What is self?

what are word for?
what are word for? (Photo credit: Darwin Bell)

The definition of the self is a confusing, often controversial, group of words. Whether you agree with it or reject it, most everything that has journeyed through a human mind is narrowed down into a few words. Some theorize it is people who give power to the words that define them, but what about those words that stay only temporarily? How must we define ourselves? Do we have that power?

Starting from a jumble of words.

The self is defined as:

1. The total, essential, or particular being of a person; the individual
2. The essential qualities distinguishing one person from another; individuality
3. One’s consciousness of one’s own being or identity; the ego
4. One’s own interests, welfare, or advantage: thinking of self alone. (Taken from http://www.thefreedictionary.com/self )
     Where do we fall in these definitions?  Is it the simple interpretation of these words that signifies the self? Can a self truly be made up of words? Could you define your self in words? Would these words confine and restrict you? Are we permitted to choose our own words?
     The issues with definitions are their inherent structures. They draw a binary understanding of what is, and is not. Our plastic nature corrupts any definition. Was I a different self a few years ago, when my interests were different? Should I count on a new self, because change is my constant companion.
     By this understanding, do we exist outside of the moment?  All my hopes and dreams are created for someone that does not exist, yet. I am sure my future self will be grateful for all I have provided for them, but she will never be me. Optimistically, she will be a version of me, maybe version 7.5, but her definition will be different. Her words will not be mine.

1 Comment

  1. I have had thoughts along these lines before; however, I always focus on my past self. I want to show her all the things that she will become. What surprises me is I rarely ever think about my future self and what I will become, which is a point I think you illustrated very well: I can see the differences between this self and the past self, but I can’t identify my future self by any characteristics, so thusly I don’t separate my current identity from any thoughts of the future.
    Very intriguing thoughts.

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