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The totality of one's identity

Updated on July 23, 2009

Any person


Our hypothetical person could be anyone, but I will use "Joe."

The essence of Joe is more than Joe and, at the  same time, less.  I will explain.

Joe's actions have effects on others, but can all these actions be attributed to Joe or his will?  No.  Some may be accidental,  the result of habits, or the result of mis-interpretation by others.

Those actions that we may call "Joe-like" may not have been intended by Joe.  Conversley, many of Joe's intentions and ideals may fall short in his actions.  He may possess many reservations imposed on him by his environment that inhibit his expression of his deepest beliefs and values.  And many of Joe's beliefs and values may lie in his subconscious, yet to be examined or communicated. 

 Joe's physical body and his essence are not quite unified.  A person can have effects on others even when not around.  For example, suppose Joe died in a freak accident and his friends and family were not notified for some time.  Even though Joe has ceased to exist on this planet, as we know it, people continue to behave in ways that take him into consideration - perhaps buying a gift for him or preparing a meal.

So, in short, what makes a person is more than their memories, or actions, or physical condition, or accomplishments, or influence, or potential, or state of mind.  It is all of these and more.  The whole is worth more than...


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