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Why do we view life through the bodies we have?

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I have always wondered this. I will try my best to explain what I mean.

 

Why is life viewed through this body that I have? Why do I not view life through the body of someone else? Actually, why was I not someone else?

 

My consciousness, why is it in this body? If I were to use religious terms, why is my "soul" in this body?

 

Someone told me once that it is because of the genes that go into making me, but that doesn't answer why. If my mother had had sex with another man instead of my father, would my consciousness still be a part of that new individual? Would I be that person? Or would my consciousness cease to ever exist?

 

Nothing has ever made any sense to me as to why I, and all of you, perceive life through the bodies we are given.

 

 

 

I'm trying to explain my question the best way that I can, so I will clarify anything to anyone that doesn't understand what I mean.

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Why is life viewed through this body that I have? Why do I not view life through the body of someone else? Actually, why was I not someone else?

 

My consciousness, why is it in this body? If I were to use religious terms, why is my "soul" in this body?

 

I think it is cultural tradition that use language in a misleading way.

But it is also how evolution made our brain that create an illusion.

 

It is the other way around. It is the body that get self awareness

but that get expressed consciously the way you retell it.

 

so I trust it is a combination of how evolution made our brains

and then culture has a way to talk about how that feels so

the language expressions we use are misleading.

 

The body describe it from the illusional experience.

 

Compare how we talk about the Sun going up and down.

The Sun is described how it appear to go around Earth.

An illusion because in reality it is the Earth that turns

and that create the illusion that the Sun goes up in East

and down in West while it is the Earth that turn in 24 hours

and the Sun is 8 lightminutes away and does not go around Earth.

 

Earth travel a 364 travel around the Sun instead. So it is

a perspective illusion that your soul or consciousness "have" a body.

 

It is the other way around. processes in your brain get aware of

being self aware and that experience find words for that process

that is misleading.

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LL, my own thoughts on this idea occurred long ago during depression. We are existentially ourselves and alone among all humanity, and everyone else is as well. Some people live in the present and are unconcerned about why everything is as it is, and others wonder about why the Universe is as it is, why is the past is as it is, what will the future bring, is everything premeditated or can one change their future, and other physological questions.

 

Some feel life is shit and then you die, while others enjoy life thru tragedy and good fortune. To some degree we may choose how we feel about life. That is, according to legend why Buddha abdicated his throne to become one who taught his people how to enjoy living a common life however difficult. And, many religeons have similar teachings.

 

If everyone saw life through the eyes of another, our bodies would have to xurvive as if they were blind:) it is a good thing we are in our own bodies.

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The soul, or whatever you wanted to call it is an illusion created by a human level of conciousness. Every animal has it and would recognise it if they were more intelligent. I suppose it's just the way brains operates.

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I have always wondered this. I will try my best to explain what I mean.

 

Why is life viewed through this body that I have? Why do I not view life through the body of someone else? Actually, why was I not someone else?

 

My consciousness, why is it in this body? If I were to use religious terms, why is my "soul" in this body?

 

Someone told me once that it is because of the genes that go into making me, but that doesn't answer why. If my mother had had sex with another man instead of my father, would my consciousness still be a part of that new individual? Would I be that person? Or would my consciousness cease to ever exist?

 

Nothing has ever made any sense to me as to why I, and all of you, perceive life through the bodies we are given.

 

Religious interpretation will vary by belief system, concerning the "soul", and that I can respect. However, this is what I personally believe...

 

Each organism has a natural "drive" to become, mature, and reproduce -- not in the sense that a fungus will think "Oh, I need to grow up and make more of me". If you look at the big picture, that is simply what all life does naturally. We humans are born, develop and mature, and reproduce, thus continuing our biological existence. We know that all life shares this fundamental feature.

 

Consciousness on the other hand, as we know, does not seem to be universal -- far from it, actually.

 

I used to think every living body possessed a distinct consciousness, from the most basic cells to higher mammals. Not that trees could form a coherent thought structure like we can, but that they still had some rudimentary form of awareness. There was this time in middle school where we had learned about basic cell reproduction. And that's when my brain hit a wall: binary fission. To put it simply, a certain cell will reproduce by splitting into two and becoming two perfect copies of itself. So... The original cell must've had its own awareness. When it fissioned, did its consciousness continue in one cell while a new one was formed in the other cell? Or did its die off while two new ones arose? It didn't make much sense. Refer to here: Are cells conscious?

 

Indeed, I realized the probability that not all life possesses such a perceptual awareness of its own existence, at least not in a subjectively "vivid" fashion as our own experience. So if consciousness is only characteristic to more complex life, particularly higher Eukaryotes with highly progressed nervous systems, then what is consciousness in the first place?

 

A cell lives, reproduces, and the cycle continues. Like a cell, we humans have several organs within that regulate and sustain us. We consume and expend energy, and we reproduce. The brain is part of this large, complicated system that exists to continue our sustentation and reproductive cycle. It's like a cell's nucleus, which is the command center that directs the rest of the body according to a genetic manual. And it has a ton of biophysical interactions and networks -- all of which are interconnected in some way. And here's the crux: Our awareness complex is merely an emergent property of this complicated machine of biochemical reactions and neurological processes.

 

The machine's actual job is just to help regulate, develop, and sustain the body, probably for purpose of continuing the reproductive cycle. And consciousness is just a by-product of that mechanism.

 

Edit: Typos.

Edited by Amaton

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The sad truth is that we currently lack the methodology to study consciousness at that level in a truly scientific manner. It is debatable whether we will ever come up with a way to do so - finger crossed!

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The soul, or whatever you wanted to call it is an illusion created by a human level of conciousness. Every animal has it and would recognise it if they were more intelligent. I suppose it's just the way brains operates.

Though you would need scientific proof of this. Simply an explanation is not the true explanation.

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Here is an interesting case of "Craniopagus twins are conjoined twins who are fused at the cranium." They cannot be separated. See also: Tatiana and Krista The report indicates the twins can see through each others eyes and "hear" each others thoughts.

 

The "Link" Between the Two: The Case of Tatiana and Krista

Although there is not an overwhelming amount of research surrounding how the union between craniopagus twins leads to different personality, cognitive and motor traits, there have been some studies exploring what it actually means to share a brain. In the case of Tatiana and Krista as mentioned above, it is possible that the twins shared some conscious thought. Studies of the thalamus’ role in the brain provide neurological data that help explain these behavioral observations that these two twins experience. Thalamo-cortico-thalamic circuits are the looped neural pathways that connect the thalamus to the cerebral cortex, and then the cerebral cortex back to the thalamus. Because the thalamus is mainly responsible for relaying sensory messages from the body to the brain, it is possible that there is a lot of overlap between the twins’ sensory reception and the actual response it creates within the brain. One study examines this by studying the thalamus when it is at a persistent vegetative state that is when the patient is awake but not conscious. This study proved that the cortical activity on its own is not conscious and that all the activity between the loops of the thalamus, the cerebral cortex and the thalamus itself are all conscious actions. Another study of the thalamus reaffirms that the thalamus does not answer yes/no questions but instead acts as a mediator between different parts of the cerebral cortex and systemic sensory reception.[15] These loops actually may account for the relationship between Tatiana and Krista. At the neuronal level, communication is dense network of neurons linked between themselves and the coordinator (in this case the thalamus) that finally sends a message to the cortex. On top of this, there are links between the cortex that send messages back through the coordinator and finally to the rest of the body. The brain’s ability to function through loops and circuits is a good model to explain why Tatiana “consciously” feels what Krista is “physically” experiencing. Additionally there is some level of synchronization between the two twins. Another study found that for craniopagus twins, their connection to each other is comparable to our normal appendages and that their bodies have obvious overlapping physically and psychologically.[16] Because most cases of craniopagus twins are unique, the research outlining general connections between craniopagus twins is limited. However, this example provides insight into the effects of a union between twins who essentially share the same sensory relay system in the thalamus.

 

There is a 3 part National Geographic Documentary on YouTube.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Edited by EdEarl

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EdEarl, that's definitely an interesting article. Unfortunately I can't view the YouTube videos while I'm here at work in the lab, so comments on that will have to wait for later. To me, it seems like these twins are very closerly related to Amaton's cell before it goes through its fission except in this case, it's believed that there are two separate souls that are in the space of two bodies that are still joined and therefore in one body. If sufficient technology were available to be able to separate the two of them with both maintaining life, would the ability they possess, to essentially feel what is happening in the other body, still continue? Would they be two souls (for want of a better word) that could even trade places? Obviously this is pure speculation but this thread does raise another question.

 

And that question is: Is there validity to the philosophical debate of "Solipsism"? Wiki article here. The brief run down of this theory is that the only person who is actually conscious and alive is me. Or at least in my head, I'm the only one that is alive and everyone else is a figment of my imagination. This theory has some strength when analyzed. How can one be certain that the actions, speeches, and thoughts of another person are real? As far as anyone can tell, the actions of another person could be nothing more than the brain creating someone to keep you from being lonely. Their actions reflect a causal link between what you think they will do or say in response to stimuli and what they actually do. Unfortunately, theories like this are as untestable and unverifiable as the Brain in a Jar thought experiment (thank you Wachowski brothers for making this a mainstream idea).

 

It's possible that the reason you (your consciousness) is stuck in your body is because you are the only thing that is real; everything else is all in your head. It's a pretty twisted outlook on life if you really think about it.

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I believe people do have some choices in their lives, i.e., free will, which is an argument against Solipsism, because with a free will and Solipsism the world I would make the world a nicer place. Although, I might be having a nightmare, and when I wake up, the world will be a nicer place.

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I have always wondered this. I will try my best to explain what I mean.

 

Why is life viewed through this body that I have? Why do I not view life through the body of someone else? Actually, why was I not someone else?

 

My consciousness, why is it in this body? If I were to use religious terms, why is my "soul" in this body?

 

Nothing has ever made any sense to me as to why I, and all of you, perceive life through the bodies we are given.

 

I'm trying to explain my question the best way that I can, so I will clarify anything to anyone that doesn't understand what I mean.

 

I like your question. It's one that has occurred to me before now as well, one of those niggling ideas that gets lodged in my brain when I'm trying to sleep and almost drives me mad. It's one of the reasons I got interested in philosophy of mind, which itself is a fascinating subject - though as with most philosophy it seems to leave me with more questions than answers. There are many views on the relationship between the mind and the body (brain/nervous system).

 

Identity theorists equate minds with brains. So a mind IS a brain. You ARE your physical brain. Functionalism sees the mind as the function of the brain (not equal to the brain but rather described by the way it operates, e.g. like software running in a computer. Some see consciousness as an immaterial property that emerges out of the brain (so the mind is dependent on the physical but not physical itself). Some even see the mind as a separate substance to the physical body. Others view consciousness itself as an illusion. There are many other views and variations within the views I've mentioned. I would recommend philosophy of mind as a subject you might be interested in, which might help you arrive at the understanding you're seeking (a better understanding if not a complete one).

 

But minds seem to be inextricably linked to bodies. Consciousness, though not well understood, appears to arise out of a physical system so I would say minds (whatever they are) are utterly dependent on the physical body the are associated with. And yet, our continuing sense of self seems to transcend the physical in the sense that the physical changes over time (my body changes and all it's individual cells are replaced on a regular (ten yearly?) basis.

 

So I would say that 'I' am not just my mind but 'I' am my body and it's mind combined (somehow - in a way that's not understood). My view (my current view that is - always subject to change ;) ) is that my mind is somehow an emergent property of my body.

 

 

Someone told me once that it is because of the genes that go into making me, but that doesn't answer why. If my mother had had sex with another man instead of my father, would my consciousness still be a part of that new individual? Would I be that person? Or would my consciousness cease to ever exist?

 

This is an interesting question. My gut and limited understanding of this area so far tells me that my mind is dependent on the physicality of my body so that I (my consciousness) would not exist had I not been the exact product of my parents - i.e. that particular sperm and egg. (I cannot back this up). But the idea of the potential of consciousness being something in the genetic make-up is one that had never occurred to me before. It doesn't 'feel' quite right to me since siblings (non-conjoined ones) don't share consciousness.

 

And that question is: Is there validity to the philosophical debate of "Solipsism"? Wiki article here. The brief run down of this theory is that the only person who is actually conscious and alive is me. Or at least in my head, I'm the only one that is alive and everyone else is a figment of my imagination. This theory has some strength when analyzed. How can one be certain that the actions, speeches, and thoughts of another person are real? As far as anyone can tell, the actions of another person could be nothing more than the brain creating someone to keep you from being lonely. Their actions reflect a causal link between what you think they will do or say in response to stimuli and what they actually do. Unfortunately, theories like this are as untestable and unverifiable as the Brain in a Jar thought experiment (thank you Wachowski brothers for making this a mainstream idea).

 

Solipsism and idealism (only minds exist) seems to be one of those theories that one has to make an assumption about as there is no way to show otherwise. I.e. to get to the scientific world and the scientific method, we have to leap out of and reject idealism even though we have no way of 'knowing' that's the correct thing to do. It's not so much that 'idealism' is an untestable hypothesis, as much as 'objective reality' is an untestable hypothesis - unless we assume idealism is false.

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pears,

Your post #11 reminds me of thoughts, "Why am I," that I had when younger, which could not be answered satisfactorily, and which eventually faded from consciousness, until now. They are packed away with other "why" questions, such as, "Why does the Universe exist," that also could not be answered satisfactorily.

 

If one believes in a scientific explanation, such as there is an infinite Multiverse, of which our Universe is one part, that our universe banged into existence from random brane fluctuations, and believe in spontaneous abiogenesis and evolution, then the answer to these why questions is, "Shit happens." On the other hand, if you believe in a creator, then, "God (or a god) willed it." Otherwise, AFAIK they are open questions.

Edited by EdEarl

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Indeed, I realized the probability that not all life possesses such a perceptual awareness of its own existence, at least not in a subjectively "vivid" fashion as our own experience. So if consciousness is only characteristic to more complex life, particularly higher Eukaryotes with highly progressed nervous systems, then what is consciousness in the first place?

 

A cell lives, reproduces, and the cycle continues. Like a cell, we humans have several organs within that regulate and sustain us. We consume and expend energy, and we reproduce. The brain is part of this large, complicated system that exists to continue our sustentation and reproductive cycle. It's like a cell's nucleus, which is the command center that directs the rest of the body according to a genetic manual. And it has a ton of biophysical interactions and networks -- all of which are interconnected in some way. And here's the crux: Our awareness complex is merely an emergent property of this complicated machine of biochemical reactions and neurological processes.

 

 

There is an excellent recent book discussing this issue. The book is titled "Animal Wise (The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures)" by Virginia Morell. The book discusses the Mirror Self Recognition Test (MSR). According to the author, the Mirror Self Recognition test has come to regarded as the gold standard in determining if species other than chimps and humans possess self-awareness. For example, if an animal such as a dolphin or a parrot can recognise itself in a mirror, then it is considered to be self-aware, and hence to possess a level of consciousness.

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There is an excellent recent book discussing this issue. The book is titled "Animal Wise (The Thoughts and Emotions of Our Fellow Creatures)" by Virginia Morell. The book discusses the Mirror Self Recognition Test (MSR). According to the author, the Mirror Self Recognition test has come to regarded as the gold standard in determining if species other than chimps and humans possess self-awareness. For example, if an animal such as a dolphin or a parrot can recognise itself in a mirror, then it is considered to be self-aware, and hence to possess a level of consciousness.

 

Funny, because some dogs are apparently unable to recognize themselves in a mirror -- which brings up the question, how is consciousness defined in that context? Strangely, I can't come to define the term other than attributing it to a complex mess of poorly understood phenomena.

 

Self-awareness and metacognition don't seem like the minimal requirements of "consciousness" to me, but then again, I'm no authority on the subject. I guess "sentience" seems to be more fitting for the term, while self-awareness is an elevated form nearer to sapience.

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The mirror test for dogs is of questionable value, because dogs are very scent oriented compared to visually oriented. Moreover, in some cases an animal may not recognize a mirror, yet may still be self aware. I'm sure blind people are self aware, but they cannot recognize a mirror. Like many physiological tests, the mirror test is a limited tool. Moreover, the mind is complex, and measuring any quality of it can lead to confounding results. Some things cannot be measured, for example pain. Doctors ask patients to describe their pain, and must rely on that testimony. People have a sense of self-awareness and consciousness, but an accurate definition eludes us.

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I could give you both a religious pushed answer and an unbiased response. For religious people like myself, the Bible says not to worry about what could have happened. That also includes not worrying about who you might have been if you had a different life. As an unbiased response, still just don't worry about it. This wont answer your question, but thinking about stuff that you can't give a logical, or any at all explanation to just makes you depressed and emotional, and that never helps anything. My thoughts, again trying to be unbiased, is to not think about stuff that would otherwise make you feel sick. ALTHOUGH, you can completely disregard everything I just said if your job is to think about that stuff, cause you get paid for it :P

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I wonder why we say 'my body'. Are we something else? Is anyone out there who sayes 'I body'?

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I have always wondered this. I will try my best to explain what I mean.

 

Why is life viewed through this body that I have? Why do I not view life through the body of someone else? Actually, why was I not someone else?

 

My consciousness, why is it in this body? If I were to use religious terms, why is my "soul" in this body?

 

Someone told me once that it is because of the genes that go into making me, but that doesn't answer why. If my mother had had sex with another man instead of my father, would my consciousness still be a part of that new individual? Would I be that person? Or would my consciousness cease to ever exist?

 

Nothing has ever made any sense to me as to why I, and all of you, perceive life through the bodies we are given.

 

 

 

I'm trying to explain my question the best way that I can, so I will clarify anything to anyone that doesn't understand what I mean.

 

i AM you through someone elses eyes.

i am me

i exist

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I wonder why we say 'my body'. Are we something else? Is anyone out there who sayes 'I body'?

A long standing philosophical belief in dualism.

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