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Spirituality & Philosophy


What is life? What happens after death? How do we live morally to become our best selves? Let's discuss!

Who are you?

Posted Over 1 Year ago by Xhin

As in - what's the fundamental unit of identity? Your memories? Experiences? Physical body and brain? What is it that makes you you and no one else?

There are 18 Replies


My memories plus my style of thinking (and style of other mental processes and activities).
That’s what I think.
If it’s wrong it’s still a good place to start, I’m guessing.

…..

What do you think?

Over 1 Year ago
chiarizio
 

As in - what's the fundamental unit of identity? Your memories? Experiences? Physical body and brain? What is it that makes you you and no one else?


- Psychological answer: We get the awareness of "I" between 3-5 years old. That's when awareness sets in and it's more of a fundamental concept of "me <> you"

- Philosophical answer: Differs depending on which philosopher you're talking about, but the Cartesian self says you are you because you are a thinking, experiencing being. (I think, therefore I am). As long as you have the capacity to think and interpret, you're a unique, individual being. Other philosophies, including Zen Buddhism (technically a philosophy) says you are the sum of your experiences. Which I think is tangentially related somehow.

I don't think it's anything about the physical body.

I don't ascribe to the idea of the Christian soul, but I do ascribe to some sort of nonphysical-spiritual self of sorts. (We talked about this briefly this morning).

I think you are who you are because you've experienced certain things and so they shape your experiences, mindset, etc. This is why we're able to process new information, ideas, and thoughts and be flexible about our identities, even if our core ethics and values are unlikely to change. And I think it's our core values and ethics that kind of ground us while our identities fluctuate throughout life.

I am the sum of every experience I've had in this life (maybe in other lives??)

I am also someone able to think, interpret, experience, and adjust my viewpoints based on these experiences.

I am not the same person I was a year ago. Maybe I'm also not the same person I was yesterday. I kind of like the idea of being in a constant state of refinement and constantly adopting new ideas and viewpoints to consider and use for my benefit (or self-destruction lol)

I value the concept of choice because it gives everything a place to come together. Core values and ethics jive together with "me" to create an action, that others can judge and react to, which perpetuates the cycle of self-discovery and growth.

So what am I?

My values and ethics, my memories, experiences, thoughts, and emotions all combining and working together to think and interpret life, I guess.

Over 1 Year ago
Weird Occurance

I don't really know anymore. half the tiem I don't really even feel like I exist if I'm cosntantly being altered against my will. I eiother end up feeling like osme sort of hollow imposter or li ke i'm trrapped with no control over myself.

Over 1 Year ago
tnu

It's no one thing that makes someone who they are. It's biology and environment. It's personal, professional, and educational experiences. It's geographical and cultural surroundings. It's the influence of people you meet. It is memories and values. These things all interact with and shape each other, but I don't think any one thing creates the bulk of "identity." And things change, too. No one is the same person today as they were 10 years ago because a lot happens.

Over 1 Year ago
Jet Presto

that's some scary shit to think about honeslty. At that piont does anybody really have any control over themselves or their own lives? I've generally tried to avoid change because that's the only way i've usually managed to feel like I have any sense of agency or control over myself. Usually if I change it always seems automatic, external, against my will and the way I get a sense of control over myself is staying consistent rather than letting myself be altered.

I don't know has anyoen else ever felt this sort of fear?

Over 1 Year ago
tnu

I'm not convinced that this question is cogent.

Over 1 Year ago
Nulllll

I might be dyslexic

Over 1 Year ago
Ratatoskr
Bringing about Ragnarok since 500BCE

Xhin, how would you answer the question?

Over 1 Year ago
Weird Occurance



Over 1 Year ago
Post-Wall Feminist

I just saw something on Crash Course Philosophy about this.
After that, and after reading all the above responses, I have a renewed fascination with this question!
I want to respond to it at length; but I should do the things I ought to do before the things I want to do; so, later!

Over 1 Year ago
chiarizio
 

I just saw something on Crash Course Philosophy about this.


Crash course philosophy? What's that?

Over 1 Year ago
Weird Occurance

@Weird:
Crash course philosophy? What's that?

DFTBA is a group that has some YouTu.be channels.
Crash Course is one group of their channels.
Crash Course Philosophy is one channel — or series? — in DFTBA’s Crash Courses.

….

They talked about David Hume not believing the self is a real thing, or at least not a lifelong thing.
They talked about some modern philosopher’s idea that even if we’ve lost most of the parts of our identities that we shared with the people we were over half our lives ago, nevertheless we share nearly everything with who we were last week, and most with who we were last year.

I think the “self” is a construct the human mind invents. It’s a useful fiction, so to speak. So I kind of agree with Hume and that modern philosopher whose name I forget, and Douglas Hofstadter, among others.
But in my case that’s not a religious tenet. I’d be perfectly happy with finding out I was wrong.



Over 1 Year ago
chiarizio
 

Sounds interesting, Chiarizio, thanks!!

Over 1 Year ago
Weird Occurance

Xhin, how would you answer the question?


I have no idea. I think your experiences shape you more than memory does, but both of those things are subject to interpretation and rewriting. There are also a lot of external influences that can't really be considered "you" but still alter your perspectives on things, like neurotransmitter balance, gut flora, probably EMFs to some extent given how the hippocampus works.

I've been thinking about these kinds of questions a lot lately and will probably do more of that -- might have a more coherent answer at some point.

Over 1 Year ago
Xhin
Sky's the limit

I find that EFTs improve my mood sometimes.

Over 1 Year ago
chiarizio
 

(Electronic Funds Transfer)

Over 1 Year ago
chiarizio
 

(Electronic Funds Transfer)


Haha, holy shit. Good one, chiarizio.

Over 1 Year ago
Nulllll

How do we get back on topic?
I referred to Douglas Hofstadter’s book “I Am a Strange Loop”, which examines the identity question, in my post to this subforum entitled
“Reflected Communist Bachelors with Spin 1/2 are All Wet”;
no one has responded to it yet but maybe someone has seen it.
Anyway Hofstadter has published some stuff relevant to the topic raised in the O.P. of this “Who are you?” thread.
I recommend folks check out his “I Am a Strange Loop” book, and/or some of his other works.

Over 1 Year ago
chiarizio
 

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