notebook entry 2009
Lee Smolin: The Trouble with Physics, p44: a description of non-background-dependent descriptions. “We no longer have fields moving in a fixed-background geometry. We have a bunch of fields all interacting with one another, all dynamical, all influencing one another…”
Personality generated the same way, as a product of all the interacting systems of a body. Even the context, which seems like a fixed frame, is a process & part of the process. Personality a constantly shifting product of these processes & interactions. Every process is responding to every other one via “rules of engagement” that only apply to that type of transaction. No station-master is needed—or could be developed—to oversee the process. When was the last time you gave an instruction to your liver ? A liver cell knows nothing but how to be a liver cell; its “knowledge” of being a liver cell consists in operating. It never gets instructions from above, from a unifying regulator. It reacts to inputs in ways determined by its own rules. “You” is the second-by-second product of a billion decisions taken second-by-second by thousands of totally autonomous systems. “You” stacks up; it accretes, or agglomerates–but it also falls down and changes and shifts evanescently moment by moment. “You” is a by-product, an artefact of all those processes. You don’t like to be told that. It’s offensive. But once you understand it you understand the evanescence and undependability of a conscious personality.