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Re: How do you define being self aware?

Started by glintofpewter, July 03, 2009, 03:49:08 AM

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I had a very infuriating conversation with a racist ignorant bigot of the bible thumping kind this weekend. It was my first true encounter with someone from the deep south USA who thinks like this. I play Eve online and the corporation I'm a part of convene over ventrilo - a voice over internet program. There's usually about 15 of us online at any given time. Anyhow, this guy came on with a very thick deep southern accent (turns out he's from Tennessee) and started saying a few things I thought were odd. Stuff like, 'I could be a better president than Barack Obama' and 'we need to stop these damn muslims from entering our country before we all have to go islamic'. I had to interject when he started saying 'all people who don't work and have benefits should die of starvation' (his way of saving the country money was by taking all benefits away for people out of work and simply letting them starve to death). Way to love your fellow man, huh?

The silence over ventrilo other than his nasty rhetoric indicated to me, no one thought as he did but it also seemed like no one wanted to question his ideals, probably because they don't want to deal with issues like the bible and abortion over a chat channel in a game. Well, me being me, wasn't going to be so accommodating. I questioned him on his stance as to why he thought everyone on benefits should starve to death. His answer was obviously full of hate and malice but didn't really have a point. Just nastiness. The conversation quickly changed (because I was handing his ass to him) to stuff like abortion... Well, you've all heard the fundie points of view on this...

So, my point for posting this was because of something else he said. Apparently there are no animals on this planet other than humans who are self aware. This didn't stump me, he's obviously wrong. It made me realise that I didn't know how to define what self aware is, though. I mean, I know in my head what it implies but I'm unable to put into words exactly what it is to be self aware. I kicked myself because I thought it was quite important to highlight to this imbecile how incorrect he was.

Well, anyway, after verbally kicking his ass several times over the course of a few hours, I got a message from my corp leader to stop :) He was worried I might cause a severe rift in the corp! I obliged but I did say, if I heard that bigoted prick spout any more nonsense over the mic, I'd happily chime in and let him know how wrong he was, again. I also pointed out that some of the things he was saying were borderline illegal and I'd have no qualms in recording the conversations and reporting him to the authorities. I like my corp leader but he is a bit of a wet fish. If i was him, i'd have told that guy to stop being hateful over the mic. After his second warning he'd have been out on his ass.

I don't anger easily but this guy made me furious.
QuoteI find it mistifying that in this age of information, some people still deny the scientific history of our existence.


self-aware....I would define...having some understanding of ones place in the ultimate scheme of things...something this fundy obviously lacks...
"The fool says in his heart: 'There is no God.' The Wise Man says it to the world."- Troy Witte


I think on the most basic level, self-awareness is simply the awareness that one exists.

It is clearly absurd to suggest that humans are the only animals that meet this criteria.

I think there are varying levels of self-awareness and we are probably at the upper end of this scale, at least as far as life on this planet goes, but I would not like to judge how self-aware other animals are. Having a conversation with a dog about it's philosophy on life is tricky at best.

Awareness of one's position in the natural order of things is a bit more advanced of course. I would say this is demonstrated to some degree by something as simple as the predator knowing which animals to eat and which to avoid, however.


In one experiment an "X" (or something similar) was painted on the head of an elephant. After seeing itself in a mirror the elephant touched the painted spot without looking in the mirror. This was considered a sign of self awareness.


Broadly speaking, it is a subject aware of itself as an object.

Here's an example. When we are conscious we perceive objects. Suppose I perceive a table. The table might be a physical table in front of me or a memory of a table. I perceive the table but I am also aware that I perceive the table; I am aware that I am aware. That's an example of perceiving myself (a subject) as an object.
"I rebel -- therefore we exist." - Camus


I think I know who you're talking about. I've got a picture of him somewhere around here...



"I rebel -- therefore we exist." - Camus


The definition I always use, at least for myself, is a paraphase of "I think therefor, I am". It's "I know that I am ,there for I think" Or in other words I recognise I exist, I recognise I am, so I am self aware.

A simple example is knowing you are looking at yourself when looking at a mirror. Most animals and very young humans do not recognise themselves. There are exceptions, as in those species recognised to be smart (for an animal). While I have read stuff on this before I don't remember all the results and many are disputed but I personnaly think that Apes, Cetaceans, Pigs (yes pigs, I belive they are considered the 4th smartest species) and certian birds such as the Raven and Parrot families
"I'd rather die the go to heaven" - William Murderface Murderface  Murderface-

I've been in fox holes, I'm still an atheist -Me-

God is a cake, and we all know what the cake is.

(my spelling, grammer, and punctuation suck, I know, but regardless of how much I read they haven't improved much since grade school. It's actually a bit of a family joke.