Whos experience? Our experience, though it would be accurate to say experience and leave it at that.
And wether or not experience is reliable cannot be answered, because experience is our sole vessel of information. A variable though, is how we remember experience. There are more beneficial ways and less beneficial ways.
But can you honestly say that you've never done things because smeone else did, or someone else told you to? Did you never make a compromise with a loved one?
My existence is not owned by just me, was the point I was trying to make with the last remark.
Just because a river's course is channelled by its banks doesn't mean that the banks and the river are indistinguishable.
After Candide gets dragged all over the planet with this philosopher advising him (pangloss). They finally end up old together working in there garden and pangloss starts talking to candide about philosophy and Candide looks at him and says what has become one one my faverite since coming to A2K. He says......"???????"
Read the book.
As usual I am working from the point of view of "reality" as a "social construct". My "levels" of reality reflect different consensual interrelationships between different groups of interlocutors. Thus a "constellation" modern man might call "Orion" is an arbitrary collection of celestial objects which has "reality" by virtue of common observation of persistent spatial relations sometimes used for the purposes.of "navigation" or "astrology". Members of the set called "Orion" might well have belonged to different "constellations" for earlier social groups.
I make no distinction between "physical" and "non-physical properties" these being merely descriptions of different expectancies social groups attach to their concepts. In short all concepts whether they be rocks, electrons, gods or selves exist as interrelational social nodes for specific purposes. It is therefore futile to argue whether a concept already coined "exists" or "doesn't exist". We are really arguing about different expectancies. Existence is relative not absolute. As a card carrying atheist I cannot argue against the existence of "God" all "things" have been "thinged" by homo-sapiens for social purposes ..I can merely argue that the concept serves no useful purpose for "me"(that was the humour :wink: ) i.e. I have a negative relationship with the concept But to take this a stage further the "I" which has these relationships is in constant flux. The "I" of today is certainly different from the "I" of childhood. Indeed the "I" of today is different from that of yesterday ! This is the ephemeral nature of "self" I referred to above. The fact that today"I" exist as a node of "culpability" for legalistic purposes belies the fact that the same "body" could be deemed to constitute an "I" whose social responsibility would be to kill others for the purposes of a future war.
To see this relativity is to transcend normal concepts of "self".
Since I have not been sucsessful in determining the borders of my "I", and since I have not yet come across an adequate explanation, I am leaning towards that there are no set borders. There are borders, but they shift and break and reform continously, often without my knowing.
Still, this dynamic thing that we call experience is all we have to go by, and it is all we can rely on. Is there any aspect of our existence that falls outside experience?
joe wrote:Just because a river's course is channelled by its banks doesn't mean that the banks and the river are indistinguishable.
No, but it does mean that the river is what gives meaning to the concept of a riverbank.
They could not have come to be without eachother, and in that respect they are inseperable. And since you cannot separate them, there is little meaning in distinguishing them from one another. It is useful for the sake of understanding, but an even deeper understanding can be reached by once more unifying the concepts, removing the dualistic notions surrounding everything.
What I mean by not owning my existence is that I am not entirely myself. We say that when we feel beside ourselves, but it is actually true most of the time, if not all.
I notice that my thoughts come off sounding like facts. They may not be, they're just thoughts. :wink:
And I am not saying that the river and the bank are the same thing. I say that the "I" similarly to a river, gets it's direction from it's environment.
"Man has no permanent and unchangeable I. Every thought, every mood, every deisre, every sensation, says 'I.' And in each case it seems to be taken for granted that this I belongs o the Whole, to the whole man, and that a thought, a desire, or an aversion is expressed by this Whole. In actual fact there is no foundation whatever for this assumption. Man's every thought and desire appears and lives quite separately and independently of the Whole. And the Whole never expresses itself, for the simple reason that it exists, as such, only physically as a thing, and in the abstract as a concept. Man has no individual I. But there are, instead, hundreds and thousands of separate small I's, very often entirely unknown to one another, never coming into contact, or, on the contrary, hostile to each other, mutually exclusive and incompatible. Each minute, each moment, man is saying or thinking 'I.' And each time his I is different. Just now it was a thought, now it is a desire, now a sensation, now another thought, and so on, endlessly. Man is a plurality. Man's name is legion
But I do not understand why joe thinks that the observation that the directions our lives will take is to some extent decided by external factors.
I am very sorry. I didn't finish that sentence you quoted. What I meant to say was:
I do not understand why joe thinks that; -the observation that the directions our lives will take is to some extent decided by external factors, is a useless observation.
But concerning your last objection, a question came to mind when I read it:
Would you say that you share an identity with your mother and father?
A person's identity is never absolute, as I see it.