Person Space

Epistemic status: pretentious. What do you mean that’s not an epistemic status?

The space of all possible minds.

You move through it, slowly. Every moment your mind is slightly different. Sometimes it undergoes rapid change. “You” is the curve through mindspace being traced out as you live your life.

When you zoom out to see other people, your curve almost looks like a point.

If you could zoom out, or view it at all. Person space has many dimensions and probably doesn’t lend itself to a Euclidean interpretation.

You can project some features of person space into a lower-dimensional space, and notice that people form clusters, correlations among various characteristics. In one projection might see a binomial distribution, though not a binary, corresponding to gender. Not everyone is near a cluster. No one has to be. For the clusters we care about – human experience, empathy, emotion, hope – we’re all pretty tightly clustered.

You alone do not determine your path through mindspace. Environment nudges and tips you; genetics yank you around from the very beginning; neurochemistry alters your velocity and sleep deprivation may introduce a pseudorandom wobble.

And this is how I think about identity and labels and continuity of self and empathy and cooperating with past and future selves. It’s not a big insight, but its become so ubiquitious in how I think about everything involving people that it seems like a good idea to write it down. It seems obviously true, and is useful for me to resolve confusion when people talk about identity and labels and similar topics.

Anyway, that’s why my tagline is “Thoughts expressed by (time=t)!Jai may not reflect the thoughts of (time=t+n)!Jai as n→∞”

One thought on “Person Space

  1. How delightfully nerdy!

    My wife and I talk about “influence vectors.” Your personality is not just a point in space, but a vector, with magnitude and direction. The influence you have on others is a function of vector and proximity, some sort of hyperdimensional dot product. I picture nodes in your mindspace as vectors swirling and swarming, changing and being changed by those around them.

    I enjoy the blog.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.