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Thread: What makes you 'you'?

  1. #1
    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    What makes you 'you'?

    What is it that distinguishes any one of us as a person? After a few years your body consists of completely different atoms. As we gain experience our personalities develop, our beliefs often change, we react to things in different ways. But I think we would all claim to be in some sense the same person. What is it that we retain throughout all those changes?

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    I'm looking for a certain word, and I can't seem to recall it.

    People generally have a baseline of happiness, or a kind of ratio between positive and negative emotions that can be seen early in life. A shy person will naturally have less positive emotions, while a confident person will naturally have a lot more positive emotions. The baseline can be raised a little, but it's not likely that a shy person will ever become some social butterfly (shy isn't necessarily a bad thing, as shy people are less likely to get involved in any sort of mob mentality, whether that's going with the flow that so-and-so is worthy of contempt to lyching someone). But certainly some could do with a little more confidence.

    Otherwise, mannerisms, or general character traits, like being driven, or being laidback? Dunno.

    Does this have to do with the idea of a soul?
    "The whole purpose of religion is to facilitate love and compassion, patience, tolerance, humility, forgiveness."
    --H.H. the Dalai Lama

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    I jump to conclusions mad pierrot's Avatar
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    What is it that distinguishes any one of us as a person?
    I submit that it's our unique line of experiences from birth, combined with the unique mix of chemicals that constitutes our body. 2 unique combinations that will never again be repeated in nature.

    As we gain experience our personalities develop, our beliefs often change, we react to things in different ways. But I think we would all claim to be in some sense the same person. What is it that we retain throughout all those changes?
    Neat question. Despite all the chemical changes our bodies will go through as we grow old, and despite all the new experiences we will have, we still have an origin to our self-awarness. That origin influences our reactions in the years to come, so, you could call those formulative years of the origin as the birth of the self. BUT, I think of the "self" as something that's constantly changing, rather than something discontinuous or immutable. I personally favor the idea of my "self" as something that never has a state of being static.





    Anyone here read Nature via Nurture?
    Patience has its limits. Take it too far, and it's cowardice.

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    Oh my brain is starting to fry now, with all these questions coming up. BUT I am SO glad to see all this Tsuyoiko activity !!

    Please let me think on this, sleep over it, and get back later; please.



    Quote Originally Posted by mad pierrot
    Anyone here read Nature via Nurture?
    I've heard of it, but have never read it. I have read Pinkerton's ...Oh no!! I can't recall the title. I'll post it later.

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    It is a bit existentialist.... to Quote the great Doctor Theodore Seuss Guisel:
    "I am Sam. Sam I am. I do not like green eggs and ham."

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    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    Some good thoughts there guys. Mad P, I like your idea of our experiences being what define us.

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    Ok...well getting back after putting my thoughts together, and it turns out to not be any different from what mad pierrot has said; so I'll leave it at that for now.

    Only, that the state of being's (the individual entity) having a fixed propensity should be emphasized and that it should also be kept in mind that THAT can change also. . .with brain damage, for example. In such a case, I would say that we would have a new state of being, and the symbol (a person's name, for example) for that pre-state of being would have lost its referent.

    And, that book was THE BLANK SLATE--the Modern Denial of Human Nature; a very good and challenging read.

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    I jump to conclusions mad pierrot's Avatar
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    Aha!

    Thanks, MarsMan. Will check that book out next time I'm at the library.

  9. #9
    Mikawa Ossan
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    This question is actually extremely deep. I think it's all about connections. The actual atoms may change, but the connections remain for the most part in tact. These connections of which I speak are the physical bones, muscles, etc., and also the synapses in our brain.

    The question arises, does a new born baby have a "self"? I highly doubt that any such child has a concept of identity or of the self, and yet they do respond to stimuli such as pain and heat, etc. That same child is now you.

    What we call genetics, nature, is connections of DNA. What we call experience, nurture, is connections of synapses in the brain (for the most part). These connections can be built upon and modified to a certain extent, but they all unravel upon death.

    The extent to which these connection remain viable during life determine our idea of the "self".

    (My opinion in a nutshell)

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    Good points there Mikawa san. And, mad pierrot san, if you can, do check it out, it's a good one.

    I tend to agree at the moment, that the infant does not have self knowledge, it is very much robotic in nature, although very much not understood at the moment, perhaps.

    I was reminded of an article dealing with primate studies where it had been concluded that we would have to admit of a primate's tendency to have a slightly special tolerance for self, when finding 'self' in a mirrow because the reactions to other non-self primates drew noticeably stronger fight or flee reactions when seen.

    Now I like that new avatar too !!

  11. #11
    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mars Man
    And, that book was THE BLANK SLATE--the Modern Denial of Human Nature; a very good and challenging read.
    Guess what I am reading right now?

  12. #12
    DON'T PANIC! Tsuyoiko's Avatar
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    Mikawa, I like your idea, and I think it is pretty similar to Mad P's, since it is surely our experiences that create those connections in the brain.

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