I’ve been thinking about the concept of individuality a lot lately. What makes you YOU? Is it your personal preferences? The things you own? The things you do? The things you create? Your consciousness or soul?
Many people today would say that you are the things you like: what clothes you wear, which car you drive, what type of coffee you drink, which bands you listen to. But when you really think about it, all those things are just the stuff you buy. Companies just encourage us to “express ourselves” through our purchase decisions, so we get emotionally attached to their products and buy more stuff.
You are Not Your Things and Thoughts
When you take away all your possessions and personal preferences, what’s left? It’s the things you do in life, and your ideas. But even those things are fluid; they change over time as we become more mature and have different experiences. I am not the same person I was 5 years ago. I don’t do the same things or have the same ideas.
So if it isn’t your actions or ideas that make you you, could it be your consciousness? Energy concentrated into a cluster of atoms that make up your brain and produce an experience, which we perceive as consciousness?
Or could it be that none of us are really all that unique, and we just think we are because our own experience is the only one we have access to?
In this episode of the Future Thinkers Podcast
- [01:11] – What is individuality, and what factors define it?
- [06:05] – Consumerist individuality vs. individuality of ideas
- [09:52] – Privacy in the internet age and beyond
- [10:35] – Individuality after the technological singularity
- [12:27] – Body hacking and the quantified self
- [16:48] – How networks become conscious
- [20:46] – Why we started a futurist podcast, not a business podcast
Mentions & Resources
- The Borg from Star Trek, a documentary
- Higher consciousness
- Collective intelligence
- Quantifying consciousness, Dr. Giulio Tononi
- How networks could become conscious
- First person to live to 150 has already been born
- The most peaceful time in human history
- Bulletproof coffee
Question of the episode:
What do you think makes you YOU? Do you think individuality will matter in the future? Answer in the comments below!
More From Future Thinkers:
- Building Future Societies with Transparency and Freedom with David Brin (FTP024)
- Cyborg Buddha: Transhuman Enlightenment and UBI with James Hughes (FTP025)
- The Science Behind Synchronicity with Dr. Kirby Surprise (FTP037)
- Failed Utopias, Mapping the Mind, and Finding Meaning with Dr. Jordan Peterson (FTP038)
- Our 5-part Interview with Vinay Gupta on Techno-Social Systems and Enlightenment (FTP018, 19, 26, 27, 28)