If you happened to read my earlier post “You are not who you think you are” I had mentioned that “who really we are something that cannot be easily determined”.
I set about thinking whether it is possible to know who I really am.
Am I my thoughts? Is that true? I realized that this is not correct as one’s thought is the result of what we perceive in the environment. Our thoughts are based on the perceived world of ours.
So then am I really my ideas, my opinions and my judgments? With a little thought it becomes apparent that even this is not right. This is because our ideas, opinions and judgments are the result of our past conditioning. We form opinions, ideas and judgments conclusions on what our past experience is and come to appropriate conclusions. The fallacy in this line reasoning can be easily determined from this thought experiment. For e.g. let us say that we come from reasonably affluent background we will then look down on begging. Now imagine that you happen to live a hand to mouth existence where you next meal does not come easy. In this case you would have a more kindly view of somebody begging. You would probably understand that the beggar has probably exhausted all avenues of earning a livelihood and has been forced into beggary. Hence our ideas, opinions and judgments are a product of our present circumstances and our past conditioning.
As can be seen from above, I am not my thoughts. I am also not my ideas, or opinions or judgments.
If I am not these then what else could I be?
Am I then my tendencies? Possibly not since my tendencies are my evolved reaction to events in my life.
If I am none of these then who am I?
If we remove all the above what is really left is a person’s ability to reason. That in my opinion is who we really are.
At the core of our being is our ‘ability to reason’ in varying degrees. However based on this ability the character that we take is based on our environmental input. Based on this reasoning power that we have we take an appropriate shape in our environment.
Hence this ability of ours to reason, is pure and unalloyed. We are reasoning beings and this is not learnt or acquired from our environment, social or our upbringing.