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When the mechanic called me and said that the wheel well on my car… - Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.
December 31st, 2004
12:44 pm
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When the mechanic called me and said that the wheel well on my car had been deformed to the extent that it was rubbing against the tire, and that it would be $600 to fix it, I wasn't shocked by the price or hurt by the need to spend that much money. Rather, I was overjoyed, because that was the cost to actually fix my car. The door will work, and the panel won't be insanely banged up (although the paint color will be a little off).

I can't decide whether it's abnormal to feel the degree of emotional attachment to a car that I do, or whether I just want to believe that so that I can believe I'm unusual. Of course, if this were a couple of hundred years ago and my car were a horse, it would seem perfectly natural. It's all because cars are machines, right? But what useful category does “machine” even designate? (How is even a human not a machine?)

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From:papertygre
Date:December 31st, 2004 08:04 pm (UTC)
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I think the issue is that cars aren't open-ended in their perceptive and learning abilities. They're predictable in every way except for how exactly they're going to break down.
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From:papertygre
Date:December 31st, 2004 08:05 pm (UTC)
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Congrats, btw.
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From:kenoubi
Date:December 31st, 2004 08:25 pm (UTC)
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That partially explains my affective orientation, in that I don't really conceive of Alexander and me-in-relation-to-Alexander as separate entities (and obviously the latter is open-ended). I mean, of course I can think of them as separate, but it seems like thinking of my appendix as separate from the rest of my body—it's not the way that I most naturally divide things up.

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that identity is conventional, not real, and that arguments over it are just as pointless as arguments over definitions.

Of course, this still doesn't tell me whether my affective orientation towards my car is abnormal or unusual. :-)

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From:papertygre
Date:December 31st, 2004 08:34 pm (UTC)
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I think a lot of people are highly protective of their cars. This is often grandly talked about as representative of how cars "symbolize freedom" to the American mind and so on, but it might just be as simple as the fact that the car takes on an aspect of being part of one's body. When you drive a car, you get accustomed to making it behave in accorance with your will, the way you expect your arm to reach out and pick up a glass of water. Even if humans were entirely robotic and could replace an arm at will, I think many would feel some sadness to lose or replace a particular arm they'd had for many years, especially if it were their first one.

I agree with you that identity is conventional, not real. Especially in my current frame of mind, since I've been reading all the Zen lately.
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From:nerdlover
Date:December 31st, 2004 08:15 pm (UTC)
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Im glad your car can be fixed
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