Don’t worry; I am not going to give you an introduction or anything. I’ve been writing this blog for years; if you don’t know who I am by now then I don’t know what to tell you. No, this is a philosophical question and perhaps a neurobiological question. When we refer to ourselves, what do we mean?
Religious believers are under the mistaken belief that we are this invisible eternal soul thingy. But there is no evidence for this soul thingy. Through scientific discovery, we have learned that we are basically our brains. Consciousness is most likely a product of neuro-interactions.
We know that all of our cells are slowly replaced over the years and so we can’t say that our cells are us, because they die and new cells take their place without much notice. Our memories are more mental reconstructions of what our brains deduce must have happened rather than an accurate record of what actually did happen. So to say we are our memories is just another way of saying we are our brains.
We also know that the decisions we make are born out of the complex interplay between our nature and our nurture. Sam Harris talks about how neuroscience can predict our actions before we do them just by watching the brain. So what in our brain is making the decisions? Is there any part of us that we can properly call, “us”?
We don’t have the answers to those questions yet. All we know is that we still talk to each other as if we are somehow the decision makers and in a sense we are, but what part of us are actually making those decisions remains a mystery.
But just because we don’t have the answers doesn’t mean that the answer must be Thetans. Ahh, I got you. You thought I was going to say souls didn’t you? But that wouldn’t prove my point as well as this does. The point is that since science hasn’t discovered the answer yet, every religious believer is going to claim that their mumba jumbo is the real mumbo jumbo. Thetans, souls, magical energy field, or whatever it is that Deepak Chopra is selling aren’t alternative theories; they are made up bullshit based on no valid evidence.
We really don’t know what part of us is the “decider.” All we do know is that we are often not aware of much of the calculations that go into each and every decision “we” make.