The paradox of self-awareness is that we think we think we know everything. But it is our own minds that are often the only thing we can control.
One of the most amazing things about self-awareness is that it allows us to think about things we should have thought about before. For example, we’ve been reading books about the idea that we don’t think about our own mortality as much as we think we are aware of it. Yet, most of the time we are trying to forget it.
We all know that we need to think before we can think, and we all know that we should be thinking about our mortality more than we think we are. Yet, we are only half-aware of it, and that leaves us in a paradox. We can think about it, but we can also think about not-thinking about it. This is a basic lesson from cognitive psychology, but so often we ignore it because we want to go back to sleep.
I think this paradox is best summed up by the statement that “thinking is thinking and thinking is thinking.” What this means is that you can think about something while you are not thinking about it, and you can think about something while you are thinking about it. It’s like, “I’m going to eat this sandwich, but if I eat it, I’ll eat it, but if I don’t eat it, then I won’t eat it.
This is a very common phenomenon that scientists are always puzzled about. We all know that a thought cannot change or make something happen if it is not in the mind. The paradox is that when you think about something, you are actually thinking about something else. You are thinking of what you are eating or what you are doing, or what you will say or do. So, if you think about something, you are in fact thinking about what you are not thinking about.
If you think of a thought you are actually thinking of something else. So if you think about a thought, you are literally thinking of yourself. This is the first time I’ve heard a quote that seems to suggest self executing paradox. It just does make sense. It makes sense that we are not thinking about the things we want to be thinking about. It also makes sense that if we really want to achieve something, we will try to figure out ways to get there.
And I think this paradox is one that has to do with our minds. We are designed to have a limited number of mental states at any one time. We can think about other entities, such as ourselves, but we definitely can’t think about ourselves, or any of our thoughts. So we have this paradox where we have to do this endless mental activity just to maintain sanity.
Well… as it turns out… we can actually think about ourselves. But we can’t think about anything else. This is the basis for the self-executing paradox.
So let’s say that my brain is full of self executing paradoxes. Well that means that if I had a mind that could self execute the paradoxes that would be full of self executing paradoxes. So this paradox can go both ways. But in general, if a person has a mind that can self execute the paradoxes it will have a mind that can self execute the paradoxes that don’t require self executing.
The mind that can self execute the paradoxes is called a self-executing brain. The body that can self execute the paradoxes is called a self-executing body. So the self-executing body is the mind that can self execute the paradoxes. And the self-executing brain is the mind that can self execute the paradoxes.