Because OMG! Who is Coming! calapine
posted links to the new extended DW trailer, and the scene with the vampires. And It's-got-me-thinking[tm].
Most of this, I wrote in a reply to spiralsheep
, just the other day (slightly edited for clarification).
One time, in college, I got into an argument with a philosophy major. The question he asked was: "Are you the same person you were when you were born?"
His answer was: "No."
My answer was: "Yes."
He was majoring in philosophy, and I was majoring in English, so he had more rebuttal tools in his toolkit. His argument was:
Every cell in your body is a different cell-- the body you had when you were born has long since died and been replaced, bit by bit.
So you are not your body.
The neural pathways in your brain are continually changing, and memory can so easily be tricked by outside forces, and your ways of thinking and perceiving the world are almost completely different than when you were born.
So you are not your mind.
And as for a soul, if there is such a thing, what is the vessal for it, if neither the body nor the mind? And if the vessal keeps changing, wouldn't the soul change too?
I was mostly saying: Yeah.. but. Okay, but...
It wasn't until I got back to my room that the answer came to me (isn't that always the way?):
The "Self" is not a discrete entity that can be located at any one point in space-time. But rather, the "Self" is the entire pattern of who you are, and how you change through time is a part of that pattern.
Okay, it's like in Flatland
(assuming you're familiar with that), and the Sphere passes through the Square's world. From the Square's P.O.V., he sees a circle that suddenly appears, grows, diminishes, and disapears. But the Sphere's perspective, nothing has changed at all.
When we look at living things, we see something that is born, grows, changes, weakens, and dies, and decomposes. But -- what if, like Sphere, we are "simply" four-dimensional beings passing through a three-dimensional space?
So trying to pinpoint the notion of Self or Soul in any one spot in our bodies, minds, hearts, memories, &c., would be like trying to pinpoint the essence of Beethoven's 9th in a single note or chord. But at the same time, we are a complete whole with an existance we can call our own. We are
Now, that doesn't mean that our lives are entirely "predestined" -- I'm totes in favor of exuberant Improv.
So -- in the hypothetical dichotomy between a tangible body and an intangible soul, it's the pattern
, itself, that is the intangible-but real, soul. There is nothing distinctly physical in the pattern, but it nonetheless is epressed through the physical world.
And Vampires don't have souls, because they've become just a static, frozen segment of their patterns. And we know that because they don't have reflections (which is another expression of the pattern). In some folktales (and modern fiction), losing your soul is made evident by losing your shadow -- ditto.
Now, what of the Doctor? His pattern keeps changing, doesn't it? So does he change into a different person with each regeneration?
I'll argue: no. It's just that his pattern has more folds, that allows some aspects of it to be hidden out of sight, while other aspects of it are revealed, like a flexagon. Here's a nifty vid (no sound) of a penta-hexa-flexagon being put through its paces, that demonstrates what I mean:
And for those who can't see video, there's this verbal explanation with illustrations: flexagon
(article which does not meet Wikipedia's standards, but serves my purpose well)
I suppose, for purposes of classification, Timelords might be considered "Trixadexabipedaflexagons."