Friday, 3 July 2009

So, me and a good friend were discussing some deep thoughts, as we often do. And it got me thinking about like, what it is that makes you remain the same person. I thought maybe it was memories. Because if we didn't have the memories of our whole life, then I suppose we wouldn't really be us. As I reckon it's our experiences that shape us and make us who we are today. But then people who have strokes and forget everything are still the same person. My great Aunt had a stroke and had to learn to talk, eat and walk again before memories started to come back. So then there's something else? The obvious answer would seem to be like, body. But that seems uncomfortably shallow, at least I think it is... Well we could lose an arm and still be us... we could lose a leg... and pretty much everything... but still be US. Except like, your brain. WOW full circle :) - so it's our brain? But when that's wiped... we're still us. 
Who knows :) 
I just find it so weird that I'm the 'same person' I was when I was a tiny little toddler. Like, I pretty much will have none of the same like cells or anything. I suppose what I really think is that personhood is just really bodily continuity. Like, we change so gradually that it's not obvious when we're completely 'regenerated'. It's like this thing I read once.. about like how you have a boat and you set sail, and gradually you replace all the parts, until you've technically got a new boat. But it's the same boat really, because it's the one you've always been sailing on. But if you were to assemble all of the old parts... wouldn't that be the original boat?

Oh isn't life confusing :) 


  1. Those are some really good ideas! Perhaps your aunt just lost abilities related to motor skills as that is a very specific part of the brain that is often affected by strokes. Maybe the memories of who she is were still present but not clearly expressed because she probably couldn't speak. George Herbert Mead and Irving Goffman wrote extensively about the self. Looking forward to your many posts to come!

  2. this would be more enjoyable to read if you didn't say the word 'like' a lot.

  3. Sorry... I know I say it too much.

  4. And all the cells in your body would be different from the ones you were born with so thats even more strange :S


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