Who am i?

Who am i?

Identity, consciousness, nature

"Who am I" is one of the great questions that every inquiring person will ask himself. The answer starts small, clear, but grows larger and more complex, but secretly also simpler. Isn't that a paradox? Yes that is it. The whole human existence seems like a paradox. Maybe we shouldn't ask who we are, but what we are.

Everything starts with you

We start with ourselves. Who am I? You have a name, a past, connections with other people, an education and experiences. Maybe you have (had) children, or parents. But does all that make what we call "me"? Well, no... It all depends on you. It molds you into certain shapes, it gives you an identity, but that is something different from "I". You can easily change your identity, just look at an actor.

Who am i?

Who you think you are

Maybe then you are your thoughts? You think of everything. You have opinions. You have preferences and your own ideas... right? You have your own will and do what you want. That is why the "developed western world" also stands up for our freedom of expression. But if you dive into it yourself, you will find out that free will, free thoughts and ideas are not so free at all. Why has no one ever died from holding their breath too long? Because we can't force it! Are uniquely creative and innovative ideas really new? Or is it like evolution, an extension of variants? A combination of existing ideas (phased complexity) viewed from a new perspective, which in turn was created by different life baggage. And your opinion, have you ever tried to dissect it? Just pay attention and catch yourself parroting family members, friends or sources of inspiration. Just do some research. How much of what you say can you actually substantiate on your own experience?

A thought comes when "she" wants it to, and not when "I" want it to. - Friedrich Nietzsche

A beastly machine?

If I am not my identity, not my thoughts... what is left? Am I just a complex animal that occasionally barks, growls or meows? Or am I a biological machine that just does what it does and tries to explain its actions in some sort of logical or practical way? Or are you a lost soul who has forgotten who he really is? Probably all that and more. A super paradox! You are not an animal, not a machine, not a soul, but everything at the same time. You can see your body as a biological machine. Your brain is a complex computer that can process large amounts of information and benefit greatly from it. Still, it doesn't stop there, because how would you build the ultimate cyborg yourself, if you could? Would the cyborg ever be ready, or would you regularly update it from outside via a Wi-Fi connection? That is my practical example to describe real "consciousness". A direct Wi-Fi connection to the cosmos, to everything. The realization that everything is connected.

Who am i?

Time for apple pie!

Carl Sagan described this very nicely and simply with the question: "What do you need to make an apple pie from scratch? We take an apple, flour, water, etc. But how do you make an apple? Via an apple tree, which out of the ground. The soil that is fed by dead trees, animal excrement and maintained by insects. But how do you create soil? Well, you let some planets fly around each other and collide... sunshine... oh wait I don't actually know. There will probably be someone who can give you an answer to that, but then you will still get stuck a few steps further. The conclusion is that you need everything to make an apple pie... that will be a long shopping list.

Who I am? That's just as complex as who you are! We cannot be reduced to words. We are a piece of cosmos! - NRW

Infinite puzzle?

The ultimate simple answer then is, you are a puzzle piece of the cosmos, an infinite puzzle. That makes you both an indispensable piece of the puzzle, and negligible in infinity. But what happens if I, "my" puzzle piece is lost? That's an interesting side effect, namely, you can't get lost. I can't tell you what happens when we die, but the above idea and logical self thinking brings you to the answer, that we simply change shape. Matter is energy and energy does not decay. Your body becomes food for plants, or a piece of fabric that sparkles in the sun, captured in a beautiful photo, printed on a recycled tree, which was once a seed and through time, food and co2 became a tree.


In response of a reaction that suggested I also should include enthalpy and entropy, words whose meaning I first had to look up, I happened to come across an interesting piece about Entropy in the book Scientific Weed. Scientific Weeds is a book in which John Brockman, founder of edge.org, asks a selection of the world's most influential thinkers "Which scientific idea is ripe for the trash?". In it there are 2 authors who refer Entropy to the trash, even though they are useful concepts and it is even "the second law of thermodynamics". Bruce Parker writes: "Entropy, the degree of disorder in a system, has always held an important place in physics - it is not just a theory, it is part of a law. The second law of thermodynamics states that in a closed system the entropy continues to increase with time." ... "The second law seemed less important than the first law of thermodynamics, that of conservation of energy." ... "Many current scientific publications in the field of cosmology attempt to capture the total entropy of the universe in formulas that may be far too simple to apply to all hitherto unknown physical processes in our alien universe. Ripe for the trash is not entropy, but maybe we should rethink it?"


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