SEARCHING FOR YOURSELF? FLYING BLIND?
Need a new search party?
This is Part 2 in a series of articles about the “Self.”
When children play Hide and Seek, at least the searchers know who they’re looking for.
Do we know who we’re searching for when we’re looking for ourselves?
Because if we don’t know what we’re looking for there’s no chance we’ll find it.
If we don’t know what the SELF IS, LOOKS LIKE, or APPEARS to be in its many disguises, what chance to do we have of finding it?
(In this series, we’re figuring out how to DEFINE the “self” before trying to FIND it This is one in a continuing series of articles about the Self. If you would like to read more on the Self, please see the links to other post/s below.)
We require a clear and unambiguous definition of the SELF so that we can recognize it when we discover it.
BASIC DEFINITION OF SELF (Oxford)
a) A person’s essential being; that which distinguishes a person from another; or,
b) A person’s particular nature or personality; or,
d) A person considered as a unique individual; or,
e) One’s own self.
All right, let’s break it down.
What does “essential being” mean?
Whatever “distinguishes a person from another.”
That could be on the inside or the outside of the person,yes?
If it’s an EXTERNAL attribute, such as height, weight, color of skin, eyes, or hair, for example, it’s considered an “accidental” in philosophical terms.
That doesn’t mean that those things are “accidents” like a car crash, although the way some people dress, from the
outside they do LOOK like car crashes.
It just means that those external things don’t change the essential, or underlying, or basic nature of the person.
The true SELF.
ACCIDENTALS AND ESSENTIALS
John had hair when he was young. Now he’s bald.
He’s still John.
Baldness is an “accidental.” It does not affect who he is.
An “essential” might be his quality of honesty, or fairness or intelligence.
The combination of essentials in your personal make-up is what makes you,YOU: your nature and personality.
Part of the self (this gets us into DIFFERENT and complex territory), is the AWARENESS of one’s self.
That is, “Your consciousness of your own identity.”
Well, that seems easy, right?
We just look in the mirror and we know it’s us.
But not everyone can do that.
A person has a self but he/she doesn’t necessarily know all of what it is.
ALZHEIMER’S AND THE SELF
People with Alzheimer’s are who they are but they often don’t recognize themselves.
Even in a mirror.
There is a discussion we could have here about whether the advanced Alzheimer patient IS who he USED to be.
(We won’t go there yet!)
People say of an Alzheimer patient:
And,”She doesn’t seem to be the same person as she was.”
We’re unsure about how this affects the notion of “Self.”
Difficult stuff, but let’s not get too far from the basics.
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I’ll be with you.