Reloaded note. It’s my page, love it or leave it. Hopefully not too sporadically.

I find Agent Smith fascinating in regards to issues of personal identity. Another one of my favorite issues in philosophy. Basically, what is the core of a “person”? What is the criteria for saying a person is the same from one moment to the next?

The best answers involve issues of memory, and I won’t get into details. The thing is, people in the past have argued (maybe some still do) that it’s physical continuity that makes someone the same person. And intuitively, that’s the standard we use as well. When we see someone that looks like they did before, we assume it’s the same person. If they don’t act the same, we assume they’re having a bad day or something, or that they’ve changed. But we still say they’re the same person, because it’s the same body as before.. So in a practical sense, physical appearance is an important criteria in our judgments of personal identity.

What I find interesting is why Agent Smith maintains the same appearance. Because for a program, appearance is completely a construct, has nothing to do with the core algorithm of who/what he is. And is presumably easily changed. So why does he maintain the same appearance? What’s the point of it?

Or maybe physical appearance is fundamentally important, even to programs? So like the Oracle is reluctant to change her appearance or it’s some kind of punishment? I dunno, to me that’s interesting.

I actually think physical appearance is fundamentally important to how people view themselves. I think it’s deeper than us wanting to present ourselves in a certain way to others. I think in an important sense, how we look affects how we view ourselves, even if there’s no one around. My claim is, even if we were stranded alone on a desert island, we would care somewhat how we looked. So if we were horribly scarred or something, it would affect us, besides the pain. The way we look is I think fundamentally important to us. I dunno.

You can wake up now Lorraine. Or not.