a reply to: zardust
By your definition we're not individuals because we're composed of atoms from ancient supernovas and our atoms completely changeover every few years
and our personality and memories are the product of the surrounding environment both present and past (and maybe the future?).
That's like saying there's no such thing as an individual atom since the state of atom depends on where it has been--what it has endured. If it's
inside a star, for example, it might fuse to become different. If it "lived" earlier in teh universe the atom is much lighter, like helium or
hydrogen. And even earlier there were no atoms because it was too hot.
/sigh. Just because we're a product of past/present/future (quantum?) environment, does not mean we have no individual state. It's because different
places in the universe can have individual states that any individual thing exists at all. Otherwise everything is exactly the same in equilibrium--a
void uniform empty nondescript nothingness.
Different states across time/space is what's known as locality. It allows for "separateness." The weaker (or more vacous) the goo is the less
separated things are. If there's NO locality then all is the same state, even if acted on from elsewhere. There has to be a "goo" to separate things
in order for different places to have different states, otherwise it instantly reaches equilibrium, producing sameness across all space/time.
But do all these seemingly separate individual states come together to make a whole? Like how the atoms in our body come together to make cells and
those come together to make a body greater than its parts? Or like how individual members of a species unknowingly (or knowingly) contribute to its
survival. The species becomes to its members like the body is to its cells. And maybe species come together to make something greater.
I guess what I said there is by being individuals we're being the whole. It's just not as neatly arranged, since much of it's beyond our
comprehension. I wouldn't even dare to think I knew how it all comes together. I can postulate XYZ, but it's a blind attempt at defining what's
This video says it better than I ever could.
edit on 9/16/2015 by jonnywhite because: (no reason given)
Independence is not identical with individuality. A prisoner is entirely dependent upon his gaolers, yet does not cease to be an individual
biologically, socially or legally.
Also, the distinction you seek to create between biological and cultural programming is a meaningless one. We are biologically programmed to form and
live in societies, which develop and propagate according to schema that are innate.
edit on 16/9/15 by Astyanax because: one need not accuse.
Even the passing on of our DNA according to evolutionary theory is for the whole of the species, not for you. Propagation of the species. Not
propagation of a single person.
This is not what evolutionary theory tells us. If the 'passing on of DNA' (as you call it) occurs for the benefit of anyone or anything, it occurs for
the benefit of DNA itself.
On the level of the organism, the impulse is toward individual survival and reproduction, not that of the tribe or any other social unit.
The idea that natural selection occurs on the level of populations is a misunderstanding of evolutionary theory known as 'group selectionism'. Look it
up. It had currency during the early years of the Modern Synthesis but is now recognised as an apparent effect arising from selection at the level of
edit on 16/9/15 by Astyanax because: of strict historical accuracy.
My point originally was in relation to the OP speaking of us humans being divided by social constructs. You are speaking from a literal view point
that we have separation as individual beings. We have skin after all that separates us from the other. I'm not disagreeing with that. We have
unique DNA that is us.
I'm agreeing that we have at least from a viewpoint individuality. We are separate drops of water. The illusion is not realizing that we are also
part of the greater ocean.
My point with DNA and sociological development of our individual personas is that if we look at the concept of individuality from those viewpoints it
breaks down. At least at its functional level. Which if it doesn't function its not living, or part of the question at hand. Yes there is you which
ends at your skin. But really you are more bacteria than you are you, there is more bacterial DNA in your body than there is your personal DNA.
Your individuality itself is a social construct. Because even at the DNA level you cannot function without contact with the environment. Your gut
cannot function properly without the right balance of beneficial bacteria that live in you, and communicate with your gut mucosa. They are actually
linked in an embrace.
Yes you can give me definitions of individuality, and I will agree with you... from a structural, minute viewpoint. Yes we are single drops of water.
But to the OP, and my original point is we are much more than that. We are the ocean. The entire thing.
A philosophical or metaphysical Big Idea must be universally applicable or it's nothing. Again, the distinction you make is -- as far as I can make
out from your presentation -- a nonexistent one. If a principle is true, it must be literally true -- if it isn't, it's just hot air. Yes, we have a
lot in common with each other and we remain a part of nature, but that doesn't make us ants or bees. Humans are individuals, each one different from
the rest, and mysterious to one another.
And as a great Frenchman said in a not unconnected context, vive la différence. All forms of collectivism should be viewed with great
suspicion, I assure you.
And as a great Frenchman said in a not unconnected context, vive la différence. All forms of collectivism should be viewed with great suspicion, I
a reply to: Astyanax
I see where you are coming from, in a way all forms of collectivism in general are either a form of cloneism, or a very basic existence. Having said
that, if there is a spontaneous flow through a group, it can spawn a healthy individual. It all boils down to how static the group is and the main
intention behind it. One to one seems to be the best way to go, at least seeing it that way.
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