It’s been a too long time since I typed on here. Anyway.
The question of “who am I” arose today as I was talking with a friend. I came to the following conclusions. We were initially discussing the sense and referent distinction that Frege developed in the 1800s, and so this led me to believe that the self is two part, that which it is, and that which we mean it to be. We were also discussing the being-becoming distinction that is evident in a lot of Idealist thought, and so I’d initially said that we are composed of three parts: body, that which is being, mind, that which is becoming, and soul, which is a synthesis. But I eventually negated this because it is far too simplistic to describe what is really going on.
I eventually came to the conclusion that we are actually 4-part. What I had reasoned was thus: whenever we speak of someone, we really aim to speak of them as they are in their wholeness. If I refer to “Bill Cosby” I really mean the “wholeness” that is Bill Cosby. The man, the comedian, the predator. A not too cool dude. I don’t just mean one facet of him, like his body, his mind, his heart. Nor just one part of his person, that is, merely that he is a man, merely that he is a comedian, or merely that he is a predator. No, I mean his wholeness. “Bill Cosby was there,” really means “The wholeness of that matter we call ‘Bill Cosby’ was there.” This is certainly what we mean but this is not certainly what we are able to conceive of. What we are really saying is thus: “That which I believe to be the wholeness of that matter we call ‘Bill Cosby’ was there.” And so we here have two separate and unique entities, the ‘wholeness’ of something and the ‘perceived wholeness’ of something. ‘Wholeness’ I would call a ‘soul’ and ‘perceived wholeness’ I would call a notion.
This isn’t to say there is some ‘wholeness’ ‘out there in the world’ in some abstract way. Rather, it is that thing of a person which conduces in someone else some idea of this original person. That is to say, that ‘sum totality’ of being which is evident in a person that denotes what it is that another person may later say of them. It is not abstract, but rather a proto-abstraction. This ‘sum totality’ must, therefore, also be broken down. So I’d say that there is body and mind, that is, us in the world and us in ourselves. Because we have our own ‘perceived wholeness’ of ourselves, this is our own notion, ie, our mind! I’d therefore speak of 4 senses of self: us in the world (body), us in ourselves (mind), us in others (notions) and us in wholeness (soul).
Therefore, we are in ourselves as though we conceive of ourselves. We are in others what we make ourselves out to be. And we are in wholeness as we have been, as we are now, and as we will be, in ourselves, in the world, and in others.
Fuck. That brings up the question of ‘when’ relative to being. If I mean ‘being now’ then I have 4 senses of self that really describe some person ‘x’ at some time which is now. So if I have time as a function of x such that t(x) yields the 4 qualities body, mind, notion, soul, I could probably then write b(t(x)) as a function of t(x) to denote the bodily quality of person ‘x’ at sometime. m(t(x)) for mind, etc. etc. What now becomes a problem is who are we now? There’s a time discrepancy here, a big one.
I need to define notion a bit better to describe what I’m about to say precisely. n(t(x)) must be understood such that n = the reference to some other person ‘y’, that is, r(y). So when I speak of the n(t(x)) in the person ‘y’, because only another person can have a notion of some person ‘x’, what I really mean is: that being we denote ‘y’ has some notion of some person ‘x’ at some time. So, I must write n(t(x)) within the confines of r(y), that is, the referent to y. What I want here is: n(r(y))(t(x)). This notation sucks but ay, it be that way sometimes. So really I have here the notion of y’s referent as a function of x at a particular time.
The issue here is that n(r(y))(tn2(x)) (where tn2 = some second time) is really loosely equivalent to s(tn1(x)), that is, the soul of person ‘x’ at some initial time. Now, I wouldn’t say there is a complete equivalence. But, we have an issue in that what someone thinks of a person at some time is loosely equivalent to that whole being of a person at some earlier time. And, seeing as whole being (soul) is equivalent too and contains within it that sum totality of notions at any time, we have a being at any t1 (time 1) which contains within it qualities of being at previous times.
Therefore, whenever we speak of a person, that is, speak of our notion of them which we implicitly believe to be their whole being (soul), we are speaking of our notion of them at a particular time. We implicate that this individual as we speak of them is them as they truly are, when this is not so. A great error is carried out in that we lose those qualities of being as they are in the present moment, but we also lose out, in this way, of ever being able to speak of the true wholeness of a person. ‘Wholeness’ here becomes quite tricky, as we have s(tn1(x)) = b(tn1(x))&m(tn1(x))&….We now have an infinitely many sets of infinite series. We not only have thus: n(r(y1)(tn2(x)), we have n(r(y1)(tn3(x)), n(r(y1)(tn4(x)), etc etc. We also have what y2 says of tn2, tn3, tn4, etc. etc. We also have what y3 says, what y4 says, what y5 says, etc etc etc. Now that is merely to speak of notion as a discussion of whole being, soul. What about notions merely of body? Notions merely of mind? We now have another set of infinites.
The soul at a time, really, then, is an infinite set of ideas, the body at that time, and the mind at that time. The soul overall? That’ll be saved for another post.