"Personal identity: What is it that makes a person the very person that she is, herself alone and not another, an integrity of identity that persists over time, undergoing changes and yet still continuing to be — until she does not continue any longer, at least not unproblematically?" -Rebecca Goldstein
I worry (perhaps more than is reasonable) about continuity of consciousness. How is it possible that I am the same person I was when I was 15, when I was 10, when I was 5? I see pictures of a five year old girl who I know to be me, but whom I can barely recollect.
Lately, I have been considering this issue in the context of love - particularly, falling out of love. As sometimes happens, you wake up one morning and realize that the person beside you is no longer the person you fell in love with. But then, where has your love gone?
"A person whom one has loved seems altogether too significant a thing to simply vanish altogether from the world. A person whom one loves is a world, just as one knows oneself to be a world. How can worlds like these simply cease altogether?" -Rebecca Goldstein
I am left with evidence of the person I loved - with photos and messages, with gifts and memories. And yet I know that if I called them at this moment, I would reach someone different. I would reach a person with whom I share no intimacy, and who makes my heart ache, not flutter.
Where is the person I love? And, most importantly, what happened to the world we shared?
Sept 28 2015