Rose and the Philosopher’s Chocolate: When Perversion becomes Obsession

Yes, I’m confessing to a perverted lust.  It’s called Thinking About Pointless Stuff.  But even worse, once I get on the trail of Pointless Stuff, I have this awful longing to keep going, to annihilate my very being (or following, as it might be) in the pursuit of Pointless Stuff.  But I’m not completely without pity.  I do WARN people when I’m gonna hit up.  So there it is.  ‘You’ have been warned.

Mel, you’re a sweetheart.  And El Guapo, I bet your wife adores you, I would if I were her.  And White Lady, I DEFINITELY like you the way you are.

And yet – here’s the thing.

Suppose it was possible to take your brains out of your body and put them into someone else’s.  White Lady, let’s take your brain and Carrie Rubin’s and just swap, ok?  Is Carrie now a mix of White Lady and her former self (now she’s got White Lady’s body – LUCKY Carrie!)? Or are they both just what they were before, but in different vehicles (same as if Carrie had got out of a Toyota and hopped into the drivers’ seat of a Ford instead)?

Suppose it was possible to clone El Guapo (a great thing for the blogosphere, and maybe his wife would enjoy it too!).  So we have two of him, but occupying different areas of space.  Which is him? The ‘original’? Suppose we forgot which was the original, and couldn’t thereafter tell?  Or what if one Missus Tribble travelled on through time till she was eighty, and the other just stopped, like a clock in suspended animation, at forty five? Which is MORE Missus Tribble?

And lastly, who sets the boundary between what IS, let’s say, Tarnation and Eudemonia, and what isn’t?  At the molecular level, Seb is a pattern of atoms and sub-atomic particles, bouncing around next to one another in a particular pattern.  He’s surrounded by air and other-stuff atoms, doing similar.  Is there really a sharp line between Seb and Other Stuff?  How do we define it?  Is Seb just the part of the universe that his mind directly controls, one way or another? Then if he becomes a quadriplegic, most of what is Seb becomes ‘not Seb’.  Right?  Whereas if he grabs a chair and hits me with it, the chair becomes a part of Seb.  Wrong? Or is it the pattern of atoms – the point where the stripey stuff constituting Seb turns into the spotted stuff constituting NOT Seb?  Then what if the spotted stuff suddenly turned stripey, just like Seb? Could the whole universe become Tarnation and Eudemonia?  And would that be a good thing?

Is our idea of individual ‘selfness’ illusory?  Are we machines run from a control centre in our skulls?  Or is the true control centre the ‘soul’ so that even when our brains turn to mush, ‘I’ am still out there?  Or are we a more or less arbitrary dividing line between these atoms and those atoms, a bit like a nation state in the Balkans?

There comes a time in every philosophical waffle when it needs to be turned into fiction?  Or a poem.  Anybody?


  1. Oh, boy, I’m afraid you’ve lost me on this one. I warned you–I’m a concrete thinker. This abstract stuff is difficult for me. At least without the help of a beer, which perhaps I need to go drink and then come back and read this. But I do, however, very much appreciate the mention, you lovely, lovely Rose!

  2. Syrup on my waffles! Yes, I am sweet. Brains, i’ve heard are sweetbreads 😉 and i will blog again … as i have NOT drowned and stuff. xx

    1. Well I’m glad you haven’t drowned. yes that’s weird, brains being sweetbreads, I’ve heard that too. Maybe zombies were more influential in olden day cuisine than we give them credit for (Guapo would know).


  3. Really. Seriously … I am cranking up for the Bonheur Projet. Oui oui! Life is sweet and silly. I will respond to your challenge on happiness, cloning and brain transference. The lines have been crossed my friend! We have passed through time and space, margin and width (?), tea or coffee … where will reality and fiction separate? Have they? Will they?

  4. Thanks for the mention! I may well have some timey-wimey plot bunnies in my head now! I’ll get back to you once I manage to compose something.

    I wonder how much of a ruckus a feisty 80-year old me could cause in time and space? Probably quite a lot 😉

    1. If you get more interesting the older you get – which is my experience – by the time you’re eighty your feistiness will have assumed time lord-like proportions!


  5. If it wasn’t for the philosophical waffle, I’d starve to death.

    And rest assured that you’re not alone in your idle contemplations. This food is, for better or for worse, fuel for my thought. Especially the last point. Will the ‘me’ behind the ‘I’ still exist once the ‘I’ is no longer able perceive of the ‘me’?

    Oh, and, is free will an illusion: are we merely puppets to the strings that are our cells? Or, are we actually the authors to our lives? And if free will doesn’t exist, then how is it possible to conceive of an ‘I’ generally? Wouldn’t that mean that we’re – the collective “I’s” – merely fulfilling a destiny that’s already been determined by forces incomprehensible to human senses?

    Bah! If no one buys my books, I’ll die happy knowing that I’ve baked as many philosophical waffles as my little hands could bake, even if it means that I’m not able to afford tangible waffles during the process.

    I’m glad we’ve connected through the abstracted sphere that is this cyber-world.


    1. No, actually reading your blog I can see I’m not. I’m very glad I found it, it’s just the kind of thing I like to think about! As for your books, a cursory glance seems to tell me that they’re all in progress – have you finished one yet? If so, I’ll willingly read it and review it if you like. Free will, now there’s another one I’m yet to torture people with. Are we automatons who just think we’re not?


      1. The one I’ve finished is non-fiction – well, creative non-fiction; think, ‘the power of now’ meets ‘7 habits of highly effective people’ (if that means anything to you) – and I’m working on two others at the moment. Both fiction. One is almost complete. The other is in its initial stages.

        I’ve been lazy in looking for a publisher (getting distracted by uni :/) but will send it through as soon as its published. That is, if it ever gets published.

      2. Nope! Yeah, I’m in my final semester at school, really don’t want to fail, so I’m using that as an excuse (it’s not though).

        Apparently laziness IS a virtue! A dancing wizard told me that, so it must be true.

  6. Well, much as generally try to avoid hitting people with chairs (and, were I a quadriplegic, I’d have a hard time grabbing a chair… etc) – if you look at this as, say Nietzsche might, then the chair would be an instrument of my will, my will which existed meta-corporeally. Of course, according to the laws of quantum mechanics, will also exists in state of “hit with chair/not hit with chair”, so anything I ascribed to my will is also theoretically predictive, too.

    I tend to subscribe to the machines in our skulls theory. We’re just very complex and very, very “possible” machines. The actual atoms don’t matter, it is the instructions which govern those atoms which do.

    1. Yeah, that’s true – the chair would be an extension of your will, perhaps almost as much as your arm is. And yep, I agree, according to the theory that says that every decision has its outcome in an alternate universe, I’ve been hit by a chair many times already. Probably by you. Personally, I don’t think I go for the machine in the skull theory, but that’s probably just ignorance.


  7. Thanks for the mention, Beautiful! (and poor, poor Carrie does not want my old body!) Lot’s of things to ponder here today…I like the idea of having a spirit, I think were a big part of genetics and how we were influenced by our family/parents, throw in the sum of our life experiences and maybe a sprinkling of our own unique human nature and ta-da!

    1. I love the way you put that, it’s so ditzy, in the (really) nicest possible way. It’s like me, that’s why I like it! And yeah, I like the idea of a spirit as well. Now for the rationale for one – slightly more tricky.


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