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Agonizism

by thehusk

I am torn between two views of reality, and of the self.

One is that the self is dependent on the brain. It changes as the brain changes, and as the brain is damaged by injury or disease. Who you are is what your brain does. As the brain dies and is broken down and subsumed into other organisms, so the self fragments and is dissipated.

The other is that the self can somehow transcend death, and will be held to account for it’s actions in life. That it is a discrete entity, which can be detached from the world, and judged alone. That in some sense it is eternal.

These things are mutually contradictory, yet somehow I believe them both, one rationally, the other emotionally. Try as I might, I cannot seem to settle on one or the other as an approach to reality. It leaves me in two minds about everything, especially suicide.

 

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8 comments

wait 11/10/2019 - 4:10 pm

So… which conflict do you have between both views concerning suicide?

For me personally it’s rationally giving me peace of mind that if i died i have peace and everythings over.
But as you say at the same time i want to belive that there is more, which sometimes brings me to the dumb conclusion that after suicide there is a better world.

thehusk 11/11/2019 - 12:02 am

The rational view suggests suggests suicide as a way to end experience of suffering. The emotional view holds that far worse suffering awaits beyond death.

It'll Be Ok 11/10/2019 - 7:00 pm

“Who you are is what your brain does” not necessarily true. a bully will repeat the same thing again and again. sooner or later you will believe it, thats why they do it. but you can use the same strategy for good. while the bully is sitting there calling you a fail at life (my mothers words that repeat in my head daily) tell yourself thats not true and then prove them wrong. thats one of the reasons im still here. if she ever found out that i had committed suicide shed be right, clearly i would be a fail at life if i quit.
point is you are who you are, not what your brain does. you can take a bad situation and sit there beating yourself up, or you can get up and try again.

thehusk 11/11/2019 - 12:08 am

The view is that who you are is produced by the state of your brain. So those with severe brain injuries or dementia often suffer dramatic personality changes. Under that view, your decision to ‘get up and try again’ is itself dependent on the state of your brain.

It'll Be Ok 11/11/2019 - 8:18 am

Yes. But even still. Let’s go with dementia because there’s a lot of different brain injuries so I couldn’t cover them all. But it would still be roughly the same idea. You can sit there and sulk because everything’s fucked up so fuck it. Or you can try to find a way to either solve the problem (not so much the option in this case) or you can try to work with the problem. I quickly read up on dementia and one of the things it said was difficulty thinking. So maybe you won’t be a scientist but if you take your time and try to not get frustrated with yourself you could work with it.

That was probably explained poorly but idk how else to explain it.

thehusk 11/11/2019 - 9:20 am

Kinda feel like you’re missing the point here. The decision to ‘sit there and sulk’ would itself be a product of the state of your brain. Dementia impacts the ability to make decisions, along with impulse control. Because what you decide, what you think, what you feel – they’re all based on the state of the brain. Injure or damage the brain sufficiently, and who you are changes. Dementia is degenerative – when it enters it’s late stages, people’s personality can be observed to fragment and come apart. Relatives frequently report that it’s like they’re speaking to a completely different person – because they are. Parts of what made them who they are are physically gone.

Positivity is fine, as far as it goes. I agree there are better or worse ways to handle any circumstance. This post was more about the difficulties that arise from contradictory ways of viewing reality.

It'll Be Ok 11/11/2019 - 9:30 am

ok. at this point i have a question. doesnt everyone change no matter what. i remember when i was in middle school i swore i would never do drugs and drink and now im sitting here with a joint in my hand and an empty bottle from last night.
although when you said “what you think, what you feel – they’re all based on the state of the brain” that made everything make more sense and i have a feeling it is also basically the answer to my question. when i said i wouldnt ever do those things i was “fine” however as depression set in and life went down hill that clearly changed. the depression being the factor that changed the state of my brain. or am i off again?

thehusk 11/11/2019 - 10:24 am

Absolutely, the change is just much more marked in cases of brain injury or disease. When change is gradual, day by day, there’s a chain of connection linking you back to who you used to be.

The experience of depression would be a product of the state of your brain – which is not to say it’s not impacted by what happens to you in life.

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