This article is supported by Skillshare people. Ask me from time to time what keeps you up at night and if you’re one of those people that wondered that here’s. My answer: what doesn’t keep me up at night.
I don’t know how other people work. Maybe they & # 39. Ve got a little thing on the side of their head and when their head hits the pillow the switch flips and they just go unconscious for a while. But for me I don’t know when I go to bed it’s, not the end of anything.
It is the beginning of a long, unsettling process. Good night brain good night, Joe hey, you know you’re gon na die someday every night without fail like is there something wrong with me? I mean shouldn’t.
I want to get some sleep after a long day. I mean isn’t sleep, the most natural thing in the world. You sleep really natural, though I mean think about if you lost consciousness, while you were, you know, having lunch over a sandwich or something like somebody would call the ambulance like that’s, an emergency that’s a big deal, but you Do the exact same thing when you go to bed at night and and that’s natural I mean I don’t know I’ve tried meditating before I go to bed.
I’ve tried different sleep positions. I’ve tried to sleep, apps melatonin exercise. Still I mean it’s like the teleportation thing right, like the you that comes out. The other side is a whole different you, but it has the exact same memories as the you that went into the teleportation machine in the first place.
So to them it’s. This, you know perfect continuation of consciousness and they have no idea that the you that went in the first place is just you know, stopped existing. You died. It’s, a suicide machine.
It’s like all day long. I’m sitting here staring at that blank document on my computer and just nothing. Just no idea is just nothing coming out and then the second I lay down. So really. How do you know when you lose consciousness that you’re? The same person waking up on the other side when you wake up in the morning? Are you? How do you know you’re, the same person that went to bed the night before for that matter, to even need to lose consciousness that we just making ourselves up as we go along moment to moment throughout our lives? Fine, I’ll write the script.
You are not your brain, you’re, not your body either, at least according to English philosopher John Locke. He argued that our personal identity or the self is not confined to any physical object. He also argued that the self is not an immaterial soul, which was kind of radical for his time.
The self, according to Locke, is consciousness in his essay of identity and diversity. He wrote that consciousness makes everyone to be what he calls self and that, in consciousness alone, consists personal identity.
Locke also acknowledged that consciousness is not static, that a person’s, consciousness evolves over time and one of the main drivers of that evolution is memory and memory loss presents a challenge of the idea that and sell for the same thing.
The quote: lock again our consciousness being interrupted and we losing the sight of our past selves. Doubts are raised whether we are the same thinking thing and that’s. What keeps me up at night if the loss of consciousness is all it takes for oneself to go away, then I cease to be me every time.
I take a nap that don’t help. You boy fall asleep at night now. Some philosophers have argued that what’s, important isn’t consciousness, necessarily, but the continuity of consciousness like if I want to show that I’m, the same Jo as the Jo that went to sleep earlier.
I have to show some kind of link between my consciousness in the consciousness of my past, but that’s kind of difficult because we don’t really know what consciousness is and attempts to define. It have gone everywhere from hopelessly abstract to purely functional in one key theory of consciousness is dualism the idea that the self exists in a realm outside the body now the opposite of that, of course, is monism, which is the idea that the mind and the body Are one now real quick before you guys jump in the comments will start saying that I need to hit the whoo-whoo alarm for dualism.
There is a type of monism that says that all that really exists is would exist inside of our head and that the physical world is merely an illusion. So there’s, plenty of woo to go around now. Different varieties of dualism and monism kind of cross paths at penn psychism, which is the idea that the everything is conscious in its own way or the consciousness sort of makes up.
Everything that you and me and everything in the universe is just a small part of a grand consciousness. The point is, it gets complicated fast, but for the point of what we’re talking about right here, let’s, just define consciousness as awareness of thoughts and surroundings.
Continuity of consciousness can be displayed by remembering an earlier time when you were aware, even if your thoughts and surroundings were different back then. But what if you can’t? Remember your past cases of permanent amnesia or, thankfully, actually really rare, despite all the movies that you’ve, seen about it, but it does bring up some really important questions about the continuity of consciousness.
Now there are many different types of amnesia. In fact, there’s, one type of amnesia that pretty much all of us have it’s called childhood amnesia. Most people can’t recall any memories from before around the age of three, which is probably a good thing, and we’re diapers involved.
The most common type that you see in the movies is what’s called retrograde amnesia. This basically means you can’t or anything before a certain point, and that’s, usually caused by things like brain trauma.
Certain types of diseases, drug problems, extreme stress it’s, the condition that launched a thousand creepy romantic comedies don’t think about it too. Hard really and Tara. Great amnesia is actually kind of the opposite, like they can remember their past, but they can’t form any new memories so mentally they’re kind of living.
Pre. A certain date which I don’t know which is worse, not knowing who you are or waking up every single day. Thinking that you’ve just lost decades off of your life, but a really interesting one is something called hysterical amnesia, and this is where they not only can’t, remember details of their past, but their brain makes up a whole new Identity with a whole history to back it up, and when you look at these different types of amnesia, a couple of things stand out things that seem to sort of contradict each other.
One is that memories are precious and two is that even somebody with a memory of a goldfish can still have a self for an example. We can take a look at a couple of different characters from different movies, like Jason, Bourne and Lucy Whitmore from 50.
First dates, both of which were apparently based off of real people in Jason’s case. It was Ansel born a preacher from Rhode Island in 1887, who one day just left his pulpit. He showed up in January, operating a variety store in Pennsylvania.
Under the name Albert Brown, he did this from January to March and then, when they just walked up to his landlord confused wondering where he was and why everybody was calling him Albert. He then had to make his way back to Rhode Island to reassume his Bourne Identity, and he had absolutely no memory of those months being Albert psychologist, William James wrote up the case in his landmark text the principles of psychology, after which it was cited as a Classic example of both amnesia and multiple personality disorder in the association of amnesia with multiple personality disorder is actually really fascinating, because our brains are clearly just hardwired to have some kind of identity, and if it loses an identity, it will just make one up with crazy.
Detailed backstories and a good example of anterograde amnesia is the movie 50 first dates which, according to the internet, which is always right, as we know, is based off a real person named Michelle Philpott’s in 1994, Michelle had a series of car accidents That left her having really difficult seizures, and this eventually led to interrogate amnesia, meaning she wakes up every single morning with a sub bass stuck in her head.
Joking aside, her husband Ian has to wake up every single day and explain to her why he’s old enough to be her dad and she’s old enough to be her mom. Oh, my god, just think about how much has changed since 1994.
She has to wake up every day and relearn what the internet is and smartphones by the way Ian might be in the running for world’s best husband, he actually married her three years after this happened, and he’s.
Just thankful that she actually knew him before this happened, or else she would never have even known who he was and the reason he does. This is because he loves her in that self of hers that he fell in love with is still there.
It’s, just reliving the same day over and over and over again, and if those two examples, aren’t weird enough. There’s also the case of Lonnie Sue Johnson, an artist who actually has both retrograde and interrogate amnesia.
If you can imagine such a thing after about with viral encephalitis, her memory became Swiss cheese. She she remembers her dad, but she doesn’t, remember how he died. She remembers her childhood, but she remembers nothing about her childhood home, but she also can’t form new memories, which means she has to ask multiple times a day.
Why she can’t, remember anything. She lives literally moment-to-moment. Now her personality is still the same, her likes and dislikes passions. Those are all still the same. She just experiences those things through an ever-present now now.
One super weird thing about Lonnie is that she was also a singer and long before she lost her memory. She had an accident that actually caused her voice to be really weak and strained, but then, after she lost her memory and she lost all the memory of that accident, her voice was strong again see nobody ever talks about the upside of amnesia.
Now one thing that does help Lonnie according to her sister is art. Art involving language is especially helpful and she said the guy Roz on All Things Considered, because, for example, when she’s, singing the alphabet song and she’s at the letter M, she knows where she’s come from.
She knows where she’s going to so it gives her a feeling of continuity of the flow of time which she might not otherwise be able to get right. Now. Unfortunately, there’s, nothing that doctors can do to make Lonnie the woman she was, but her story brings up some interesting questions, though she’s, an artist.
She has a whole body of work to her name. She’s, done illustrations for The New Yorker and various children’s. Books who do those illustrations belong to? Does it belong to her, or does it belong to somebody who’s long since gone, and for that matter? Does this line of questioning apply to all of us? Most of us live in the now.
What’s? Past is prologue as Shakespeare once said, we are constantly remaking ourselves every moment of the day. Mostly they revive old patterns. Occasionally they can reinvent ourselves from scratch our minds, our invention machines, but imagine for a second, a machine that creates cookies all day and all the cookies that come out of this machine.
They’re all authentic creations of this machine. We can call them Moschino if somebody changes a gear in the machine or starts using strawberry instead of chocolate. There’s still off entik Moschino, the strawberry ones, may taste nasty, but they’re just as authentic as the chocolate ones.
If you tear the Machine down and build it again somewhere else that’s, still the same machine and those cookies are still authentic creations of that machine, and that will always be the case unless you melt the Machine down to make Titanic commemorative coins And all of these Indonesia cases most of the machine, the machine being the brain still worked.
It was a self creation machine before they got the amnesia and they were still able to do it afterwards. So, by that same token, this selves that they created were still authentically them. Lonnie was still Lonnie and so was still Ansel.
Michelle was still Michelle, they may have been strawberry now and they used to be chocolate, but they were still authentic and these questions get even crazier. When you start looking toward the future with digitization and neural implants, our sense of self is gon na change.
You know a woman who uploads her brain to a computer just before she dies might be annoyed. The first time she gets into her robot itself to go to an ATM and find out that all of her assets were frozen.
If a cryogenically preserved author is brought back to life, do they still hold the copyright to their works? If a cyborg commits murder and then has his memory erased, is he still the murderer or as the murderer, somebody that no longer exists, and perhaps, most importantly, when you get brought back to life in the future, will you know how to use the three seashells today? These are academic questions, but they may become important soon sooner than you think.
Maybe one of the coolest takes on this came from a blog by dr. Steven novella of the New England skeptical society. I’ll link down below, but he brings up the fact that our brain is divided into hemispheres and yet those two hemispheres create one continuous consciousness, and the idea is that if you could replace little bits at a time of your brain with digital Hardware, that could then you know, connect outside and store, memories and and processing, and you know physical computers outside of your body.
That could be a way to sort of slowly move your consciousness into another substrate, and then the consciousness of that person would slowly extend into whatever machine they had ported themselves into.
This could be the key to digital immortality if you could transfer your consciousness from your brain into a computer in this way, would you be comfortable with that? You might get the opportunity to do it sooner than you think, and if you do, you may look back someday at a time when you had your consciousness.
You know affixed to this physical body and just wonder how you put up with it. You know how we just accepted that we had this physical vessel that was just destined to break down in painful ways over time.
Maybe the idea of a body as part of the self will feel quaint and nostalgic. You know, and we will have a type of dualism – you’ll, be you, but you’ll also be part of a digital collective consciousness in consciousness will be totally continuous, with no lapses in memory whatsoever.
So you guys tell me, have you ever had a bout of amnesia? What was that like talk about it down in the comments? If you can remember it also, if you’re having sleep issues like I am I don’t know, maybe you just need to get more organized that’s.
Why I’ve been following Thomas Frank: he’s, something of a Productivity guru. I actually got to meet him at VidCon a few weeks ago, really great guy, but he actually has an entire productivity masterclass that you can watch on Skillshare.
I’m actually going to this class right now and if you’re wondering whether or not it works. I can only point out that I’m, actually shooting this article an entire week ahead, which is something that my editor Nick, I’m sure that appreciates and this class he talks about practical workflows and mindsets to get you set out To be more organized and productive, he talks about his favorite productivity apps and how to use them effectively in a holistic system that will not just increase your productivity, but give you back the one thing you can’t by time.
You can check out Thomas’s course, or any of the 25,000 plus classes on Skillshare and design business technology and more for two months free. If you go to the link in the description down below, they even have classes on mindfulness and how to get better sleep which clearly I need to go check out.
There are more than 7 million people, learning new skills and improving their lives on Skillshare right now. So don’t, get left behind, get your 2 month free trial and learn to do amazing things just go to the link down below thanks the skills share for supporting this article and a huge shout out to my answer.
Files on patreon that are supporting this channel helping me grow a team and collaborating and do really great things together. There’s, a new people that just join got a murder. The names real quick, we’ve, got Sydney, hearthstone Steven branislav, cones avec president wrong 360.
You in Lucas beverage, aren’t, Traynham, Jason, Rogers, Kenny, ro and yell sluggers, who just came back. Welcome back you. Thank you guys so much if you’d like to join them, get early access to articles and extras that other people, don’t get to see.
Amongst many other things, you can go to patreon.com/scishow Joe, please like and share this article. If you liked it – and this is your first time here there’s – a article that Google thinks you’ll like so you might want to check that one out.
I also have others on the sidebar that might be showing up over here and, if you like, any of them, I invite you to subscribe. I’ll, come back with articles every Monday and Thursday. All right thanks a lot for watching you guys go out, and now I have an eye-opening week and I & # 39.
Ll, see you on Monday love. You guys take care!