Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Food For Thought . . .

Allow me to wax philosophical for a moment here . . .

Do your memories truly make you who you are?

I always used to say: yes! Everything that you are in life is due to the memories you've had since birth. What you are today is shaped by the experiences of your past.

Yet on the morning commute I started to wonder: are memories just window dressing for the core essence that is you? In other words, would your personality really alter so much if your memories were stripped bare and replaced with others?

There is no easy answer to this. If baby me were taken from this world and plopped on an alien planet, how much would the grownup alien me really differ from the Earth me of today?

Sure, due to a difference of experiences, I would certainly have altered views and attitudes on the universe, no doubt. But would I go from being a mild-mannered, semi-pacifistic New Yorker to a raging, uncontrollably murdering psychopath? Perhaps not. More importantly, would those who love me recognize the alien David as possessing the same core essence as the Earth me?

Religious people and spiritualists would believe so. But I still lean more towards my initial view. Or perhaps it's a little of both? Our memories *are* us, but we are not our memories. At least, not completely. If you were to perfectly record all of my life memories and transfer them, say, to an empty pod-person clone, would that clone suddenly be me?

Seems unlikely, no?

There might be something more to us than just the sum total of our memories . . .


cindy said...

our memories are so skewed, tho? and probably often inaccurate. maybe how you view your memories or periods from your life says more about who you are? people can react to adversities and successes in different ways. do they become complacent and bitter? do they become egotistical or help others?

i don't think we are just a sum of our memories. people are more complicated than that?

Kim Kasch said...

I have three kids and let me just say my experience is that they are who they were born. Luke was always a prankster. When he was a baby and riding in the backseat of the car, he would take his bottle, hold his finger over the nipple, shake it up (this was formula, and it was frothy) then he would spray us - all around the car and laugh hysterically. He wasn't even one! He's still like that. And the other two are who they were born - I could go on and on.

Ashe Hunt said...

I think it's different for each individual because some people are more impressionable than others. Although, that in itself is a personality trait, so, I really think that we are who we ARE from whenever the lifespark ignites in us. There is something that is inherently US.There's something within that just IS and does not change. We modify it with life experience, which makes memories, but we are who we are no matter what. I've always been the affable evil bastard I am.

David Batista said...

You guys are just confirming some of what I've been suspecting.

If you take identical twins and give the exactly the same life experiences, one will still turn out different than the other based on a variety of things: perspective, personality . . . and perhaps an unknown "other" factor that some might call a soul.

Like I said, eh? Food for thought! :)

Ashe Hunt said...

Interesting. Identical twins was always my example of people being who they are no matter what.

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