What is the “Self”
It’s hard to grasp the concept of what one’s self really is. Where does is exist? Who am I? What makes me different from you? After discussing these questions, it left me even more confused than I was before. To avoid making this confusing from the beginning I think it’s helpful to start with a definition of what the self is to me. The self is the unphysical part of the human. Our memories and experiences all compiled together to create a personality that is forever changing, and completely individual to each person. When people are born, they have set blue prints that give them: their initial self. A mosh of their ancestors DNA. Babies are given a name and a physical appearance. It is like making blue prints for a house, and you do not know where it will be built, or what kind of people will be living in it. This is where memories, experiences and the people we meet change those blue prints into a human with a personality that is built on throughout life. I think that the self exists in the brain. The brain is an amazing and complex organ that we know very little about. I believe that there is a little section in between the memories and our problem solving where our self exists. After our initial identity is created, I believe it changes weekly. Every significant interaction affects us, starting out with parents. Some of us are exactly like our parents and other are the complete opposite, but there is no doubt no matter what situation, they have an immense effect on us. I am exactly like my dad. We think the same things are funny, and we both react to conflict in the same way. On the other hand, I am the exact opposite from my mom. I am not saying one is better, but they both have created the person I am probably until 7th grade. After that became the ominous teen years where my identity was not changed but built on yet again, this time by my friends. I started caring about how I looked, and how people thought about me because that is what my friends did. I became more outgoing and funny, and I enjoyed adventure. I think that the more people we create bonds with, the larger our personalities get. By that I mean that we have many different personalities when we start going to school we act a different way with teachers, parents, friends, and boyfriends. High school turns us into robots. By junior year we’ve all had enough, and we have enough general knowledge to begin what we want to do with our lives. High school in my eyes puts us in boxes where we all come out the same. We are forced to take all the same classes in order to graduate or get higher education. Nothing depends on our interests, or what we are good at. We would be much different people if we learned about things we were interested in, and it would allow us to grow into our selves more before we are off to college. This causes students to become crazy, grade-obsessed students who don’t care about the material, because there is no interest! All successful students are like this, and it’s not who we really are. I think that it’s horrible to build our foundation on this. All throughout grade school, the self is manipulated pulled and twisted until we aren’t sure who we are anymore. Then the opportunity of college comes at the perfect time. We are ripped away from all of our prior relationships. So what does that do to the self? I think this is the best opportunity for the self to do a personality cleanse. We take who we are from all of our different connections jumble it all together, keeping the good traits and getting rid of the bad. I was very fortunate to experience this early, towards the beginning of high school, with going to camp. That had the same effect on me that I presume college to be like, the idea of being thrown into a new environment and knowing no one. It matured me, but it made my “self” become solidified and really made me a whole person. Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind was very thought provoking. It made me think, if my memories of an important person in my life were wiped would I be the same. All my connections that I have had with people, I like to think, have affected me in a good way and built upon my personality. I don’t even think that I would be able to erase all the memories, because people have had such a profound impact on me, that if I saw them I would feel those emotions all over again. The article Seeing the Light, really made me question my believes in the afterlife. I am certain that I don’t believe in God, but I do think that we have an unphysical being. But where does that being go? I’d like to believe in something that continues on after death, but I just can’t wrap my mind around that idea. I think the self is attached to the brain, and when the body dies the mind goes with it. Seeing the light is the releasing of chemicals in the brain to make the “self” feel happy and safe during a scary moment. This could last for minutes after death until all parts of the body are completely shut down and not coming back. After thinking about a higher power, and how that relates to our “selves” I feel very liberated not believing in anything. I am in charge of how my identity turns out. There’s no such thing fate or destiny that will control how I turn out in my mind. No end destination that I will happen no matter what I do, and that feels really good. I am content with my “self” and that is something teenagers usually do not feel. So lost with who they are that they need to be exactly like someone else to feel comfortable. I think it’s was really awesome to grapple with this topics so that people know these things and can understand what the self is and how to be content with it.