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Author Topic: Would you surrender you're 'self'  (Read 2024 times)

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Offline SabbyTopic starter

Would you surrender you're 'self'
« on: December 02, 2010, 12:57:03 AM »
This question has bugged me for years. Let me put it into perspective for you. There's two scenario's I would use as examples.

The first, some kind of intelligence, whether it be natural or born of technology, begins to assimilate humanity. Once you're taken into this Hivemind, who you are no longer exists, you are simply a part of something larger, a blood cell to a greater body. You no longer have desires, fears, needs, passions, you're simple existence is utterly focused towards the common goal of the collective.

The second, some kind of creature, person, entity, whatever, takes your resolve through mind control, natural chemicals, possession, whatever. Once they have you under their spell, you are completely submitted, and the simple act of submission brings with it ecstasy you could never feel otherwise. A word, a touch, their simple presence is all you need, and you would die happily at their order.

Both scenario's, you give up the self for a much different way of life, a difference existence. So the question is, how much do you value your 'humanity' for lack of a better term. Could you do without the dynamics of free will and just submit to an easier state of life?

Offline DarklingAlice

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #1 on: December 02, 2010, 07:27:36 AM »
I'm sorry, but I have to question if this even belongs here.

It seems that Elliquiy U should be for discussing "science, technology, history, and other topics of an academic nature". While this does not preclude philosophy, that's not really what this is. While an academic discussion about the nature of free will and its value, or the nature of humanity and its value, or even if there is a link between humanity and free will, might not be out of place, that's not what this is. This is more like: "Hey, what would you do in [insert psuedoscientific scenario here]?"

It's not a bad question. I have nothing against the question itself, but aren't there better places for this sort of thing?

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #2 on: December 02, 2010, 10:36:24 AM »
I honestly have no idea where to put it x.x It's not about Politics or Religion, it's can't go in On Topic, and I don't wanna put it in Off Topic because of how much discussion it would need.

Offline Caeli

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #3 on: December 02, 2010, 02:07:58 PM »
This kind of thing would probably belong in Off Topic.

Offline Beorning

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #4 on: December 03, 2010, 02:41:35 PM »
Still, as the topic is here... could we discuss it?

Offline Brandon

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #5 on: December 03, 2010, 04:13:04 PM »
Off topic would probably be the best place for it although I never have understood why philosophy doesnt belong here because it is a highly academic area of discussion. If theres a big problem with it the staff can move it when they get a chance.

To answer the question, for me without the presence of my soul (or what some would call the self) then there is no existence.

The idea of working toward a common goal might seem noble or be noble but perspective plays an important part in what is or isnt noble or good. Since those are entirely subjective terms its difficult for anyone to say the goal is worthwhile in the eyes of every individual.

From my point of view such an existance, if it could be called that, would be tantamount to slavery
« Last Edit: December 03, 2010, 04:52:50 PM by Brandon »

Offline SabbyTopic starter

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #6 on: December 03, 2010, 08:39:01 PM »
You couldn't think of it as slavery though, as you'd have absolutely no free will of your own. You'd be like one bee in a hive.

Offline Brandon

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2010, 09:13:16 PM »
Maybe if youre looking at it from inside the box, but as Im currently looking at it as if Im not a part of that social structure I certainly do consider it slavery

Offline Beorning

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #8 on: December 04, 2010, 09:03:07 AM »
But how much consciousness would each assimilated person have? I mean, would be they even self-aware?

What I mean, is that there's a difference between a situation when an individual gets his/her consciousness erased and is literally a cell in a bigger organism - and when the individual is still self-aware, just without any free will and own desires.
« Last Edit: December 04, 2010, 09:09:21 AM by Beorning »

Offline CmdrRenegade

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #9 on: December 05, 2010, 12:39:27 AM »
This question resonates with me.  I've found myself wondering if I could just 'drink the Kool-Aid' with modern American society.  However, I never could because I couldn't fool myself into liking things I never did.  The dark side of individualism is definitely loneliness.  Humans are social animals and needing and being needed often requires a certain degree of submission to the needs of the community.  When you elevate the individual, the community suffers and vice versa.  Would I do it myself though? Tough call.

Offline Beorning

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #10 on: December 05, 2010, 03:23:28 AM »
I can say that, for a long time, I've been intrigued by very similar question as the one Sabby posed.

My question was inspired by an obscure TV movie "Perfect Little Angels" (starring, among others, Michael York and Cheryl Ladd). It's a story about a mother and daughter who move into a nice gated community, only to discover that the people living in there have all been brainwashed to fit the same model of perfect families. All of the people are happy, well-dressed, polite... It turns out that it's all the work of a local doctor, who uses mind control pills to make the community's denizens fit what he believes to be the correct way of life.

The story intrigues me, as I found the story's setting not to be as nightmarish as it, probably, was intended to be. Sure, the people in the community are quite bland... but they *are* genuinely happy. And the community itself does seem like a nice place to live: it's orderly, quiet, safe...

So, my question is: would it really be wrong to submit to what the movie's antagonist is doing? Sure, you'd be giving away a degree of your individuality... but you'd get a stable, happy life in exchange. And you wouldn't even miss the individuality that you have given away - as the doctor's pill would just remove this part of your personality. You'd be bland and just as everyone else... but you'd find it disconcerting in any way.

Any thoughts?

Offline Shjade

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #11 on: December 05, 2010, 04:25:04 PM »
Both scenario's, you give up the self for a much different way of life, a difference existence. So the question is, how much do you value your 'humanity' for lack of a better term. Could you do without the dynamics of free will and just submit to an easier state of life?
But there is a better term: identity. You aren't asking about the loss of humanity - you could be sociopathic and inhumane as you are now and become more "human" by being inducted into a productive hive entity. You're asking about identity and individuality, neither of which has to do with humanity (save perhaps in that we can recognize ourselves as individuals with identities).

If your question were "Would you give up your humanity for utopia?" I'd answer Sure, because, to be honest, I don't think all that highly of humanity these days.

Since your question is "Would you give up your identity for utopia?" my answer is No. I am who I am, for good or for bad.

This seems relevant to your interests, particularly if you did mean the "humanity" version of the question rather than identity or sense of self.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #12 on: December 05, 2010, 05:25:19 PM »
But there is a better term: identity. You aren't asking about the loss of humanity - you could be sociopathic and inhumane as you are now and become more "human" by being inducted into a productive hive entity. You're asking about identity and individuality, neither of which has to do with humanity (save perhaps in that we can recognize ourselves as individuals with identities).

If your question were "Would you give up your humanity for utopia?" I'd answer Sure, because, to be honest, I don't think all that highly of humanity these days.

 I think identity and individuality have a lot to determine your humanity. They determine who YOU are as a person.  Without those, you're nothing but a two legged animal.

Offline Shjade

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #13 on: December 06, 2010, 06:16:09 PM »
I think identity and individuality have a lot to determine your humanity. They determine who YOU are as a person.  Without those, you're nothing but a two legged animal.
Your humanity is something that defines your identity in that it is part of who you are, just like the lack of it is part of who you are. Someone entirely lacking in what you might call humanity can still be a high-functioning person, just not one you'd probably want to know very closely.

Identity is who you are as a person. Humanity is part of your identity, but far from the only part; it's just one characteristic. You can give up your identity without losing your humanity, depending on how you go about it, and even if your compassion and interest in your fellow man changes you're likely still you, just not the same as you used to be (and who is exactly the same from birth to death?).

They're not the same thing.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #14 on: December 06, 2010, 06:44:31 PM »
 I'm going to have to disagree with you there. Identity and individuality determne who you are. It's what makes you human. If you loose your identity and individuality to become part of a 'hive' mind, you are merely an extensiosn of that mind. You have no thoughts of yourself. All you'd become is a body the hive mind uses.  Essentually, a meat puppet. Or a better term, a walking coma patient.

 You can change a person's identity and individuality, but that just makes them into another person.  The completel removal of it wipes out that humanity since there is nothing replacing it that people would identify as human.

 An excellent example for Star Trek fans is the Borg. The members of the Borg were from many species and under your template Shjade, the human ones could be considered human. But they were a collective/hive mnd. No one was more important than the other and were expendable if needed. There was no individual consciouness in the Borg. There was just the Borg.

Offline Shjade

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #15 on: December 09, 2010, 05:19:58 AM »
I'm going to have to disagree with you there. Identity and individuality determne who you are. It's what makes you human. If you loose your identity and individuality to become part of a 'hive' mind, you are merely an extensiosn of that mind. You have no thoughts of yourself. All you'd become is a body the hive mind uses.  Essentually, a meat puppet. Or a better term, a walking coma patient.
Actually you seem to be agreeing with me, with one exception: the bit about being human. What makes you human is biological. Your identity doesn't make you human. It just makes you "you." Not all humans are particularly humane, you see, and not everything with personality need necessarily be human at all.

Since you wanted to branch into Star Trek comparisons, consider Q. Oh, sure, he's a terrible dick, but he acts rather human at times, doesn't he? At other times he's a completely indifferent sociopath, entirely inhuman and distant. That's who he is. That's his identity. Does that make him human? Well, no, he isn't one. It makes him who he is.

I'm just trying to avoid mixing up humanity and identity, that's all. It's nice to think of everyone as being humane individuals, but not all people are such. Indeed, some people are defined by how they are apart from their "humanity" in comparison to the norm.

Offline Zakharra

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #16 on: December 09, 2010, 08:34:01 AM »
 I'm not agreeng with you. A person's identity and individuality is what makes a person human to me. It makes then a seperate individual, not a  mere cog in a group mind. There's no self there. 

 I used the Borg as a comparison because that's the closest I could think  of what  this topic is about. The Q, for all intents and purposes, are still individuals. They're extremely powerful yes, but not melded into a singular group concisousness.  In the Borg, there was no individuality or sense of self. All were Borg, there was no 'Me or I'.

 Just being a homo sapient doesn't make you 'human'.  Who you arte inside does. Not the flesh you happen to be wearing.

Offline Salamander

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Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #17 on: December 09, 2010, 09:54:00 AM »
Hmmm...I'd say that Shjade is right in that what makes you human is biological. However, it's not the totality of your body that gives you identity so much as one specific part of it- the brain. It's what happens in our brains, and what happens between our brains and the brains' environments, that produces identity, individuality etc.

In order for a kind of 'group mind' to be instantiated, there would have to be some sort of linkage between the brains of the component parts (between the ex-individuals, in other words). The most plausible way for that to happen would a very sophisticated brain/computer interface. So...how would I feel about being linked up to the hive mind and losing my identity? I'd fight it every inch of the way. Fuck that; I'm very happy being me, and in a hive mind 'me' would no longer exist, for the biological, or perhaps electro-biological, reason that my brain would no longer exist as a distinct system. It'd be connected up to lots of other brains, which would collectively instantiate the hive mind.

Offline Shjade

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #18 on: December 13, 2010, 07:26:55 PM »
A person's identity and individuality is what makes a person human to me. It makes then a seperate individual, not a  mere cog in a group mind. ... The Q, for all intents and purposes, are still individuals. They're extremely powerful yes, but not melded into a singular group concisousness.

 Just being a homo sapient doesn't make you 'human'.  Who you arte inside does. Not the flesh you happen to be wearing.
I think you're missing my point: I didn't bring up the Q as an example of group consciousness, I brought up Q as an example of a non-human entity that has a clearly defined identity. As you pointed out, the various Q are individuals with distinct personalities. They have individual traits. My point is that they are also not human; by your definition having an identity makes them human when they clearly are not.

Being a homo sapien does make you human (a human being); it doesn't guarantee you'll be humane (civilized, sympathetic, etc.). For a more realistic example than Star Trek fare, see soldiers' behavior in combat. All soldiers are human at the foundational level, but due to their individual differences they behave very differently in the field: this one doesn't hesitate to protect his squad mates in any circumstances, this one is hesitant to put himself in danger for others, this one finds it amusing to pour gasoline on noncombatants and light it up, and so on. The first one is dependable, brave, maybe reckless; the second is more "average," concerned more with his own safety than the lives of others; the last is clearly a monster, inhuman from the social perspective but a human being none the less.

Now, if they weren't in control of their actions - say all three were working under post-hypnotic suggestion of some sort - you could argue their actions weren't their own: they were controlled by another force's will (as in the topic's more exaggerated original suggestion of being annexed by a hive mind). This has zero effect on their existence as human beings despite having an immense impact on their identities in that it presses them to do things they might not otherwise do on their own. Their identities are suppressed, but their humanity is unchanged. They remain what they are even if who they are has been altered.

Offline Anithinum

Re: Would you surrender you're 'self'
« Reply #19 on: January 06, 2011, 10:24:41 PM »
Biologically speaking, being human consists of the physical form of a person, for example, an ape can never be human, they can be 'humane' but not human because they would have to transform physically. Identity is what makes you who you are. An ape can act like a human, he would still be an ape, but his identity would make him separate from the rest of his species. People sometimes forget that we are animals, and humans are a species.

Having said that, to answer the main question:

If you're asking whether I would sacrifice myself to utopia, lose my identity and become a grain of sand in a desert where all grains are alike for the sole reason of self-gratification, then I have to counter that with: "how can you become part of a whole for self-pleasure?" surely if you plugged yourself in and lost all sense of self, then you would also not have the sense to feel the extacy  you described. Unless you, as becoming a part of the bigger puzzle, bond with the combined energy of the overall construction, thereby becoming one with it and being it as well as thousand of others who have done the same, then you would regain sense of self, only that this new sense of self would be the combined sense of self of many different particles? If that makes sense. Otherwise you would just become numb to everything and never experience the promised climax appart from maybe the few milliseconds it takes for you to completely intertwine with the subject.

Or if by becoming a part of this hivemind however, you become part of a change that has an impact on the world in a positive way...then without questions I would be the first to jump straight at it. Because somehow we are all connected, we communicate therefore we endorse in each other. Even though every human is set upon oneself and the basic instinct for survival, that can sometimes manifest in a sacrificial way. Right now the world is like a needle balancing at the edge of a table, it will either fall into chaos, or find a way to regulate itself....if becoming part of a hivemind can speed up the process of lessening the chaos, why would I not go for it? Everything is temporary anyway, I will die eventually, at least if it is like that, you become a part of the future through sacrificing yourself, therefore you continue to exist.

Offline Hephaes

Re: Would you surrender your 'self'
« Reply #20 on: January 07, 2011, 02:49:07 AM »
Depending on what your idea of 'self' is, it doesn't have to be given up in order to satisfy those questions.  It appears more that you're asking about free-will rather than 'self'.
For example, I consider the 'self' to be three things.  The body, the mind and the soul.

If the planet were to be invaded by an assimilating force, would I give up my body and my mind to be used as the hive saw fit?  If a single entity requested a complete dominance over my body and mind, would I accept it?  The most likely answer would be yes.
From an entirely selfish perspective, and as somebody who has an over-active conscience, the idea that I wouldn't be responsible for my actions and knowing that somebody else would always accept the consequences of my actions, is a major positive for the first scenario.  There are many times I consider free-will to be a burden.  As Tool puts it "What if I could give these humans free will, now they're all confused", is very much how I feel about that point.
In the second instance, the idea of only having to please one person (or entity) for the rest of my life would bring such relief to me.  I aim to please everybody and regularly fail :)

However, in the instance of my soul, which I consider to be part of my 'self', is something I can not give up.  Philosophically, the soul (to me,) is the part of you that allows you to live forever, or be reborn, or whatever it is that happens when you die.  Perhaps my soul is already a part of another 'hive mind' situation.  Regardless, whatever the physical rewards, I would defend the ownership and existence of my soul until I die.