What Are You?

What Are You?


Are you your body? Well, kind of, right? But, is there a line
where this stops being true? How much of yourself can you remove
before you stop being you, and does the question even make sense? Your physical existence is cells,
trillions of them, at least ten times more
than there are stars in the Milky Way. A cell is a living being, a machine made
of up to 50 thousand different proteins. It has no consciousness, no will,
no purpose; it just is, but it is still an individual. Together, your cells form huge structures
for jobs like preparing food, gathering resources,
transporting stuff around, scanning the environment,
and so on. If you extract cells from your body
and put them in the right environment, they will continue to
stay alive for a while, so your cells can exist without you,
but you can’t exist without them. If we take all the cells away,
there is no “you” anymore. Is there a line where
a pile of your cells stops being you? For example, if you donate an organ,
billions of your cells will continue to live on inside someone else. Does this mean that a part of you
became a part of another person, or is this other body
keeping a part of you alive? Or, let us imagine an experiment: you and a random person
from the street exchange cells. One at a time, your body
gets one of their cells; their body gets
one of your cells. At which point would they become you? Would they ever, or is this just
a very slow and gross way to teleport you? Let’s make this more complicated! The image of ourselves as
a static thing is untenable. Almost all of your cells have to die
during your lifetime. Two hundred and fifty million have died
since the beginning of this video, alone, between one and three million per second. In a seven-year period, most of your cells
are replaced at least once. Every time your cells’ setup changes,
you are slightly different than before, so a part of you is dying constantly. If you are lucky enough to become old, you would have cycled through roughly
a million billion cells, so what you consider yourself
is really just a snapshot, but sometimes, cells are broken
and don’t want to die questioning the very nature
of the unity of our bodies. We call them cancer. They cancel
the biological social contract and become basically immortal. Cancer is not an outside invader; it’s a part of you that
puts its own survival over yours, but you could also argue that a cancer
cell becomes another entity inside us; another being that just wants to
thrive and survive. Can we blame it for that? A chilling cell story is that of
Henrietta Lacks, a young cancer patient who died in 1951. Usually, cells only survived
for a few days in the lab, making research very hard. Henrietta’s cancer cells were immortal. Over the decades, they were multiplied
over and over again and used for countless research projects
saving countless lives. Henrietta’s cells are still alive
and overall have been grown to at least 20 tons of biomass, so there are living parts around the world
from someone who has been considered dead for decades. How much of Henrietta is in these cells? What makes one of
your cells “you,” anyway? Maybe the information contained in it,
your DNA? Until recently, it was believed that
all the cells in your body had basically the same genetic code, but it turns out this is wrong. Your genome is mobile,
changing over time through mutations
and environmental influences. This is especially the case in your brain. According to recent discoveries, a single
neuron in an adult brain has more than one thousand mutations in its
genetic code that are not present in the cells surrounding it,
but how much “you” is your DNA, really? About eight percent of the human genome
is made up of viruses that once infected our ancestors and merged with us. Mitochondria, power plants of the cell,
once were bacteria that merged with the ancestors of your cells.
They still have their own DNA. An average cell has hundreds of them,
hundreds of little things that are not really human,
but they still kind of are. It is confusing.
Let’s backtrack a bit. We know that you’re made up of
trillions of little things made from more little things
that are constantly changing. Together, all those little things
are not static, but dynamic. Their composition and condition
is changing constantly, so we might just be a self-sustaining
pattern without clear borders that gained self-awareness at some point
and now has the ability to think about itself
through time and space, but really only exists in
this exact very moment. Where did this pattern start: with your conception,
when the first human arose, when life first began
conquering our small planet, or when the elements that make up your
body were forged in a star? Our human brains evolved
to deal with absolutes. The fuzzy borders that make up reality
are hard to grasp. Maybe ideas like beginning and end,
life and death, you and me, are really not absolutes, but ideas
belonging to a fluent pattern; a pattern that is lost in this strange
and beautiful universe. (Shifting to the voice of CGP Grey)
The problem of who we are isn’t just a question of ourselves,
but it’s also a question of our minds. Just as our cells can be divided and
separated from us, so can our very brains be divided and separated from us
while still in the skull. Click here to go to my channel
and watch the next part. Okay, so now, go watch CGP Grey’s video. If you’re not yet subscribed
to his channel, you should really change that now. Subtitles by the Amara.org community

100 thoughts on “What Are You?

  1. So, when people say they're losing brain cells, they're actually losing brain cells, huh
    those stupid comments just speed up the process.

  2. hey K. in nutshell, cool graphics but this isn't education this is comedy. harsh, but at least qualify the category with "thought provoking entertainment".
    If cells have no purpose or meaning then neither do we.
    Sentience can be registered at the cellular level, just because our cells don't drink Starbucks and wear skinny jeans or listen to Lil yachty albums doesn't mean they have no purpose. ok maybe the cells that make up the people who listen to "all my friends are dead" have no purpose but the rest of us aren't subjected to meaningless lives.

    step outside and you'll be more educated on the energy and bio matter YOU are made of than this video can ever explain.
    that is why I am critical of why this video is even allowed to be categorized as educational.

    siri play "violent pornography"

    SOAD: Fuck!… Turn off your TV!

  3. CCP grey put your channel at the end of his video and you kept his channel video at the end of the video!
    And I watched both your and CCP Grey's video but I knew yours first

  4. It’s important when talking about Henrietta Lax and personhood to address how she was exploited by medicine as a black woman. Pretty though her immortality and contributions to science might be.

  5. I like to think you are your consciousness. What you experience and how you interpret everything and how you can just tell you're conscious makes you yourself.

  6. OK then, I have both a narcissistic mother & narcissistic cells that can live without me. I guess I had it coming watching this at 3 am.

  7. Help..

    One day I go on YouTube

    AND IM STUCK ON A ENDLESS COMMENT THE BLUE ARROW KEEPS LOADING

    IM STUCK IN A VIDEO LOOP TOO

  8. Remove the brain => No more “you”.
    Basically, you are the consciousness stays inside the brain. The brain controls limbs by transmitting energy/radiation technique.

    Or try to think of this way:
    After [your] brain was implanted, imagine you would be alert in another body. That’s indeed a kind of an odd phenomenon to say

  9. The idea that cells do not contain consciousness is an assumption. At what point do you draw the line at consciousness? Is it when an organism to become self aware? When it is capable of simple feelings? Or is it when something gains the desire to persist? Cells have a desire to persist and CAN feel stimuli. If it senses something attacking it, it will move away because it can feel. To me, saying individual cells do not have consciousness does not make sense. Having multiple cells connect and communicate as one allows such creature to begin interpreting its environment and self/other cells or in other words, THINK. Then you bring in other bodys who can do the same thing and we start interpreting the world together. We're all just a mass consciousness just trying to grow and interpret our existence at this point.

  10. I'm my memories and feeling.
    it means I'm a brain.
    I consist of the cells which is connected by nueral network. and the cells are helping the brain who wants realizing his wish. boss is the brain.

  11. How do you Know a cell has no will have you conversares with one ? How do I prove you have a will? If I am a monk my will may be to perfect stillness and thus you can’t use movement to define will and lack there of is a moot point, what about the will of God as the all encompassing will of all things the vibrational word ? What keeps our blood flowing and heart beating ? Problem with science is this it’s limited

  12. Would there be a way to splice are cells and cancer cells to have are cells replacte forever so we don't die from old age?

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