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January 12, 2017 / Congau

Who Are You?

Before you answer that question, I must warn you that I may not accept your answer. There is a strange presumption that anyone can choose their own identity and that they always are what they think they are. Though it is of course true that people have a better access to their own self than anyone from outside, they may still be completely wrong in their self-perception.

Just like it is possible to give a description of the identity of inanimate objects, one must be allowed to search for an objective classification of human beings. So when investigating yourself, you cannot rely solely on your feelings, but have to make an effort to search objectively for what is essential about you. Even if you feel like a duck, you are probably not a duck.

Every person is a unique individual, but every individual can also be categorized. From birth we had a set of potentials; it was large, but it was not unlimited. That means that everyone cannot become just anything, but in that very limitedness our fundamental uniqueness is to be traced. If anyone could choose freely, there would be no basic personality.

Your actual current self is a realization of one potentiality. That was also not really chosen because it is the total result of a process which you could only partially and occasionally control. The circumstances of your birth and upbringing and accidental occurrences in your path have led you into a certain actuality, and that is you.

This you is an objective fact which it may be easier for you to recognize than for anyone else since you are closer to yourself than anyone else is, but you may still go wrong when trying to identify it. Still, go ahead and try: Who are you?

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