identity

Who do you think you are?

I´m an artist! I love to do some deep thinking at times! Or am I? Do I?

Anyone here wanna reflect with me on who we are?

Last year around this time I was hooked on the TV series Westworld (1st season was phenomenal), which I thought was thought provoking in philosophical ways like no other show!

If you haven´t seen it…it is basically about computers that look like humans and develop artificial intelligence and self-consciousness. And that´s what got me thinking today…

What is consciousness? What is our truth? What makes us different from machines?  Who says we are different from animals? What is an identity?

I was thinking some weird thoughts (like that´s new;))!

What if a Teddy bear or a doll we love and play with could in fact have emotions? Yes, we know it is not a „living“ thing, so we do not ascribe them any…but does the Teddy bear know that?  What if our thoughts and storylines, brought him alive? What if our love for that Teddy bear brought him alive?  This is very hypothetical – I´m well aware!;) . But! What if God plays with us that way? What if He makes us evil or cute or funny…loving us all, because we´re his playmates? What if the love we feel (that life energy), the interpretations of self, were just His thoughts, his joy in us? Again- just hypothetical. Is there a God at all?

Is this all too farfetched?  

Well, what makes us think we have free will in the first place? We are, per science, a mixture of biological genetics that we have no direct power over (the inheritance of our ancestors, the history of the world so to say), but we are also mental beings…that are shaped by our upbringing…the environments, the belief sytems we adapt to….we are being „programmed“ by our communities let´s say!

This „programming“ (which starts in the early childhood) has many affects on our self-perception! On who we think we are. We only ever interpret who we are and the world around us…we cannot access an objective view on things, because we are not all knowing, all seeing or all feeling..we are subjective because we are single, seperate subjetcs….The fact that we are what we believe  we are becomes obvious, once we understand that by changing our thinking patterns, we can change our emotions. So our emotions are a result of our thoughts…the way we interpret, handle and proess thoughts AND sensory stimuli.  Something that psychologist work with when treating patients by techniques such as NLP and the like.

OK, so if we can change our enforced „programming“, then we can change our identity in parts, right? If I was raised on negative behavious, becoming depressed and sad, I might think that´s who I am. Now, I can learn to re-evaltute things, change the way I think and maybe discover that I can be happy. I can choose to be someone else. But this only goes for the mental part. Our biological genes we cannot change (only over the course of generations, as we will see later). So does that mean our identity is rooted in those biological genetics? Is identity tied to our  rather“static“ part in our DNA? Or is identity something fluid, that is rooted in our mental interpretations of ourselves? They way we see ourselves?  Is it interchangable?

What does that mean then?

If so, couldn´t machines with artificial intelligence develop self-consciousness as well? Some sort of „constructed, fictional“ identity? Or does it require sensual experiences to be a „real, living“ thing maybe?  A physical ability to feel, smell, see, taste and hear? Hm, what if the computer could be sold into experiencing sensual stimuli? Like they do in Westworld!

The question that comes up ultimately, is not just, who are we, but what is the definition of „alive„?  Probably independence in a way? Something that needs no activation from the outside (like a power switch) ?

I´ve personally always thought life is love paired with some sort of intelligence! An energy running through our blood, like fuel in a machine. We lose it, we die.  But what or who fuels us? And what is death then?

These questions are not new at all, but I wonder, how do we find out who we are as individuals and communities? How can we shape our identities or can we only shape our behaviours? Is there no such thing as an identity? Is it a construct to help us navigate through life more easily? Are we free to change completely?

Are we? 

Our freedom might be limited biologically. Our mental health has an impact on our physical bodies, but so do our bodies on our minds. Testosteron levels for example can increase, if we feel good about ourselves and strong and like a winner.  Or when falling in love!

Likewise, our body can affect our minds. We don´t have a 360 degree free will, but we seem to be given a lot of freedom in reshaping ourselves. We only access about 7% of the capacity of our brains, and large parts are in the subconscious mind. And yet by changing our thoughts, we can change our bodies and eventually pass on new genes to our children. But the question remains, who are we? What defines our „who“?

I´d love your thoughts!! I know these are no „urgent“ questions for our daily lives, but they are for my peace of mind! Or so I think;)