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What is it that observes that I am?

  1. Feb 23, 2004 #1
    "I think; therefore, I am."

    I am, however, aware that I think.

    I am also aware that I am without the necessity of thinking or being aware that I think.

    If it is I who is thinking then what is it that is aware, observing, that I am thinking?

    If I am then what is it that is aware that I am?

    What part of me is aware, aware of self and of thinking, yet is not self aware of it's identity?

    IOW Why must I ask, rather than already knowing, What is aware, what is doing the observing of, my thinking and being, yet is not aware of what it itself is or what part of me it is?

    What is it that is experiencing "I am" and thinking, but is cognitively separate from "I am" and thinking.

    Is it that it is the essence of me, an identity inseparable from and thus undefinable and unknowable from myself?

    Or, is it that it is not an individual identity as I am but part of a One, a universal consciousness, a part of the collective "I am"?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 23, 2004 #2
    I think that we are all born into this world with nothing much but our awarness.

    Some animals do not even have a sense of self until they look into the mirror. We arent ourselves until we figure out that we are in control of ourselves. We start by controllig our body, our arms, our legs. Until we can move around and walk. Then we Become aware that we can also control our surroundings. Then as we get older and socialize a bit more we then learn that others like us can be controlled. So we all are aware of ourselves but how much are you really aware of? Are you aware that you have control?
  4. Feb 23, 2004 #3
    it's you in the form of what's known as aware mind. there is thinking mind and aware mind.
  5. Feb 24, 2004 #4
    That's part of my question. There is a part of me that does have control of what I think about or if I think at all. I control my thinking but if I am thinking who or what is observing and controlling.
  6. Feb 24, 2004 #5

    it is my suspicion that it is our sub-conscious that we feel watching our thoughts and actions.

    this bugger knows why we chose to be here and unless we slow down and listen, he will allow us to go off half cocked. everytime we have second thoughts, it is the sub-con saying 'wait', think a-bout it.

    it also helps us to feel good when we just 'know' we did the right thing. the conscious mind may have made the final decision, but it is the inner self that creates the feelings.

  7. Feb 24, 2004 #6
    Royce, I think part of the answer to your question may lie in a realization of the redundancy of your principle statement: I think therefore I am.

    The statement is redundant, since "I think" has presupposed that there is an "I" - doing the "thinking" - and so the phrase "I am" is a re-stating of something already implied in the first clause.

    Thus, since the statement is redundant, then you could just say "I think", and - assuming that it's true - can deduce herefrom that you exist and think.

    So, the new statement is, simply, "I think". Now, your question would be, what is it that observes that "I" am "thinking". And the answer would be that "I" is observing it's own thinking.

    You see, the reason I mentioned the redundancy was to remove the phrase "therefore I am", because that statement turns the whole sentence into a proof that there is an "I" - and where there is proof, there should be a "prover" (leading to all the questions that you ask in your initial post). However, if the statement is not about proving one's existence, but simply taking it for granted while postulating a new "truth" (that "I" "thinks"), then the questions become "who observes that the entity, "I", can "think"?" which is logically answerable.

    IOW, If you make a statement that is supposed to prove your existence, based on a certain observation (in this case, that you think), then you can ask "who is making this observation in the first place?"; but, if you make a statement about something that you do, then it can easily be you yourself that makes the observation.

    Do you see what I mean?
  8. Feb 24, 2004 #7
    Most of the thinking and awarenss of the I existence is automated.

    Only with self aware effort do we think and are aware.

    What is it that controls and observes the I to be, automated or not?

    Its kind of like being the pilot of a plane but could set it on autopilot. What flips the switch, what knows when to.
  9. Feb 24, 2004 #8
    wel, who do you think is "driving the bus?"
  10. Feb 24, 2004 #9
    Re: Royce:

    Is it our sub-conscious or our super-ego to use Freud's terms? Or, is it what we call our heart and/or soul? Or is it something else entirely? Or, is it our conscience or just another property of consciousness itself.
  11. Feb 24, 2004 #10
    Re: Re: What is it that observes that I am?

    Yes, Mentat, my friend. I agree completely. It is enough to say; "I am." Remember months ago I commented in one of your threads that Descartes had it wrong. He should have said; "I am; therefore, I think." This comment goes right along with what you and I are saying here.

    Do you have any thoughts about the subject of this thread. What is it that is aware of being, being aware and of thinking. Who or what is actually in control of our thinking and awareness.
  12. Feb 24, 2004 #11
    Okay, I agree; but what is it's name. It is more like the autopilot flipping it's own switch on and off and being aware that it is doing so even in the off mode.
  13. Feb 24, 2004 #12
    Well that's the question isn't it. If I am driving the bus then who or what is watching me driving the bus and is aware that I am driving the bus and thinking of something other than driving and is telling me to pay attention and quit wool gathering.
    How many of me is there in here and what is their names or what do I call them? Who is observing the observer, watching the watcher?
  14. Feb 24, 2004 #13
    I'm having trouble keeping up with you. Which "I"?
    The I in "I am" or the 'I' that is thinking or the 'I' that is aware of all the above. Will the real 'I' please stand up and be recognized?
  15. Feb 24, 2004 #14
    it's name is I.

    aka aware mind.
  16. Feb 25, 2004 #15
    Re: Re: Re: What is it that observes that I am?

    Well, that's the point: To say "I am" is to recognize both your existence, and a unique ability that you have to recognize that existence...and, of course, the unique ability to recognize that you recognize that ability, and so on.

    I guess what I'm getting at is that introspection is man's way of cutting out the middle-man, if you will, by answering one's own question.

    According to Dennett, the ability for introspection evolved from the ability to ask and receive an answer; from which came the obvious necessity to be able to answer another's question, from which came the ability to - when cut off from others - answer one's own question, from which came introspection.

    Also, there was a piece by Hume that dealt with the idea of "central self". In the end, he stated that, if you remove everything innate about a man along with all of the experiences that he had had up to that time, you are not left with a "naked self", but are rather left with nothing at all. So, no one's at the "driver's seat", but the bus has learned to drive itself, and has then learned to ask "who's driving me"...

    Just a couple of thoughts that seemed relevant. What do you think?
  17. Feb 25, 2004 #16
    Re: Re: What is it that observes that I am?

    Royce, from birth to death moment to moment, the "I" becomes more consciouslly selfaware and in the end returns from which it came. The "I" perceives a awaresness of a field of movement of consciousness. The "I" perceives, knows and is selfaware of its movement in different field levels of consciousness. The "I" knows that it is not the consciousness but part of it, it knows when it transends the "I".
  18. Feb 26, 2004 #17
    awareness should come first, before thinking. But it requires thinking to be aware that you are aware.
    We are aware, all of us, some more then others. The more you are aware of your limitations the more you can do.

    Awareness is almost limitless but the thinking part is a fraction of the limitless awareness which makes our awareness limited. Now i can't really say that you are capable of achieving full awareness but i know that the more you test your limits the closer you get to full control.
  19. Feb 26, 2004 #18
  20. Feb 26, 2004 #19
    Re: Re: Re: Re: What is it that observes that I am?

    I'm not sure that I agree with that believing that we have a soul or super consciousness as I do. As for the "drivers seat", that's my point. I thi9nk there is some part of me that is in the drivers seat as that part is aware of what is going on, observes and controls both my thinking and awareness at times. My question is is this part my soul, super ego or part of a universal consciousness sometimes refered to as the One. I don't have a name for it. I can say that this is my thinking brain/mind and this is my aware brain/mind but I can't say what that is. Is it that it is the essence of me. It is the actual I of I am and therefore not named other than Royce and cannot be differentiated for I.
    So many of the philosophers and scientist who study being and consciousness remind me of weather men who don't look out the window to see what is actually going on. They don't look within themselves, within there minds to see what is going on inside there head or heart. Hume for instance and removing all that is inate and no naked man; or, is he saying that our ego, super ego, soul, unconsciousness and that part of God within all of us is inate. If that is true then what is his point? It seem redundant to say remove every and all parts of me and there will be nothing left. Duh, Hello.
  21. Feb 26, 2004 #20
    for me, the subconscious is the 'director' of my psycho-drama. and my conscious mind is the 'lead actor'.

    we all want to act - perform in a certain way. at the time of actualization the actor makes the final decision (with the director watching). later, there is a critique, well that decision was good or bad relative to the goal.

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