Who and What are we?
From “THE UNIVERSAL MIND’ book by Peter Weisz.
Imagine that you and me are standing facing each other. Now let’s begin to exchange our body parts. We’ll begin by exchanging our brains. Remember, my brain needs to be connected to your spinal column and all the nerves that run through your body, including your eyes, ears, mouth, fingers…everything. Now, have you become me? Let’s exchange hearts. But my heart has to be connected to arteries and veins and pump the blood that is in your body, so are you yet me? Next, how about we exchange our hands and feet. Then, our arms and legs. Then we can go a step further and exchange the largest organ we have, which is our skin. Are you still you? Am I still me? OK, now let’s exchange some internal organs, say, our livers, lungs, stomachs, kidneys and spleens. How do “you” feel now? So, let’s swap our eyes, ears, nose, mouth…all our bones and our whole torsos and faces. You definitely look like me now…but are you me - and am I you? Can you see where I’m going with this? Let’s keep on until we have exchanged everything. Are you now me looking at you, or are you now a different you, looking at me? Have you become me? What if we were now to swap back the parts of our brains most associated with memory, being the hippocampus, the amygdala and the neocortex. Would you then be you with my body, or me with your memories? The point is, at what moment do you become me? How much of ourselves do we have to exchange before this transformation takes place? And what about our “souls” or “spirits”, or our minds?
When you say “I am” ...something or other, who and where is the “I” that is saying or thinking those things? What is your mind made from? Your mind is not a conglomeration or a mere collection of your memories and experiences. It is not a “thing” that lives in your brain. It is not something that is made from any “stuff”, so where does that “mind” reside in the physical world if it is not physical? Is it inside you - or does it just hover somewhere nearby?