Page Nav


Classic Header




Personal continuum

Why do I think that I am is me? This question looks silly, but it is not. Why do I think that I am the same person in the morning as I wa...

Why do I think that I am is me? This question looks silly, but it is not. Why do I think that I am the same person in the morning as I was yesterday? What is necessary that think this way? How would I think differently? Why would I think that I am the same or a different person than I was yesterday?

These are real questions, and the answer to these is not trivial. It would be trivial if the answer is: because I have the same consciousness than I had before. We identify ourselves with our consciousness. However, consciousness is not a thing. It is not something that we can carry with us. Consciousness is an effect of the brain. It builds up and vanishes continuously. It vanishes when we sleep, it vanishes when we are anesthetized, and it can vanish any time if we are not aware enough.

If consciousness, what we identify ourselves with, continuously vanishes and reborn, why we think that we are still ourselves after these consciousness's vanish and reborn?

Because I know, that this I, is that me. What does it mean knowing that this I is the same me who was before? What do I know? What do I know in the morning which convince me, that I am the same me as I was yesterday?

Because I remember who was I yesterday. And I remember who was me before. I have a past of mine. I have my consequent past. I remember what happened yesterday, what happened to me before, and before. I remember what I was yesterday and before. And it follows a consistent chain without cracks in it. Yes, it is me today, because today's me is the continuation of what I was yesterday.

Is enough to know my past to know this I is that me? That I am still me? Only the memories make the feeling that I am is who I am? What if somebody changes all my memories the way that it is consistent with my actual state? Would I notice the difference? The new me would be a totally different person. Would I notice the change? Only the memories are what make us who we are?

I am is me today, because I remember about me from yesterday, and from before. Is it enough to be me? It is not. Probably we would notice, something fishy. Even if we remember all our new past, it would not be seen as today's continuity. Probably, most likely not. Because all of the past personal acts should match with today's behavior, desires, emotions, should match all the today's complex personalities, who is me today. And would be hard to create this match artificially.

So what is a personal continuum? Why I feel today's myself as a continuity of me, the former self after I regain my consciousness again? Because I remember the past, my continuous and consistent past, and it matches with that, what I want and how I feel today.

Am I the same as I was yesterday? Could be yes or could be no. But if no, I would notice it, unless all my memories and all my personality would be changed as well. However, in that case, I would be a different person and not me.

So is it me, this morning, as I was yesterday? Yes. But not because of my consciousness directly. Because today's consciousness is generated from past memories, and from the present personality (will, emotions, and feelings), which are a match with each other. My consciousness did reborn in a consistent continuum.

Can I be fooled? Yes, but only with another consistent continuum, who would be a completely different person. Which is not me anymore.

I am is me today, who I was yesterday.

No comments