The January 2023 Philosophy Book of the Month is Entanglement - Quantum and Otherwise by John K Danenbarger.

What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Discuss the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All by Eckhart Aurelius Hughes.

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What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Scott »

This is a discussion forum topic for the November 2022 Philosophy Book of the Month, In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All.

The opening question in the newest edition of the book was slightly updated based on reader feedback and a vote held for readers of the book. Namely, the phrase "instead of yours" was added to the question to clarify it. The current clarified version of the question (which is really two questions) is as follows:

If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your memories, and awoke in my body in my bed with my memories instead of yours, would you notice a difference? Would there even be a difference to notice?


What's your answer to those two questions?




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My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Stoppelmann »

Hi Scott,
thanks for the invitation to contribute.

My first comment would be on the opening question:
If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your memories, and awoke in my body in my bed with my memories instead of yours, would you notice a difference? Would there even be a difference to notice?
Hughes, Eckhart Aurelius. In It Together: The Beautiful Struggle Uniting Us All
The key to the answer lies in the word “instead” which means that my own memories would no longer be present, but without them, there is the question whether I would actually be me anymore. Therefore, if noticing a difference requires a point of reference that is different to the present situation with which to compare, there would be none. No difference, no question.
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Scott »

Stoppelmann wrote: December 15th, 2022, 2:15 pm Therefore, if noticing a difference requires a point of reference that is different to the present situation with which to compare, there would be none. No difference, no question.
I agree with this reasoning. :)

Stoppelmann wrote: December 15th, 2022, 2:15 pm...which means that my own memories would no longer be present, but without them, there is the question whether I would actually be me anymore
Indeed, wisely pointed out. That question does seem to arise from this line of thinking. That question being would you still be you even if your memories change or are replaced.

As I think the book sufficiently demonstrates, you (in terms of the real you) is not defined by your memories. Thus, you (the real you) would still be you even if your memories changed.
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Mounce574 »

My response to that question is another question. What happens to you? Are you gone, did we swap? In essence, I would be you and no longer who I used to be. I wouldn't wish my past on my worst enemy; therefore, I hope that nobody ever experiences what I have.
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Scott »

Mounce574 wrote: December 15th, 2022, 3:48 pm My response to that question is another question. What happens to you? Are you gone, did we swap?

[emphasis added]
My response to that question is yet another question: What does the word 'you' mean exactly in the questions above?

Namely, using the concept of The Two Yous from the book, to which me of the two does it refer? (1) The real me, or (2) the unreal me (i.e. the figurative clothes, namely this specific 36-year-old human with a shaved head that we call Scott?

Or (3) does it refer some other third thing and if so what is that third thing?
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Surabhi Rani »

The question seems to be important. I agree that it refers to some other third thing which is consciousness. There is also a term called 'the witness' used in yogic philosophy. It is the nature of that consciousness. But for now, I am unable to identify with such a state of being.
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by mrlefty0706 »

I think you would not notice a difference unless you retained your own memories along with my memories. If it is a total transfer of memories without retaining my own past memories then I would become the other person although my friends and relatives would question the change in personality and memories. How would the new me answer questions about my changes?
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Mounce574 »

I am refering to mental consciousness. Because if I retain my outer appearance but my memories are completely different, then my entire life would become disrupted because my family, friends, and people I work with would not understand why I don't recall who they are or anything of my past. Also, if I seek out the people in the memories I now have, their lives would be affected.

If mental and physical were changed as well, then I wouldn't see where it would affect anything.

But then, what happens to you if I inhabit your mind and body?
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Stoppelmann »

Scott wrote: December 15th, 2022, 2:53 pm As I think the book sufficiently demonstrates, you (in terms of the real you) is not defined by your memories. Thus, you (the real you) would still be you even if your memories changed.
Having read on, I understand what you are pointing to, and agree. The only thing is that my true self has no identity, except being I, the witness. The distinguishing of my “I” from another “I” needs a point of reference, unless I am the One, looking out of the eyes of this body. But even there, I feel that to be the One, I lack an expansive awareness of the unity.
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Sheilaread »

This is a very intriguing question.
I feel that if I woke up in your body, as you….no. I would not be me at all. My being would be transcended to you and your thoughts.
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Scott »

Sheilaread wrote: December 17th, 2022, 4:19 am This is a very intriguing question.
I feel that if I woke up in your body, as you….no. I would not be me at all. My being would be transcended to you and your thoughts.

[emphasis added]
Thank you for your reply! :) Can you define what you mean by the phrase 'my being' exactly? And why is it not (in your belief) the defining quality of you (i.e. the real you)?

I'd be interested in also knowing your answer to one of my other questions I posted on the forum which is similar but essentially imagines the scenario playing out very gradually over time rather than instantly:

If your body very slowly and steadily morphed into an atom-by-atom identical copy of my body, would you still be you?


Thanks again for your repl! :)
My entire political philosophy summed up in one tweet.

"The mind is a wonderful servant but a terrible master."

I believe spiritual freedom (a.k.a. self-discipline) manifests as bravery, confidence, grace, honesty, love, and inner peace.
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Bertha Jackson »

I confidently state that I would still be me because my soul would not change. My outward appearance is like clothing you can change but the soul remains constant.
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Sushan »

After reading your book I see me and you as two identical cores that are covered with memories, flesh, clothes, and many more to be socially distinguished. But there is no actual demarcation to seperate me from you, or you from me. So the scenario that you described in the question will affect neither real me nor real you in any way.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Bertha Jackson »

Sushan wrote: December 28th, 2022, 2:49 am After reading your book I see me and you as two identical cores that are covered with memories, flesh, clothes, and many more to be socially distinguished. But there is no actual demarcation to seperate me from you, or you from me. So the scenario that you described in the question will affect neither real me nor real you in any way.
I like how you describe this.
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Re: What is your answer to the updated Opening Question? ("If you went to sleep in your body in your bed with your...")

Post by Sushan »

Bertha Jackson wrote: December 29th, 2022, 8:22 pm
Sushan wrote: December 28th, 2022, 2:49 am After reading your book I see me and you as two identical cores that are covered with memories, flesh, clothes, and many more to be socially distinguished. But there is no actual demarcation to seperate me from you, or you from me. So the scenario that you described in the question will affect neither real me nor real you in any way.
I like how you describe this.
Thank you. But it is not how I interpreted it, that is how Scott interpreted it in his book. And I think I understood that correctly. If our cores are similar, then there will not be any change when the outer coverings are changed. A computer will remain as the same computer (with its performance) even though you change its outer casing. If you replace its HDD then it will have new memories. But its core will remain unchanged.

What is hard is seeing the core and identifying it as it is, and it will be a great step in the path towards inner peace.
“There is only one thing a philosopher can be relied upon to do, and that is to contradict other philosophers”

– William James
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