Other Minds

Last weekend we traveled to Munich so that Rilla could run in the Munich marathon. 42 kilometres of Bavarian goodness. We managed to spend a good amount of time seeing Munich, but most of the time was taken up with the build-up to the run, the run itself, and the after-the-run exhaustion. For the record, Rilla ran it in 3:35:14, which is a deeply respectable time for her first ever race of any kind.

Anyway, the marathon afforded me the opportunity to have one of those realisations about consciousness and minds and so on. See, by and large, I’m not all that aware of Rilla as being so much of a separate person to me. We spend most of our time together, and my general model of her is as more or less an extension of myself. And, in fact, my standard-issue model of pretty much everyone else is that they pretty much cease to exist when I can’t directly see them, and even when they’re there I have no real ability to think of them as being like me in terms of being conscious and thinking about things and having a qualitatively different experience of life to me. It’s possible I’m admitting I’m a sociopath here, but hopefully not.

So, so. Rilla running the marathon in Munich caused me to realise and feel very strongly that she was having a radically different experience of life for those three-and-a-half hours than I was. Somehow this struck me as terribly important – that it was possible, just briefly, to understand quite fundamentally the notion that she was existing in a reality of her own that was not conjoined to mine and was utterly outside my comprehension. I suppose it was the alien nature of long-distance running that cemented things – presumably I largely figure that people, and particularly Rilla, and experiencing pretty much “my” perception of reality.

This is an absurdly rambling post largely because I’m tired and rusty at writing posts at the moment. Consider this me dipping my toe back in.

13 October 2010
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