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What makes you, you?

I am thirteen and we had this question today as a warm up and I found it very interesting

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    Jun 17 2011: So what was your answer, Christian -- and what did your classmates say? Is there anything all answers had in common, or did everyone have their own ideas about it? For the French sociologist Pierre Bourdieu, this "you" (e.g. your tastes in music, culture...) depends on your heritage and your social position. Others, like Claude Dubar, say that this "you" is a co-construction of what you want to be for yourself, what you want others to see in you, where you come from and where you want to be. I think the answer to this question depends on things like your age, your personal goals, your experience, but there is always a certain heritage -- or education -- from "where you come from" that will influence your behavior.
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    Jun 19 2011: I think most people spend a big part of their lives answering that question.

    I don't think the answer is in the past and I'm not sure it's a goal to be achieved either.

    Lots of people will argue that it's all down to genes.

    Others will say it's the environment you grow up in.

    In the end, none of that matters. Know thyself - it's easier said than done!

    Keep asking..
    • Jun 19 2011: Actually this warm up led to a huge debate in which it was nature (genes) vs. Nurture, the way the people around you influence who you are
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        Jun 19 2011: well ya, that is the debate.

        but is it a dichotomy"? is it either or?


        Or is it posible there is an essential true unique nature in each us and that what happens arounds us, how we interpret and engage that is constantly either thwarting or nurturing that inner self?
        • Jun 19 2011: It's a debate that willl surly go on now if I may, do you believe in nature or nurture
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          Jun 20 2011: I believe in a singularity behind the duality behind the singularity.

          The thing people generally miss about science is that it is just one of the more popular ways we currently use to try to understand our world.

          The Nature vs Nurture argument is the same as Freewill vs Predestiny, just in different clothes.

          I believe it is both and neither at the same time. Confusing, I know, but not a cop out.

          Whatever you choose to believe is real.
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        Jun 19 2011: Hi chrsitian

        see my further explanation below. I am saying it is not "either or" ( a dichotomy) .it is both.

        I am saying we have an inborn natture, our true self that we come into this world with that is uqniuely our own..has its own unique fulfillment and I believe is needed in this world.

        that nurture ( and expereience and teaching and peers..the music we hear, the art we see, the movies we see, the books we read..all we engage as culture interacts with that from the moment we are born and either furthers our fulfillment and ufolding of this "true self" or masques and represses it.

        I am saying we have some ability to shape what we engage..by avoidance, by aacceptance, by questioning, by feeling how things"fit" with our own sense of self..we ourselvescan be active paricpatnts in either unfolding that "true self",the natural self..or being passive and just "taking on" and "taking in" what ever goes on around us.

        Does that make sense to you?

        PS Ilove your ID logo..did you design it.? And I also love that you are here.
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        Jun 20 2011: Hi Helen..Nice to see you..my idea of the unique self is an ancient one..and is in many wisdom tradtions. That unique self is all our inherent traits, our spirit, our natural disposition to things that is uniquely ours as individuals. That begins at once to angeg with the world and be enagaged by th wold in ways that either further th eunfolding of the natural unique self or frustrate it.

        In otherwords, I believe there is much more to "self" , that the most imporant part of self is inate that self isn't just what we acquire and learn.

        Does that not rest wwell with you?
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    Jun 18 2011: Hello Christian!

    What can I say? I don't believe in a "me". What exists are different elements that interact with each other, come into existence and vanish again.

    Have you ever heard of the "Ship of Theseus"? Imagine that this ship gets repaired over time until every part has been renewed. Is it still the same ship? To make it more difficult, imagine that a new ship gets constructed out of the old parts. Which is the "real" ship now? The repaired one? The new old one? Both? None? In my opinion, the concept of continuing identity is flawed in the first place. Wasn't the ship already different after changing one plank? In fact, wasn't the ship already different after suffering the tiniest scratch?

    There is an elegant way to solve this problem. What if objects (and subjects!) not only exist in three spatial dimensions, but also a fourth temporal dimension? In that case, the ship is rather a series of moments (in time) of three-dimensional properties (in space). Three-dimensional time-slices, if you want. And each of these slices differ from each other. So the ship never stayed the same in the first place, instead it changed from moment to moment. At best one can agree to view a certain amount of certain three-dimensional time-slices to be connected, thereby identifying a fourth-dimensional object.

    With that in mind, what makes me me? I can answer this for the moment with a set of attributes, emotions, thoughts, values, but any attempt at defining me as a fourth-dimensional subject is tricky. What if I have changed drastically in the past years? If I went back in time and met my former self, I might feel less related to him than to a close friend who shares my values and way of thinking. Or put it the other way round: What if there is a person who is closer to my 18-year-old-personality than I am now? Isn't he more "18-me" than I am? Surely not in regards to biological kinship or molecular causality, but why should I view these as the defining characteristics?
    • Jun 22 2011: Interesting:) Are you here talking about "what makes them, them"(what makes the ship, the ship for you) or "what makes you, you"?

      Is it correct if I argue that It looks as if you try to explain all this based on your view of other things, And that you are trying to explain your own self from a "what makes them, them" perspective, which cannot be done, again since "they" and "you" exist in two different realities. "what makes them them perspective is based on your construction of the world, but what makes you, you is based on you construction of you own experience of the world.

      I must apologize if I did not understand you correctly. I also apologize if you don't understand what I mean. This is like you said, "tricky" to explain.
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    Jun 18 2011: Hi Christian,
    Thanks for asking this penetrating question.
    After studying in a variety of areas and living a while, I think that what makes me me is my schemas. These are the mental structures that I have built throughout my life, as we all do, through which we sift and interpret every experience. In the main, they determine every action, our character and the way we present our selves to others.
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    Jun 17 2011: Over all, experiences. It seems every time I look in the mirror I'm a new person (more gray hairs certainly).
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    Jun 23 2011: Tennyson once wrote:
    "I am part of all that I have met;
    Yet all experience is an arch wherethrough
    Gleams that untravelled world, whose margin fades
    For ever and for ever when I move."

    And in my long life, I have found this to be true.
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    Jun 19 2011: What makes me,me? well...I got to say that my family and friends makes me who I am today.The fact that I like to stand up for whats right would make me,me I suppose.
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    Jun 18 2011: A great question!! Thank you for inviting us to visit it with you!!

    .In all of us I think there is a" me " that is really "me"

    .I even think that core self may be what we come with .. I see that in infants and in very tiny children..they seem to be a complete kit and that unique "self" just shines right through from the git go.

    Life seems to be about how that core self, that "real me" engages with, or is engaged by, the world as we grow up, about whether that real self is able to unfold and speak and take its unique place in the world, the place where that unique self is truly needed and truly fits, or whether it is crushed, repressed, distorted and pushed back from unfolding.

    .When I let that "true self" take the wheel, be in charge, speak I feel most whole.My true self is very strong, it has had a strong voice from my earliest memories..But after 65 years I cannot truly say I know that true self or could described it fully. At best I could say a few things about its major qualities but I cannot say I truly know it. I am grateful when it speaks. I am grateful when it is recognized and valued by others. I am grateful for every experience that cultivates its unfolding

    .What do you think?
  • Jun 18 2011: For you, you may be whatever you want. One can call that the self or ego or whatever. One can argue that this self is real, or not real.
    One can also argue that you are the constant consciousness that all experiences and thoughts arises in.

    One can argue that for other people, you are your body and your actions.
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      Jun 19 2011: can you unpack that a bit? lots in there..very condensed.
      • Jun 21 2011: I think that im just trying to say that it's a difference in how and when we use the word "you":).

        There is a differene between "what makes me, me" and "what makes them, them". When the title of this conversation is "what makes you you" One can take different approaches:
        1 - I see other people, and then try to define what I see
        2 - I see my self, and try to define what I see

        When I take 1, I can define other people based on my experiences of them, but I can never define them by how they experience the world because that is out of my reach. That is the difference between 1 and 2

        When I take 2, I can think that I am Jesus, I can actually think I am whatever I choose. I can also think that I am the constant consciousness that all experiences and thoughts arises in. I can always try to make some grand map of my own self. I can use whatever I want to make this map. I can call it names like schemas, memes or whatever.

        Some people thinks that this self-created self is an illusion because every time they try to make a map, they see that the terrain is something completely different. Like peeling an onion, they peel their own self/ego/identity until it's nothing left but awareness.
  • Jun 18 2011: Most of my friends said there individual personality or their experiences makes them, them. I was actually surprised because I expected more divorced answers. Mostly because children don't have any restrictions to the mind
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      Jun 18 2011: In fact, this answer is rather logical for a child or a teenager. Why? Because as a young person, you don't have that much experience or ideas of your life yet, so that even though a young person is more creative than the bigger part of the grown-ups, your imagination is limited by the barriers of your experience. You haven't developed habits or schemes yet -- and there are still too many unknown variables in your live keeping you from identifying what really makes you, you. I don't want to say the power of imagination is limited -- but there are certain barriers when you are trying to imagine things so close to reality, so that you just need a certain inventory of facts and experiences to talk about them. Ten years ago, I would have said: my passion for art, theater, music is what makes me, me. Today, I am still passionate about all of them (although I have a lot less time for them), but I'd say my passions have "moved on", or "grown up" and "have been translated" into other areas. For example, I can see how my passion for art has lead to my interest in the theory of creativity, in marketing and communication, or when I'm scribbling something down into my notebook. This is a very exciting and kind of evolutionary progress -- and children or teenagers are just about to discover it.
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    Jun 17 2011: My uniqueness, experiences, memories, life, myself.