Determining Identity of the Self?
Photo by Matúš Kovačovský
Blunt Philosophy

Determining Identity of the Self

"I hope I never have to ask the question, 'who am I?'"

Most of us hardly ever get to think about how we see ourselves as individuals.

I don’t mean in the sense of our ego or what to write down under ‘about yourself’ on a website, I mean how we see ourselves as beings.

We hardly get to think about it because, well, it largely seems impertinent to question who we are; worse yet out loud anyway!

It sounds like a philosophical or spiritual question. One of those we have never universally agreed upon in answers.

Well… I’m less concerned by accepted answers as am by questions I am yet to ponder.

I hope I never have to ask the question, ‘who am I?’

Apart from the odd, inexplicable moments, I have forgotten my own name for but a split second. It is an answer I should know without having to think about it.

“I am me,” obviously!

I ought not to confuse that with someone else’s “me.” In aspects of physicality, mentality and personality, I am me. But when I do think about it, it soon becomes a tricky question and answer.

  • Physically it’s about my appearance and biology, and my actionable abilities too.
  • Mentally speaks to my memories, intellect, belief systems and the presumably unique psychological filter through which I process my perception.
  • Personality is more fluid I would think, an account of how I interact with others in the world around me, my mannerisms and dispositions.

Yes, I would probably describe myself in those terms if I had to answer the question of who I am, barring amnesia…

In which case, I presume that the first aspect I listed, physicality, would be self-evident more or less immediately. The other two would be unanswered at least in the short term, although it is conceivable that they too would eventually be answerable even if the lost memories are never recovered. Assuming my mentality and personality aspects do return to legitimate answerability through new experiences, what would have happened to “me”? Would I have eventually become a different ‘me’ than from my pre-amnesia days? Or would I simply have gained fresh answers for the same old ‘me’?
Tracking back a little, do any of these aspects even provide a satisfactory answer to the question of who I am?

Perhaps not when I consider that these individual aspects each have their own
defining aspects that define them. I suppose the combination of all of them could be considered satisfactory.

The combination…

That term suggests a state of separation, doesn’t it? Making me realise that the combination could easily be compromised by the conceivable loss of one or even two of them for ‘me’.

What of ‘me’ then?

My awareness of experience?

That speaks to an ethereal entity. That which unites my described aspects as expressing ‘me’.

I’m seeking the determinant, a less fallible way of Identifying self.
That which I know without thinking.

How do you determine the ‘you’ in ‘me’?

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