Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Can "I" be someone else? (thought experiment)

A thought experiment... is it possible that the perception of "I" in a person can be warped to be someone else in such a way that I believe that I am the other person. And, if I were to suddenly be aware of my actual senses, it was seem unbelievable or even as if it was someone else. I imagine it would almost seem like an out-of-body experience.

Part of this thought experiment is to determine if our belief in what is true primarily due to the weight of certain information. We have our perception of "I" because of all the senses that we have with us all the time. It clearly overrides any other information as true by this hypothesis.

Thus this is how we deem what is true and false, even though we do not really know what is true or what is false. Our brain is like a natural scientific experiment. We believe in the patterns that we can perceive and understand.

This is why it is harder to gain trust than to lose it. It takes information and (in our current mode of information input) time to confirm that the pattern of information from a certain source is trust worthy. The trust of that information is compounded by the source. Thus as the source becomes more trusted, the more trusted the information is (whether that information is true or not). Thus it is possible that a false information can be trusted merely by the trust coefficient of the source. On the other hand, once the trust of the source is broken, all information will lose all the trust bonus. This does not mean the information is false but rather it requires other values like repetition of information from multiple sources or repetition of experiments (science).


So my experiment is to wonder if I am able to block all sensory information from a person. The person would be "bound" or perhaps in weight-less environment like space. Then have a monitor or even a VR headset that displays another life like a TV show from a single point of view. Would all that new sensory change the person's idea of self?

Interestingly after this thought, I was watching the TV show Person Of Interest (POI) where Samaritan was attempting to brainwash her. Although fictional, it is kind of in-line to the experiment except from the very beginning.

Possible Repercussions

I wonder if this could potentially explain brainwashing. By overriding the sensory input with overwhelming information, a threshold could be met to essentially override existing beliefs. Another trust coefficient is probably introduced for survival purposes. Basically, the weight of trust level is increased by the urgency for surviving. This could also explain Stockholm syndrome.

On a lesser level, this could also explain religion. On the same level, a similar argument could also made about science.

Then on the white-lie level, repeating a lie could even convince ourselves of something not only of little basis but something even knowingly false.

Perhaps this is why I always have some sort of self-doubt.


Just to reiterate, this is just a though-experiment as it is impossible (at least morally/ethically) to actually do. Second, I have little knowledge about brainwashing, illnesses, etc., except what is known through pop-culture. 

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