How boring and pointless would life become if we got and had everything we ever wanted, faced with the ultimate question: “Now What?” usually asked in a sober state by a hungover brain slowly remembering the bad choices made the night before?
The morning-after regret symbolizes a “goal” that once was and is no longer, a “goal” associated with conscious state A (drunk+sexually aroused) which is no longer a goal for conscious state B (sober+sexually satisfied) but rather a nuance. Here conscious states B and A are in conflict joined by a body and brain, separated by time, stimuli and lobbying by certain internal pleasures. The consumerist culture and advertising agencies of course would like to have us believe that wealth and shopping are the ultimate, never expiring happiness conscious states. The truth, however, is that John Doe(A) does not equal John Doe(B) separated by time and hence conscious states. That said, this freedom from responsibility using the scapegoat of time and conscious states (stimulated by stimuli like alcohol and “pleasures”) is dangerous because it leaves John Doe off the hook. However, an intoxicated and let’s say married John Doe(A), having not seen a woman in a year, being stuck in a dark elevator with a very attractive girl finds himself in a conscious state very hard to understand and defend by sober John Doe(B) the next morning. Is it John Doe’s fault now or the particular conscious state for making love to this girl on the elevator?
Then we shall ask: If John Doe is a dynamic identity and ever changing conscious states dependent on time and external & internal stimuli then who is John Doe? Is there a static John Doe that can be clearly defined, categorized, quantized, labeled, and packaged in memory of others, himself and Silicon Valley’s advertising profiles or does John Doe’s identity require a twitter account to update everyone on its ever changing conscious states and identity versions?
None of us exists as a solid identity or a personality, we are a combination of conscious states dictated by genetic make-up, social network, memories and how our brain cells are wired + other environment or internal stimuli. As such, we need others (or what Lacan called the “Big Other”) or society to tell us who we are. Therefore, movements, groups and institutions act as prisms or a narratives that give this noise of random conscious states seem like a signal or a story to ourselves.
It’s only a secret, secret that the realm that makes up our internal thinking and identity is extremely chaotic. However, some of us have better mental PR and Advertising departments to create a persistent illusion and facade of a solid and “normal” external facing self. Einstein once said, “reality is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one.” I think it’s human personality and identity that is merely an illusion, albeit a very persistent one at least for the luckiest of us considered by society as “normal” or “solid”.
I am my remembering self, and the experiencing self, who does my living, is like a stranger to me. — Daniel Kahneman