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#1 Hugo Holbling

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 01:19 PM

Suppose i'm caught outside in a downpour and get soaked.  If it hadn't have rained, i wouldn't have gotten wet, and this event that happened to me is something i could've done without. However, if i hadn't been outside in the first place then i also wouldn't have gotten drenched and the rain would've fallen slightly differently; i.e. instead of hitting me it would've taken a different trajectory. Is it fair to say that i am also an event that happened to the rain (or the wider phenomenon)? If so, is there any reason to privilege my viewpoint rather than view matters as interdependent?
"In everything that he'd ever thought about the world and about his life in it he'd been wrong." - Cities of the Plain

#2 Listener

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Posted 11 November 2006 - 06:05 PM

hugo

I wonder if you could outline a procedure for privileging a viewpoint other than your own. I would love to know how to avoid depriving the mud of a few drops of little needed rain (or even what you have in mind).

Assuming everything is interdependent, would that not mean that you have an obligation to/inevitably will (delete as seen fit) take your place in the big picture?

In my experience, I have to be somewhere. Perhaps everyone doesn't have the same experience as I do. I know the future is not necessarily like the past but I truly believe I will have to be somewhere until I die (when where I am won't be on my mind or under my control).

Why do you ask?

#3 qualia

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 03:45 AM

I've only just spotted this one. This is interesting. Pirsig wrote:

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In a car you're always in a compartment, and because you're used to it you don't realize that through that car window everything you see is just more TV. You're a passive observer and it is all moving by you boringly in a frame. On a cycle the frame is gone. You're completely in contact with it all. You're in the scene, not just watching it anymore, and the sense of presence is overwhelming.
I figure that this 'in the scene' is also encapsulated in the experience of mu: empty of self. That if attained the objectified world disappears. You no longer witness rain as the object, but instead, you manifest rain, you are rain itself. I've also heard and read about folk who can attain experiences of this event not via zazen, but by either being completely involved in the event or by consuming some type of Psilocybe. On reflection, I believe we all experience moments of this mu, although we are not always aware of the fact. Is this the idea you were driving at, Hugo?

#4 Listener

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Posted 29 January 2007 - 01:50 PM

It seems to be a day for thinking about what "self" means.

Georges Santayana said:

‘myself’ is a name for the things I have at heart.”

I agree with Santayana that "self" is not a metaphysical entity but a name for a whole zoo of phenomena. The concept of "mu" as being empty of self seems to be an oxymoron.

What is this "thing" that is empty of self? If I have no appetites or desires or needs or values then I submit that there is nothing left - not a self empty of self!

If mu is about interdependence then self doesn't disappear but incorporates what is normally excluded from the idea of self "I am the world", loving others becomes loving myself.

I've been thinking about "I happen to the rain" and why my perspective is privileged.

In order for the rain to have a perspective I submit that it would need to have consciousness, an anima, mind or soul.

I cannot "love" the rain in the sense of wishing it joy, pleasure or happiness, only in the sense of my enjoying of it's benefits. The rain can make me miserable but I can't make it miserable. My human perspective is not only privileged, it's the "only game in town".

Having consciousness is specific to life. Although an animist would disagree with me, the value of animism, for me, lies in respect for the environment in which life has to survive. Protection of the environment is "good" in the sense that it benefits creatures that can feel pleasure and pain.

Although I don't disagree with what I've said above it does feel like aimless rambling. I wonder what Hugo did have in mind?

#5 Hugo Holbling

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Posted 02 February 2007 - 03:17 PM

Yes, you both seem to have divined what i was hinting at, albeit in different ways.

Listener said:

If I have no appetites or desires or needs or values then I submit that there is nothing left - not a self empty of self!

This is probably the key objection to the possibility that subjects and objects are fluid, rather than well-defined; viz. that the emptied self is nothing or even meaningless. The terms used are thus important: it's not that the self is emptied but only that it happens to things just as things happen to it, and that the mistake is to make a distinction between the self and our experiences. Notice that insisting the rain must have some form of soul in order to have a perspective precisely begs the question and hence traps our reasoning in the same way. We would presumably agree that there is no "up" without "down", so the suggestion is to extend this to ourselves and our experiences.
"In everything that he'd ever thought about the world and about his life in it he'd been wrong." - Cities of the Plain

#6 Parody of Language

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Posted 04 February 2007 - 02:54 AM

Relevant here is Nietzsche's criticism of the idea that there is a distinction between doer and deed.  For example, we separate the rain from the act of raining, additionally Hugo from the act of Hugo standing, and so from that do we get the idea of the subject (Nietzsche doesn't mention the object).  If you combine the doer and deed, then you come a step closer to his idea of the will to power: that the rain can't be separated from it's falling down, and nor can Hugo be separated from his actions.  This is how phenomenon can be understood as will to power.  Hugo is Hugo-ing, but this is only saying the same thing twice.  Hugo is a manifestation of will to power, and so is the rain.  Without this dualism, this problem would probably never come up.  The problem doesn't seem to come up in Taoism either, but I think this probably has more to do with language: Chinese doesn't as much of a separate between subject and predicate as western languages do.  The pictograph for Tao can be used interchangeably as a noun or a verb.  I sometimes wonder if all the paradoxicalness that western readers find in Eastern philosophy really sounds all that paradoxical to eastern readers.

#7 Big Blooming Blighter

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Posted 11 February 2007 - 04:05 PM

Reading the first few posts of this thread, and having stumbled upon a page of Schopenhaeur quotations, I find the following piece to be of considerable relevance to this thread,

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They tell us that suicide is the greatest piece of cowardice... that suicide is wrong; when it is quite obvious that there is nothing in the world to which every man has a more unassailable title than to his own life and person.

Given that we are both objects acted upon by events in the world, and we are simultaneously events that act upon the world, and upon other people, perhaps there is a firm yet brutal criticism to be drawn against Schopenhauer's notion that one has utmost right over one's 'life and person'.

Considerations to be taken about one's own life cannot be constrained to oneself, because except in extreme circumstances (e.g one is a hermit who has no interaction with the outside world) one's life, and by extension one's person, does bear interaction with others. Hence, through suicide, one does not only take one's life, one has an affect on other lives.

Is, then, the case of subject-object relation raised in this thread a viable case against freedom over one's own life? On the one hand, one would expect to have more say over one's own person than another person. On the other hand, when one's status as event in the lives of others means one's life is not exactly one's own life, it seems that the right to a life is one of the group, rather than one of the individual.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

#8 Big Blooming Blighter

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Posted 15 February 2007 - 10:59 PM

Hugo, please accept my apologies for killing, albeit inadvertantly, your thread.

:Cry: Poor thread.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

#9 qualia

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 01:26 PM

Beast said:

...there is a firm yet brutal criticism to be drawn against Schopenhauer's notion that one has utmost right over one's 'life and person'....On the one hand, one would expect to have more say over one's own person than another person. On the other hand, when one's status as event in the lives of others means one's life is not exactly one's own life, it seems that the right to a life is one of the group, rather than one of the individual
OK, breathing life into the thread - puff, puff, puff. What needs to be done with this Aristotelian feature is to establish that the 'group' and not the individual, have the moral authority or 'right' (what is this right - legal or ideal?) to determine the circumstances of the individual's death. By inference, the individual is 'property' of the group, and has the right over the individual's life and death but on what grounds, what's the argument for the group not only to impose itself on the individual's freedom when choosing his own death, but by implication that the group has somehow a higher moral 'right' to make these kinds of decisions for the individual(might is right)? I think that's enough puff puff, for now.

#10 Listener

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 02:13 PM

HugoHolbling said:

We would presumably agree that there is no "up" without "down", so the suggestion is to extend this to ourselves and our experiences.

I have to confess a wavelength problem :(

If I ramble a bit more perhaps some penny might drop ...

I'm coming from a definition of "self" that consists of apetites, desires, needs, values and probably  memories etc.

Perhaps I'm being inconsistent to include my environment in my "self" when I should be doing the converse and including myself in my environment.

I'm reminded of the "monad" - which I never really understood - but I'm wondering if "the rain experiencing me" is out of that stable?

I'm afraid I still hold the prosaic view that "self" is a function of the brain and a purely biological phenomenon which terminates when the brain is "switched off". How that would be demonstrated to be true or false is beyond my skill to propose.

#11 Big Blooming Blighter

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 03:16 PM

OK, breathing life into the thread - puff, puff, puff. What needs to be done with this Aristotelian feature is to establish that the 'group' and not the individual, have the moral authority or 'right' (what is this right - legal or ideal?) to determine the circumstances of the individual's death.

No, while the group has authority, that is not to say that the individual should be stripped of authority as a consequence. Right to life is held jointly by the individual and the group, since in the manner of rain falling on Hugo, the individual and the group affect each other. Hence murdering the individual is no more right or wrong than the individual selfishly taking his/her own life.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

#12 qualia

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 09:42 PM

Beast said:

Right to life is held jointly by the individual and the group
So, with that not so subtle movement of goal posts, we may infer that the individual and the group have the 'right' to their suicide? (By the way, what exactly is this 'right', legal or some personal Ideal?)

Beast said:

murdering the individual is no more right or wrong than the individual selfishly taking his/her own life.
How you worked out this one, Beast? Arguments....that's all that is at stake here, arguments...

P.S. This is leading us way away from Hugo's original post which has little to do with suicide, and some authoritarian normative value system of 'rights', 'ideals', 'selfishness', and mass-group interference and the wot-not.

#13 Big Blooming Blighter

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 10:38 PM

[quote name='qualia][quote=Beast']Right to life is held jointly by the individual and the group[/quote]
So, with that not so subtle movement of goal posts, we may infer that the individual and the group have the 'right' to their suicide? (By the way, what exactly is this 'right', legal or some personal Ideal?)[/quote]

The goalposts are where they've always been. I think the problem lies with your choice of striker.

You falsely inferred that right to life is determined by the authority of the group but not that of the individual. Yet I never suggested taking all authority from the individual.

[quote][quote name='Beast']murdering the individual is no more right or wrong than the individual selfishly taking his/her own life.[/quote]
How you worked out this one, Beast? Arguments....that's all that is at stake here, arguments...

P.S. This is leading us way away from Hugo's original post which has little to do with suicide, and some authoritarian normative value system of 'rights', 'ideals', 'selfishness', and mass-group interference and the wot-not.[/quote]

I gave an argument in my earlier post. Further, the issue is entirely related to the OP. Just because I don't use the same analogy, and apply Hugo's contentions to authoritarian moral issues does not invalidate my case, nor does it mean my posts have no place in this thread.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

#14 qualia

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 11:18 PM

It's stupid playing games, Beast.

Beast said:

one's status as event in the lives of others means one's life is not exactly one's own life, it seems that the right to a life is one of the group, rather than one of the individual.
It 'means', its 'not exactly', it 'seems', the 'right'. All you've done is assert some X without establishing that X with argument. Now, argue your case.

As stated:
1) establish that the 'group' and not the individual, have the moral authority or 'right' (what is this right - Legal or ideal?) to determine the circumstances of the individual's death.

2) establish that the individual is 'property' of the group, and that this group has the 'right' (Legal or Ideal) over the individual's own choice of choosing her own death

3) establish that the group not only have the right to impose itself on the individual's freedom when choosing her own death, but by implication that the group has somehow a higher moral 'right' to make these kinds of decisions.

4)What does 'affect' or 'status as event' amount to?

and so on, blah, blah blah.....

Quote

murdering the individual is no more right or wrong than the individual selfishly taking his/her own life.
Arguments, arguments is all that is at stake here.....Oh, and contrary to opinion, nothing here invalidates your case, becuase you haven't made one.....

#15 Big Blooming Blighter

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 11:40 PM

qualia said:

It's stupid playing games, Beast.

Stop playing about then.

Quote

Beast said:

one's status as event in the lives of others means one's life is not exactly one's own life, it seems that the right to a life is one of the group, rather than one of the individual.
It 'means', its 'not exactly', it 'seems', the 'right'. All you've done is assert some X without establishing that X with argument. Now, argue your case.

Considerations to be taken about one's own life cannot be constrained to oneself, because except in extreme circumstances (e.g one is a hermit who has no interaction with the outside world) one's life, and by extension one's person, does bear interaction with others. Hence, through suicide, one does not only take one's life, one has an affect on other lives.


If subject-object interaction is applicable to humans vis-a-vis individuals in groups, then whatever actions an individual undertakes, it must be taken into consideration that those actions may affect not only the individual, but the rest of the group. It is thus not the case that the individual has absolute right to suicide (and why you conflate this with right to life I have no idea) as Schopenhauer contends.

Under consequentialist theories (e.g. Utilitarianism) it follows that suicide, given the fact of subject-object interaction, is immoral - ergo not the right of the individual - du to the consequences it can have on the group. I'm confident, for that matter, that under other theories, such as Kantian ethics or Aristotelian ethics, suicide is immoral, but those matters are not relevant to this thread.

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1) establish that the 'group' and not the individual, have the moral authority or 'right' (what is this right - Legal or ideal?) to determine the circumstances of the individual's death.

I shall do no such thing. Your demand that I do something I have not contended is entirely fruitless. To state again, the circumstances of the individual's death are determined by the individual and by the group. They are not determined by only the individual or only by the group sans the individual.

Quote

2) establish that the individual is 'property' of the group, and that this group has the 'right' (Legal or Ideal) over the individual's own choice of choosing her own death

This is much the same as the first imperative. To claim that the individual is 'property' of the group is to deny the individual right to determine the course of their own life/death and I have done no such thing.

Quote

3) establish that the group not only have the right to impose itself on the individual's freedom when choosing her own death, but by implication that the group has somehow a higher moral 'right' to make these kinds of decisions.

Again, the imperative is the same, just reworded. The group has as much right as the individual to determine the individual's course of life insofar as the individual is part of the group, and as such can affect, or be affected by, the group with such actions as suicide.

The group does not have a higher moral right to make such kinds of decisions. However, the individual's choice to commit suicide does not affect only the individual, so it is not the case that the individual's right to suicide trumps the rights of the rest of the group.

It's funny, you have accused me of not making a case, but it seems two cases are developing, viz. my case and the case you are building from straw.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

#16 Big Blooming Blighter

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Posted 16 February 2007 - 11:51 PM

OK, consider this analogous case.

Suppose your daughter (hypothetical if you don't have one) decides tomorrow to jump off a bridge to her death. Is it the case that you have no right to try to stop her?

Consider also that someone has incurable cancer. By your interpretation of my argument, that someone has no right to decide if (s)he should die or continue living. I would actually contend, however, that the decision must be down to the individual and to the relevant people in the group (e.g. doctors and family members). It is not the case, however, that the cancer sufferer may make the decision sans consent from the relevant group members. If the case were otherwise, any person who tries to resuscitate a victim of suicide (assisted or otherwise) would be breaching human rights.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

#17 qualia

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 12:14 AM

Beast said:

when one's status as event in the lives of others means one's life is not exactly one's own life...the right to a life is one of the group, rather than one of the individual...To state again, the circumstances of the individual's death are determined by the individual and by the group.

What's this game, Beast? And do not blame me for sloppy thinking or bringing into the topic terms I have never used. That's just stupid and extremely dangerous. You're going around and around in circles. Arguing with yourself, not me. You've made no argument to justify the claims you're making and you've made it quite clear that you're not going to. Fine.

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Suppose your daughter (hypothetical if you don't have one) decides tomorrow to jump off a bridge to her death. Is it the case that you have no right to try to stop her?

A duty, maybe, but a ‘right’ I don't understand, which is why I asked you was it some kind of abstract Ideal that I'm making up for myself or some legal-political right. There is a major difference. If the latter, then I do have the ‘right’ or better put ‘obligation’ to prevent the suicide, not just for the woman in question, but for anyone in society, and failure of my actuation could lead to serious punishment. However, this has nothing to do with my abstract Ideal which is really quite a flexible morality and in such a case, under certain circumstances of which I am unaware of now, I might even assist the suicide.

Quote

Consider also that someone has incurable cancer. By your interpretation of my argument, that someone has no right to decide if (s)he should die or continue living. I would actually contend, however, that the decision must be down to the individual and to the relevant people in the group (e.g. doctors and family members).
This is confusing. Let’s say the individual says I want to die and the group says no, who makes the final decision? According to your argument it seems the group would and as I keep on asking on what grounds?

#18 Big Blooming Blighter

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 12:41 AM

qualia][quote name= said:

when one's status as event in the lives of others means one's life is not exactly one's own life...the right to a life is one of the group' date=' rather than one of the individual...To state again, the circumstances of the individual's death are determined by the individual and by the group.[/quote']

What's this game, Beast? And do not blame me for sloppy thinking or bringing into the topic terms I have never used. That's just stupid and extremely dangerous. You're going around and around in circles. Arguing with yourself, not me. You've made no argument to justify the claims you're making and you've made it quite clear that you're not going to. Fine, you stick with your contradictions and constant movement of goal posts whilst I bow out now, before any more embarrassment is caused.

Throw as many accusations as you want. Your taking issue with claims I have never made is tiresome. You have already embarrassed yourself by not having the decency to accurately interpret my argument, despite several clarifications.

Is the individual not a member of the group? In that case, to assign rights to the group is not to strip the individual of all rights. The right to suicide is thus of the group, meaning the individual and others in the group, rather than the indiividual, meaning the individual and no other members of the group.

There have been no contradictions, and no goalposts have been moved. All that has happened here is that you have attacked a strawman and refused to address my actual contentions.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

#19 qualia

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 12:48 AM

Beast!!! What are you talking about now? Go through my post above again above and........ :?

I pointed this following phrase out as a contradiction or at best just dodgy reasoning.....when one's status as event in the lives of others means one's life is not exactly one's own life...the right to a life is one of the group, rather than one of the individual...To state again, the circumstances of the individual's death are determined by the individual and by the group

The goal posts were referred to as moving because you have been constantly swinging between the terms 'right to life' and 'suicide' as is all to clear in the above quote.....And if you pay scant attention to my own posts, you'll realise I've been talking all along about suicide.....

#20 Big Blooming Blighter

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 01:02 AM

The right to a life does not contradict what I have said about suicide. The right to a life - the right to determine if that life should be ended or not - belongs to the group, not just the individual. Therefore, the right to determine the right to suicide is down to the group, and not just the individual.

Perhaps the confusion is in reading 'right to a life' as 'right to life'.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

#21 qualia

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 01:47 AM

It's cool, Mr. Beast. And I'm sorry if my words came out a bit harsh. That wasn't my intention. I wanted this thread to move on a little (but I think Hugo won't be a happy man with the direction and tone its taken). But, being serious now, serious head on: how could we work this dilemma out, I mean, let’s imagine the individual says I want to die and the group authority says no, who makes that final decision and on what grounds?

#22 Big Blooming Blighter

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Posted 17 February 2007 - 01:52 AM

Now that's the sort of problem I was hoping to move on to. It's obvious that the shared rights can't be split 50/50, because that would just lead to a shouting match. So there must be something that tips the scales one way. But what tips them? Is it something universal? Or is it something that comes into play during the circumstances?

For example, maybe the pain of watching someone suffer excrutiating pain tips the scales in favour of the individual's right to die.

Anyway, I don't think Hugo will be angry. Our exchange, though heated, was necessary to clear up confusion. There is really no need to apologise: I was no less harsh.
All the world will be your enemy, Prince of a Thousand enemies. And when they catch you, they will kill you. But first they must catch you; digger, listener, runner, Prince with the swift warning. Be cunning, and full of tricks, and your people will never be destroyed.

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Posted 25 February 2007 - 03:47 PM

Parody of Language]Relevant here is Nietzsche said:

Tao[/i'] can be used interchangeably as a noun or a verb.  I sometimes wonder if all the paradoxicalness that western readers find in Eastern philosophy really sounds all that paradoxical to eastern readers.

The question of language affecting the mental constructs of "self" and "other" is a fascinating issue. Once acquired, language may establish unrecognized limits to one's thinking. Further thoughts/discussion would be appreciated. Thanks :)

#24 Basil

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 02:44 AM

In attempting to avoid the limitations of various spoken languages and to wrap our minds around these concepts of the “self” and the “other” we could, mathematically speaking, assign the “self” a negative value (-1) and a positive value (+1) to the unity of everything else?

In this model, the “self” derives its identity by removing itself from everything else. In this sense, whenever the self happens to things or things happen to it, a product results that maintains the negative sign associated with the “self”. In this manner, subjective experience of awareness codes differently from the objective awareness of others. Of course, the square root of this product is only expressible with imaginary numbers, which might be significant for further discussion.
:?

#25 Listener

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Posted 26 February 2007 - 12:49 PM

I think you'd be fine as long as the analogy holds but you're vulnerable from trying to apply the rules of methematics to an alien context where they could only be valid by coincidence.

Perhaps "being in a boat" is an analogy that could work better.

What happens to the boat happens to me but what happens to me doesn't automatically affect the entire boat although it might affect others "in the same boat".




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