Are We Who We Think We Are?

My name is Omar Abdelhamid. But is that really who I am?  Is Omar, the Omar that speaks to others and shares opinions and ideas the whole of my being? Or is Omar just one of the many functions of my human self? And does this self, this communicative, social self, really physically exist?

The human body is home to complicated processes on every level of activity ( e.g. on the molecular level, the cellular level, and then systems of tissues and organs). We do not have control over many of these processes. If we did, we would have the ability to stop cancer through the control of cell reproduction. We don’t have control over our immune system. If we did, there would be no allergies.

At the same time, full control of our body would be problematic. We would have to focus on many things at once to keep our body under maintenance. We would have to think about every decision we made. With full automatic body maintenance, our body is filtered through methods that were evolutionarily conditioned to work, and has been encoded in our DNA.

So it seems as though our consciousness is a mental process, and while most of the processes help keep our body healthy; our selves, in the sense of our thoughts and our expression of our thoughts, help keep us socially healthy. There came a point in history when the individual well-being ceased to be enough to thrive, and so the well-being expanded to connections with other humans. We wouldn’t need to think if we did not interact with other organisms and respond to varying circumstances and situations. Creatures that work together with other members of their species, think about actions, and plan, quite obviously have a greater chance of survival.

So, outside of in the spiritual sense, our consciousness, our ability to think and understand, is a separate process among the many processes that make up us. We are not our personalities, but our personalities are the social part of the entire human. It can be thought of as a ghost of personality possessing a naturally functioning body, sharing the brain in its everyday processes.

Not only does personality exist for the sake of society, but personality only exists because of society.

We tend to think of things that EXIST as things with  Space and Mass. Those are the very boundaries of our basic thought and speculation. So does thought exist? Yes, it does, yet not in the sense that we may imagine. The individual neurons that fire when you think a certain thought are controlled by space and mass, and so thought does technically exist.

But the only reason, as we discussed before, that we think about our personality is because of the fact that others in our society constantly judge and analyze our personality. And so our personality only really EXISTS when it is being thought about, in the form of those neurons. So personality doesn’t exist without society,without the presence of others.

Ubuntu, a philosophy whose name literally translates to “human kindness”, is known as the “Humanist philosophy”.

The traditional greeting consists of one person greeting the other by saying “Sawa Bona” meaning, ” I see you” and the other responds with “Sikhorna”, meaning, “I am here”.

Some Sources:

Ubuntu Tradition:

One thought on “Are We Who We Think We Are?

  1. You say that personality only exists because of society. Could a man who lived alone on an island have a personality? If a ship found him, would he then suddenly create a personality? If a second ship arrived, would he get a second personality? If five ships arrived, could the man perform like a chess grandmaster playing five games at once, project five different personalities to the sailors on five different ships?

    Is it possible that an individual has a different personality towards each person he meets? To some he is domineering? To others he is submissive? To some he sings musical notes? To others he growls?

    A philosopher once questioned whether a white horse is a horse. Similarly, we might question what is a personality? Can it change day by day?

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