Who are you?

Are you an unique soul or a random compilation of biological matter?

If I replicated every single atom of your body and assemble them perfectly according to your DNA, would there be two of you? Or would there be you and a biologically identical entity that is not you. Are you your body? I mean, you consist of about 50 to 75 trillion cells, each with its own life span. Almost all cells in your body replace them selves every 7 to 10 years. Your body renews itself constantly, still it ages. Even if all the biological matter that was you ten years ago have been replaced, you feel like the kid you were the first time you fell in love or lost your balloon at the fair. My great grand mother in law once said she had all ages inside of her. She was a child, a teenager, a young mum and an old woman. She thought that was the perk of ageing, her consciousness grew; she knew more and embodied more experiences. I loved that perspective, it is generous and wise.

The famous philosopher René Descartes' mind-body dualism assert that people are inhabited by an immaterial soul that can’t be reduced to a function of the brain. Is your soul the "ghost in the machine" then? Perhaps as the machine, your body, ages your soul grows and evolves? On the other end of this theoretical spectrum you’ll find Epiphenomenalism; a mind–body philosophy asserting that all mental events are cause by physical events. In short our soul is merely a bi-product of the biological functions compiled in the transient slush of earthly matter that is you.

These were questions I’ve pondered since I was a kid. Am I a soul incarnated in a body or a body producing a mind? The father of Quantum theory Niels Bohr said that the lesson of quantum theory is found in the musings of thinkers like the Buddha and Lao Tzu. These eastern philosophers approach the epistemological problem of consciousness by harmonizing body and soul and our roles as spectators and actors in the great drama of existence. You are body and soul, the observer and the observed in an interconnected in a field of infinite potentiality.  Wow… I struggle to wrap my head around that one?

In a time of extreme self-representation on social media, distributed on the World Wide Web, we’ve come to know our selves as others see us in cyberspace.  We become increasingly “other” defined, linked to a web of other minds responding by likes or other symbols. This suggests that you are not only your body and mind, but also the product of what other conscious humans reflect back to you in a non-material way. We are interconnected with all beings, not only biologically through the constant recycling of atoms, but also at the subtle level of mind. The Internet has become an extension of our own brain, so trolling spreading hate is like... You fill the blanks...

Norwegian artist Pushwagner really expresses the dehumanising alienation of an atomised human being in a grand impersonal social machine. As a creative studio we try to reverse this experience.  We hope to use technology to create context, personalising and rehumanising information (Pushwagner, Hariton. Nam-Nam I. 2008).

Norwegian artist Pushwagner really expresses the dehumanising alienation of an atomised human being in a grand impersonal social machine. As a creative studio we try to reverse this experience.  We hope to use technology to create context, personalising and rehumanising information (Pushwagner, Hariton. Nam-Nam I. 2008).

If intelligence is a mere information-processing capacity and our thoughts and emotions a biological iterative feedback systems responding to this information, I conclude that INFORMATION is vital. We can’t change biological entropy or the laws of nature, but what information we feed into the system is vital. If the irreducibly smallest detectable particles (energy) are mere excitations of the quantum field, INFORMATION is the stuff that both ignites and governs their interactions.

How mindful are we of the INFORMATION we give and receive?

Our common human brain has evolved starting with primitive brain structures. Today the reptile brain and our Amygdala co-exist with the most refined parts of our prefrontal cerebral cortex (which are the only cells not replaced between birth and death). At times our primitive mind overpower higher logical functions, and are responsible for anger and destructive impulses. This has proven to be a bad combo with nuclear capacity, polluting behaviour and technology of mass destruction. If we are to evolve as species, we need to develop a higher state of mind or self-destruct. Both outcomes are within our power at this point.

How do we do this? By studying quantum fields or philosophy?

NO

Again my Danish hero Niels Bohr comes to the rescue. He sums up our task as individuals and as species:

Our task is to communicate experience and ideas to others. We must strive continually to extend the scope of our description, but in such a way that our messages do not thereby lose their objective or unambiguous character… we are suspended in language in such a way that we cannot say what is up and what is down. The word "reality" is also a word, a word which we must learn to use correctly.“
- Niels Bohr

There it is, our task:
Communicate experiences and ideas to others and strive to extend the scope of description. Mr. Bohr, PFXs on it. 

 

Quantum greetings from

Grethe Bøe-Waal

Creative Director, PFX