Witterings and Statement of Purpose


“I” is a funny word to start any sentence with.

Of course I know what “I” is, don't I?

I am smoking a spliff.
I am feeling ill.
I have ginger hair.
I believe that grass is green.

Any outside observer can see objectively that statements one and three are accurate and might be able to surmise number two, given my dishevelled state and the fact that I am not at work. You can't observe that I believe grass is green, I can only tell you.

So I is not just the Jamie with ginger hair sat at his computer attempting to type and smoke a spliff simultaneously but the something inside the body and actions it performs that the objective viewpoint sees. You experience Jamie objectively. I experience the Jamie you see subjectively. I am Jamie.

I am Jamie.

So what is this “I” that believes it is Jamie? Is it my brain? Neurons firing and stimulating other neurons to fire in a continuous manner? I don't think I am in any way aware that I have neurons that are firing. I can command my fingers to move across the keyboard but may as well ask the tide to turn as ask my neurons to fire in a particular order or achieve a particular frame of mind – happy, sad, delirious or whatever.

I am not conscious of my brain, I can't feel it at work in the way I can place my hand on my chest and feel my heart beat. I can not see it as I can see my toes wriggling in my Comfy Slippers. I seem to have as much problem subjectively or objectively experiencing Jamie's brain as you do.

Why am I asking these strange questions? Well cleohdnaCleohdna recently leant me a book, The Mind's I by Douglas R. Hofstadter and Daniel C. Dennett. I highly recommend it. The book is a sequence of short stories and essays about the brain and the mind, consciousness, ego and id and artificial intelligence. It has raised some interesting questions but of course does not have many answers – being a book of a philosophical nature.

I have come to a tentative theory about the nature of my existence, how it is that it exists and whether I am or have a soul.

Being largely untrained in philosophy I suspect I might be quite good at reasoning this out but it is a large project, my theory is complex and multilayered and I don't have it clear in my head yet (yes I do think that I do my thinking inside my head). The only option is to start to write it down in as sensible an order as I can and invite people to comment on it as I go along – what better place than in Live Journal?

Witterings over: Statement of Purpose:

Use this blogger for my philosophical thoughts on the subject of the nature of Jamie.