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> Socrates says “know thyself”: I say which self?
post Jun 05, 2010, 12:24 PM
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Socrates says “know thyself”: I say which self?

I don’t know what happened to me. I was beside my self with worry.

My pet dog Fido uses his imagination to create image schemas to help him to comprehend and move about in his world. I use my imagination in much the same way but because my species can create abstract concepts I also use my imagination to create these abstract concepts.

I have the ability to use linguistic metaphors to help me comprehend my world and also my cognitive processes uses conceptual metaphors (structures from concrete experience) to construct abstract ideas while I am unconscious of this happening.

The concrete concepts, structured from experience, become primary metaphors that my unconscious imagination utilizes to construct image schemas for my abstract ideas.

SGCS (Second Generation Cognitive Science) has developed a set of theories using these metaphors, both linguistic, and conceptual to examine such abstract concepts as what is self, time, causality, etc.

If we examine linguistic metaphors that are common to our culture regarding “self” we can determine much information regarding what we normally think about this matter.

SGCS inform me that we have many different common metaphors for “self”:

The General Subject Self “A person is divided into a Subject and one or more Selves.” The Subject experiences consciousness only in real time. This Subject is the center of reason, will, and judgment. The Subject is thought of as the essential self that encompasses our self as a person.

The Physical-Object Self“Self-control and object control are inseparable experiences from early childhood…Self Control is Object Control.”I lifted my hand—I lost my voice—I couldn’t control myself—the boy picked himself up from the ground.

The Locational Self I was besides my self with worry.

The above quotes from Philosophy in the Flesh by Lakoff and Johnson

We are born recognizing our self as a ‘me’. The ‘me’ is an object before ‘me’ becomes ‘I’, i.e. an executive subject. Only after this happens in an infant’s life can s/he “back away” from her or him self.

The child discovers first that s/he is a social product. Perhaps this will show us why we are so often mere puppets jerked around by alien symbols and sounds. Perhaps this is why we are so often just blind ideologues (blindly partisan).

In order to separate the ego from the world it seems that the ego must have a rallying point. It must have a flag about which to rally. That flag is the “I”. The pronoun ‘I’ is the symbolic rallying point for the human’s ego; it is the precise designation of self-hood. It is concluded by those who study such matters that the ‘I’ “must take shape linguistically”. The self or ego “is largely a verbal edifice”.

“The “I” signals nothing less than the beginning of the birth of values into a world of powerful caprice…The personal pronoun is the rallying point for self-consciousness.” The wedding of the nervous ability to delay response, with the pronoun “I”, unleashed a new type of animal; the human species began. The ‘I’ represents the birth of values.

Upon the discovery of the “I” the infant human becomes a precise form, which is the focus of self-control. The creatures previous to the arrival of humans in the chain of evolution had an instinctive center within itself. When our species discovered the “I” and its associated self-control centers a dual reality occurred. “The animal not only loses its instinctive center within itself; it also becomes somewhat split against itself.”

Becker, the winner of the Pulitzer for “The Birth and Death of Meaning”, notes that Kant was perhaps the first to impress upon us the importance of the fact that the infant becomes conscious first of itself as a “me” and then only as “I”. This order of discover has been shown to be universal.

I have noticed when an infant becomes an ‘I’, when all of a sudden they behave in a self-conscious manner. Have you noticed such a change taking place in a child?

Quotes from The Birth and Death of Meaning—Ernest Becker
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post Jun 08, 2010, 08:30 AM
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Good question! Ultimately this is a question of identity. Yet, taken in its widest sense, our identity must somehow incorporate all of space and time, what is past and still yet to come. While we do have personal bodies and individual minds, we are integrally a part of the wider network of the universe. Any notion of self would seem to have to take into consideration our 'networked self'.
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