Wednesday, January 25, 2012

A Box of Egos: Are They Real?

Scott Bradley


This reporter admits to having avoided some of the more difficult questions which have arisen since the discovery of this now celebrated box of disembodied egos. This is because the character of the discussion is way over his own head and, he has presumed, the heads of his audience. Nevertheless, the time has come when we must at least attempt an outline of existential problems their apparent existence implies.

"Our most fundamental assumption with respect to these egos," wrote one physicist, "is that they can both be and not be; and this is no easy thing for a physicist to accept. Frankly, I sometimes wish for a metaphysician to give us a hand."

Metaphysicians have, in fact, been interviewed by the consortium leadership in the hopes of bringing one or more onto the investigative team. "We have spoken with many," said a spokesman for the consortium, "but we have thus far found no one who we feel can harmonize with our efforts." When pressed as to why this was the case, he replied, "They all seem to have preconceived and fixed ideas regarding the nature of the egos in question. As scientists, we would prefer to learn from the study of the phenomena themselves. We require scientists, not chaplains."

Some quantum physicists, on the other hand, seem not to be in the least bit phased by the challenge of understanding these egos. "Things which both are and are not are our bread and butter," declared one. "We start where the particle physicists beg off." A nearby particle physicist harrumphed and said, "What my colleague is saying is that we leave the vain speculations to them."

Beyond the politics of the matter, what does seem to be the general consensus of the investigative team is that these egos, though they have a phenomenological dimension and demonstrate qualities, do not have true existence as we know it. "They have as much reality as an attitude," says one psychologist. "We say that an attitude 'exists', but we are unable to discover one in isolation. What these egos appear to be is 'attitude packets', the concrescence of many attitudes in a single locus without any transcending of the essential non-existence of the parts."

When asked how the apparent non-existence of these egos might impact our understanding of ourselves, this reporter found the scientists' answers less than helpful. "Until you are yourself disembodied, I wouldn't worry about it; just give yourself a pinch once in awhile," suggested one. "Find yourself a chaplain," suggested another. "Or a guru," said another.

You can check out Scott's other miscellaneous writings here.

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