Comments on “Selfness”

Comments

Other creatures

LPalmer's picture

Like the tarantula analogy. You might also be tempted to break down the very real barriers that exist between you and the tarantulas by giving them human characteristics. Which brings me (really clunkily!) onto to a point I wanted to raise (but wasn’t sure where to raise it): will you address anthropomorphization anywhere here? It seems to me to be a very common form of eternalism that denies nebulosity and can leave a very clear path to a nihilistic rebound.

I spent a longer time than could be considered healthy staring at a cricket on the wall today, which spent a long period of time utterly motionless, and getting strangely anxious about whether it was enjoying and valuing its own existence or not. It appears to lack self-consciousness, and biology would agree- but what do I know? I’m not a cricket. Being a cricket is completely alien to me. Similarly, ant colonies certainly do a lot of stuff, but do they find that stuff meaningful?

I suppose eternalistic anthropomorphization might act as a tempting but flimsy sticking plaster for these kinds of thoughts: if biology-based crickets and ants do stuff, and biology-based humans do stuff, and we find the stuff we do meaningful, then ants and crickets must find the stuff they do meaningful too (cue leap, maybe, to the extra assumption it’s the same kind of meaning we find in doing stuff). Emotionally appealing: check. Probably wrong: also check.

I guess my point is that non-human living things seem to present a particular challenge of nebulosity for us to deal with…

Add new comment

Navigation

This page introduces a section containing the following:

This page is in the section Doing meaning better.

The previous page is Unity and diversity. (That page introduces its own subsection.)

General explanation: Meaningness is a hypertext book. Start with an appetizer, or the table of contents. Its “metablog” includes additional essays, not part the book.

Subscribe to new content by email. Click on terms with dotted underlining to read a definition. The book is a work in progress; pages marked ⚒︎ are under construction.