Thursday, 20 October 2016

On immortality...

Not only do I spend a lot of time trying to work out who I am, I also spend a great deal of time trying to work out what I am. Of course I look at myself in the mirror and see my face and recognise myself. I have a body which I move around in and heart, lungs, and other organs that keep me alive. But is that who I really am?

If I let myself detach from my body then I know that whoever I am is really in my head. It isn’t my body, or my organs that makes me. They are collectively just the machine that allows me to move around and stay alive.

Although I understand that I wouldn’t exist without them and that it would be hard to paint, write down my thoughts, or play the drums (not that I do) without them. I also know that I’d never have got started on the road to me without their support because I was once not much at all. But is that really so important now that I have become me?

My senses are useful of course. They allow me to develop myself and I often wonder who I would be without sight, hearing, taste, touch, and smell. But I don’t believe I wouldn’t become me without them. I’d just be a different me and now, after all these years as myself, what more are my senses going to tell me? I know what wine and steak tastes like, how it is to feel hot and cold, I can recognise the smell of bread and blood, I feel the difference between rough and smooth and pain and pleasure, I can distinguish between traffic noise and music, even  hold blue and red and yellow and green inside my mind. What more of the physical me do I need? Perhaps its job is actually done and I have enough sensual data accumulated and really don’t need any more.

After thinking about it a lot I become increasingly sure that currently I am a small grey lump of mainly water residing inside my head. A rather sloppy me that my body has allowed to develop. I know this because I can feel myself inside there behind my eyes. I know this because my existence would not stop if I was moved out of this body and into another body, or even downloaded into a machine somehow. I would still be here. It would be different, but I (the real I) would still exist.

I’d look different, feel different, and if I was inside a machine I’d have to find new ways to get around and communicate, but I would still be me. It’s the electrical activity – my thoughts and memory banks, my knowledge and experience - that makes me who I am and not my legs or hands. It isn’t even my brain. My brain is simply another receptacle positioned inside my body where I reside currently.

I have come to the possible conclusion that I am basically, and inevitably, is simply electrical energy. And if that is the case I wonder if that is what that rumoured ‘soul’ is. And if that is the case then will that ‘soul’ energy remain after my body has crumbled and left me unsupported? And if that is the case will I need my brain forever in order to exist or can I exist outside of it?

It poses the question: am I actually immortal? I’m in no rush to find out, but maybe everlasting life isn’t such a ridiculous idea after all.

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