Okay. I feel a little bit like I'm flogging a dead horse with these "you are an illusory being" posts. Of course the nature of what it is to be a human is important, but is also irrelevant to the wider conclusions as to everything being pointless! (Everything is pointless whether you are a human or not.) Bear in mind this post is going to be a lot more comprehensible if you've read some of the recent posts. I'm in a diagram and aphorism mood. So. #1: Always bear in mind Clive Wearing!
Let us look at the first diagram. This is a model of what you are/are not. Here consciousness is the process by which you look out of your eyes and you ask: Who am I? Where am I? (Think of Clive.) Then we have soma (aka the body). This is the evolved, biological part of you. The biological heritage endowed by your ancestors. Think of it as the form of the machine in which you sit. The biology sets the boundaries of some of what you can do. We do not have wings, and we cannot fly (not under our own steam anyway). Evolution has predisposed us, but consciousness can reject biology. Of course many of you believe that suicide can only be enacted by a broken thing (brain chemistry?), but I believe that rejection of existence can be made without the requirement of a biological problem underlying the choice. There is no gene for suicide (perhaps we can agree on that?). Then we have identity. If soma was biological heritage, identity is psychological heritage. Learning. Memory (and here im thinking autobiographical memory). Again, identity can predispose behaviour, like biology can. Identity is breadcrumbs left in a dark forest, not a contract signed in blood. Identity can also reject soma (think rejection of traditional gender roles or sexuality).
Ultimately, however, it is consciousness that makes the choice (freewill, freewon't). When I look at this diagram, I do not see a person. I see the naked singularity of consiousness (Clive, Clive, Clive) propped up between two aspects that argue to influence choices in the world (biological heritage and psychological heritage). The argument may be subtle or ring loud in our ears such that we cannot hear anything else, but ultimately volition is only accessible to consciousness. Naked consciousness unencumbered by either aspect (as much as can be possible). Is that true existential freedom?
Consider the Necker cube. If we look at the cube, it appears to project into the page and out of the page, but never both at the same time and in reality, there is no cube, just a flat, 2-dimensional figure that gives an illusory impression of 3 dimensions. We are neither soma (projection points in) or identity (projection points out). But there is an illusion of both aspects being real, whilst at the same time, there is not a cube at all. I think the same is true of human being.
Next picture. The self is not trapped within a valley from which it cannot get out. It is bound to the surface of the circle, with freedom to move in whichever direction it wants. Again, true existential freedom.
Lastly. Nietzsche is one of those writers I feel I would love to read more from, but when I do sit and attempt to consume his work, I find it too much like hard work. However (and luckily), a few sentences from early in Nietzsche's book *Thus Spake Zarathustra* seem appropriate. Having spent a decade contemplating existence in a cave on a mountain, Zarauthstra (or is it me?) travels to the town to help the people understand the nature of existence:
‘What is the ape for the human being? A laughing-stock or a painful cause for shame. And the human shall be just that for the Overhuman: a laughing-stock or a painful cause for shame.Go Top