Understanding the Complicity That is You: An Existential Exercise

Dave Pollard, Aug 26, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes

The concept of 'identity' is a difficult topic to explore - we are all, after all, self-interested in the result - and yet one of the most oft-explored. So there is perhaps no such thing as a new take on the subject beyond Popeye's "I am what I am." See also John Searle on consciousness. Conceptually, identify is a raft of connected concepts, ranging from hopes and dreams to ambitions and regrets and desires (to name but a few). Each of these is one or another aspect of our attempts over the years to answer the fundamental questions: why can't I be satisfied with who I am? What do I need to do to become better? How can I be happy? What is my purpose in life? Many of the questions presuppose their own answers - for example, the one suggesting that there is a purpose in life. Yet between then, in the cracks, is that experience we call 'self'. Here I link to Dave Pollard's exploration of these questions.

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