Are You Really Self Aware?

Discussion in 'General Philosophy' started by darksidZz, Nov 27, 2010.

  1. darksidZz Valued Senior Member

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    It's a question I had a long time ago. Basically how do we know that animals aren't aware they exist in some fashion, and that different levels of self awareness exist. Or what if we only think we know what self awareness means and don't actually because we're not? Could some other life-form actually exist that is really self aware and our impression of this is somehow limited (since we are not self aware at all?)

    Is my cat self aware in some level?
    Am I really self aware or is the cat more than I am (environmental, survival, etc.)

    Curious for insights. Is intelligence self awareness? Can others be more aware of oneself than we are?
     
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  3. JuNie Registered Senior Member

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    Some people use the example of being able to recognize yourself in a mirror as Dolphins, Elephant, and other animals are able to do. I suppose we can't truly know if cats are self aware or even care about the question of being self aware or if we'd even be able to come to a point where that could be communicated on some level.
     
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  5. Anarcho Union No Gods No Masters Registered Senior Member

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    i think its an interesting argument for vegans such as myself. Who says that factory farming isnt slaughtering hundreds of millions of fully or even partialy aware living beings. Ive seen videos of Elephants mourning over dead young ones. Ive also seen cows refuse to go down the line to get slaughtered but are willing to go anywhere else.
     
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  7. Blindman Valued Senior Member

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    This is most difficult to answer."I think, there for I am." Obviously animals don't have the required sophistication of language to conger such a statement. But do entities require language to be self aware?

    We humans do not spend our existence constantly thinking such things as "I am". In fact we rarely do such. We may worry about our how we are viewed or perceived by others and can modify our behavior to enhance what we want others to think of us. This is greatly reduced with age. Is this a natural state of our minds or is a cultural evolved state of modern humans. Infact our self awareness is highly inaccurate. We can look into a mirror but we don't see our true self. Did early humans look into a reflection in a pond and think "I am" or "I am handsome". I think not. We have been taught to do that.

    There is another side, in my opinion, to self awareness that is rarely considered. Emotional awareness, the most basic of which is pain. We have all suffered pain, it focuses us on our body. I have a strong belief that animals suffer pain as we do. We and them are forced to think of self. A injured animal will focus attention on the injury. Is this self awareness?
     
  8. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    I would think that there are some people who can be very aware of who they are as well as many others who don’t. There are those who are seeking ways to understand themselves and read books, watch TV shows, listen to radio and talk to others as to attain their self-awareness. Many times there are people that think they “know themselves” when in actuality they are only a product of their society and what those in charge want you to believe. You are a good person if you have this product, live in this house buy these clothes and even better if you have allot of money and wealth. So self-awareness is something that society tells you what you should be thinking about, acting like and where to “fit in” to belong to that society. There are some however that see things differently and go against the way of society to think “out of the box” about which they are in the worldview not just what their society tells them. How they are connected with the universe as well is many times over looked and that has a bearing upon what and who you are.

    You are unique, only one of you in the entire universe that we know of. You can think of yourself as an individual or as part of a collective of fellow humans, that depends upon you and how you think about yourself. So self awareness can be seen as a single way to see who you are but taking into consideration many variables and anomalies to what you see about yourself both good and bad. Trying to figure out who you are by watching others around you won’t help you because you are different than they are which isn’t good or bad, just different. Look inside and find out what you stand for , what you believe and where you are going and that would be a good start on realizing just who you really are.
     
  9. Kennyc Registered Senior Member

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    There is no definitive "test" that can be applied to living things to determine self-awareness. Self-awareness is part of a spectrum that ranges from nothing to self-awareness. It starts at the lowest level of interaction with environment. Interaction starts at the lowest level of physical laws of the universe. Electrons attracted to protons, atoms and molecules attracted or repulsed from other atoms or molecules. Single celled creatures absorbing nutrients and expelling waste, moving to areas that provide nutrients (or sunlight), plants tilting leaves (or flowers - sunflowers) to best face the sun. This is "awareness" of one's environment. On through animals, knowing what to eat, how to catch (or avoid being caught) prey. Forming emotional bonds with family. Recognizing oneself in a mirror, apparently cats dogs do this as well as chimps. And to the ability to step back even from one's own thought and be able to recognize that as 'you' which is self-awareness. Humans are only part of the spectrum of life, they are not unique, they are not special, but just one facet.
     
  10. birch Valued Senior Member

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    that was all very beautiful and an overall accurate, general assessment but let's not get unreal.

    one is only good if they choose to be good. there are those who choose to be bad as a way of life just as there are those who don't.
     
  11. cosmictraveler Be kind to yourself always. Valued Senior Member

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    Both could know themselves for what they are doing. By being either good or bad doesn't affect self awareness.
     
  12. M00se1989 Banned Banned

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    Nice Cosmic Traveler. Self awareness is knowing ones current place in society, and allows an individual to gain better insight into their surrounding environment. I Used to have very little self awareness and life was so much easier. I didn't care life was easy and would all work out in the end. I got good grades, I'm still in school. Little did I know that I would soon find this past stupor that allowed the world to be so easy for me would only grant heuristic dystopian thoughts. Since I woke up, life has been very different. It gets more difficult every day to turn the switch to this self awareness off. As if I would rather become some other person both to escape my awareness and float like the machines I see in so many movies. So then I sit back take deep breaths and imagine I'm the universe while I do simple tasks like typing. It is the only thought that peirces me away from my self awareness.
     
  13. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

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    lol..

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  14. M00se1989 Banned Banned

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    ... Not just on sciforums. I go to mythbusters too... :geek:
     
  15. glaucon tending tangentially Registered Senior Member

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    Define "self-aware".
    Then the discussion can begin.
     
  16. tablariddim forexU2 Valued Senior Member

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    Is being self aware the same as being self conscious (as in shy because of some perceived shortcoming in you)? I'm not aware of any animals that are self conscious.
     
  17. Emil Valued Senior Member

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    I think it's the ability to imagine a future where you exist.
    Ability to make decisions now with repercussions for you in the future.
    This means you can to project yourself into the future.
    I think you can do it only if you're aware of yourself.

     
  18. NMSquirrel OCD ADHD THC IMO UR12 Valued Senior Member

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    self aware may be the ability to judge ourselves either good or bad..
    animals do not care whether they are good or bad..they just are..

    humans are the only animal who care about whether they are good or bad..
     
  19. kmguru Staff Member

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    I am...I am...I know...therefore I am...I am...

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    I think self-aware means knowing in the Morning when to take your insulin injection. That is important, a lot of people can not manage this. Let me explain.

    In a 24 hour period, you eat certain foods in a meal form plus you can snack some foods at certain intervals. Now, each food has an effect on your body as to the glucose level. For a diabetic, you can manage your insulin intake either by constantly monitoring your glucose level or by mentally calculating how much to take based on the calorie intake and expenditure and checking the blood for feedback occasionally.

    Some people are self aware such that they can manage it very well, others can not. So, they end up with a lot of additional problems. I wonder if that self aware has degrees and why some humans are and others are not "Self - aware".

    Now you can discuss inside the human specie...
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2010
  20. Emil Valued Senior Member

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    Now the question is what is good or bad.
    What is moral or immoral.
    About this topic, I said my opinion here .

    I am convinced that human are "Self - aware".As you mentioned to some people are too little "Self - aware".
    What is the optimum between too little and too much (too much eg to hypochondria) I do not know.
    I think that natural selection will have the last word.

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  21. machaon Registered Senior Member

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    'Basically how do we know that animals aren't aware they exist in some fashion'

    Has anyone made that assumption?
     
  22. birch Valued Senior Member

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  23. kmguru Staff Member

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    May be squirrel is self aware?
     

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