The Alien Thing I AM: On Peter Watts Blindsight

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I see it for the first time since some beaten bloody friend on a childhood battlefield convinced me to throw my own point of view away. – Peter Watts, Blindsight

Most of us go through life never questioning the truth or untruth of our perspective onto reality or ourselves. We merrily believe that we exist and that’s enough. Sure, everyone lives, breaths, smells, hears, sees – and, we all have this feeling that there is this subtle continuity, something that from day to day remains; even after all the objects that enter and leave our conscious mind we sense this something that is essential about our lives, something distinct and different; and, most of all permanent: the sense of Self, our identity – our meaning and purpose, our memories and connections to a body and its relations with others, our sociality. But what is this thing after all? This Self we so believe in and never even question, but assume that everyone around us has as well. Is it real? Are just a packet of memories that resolve themselves through redundancy and recursive iterations of information seem to provide us the illusion of a unified identity through time, when indeed there is actually nothing at all there, nothing. Just an illusory vacuum filled with strange thoughts that appear from nowhere and soon drift off into that vast emptiness surrounding us on all sides.

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