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[musing, experiments, games] Anyone want to Merge? - Transience Divine
November 28th, 2006
08:10 pm

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[musing, experiments, games] Anyone want to Merge?
I should know better than to read existentialism before bed. I've been thinking recently about the problem of individuality. I'm convinced that different people experience the world in vastly different ways, but we're doomed to spend our lives as just one mind and body.

There's a maxim that you don't get to join any group; only groups with you then in them. Every relationship (friendship, chance meeting) you have is irreparably marked by you, to the point that you can never know anyone the way someone else would. Every sensation, idea, and understanding you have is forever bound by the deepest quirks of your psychology. The most essential aspects of our selves are forever hidden from us because they're built into the foundations of how we experience our lives. We're forced to infer the basics of who we are by seeing how people react to us and who they react similarly to, and what those people are like.

Two weeks ago I was tearing my hair out thinking that what I found myself to be was so different from what I thought I was, but I decided that the situation is not as bad as I thought. As an intellectual, a kind of friend, and a citizen of the world, I'm pleased with what I am. But as a social creature? A source of creativity? A man? I see in my place a shallow husk of the creature I meant to be and it makes me sad.

So does anyone want to temporarily merge consciousness with me, so I know what it's like to be you (and you, me)? I've read some experiments that suggest it's possible, but I need a willing victim co-participant.

And a follow-up from my game post: I now have an extended description and the first steps. The game is filling up, but I can still handle more people.

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From:revolos55
Date:November 29th, 2006 03:08 am (UTC)
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I remember reading something, maybe it was just a quote, maybe it was a movie, about how we aren't really ourselves, instead we're just reactions and influences that other people have had on us.

We are all products of the people around us, and we on them, and it's like one light bouncing around a hall of mirrors. I've always wanted to be able to step outside myself and be a third party observer of my life, ride shotgun in someone else's head and hear what they think of me, and have someone else in my head looking at my thoughts, maybe explain them to me.
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From:jrising
Date:November 29th, 2006 06:48 am (UTC)
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It always frustrated me that even though everyone we know has this incredible, unique-in-some-ways-and-similar-in-others thing inside their heads, we only get to know the one in ours. And there are things we can never explain to anyone else, and things others think about us that they'll never say.

The experiments I know of form some really weird ties between people, though, that might break some of those boundaries. I read about two people who did some mirroring exercises, and recorded eachother talking and then acted out eachother's emotions, and even months later they knew what eachother were feeling without having to meet. And according to hypnosis books, there's a process called "deep trance identification" (search Wikipedia) where the mind can use everything they know about another person (especially things you only know subconsciously) to let you temporarily become that person, inside your head. I've just never gotten to try them.
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