what is it to exist

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Other  |  House: Booksie Classic

Chapter 1 (v.1) - What is it to exist

Submitted: November 07, 2017

Reads: 433

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Submitted: November 07, 2017



I just arrived here, on this life inhabiting sphere spinning through the vastness of space and time. Experiencing life as this self aware sensation of “I”, that manifested itself within a self duplicating sensory input machine called a human body. Also I puppeteer this human body through the physical realm labelled the 3rd dimension with my imagination. No metaphors needed. 

Although this will not apply to all, I still cannot help but feel unsettled that there are people out there who appear to be utterly unfazed by the fact they are alive. Or maybe they're not unfazed, and keep their revelations to themselves. I wouldn’t know their revelations unless they told me, and it’s very few that do. It’s those few who talk most about their revelations who tend to rely on religion as their source of reasoning. And I can’t help but feel they are missing the point completely. Now I don’t believe there exists the power to understand life better than somebody else. Nor do I believe one opinion can be more correct than another. Though I do believe being quizzical, and relying on evidence as a source of reasoning goes a long way. That’s why I grasp at the way of thinking scientists and philosophers possess. So in the spirit of skepticism and taking charge of one's own actions, I shall not point the finger at the utterly unfazed for causing these feelings of unsettlement, but at myself, because after all, only I am in charge of my thoughts and feelings; But what is “I”? And am I in charge? Now I’m questioning free will.

I didn’t exist then suddenly I did. Although physically I already did exist. Only that the collection of atoms that would eventually form my physical body were not assembled yet. And as I can recall there was not yet any sensation of “I” before my body. The collection of atoms I call food that I consume to replace my body's old atoms, were also here before “I”. Infact everytime I eat I am replacing my body. My bodies collection of atoms are replaced entirely by another collection of atoms every 7 years. This rings reminiscent of the boat paradox. “You have a boat. You then replace the sales, then the body. Now reassemble the old sales and body. You now have two boats. Which boat is the original?” Except in this human edition of the boat paradox, the boat is also aware it’s a boat.

Instead of asking whether the chicken or the egg came first, let's ask this; What came first, the physical body or consciousness?

In the case the answer to this question is the physical body, then the sensation I call thoughts are but an illusion. It would seem this sensation of “self” is too. All a projection, a byproduct of chemical reactions in the brain. And if chemicals react in a predictable manner. Do I really have free will? Is my feeling of self just as imaginary as my imagination itself. Is my physical body but an inanimate object. An inanimate object constructed of matter and energy arranged so intricately, that it’s created the sensation of being self aware. The universe confirming its own existence. 

If consciousness came first, then does that mean we are all one in the same? Let’s give that question more detail.

Dig beneath the body. Beneath the ego. What differences are there separating one another? It’s unfathomable trying to imagine what it’d be like to experience being alive without the body and ego attached to it. You might define that state as not being one at all. Perhaps even nothing. But maybe it’s not unfathomable, maybe that state of “nothing” was the exact state we were in before birth. There was no sense of sight, sound, touch, taste, smell, no sense of time, no sense of temperature, no sense of up or down, no personality traits, no thoughts, and no memories. 

Now imagine a baby. But from birth it’s brain was left without sensory input. Meaning no external stimulation. This baby has a body, but no sense of what it is to see, hear, touch, taste, smell, has no sense of time, no sense of temperature, no sense of up or down, no personality traits, no thoughts, and no memories. Now imagine two babies born like that. Without describing their physical differences, what differences between their sensation of “I” would you imagine there are? You could even compare this sensory deprived human baby with any other sensory deprived creature from the animal kingdom, the question would still remain. Because this baby is technically still alive, therefore in some kind of conscious or unconscious state right? It’s as if the human brain is a fleshy USB stick, while the rest of the body provides senses for external data to be uploaded. It’s almost as if the underlying state of the human mind isn’t any different to the underlying state of a park bench, a tree, an asteroid, or a molecule. What’s to separate these states of consciousness if fundamentally there is no differences? Is sense of self an illusion? Is consciousness an illusion? Have we fooled ourselves into thinking there’s more to us than a body with an ego?

To me it appears to only make sense that consciousness is an illusion, and the most convincing illusion to date at that. As the framework to the question “does consciousness or the physical body come first?” falls apart if consciousness is only a concept, one that cannot be measured or solidified. 

Now I can only be sure of one thing, and that is, as of right now, I am experiencing the sensation of being “I”. I won’t assume that just because I have memories of being me in the “past”, that they are true. All I know is that I am experiencing now. As, now, it appears is all there ever has been, is, and I will assume, will be. How do I know I didn’t just come into existence 5 minutes ago along with my memories. And any way, what I defined as me 7 years ago is literally atomically different from what I define as me today. So is that not proof enough that what i call “me” cannot be defined by this sense of “I” or even the body I have right now, as this sense of “I”is an illusion and this physical body of mine will change again. What I define as “me”, would be more logically sound, if instead I defined “me” as being; a collection of atoms, matter, energy and particles arranged in a particular order creating this physical body, furthermore this physical body creating this illusion of “I”. Creating this ego I am using to write with right now.

It seems what separates each other's sense of “self”, is our ego. Our experiences, our memories, our instincts as a human, our atoms (although our atoms structurally are the same), and our appearance. Individuality, ego, personality, what is it? Everyone I know seems to have a personality, I seem to have one too. I hear how others view me and how I view myself and pair those ideas together to form it. But what are the determining factors in what my personality is and isn’t? What does it mean to act out of character if my character doesn’t actually physically exist and therefore has no true definition? No one else knows my thoughts as well as I do, and if I am my thoughts, by default no one can truly ever know what I define as the“real” me. But I can pick and choose what thoughts of mine others get to know by either telling them something or not telling them something. I can mold how others perceive me, while knowing that they’ll never fully grasp what it is to experience being me, and adversely I’ll never truly grasp the experience of being someone else. It’s like a video game I never agreed to start playing. I also didn’t even get to pick my own avatar. My sense of “self” has the controller, and I can move my body in the game around by pressing the controls. Though instead of plastic buttons, the controls are thoughts. How do I know other people even have thoughts? How do I know I’m not the only real person experiencing this sense of “self” and everyone else isn’t just background characters? Like The Truman Show but with background actors that don’t know they’re acting. Also what is it with thoughts, they just keep coming, whether I will them to or not. I can either be consciously aware of them or unaware of them, but when I am aware of my thoughts, I am able to feel like I’m in control of them. Then what’s controlling my thoughts when I’m not aware they’re happening? And what’s the story with my heart beat? I’m capable of being aware or unaware of it. Although when I am aware of my heart beat, I can’t control it. Using the same analogy it’s interesting to conceptualise the idea that I am everything; 

Keep in mind while reading that the definition of “control” is blurred if there is no such thing as “I”. I have the capability of being consciously aware of my body, and although I can be conscious of it, some parts of my body still remain out of my control. Say my heartbeat for instance. Furthermore my body gives me the ability to interact with things external to it. This means I have the capability of being consciously aware of things outside of my body, and although I can be conscious of it, I cannot consciously control things external to my body. So if I can be consciously aware of something while it still be out of my control, what blurs the lines between my heart beat and the tick of a clock? Where does “me” end and everything but me start? What separates things from one another? What separates me from another person? Is it space, sense of “self”, or the words we attach to things? 

Imagine a projector. It is projecting clouds on a wall. The projector is physically measurable and the light coming out of the projector is too. Although it might look like there are clouds in the room, in further inspection, you will find that it is an illusion. Also as the projection would not exist without the projector, it’d be an irrational claim to say that the projection can exist on its own, without the projector to project it. Keep this ideology in mind;

If my body/brain is the projecting force behind what I experience as the mind, my mind being the illusion of clouds in the room, why does it feel like my mind and is one step ahead? As I seem to know what movement my body will make before my body does, I know what I will say before my mouth moves to say it. Perhaps I should look at it from a different angle. Because if what I experience as this feeling of being a mind, separate from my body, but simply inhabiting it, is a false claim. And the brain, being the projector, is physically measurable like the light from the projector being; neuron's firing, chemicals being released, and brain waves. Then I should instead speak of the mind and body as the same thing, as although this feeling of having a mind's eye is illusionary, the projecting force behind it is measurable. 

In the midst of a dream I’ve never caught myself thinking; “How did lying down in bed lead to me suddenly standing in a field within a room with my deceased childhood pet?”. In my dreams not often do I recall asking “is space and time infinite and is there such thing as nothing?”. And when I wake up I feel like such gullible sheep for not questioning, for simply taking reality for granted just because it’s convincing. How do I know the thing I wake up to called “reality” isn’t as illusionary as my dreams. I can’t. So in that case, I feel I mustn’t take existence for what it appears. So in this realm I call reality, I feel the need to ask myself: “How did a seemingly infinite amount of time come to an end when suddenly I was born?” and, “Is time and space infinite and is there such thing as nothing?”. I would feel like such a gullible sheep if one day I were to wake up from my 18 year human simulation experiment and have to admit that I never questioned what was behind the curtains. Also when were the curtains put up?  What are they made of? And what’s holding them up?

Is space and time the same thing? They seem to define each other. Time is a measurement for the way in which space changes and space is where that change takes place. So they are in a sense separate. But how would you go about separating time and space? It seems that time by default creates space and space by default creates time. What would existence be without time and space?  Would it be nothing? But isn’t nothing something? Because for something to occupy a place, there must first be nothing there, otherwise there would be no place for something to occupy. So maybe like time and space. Nothing and something are the same thing, in a sense they are different, but they define each other.

Can there be something that isn’t nothing, isn’t something, isn’t space, and isn’t time? Would that be a more accurate definition of nothing? 

And laws of physics. Do the laws of physics exist on their own? Do they exist without space, without time, without nothing and without something? Or do laws of physics come about one space, time, nothing and something exists? Where did they come from and why are they the way they are? Have they always existed? Had the universe always existed? 

I look at it like this. The universe either had/has/will have; 

No beginning & no end (infinite).

No beginning & will have and end (infinite).

Beginning & no end (infinite).

Beginning & and end (finite).

But that’s only in regards to time. What about in regards to space as they are two sides of the same coin. The universe either; 

Occupies an infinite area. And if so that means things are only big or small in comparison but there would be no limit in how big or small something could get.

Occupies a finite area but has the ability to expand infinitely.

Occupies a finite area of space but doesn’t have the ability to expand infinitely. 

Now when I say expand, the question is what is it expanding into? More space? Something else? Well I don’t know, I can only speculate. Because the word space brings to mind the idea of nothing. But within this universe what we call space is really a type of fabric, and it can stretch bend and warp. 

Now I’ve got some more questions. For example let’s imagine a universe. Let’s call it universe (A). 
Properties of this universe:
Time; No beginning & no end (infinite).
Space; Occupies a finite area of space but doesn’t have the ability to expand infinitely. 
So in regards to space you wouldn’t say this universe is finite, but in regards to time it is infinite. So that means space isn’t the sole defining factor in whether a universe is “infinite”.

Now let’s imagine another universe. Universe (B). 
Properties of this universe: 
Time; Beginning & and end (finite).
Space; Occupies an infinite area. 
So in regards to space you would describe this universe as infinite, but in regards to time it is finite. So that means time isn’t the sole defining factor in whether a universe is “infinite”. 

This acknowledges the notion that there are different kinds of Infinitys. A universe with an infinite amount of time vs a universe with an infinite amount of space, are both infinite. This is all another way of trying to propose the idea that although time and space are different, they are in a sense, the same thing. Time can’t be defined without space and space can’t be defined without time. So in saying that, it appears that you cannot have a universe with infinite time as well as finite space, as they are the same thing and to have that would be contradictory. So, does that mean there could be no such thing as universe (A) & (B)? Only a universe where
time and space are both either infinite, or finite. Now the concept of finite is hard to define. The idea of a finite universe proposes it would have shape. Shapes have edges. Therefore proposing the idea that if a universe has shape, there must be something around the shape to define the shape as being one in the first place. But if the universe is a “something”, the “thing” defining “something” as a “something”, must be a “nothing”. But nothing can’t exist, because if it did, it would be a “something”. So if there can never be such thing as a “nothing”, that means there can only be a “something”. “Something” seems to be the natural state of existence. Because if nothing doesn’t exist, there can’t be such thing as not existing. Meaning that by default, a “finite” universe, is in fact, “infinite”? This again is another way of conceptual if that something and nothing are the same thing, although they are different, they define each other.






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