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ETpro's avatar

What are you?

Asked by ETpro (34436points) February 25th, 2012

What I am getting at is, what do you believe yourself to be? Dualism is a belief that you are a spirit separate from your body and that you use your brain to control your body; but that you are quite separate from that body and that brain. Do you believe in dualism, or do you believe in physicalism, a philosophy that says you are your brain and your body’s nervous system; and that the sense we all have of being a separate little homunculus inside our heads is an illusion? What is your best guess about dualism versus physicalism.

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40 Answers

WillWorkForChocolate's avatar

I am what I am, and that’s all that I am. Are you what you are, or what?

thorninmud's avatar

RIght now, a mystery that involves a cat, a computer, a cup of tea, and a sunny day.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

I’m a physical being that has an ephemeral belief in something more, something transcendent above it all.

MilkyWay's avatar

I’m a human being.
Jeez I’ve got a headache.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

Don’t believe in dualism, really. I am my body and brain at the same time.

Brian1946's avatar


“I am what I am, and that’s all that I am. Are you what you are, or what?”

Are you a devotee of Popeye Brickell? ;-)

ucme's avatar

I’m a little teapot…...

janbb's avatar

Edited: too pathetic

TexasDude's avatar

I’m a cowboy.

Rarebear's avatar

100% physicalist. I do not believe in “mind”. There is only brain.

Mama_Cakes's avatar

I’m a joker, I’m a smoker. And, an occasional midnight toker.

sliceswiththings's avatar

The first one that came to mind is “lefty.” That is not, however, true.
True politically!

flutherother's avatar

I am something new that has never existed before. How can I know what I am.

YARNLADY's avatar

I am the sum total of all the experiences I have ever had. My mind and body are the tools that work together to fashion the ME that is a living, evolving person.

Blackberry's avatar

I don’t believe either, I’m just a human. There’s no philosophy about it, I’m a sack of meat and when my brain or heart stops, that’s it.

Both of those ideas sound ridiculous.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

A single drop of water in an ocean that imagines itself a universe out of curiosity.

Rarebear's avatar

@Blackberry Agree it’s a lot of babble, but from reading your posts over time I would classify you as a physicalist also.

To wit:
“All types of reductive physicalism are grounded in the idea that everything in the world can actually be reduced analytically to its fundamental physical, or material, basis. This is one reason why “physicalism” is often used interchangeably with the word “materialism.” Both terms (in these instances) hold that all organic and inorganic processes can be explained by reference to the laws of nature.”

From the wikipedia link ETpro provided.

Sunny2's avatar

I’m the tiniest speck of flotsam in the ocean of living things. I just don’t behave that way. I think I deserve more consideration than that, but that’s because I lose track of my overview of the whole situation of life.

augustlan's avatar

I am my mind, my body, my education, and my experiences. I am me.

Adirondackwannabe's avatar

I’m just me. I’m a fuck up at times, I’m really good at times. I really care for people. And I try to do my best. My motto is I can’t change the world, but I can make my little corner better. That’s me.

Blackberry's avatar

@Rarebear I admit I didn’t read it all the way through, but I agree also. Although I wouldn’t call it a philosophy, I would call it the state of the universe until more information is discovered.

cookieman's avatar

nothing more, nothing less

Soubresaut's avatar

What I am, is a being, of some sort.

At present, I am a body. That is, I am an interconnected network of cells, that continually builds and rebuilds itself with the material I acquire. Most of that material, I acquire from other life. Life is the currency of my world.
I carry around water and bacteria and whatever else collects on and in me, but none of that is me.

I don’t like to separate the idea of body and brain, because my brain’s in my body just as much as my heart, my skin, my pancreas, my navicular bones; to say body, is to say everything. My brain’s a 3 pound mass of neuronal structures connected to my spinal cord of neurons connecting out to the nerves branching out and winding around the other parts of me, to the tips of my fingers, my toes.

About 19 years and something-months ago, I was a collection of cells dividing, obeying the DNA’s instructions, building towards what I now call body. I mean that in the most material sense. I don’t know, really, what I was then. I do know I wasn’t what I am now, and that I wasn’t even what I was when I, prematurely but ready, left the dark and warm and fluid. I don’t even know if I was.

Before that, I couldn’t say.

I do not know where me, consciousness, came from. Me, human, is dependent on this body. I, to think as a human, am dependent on the 3 pounds of neuronal structures located in my head, somehow, (and probably a lot more dependent of the rest of my body than I know). I don’t know yet what it is in there that makes me, ‘human’. But I look at my dog sitting on my bed, looking at me, and then jumping off and asking quite plainly for his dinner, and I know whatever it is, it isn’t too too different.

I will die.

I don’t yet know what that means, and I don’t really expect to.

I know it means, at least, I won’t be human anymore.
Maybe, I won’t be anymore. And then, what I am, is nothing. That’ll be an odd thing to be.
Maybe, without the coordination of body, I’ll decay and separate out, and then I’ll be gone.
Maybe, without the definite interconnection of body, I’ll be a much more vague entity, more immediately part of the universe. Returned to that, to a moment-by-moment, or all-moments, sub sort of consciousness, of energymotion.

And then, when the universe fades of energy, maybe I’ll fade, or maybe I’ll be part of the universe going back to hibernation or oblivion.

Maybe, though, I’ll have already have been evaportated, a tiny blink, trillions of years prior, a human with about a century of being, decayed on an earth, maybe my pieces reused (are they me?), that a few billion years later disintegrated into the dying sun.

What I am, for now, is dependent on wonder.

Paradox25's avatar

I’m not sure if I would consider myself a dualist (though sometimes I call myself that since that is what most people know), but I’m definitely no physicalist/materialist. I think it is likely that there is a universal consciousness, with various different fragments in which some are more advanced than others. Overall I think that we are all one single mind, an entangled type of universal mind which we could call our subconscious. We are given the illusion of individuality by some type of information filter barrier which shields excess information that is available to our subconscious. In turn we are forced to perceive everything through our ‘physical’ senses, and through our brain mind (conscious mind).

I do think (personally) that a brain-mind does indeed die at the time of physical death. However, from what I’ve read about this in countless books it is likely that an etheric copy of ourselves (physical body) is always being copied simultaneously with our age and growth. I think that upon physical ‘death’ the fragment of the universal subconscious that we identify our individual minds with becomes a bit more open to universal information with a weaker information filter barrier. However, we acquire a new brain-mind and body that is an etheric version of our physical bodies, and the new brain-mind has much greater access to information and the thoughts of others through telepathy.

I’ve read about many near death experiences and mediumship communications with afterlife entities in which the info coming back from these repeatedly state that communication in the afterlife is done by telepathy, not voice or words. The universal language in the etheric realms is thought. This new brain-mind is still limited through an information filter barrier of some type and apparently one does not become all knowing, or transcendent upon physical death.

A few scientists and philosophers have agreed with this contention but I find it interesting. I believe there must be some type of universal consciousness that is somehow entangled especially considering precognition dreams, telepathy cases (especially those of twins), near-death experiences, mediumship communication, etc. I also had to consider why we see ourselves as individual minds, even if we’re not. I’ve also considered that we likely have some type of an oversoul, the part of the universal conscious grid that our minds apprehend all information and transmit our thoughts with. This oversoul may likely have many different fragments, or archetypes of our greater selves contained within it. I’m not sure if this is what a true dualist would think we are, but nevertheless I’m sure that 98% of fluther will find my opinion outright ludicrous.

ETpro's avatar

@WillWorkForChocolate :Are you what you are, or what.” But of course. I am what I am… I just don’t know what that is.

@thorninmud Any mystery that involves a cat is beyond my understanding. As Heineken correctly observed, “Never try to outstation a cat.”

2Hawaii_JakeHawaii_Jake Can I paraphrase that into a solicit, “I have no idea.”?

@MilkyWay A human being.” Do we call ourselves that because that is what we are *being right now?

@Simone_De_Beauvoir Body add brain at the same time? That would plop you down square in the center of dualism.

@ucme Let’s turn you on and bring you to a boil, then.

@janbb Now you’ve got me epressed too.

@Fiddle_Playing_Creole_Bastard I bet you are. A cowboy fresh out of cows.

@Rarebear. Thanks. An answer that’s actually responsive to the question.

@Mama_Cakes Phycalist or Bualist, that’s an answerer I can relate to.

@sliceswiththings That would be my political orientation as well/ ut foes it translate to imprtality?

@ragingloli Don’t make me fight you for tht lanel.

@flutherother As the saying goes, there is nothing new under the sun.:-)

YARNLADY That sound pretty much like Physicalism.

@Blackberry Despite not believing, you describe yourself as a physicalist.

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought Well, that doesn’t tell me whether you are a dualist or a physicalist; but I do get that whichever you are, you consider yourself insignificant in the overall scheme of things.

@Sunny2 Do any of us behave in keeping with our real place in the Universe?

@augustlan OK. A physicalist.

@Adirondackwannabe That’s all great, but phycalist or dualist?

@cprevite So glad to finally meet you. I am the cookie monster.

@DancingMind You are a BEing. You are being what you are. What that is, I do not pretend to know for myself, so I certainly don’t know for you. But I do love the eloquent way you expouned on it.

@Paradox25 As you know I often speculate on how many subatomic particles in the post-big-bang Universe are quantum entangled. The mumber must defy human understanding. And if that’s so, it raises the possibility that the Universe itself is the ultimate intelliogence, and we indeed are all fragments of that massive brain.

Some_Ghost's avatar

Physicalism made sense at some point, but yeah man, I just can’t figure it out anymore…

SavoirFaire's avatar

With regard to the specific philosophical question asked by the OP, I am presently a non-reductive physicalist. I would note, however, that the ontological question about minds is separate from the question of whether or not we are ultimately our brains and central nervous systems. The latter is a question about the constituents of personal identity, and physicalists have held views other than the brain-and-CNS view.

ZEPHYRA's avatar

I am a child of the universe!

Keep_on_running's avatar

I believe in physicalism – probably a little bit too much sometimes.

I am weird. Sometimes normal and mostly don’t know.

Jeruba's avatar

Mostly oxygen, carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, calcium, and phosphorus; a little potassium, sulfur, sodium, chlorine, and magnesium; and some number of trace elements,

YoKoolAid's avatar

I am the all-singing, all-dancing crap of the world, and I am not my fucking khakis.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@ETpro : No, “I have no idea” would not be an accurate paraphrase of my statement above. “I have fleeting ideas of transcendence” would be more like it.

ucme's avatar

@ETpro Ooh, you saucy get! ;¬}

Rarebear's avatar

@ETpro No problem. It’s something I have thought a lot about

gasman's avatar

Physicalist all the way. I consider the “soul” to mean the same thing as “mind,” which is a function of the brain. There is no dualism. When you die your brain ceases to function, so your mind & soul cease to exist as well. “When you’re dead you’re dead.” No afterlife, no immortal soul, no heaven or hell.

ETpro's avatar

@Some_Ghost That’s an honest answer. The fact is we can’t even “prove” that the “solipsism” is not true. If only your thoughts exist, and there is no physical universe, then physicalism is clearly wrong.

@SavoirFaire I was basing the ontological assumption on prevailing understanding today. The ancient Egyptians believed that human thought originated in the heart. We still, perhaps whimsically, perhaps seriously, think that love and compassion are centered in the heart. Have a heart, man. :-)

@ZEPHYRA I believe we all are children of the Universe. But some believe we are the children of Abassi, Abira, Adroa, Ahone, Ahura Mazda, Aiomun-Kondi, Alatangana, Altjira, Amotken, Amun, Anansi, Anulap, Aramazd, Ataguju, Awonawilona, Bagadjimbiri, Bai-Ulgan, Baiame, Banaitja, Batara Kala, Bathala, Brahma, Bunjil, Cagn, Cghene, Chaotroquin, Chiconahuiehecatl, Chirakan-Ixmucane, Cocijo, Daksha, Damballa, Earth-maker myth, El (deity), Elkunirsa, Elohim, Enki, Eskeri, Fon creation myth, Gitche Manitou, God, God the Father, Great Spirit, Heryshaf, Hœnir, Huracan, Imra, Itherther, Ixpiyacoc, Izanagi, Jah, Jesus, Karora, Kayra, Khnum, Khonvoum, Kuk, Kukulkan, Kuterastan, Kutkh, Lóðurr, Makemake (mythology), Mandé creation myth, Mangar-kunjer-kunja, Mbere, Mbombo, Melek Taus, Muluku, Nanabozho, Ngai, Ngenechen, Nogomain, Noncomala, Numakulla, Obatala, Olelbis, Omai (deity), Pacha Kamaq, Pangu, Pariacaca, Prajapati, Prometheus, Ptah, Puluga, Pundjel, Q’uq’umatz, Qat (deity), Quetzalcoatl, Rangi and Papa, Raven in Creation, Rod (god), Ta’aroa, Tabaldak, Tagaloa, Tengri, Tezcatlipoca, Tonacatecuhtli, Tupã (mythology), Tzacol, Unkulunkulu, Unumbotte, Vili and Vé, Viracocha, Vishvakarman, Xamaba, Xumucane, Yahweh, Yuanshi Tianzun, or Zamba (mythology). Take your pick. THey are pretty much mutually exclusive. so either one is correct, or none are.

@Keep_on_running I believe all who are honest with themselves have to say I don’t know. Those who claim to know demonstrate that they are bogged down in unconscious incompetence. They don’t even know that they don’t know.

@Jeruba Where’s your selenium? Don’t leave home without it. Sounds like you are a physicalist.

@YoKoolAid But can you prove you are not your khakis?

@Hawaii_Jake Fleeting ideas? I have tose as well. Are you sure enough of them to say that you know, or think you know?

@ucme Ha! Got ya steamed, hey?

@mattbrowne Indeed.

@Rarebear As do I.

@gasman That may well be. But try selling it to a confirmed Cartesian Dualist.

Hawaii_Jake's avatar

@ETpro : I think I know that there is more to existence than what I can see.

ETpro's avatar

@Hawaii_Jake Nicely worded to avoid philosophical traps. :-)

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