In today’s spotlight I would like to discuss the notion of self. We all have a self-portrait of sorts—that is, we all know ourselves by some common measures like our name, marital status, home, occupation, etc., and we also all know ourselves in interior ways such as our likes, dislikes, proclivities, attitudes, ambitions, secrets, and so forth. As such, our identity is who we have come to know ourselves as.
Now imagine that you lost your senses all together—would that change who you know yourself to be? Probably not. So what if you suddenly became an acquired savant like Jason Padget, who was on my radio show, and now the world was an illustration of fractal geometry. Would this still be you—the you you know?
What if a head blow turned you into a synesthete like Dr. Joel Salinas, who has also been on my Provocative Enlightenment radio show, and like him, you actually felt the pain of others. Would taking on another’s pain change you enough that your self-identity would become foreign to your former self?
Now what if you lost all of your memories like Debra Sanders, who has also appeared on Provocative Enlightenment. Suddenly, you wake from a horrible accident and know not who you are, where you are, or anything else about yourself. Clearly now your self-identity is different. Perhaps it is limited to your body—but that’s not who you are, or is it?
Aging teaches all of us that who we are is not our self-image as photographed when we’re babies, or small children, or teenagers, or young adults. No—this body thing is an ever-changing event and I would suggest that so is your self-representation or identity. As Heraclitus once put it, you can never step into the same stream twice.
We are all dynamic beings in constant flux, just as all of nature. Our personalities are malleable, our attitudes frequently change, our likes and dislikes can vary from time to time, but most importantly, so can our view of our role in the world.
The world changes one person at a time. A friend of mine recently reminded me of a quote by George Bernard Shaw, “We have no more right to consume happiness without producing it than to consume wealth without producing it.”
Think about that for a moment. How much happiness are you producing today and how could you increase it? Life isn’t about your past—it’s always about the present. What can you do in this moment to increase the happiness in your world? As you produce happiness, you gain happiness. Isn’t that what we all want and isn’t that what we always want to be? For me, it seems the rest is only details.
My thoughts, what are yours?