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BellaOnline's Philosophy Editor

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What Makes You, You


Philosophy attempts to answer some of life’s deepest questions, or to at least put forward a theory about them.

One I saw recently asked, what makes you, you? This is an interesting question on many levels. We tend to see ourselves as one diminutional, and that our life is linear. However there are many factors that make us who we think we are.

Typically when asking someone what it is that specifically makes them ‘them’ they usually give you a list of attributes about themselves. For example, my humour, my ability to care etc. Other answers range from their relationships, abilities and success’s/failures.

Does nature or nurture explain what makes us who we are? Circumstances, bias’s, and cultural differences can all affect our outlook on life, however does this affect the essence of who we are? Is who we deeper than the explanations we are able to give?

What would you say makes you who you are? Are we manipulated to be who we think we are through social conditioning, and brainwashing? Which then allows us to become identified by our achievements and belongings.

It depends on how we are looking at our self. Generally, we see ourselves differently than other people see us, and we are not usually aware of obvious traits that others can see easily. I think it goes deeper and we are not just the physical and mental aspects of our life experiences or the identity we have created for ourselves.

Also, when we consider relationships, and the memories we have with other people we then become something in relation to them. Their perspective of their relationship with you will affect how you are remembered or thought of by them in the future. This may have no bearing on who you are, they only have a perceived idea of who you are from their experience if what you allowed them to see of you.

As humans we are multidimensional and are considered in respect of the mind, body and spirit. Each aspect has its own formulation and affect on how we behave and see ourselves. The mind affects how we think and behave in relation to how we have been conditioned and the experiences we have had.

The body reacts to the thoughts and behaviours we exhibit, which then acts out and reflects the dis-ease as health problems. The spirit is the most fascinating. It is non-tangible, yet it can have the most influence on us. The spirit acts in ways we are not aware of, consciously or unconsciously. What does the spirit part of you mean to you? Do you have a relationship with it and know how it acts in your life?

Quantum physics has shown how we are all just empty space, vibrating atoms and molecules. This certainly de-personalises things, so is it only the personality we can know? Is it possible to really know what makes you who you are? We can surmise and guess on a superficial level, however knowing what makes us who we are is a very subjective matter.

There are many traditions that believe there are no individuals, that life is the same thing manifest as everything that exists. In that instance, how can anything or anyone be differentiated, except by the traits and influences we have owned as being who we are?

If past lives and continuation of spirit are to be considered, then we are a summation of aspects we are not aware of, handed down through many lives and generations in between. Is it possible to ever know what makes us who we are?
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Content copyright © 2014 by Tracy Webb. All rights reserved.
This content was written by Tracy Webb. If you wish to use this content in any manner, you need written permission. Contact Tracy Webb for details.

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