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Saturday, May 18, 2013

Who Are You?

Have you ever thought about who you really are?

I don't mean that in the sense of whether you are a good person or not, or even like what your characteristics are. What I'm asking is on a more philosophical level. Who is the you in you, what is your core being?

That might be a very difficult thing to answer. Humans are such complicated creatures, not only physically, but also mentally. But if we ignore the physical aspects of you for a while. Who are you?

A similar question is, What is consciousness, really? What is it that makes you aware? What separetes you from other animals? And not only from other animals; what separates you from other people, internally? Who are you?

If I remember correctly, by investigating split-brain syndrome and similar things, researchers have found that the internal speaking seems to be located in the left hemisphere of the brain, the left frontal lobe. But is your consciousness just that internal monologue, or is it something else? Who are you?

At least you can be quite certain that what you are is to a large extent bound to your brain. If your brain dies, but not the rest of the body, you are braindead. That is a point of no return, at least in this life, when your brain dies. With the help of a few machines, your body can still keep itself alive, but would you consider that as being you? No, without some form of awareness, your body is just an empty shell. So. Who are you?

My sister said, not long ago, that the concept of rebirth would be kind of cool, although she phrased it differently. "What do you mean?", was my response. Even if you had a soul, capable of being reincarnated, how would that new life in any way still be you? She meant that the new her would have the same kind of personality and such... I have never seen any point in thinking like that, since one very important thing would be missing from that new person; your memories.

The type of rebirth my sister had in mind already happens to some extent, at least that's the way I see it. When you die, your remains eventually turn into something else in this world. That's basically one of the major themes in The Lion King; the circle of life. Many of the particles that have at some point been in you are already in other people. And since humans often are so alike, many people already share a personality similar to yours. Still, you are as unique as one can be, and that is quite a lot. So who do you think you really are?

You are a mixture of many different elements, but I would say that we've gone through most of the key ones, except for your genetic inheritance, but that discussion doesn't belong here. The you in you, mainly consists of your body and its functions, your consciousness and everything that is hidden behind it, and not to be forgotten, your memories.

Without only one of these you couldn't really been seen as you. I think that that is a reason as to why people can easily get scared when there's something seemingly wrong with any of these three. What I mean is, people are afraid of things that look like they're supposed to be human, but they don't at least momentarily seem to function fully as one.

Imagine if someone you knew well, suddenly couldn't remember you even in the slightest. Wouldn't that be quite frightening? Same goes for when someones body doesn't seem to function normally, here is a clip to show you an example. And finally, if there seems to be something wrong with your consciousness, it can be quite scary as well, especially if you don't know the cause. Of course, if someone has drunk alcohol, that isn't necessarily scary at all. But again, imagine someone you know suddenly beginning to mutter about strange things, seemingly having gone crazy, would that be a fun experience?

This is probably one of the reasons as to why people are afraid of death, or rather than death itself; dead people. They are lacking in all of the three things I mentioned. They look human, yet, you know that there really isn't anything left of them, at least not the them in them; their core being is forever gone. They will never smile, nor move in any way, at least not intentionally. They cannot remember you, or recognize anything, and dead people don't think, as far as we know. At least I don't believe in a life after this one.

OneSketchist wrote an entry about how fragile life is, and how what used to be never can be exactly the same again. That is pretty much what inspired me to write an entry of this kind today. I have naturally thought of these things before though.

Anyway, he made an analogy between a cup of coffee that is spilled, and the one chance for a life that you get. When the cup of life is spilled, you can never regain it. That's just it. So you should strive to make your life worth living. Live so that you don't have to regret your actions when you're older.

I'll continue discussing this in a moment, but I'll use this opening between subjects to post a composition that I newly made. I just couldn't sleep one night, coincidentally the same night that I read OneSketchist's post. So I decided to play on my piano (synth) for a while, and I came to think about the cup of coffee. I accidentally composed a song. It's far from my best, but I tried to (somewhat sarcastically) fill the song with melodramatic emotion. Initially, the song was much sadder, but I added lots of other elements as well.

Spoiled Coffee (

Worth mentioning is that I just threw this composition together in a pretty short amount of time, so I just chose a random instrument and recorded a somewhat okay version of the song. It might remind you of something... I don't know.

(Edit: Warning, a large part of this following long section of this post is barely understandable to anyone but me, since I overcomplicate things, and I don't describe enough. Try understanding at your own risk. I would be VERY impressed if anyone understands everything that I try to say...)

So about that cup of coffee being spilled. You can never get that exact cup of coffee back. Or can you?

Short answer: No

Long answer: Possibly, but even if, then by definition, still no.

Let me explain.

Let's say that instead of spilling that one cup of dark liquid, you drink it. Is there any way to drink the same cup filled with that very same content again? Well, not unless time travel gets invented. I myself think that time travel won't ever work in a way that will allow for one to mess with reality in such a way, for a couple of reasons.

Firstly, let's say that you begin your time travel somewhere at earth that we'll call spot A. The odd thing (or rather, one of the odd things) about time traveling is to figure out exactly what travels in time. What is to say that exactly you (and let's say your clothes) stay out of the circle of the rest of the world, allowing for you to go between times. At least if you go backwards. Let's say that you enter a time machine. You get to watch the rest of the world fast forwarding backwards. Wait a minute? wouldn't you also see yourself walking away from the time machine, and if you go far enough back, seeing your time machine get un-invented. And what space would you take? Imagine that you go back exactly 100 years. what happens if a tree happens to be on exactly the same spot as you when you land in time?

and have you ever thought of this: If you use a stationary time machine, that doesn't move, what does it not move in relation to? What I mean is, why would the time machine be bound to earth? Due to gravity? Let's say that you go back exactly half a year in time, and that your time machine stays at the exact same spot. Won't you just end up in space? You see, the earth would have moved pretty much to the other side of the sun compared to where you are... Fail!

But let's use a more plausible method of time traveling, that is to say by moving. Basically, you can already in one way travel into the future (and not just as slowly as waiting a second for every second worth of time). If you go really far away from earth, time will still go as fast as usually for you, and you age as quickly as you normally would. Time will also seem to pass normally for the people on earth. But the fact is, that due to some natural laws, time would in a way pass differently for you and for everyone else.

If you spend, let's say 10 years, at a long distance from earth, and then you return, much more time will have passed on earth than will have passed for you. Isn't that kinda cool? (Btw, as usually, I havn't done any additional research, I'm just using my memory, so feel free to correct me anywhere I'm wrong XD).

I don't feel like trying to figure out exactly how time traveling would work, since no one really knows, although there are many theories. I don't think that I'll be the one to figure out the riddle, if it's even possible. But for a while, let's pretend that traveling back in time is really simple, by only snapping your fingers or something.

Let's return to that cup of coffee. What if it has been standing still for lets say ten minutes, before you drank it. You then snap your fingers and go 5 minutes back in time.

There the cup is again, and it's content is already in your stomach... You then drink it again. Have you now drunk the same cup of coffee twice?

You could go back even one minute further, and drink it a third time. But what's this?

You are not fast enough to drink all of the cup's contents in one minute, and all of a sudden, another you appears before your eyes from nowhere. You have now interrupted his capability to drink that one cup of coffee.

But if that person is really you... How many cups of coffee have you drunk?

You should have three cups of coffee in your stomach, or did two of "the same coffee" disappear when you hindered the drinking of it? And when exactly did you hinder the other cups of coffee from entering your belly?

Let's say you have only drunk half of the cup before you from the past/future shows up (your past, his future). Has exactly half of one cup of the same coffee disappeared and reappeared from your stomach, one particle at a time, or all at once, and why would the rules be bound to particles? Or has the entire cup of coffee that you drank earlier already dissapeared, since you picked up the cup again, the ruler of time already expecting that the other you is prevented from drinking the contents of the cup? What if you share the rest of the coffee with your future/past self. Is your stomach now refilled with the coffee he drinks? Or did the universe already forsee that you would share half of the coffee and never remove it from your stomach in the first place? Or is your belly not filled with the coffee at all, since future/past you probably won't end up going to the past in the same way anymore, and thereby becoming you, since the events occurred differently...?

How many cups of coffee are there now altogether, and where exactly are they? That would just be a clusterfuck of events. I'm too tired to think more deeply about it right now, and I'm sure that nobody was capable of following my train of thought, so maby stopping to complicate things more doesn't do too much harm...

Another thing though? Talking about who you are, would that person from the past, or a future you, really be you? What do you think? You probably have similar consciousnesses, and similar body structure. But your memories should by all means be different, shouldn't they? Are you really the same person anymore?

Who are you?

If there were two of you, and for some reason, one of you HAD to die.

Would you rather that YOU survived, or the other you? Which one is more... You?

Again... What defines the you in you?

Are you the same person throughout you entire life? Or are you at some point a different person?
And in that case, when does that shift occur? During your lifetime, all the particles in your body will have changed entirely, several times (at least according to Vsauce).

Some people go through radical changes in their life, and other people's lives are more stabile. Is a person that changes more often then altogether more people during his/her lifetime, than a person who lives a more stabile life?

When are you you? Are you ever the same person that you were a year ago? A day ago? A minute ago? Or are you a different person for every second that passes?

In that case, are you and let's say a you from the future really the same person? If two of you existed at the same time and one had to die, if we are honest... Wouldn't you kinda want to be the one that lives, since you have that YOU that you can feel and experience, where as you can't feel the other you's core being. Or could you if you existed simultaneously? No one would really know... But wouldn't holding two people's consciousnesses in one brain be a difficult task to perform, not to talk about even more yous...

It is similar between you and another person. You know they aren't you, since you don't have access to all the information they have access to and vice versa. Would you rather that you lived or some random stranger? Of course there are things like self sacrifice... But still...

So if the past you isn't you anymore... Who are you?

So I don't really buy time travel, not even if every separate time created a different universe... There are simply too many paradoxes... But you never know... Right?

Anyway, this post really turned out to get complicated, and difficult to read... Not only that... This is my longest entry thus far. It will have more than 2600 words when it is finished...
(EDIT: that is now doubled in another post...)

As you can see, the YOU in you is unique, and there is only one person that is really you. EVER! So don't go wasting that one life you get of being you, since you will be the only one ever to experience it. So tell me... Who are you?

On a lighter note, I have recently colored my hair. I just thought I might show you some pictures. I've actually dyed my hair once before, during my trip to japan (quite some time ago). So I'll show you two old and a new picture =)

This is pretty much what I look like right now. Quite different compared to earlier, ey?

This is what I looked like after my trip to Japan

And I just wanted to add this extra pitcture for your viewing pleasure. That's right. Looking at the younger me is a privilege (just kidding).

Speaking of who I used to be... Is that really me anymore?

First I figured i'd name this entry "Memories of time".

But instead I think I'll name it...

Who are you?


  1. thinkin about it..if people really would be able to invent time travel machines wouldn't they have appeared in our time to tell us about it then? :p (Just had to ask X3)Cause if they would be able to travel back in time like 400 years or so they would be able to come here and tell us about it =^.^=

    1. Yes indeed!

      I've thought about it too sometimes, and so have many others. That is also one of the reasons for why I don't think that time travel will ever be invented ;P

      It's nice to see that you've begun reading these entries of mine despite them being so long -_-

  2. The concept of memories and the "Cup of Coffee" analogy are very in depth and interesting to read. Very true. We are made up of billions of different particles that being displaced every second. Put it in another phrase, we are one and all, at the same time. Excellent post.

    Nice looking, dude. :)

    1. Hey, thanks for coming by! :D

      You really understood the root of the analogy and this post! I couldn't have summarized it in better words myself :p

      Thanks for the compliments, and of course, for the comment ;)