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Do I have a unique identity?

  1. Aug 15, 2003 #1

    Ivan Seeking

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    Do "I" have a unique identity?

    Since my mind "evolves" with each bit of information that enters through a sense, one might argue that my consciousness is itself a dynamic entity that by its very nature cannot have a distinct identity. Still, we tend to think of ourselves as having some unchanging quality - the soul, or at least the ID - that goes be beyond the dynamics of the mind and the senses.

    Am I the same person now...as now; or do "I" only exist as a continuum of momentary identities?
    Last edited: Aug 15, 2003
  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 15, 2003 #2
    yes.....and yes.

    We have a unigue identity, a character that is us and continues on thoughout our lives; however, we are constantly changing thoughout our lives. We are the same entity with the same identity but we are not the same as we were or will be. Call it soul or ego or whatever you will but as someone said the only constant is change.
  4. Aug 15, 2003 #3
    I'd say you're a continuum. This is also why i don't believe in a claim which many inspirationists use. Which is the claim that we all have a "real me", then they preach about losing sight of the "real me". I think it's just another extension of morals and ethics.
  5. Aug 15, 2003 #4
    What about the "you" that is conscious? For some reason that's the part that doesn't go away. :wink:
  6. Aug 15, 2003 #5

    Ivan Seeking

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    Perhaps the concept of "I" is really just a notion of "the moment" combined with memory. Beyond memory, what evidence is there for the continuation of any unique identity? Couldn't this just be an illusion of the moment?
  7. Aug 15, 2003 #6
    No, "I" exists and is real. "I" is the foundation or base from which we grow and experience life. Most of childhood is spent developing and establishing this "I" as unigue and seperate from our parents and siblings and later from others as our world expands. Of what use would life be if there were not a unige I to experience it and respond to it.

    This "I" may be part of a universal One which is interconnected to all other I's including, if you so believe, God. In this respect there is no "I" but all is One and of One. This, however is just one aspect of what "I" is and does not lessen but enhances it's unigueness. It is my thought that it is this "I" that is eternal even when eventually we return to and become one with God.
  8. Aug 15, 2003 #7


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    Is there a definite candle flame? Or is that an illusion? I am a process; each moment I enter a new state, but I have within me, serving as a parameter set for each new state, a (unknowably edited) memory of previous states, stretching back to when I was three or four. Thus my identity gets updated with a large slug of previous states and a small slug of the new. I have not ever experienced a consistency problem.
  9. Aug 15, 2003 #8

    Ivan Seeking

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    Perhaps the "I" only has a wholeness in time.
  10. Aug 15, 2003 #9
    I suspect it's a lot like the radio waves we receive over the radio, where the "format" is subject to change from time to time. The radio and the equipment remain the same, but the information which is broadcast and/or received has changed. :wink:
  11. Aug 16, 2003 #10
    So the "I" didn't exist before my childhood? then how can I be part of the One if for a few years I didn't exist. Aren't "I" just a polymorphic virus in The One's computer?
  12. Aug 16, 2003 #11
    Of course if one were to suffer from too much change, where it's either too abrupt and/or associated with some sort of trama, then I suppose it's possible to suffer from multiple personalities -- you know, like Sybil.

    But then again you can take a brilliant playwright, like Shakespeare, or possibly Euripides, with his introduction to the god of the mask and theater, Dionysus, and there's no doubt these characters ran rampant through their personalities. But maybe this is how they kept from going insane, by writing about it? (and not repressing it).
  13. Aug 16, 2003 #12

    There is a difference between hav-
    ing a "distinct identity" and
    having an "unchanging quality."
    These are two separate questions.

    When a person refers to themself
    as "I" it is a reference to their
    "distinct identity", meaning dis-
    tinct from someone else. The ob-
    vious answer to this question is
    yes, you are distinct from every-
    one else.

    The second question is one of
    imutable essence. Do the moment
    by moment changes in an individual
    take place around an ever intact

    Who wants to know? Would an ever
    intact core ask such a question?

  14. Aug 16, 2003 #13

    Ivan Seeking

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    I was really speaking only to an unchanging self.

    This does not really speak to the idea. I meant an identity that is distinct because it is unchanging.

    I think either one could; an intact or dynamic self.
  15. Aug 17, 2003 #14
    Do you think an ever-intact core
  16. Aug 17, 2003 #15

    Ivan Seeking

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    Hmmm. I see your point.

    An ever-intact core would seem to be self aware. Awareness is a form of thought.
  17. Aug 17, 2003 #16
    Sound of a loud, disruptive buz-

    "I'm sorry, Mr. Seeking, according
    to five thousand years of Buddhist
    wisdom your last statement was
  18. Aug 17, 2003 #17

    Ivan Seeking

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    Uh oh! I had better give them time to catch up with me.

    Could you elaborate a little? What is the Buddhist belief here?
  19. Aug 17, 2003 #18
    A person cannot think without being aware, but they can be
    aware without thinking.

    Thinking is the interior mental
    modeling that humans are nearly
    constantly engaged in which is
    not necessarily linked to any
    perception they are recieving from
    the outside world at the time.

    Awareness is the quality of being
    conscious, sentient, and is not
    dependant upon thinking for its
    existence. It is dependent on perception.

    Yeah, those Buddhist masters sure
    do take their time, don't they?
  20. Aug 17, 2003 #19

    Ivan Seeking

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    First, I believe in a soul. So really I am citing an idea that goes against my own beliefs; unless perhaps we can talk about the "I" as having a wholeness only in time - as in the continuation of David Bohms work.

    Some now argue that self awareness is merely an illusion created by the process of thought. Now I know this gets right into Descarte's evil genius, now called The Matrix, but this is what some scientists are saying. Self awarness is merely another mechanism of perception - the brain's awareness of its own activities.

    Some similar ideas to those refereced:
    "Experience is fundamental to existence, but it is not reality (Berkeley was wrong). Reality is the process through which Nature is constantly becoming. Our consciousness (as it manifests in our human existence) is an extension of the same holistic awareness function self-organized matter always utilized to observe itself, therefore consciousness is still - Nature observing itself."



    "Whenever the self object is part of the current image, along with another activated object X, we say that we are aware of X, or conscious of X. Consciousness is therefore a state of objects, the relation between the self object and other objects. Consciousness is not an observer, which exists on top of the objects. There is no such observer, because all entities are established as objects, and are all on the same level. The term image is misleading, there is no observer for the current image, for our current awareness. The self is not located above the objects, but aside of them. When we say ‘I am conscious of X’, that means the self object is conscios of X, that the self object has a relation to X object. The ‘I’ is the self object, there is no ‘I’ beyond that."
    Last edited: Aug 17, 2003
  21. Aug 17, 2003 #20

    I'm not seeing a pertinent con-
    nection between what I said and
    the quotes you posted.
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