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Mental Slavery
Posted: 08 January 2008 09:47 PM   [ Ignore ]  
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There are some people who are mentally unstable and actually believe that they are numerous different personalities and these personalities randomly change in the mind of the individual and take turns ruling (or whatever).

But, why is it considered sane if a person creates a personality that remains consistant? Why do we not consider all identities as disorders? What makes an identity authentic and why must a person be consistent in their views?

See, my philosophy on this subject is that anybody who actually believes that their identity (whichever it is they use) is real is ultimately delusional. Whether a person has numerous identities which they change up or whether they only use one all the time, if they actually believe that their identity is authentic then they are delusional. Now, granted . . . society makes one seem more real by giving legal documents to it and numbers to it and everybody uses a specific name to refer to this delusion, but this does not make it any more real. In fact, all of Western Psychology is geared toward establishing one concrete identity for each person and helping them return to it should they ever deviate from it even slightly. This whole world is ass backwards and completely upside down and the masses who rule the minority by enforcing their delusions are no less insane than those who they call insane. They are just acceptably insane.

I have to admit, I love changing up my personality with people just to fuck with their heads. People just cannot comprehend how a person can change up their identity constantly (at will, mind you) and be entirely in control of it and “play” with completely contradicting ideas without actually being insane. The answer is simple. I know that there is no authentic identity. It simply does not exist.

Would it be possible to make the claim that the human being’s identity is entirely the creation of the human mind and that any mind which is bound by its own creation, actually believing it is authentic and real, is not only insane but also enslaved?

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Posted: 08 January 2008 10:04 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]  
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.


“I have to admit, I love changing up my personality with people just to fuck with their heads.”

No you don’t.

“People just cannot comprehend how a person can change up their identity constantly (at will, mind you) and be entirely in control of it and “play” with completely contradicting ideas without actually being insane.”

Yes they can.

“I know that there is no authentic identity. It simply does not exist.”

Yes there is; yes it does.

“Would it be possible to make the claim that the human being’s identity is entirely the creation of the human mind and that any mind which is bound by its own creation, actually believing it is authentic and real, is not only insane but also enslaved?”

No.


.

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Posted: 08 January 2008 10:15 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]  
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mcalpine - 09 January 2008 03:04 AM

Yes there is; yes it does.

Prove it. Prove that just one person has been born with an identity and did not create it through years of their mind’s interaction with their environment. You will have to prove that a person’s identity is not the creation of their mind. The name was given to them. They were not born with it and if they were given a different name they would have a totally different identity. If they were raised under a different religion then that would make up their identity than if they were raised in an Atheist environment, would it not? What is authentic about the identity?

Good luck.

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Posted: 08 January 2008 11:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]  
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“Prove it.”
“Good luck.”

That is your identity. You are demonstrating your indignation that I would dare to disagree with you—to disagree succinctly and summarily. And that aspect of your identity is very consistent. You have no will over it at all.

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Posted: 08 January 2008 11:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]  
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mcalpine - 09 January 2008 04:35 AM

“Prove it.”
“Good luck.”

That is your identity. You are demonstrating your indignation that I would dare to disagree with you—to disagree succinctly and summarily. And that aspect of your identity is very consistent. You have no will over it at all.

Let us say that I am speaking to you as the identity right now and that I actually believe this identity to be authentic, that is not proof that it is authentic. It only proves that a brain has created a mind which is reflecting an identity that the brain conceives of as authentic.

You have failed, sir.

Try again.

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Posted: 08 January 2008 11:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]  
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If society accepts the identity as real even though it is merely a construct of the mind then society cannot reject God as being real simply because God is a construct of the human mind. If God is refuted as unreal then the identity also must be refuted as unreal.

There is absolutely no way around this.

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Posted: 09 January 2008 02:29 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]  
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Well, so your identity is a time-dependent set of personality traits.

Any problems with that?

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Posted: 09 January 2008 10:14 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]  
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“You have failed, sir.

Try again.”

Consistent.

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Posted: 09 January 2008 02:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]  
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Yahsene - 09 January 2008 02:47 AM

Whether a person has numerous identities which they change up or whether they only use one all the time, if they actually believe that their identity is authentic then they are delusional.

I think you are confusing identity and behavior. People are constantly modifying their behaviors to fit situations. One doesn’t act the same way on a date as they do with their friends. One doesn’t behave the same way at work as they do at home.

But these are just aspects of ones personality. One isn’t Dr. Jekyll at work, and Mr. Hyde at home. One remains the same person despite how one acts.

I have to admit, I love changing up my personality with people just to fuck with their heads. People just cannot comprehend how a person can change up their identity constantly (at will, mind you) and be entirely in control of it and “play” with completely contradicting ideas without actually being insane. The answer is simple. I know that there is no authentic identity. It simply does not exist.

I think that you aren’t giving people credit here, I think they can comprehend what you are doing, but probably don’t want to waste there time trying to figure out whether they are conversing with the real you or whatever new character you have decided to create. Please don’t take this as a personal attack, but most people would claim that someone who loves “fucking with their heads” is an asshole. Very few people want to spend their precious time trying to understand an asshole. You may just be mistaking their disdain for a lack of comprehension.

Besides, what you are doing here is assuming a role. The “new identity” you have assumed is inauthentic because you have consciously adopted it. There is a core essence that remain you whilst you are playing your character. While there is some evidence that a person can develop new habits by imitating a behavior until it becomes second nature, it doesn’t create a new identity, it only modifies the old one.

This can be proven by actors, spies, and undercover cops. These people must adopt the identity of a type of person, who is perhaps very different from themselves. In the cases of spies and undercover cops, they must do so in a way that is undetectable, and in stressful situations. Now, however well they perform this character, they never really are that character. Even when they are forced into performing some act that is morally reprehensible, they perform it by a sheer act of will, not because their assumed identity has become authentic to the point that they have actually become the person that they are pretending to be.

Would it be possible to make the claim that the human being’s identity is entirely the creation of the human mind and that any mind which is bound by its own creation, actually believing it is authentic and real, is not only insane but also enslaved?

To an extent, some of this might be arguable, but not to the degree that you are claiming. For instance, if one identifies oneself as a gay man, one might affect a love for show tunes and Liza Minnelli without actually liking either. But one may choose to act that way, if one perceives that that is how he is expected to act. I’ve certainly known people who have faked interest in subjects that they completely hate, just to gain the favors of others. But once those favors are no longer desired, the interest is quickly abandoned.

Certainly our personalities are affected by our situations and environments, and perhaps this is what makes you perceive them as inauthentic. This would seem to lead into arguments of nature versus nurture. While I personally believe that nurture is predominate, I do feel that nature, in the form of genetic predispositions, are key as well. The problem is, there is almost no way to truly test this. No one is born so shut off from the world as to ignore their environment, so we may never be able to judge just how much of their identity is inherent in their genes.

Does this mean that we are a slave to those behaviors? Yes and no. There are behaviors that are difficult to drop, even when they are desperately undesirable (one could speak to serial killers, the painfully shy, or others whose behaviors are socially crippling and see just how difficult it is to abandon an unwanted behavior), but the fact that we can modify them would seem make it seem that we are only bound by them as far as our willpower, or lack thereof, lets us.

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Posted: 09 January 2008 03:31 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]  
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It occurred to me that there is another way to test this. Imagine that you are out one day, merrily “fucking with people’s minds” in one of your assumed personas. Suddenly, something happens, I don’t know, a postman whips out a Mac 10 and begins randomly shooting into the crowd, or a bomb goes off, or, hell, Godzilla attacks….imagine any action that would catch you completely by surprise. Would you react “in character” or would you revert to what you might term your “default” personality?

I would believe that what ever personality you exhibit in such a high stress situation would probably be as authentic an identity as one can possess.

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Posted: 09 January 2008 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]  
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Celsus - 09 January 2008 08:31 PM

It occurred to me that there is another way to test this. Imagine that you are out one day, merrily “fucking with people’s minds” in one of your assumed personas. Suddenly, something happens, I don’t know, a postman whips out a Mac 10 and begins randomly shooting into the crowd, or a bomb goes off, or, hell, Godzilla attacks….imagine any action that would catch you completely by surprise. Would you react “in character” or would you revert to what you might term your “default” personality?

I would believe that what ever personality you exhibit in such a high stress situation would probably be as authentic an identity as one can possess.

I read all of what you wrote but it is a lot to reply to so I’ll just focus on this one since it is a more direct attack on the subject (thanks for these two replies, btw).

You are speaking on fight or flight natural instinct, correct? Say that we were all together in a bar and I was talking and acting and “playing” and then somebody came into the bar with a gun. I know my natural instinct and I would attack them. I am by nature a fighter (not a flighter). Is this an identity though? That is the question? A Lion will attack if one crosses an invisible line just off of instinct. He won’t even think twice about it. Is this an identity? Is there an ego in a programmed reflex?

My wife and I just got back from an exhibit in Ft. Lauderdale that completely blew my mind and I’m still recovering from it. It’s called “Bodies Exihibition”
http://www.bodiestheexhibition.com/

You get to see all parts of the human body (real human bodies donated to science), including human embryos and my view of abortion drastically changed. When I was younger I felt that abortion was wrong because I believed in the whole Theistic concept of God. When I grew up I stopped believing in the Theistic concept of God and after reading about how the human embryo is just a “cluster of cells” my view of abortion changed. Turns out that at 3 weeks the embryo has a hearbeat and at 9 weeks it has all of its major organs. I am strongly against abortion now. When you are looking at an actual fetus of 10 weeks and you can see its toes and hands and the veins in its hands and feet and its eyes . . . it is unfathomable that a human being would promote ejecting that out of a human body just so that these opportunistic fucks can use them for stem cell research. Scientists should be limited to using the umbilical cord for stem cell research. Everything they need is there. We have birth control now. To not use birth control is a choice. I support a woman’s right to choose and a woman who chooses not to use birth control (and a man who chooses not to wear a condom) have made their choice. I will never again support abortion and will oppose anybody who does promote it for their own personal benefit. Keep in mind that Nazi Germany and Japan were torturing and killing human beings during WWII “in the name of science”. There MUST be a limit placed on how far men are allowed to go with their “science”. It has to stop. I will never retract this view again. Looking at that fetus changed me.

I also no longer deny that there is a self in out nature. All of you who were saying this were correct and I was incorrect because I felt my nature rise as I looked at those babies. Shit bothered me beyond all of my logic and reason. My logic said, “It’s just flesh, just bones, nothing more.” But, something inside of me grew more and more angry and I cannot deny that.

I suppose my question is no longer whether there is a nature to us, but whether our identity (which I still believe we as minds create) is in tune with our actual individual natures.

I no longer believe that I no what the fuck is going on, but I don’t believe anybody else does either. In fact, I’m certain that nobody else does. It’s beyond our comprehension. We can study the material realm and we can study how energy manifests energy and moves and we can manipulate both energy and matter but how energy came about and what is giving order to what seems to be chaos cannot be understood.

I’m at a loss for words and all it took was a visit to an exhibit. Funny, we spend years establishing our “ideas” and our “philosophies” and something so simple can piss it all away. I still stand by my views that the Buddhist/Taoist approach to life is the only philosophy that fits with what we know. We can suppress our nature with our delusional identities fabricated by the mind and formed from its interaction with society, but we cannot change our nature through suppression. It is always there beneath the surface and will rise when provoked.

[ Edited: 09 January 2008 04:50 PM by Yahsene]
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Posted: 09 January 2008 06:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]  
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Yahsene - 09 January 2008 09:47 PM

My wife and I just got back from an exhibit in Ft. Lauderdale that completely blew my mind and I’m still recovering from it. It’s called “Bodies Exihibition”
http://www.bodiestheexhibition.com/

You get to see all parts of the human body (real human bodies donated to science), including human embryos and my view of abortion drastically changed. When I was younger I felt that abortion was wrong because I believed in the whole Theistic concept of God. When I grew up I stopped believing in the Theistic concept of God and after reading about how the human embryo is just a “cluster of cells” my view of abortion changed. Turns out that at 3 weeks the embryo has a hearbeat and at 9 weeks it has all of its major organs. I am strongly against abortion now. When you are looking at an actual fetus of 10 weeks and you can see its toes and hands and the veins in its hands and feet and its eyes . . . it is unfathomable that a human being would promote ejecting that out of a human body just so that these opportunistic fucks can use them for stem cell research. Scientists should be limited to using the umbilical cord for stem cell research. Everything they need is there. We have birth control now. To not use birth control is a choice. I support a woman’s right to choose and a woman who chooses not to use birth control (and a man who chooses not to wear a condom) have made their choice. I will never again support abortion and will oppose anybody who does promote it for their own personal benefit. Keep in mind that Nazi Germany and Japan were torturing and killing human beings during WWII “in the name of science”. There MUST be a limit placed on how far men are allowed to go with their “science”. It has to stop. I will never retract this view again. Looking at that fetus changed me.

I also no longer deny that there is a self in out nature. All of you who were saying this were correct and I was incorrect because I felt my nature rise as I looked at those babies. Shit bothered me beyond all of my logic and reason. My logic said, “It’s just flesh, just bones, nothing more.” But, something inside of me grew more and more angry and I cannot deny that.

Well, that’s a kinder and gentler test than my hypotheticals, but, yeah I think that was what I was trying to get at. The “fight or flight” reflex is the most extreme example, but what I was suggesting was any situation that would, as the English might say, “take the piss out of you.” I think it’s hard to maintain our polished veneers when confronted by something that shocks our sense of self to the very core.

Your point about the lion is interesting. I would say that when a lion attacks, it is acting in accordance with it’s identity. A lion simply is. It can be no more or no less than a lion, because that is what it is. It’s always true to it’s self because it has little need for guile. It’s identity is inextricably linked to it’s physical being. Perhaps a lion could be taught to act like a gazelle, but it’s identity would still be a lion. While I’m not really a fan of hers, perhaps Ayn Rand put it best when she said that A is A. a thing is what it is.

This might seem like a strange segue, and entirely O.T., but this kind of reminds me of an old comic book I read as a kid, Superman vs. Muhammad Ali. During the fight scene (which featured a de-powered Superman boxing Ali for an extraterrestrial audience. I forget why), I remember the announcer explained that Superman was wearing his cape and tights, because to aliens all human beings look alike. This used to make me wonder if a truly superior intelligence, one as far evolved from us as we are from the apes, was to observe us, would they be able to detect the many differences in behavior and beliefs that we consider so important, or would we just look like a bunch of chimpanzees on the war path?

I suppose my question is no longer whether there is a nature to us, but whether our identity (which I still believe we as minds create) is in tune with our actual individual natures.

For some individuals, one could only hope that there exhibited behaviors are in accord with their core identity. For some, I dearly hope not.

I no longer believe that I no what the fuck is going on, but I don’t believe anybody else does either. In fact, I’m certain that nobody else does. It’s beyond our comprehension. We can study the material realm and we can study how energy manifests energy and moves and we can manipulate both energy and matter but how energy came about and what is giving order to what seems to be chaos cannot be understood.

It would usually be in my nature to make a joke here, but for once I believe you are being entirely honest. I will simply remark that I am honestly touched by your epiphany.

I’m at a loss for words and all it took was a visit to an exhibit. Funny, we spend years establishing our “ideas” and our “philosophies” and something so simple can piss it all away. I still stand by my views that the Buddhist/Taoist approach to life is the only philosophy that fits with what we know. We can suppress our nature with our delusional identities fabricated by the mind and formed from its interaction with society, but we cannot change our nature through suppression. It is always there beneath the surface and will rise when provoked.

Frankly, I live for those moments when I am at a loss for words.

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Posted: 09 January 2008 06:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]  
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Yahsene - 09 January 2008 09:47 PM

and what is giving order to what seems to be chaos cannot be understood.

Well actually its the other way around, order is turning into chaos to give the story of the universe in as simple terms as you can. There is nothing “giving” order to chaos. The universe as we see it right now appears ordered to us because we live in it, and we are adapted to the present setting. But everything is going from simple to complex, from order to chaos, and its not really hard to understand either actually.

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Posted: 09 January 2008 06:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]  
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Celsus - 09 January 2008 07:27 PM

. . . [M]ost people would claim that someone who loves “fucking with their heads” is an asshole. . . .

Nicely put, Celsus, though I think the use of “asshole” would only compliment him/her/it. “Jerk” says it more accurately for me. I think one needs a tiny bit of veracity and understanding to be able to live up to being an asshole.

Each year at this time, I send out a short essay to friends and new acquaintances—most often a feeble attempt at humor but this year somewhat emotional. Normally, I put in a good word for this forum, reminding folks that it’s still around. But this year, as a result of one particular jerk (or asshole) who blathers on and on about utter nonsense, I didn’t mention the samharris.org. forum. Maybe by next year more robust intellects will once again predominate.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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Posted: 09 January 2008 07:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]  
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Remember when you could delete a freshly written post, if after further reflection you decided it was either silly or not up to par?

I miss those days. downer

[ Edited: 09 January 2008 07:40 PM by Celsus]
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Posted: 09 January 2008 07:42 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]  
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Celsus - 10 January 2008 12:27 AM

Remember when you could delete a freshly written post, if after further reflection you decided it was either silly or not up to par?

I miss those days. downer

I do, too. But I would hope you wouldn’t have deleted the post I excerpted. Your words were on the mark.

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Philosophy may in no way interfere with the actual use of language; it can in the end only describe it. For it cannot give it any foundations either. It leaves everything as it is.
Ludwig Wittgenstein

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