Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Do People Exist Apart From Their Phenomena in the Moment?

Epistemic status: provisional.

Do people exist apart from their phenomena in the moment? If everything is consciousness, it might seem not -- in other words, that people are identical with their experience bodies. One seeming counterpoint is sleep, another comas. If it's possible for there to be true unconsciousness, followed by a return to being more or less the same person, then does our new self each morning or after a coma pop into existence out of nothing, strangely similar to or even almost the same as before we lost consciousness? I know that I exist as a person, this is the root of my knowledge. That person is not contingent on whether I slept or underwent a coma. But of course that person changes over time, and the philosophy of personal identity raises questions about the ability to say that there is one subject per life-story. And yet my root knowledge is that one subject exists, that is me. That one subject is the one to whom I relate as myself. There are aspects of who I am that are not accessible to me in my experience body, in the moment. Yet I know that I exist, that I have depth. My past choices are real and sometimes really part of me even if I have forgotten them.

The MSLN approach to this is to say that through God, all the phenomena in my own or another's experience body is known by God, and God has his own opinions of who we are. In a sense, we are each simantic words, and the words take their definition from God's understanding of them. We are people with depth because God speaks our experience bodies in a way consistent with who we are as simantic words. Over time, we shape that simantic word, through our choices in the present moment, as subjects.

Because God knows us and remembers who we are, he can recreate us whenever we become conscious. He is conscious of us when we are unconscious.

There is a certain extent to which our past selves really are our present selves, and also an extent to which they are not. When we have really grown past the past, it is allowed to no longer bear on the present. (For instance, God "remembers our sins no more".) So it is possible for us to no longer be the people we were in the past, even though our history will always be ours. Painful past memories can be looked at with neither the shame of being the victim nor of being the perpetrator, when we are no longer the same people.

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