Philosophy Fridays: Who Am I?

Every now and then, on a Friday, I’ll step into the deep waters of Philosophy, ramble on about some idea and maybe even interact with something I might be reading. Most of the time, a real philosopher could probably read my drivel and speak into it offering a corrective—but for now I’ll speak from ignorance. After all, it is Friday; what better way to have fun than with philosophy. In this post I’ll answer the question “Who am I?” in under 700 words. Heh.

See, the question you’re thinking is that I’m introducing myself but, if you’re reading this any point after I wrote this, considering how I’ve changed from unknown events, wouldn’t you be meeting me a past version of me? I mean, in 1974 there was a Rey Reynoso (R1.0)that was born in New York City and that thought certain thoughts about life and self. Years later (2010) there is another Rey Reynoso (R2.0) who lives elsewhere and has very different thoughts about life and self—how are these two Rey’s related?

Maybe there’s something behind the mind (Rey’s thoughts) that is connects the Rey Reynoso’s—a meta-person of sorts. So even though RR2.0 is different from RR1.0, they’re both “driven” by this meta-individual who is the real Rey Reynoso. But how would we ever get to know him (me)? He transcends the physical, transcends thought, and transcends characteristics.

Poppycock someone else might say: there is no invisible you that is behind the real you. The fact that you think of yourself as “I am Me” doesn’t mean that there’s some infinite regress of real you’s that drive the real you—it just means that you are self-aware. You have consciousness. That fact is the only thing that makes you, you.

Which generates questions about folk who aren’t self-aware—does that make them non-persons? Someone might be quick to say “yes!” but then have a problem if some non-self-aware person comes back (say out of a coma), picking up from where they were before. What happened? Did they momentarily stop being a person? Did the invisible driver go elsewhere? Or is the picture even more fictional than we thought?

For example, when RR2.0 goes to sleep and dreams he is completely unaware of his life but RR2.5 kicks in and has his own unique experiences. When RR2.0 wakes up he taps into what he remembers about RR2.5 and incorporates it into his “story”. Maybe RR1.0 and 2.0 are just variations of a dream by someone else? Worst, if RR1.0 is equally real as RR2.0 and the future RR3.0 (which would be the one you don’t know about as you’re reading this post) maybe they are all real beings that together make up I—sort of like a trinity but with many more beings that permanently exist in different moments of time?

Of course some of this can be cleared up if the problem isn’t what makes up RR2.0 or RR1.0 but rather if RR1.0 is numerically the same being as RR2.0. If so, then questions about multiple beings existing through time start to recede as well as the different between RR1.0 and RR2.0 being any real differences at all. We can just say that Rey Reynoso was born in 1974 and today, 2010, Rey Reynoso wrote this post without anything at all about versions. Sure, we’ll still have some questions about Rey Reynoso going on into the future—especially if parts of Rey Reynoso dies—but that’s for another post. I’ve butchered enough philosophy for one day.

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