex-wife, for example, having cut off contact between my daughter
and me, and my natural proclivity has been to think negatively towards
her, but applying the "we" concept, I must understand that she is merely
acting based on her genes + stimuli and in dealing with her it would be
in the best interests of all involved for me to be kinder and gentler and
more understanding rather than using a selfish me vs. her approach
which can only make matters worse ...

Each of us can only act as an individual but in doing so, "we" can only
be better by virtue of a common responsibility and a sharing and caring
which calls out to the best within each of us, knowing that to uplift and
inspire is a virtue, to guilt-trip and blame is a vice, and in the knowing
is the solution of striving for the best, and trying to understand that the
worst can only be overcome by efforts to make the world a better place.