Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2007/12/08

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Subject: [Leica] Some more 'cutting the edge'
From: philippe.orlent at (Philippe Orlent)
Date: Sat Dec 8 14:14:44 2007
References: <> <>

mathematical philosophy

It's cutting edge.
But a dangerous sport.


P.S.: I found something interesting about 'pure feeling first'.

Out of this -a bit self centered- blog: <http://>

"Eric said...
For whatever reason, a lot of philosophical considerations that other  
people find depressing don't bother me at all. You find infinity  
depressing, while it has no emotional quality at all for me. It's not  
even all that interesting to me, perhaps because I just think of it  
as another axiomatic mathematical abstract, like irrational numbers  
or negative integers. Things like the extinction of the human race,  
or the end of life on earth, or our very dim prospects for peace,  
prosperity, and freedom don't bother me much either, though that  
involves a certain amount of fatalism.

Conversely, some questions that seem not to concern most other people  
are warrens of doom that I approach with great caution. To me, the  
question of identity is as daunting as the question of infinity is to  
you. And as time goes on, and both my reading and personal  
introspection increasingly point to identity as an illusion, an  
exceedingly thin veneer laid over a collective of mental processes at  
varying levels of conscious visibility, I find it harder and harder  
to avoid questioning my own existence -- not in a physical meatspace  
sense, but whether the personality I think of as myself exists only  
to the extent that I consciously or unconsciously ignore the  
accumulating evidence that it does not.

To approach it from another direction, I can never really know you,  
nor you know me. We observe each other, and we incorporate those  
observations into our memories -- in a manner dictated by our  
existing memories, no less -- and form a symbolic shorthand  
representation of each other. When I think "Susan", there is a  
certain collection of ideas and memories and emotions that go with  
that label, but once that collection is formed, it exists  
independently of you. If you ceased to exist right now, that  
collection would still exist in my mind, and in that case, it raises  
the question: what is that collection? My mental Susan is plainly not  
the "real" Susan (and a lot of what makes a good friendship  
interesting is the continual discovery of the ways one's mental image  
fails to match the real thing in surprising and interesting ways),  
but what, then is my mental "Eric"?

Plainly, thanks to the invisibility (by definition) of the  
unconscious mind, my conscious conception of myself is not my whole  
self, but on the other hand, it is the only self I know, just as my  
internal "Susan", is in fact the only you I know. Yet in the end,  
however much more detailed it may be, my internal "Eric" is no more  
me than your internal "Eric". The only real difference between the  
two representations is that mine is always saying "I, I, I" in its  
internal monologue, constantly affirming its own existence and  
identifying it with my physical, sensory point of view. Yet if "my"  
thoughts were not my own, but were broadcasted into my head from  
outside -- a popular delusion among schizophrenics, incidentally --  
there would be no subjective difference at all.

And of course, schizophrenia, with its attendant symptoms of  
depersonalization and dissociation, is in many ways just the failure  
of the mental mechanism that holds everything together with its "I,  
I, I".

So if the boundaries of I and you are a little fuzzy when examined  
closely, is there a real boundary at all? When we clone plants by  
cuttings, we conventionally refer to the original plant as the mother  
and the cuttings as daughters. In any event, no one disputes that the  
end result is separate plants, even though they started as a single  
organism in a much more obvious but not very different way than  
animal young originate from the immortal germline. All of us have a  
common ancestry to begin with, and the boundaries between our minds  
blur through the exchange of ideas. Am I part of you in the sense  
that ideas that originated in my brain now live in yours? Am I this  
posting, in the sense that ideas that started as brain chemicals and  
neural connections have been translated into UTF-8 text coding?

In the end, it seems that self exists only because we have evolved  
not to look too closely at it, using it as a convenient fiction to  
organize the activities of the meat in which it (partially) resides.

And that bugs the fuck out of me sometimes.

JULY 2, 2007 6:00 PM"

Op 8-dec-07, om 22:50 heeft Lottermoser George het volgende geschreven:

> Of course.
> First impression.
> Without thought.
> Pure feeling.
> Then, if one has the time and inclination, think about the  
> impression and maybe share your thoughts with others. ;~)
> Regards,
> George Lottermoser
> Picture A Week -
> On Dec 8, 2007, at 3:33 PM, wrote:
>> but this should never come first, and that you'll agree to too I  
>> guess
> _______________________________________________
> Leica Users Group.
> See for more information

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