If i am the sum of my parts then no singular part is large – because the number of parts is such that any single part is only ever a set of ever smaller subsets.
As a biological organisms my component parts are continuously and simultaneously degenerating and being regenerated.
My sensory perception of the world is communicated to my brain through a myriad of data packets signalling ongoing information from external and internal organs. i hear, i see, i taste, i feel. Not just once but for the whole of my lifetime.
When measured over a lifetime the number of interractions between an active external environment and me is immense.
And so i convince myself that i am a complex, infintely layered individual that is something very special.
But on contemplation, perhaps not.
Maybe my body is a machine. If i take away the mechanical operations what am i left with?
i can lose my sight yet i continue to exist.
i can lose my sense of taste but it does not cause me to die.
To be deaf is a terrible loss but i still exist.
To be deprived of touch would be an immeasurable loss but not fatal in itself.
So i am now reduced to a minimalist version of “me”. A difficult existence but i can see that there is still a me, somewhere in my body – which is functioning without any external environment sensory data. If i try hard, i can envisage that me.
What if i NEVER had those senses. What would the “me” be? Would “i” exist?
Shorn of any input on which to frame a world outside of me, what is the starting point for thinking?
i am imagining a dark void – into which i project a cry for help or at least, data input? But there is no base from which i can form this voice. i have never heard a sound and cannot conceive the need for one.
if i never obtained sensory input in the womb would it have changed my physical development?
i guess this is some kind of Cartesian Doubt… but i am not even sure that i AM thinking. i am not even sure that i have gathered enough data on which to base a doubt. So i am not even shipwrecked in a sea of doubt.
i am nothing in a nothing.
If that is not reason enough to go out and fill up those bored senses then what is? Maybe i am an Epicure? Maybe we all are – it’s just that we don’t like the title.
What if we give ourselves the benefit of the doubt and accept that we do have senses and that from them we can determine that there is some kind of external world that we define through those sensory abilities?
Are we better off now that we have denounced the void?
Our perception of the world is based on our senses but formed by our brain.
That brain juggles the competing needs of our component parts and ensures that our actions and reactions cater for those needs.
i am hungry. My brain triggers whatever sequence of actions that its memory databank suggest will lead to satisfying that hunger. i am going to parcel all of those sequences into a single block of time.
i have just taken away a large part of my everyday.
i don’t really know why but for some reason i need sexual relief. i am going to parcel all of those sequences into a single block of time.
There goes another large part of my day.
Now i pause to ponder those last two basic requirements. What is left? How much of my day have i really just blocked away?
Let’s start with hunger.
To satisfy that hunger i eat. To eat i need food. In the culture in which i exist that requires units of exchange. i need to provide something of value to the society in which i live in order to obtain recognition so that i can provided with the basis on which to obtain food – which is money.
Bugger. It’s not just me anymore. My world just became more complex. To be recognised within this society i must conform to a series of expectations so that i can interract and obtain that thing called money.
So i dress in mandated clothes, and i seek sufficient facilities to allow me to be recognised by those from whom i want these units of exchange, called money. i will therefore:
- Cut my hair – or dye it or not cut it but grow it into an accepted style, which is really nothing more than a different form of cut.
- Shave my body hair. My facial hair. My underarm or leg hair if that “i” were a “she” – or if confused on what “i” was.
- Maintain my teeth to an acceptable standard.
- Maintain my nails to a different standard.
- Maintain my skin to the accepted standard.
- Communicate predominantly through a mandated form of speech called language.
- Speak at the volume, at the rate and with the level of phonetic clarity that is accepted as standard.
- React to situations in a manner dictated by the society in which i live.
- Accumulate, own, share or take sufficient possessions to enable me to exist in this society.
All i have managed to do is to eat. It has taken me most of my day and most of my lifetime and all i have achieved is the lack of starvation.
There must be more to me than that? There must be more of what i do that is done for reasons other than food? i must have some sort of personal direction, mustn’t i?
Surely i choose how i act and react within this society? Surely my entire day, my existence, is composed of more than activities to satisfy my basic hunger and my bodies need for energy to feed its processes – because so far, all those processes have been for no other purpose than to obtain food.
i have a need to obtain sexual satisfaction. i do not really understand why. i do understand that i can live my entire existence without any form of sexual interraction but within me there is a driving need to experience that interraction.
i find that there is self-satisfaction built into my system. This is handy. But for some reason, not enough in itself. There is a drive to seek that interraction through input from another person.
It takes a while to learn but eventually i do learn the actions and reactions, signs and signifiers that are required to obtain participation by another person. So i take the time to locate and identify those who may be willing.
Only to find that of those who are willing, there are some who i do not wish to interract with – even though they would be quite capable of satisfying that sexual need. So now i have to fine-tune my actions and reactions to filter even further until i can identify those who are willing who i want. Now i have still more conformities to cater to.
What if i convince myself that it is not sexual interraction i seek but something less physical? Easy. i simply meet people, interract with them short term or long term and never have sexual interraction. Quite simply, it won’t happen. The only people who do not seek sexual interraction are those who direct that drive towards another area. But even those who believe they seek interraction for non-sexual reasons would have difficulty in the idea of never having sexual interraction.
So we have identified a sexual partner or partners only to find that this is not an ongoing fit. We have to continuously monitor the feedback and alter our activites, actions and reactions to conform with the requirements of our partner/s.
Another large block of time from my day.
What is left? What part of my day is free of obligation or conformity? What part of my activites can be distinctly and coherently identified as bieing free of the need for food or sex?
There is no-one else inside my head. It is my brain after all. And outside of its mechanical process function i can use it to think, can’t i?
Except my brain is me. Outside of my sensory perception i am a non-voice in the dark void. Actually, i am not even sure that the void is dark. It could just as likely be light.
So if my brain is me and i am thinking, surely that is free from conformity and primitive action/reaction processes?
i really am not sure.
Our minds are our own only when the need to cope with the huge environmental data set and massively complex human interraction processes are moderated. So we go somewhere quiet to think. We reduce our need to interract.
What do we think about?
Think about it. It’s a little bit scary.