Monday, June 6, 2011

Welcome to my world

Given that chimpanzees share about 99 per cent of their genetic makeup with humans, I'm someone not that different from you. Choose two people at random, and they’ll be closer—much closer—than they imagine. Did you ever ask yourself exactly who you are? Well, there you go then! That's another thing that we have in common.

Try this on for size: Think of me as if I’m you. Imagine that you'd been beamed into my body or been poured into my pair of shoes (a bit tricky, since I don’t wear ’em). What would you do if you were me? No really, do that right now—our first thought experiment together. 

Suppose that you were me. Crawl inside my head. Imagine that you’ve somehow inherited my cerebral estate, the only catch being that you can’t bring any baggage with you—no knowledge of the former you, no memories et cetera. You can only bring your own ‘essence’, whatever that might be. What would you do as me, and how would you act?

If that were really the situation, then to all intents and purposes I suggest that since you are me (or I am you), you wouldn’t—couldn’t—act any differently than I had been, have been, are or will be acting in the future. You’d be ‘locked in’. You would have to make—have made—the same decisions as me. You would have fallen—will fall—into exactly the same traps. This is so because you would possess (or be possessed by) my background, environment, genetic makeup and everything else that pertains. It would be impossible for you to relate to the world in any other way but mine.

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