Sunday, December 31, 2006
We have tackled the idea of Identity in previous entries, and shall dive into further detail today, boys and girls. As you all know, I go by at least two aliases, M. Lau and Matthew John Lauer. Recently, I have been appointed “Soda Jerk!!!!1!” Anyone who reads both my LiveJournal and this blog knows M. Lau and Matthew John Lauer are two distinct entities inhanbiting the same flesh matter. Perhaps Soda Jerk!!!!1! makes a nest in my toes. Ah! and we shan’t forget AHOV Inc., whom many know as my AIM screenname. Today’s discussion focuses on what true Identity is as it applies to the World we know, and the Indentity of the author of these blogs.
To begin, take a moment and ask yourself, “Who am I?” Simple question. You may answer, “Insert a Name Here” or “Insert First and Last Name Here”. I would answer that way too. You may also have dozens more points worth of IQ than I do (that rhymes!) and tune out now. If so, good-bye. If neither option applies to you, keep reading anyway. The first option I listed corresponds to a name. Most children’s parents give them a name, unless of course they are Adam Sandler in Big Daddy. Most would say the name suffices as the identity of a person. To all English majors, recite with me how characters are described by
1. What they do,
2. What they say, and
3. What others say about them.
True to form, if Reality were a book for, say, Colonel Sanders in Heaven, I would appear a subversive and confusing character. Reader, you may also make Colonel Sanders cringe as he leafs through the pages of the Book.
A character with several names will not confuse a reader. A character’s hypocrisy will. I shall only speak for myself when I say, “I am a hypocrite.” Ah, but if I am a hypocrite, how can you hold that I will not act differently from what I say? In declaring “I am a hypocrite,” I must not be one. Great! Then again, how can we follow the pattern to say that I will act differently from what I say if I am not, in fact, a hypocrite? I preach no self-confessional, reader, I only give you a prime example of Identity beyond our understanding.
I borrow Douglas R. Hoffstadter’s terminology of Strange Loops to procede. You may recall from my previous entry my three guidelines for selfhood. Realize that “self” is as much an abstraction as “number” is. The title of this blog has no relevence to “2 + 2 = 1” at all. The popular 2ge+her song “U + Me = Us” can be subsituted to 1 + 1 = 1. If you’re a stickler and count characters in a string, we’ll work with 1 + 2 = 2. Either way, neither is true by the laws of Set Theory and Number Theory. That is, of course, if we hold numbers to be numbers. Such a trivial idea slips under the noses of most practicing mathematicians, and likely presents a waste of time to everyone else. After all, how can we develop entire fields of knowledge and thousands of years of practice of mathematics if the underlying ideas are false? It might turn out the idea of the number has no substance in our world. Even if it did, it would need the dreaded units to go with it. My theories and readings tell me that a seperate reality may host pure and simple numbers, whose markings on our reality are very weird. Consider 2.71828182845904523536028747135266249775724709369995…, the number of natural exponential growth. Inasmuch as many apparent contradictions but actually Strange Loops result from an “Abstraction” (notice the quotation marks) like numbers, the same also occurs with an “Abstraction” like selves.
“Abstractions” are really contructs unavailable to full human processing. That does not nagate their existence. Only contradiction would arise if ideas were false. Strange Loops result when something is weirdly true. Sadly I cannot fully describe my Identity without using Ninth-Dimensional HyperWords. I can claim all my aliases as myself. My birthname is Matthew John Lauer. My chosen name is Exxor. My colloquial name is M. Lau. My Spanish name is Mateo. My poorer colloquial name is Matt-Jean. All are true. You may know me as the guy who writes these lengthy entries every whoknowswhen. You may know me as a former student of Waverly High School. You may know me as a current student at the University of Michigan. I could list adjectives for myself, but people generally deal me those. What do I think of myself?
My name is Matt. I am human. I live on Earth.