Worlds ever time most “celebrated” philosophical question was “who am I ?”. An answer for this question is definitely answer for “does soul exist ?“, “where was I before my birth ?“, “where will I go after my death ?” etc.
To find an answer lets see some simple things. The first post in this blog was written by a person named, for instance, “S”. This post is also written by a “S”. Are they the same or two people with same name.If you are a regular reader of my blog you may guess that both are me, because both of them blog on same subject, use same type of language and use a common profile page.
This is the secret behind the feeling of identity. For every person you meet, a “file” or a “profile” get created in your brain.Whenever you meet this person again and again new information will get added to the same file.
Whenever you see the name, for instance, “Tom”, your brain search for an existing “Tom” file and updates it. If you couldn’t it will make a new “Tom” file and continue believing there are two “Toms”.
How the brain search and find the old “Tom” file? For this brain uses various parameters like appearance, face, sound etc and particularly the emotion that a person evokes.
Your brain identify a person based on one or more of these parameters. You may identify Einstein from his face alone, while your chairman from his sound and face combined. In case of someone who is very close to you like your dad or mom, it is not just sound and face but emotions that they evoke too help in identification.
If some of the above parameter are lost, for example your friend has shaved off his mustache and head, you may doubt whether this is the same person or not. In extreme cases where the stronger parameters like emotions are lost you will claim that the person is “impostor” or duplicate.
Identification of sound and faces occur ( or relayed through) temporal cortex of the brain. This part is connected to the hippocampus-the emotional center of the brain. Capgras delusion is a disease where this connection is lost. Such people will no longer produce emotions when they see or hear from someone.
When you see the twin sister of your mom, even though face and sound make it possible to locate his “mom’s profile” in brain the lack of emotions make him not to select that file. Instead it will create a new one.Thereafter he will consider her as a new person- his mom’s impostor (duplicating profile).
But in case of someone else like a sale man or taxi driver, such an emotion is not there. Just face and sound will help your brain to select existing “salesman file”. So he will continue identifying everyone except his loved ones.
Arthur was an unlucky young boy who suffered a traffic accident. He got his above said connection in his brain damaged and he started suffering from Capgras delusions. Vilayanur S. Ramachandran has experimented with him.
Arthur believed not only his parents but he himself is a duplicate. He identified his own past as another Arthur’s. This proves that even identification of self is similar to identification of others even though the parameters may be more in number.
Have you noticed here that “self” gets duplicated if a particular part of your brain is damaged! Is it not more than to prove “self” is product of your own brain and nothing eternal ?. Does it not prove “Self” or “Soul” exists neither before birth nor after death as do your brain?!
Originally Posted on 7/25/2008 09:39:00 PM