I’d set out to write about ‘what makes you you’ and did quite a bit of research but because I figured you’re here to read my thoughts and not an essay, I’ll try keep it chilled.
From the School of Google there are varying thoughts on what makes you, well, you. Some say your brain defines you, some say your memories… Head over to Wait But Why here, the author did such a good job that by the end of it he realized he didn’t know who he was.
‘What makes you you’ didn’t churn out a lot results online so I headed over to a few psychology websites to answer ‘who am I?’ And basically I’m a fake.
And you’re a fake, and everybody is a fake!!! Yaaaa!!! Fake for everybody!
Disclaimer: I’ve had no sleep last night so I am a bit dark. 🤓😁
It’s called The Illusion of Self. It basically says that the illusion of who we are is in the mind, not nature. Perfect example: afrer a girls night at my friend’s, these two women (oh dear, I think they have a point🙈) have the audacity to tell me that I am heartless and emotionless. I commuted twice to feed someone’s cat while they were away for crying out loud! I’m a nice person!
Or so I tell myself.
Our perception of reality and even ourselves is generated by our brains. ‘Self’ is an intergrated individual inhabiting a body, ‘I’ is the conscious and aware present version of ourselves and ‘me’ is who we think we are with regards to our past, present and future. You can see the problem already. According to the author of The Ilusion Of Self (2012) *Bruce Hood, the illusion is ‘an experience of something that is not what it seems’. The dictionary could have told me that but the ideas I’ll share with you are his, but the spice and sauce is mine.
So in my mind I think of myself as nice because I try to be a decent human being but my inability to register facial expressions ranging outside the ‘go kill yourself’ spectrum has people thinking otherwise. This ‘nice’ self is generated by my brain to help me relate with the outside world causing me to, well, be nice. Because good Christians are meant to be nice people. Illusions are also a great way of showing us that our brain is playing tricks on us. How people look at the same image and see two different things or one person think someone is nice and the other think that a homocide is in order just shows how the ‘self’ is a mish mash of different parts of our brains that combine our thoughts, experiences and behavior into a narrative.
We are storytellers and the main charater in our drama.
Oliver Sacks, a neurologist, through study has found that an inability to form a narrative of self hampers our path to meaning, satisfaction and happiness. This was the case in patients who’ve lost functions in some areas of their brain specially the region where memories reside. I thought I let you know that a narattive is important lest you despair.
Totally unrelated: My dad’s uncle (Maureen, you mean your grandfather? 🤔) has dementia but this man, though he has no idea who anyone is, told my dad, ‘Good people live here.’ That’s how you know what a beautiful spirit his wife has. #goals
Basically guys, there is no you or me. Saying you know yourself is an oxymoron. No one is solid, we are changeable, often mechanical and delusional. We think we can figure life and ourselves out but we can’t, we can only perfect the narrative of who we think we are. I know I haven’t, that’s why I’ll tell myself things like, ‘If only they got to see the real me’… *cue Jesus*
You don’t have to take my word for this, there are counter argumets and different schools of thought out there. I just thought I work on being whole and balanced, not just partaking in one narrative given to me since birth.
Anyhoo, who does your narrative say you are?
*Accreditation is sexy.