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The Illusion of Individuality

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posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 10:03 AM
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Hey! Who do you think you are??!



Think for a second about the things that make you different. Are they physical? Are they ideas? Talents?
For one reason or another, if you are mentally sound and of normal self esteem, you think that there is something that sets you apart from others. But are you really that different?

Do your views dictate individuality?
New-age types will say "yes!". You are definitely a singular soul. You have a purpose, and you are the only one that can serve this purpose. Your imprint on the Earth is unique, and you should cultivate the details of this originality by feeding your creativity, and looking inward on yourself.

On the other end of the spectrum, the Nihilist may say " No, you are just like everyone else". They will say that the flimsy principals that we base our individuality are actually keeping us further from the freedom we deserve.

Somewhere in the middle, a buddhist may say that individuality is important in your finding of a path, however, you should not focus on this quality of your personality, because altruism is what will ultimately bring you joy.

So many views, so much psychology, so much religion.......where do you stand? Why is the need to feel set apart from the herd so important to us?

External Visual Individuality to Anti-Individuality....and more
Jean Paul Sartre said that the concept of authenticity and individuality have to be earned but not learned. What he meant, is that you cant truly know yourself, until you have experienced many facets of life, and philosophy. Individuality is about wisdom, he said.

Why do we associate external appearances with individuality? Why would a haircut or dress, or pair of shoes make you an individual?

Personally, I dont think it does. Outside of work, and special occaisions, I wear comfortable clothes. I dont not like clothes with logos or brand names. Jeans, t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts....nothing exciting about that.
Does that make me any less of an individual?

I think that ideas make you an individual. Creation, makes you an individual. If can create, then you can express. Art and Music being a great medium for this.

Anti-individuality is the idea that we are all just products of our environment. Experiments in the field ask the subject to think of a twin-Earth. The differences between the twin, and our original earth, are minute. But if water on the twin earth is still h2O, will our outlook change if it is now called "XYZ"?
Does our environment dictate our self-perception?

Better yet, get a paper and pen out. Make a list of all of the things that make you unique, things that you think are different about yourself.
Ill make this list for you right now, about myself.
1. Musical Talent
2. Very green eyes.
3. Intelligence
4. Radical Political views.
5. Taste in films and art.
6. Singing voice

I could add more, but lets stop there. Is your list a little longer?
Now, mark off any items that are universal. Items outside of yourself..your location, and what not.
Next, remove anything that is genetic, or inherited. What are you left with?

Internal ideas, and perceptions are what you are usually left with. Along with skills.
But if you remove learned skills, based on the idea that any skill can be learned by a large portion of the population, you are really only left with your ideas.


What do you think, ATS?
What makes up an individual? What is the practical use of originality?

Do personality attributes define individuality?

If personality defines us, what happens when we are gone?

Lets here your opinions!!




posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 10:14 AM
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There is individuality. That's why I'm reading the original post not writing it. The speed in which you carry out actions makes you an individual, and how you prioritize ideas/anything else. Other than that we are all the same.



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 10:18 AM
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reply to post by birhan
 


I like that idea. Very clever.

The speed and frequency of our ideas are what truly makes you an individual.

What kind of effect do you think envy of another's individuality has on someone? Do you think that inspires more original thought, or do you think it sets back the development of self?



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 10:28 AM
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very thoughtful original post, i agree with much of it and i think it's good to provoke thoughts like this from time to time


Originally posted by InertiaZero

Hey! Who do you think you are??!

Somewhere in the middle, a buddhist may say that individuality is important in your finding of a path, however, you should not focus on this quality of your personality, because altruism is what will ultimately bring you joy.


while there are many different schools of Buddhism around the globe due to Buddhism being such an expansive religion/philosophy, i have heard many of the different schools and sects within those schools teaching the point you illustrated, i think it could sound somewhat confusing that there would be importance in understanding yourself individually, while at the same time it being just as important to understand you are not just an individual but also a seamless part of a large whole ( part of everything ( my own words ) ) i think Buddhism realizes mainly we live in a world of all colors, dualities and in order to understand our world and selfs wholely(sp?) we must think about it on all levels, thus incorporating the task of understanding individuality AND interconnectedness with everything else



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 10:31 AM
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If there is a universal mind then our thought's are not personal either, they belong to everyone. We are pure consciousness, all one and the same.



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 10:34 AM
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Hard question, I'd have to say everyone would react differently. Some people would recognize envy and a) cast the emotion away b)stall in progressing into more of an individual c) react soley towards that emotion making you no different from an animal. Here is my qeustion do emotions or thoughts make you more of an individual?



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 10:38 AM
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reply to post by indigothefish
 


I have researched Buddhism extensively. There are many different versions.

I think what I took from alot of it, is that individuality is achieved by learning your place in the mass. When you know where you fit in, it cultivates your sense of individuality.

I like that idea. I like most buddhist beliefs and principals. I find myself still a bit too cynical to actually practice. I need to learn to let go, and quit being angry...

Maybe one day



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 10:45 AM
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Originally posted by birhan
Hard question, I'd have to say everyone would react differently. Some people would recognize envy and a) cast the emotion away b)stall in progressing into more of an individual c) react soley towards that emotion making you no different from an animal. Here is my qeustion do emotions or thoughts make you more of an individual?



I think it stalls progress as well. I think if you cast the envious feelings away, and simply try to learn from someone else's original thought, you may be able to create your own take on whatever subject is was that sparked the envy.

Example: While I am envious of Ben Bova and Carl Sagan's brilliant minds, I realize that I am not exactly like either of those people. However, the ideas they had, that I have taken and made my own are incorporated into my individual views.

To answer your query: I think that thoughts and ideas followed by the practical application of the thought or idea, is what sets one person apart from another. Emotions are more broad. Emotions are something we are all subjected to. So to say an emotion makes you an individual, is a bit harder.


This is good stuff....I rarely have to think this much before noon



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 10:53 AM
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Even though everyone is subjected to emotions you could say the same for the thinking process as well. The brain does not only control thoughts but how you feel as well, by releasing the hormones to make you feel whichever way the brain wishes. So should thoughts and emotions not be treated equals since they originate from the same brain. My last question is... Does your brain know you more than you know your brain?



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 10:57 AM
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reply to post by InertiaZero
 


you know, i read through your original post again and the whole 'what makes you an individual' thing got me to thinking about a certain anime favorite of mine, i know that not everybody is an anime fan, but if you are interested there is an anime called ghost in the shell and it is somewhat popular even in the american anime fanbase..

there are a couple ghost in the shell movies, i think 2 or 3 maybe, as well as a couple seasons of episodes with their own story lines and of course the written manga version for it all, but to give a breif synopsis ghost in the shell ( or GITS ) is based in the future where technology is so advanced that most humans are less than 70 or 60 percent human anymore, most are mostly machine with cybernetic brains and plug ins on their bodies to access computers and whatnot

after so many generations of this hybridization with machine, mankind as a whole basically loses alot of it's understanding of 'what it is to be human' and 'what it is to have a soul' thus in the anime the term "ghost in the shell" is born, because what used to be known as a 'soul' inside a living tissue body, now is understood as a 'ghost' in a mechanized 'shell'

i hate to sound like i'm trying to push anyone into watching it, but it's regarded as an intensely philosophical anime, particularly the movies, not so much the series. anyways here is a snip from it that your original post reminded me of..





about 3min 40sec into that video..

Pupper Master - "what you are now witnessing is an act of my own free will. as a sentient lifeform, i hearby demand political asylum."

"is this a joke?"
"rediculous, it's programmed for self preservation."

PM - "it can also be argued that DNA is nothing more than a program designed to preserve itself. life has become more complex in the overwhelming sea of information. and life, when organized into a species, relies on genes to be it's memory system. so man is an individual only becomes of his intangible memory. and memory cannot be defined, but it defines mankind. the advent of computers and the subsequent accumulation of incalculable data has given rise to a new system of memory and thought parralel to your own. humanity has underestimated to consequences of computerization."

"Nonsense! this babble off is no proof at all that you're a living thinking lifeform!"

PM - " and can you offer me proof of your existence? how can you, when neither modern science nor philosphy can explain what life is."

"who the hell is this.."
"even if you do have a 'ghost' (soul/life) we don't offer freedom to criminals. it's the wrong place and time to defense"

PM - "time has been on my side but by aquireing a body, i am now subject to the possibility of dying. fortunately there is no death sentence in this country."

"what is it? artificial intelligence?"

PM - "incorrect. i am not an AI. my code name is project 2501. i am a living thinking entity who was created in the sea of information."



SO basically back to my original thoughts on your original post are the same as the creation of the puppet master, he was created in the vast sea of computer information and likewise i think we humans have conciousness because our bodies allow it, basically theuniverse is just a vast sea of information/matter/energy etc etc... call it what you will

anyways, just my thoughts, again i know not everyone is an anime fan, and seeing how many probably have never seen GITS it might be hard to understand where i'm coming from and how i could connect those thoughts, but i thought i'd post it anyway since it resonated with me well

by the way i am trying to illustrate that scene ( about 3min 40 secs into the clip ) as well as possible with regard to what i am talking about, however i don't want to really give away anything that would ruin it for someone wanting to watch the anime, again not trying to get anyone to watch it but i don't want to be a spoiler!!

peace
indigo
edit on 12/5/2010 by indigothefish because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 10:59 AM
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I agree with the statement " Your an individual if you can stand up and sing on a bus, there is nothing wrong with music so why can you not sing out to your favorite song on the bus" Its very true I can't its the illusion of being an individual.



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 11:01 AM
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Originally posted by InertiaZero
What makes up an individual? What is the practical use of originality?

Do personality attributes define individuality?

If personality defines us, what happens when we are gone?


I think a person is an individual when they truly follow their heart; as each heart is entirely unique. The practical use of originality is creativity, of course. Personality attributes don't define individuality as much as a person's ability to inspire. Personality defines the ego, but doesn't necessarily define us. When we are gone, our ego dissipates, but we don't necessarily vanish.

Or to put simply: we are all rockstars if we apply our hearts to it.
edit on 5-12-2010 by xiphias because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 11:03 AM
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reply to post by birhan
 


Great Question!!!

I think our brain may know more about us. Look at dreams. Hypnosis.
There are things lurking around in there that we may not remember, and alot that scientists still do not understand.

Maybe true individuality resides in our subconscious? Our quirks and personalities are just an extension of these buried traits?



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 11:08 AM
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reply to post by indigothefish
 


Ghost In the Shell was a fantastic film. The Wachowsky Brothers took alot of cues from it, when writing The Matrix trilogy.

It posed a myriad of interesting, and sometimes contradicting viewpoints.
Are we real? What IS real? Do we go through the motions of life? Are my ideas boring and droll, because they are not truly original? Are my memories even mine?

Im not a huge anime fan. But I loved that movie and the tv series that followed



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 11:11 AM
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Originally posted by xiphias

Originally posted by InertiaZero
What makes up an individual? What is the practical use of originality?

Do personality attributes define individuality?

If personality defines us, what happens when we are gone?


I think a person is an individual when they truly follow their heart; as each heart is entirely unique. The practical use of originality is creativity, of course. Personality attributes don't define individuality as much as a person's ability to inspire. Personality defines the ego, but doesn't necessarily define us. When we are gone, our ego dissipates, but we don't necessarily vanish.

Or to put simply: we are all rockstars if we apply our hearts to it.
edit on 5-12-2010 by xiphias because: (no reason given)


What do you define as "the heart"? Is the heart a set of principals?

Would you say that maybe the only facet of personality most people experience is the ego?

Do you think there is more to yourself, more to discover...than your ego?



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 11:23 AM
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If you want a good thinking anime get "time of eve"!! And as for this conversation... I'm scared to continue haha, it definitely feels like a tug of war of what I believe now. Is individuality a defense mechanism to stay noticed/alive in a world where the more you stick out or work the better your chances of survival are? *mind=blown* lol



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 11:23 AM
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Curses double post.
edit on 5-12-2010 by birhan because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 11:23 AM
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Trip post. My apologies
edit on 5-12-2010 by birhan because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 11:23 AM
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Originally posted by InertiaZero
What do you define as "the heart"? Is the heart a set of principals?

Would you say that maybe the only facet of personality most people experience is the ego?

Do you think there is more to yourself, more to discover...than your ego?


"The heart," as far as I'm concerned, is that part of your psyche that you've always been aware of, mainly in childhood. It's something you were possibly born with, and something that never changes. Not necessarily a set of principals (I think principals are formed in early adulthood), but rather the part of you that has always been receptive to certain aspects of your world/environment.

One might say the "heart" is actually the "inner child."

I think the primary facet of personality is experienced in the relationships between people; meaning the interactions between people on a social level. But the primary facet of "the heart" is experienced emotionally; through inspiration and creativity (eg, arts and sciences). On a social level, an individual is either driven by their ego, or by their heart; possibly by both. But the two are inherently separate. Some individuals completely ignore their ego, or completely ignore their heart.

There's more to a person than most would think. I consider the ego to be a sort of veil on your true self; as they say: beauty is only skin deep. Underneath the veil are treasures worth more than all of the material wealth in the world. Dramatic, but definitely true (just ask anybody who has taken meditation seriously).
edit on 5-12-2010 by xiphias because: (no reason given)



posted on Dec, 5 2010 @ 11:38 AM
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Originally posted by birhan
If you want a good thinking anime get "time of eve"!! And as for this conversation... I'm scared to continue haha, it definitely feels like a tug of war of what I believe now. Is individuality a defense mechanism to stay noticed/alive in a world where the more you stick out or work the better your chances of survival are? *mind=blown* lol


HAHA!

Like being the Alpha Female? Alpha Male?

Is it set in our instincts to be the "leader of the pack" so to say? To cause more attention to one's self, by being different?

The Alpha Female gets to breed with the best. The Alpha Male gets his choice of female.......

"Sticking out" ensures your carrying of your bloodline/species......so cultivating an original personality/appearance is key.



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