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Recently in an online meeting, I was asked to introduce myself. When it came my turn I answered "human". It gained a few chuckles which was not my intent. The moderator moved on with "well, that's just Bruce being Bruce? I took that as a compliment.

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Aug 31, 2023Liked by Peter N Limberg

Peter I don't know how you do it but your writing almost always feels like it has this umph in it, this aliveness, this thing that makes me feel "fuck yes" when I read it. It makes me think, deeply, about things. So deeply that I can come back and read it again and there's even more to digest. Thanks for challenging me to think about things and keep it up!

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Aug 31, 2023·edited Aug 31, 2023Author

Thank you, Manus. It means a lot you sharing this. 🙏

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Aug 31, 2023·edited Aug 31, 2023Liked by Peter N Limberg

So much here Peter. Always grateful for what you bring. I myself I'm recovering from plying most of my facilitation trade in the world of Social Movements obsessed with identity. I see, sense and feel how limiting this obsession can be given what we actually want to achieve.

On my own spiritual journey, I find myself returning to the essence of vedantic teachings, inquiring deeply into who it is that says "I Am." Longing to become fully aware of my Self as That. And slowly understanding how That includes every single one of the parts that manifest as who I am, including the ones I wrestle with and don't like. As much as the ones that want to lay claim to the totality of who I am, even when each one is only a part.

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Who is writing? An obstacle to creating the front facing page identity on sub stack. Similar to a map, where I’m from, where I’m going or where I’m at. Which one would you prefer, and which one is going to show up? The IFS dance.

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When you say you believe in soul you hit the nail on the head. In the materialist world identity is likely to be based on material properties or characteristics. I include values, ethics and so on because even the most devoted materialists must have these. But belief in a transcendent and eternal self puts one's current material being into perspective. I may be, for example wealthy, and identify with this but my soul is a different kind of being altogether. When I am gone from this place I will be a different, more profound version of myself and those markers of my earthly identity will be dust.

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One interesting aspect regarding this post is that I kept asking myself "What is my identity?" I definitely used to identify as an engineer in my previous work life, definitely a writer of sorts, hispanic male, but never really been super into identity and never gave it much thought.

I think the reason why is the last part of your post. Given the "thought experiment" about the material being of me somehow transferred to another galaxy, I'm actually not convinced that I would still have the same memories, life experiences, etc. To me that feels like (to use your language at the end) the "Soul" of me, beyond the material, and that's the part of me that I most identify with.

Now comes the challenge of translating that "soul" into writing...

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Aug 31, 2023Liked by Peter N Limberg

Hi Peter

I’m curious about this soul that you believe you have. Can you talk about that a bit more? How would you define it? Is it something that existed before you were born and/or will exist after you die? Thanks in advance!

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I'll sense into how to respond to this, and may do so in an upcoming entry.

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Thank you, I look forward to that!

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I don't think Parfit's conclusion from the thought experiment is off about identity because it's too reductivist, (I wouldn't see that as a criticism and hopefully it's not used as a pejorative) I think it is off because social elements are always present in our psychological states. If one uses "psychological elements such as memories, experiences, beliefs, and desires" as the basis for who we identify as, each of those things are influenced by social conditioning. If I go on vacation to visit the US capitol in 2023, I don't dress like Thomas Jefferson (one its founders in 18th century). Why not? Not because there is something "factually" or fundamentally wrong about dressing like an 18th century early American liberal aristocrat, but because it would be likely misinterpreted (as in I am part of a tour or something) and/or be "out of place" socially (in the narrow sense of something not frequently observed in a given social setting) to do so. If then I were to enter the scan machine and go through with the Parfit thought experiment, I would still take the sense of memory, desires etc about how to dress and its social bias with me into the next instant. Even if in (debatable) technical terms the new person is not "me", they would carry all the social baggage with them, with that "psychological continuity". So, I would claim are identities are still "social", not just because of merely what others expect or perceive, but what/how we internalize those expectations into ourselves as part of our memory's desires etc,.

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Like a missing limb; my phantom identity. I swear I used to have one.

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