One Self or Many

Is a self a centralized entity? Is it a society that includes both images of what is (“data”) and ideals about what ought to be (“schema”)?

Sometimes we feel decentralized or dispersed, as though we were made of many different parts with different tendencies: “One part of me wants this, another part wants that. I must get better control of myself.” We sense feelings of disunity, conflicting motives, compulsions, internal tensions, and dissensions. We carry on negotiations in our head.

We also may have a single-view at times: “I think, I want, I feel. It’s me, myself, who thinks my thoughts. It’s not some nameless crowd or cloud of selfless parts.” And the times we feel most reasonably unified can be just the times that others see us as the most confused.

In an epochal time model, a “self” - an identity – is a succession of images – of states; observers/processors may interpret the state-image data via a succession of contexts — of ideals / schema-versions.

Recent renewed interest in domain-team-driven distributed data-product governance, i.e. “data mesh”, may too be an expression of one-self-or-many tension.

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