Now blogging at diego's weblog. See you over there!

future and past selves

Dylan posted a cool entry to his weblog yesterday regarding how our sense of 'self' is so anchored in the present that our past and future 'selves' amount almost to different people, the only difference between them and any other person being that, in the case of our 'past selves' our current self is dependent on their actions, and our 'future selves' are completely dependent on our actions.

Many times I've thought along those lines, particularly when I find something that I wrote many years ago and I find the ideas, or opinions, different, strange, ridiculous, or naive (which is the lesser evil I suppose). I remember why I used to think in this way or that, but I can't put easily myself again in a position where I could believe what I wrote. This feeling increases the more we learn: we find things we did, clumsily, years ago, and we are amazed at how bad they are, and yet at the time we felt it was the best thing ever done. In moments like that, I am confronted with a stranger: myself.

Last night I realized that this is simply showing us how little we know ourselves, even in the present. We do things, most of the time, in a sort of automatic pilot, carried along by our prejudices and preconceptions, only occasionally taking new paths. We don't usually stop to think why are doing things, so naturally, when we look back at them, we sometimes find the behavior of our "past selves" a bit puzzling. It's another of the paradoxes of life: Knowledge changes us. So each time we increase the knowledge of ourselves, we change what we are, and we no longer have knowledge of who we are, but of who we were.

Now if we could just learn to accept it...

Categories: personal
Posted by diego on July 18 2002 at 4:43 PM

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