This evening I got into a big hullabaloo challenging what my identity really consisted of. Was I just a random assortment of DNA refined by Natural Selection to be me? Well, yes, that is important. Was I that plus some lucky accidents that gave me a body, and a reasonably compatible environment to grow-up and exist within? Well, yes, a lot of that too. Wasn’t I developed into a person by my childhood experiences and my physical relationship with the world? Uh huh, there was that. And wasn’t I formed into a young adult by a lot of peer pressure to conform to what was expected of me? Ya, ya, all of that, but you still don’t have me. Anyone could have gone through all of those exact things, perhaps even an identical twin, and they still wouldn’t be me. I am I. There could be a whole stadium of identical people, identical with me in every way, and they still wouldn’t be me. I insist, I am I! Maybe you couldn’t tell the difference from the outside, no matter how carefully you checked, but I insist that from the inside, I can instantly tell that I am I. I never confuse myself with anyone, even though during the course of a day I play many different roles, depending upon the situation. Sometimes, I surprise myself with what I say or do. Even when beginning to write this post I didn’t know that these exact words or even these thoughts would be here, now. And, yet what I am now writing is clearly coming from my core I. It is consistent with what I think of as I. But now the problem arises, would one of my postulated clones have written the same thing? If one of them wrote this would I be able to distinguish their writing from this very document? Probably not. If one of these clones sat down to write about the events from earlier this evening, it is very likely they would have written something quite different, and yet it would still be coming from an identical core and so, even though it would be different, it would clearly come from me. This seems to get confusing, but really it isn’t. I simply move ahead from where I am. I am an evolving creature with each new relationship to the problems at hand changing who I am. Thus these postulated clones would have to be updated with every new thought I have.
I have always felt I was the same person; at least since childhood I can remember thinking about who I am, and I never had any doubts that it was me inside of this skin. And yet, through the years I have certainly changed in many ways, but fortunately I haven’t had a stroke or other events which destroyed part of my brain, and so the core of I has remained intact. It grew with experience, but there were no Phineas Gage experiences of having a portion of brain destroyed, and thus having a portion of my I lost. Which stimulates a thought of the difference between “I am I” versus God’s statement “I am what I am”. My statement is conditional and subject to change, because if a portion is removed I am no longer the same I. God’s statement is more flexible, because you can change some portion of that being statement and it is still true. He is still what he is, and no matter what is added or subtracted, he is still what he is. I can’t make that statement, because if you remove a portion of me, especially of my brain, then I am no longer what I was, and I am something else. That new being isn’t the old I, and I would no longer be the same I that I was when a child. In my present condition I do feel that I am still the same I that I was as a child.
In the midst of these speculative cogitations, I was asked, as an aside to my dream, “What had I gained from our conversation?” I had been distracted from my thoughts and stumbled for a few seconds, then I realized that I was like an amorphous edgeless mist, an unformed nebulousness, floating aimlessly about. But then a goal would form in my mind, and I would have a purpose, and ideas would form to bring me toward that goal, and that process would lend my life meaning for a while, at least until my energy was spent or others would be stimulated to interrupt me for some reason. I am a like a cloud until I have a goal, and that goal itself forms itself out of some similar mist, but then a miracle happens, and I spring to life.
Put an arrow to the bow’s string and targets appear.