Preface: This Post is Deep Shit, and May Be Considered Thought-Provoking. In Other Words, It’s All a Big Load of Dookie.
What does it take for a person to persist from one time to another—that is, for the same person to exist at different times?
–The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy article on “Personal identity”.
Even since before I can remember, I’ve been a person. The problem is that I don’t know who this person is. Yes, I know a lot about myself–the name I was born with, my feelings about tiny marshmallows in hot cocoa, what the shape of a raindrop on a window pane reminds me of; but are these the things you call a person? If they were, then philosophy as we know it would fall apart into the blue and life as we know it, too.
A person is a set of infinitely repeating themes and motifs. Like a theme song! Yeah, that sounds about right–a person is their theme song. If you know what your theme song is then you know who you are as a person. Maybe your theme song is about hotdogs–that’s okay, because it’s your theme song. No, I am not making this up. I stole it from Neil Gaiman, which is the next best thing. Sometimes people are lucky–like Indiana Jones–and they don’t have to worry about their theme song because John Williams plays it for them. Most of us, though, find out notes at a time and have the greatest unfortune of having to put them in the right order. It involves coffee and headache and broken pens and backs. You start out thinking it might go one way and it turns out you were wrong, and then you have to start over again.
My lifesong is in the key of strange and has something to do with hats.