Losing your Sense of Self?

bwpollThis is an old poll I created when I used to write for a network called BackWash. Still a good question to think about.

If you had to give up or lose one of your senses, including common sense and the possibility of a sixth sense or the other standard: hearing, smell, taste, sight or touch, which would you pick?

I think the idea of losing our senses haunts us all our lives. We see someone who can’t see or hear and we think about how it must be to live without that.

Then we get older and another fear is losing our mind, our ability to think and do things for ourselves.

Animals don’t have a sense of self, scientists say. It’s a test they try on animals – putting them in front of a mirror to see if they can understand they are looking at a reflection of themselves. I’ve seen cats go crazy, hissing and pouncing, trying to threaten (or feeling threatened) by what they see as a strange cat who hisses right back at them. Pretty scary if you don’t understand the concept of a reflection. But, they can do the same with the image of a cat on a box too.

I don’t know if not having the knowledge of reflections and photography or graphic arts should leave us to assume these animals don’t have that sense of self.

How could you prove an animal does have a sense of self? How do you know you have a sense of your own self? Do you even understand the idea of what having a sense of self is? Maybe that is the sense (not on my original list) which you might give up. How different would you be without it?

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