My latest blog titled “Circular Reasoning” is published on the Atheist Republic Home page at
FACING THE INEVITABLE WITHOUT FEAR
As an individual you know you exist because you are aware of yourself. What is self-awareness? It is a condition of being aware and being conscious of our environment through the input of our senses. It is a brain function that is located in the brain stem. Psychologist Carroll Izard” emphasizes that consciousness consists of the capacity to generate emotions and an awareness of one’s surroundings. So you know, if you are not suffering from a mental defect, that you are you! This is reality. The establishment of who you are does not solely rest on your awareness, since that uses only the input of the moment, but relies heavily on your memory. If an accidental brain damage destroyed your memory (total amnesia) your old “self” would be destroyed and you will have to start building up a new “self” again. Now try the following exercise, strictly based on reality and current knowledge.
Recall the very first time that you became aware as a person. (I was about two years old). Before that time you were not self-aware. Neuro-science has established that awareness developed slowly when the brain developed. Memory, needed to become self-aware, came later, as you experienced, is a fact you observed yourself. You came out of non-existence into existence slowly. You build up a picture of “self” in your memory, which is well established as a brain function by the many neuro-science researchers who studied brain injuries and have found out which parts of the brain contains memories. These memories are part of your physical brain and they are dependent on those parts working properly, they are not floating around in space. So here we are: we came out of nowhere and our “self’ consists of the memories we have and the immediate information we receive through our senses. We also know, if not impaired, the difference between reality and fantasy, dreams, hallucinations and other non-realistic conditions. What happens next? The only reality about the future of our “self” is the observation of people other than yourself and become aware of what happens. We can observe Altzheimers’ patient when they slowly lose their memory and awareness, a terrible disease. We now know that it is a disease of the brain that is slowly destroying the capacity of the brain to recall memory, or destroying the memory itself. In the end is not only the immediate awareness is gone, but also starts to affect other bodily functions as well. There is only one conclusion to draw. Your self-awareness is totally depended on your brain function and just as awareness developed in the fetus it gets destroyed when the brain dies. Your awareness goes back to the place it was before your brain developed. This is not rocket science. You observed your own development of your self-awareness, and you can observe the reverse process in others. Other pure speculations without any observable facts are not valid. Medical and biological research are pointing at the way to increase the average lifespan, and who knows where the limit is, but for now accept reality. One might not like the knowledge of inevitable death, but one does not have to fear it!