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Metaphysics 101: Personal Identity


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Initial post: Jun 11, 2008 9:19:26 AM PDT
theosophers says:
IFF: The ultimate truths, such as "who or what am I?"

Can what or who you are change? The followers of Jesus believed that they could become sons of God. If they became sons of God, would they be ultimately sons of God?

Does one have a true and unchanging personal nature?

Vincent

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 9:39:14 AM PDT
Bryan Borich says:
>Does one have a true and unchanging personal nature?

No, you are different now than when you asked the question, but for the most part it won't be a noticeable change.

However your fundamental nature still lies at your core of being.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 9:45:34 AM PDT
Skoorby says:
Theism is the vulgar manifestation of metaphysics. Metaphysics is grounded in notion of natural logical perspicuity. Natural logical perspicuity is grounded in the notion of the entity (or thing, or being). Disbelief in the notion of the entity constitutes a disbelief in natural logical perspicuity, and therefore in metaphysics. Disbelief in metaphysics finds its vulgar manifestation in atheism.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 9:53:45 AM PDT
Ariex says:
Ludeteros Ludos says: "Metaphysics is grounded in notion of natural logical perspicuity. Natural logical perspicuity is grounded in the notion of the entity (or thing, or being)."

Ariex: You're joking, aren't you? Perspicuity in metaphysics? Hahahahahahaha.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 9:56:25 AM PDT
Ariex says:
Ludeteros Ludos says: "Disbelief in metaphysics finds its vulgar manifestation in atheism."

Ariex: Some folks seem to be most arrogant because they think they have special knowledge others don't, but they can't express that knowledge with perspicuity. Now THAT'S vulgar.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 10:02:47 AM PDT
K. Duncan says:
Vincent: "Does one have a true and unchanging personal nature?"

KD: No, I don't think so. If someone is the same at age 50 as they were at age 20, I would imagine life was pretty boring and uneventful. The whole purpose for life, in my opinion, is to learn and change and grow. If you stand still, how can you do any of those things?

I mean, I'll always be "Kelsey", but "Kelsey" changes everyday. So I guess in a way, yes and no.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 10:07:51 AM PDT
theosophers says:
"However your fundamental nature still lies at your core of being."

Well, the question is about the truth of ones identity. If you believe that the your fundamental nature at the core of your being is your identity, then can the fundamental nature at the core of your being change?

If it can change, is the change ever an ultimate change? IFF has suggested that who and what we are is somehow "ultimately true".

Vincent

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 10:08:27 AM PDT
The best way to get a feel for what the Self is, is to dismiss all that the Self is not. Dismiss all that falls under the category of experienced or known and you will be left with the experiencer or the knower Self. My possessions - known, My body - known and experienced, My mind - known and experienced. I am the possessor of this stuff, and knower and experiencer of everything in my mind.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 10:13:58 AM PDT
Bryan Borich says:
>Well, the question is about the truth of ones identity. If you believe that the your fundamental nature at
>the core of your being is your identity, then can the fundamental nature at the core of your being
>change?

I wouldn't say change so much as expanded upon if I were being technical.

>If it can change, is the change ever an ultimate change? IFF has suggested that who and what we are
>is somehow "ultimately true".

I'm not sure what yo mean in this context.

Depending on the situation, I'd say everything that lives, changes.

If I were to use an analogy let's say you essential nature was a seed. Is the tree that grew from that seed change or did it just grow - adding to itself?

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 10:14:19 AM PDT
theosophers says:
"I mean, I'll always be "Kelsey", but "Kelsey" changes everyday. So I guess in a way, yes and no."

As Brian has introduced the word core, do you believe that you have a core identity?

Vincent

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 10:16:04 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2008 10:19:35 AM PDT
Bryan Borich says:
>Ariex: Some folks seem to be most arrogant because they think they have special knowledge others
>don't, but they can't express that knowledge with perspicuity. Now THAT'S vulgar.

Some people think others are arrogant because they themselves chose to remain deaf and blind.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 10:18:23 AM PDT
Bryan Borich says:
>I mean, I'll always be "Kelsey", but "Kelsey" changes everyday. So I guess in a way, yes and no.

The definition I was given for enlightment was know thyself. However as your self changes one needs to constantly track one self (so one moment you might be enlightened and the next you might not be).

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 10:26:33 AM PDT
theosophers says:
>If it can change, is the change ever an ultimate change? IFF has suggested that who and what we are
>is somehow "ultimately true".

I'm not sure what yo mean in this context.

Well, I am still waiting for IFF to respond. I simply thought that the idea that "who and what we are is ultimate truth" needs to be expanded on.

Vincent

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 10:28:49 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2008 10:43:15 AM PDT
Bryan Borich says:
>Well, I am still waiting for IFF to respond. I simply thought that the idea that "who and what we are is
>ultimate truth" needs to be expanded on.

Our answers are going to be the same and different, LOL......

try this:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_thou_art

or to take it from Stranger in a Strange Land, 'Thou art God'.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 10:47:21 AM PDT
theosophers says:
reply to Simple Thinker's post:

"I am the possessor of this stuff, and knower and experiencer of everything in my mind. "

How can you transcend this condition? Can you transcend the fact that you exist? The followers of Jesus believed that they could transcend physicality by being reborn.

Vincent

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 10:52:31 AM PDT
I'd say this is one road that has more potholes than pavement.

Vincent wrote:

>If they became sons of God, would they be ultimately sons of God?

Umm, I'd say that the idea of someone being what he has become is pretty much a slam dunk, whether one is deep into metaphysics or not. Of course, I guess you could fall back out of it again, but until and unless that happens, becoming and being seem to go together.

Ludeteros Ludos writes:

>Metaphysics is grounded in notion of natural logical perspicuity.

WTF????

Ludeteros, the kindest assumption I can make is that English is not your first language. Perspicuity is the quality of being clearly expressed and understood, which, in itself, has nothing to do with metaphyics; things that affect the understanding have to do with epistemology. Perhaps you meant to say that discussions of metaphysics are only possible if people understand what they are talking about and yes, that's a safe bet.

>Disbelief in the notion of the entity constitutes a disbelief in natural logical perspicuity, and therefore in metaphysics.

No one questioned the notion of the entity, only of what it consists. It's the same as asking, since no single drop of water ever falls over Niagara twice, is it the same falls or different? That's been recognized as a metaphysical question since ancient Greece.

>Disbelief in metaphysics finds its vulgar manifestation in atheism.

That would be true only if pantheism were the only possible metaphysical position. Fortunately or unfortunately, it's not.

I would say that disbelief in the necessity of calling things by their right names results in comments like yours, which we can avoid by remembering this salutary comment by John Locke:

"Vague and insignificant forms of speech, and abuse of language, have so long passed for mysteries of science; and hard or misapplied words with little or no meaning have, by prescription, such a right to be mistaken for deep learning and height of speculation, that it will not be easy to persuade either those who speak or those who hear them, that they are but the covers of ignorance and hindrance of true knowledge."

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 10:56:22 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 11, 2008 11:00:21 AM PDT
Bryan Borich says:
>How can you transcend this condition? Can you transcend the fact that you exist?

Yes and no. Most people are usually scared of non-existence. But there is a meditative state you can reach where you do not exist (which apparently is connected to Buddhist Fire and Water meditations).

Btw I don't exist. We are just dreams within a dream. However I can't be unmade either, only transformed.

>The followers of Jesus believed that they could transcend physicality by being reborn.

In this case I don't believe they were talking in a physical way. But being reborn into the knowledge of what we all are. Though one could take it the other way too. Once you are 'reborn' or wake up your concept of reality changes, sometime even affecting the known senses.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 11:00:49 AM PDT
theosophers says:
reply to Bryan Borich's post:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/That_thou_art

This is a good link. I read most of it, but I will have to study it further.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 11:16:15 AM PDT
theosophers says:
reply to Bryan Borich's post:

>The followers of Jesus believed that they could transcend physicality by being reborn.

In this case I don't believe they were talking in a physical way.

Well, I believe that this is a highly developed idea from John's gospel. Jesus stresses in that writing that he has been sent by God many times, and introduces the concept of being born again into the kingdom of God. He doesn't go unheard, because Philip was sent by God in Acts 8, in the same way that Jesus had been sent, into the upper room etc..

Vincent

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 11:17:58 AM PDT
Walk says:
I'm not sure if this will help the discussion, but I think the main issue here is "does the soul actually exist?" If it does, it would seem that although it could grow in knowledge, it's "personality" and core values would probably remain pretty much the same.

What throws a curve into this thought, however, is the fact that many times when a person suffers brain damage they can become an entirely different individual, personality-wise.

This makes the existence of the soul, or "core being" highly suspect. I contend that we may just be extremely marvelous, intelligent mammals, nothing more. How could brain damage change your "core being?"

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 11:20:42 AM PDT
El Zorro says:
"Does one have a true and unchanging personal nature?"

Theologically? I'd have to say we are clay in God's hands.

The issue from the point of view of secular science is more complicated. Obviously people can be changed by things like head trauma and brain tumors. On the other hand, people can try to reform themselves through things like behavior modification. The extent to which one can modify oneself are probably limited by genetics and other factors.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 11:33:05 AM PDT
As to sons of God, St Peter puts it this way, which I think is may be different from what you are saying : II Peter 1:4 says that we have become " . . . partakers of divine nature." Athanasius amplifies the meaning of this verse when he says theosis is "becoming by grace what God is by nature" (De Incarnatione, I).
As to personal nature, we are unique, each of us, but the essence of being a 'person' does not correspond to the unchanging nature of, say, a rock.
Have to quote from a review of John Crosby on this :
In elaborating upon the uniqueness and "unrepeatibility" of each person's self, Crosby seeks to distinguish between what is communicable and what is incommunicable in the person. A traditional Aristotelian answer would be that a being's act of existence is the only thing incommunicably its own and that all of its essence is universal and common to others of the same essence. Yet no concrete substance seems to have anything general as one of its real, concrete ingredients. Socrates' humanity belongs to his essence, yet this essence is individuated in Socrates as something incommunicably his own. "Essence," as Scheler points out from a phenomenological perspective, "has nothing to do with universality." There are essences that are given only in a particular individual. Aquinas would have recognized this as true of angels, each of which, he said, is its own species. Crosby appeals to a distinction by Josef Seifert between "concrete" and "general" essences, which uniquely combines Platonic and Aristotelian insights. Thus the "concrete humanity" of Socrates is incommunicably his own, even while participating in "the universal form of humanity" common to all human beings.

In elaborating upon the uniqueness and "unrepeatibility" of each person's self, Crosby seeks to distinguish between what is communicable and what is incommunicable in the person. A traditional Aristotelian answer would be that a being's act of existence is the only thing incommunicably its own and that all of its essence is universal and common to others of the same essence. Yet no concrete substance seems to have anything general as one of its real, concrete ingredients. Socrates' humanity belongs to his essence, yet this essence is individuated in Socrates as something incommunicably his own. "Essence," as Scheler points out from a phenomenological perspective, "has nothing to do with universality." There are essences that are given only in a particular individual. Aquinas would have recognized this as true of angels, each of which, he said, is its own species. Crosby appeals to a distinction by Josef Seifert between "concrete" and "general" essences, which uniquely combines Platonic and Aristotelian insights. Thus the "concrete humanity" of Socrates is incommunicably his own, even while participating in "the universal form of humanity" common to all human beings.

In elaborating upon the uniqueness and "unrepeatibility" of each person's self, we distinguish between what is communicable and what is incommunicable in the person. A traditional Aristotelian answer would be that a being's act of existence is the only thing incommunicably its own and that all of its essence is universal and common to others of the same essence. Yet no concrete substance seems to have anything general as one of its real, concrete ingredients. Socrates' humanity belongs to his essence, yet this essence is individuated in Socrates as something incommunicably his own. "Essence," as Scheler points out from a phenomenological perspective, "has nothing to do with universality." There are essences that are given only in a particular individual. Aquinas would have recognized this as true of angels, each of which, he said, is its own species. Crosby appeals to a distinction by Josef Seifert between "concrete" and "general" essences, which uniquely combines Platonic and Aristotelian insights. Thus the "concrete humanity" of Socrates is incommunicably his own, even while participating in "the universal form of humanity" common to all human beings."

Good question.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 11:39:09 AM PDT
K. Duncan says:
Vincent: "As Brian has introduced the word core, do you believe that you have a core identity?"

KD: I'm going to be perfectly honest...beyond what I've already posted, I don't have much more to say. But I'll try to answer anyway...

I think that there is something that holds all the "pieces" of a person together, so I suppose I could call that a "core identity". I don't know what this consists of, I suppose you could call it "soul", but I honestly don't think its something that should be or needs to be defined; furthermore, I don't think its within our abilities to define it at all. That's not to say we shouldn't try, but I have a feeling that road may lead to a big ol' brick wall.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 11:43:43 AM PDT
Metaphysics comes out of the person before it comes out of any consideration about God. It's meta-physics (even if that is etymologically contested).

You are taking the typical (nowadays) approach, totally a-historic. Forget the a-theism. Do you deny that many many people come to theism from considerations of the historic Jesus. And the Jewish faith is nothing if not totallly historical. That is how it always conceived of itself.

But back to metaphysics. It was in thinking about thought that Plato came to the metaphysics of eternal forms. It was in considering consicence and right and wrong that many early thinkers came to a supra-physical Being, metaphysics again.

And just to look at the form of what you say. Do you realize that you are saying :
Not BELIEVING in metaphysics leads to not BELIEVING in God (a-theism).
I suppose that since believing/not believing and atheism/theism covers the whole gamut, that BELIEVING in metaphysics leads to BELIEVING in God.

Is there anybody on earth that this applies to !!

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 11, 2008 11:49:54 AM PDT
t: How can you transcend this condition? Can you transcend the fact that you exist?

ST: You cannot change who you are at the core. You are already the transcended Self - One Consciousness. Your existence is absolute. The question is only of re-cognition.

t: The followers of Jesus believed that they could transcend physicality by being reborn.

ST: Everybody goes through the cycle of birth and death. So what ?
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