Piero Scaruffi(Copyright © 2006 Piero Scaruffi | Legal restrictions - Termini d'uso )
The Self and Free Will: Do We Think or Are We Thought?
(These are excerpts from, or extensions to, the material published in my book "The Nature of Consciousness")
Consciousness is more than just being aware of being. It comes with a strong notion: the distinction between self and non-self. I know that I am myself, but I also know that I am not anybody else, and that nobody else is me. I know that I am myself, and I know that I was myself yesterday and the day before and the year before and forty years ago. Consciousness carries a sense of identity, of me being me. And it comes with a sense that there are other selves.
The USA psychologist Richard Lazarus holds that the development of the self is a fundamental event for the emotional life. Emotions depend on an organizing principle in which the self is distinguished from the non-self: only after that principle has become established can evaluations of benefits and harms be performed. Differentiation of self and other is a fundamental property of living organisms. Even plants use protein discrimination mechanisms, and most organisms could not survive without the ability to distinguish alien organisms.
The USA neurologist Roger Sperry can be said to have founded the scientific study of the self, when ("A Unifying Approach To Mind And Brain", 1976) he posited that the self must be an "emergent" property of brain processes that, in turn, controls brain processes. This emergent property is thus generated by brain (neural) processes but, once it is born, it is no longer a brain (neural) phenomenon: it belongs to a different category that does not obey to neurological laws anymore ("non-reductive physicalism"). Sperry believed that there is only one substance (as in monism). However, entities of that substance can create new entities that exhibit completely different properties, just like Quantum Mechanics tells us that interactions among elementary particles can result in (emergent) phenomena that have properties apparently unrelated to the properties of the particles. In general, this is the way that human values emerge from the physical structure of our body, and they too constitute a completely independent category of entities.
The Narrative Self
The USA psychologist Jerome Bruner believed that narratives were important for the creation of the self.
We have a strong feeling that we are a particular "I" (our identity): where does it come from? At the same time, we are capable of turning sensory input into a "narrative": we not only catalog all the images, sounds, etc that we perceive, we also organize them in "stories". It appears that there is a biological need to "make sense" of our experience, and structure that sense into "narratives". Narratives seem to link our current status to past events and future actions.
One particular case of narrative is the "autobiography": the story about myself. Is that the cause or the effect of the "self"?
Another particular case of narratives is constituted by the narratives about others: as we organize their actions in stories, we construct theories of their minds, of why they do what they do. This separates the self from the non-self, and places the self in relationship with other selves.
Narratives are, inevitably, subjective. They do not, and do not intend to, "duplicate" reality: they internalize reality, they interpret reality from the vintage point of the self. In a sense, therefore, our narratives "falsify" experience. In fact, the self is a "perpetually rewritten story". The self that we remember is the one we need to survive today. If that self does not "work" anymore, we introduce a turning point in the narrative that changes our self.
Bruner believes in a multiplicity of narratives. The only way that one can fuse the different chronological selves of a life (from childhood to present) is by telling a story: all those selves become characters of the story, the same way a novelist uses several characters to create a plot. At the same time, the story that one fabricates is heavily influenced by the stories that one has heard. One's culture creates the templates that one uses in creating new stories. There is no single, static remembered self. What we remember is influenced by social and cultural factors. Self-narratives do not even depend so much on memory as on thinking. "Self is a perpetually rewritten story".
Bruner thinks that narratives are not only an accident of nature but play an important role in creating our understanding of the community and of ourselves. In other words, Bruner believes that "making sense" (i.e., constructing meaning) is the fundamental characteristic of our self-conscious life.
The Illusion of the Self
However, the self is not a simple concept. The USA biologist Ulric Neisser identified five kinds of self-knowledge: the ecological self (situated in the environment), the "interpersonal self" (situated in the society of selves), both based on perception, the private self, the conceptual self and the narrative (or "remembered") self.
Robert Ornstein thinks that different regions of the brain behave independently of consciousness, as proved by the fact that sometimes consciousness realizes what has been decided after it has already happened. The self is only a part of our "mental" life, and not always connected with the rest of it. The self shares the brain with other selves. Selves take hold of consciousness depending on the needs of the moment. Each self tends to run the organism for as long as possible. The self only occasionally notices what is going on. Continuity of the self is an illusion: we are not the same person all the time. Different selves within the brain fight for control over the next action.
Michael Gazzaniga believes that the self is only an "interpreter" of the conclusions that the various brain processes have reached.
Daniel Dennett also has difficulties with the self. In his "multiple draft" theory, the self is simply the feeling of the overall brain activity. Whichever draft, whichever "narrative" dominates is my current "I". But the dominant draft could be changing every second. Dennett is opposed to the idea that there is an enduring self because it would imply that there is a place in the brain where that self resides. He thinks that such "Cartesian theater" is absurd and that our conscious life is implemented by multiple parallel drafts.
The philosopher Derek Parfit believes that the self "is" the brain state. As the brain state changes all the time, the self cannot be the same: there cannot be a permanent "self". "I" do not exist. What exists is a brain state that right now is "me". The next brain state will also be a self, distinct from the previous one. There is a chain of successive selves, each somehow linked through memory to the previous one. Each self is distinct from the previous ones and future ones. The "I" is a mere illusion. There is no person that all those selves share. Derek Parfit believes in a Buddhist-like set of potential "consciousnesses", each with its own flow of feelings, although at each time the one which dominates gives me the illusion of having only one consciousness and one identity.
The Autobiographical Self
The USA psychologist John Kotre focused on autobiographical memory: memory of the infinite sequence of details that creates the story of the self. When we think of ourselves in the distant past, we are often part of the memory: we can see ourselves in the scene. Thus at some point the remembering self (the self as subject) fashions a remembered self (the self as object).
A clue comes from memories that are more vivid than the average. These vivid memories tend to be of three kinds: novel, consequential and emotional events. But there is also a fourth kind of vivid memory, the one that Ulrich Neisser calls "repisode": the symbolic episode that summarizes several preceding episodes. Sometimes a new event stands as a symbol for some pattern that has been going on for years. For example, a gentle gesture by an old friend is a reminder that this friend has always been there to help when needed. The repisode "makes sense" of many previous episodes.
Like Gazzaniga, Kotre believes that the self is due to an "interpreter": it remembers itself as the center of things and makes sense of everything else. This interpreter is both a librarian, who simply archives memories, and a "myth-maker", who creates the myth of the "I".
Kotre points out that the youngest children cannot attribute to others their own qualities. For example, a four-year old boy cannot grasp the idea that his brother has a brother. But one or two years later this becomes obvious. Thus at a certain stage in cognitive development we develop the concept of the "me": we as we are seen by someone else. This opening up of the perspective enables the child to tell stories that are not just self-centered. The "I" is beginning to shape the "me". By the end of the teens, the child has acquired the ability to reflect on herself. The child (now no longer a child) has acquired the ability to create a myth of herself. In the rest of her life, the adult simply continues to refine that "myth". The main task of this myth-making process is to create the sense of continuity: however different my body was when I was a child, that was the same "I" that is now writing these lines. As we develop our myth of ourselves, we also change the memories of ourselves: a memory from the distant past is inevitably affected by the myth we have created of ourselves. The "myth-maker" is as relevant as the "keeper of archives" for the purpose of reconstructing memories. As we get older, the keeper of archives recede because literal truth is no longer needed, and the myth-maker becomes more and more important in shaping our memories. Thus memories become more mythic and less accurate, but the sense of the self is still preserved. In fact it may be better preserved this way.
The Grounded Self
On the other hand, the existence of a unitary and continuous self is defended by the USA psychologist Richard Carlson. He believes that the self is a biological feature.
Following William James and Ulrich Neisser, Carlson thinks that every act of perception specifies both a perceiving self and a perceived object. Seeing something is not only seeing that object: it is also seeing it from a certain perspective. The perspective implies a "seer". There is no act of perception of an object without a subject. The subject is as much part of perception as the object.
This co-specification of self and object is useful for adding the "first person" to the information-processing paradigm of mental processes, which cannot traditionally deal with the self.
Carlson's fundamental move is to distinguish between the content and the object of a mental state: content and object are not the same thing, because the content includes both the object and the subject. The "mode" of content specifies the self, the "aboutness" of content specifies the object (the environment).
Following John Searle's analysis of speech acts language, Carlson further distinguishes between the content of a mental state and the "noncontent" of that mental state. The "noncontent" includes the purpose of the mental state (for example, the degree of commitment), and even its "implementation" properties (for example, the duration of the state, etc). A mental state has content and non-content, and non-content is as important as content.
This analysis serves to elucidate that there is more than just an object in an act of perception. There is more than just a scene in a visual perception: there is a subject that is seeing, there is a purpose of seeing (for example, "I am spying" versus "I am gazing") and there is a duration.
Following Neisser and James Gibson, Carlson thinks that mental representations must have a "performatory" character, they must have to do with our body, they must be about performing an action in the environment.
Most cognitive skills are not conscious, or non-conscious (e.g., understanding language). Most cognitive activity is routine. Consciousness is necessary only when learning the skill. After it has been learned, it quickly becomes routine, unconscious routine. Introspection is actually difficult for experts, who often cannot explain why they do what they do.
Most of our cognitive activity comes from a specific kind of learning: skill acquisition.
Consciousness has to do with acquiring cognitive skills, which in turn depend on experiencing the world.
Cognition is embodied and situated: it is always about our body and/or our environment. Symbols and the mental processes that operate on them are grounded in sensory-motor activity.
There is continuity between symbolic awareness and perceptual-enactive awareness because symbolic representation is "performatory": it is useful precisely because it is about action; because symbols are grounded in action.
Contrary to Dennett and Gazzaniga, Carlson reaches the conclusion that the continuity of consciousness is not only real, but it is even an ecological necessity, because the self is co-specified by perception, and perception is driven by changes in the world, and those changes are continuous. Cognition is grounded in one's point of view, and that point of view is grounded in an environment, and this two-fold grounding process is continuous.
Identity: Who Am I?
Every year 98% of the atoms of my body are replaced: how can I claim to be still the same person that I was last year, or, worse, ten years ago? What is (where lies) my identity? What is "my" relationship to the metabolism of my body?
Derek Parfit once proposed a thought problem: what happens to a person who is destroyed by a scanner in London and rebuilt cell by cell in New York by a replicator that has received infinitely detailed information from the scanner about the state of each single cell, including all of the person's memories? Is the person still the same person? Or did the person die in London? What makes a person such a person: bodily or psychological continuity? If a person's matter is replaced cell by cell with equivalent cells is the person still the same person? If a person's psychological state (memory, beliefs, emotions and everything) is replaced with an equivalent psychological state is the person still the same person?
The most obvious paradox is: how can reality be still the same as we grow up? Do two completely different brains see the same image when they are presented with the same object? If the brains are different, then the pattern of neural excitement created by seeing that object will be different in the two brains. How can two different brains yield the same image? The logical conclusion is "no, the tree I see is not the tree you see, we just happen to refer to it the same way so it is not important what exactly we see when we look at it". But then how can I see the same image yesterday, today and tomorrow? Our brain changes all the time. Between my brain of when I was five years old and my brain of today there is probably nothing in common: every single cell has changed, connections have changed, the physical shape of the brain has changed. The same object causes a different neural pattern in my brain today than it did in my brain forty years ago. Those are two different brains, made of different cells, organized in different ways: the two patterns are physically different.
Nonetheless, it appears to me that my old toys still look the same. But they shouldn't, because my brain changed, and the pattern they generate in my brain has changed: what I see today should be a different image than the one I saw as a five-year old. How is it that I see the same thing even if I have a wildly different brain?
Furthermore, experience molds the brain: I am not only my genome, I am also the world around me. And I change all the time according to what is happening in the world. "I am" what the world is doing.
All of this almost seems to prove that "I" am not in my brain, that there is something external to the brain that does not change over time, that the brain simply performs computations of the image but the ultimate "feeling" of that image is due to a "soul" that is external to the brain and does not depend on cells or connections.
On the other hand, it is easy to realize that what we see is not really what we think we see.
When we recognize something as something, we rarely see/feel/hear/touch again exactly the same thing we already saw/felt/heard/touched before. I recognize somebody's face, but that face cannot possibly be exactly the same image I saw last time: beard may have grown, a pimple may have appeared, hair may have been trimmed, a tan may have darkened the skin, or, quite simply, that face may be at a different angle (looking up, looking down, turned half way). I recognize a song, but the truth is that the same song never "sounds" the same: louder, softer, different speakers, static, different echo in the room, different position of my ear with respect to the speakers. I recognize that today the temperature is "cold", but if we measured the temperature to the tenth decimal digit it is unlikely that we would get the exact same number that I got the previous time I felt the same cold. What we "recognize" is obviously not a physical quantity: a image, a sound, a temperature never repeat themselves. What is it then that we recognize when we recognize a face, a song or a temperature? Broadly speaking, it is a concept.
We build concepts of our sensory experience, we store those concepts for future use, and we match the stored concepts with any new concept. When we do this comparison, we try to find similarity and identity. If the two concepts are similar enough, we assume that they are identical, that they are the same thing. If they are not similar enough, but they are more similar than the average, then we can probably establish that they belong to a common super-concept (they are both faces, but not the same face; they are both songs, but not the same song; and so forth). We have a vast array of concepts which are organized in a hierarchy with many levels of generalization ("your face" to "face of you and siblings" to "faces of that kind" to "generic face" to ... to "body part" to ...). A sensory experience is somehow translated into a concept and that concept is matched with existing concepts and eventually located at some level of the hierarchy of concepts. If it is close enough to an existing concept of that hierarchy at that level, it is recognized as the same concept. Whatever the specific mechanism, it is likely that what we recognize is not a physical quantity (distribution of colors, sound wave or temperature) but a concept, that somehow we build and compare with previously manufactured concepts.
Identity is probably a concept. I have built over the years a concept of myself. My physical substance changes all the time, but, as long as it still matches my concept of myself, I still recognize it as myself.
Are We Immortal?
Ultimately, it depends on oneís definition of identity. If I build an exact copy of an object, is it the "same" object? In the case of inanimate matter, the temptation is to answer that a copy is just that: a "copy". But things assume a more sinister look when dealing with brains. If I build an exact copy of your brain, which presumably yields the same mental life as yours, is that copy "you"? Does identity require those specific atoms in that specific place, or only the same kind of atoms and the same way they are related?
It is likely that only a finite number of brains are possible, because brains are self-organizing systems, i.e. they are systems that tend to happen at certain "attractive" configurations while shunning many others. No matter how complex the brain is, there are probably only so many configurations that realize a stable system that works like a brain. In other words, some brains just cannot exist.
If that is true, then as long as life repeats itself on an Earth-like planet, "you" are likely to be eventually "rebuilt" again, i.e. to live again.
Assuming that the universeís life is infinite, i.e. that it will exist forever and ever, then the odds that it will again reach (somewhere sometimes) the conditions present on today's Earth significant, and thus your brain, given enough time (which is in vast supply in eternity), is likely to be created again. Not only once, but infinite times.
Will that be really "you", or just something with the exact same genes and brain that you have now?
What Is A Self?
What makes you "you"? What would make you somebody else? If we transplant a brain from one body to another body, who is who? Is the person her brain or her body? Most people (and even most philosophers) would be reluctant to accept a brain transplant because they think that it would be the other brain to get your body, not "you" to get a new brain. In other words, whatever "I" means, that thing is inside my brain, and it goes where my brain goes. If my brain is transplanted into the body of a supermodel, "I" have become a supermodel and her body is now "my" body. If the supermodelís brain is transplanted into my body, my body is now "her" body. The brain determines where "you" are.
The British philosopher Eric Olson is one of the few who disagrees. Olson believes that identity comes from biology, not from psychology. You can be brain dead, but still be "you". For as long as some biological functions continue, Olson thinks that you are you. If someone transplants your brain to another body, you still are the same "you", and someone has received "your" brain. This, of course, flies in the face of the definition of "I". Olson thinks that psychological continuity is one thing, and identity is another thing. Psychological continuity occurs between two "people" at two different times: one at a certain instant is psychologically continuous with the other one at a later instant. In other words, Olson thinks that minds change all the time, and therefore I am no longer the mind that I was a second ago. Therefore it is improper to claim that "I" was. In a sense, "I" can only "be" now. "I am" is correct, whereas "I was" is a contradiction (the "I" that was is gone).
The Importance of Being Warm
When speculating about consciousness, identity and free will, it is important not to forget what bodies are and how they work.
Among the many features of living organisms, one is often overlooked: each living organism can live only within a very narrow range of temperature. Temperature is one of the most crucial survival factors.
Temperature also happens to be an important source of "identity". For example, water and ice are made of the same atoms: it's the temperature that determines whether you are water or you are ice.
It's the temperature that determines whether your body is dead or alive, and it's the temperature that determines whether you are lying and shivering in bed or are playing soccer outside. Our identity does change with the temperature of our body (from no identity to "regular" identity to delirious identity).
Most of what our body does has nothing to do with writing poems or making scientific discoveries: it is about maintaining a stable temperature.
Why do living things do what they do?
The purposefulness of living organisms is simply a consequence of evolution driven by variation and natural selection. Living organisms have a fundamental goal, survival, and have inherited a repertory of behaviors to achieve that goal. Survival ultimately depends on self-regulation.
The 19th-century French psychologist Claude Bernard "discovered" the self-regulating nature of living organisms. Bernard realized that each living organism is a system built to maintain a constant internal state in the face of changing external conditions. The regulation of this "mieliu interieur" is life itself, because it is this stable state that gives the organism its independence from the environment, i.e. its identity. This is the dividing line that separates animate and inanimate matter: inanimate matter obeys Newton's laws of cause and effect, animate matter tends to maintain its state no matter what external forces are applied. Unlike objects, whose state is changed when a force is applied, the state of a living organism is not changed by an external force. The living organism, as long as it is alive, maintains its state constant.
The "purposeful" behavior of a living organism is the reaction to environmental forces: the organism needs to act in order to continuously restore its state. A body seems to "want", "intend", "desire" to maintain its internal state (either by eating, moving, sleeping, etc), a state that, ultimately, is a combination of chemical content and temperature. Living bodies appear to act purposefully, but they are simply reacting to the environment.
For Bernard "freedom" is independence from the environment. Control of the internal state allows a living organism to live in many different environments. The living organism is "free" in that is not a slave of its environment.
Bernard's idea of self-regulation extended to all living organisms. Humans are not the only ones to have "goals". Animate behavior "is" control of perception.
Life is Unpredictable
Assuming that humans do have free will, do animals also have the same free will that humans have? Or are they only machines that move according to formulas?
There is no evidence that at any point in time one can predict the next move of a chicken or an ant. No matter how simple and unconscious animals seem to be, their behavior is still largely unpredictable. You can guess what the chicken will want to do, but you can never be sure, and you can never guess the exact movements. There are infinite paths an ant can follow to go back to the nest and the one it will follow cannot be predicted. At every point of that path the ant can choose where to go next. Two ants will follow two different paths. Each ant seems to have its own personality.
Even the movement of mono-cellular organisms is unpredictable to some extent. No matter how small and simple the organism, a degree of free will seems to be there. Free will seems to be a property of life. What triggers the next move of bacteria, ants and chicken is not just a Newtonian formula. If they are machines, then these machines do not obey classical Physics. There is a degree of freedom that every living organism seems to enjoy. And it doesn't require a sophisticated brain. There is a degree of freedom that just shouldn't be there, if Newton was right.
If these are machines, they are machines that cannot be explained with our Mechanics because at every point in time there are many possible time evolutions and all seem to be possible, and none can be exactly predicted.
Will, Not Necessarily Free: A Materialistic View Of Free Will
The problem with free will is that it does not fit too well with the scientific theories of the universe that have been developing over the last three centuries. While those theories are fairly accurate in predicting all the natural phenomena we deal with, they don't leave much room for free will. Particles behave the way they behave because of the fundamental laws of nature and because of what the other particles are doing; not because they can decide what to do. Since we are, ultimately, collections of particles, our free will is an embarrassment to Physics.
On the other hand, a simple look at the behavior of even a fly seems to prove that free will is indeed a fact and is pervasive. Free will is a fundamental attribute of life. A robot that moved but only repeating a mechanical sequence of steps would not be considered "alive". Life has very much to do with unpredictability of behavior, not just with behavior. Or, better, behavior is behavior inasmuch as it is unpredictable to a degree; otherwise it is simply "motion".
Whether it is indeed "free" or not, "will" (the apparent ability of an ant to decide in which direction to move) appears to be an inherent feature of life, no matter how primitive life is. A theory of life that does not predict free will is not a good theory of life. Somehow, "free" will must be a product of the chemistry of life, at some very elementary level. In other words, obtaining the right chemical mix in the laboratory would not be enough: that mix must also exhibit the symptoms of free will.
The origin of "free" will, therefore, appears to be life itself.
Is consciousness merely an "observer" of what is going on in the brain (of neural processes), or is consciousness a "creator" as well of neural processes?
Some scientists (and Albert Einstein with them) argued that consciousness must be fabricated by reality, that what we feel is simply an unavoidable consequence of the state of the universe, that we are simply machines programmed by the rest of the universe.
Other scientists believe the opposite, that consciousness fabricates reality, that we have the power to alter the course of the events. They believe in free will.
Do we think or are we thought?
This question is misleading. The question is, in a sense, already an answer: the moment we separate the "I" and the body, we have subscribed to dualism, to Descartesí view that spirit and matter are separate and spirit can control matter.
A free will grounded in matter is not easy to picture because we tend to believe in an "I" external to our body that controls our body.
But, in a materialist scenario, the "I" is supposed to be only the expression of brain processes. If that is the case, then "free will" is not about the "I" making a decision: the "I" will simply reflect that decision. What makes the decision is the brain process.
This does not mean that free will cannot exist. It just needs to be redefined: can a brain process occur that is not completely caused by other physical processes?
In a materialist scenario, free will does not require consciousness: consciousness is an aspect of the brain process that "thinks". The question is whether that brain process has free will.
If consciousness is indeed due to a physical process, if consciousness is ultimately material, does this preclude free will? For centuries we have considered free will an exclusive property of the soul, mainly because 1. we deemed the soul to be made of spirit and not matter, and 2. nothing in Physics allows for free will of matter.
If we now recognize that consciousness is a property of matter (possibly one that occurs only in some special form and configuration of matter, but nonetheless ultimately matter), the second statement must be re-examined because the possibility of free will depends on its truth. If the motion of matter is controlled only by deterministic laws, then free will is an illusion. On the other hand, if matter has a degree of control over its own motion, then free will is a fact.
The question is not whether we have free will, but whether the laws of our universe (i.e., Physics) allow for free will.
Free Will and Randomness
Free will is often associated to randomness: a being has free will if it can perform "random" actions, as opposed to actions rigidly determined by the universal clockwork. In other words, free will can exist only if the laws of nature allow for some random solutions, solutions that can be arbitrarily chosen by our consciousness. If no randomness exists in nature, then every action (including our very conscious thoughts) is predetermined by a formula and free will cannot exist.
In their quest for the source of randomness in human free will, both neurologists like John Eccles and physicists like Roger Penrose have proposed that quantum effects are responsible for creating randomness in the processes of the human brain. Whether chance and free will can be equated (free will is supposed to lead to rational and deterministic decisions, not random ones) and whether Quantum Theory is the only possible source of randomness is debatable.
The Machineís Free Will
Why do we claim that a machine has no free will? Usually, because a machine can solve only the problems that we program it to solve. We, on the other hand, can solve novel problems in unpredictable situations (or, at least, give them a try). And that's because we can make actions that we have never done before and that nobody ever told us to do, whereas a machine can only do what it has been programmed to do.
Machines are built to solve specific problems in specific situations, simply because that is what humans are good at: building machines that solve specific problems in specific situations: we humans like to "design" a machine, to write the "specifications", etc. This is not the way nature built us. Nature built us on a different principle and it is no surprise that we behave differently than machines. Since in nature we never know what the next problem and situation will be like, nature built us as "Darwinian" machines: our brains generate all the time a lot of possible actions and then pursue the ones that are "selected" by the environment (the specific problem and situation at hand). Nature built us on a different principle than the one we use to build machines. The main difference between our mind and a machine is their archectures.
The lack of free will in machines is not a limit of machines: it is a limit of our mind. If we built a machine the same way nature builds its cognitive beings, i.e. with the same type of architecture, it would be a rather different machine, capable of generating a huge amount of random behaviors and then picking the one that best matches the current problem and situation. One can even envision a day when machines built with a "Darwinian" architecture (descendants of today's genetic algorithms and neural networks) will "out-free will" us, will exhibit even more free will than we do. After all, most of the times we simply obey orders (we obey publicity when we shop, we obey record labels when we sing a tune, we obey our mother's moral principles all day long), whereas a machine would have no conditioning. And it may be able to generate a lot more alternatives than our brain does. Free will is simply a folk name for the Darwinian architecture of our mind that was created by Nature. When we choose an action, we are actually obeying an ancient command by Nature. We are simply machines of a different kind than the ones we build.
Do we think or are we thought?
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