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Who Am I?

By Bob Vivian

Am I the same person I was as a child? Physically no. Every cell in my body has long been renewed many times over. Do I look the same as when I was a child? No, I am unrecognisable now I am older. Psychologically am I the same? No, I no longer think or act as a child. I no longer think or act as a teenager or as a young person or as I did in middle age.

Who then is the definitive me? Am I all these people? If I answer yes then I must concede that there is no one definitive me, no one permanent self. At that particular time was I in any doubt that this was me? If I answer that my present self is the definitive ‘me’ then what of all the previous variations of me? And at some time in the future inevitably the present me will become the past me.

Isn’t it true to say that I am a succession of different identities grouped together under a Christian name and surname that has no permanency whatsoever. I am in a constant state of flux and I allow each state to die quite naturally without any resistance from me.

Yet this indefinable me has complete dominion over my life. Why do I allow this to happen? Is it perhaps knowing unconsciously that I am in a constant state of change I seek some form of stability, some rock which a fictitious me allows? Unknowingly I have created this me but it is this me that bars the door to the light of my own true self. As long as I go on clinging to this creation nothing will change.

And yet knowing all this I still cling tenaciously to the idea of me and no amount of logical reasoning will convince me. Isn’t it time to say I am not my true self? You have usurped the throne for your own ends. I have allowed you sovereignty over my life for all too long and I have had to live with the consequences of this. No more.

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