I don’t know how to express or articulate my thoughts and my vocabulary and grammar gets messed up the more I write so I will just write simply.

What I’m trying to say is that every day or hour or minute or everytime you think, you feels like your original selves is dying. I know that we are constantly growing but i just can’t stop thinking that whenever we grow or learning new things or start to think differently, our past selves is dead. I think back to my past selves in middle school, highschool and from 2022 and think, aren’t they dead? No matter what i do or think or whatever happens to me, i can’t bring back the personalities or "me"s from the past. They remain dead and continue to being dead. Unless they are exist in another timeline or universe.

What exactly is identity, consciousness or the self which is me? I don’t know nor understand but this idea just stuck in my mind and occasionally appears when I’m bored, stressed or relaxed.

  • rtfm_modular@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    Your body and mind is just a bag of chemical soup, undergoing a constant reaction. Your tangle of nerves and synapses feed a mess of neurons that are wired in a circuit that gives you that spark of consciousness. But none of this is a fixed system, and your body goes through constant change. As one neural pathway dies, another one is rewired and the circuitry is now different.

    You can play the game of debating the Ship of Theseus, but who you “are” or “were” is just an illusion. Our memories are just the old circuits powering up, but even those change over time. Your memories are a false representation of the past because they only ever exist in the present and you’re at the mercy of your own perceptions.

    You “are” until you are not. So do what feels good —Kiss your loved ones, hug a tree, and be kind to yourself and others while your bag of soup ain’t leaking.

  • chonkymaru@lemmy.ml
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    7 months ago

    Hey, friend. I am not a doctor and I cannot diagnose you, but, if these kinds of thoughts are constantly on your mind and cause anxiety, you might wanna glance over the symptoms of something called “existential ocd” to see if you relate. Ocd has a lot of subtypes and they aren’t well known among the general public. There’s also helpful videos on YouTube about existential ocd. I hope you find relief.

  • NowheremanA
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    7 months ago

    Your past selves aren’t dead. You just evolved into what you are now. That’s what we do.

    • BalabakGuy@lemmy.mlOP
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      7 months ago

      What do you mean by “evolve”? I think my past selves is dead because I can’t experience the exact same consciousness of the past selves of me again. Doesn’t that count as being “dead”?

      • FloMo@lemmy.world
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        7 months ago

        “Is the caterpillar dead because it became a butterfly?”

        The caterpillar IS the butterfly. Perhaps not as you know it, but change is the universal constant, my friend, and trying to hold on to the past is a futile attempt.

        In my experience it’s best to acknowledge the past enough so we can appreciate the good things, learn from our mistakes or anything we feel we did less-than-great at, then try to do better as we evolve.

        No, you’re not the exact same person you were a few years ago, but we live in a changing world and we change with it as time goes on.

        “All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us”

        Best of luck, I’m here if you want to talk about anything :)

        • BalabakGuy@lemmy.mlOP
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          7 months ago

          I don’t think you quite understand what I’m trying to say.

          “Is the caterpillar dead because it became a butterfly?”

          The caterpillar IS the butterfly. Perhaps not as you know it, but change is the universal constant,

          How is this relevant? I’m talking from the first person perspective. Whether the caterpillar is dead or not depends on the person experiencing the consciousness of their own mind. From my perspectives, i think yes, the caterpillar is dead (it’s not really important because the caterpillar or butterfly isn’t conscious of itself).

          • Candelestine@lemmy.world
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            7 months ago

            If you want to draw the line in that way, then break it all the way down and apply the principle evenly. Every single time you change your mind in any way, shape or form, that is an ever-so-slightly different you. The difference is so minor that it’s basically no difference at all, but it does exist.

            So, when you decide to put stawberry jam instead of grape on your toast, that old you that used grape is dead. And then the next day, when you go back to picking grape, the stawberry you is now dead and the grape you is resurrected.

            Obviously I’m exaggerating with such an innocuous example, but the basic principle applies. It’s all arbitrary, from a truly objective perspective.

            There’s a number of deductions one could draw from this, but a big one is that we try to apply identity as if “things” are real, but it’s mostly just our choices, which can vary as much as we want them to. This goes against a natural human desire for stability, we kinda wish that once we learn something, it can “stay learned”. But that’s just like Mr Incredible complaining that his city won’t “stay saved” in the beginning of the movie.

            Pluto’s recategorization away from planetary status triggered this in a lot of people. It’s arbitrary though, we made those decisions in the first place. And in the modern world, we really need to be ready to handle new stuff all the time, so flexibility is important.

          • protist@mander.xyz
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            7 months ago

            Whether the caterpillar is dead or not depends on the person experiencing the consciousness of their own mind

            Here’s where having a conversation about this may be fruitless. You’re saying you feel dead, and you’re saying the only one who can define that is you. The caterpillar/butterfly comparison is objectively apt, because just like a butterfly cannot exist without having been a caterpillar, you as your current self could not have existed without having first been you in middle school, because you are literally the same organism as that middle schooler. However, you’re saying you feel dead, which no one outside of you has any real control of or input over, and if you’re stuck on that, it might be something you should discuss with a psychologist

      • myrmidex@slrpnk.net
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        7 months ago

        By that rationale, wouldn’t other people then also be dead, as you cannot experience their consciousness?

        • BalabakGuy@lemmy.mlOP
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          7 months ago

          I’m not trying to dehumanize other people but yes. That’s how i see it.

          • myrmidex@slrpnk.net
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            7 months ago

            It’s a very intersting viewpoint, pardon me for exploring further. So future you (or me) is also dead until the brief flash of life where yours and his consciousness finally overlap, before lapsing into nothingness again.

            It’s very reasonable even, to think everything not experienced this very moment is totally alien to us.

            Thanks for stretching my grey matter on this dull day!

      • Skasi@lemmy.world
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        7 months ago

        How about a different way of putting it?

        Ones past self is a book with more blank pages than our current self. The blank pages represent things that are unknown, things that could be, different possibilities. Perhaps I dislike some of the pages of my current self and would rather not have experienced them. My past self would then be a clean version of the book, where the pages I dislike could still turn out to be different.

        But then the question remains of whether the pages are blank because the author is still thinking about what to write or whether they just didn’t find the time to do it yet. Is it actually a book with blank pages or is it more like a folder where you continuously add pages - and furthermore, are the missing pages actually still blank or are they already printed and only need to be added to the folder? Is an incomplete version of a book still the same book? If you only read the first book of a three book series, is it still the same story? Are the pages actually missing or do they exist and I just haven’t read (=experienced) them yet?

  • BananaTrifleViolin@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    Dead is not the same as gone. We are a stream of consciousness moving through time. The past isn’t “dead” it is just behind us, just as the future is not “birth”.

    If you imagine yourself as a river of water, there is still a river behind you and In-front of you, but all you are aware of is now.

    Whether or not we can go back or forward in that stream of consciousness - who knows. We don’t know what we perceive when we do actually die.

    If you can’t get past this focus on the concept then at least stop thinking of it as “death”. That’s anthropomorphising what is happening (trying to attribute a human experience to it) but it’s adding the baggage of all those negative or anxious feelings we feel about death. Our consciousness moving forward through time is its own thing, it is not death.

    • moistclump@lemmy.world
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      7 months ago

      Yes, the river analogy was my first thought here. The water rushes by, but the river stays the same. We would never call the changing water or river dead.

      We would never call a growing tree dead. In fact, growth and change is exactly how you know the tree is alive.

  • small_crow@lemmy.ca
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    7 months ago

    Yes, often.

    We as thinking beings consider ourselves to be constant. The trail of memories leading from our childhoods to today make it feel as though we are still that person who lived through all of those times, but we aren’t. We can’t be.

    I have memories belonging to an 8 year old boy in my mind, he had the same name I did and lived with parents who also had the same name as mine, but I am a much older person - older than his parents, even - and I share almost no common ground with this boy. How can we be the same person, when we are so obviously different?

    I am physically a different person to this person of my memories, and I can’t be sure he exists or existed. He may simply be a figment of my imagination, a story I tell myself of where I have come from but made up from whole cloth.

  • RBWells@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    I had a dream one time (a literal asleep and dreaming dream) where I went back to my younger selves and it was the first time I felt continuity, like the me I am is built from all those previous instances of me. They aren’t gone, exactly, while I am alive. Yes as you experience time as going in one direction you are not all of them at once, but neither are you a series of points, you are more like a line.

  • greedytacothief@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    I can’t remember so much of what used to be me, it astounds me sometimes. But also it doesn’t really bother me. The me I am now was shaped by what was regardless of my knowledge of it. Those past parts of me have passed through me, and new parts are yet to come.

    I guess I’m just not a very sentimental guy.

  • serpentofnumbers@lemmy.dbzer0.com
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    7 months ago

    Because of the nature of time, the universe is in a constant state of becoming something else. Everything is changing all the time. But, because of the Laws of Conservation of Energy and Mass, there is always part of what was before persisting in what is now. For example, a fire burns logs, releasing the kinetic energy as heat, water vapor, carbon dioxide, etc. The heat dissipates because the atmosphere is very large, but it doesn’t dissappear, it just gets diluted. The water vapor is released into the atmosphere, and those molecules become moisture in a cloud and turn into rain, continuing in the water cycle. In a metaphorical sense, your past selves have “burned” and “released” what you are now. You may consider your past selves dead, but the molecules that made them continue to exist as your current self, even if those molecules are rearranged or are slightly different (we eat food and excrete waste, so our molecules are regularly being exchanged with other molecules in the environment). Those same molecules were once inside the sun. Before that, those molecules existed at the beginning of the universe. So, in a way, yes we are constantly dying and being transformed, but the stuff that we are made of can never die. We are just constantly changing, along with the universe, because we are part of the universe.

    • Skasi@lemmy.world
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      7 months ago

      Maybe another way of putting it is “the information that makes you up remains the same”? As in, it doesn’t matter if one electron is exchanged with another, it’s still the same component? Assuming two things have the same physical properties, it doesn’t matter which one you use. You are not just the objects you consist of, but also the way they are positioned/aligned/etc.

      Maybe a bit like binary code/data, if you copy a file then the copy will be able to do the same thing. Though I guess it’s more complex than that, because it all depends on where this data is located, so not only the building blocks but also the context in which they exist matters.

  • dudinax@programming.dev
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    7 months ago

    You’ve probably hit upon a good metaphor for what’s happening.
    I believe each time we sleep parts of our personalities are torn down and rebuilt slightly differently.
    Whatever the mechanism, you aren’t really the same person you were years ago, you’re a different person with many of the same memories. The “self” is a useful simplification of reality. At the fundamental level, its not possible to define “you” and “not you” at a moment in time, much less across spans of time.

    • GreyEyedGhost@lemmy.ca
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      7 months ago

      If therapy has taught us anything, it’s that we can also change and direct that change while conscious. So past you is probably slightly different than now you for any value of past and now.

      Now, the only reason I see to feel bad about that is if you leave a worse person in charge than was there before. Focus on self-improvement, and improvement of the world around you, and maybe the end of past you isn’t so bad a thing.

    • jcg@halubilo.social
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      7 months ago

      And they aren’t even the same memories. “You” just thinks they are, but every time “you” remembers them they’re slightly different because you don’t remember the facts of the memory only whats important to “you” and “you” is constantly changing.

  • Rivalarrival@lemmy.today
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    7 months ago

    Alternatively, your past selves are immortal. They can’t be harmed. Nothing that didn’t happen to them can ever happen to them.

  • Skasi@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    I really like this topic and think the idea of ones past self is a very interesting concept to think about. Personally I’ve thought about it in a different way, specifically about whether I own my past and it’s also a question about how we own our body.

    For example, let’s say ten years ago someone took a picture of me and I demanded that this picture must not be shared or posted online. Now if ten years later I ask the photographer to send me the picture and I post it online, then the photographer and I broke the rules. I certainly did not get consent from my past self. So now the question of whether or not I am my past self comes up. Most people would probably say yes, but it’s still an interesting question.

    To continue this chain of thought even further one can be creative and add themes like time travel and meeting ones past self. That expands the idea to a crazy big scope of possible questions though and is perhaps a bit too unrealistic for most people to bother thinking about.

    Coming back to a more realistic idea, would posting a picture of my baby self online and insulting the person in the picture be considered morally wrong? It would certainly be considered rude by people who don’t know the context. But how many rights do I actually have here? How about using it as a profile picture on social media? There’s many different possible interesting questions here.

    I understand that this is opening a whole other can of worms and a different idea than the original post, but I feel it’s a similar direction and also brings up the question about the relationship between a person and their past self.

    edit: Also I just now noticed that I tend to write “past self” as singular while you write it as “past selves” in plural. I guess that’s because you talk about the topic as a more continuous thing that happens constantly. That reminds me of a theory according to which the universe splits up into many different paths every time a random quantum thingy happens. I think it’s this thing: Many-worlds interpretation (wikipedia).

    • BalabakGuy@lemmy.mlOP
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      7 months ago

      For example, let’s say ten years ago someone took a picture of me and I demanded that this picture must not be shared or posted online. Now if ten years later I ask the photographer to send me the picture and I post it online, then the photographer and I broke the rules. I certainly did not get consent from my past self. So now the question of whether or not I am my past self comes up. Most people would probably say yes, but it’s still an interesting question.

      Interesting. I also wonder why people justify past selves as an identity of us even though we have changed or grew as person while our past selves have already dead.

      • Skasi@lemmy.world
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        7 months ago

        Well if you were to decide to take the two identities out of context and compare them to each other, then they would definitely be different. You know, some people do take their past selves and make fun of them, they can hate them, they can insult and loathe them. Similarly, if they could see us today, our past selves might be disappointed or even offended at what we have become. Imagine growing up in a very conservative family, perhaps adopting prejudice views and as you grow up, you change and maybe even find yourself befriending and loving the things or people you used to hate. Your past self might attack and kill you if you were both put into the same room.

        I’m aware that that’s a very extreme example. It’s just an idea I wanted to bring across. Of course it can go both ways. I guess the topic would make for very interesting stories in media, I’m sure it was already used often.

        You know that reminds me, this whole concept is already a very realistic daily occurrence. Say two people fall in love, but then years later they break up. Oftentimes people say things like “you’ve changed”. They fell in love with each others past versions. I’m sure we all know humans or mechanical devices or software programs that we used to love, but then they changed and we started disliking them. I might like my new comb, or my new phone. But when they break, I might get angry and hate them.

        • BalabakGuy@lemmy.mlOP
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          7 months ago

          I like this idea. You explained it simple enough to be understood and provided relatable examples.

          • Skasi@lemmy.world
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            7 months ago

            Yay! It makes my-current-self happy that your-past-self said nice things about my-past-selves comment. Go, my-past-self!

            With that silly comment of mine out of the way, there’s one thing I want to add which is that I think we should maybe show a bit of leniency towards our past selves. Keep in mind that our past selves had less experience than us. They didn’t have all the experiences that shaped us. For better or for worse. When we say “I didn’t know.” maybe to make things more interesting we could instead say “My past self didn’t know.” at least once, just for the fun of it.

            Physically speaking, what our past selves did have though was a lot more potential than us. They had the potential to become our current self and at least in theory they also had the potential to become different versions of our current self. Some of them we might consider better, others worse. These versions would all have a different experience than our current self. Maybe even a slightly different thought going through ones head can be an experience with a big impact on the future.

            I guess some people do say that they need to makes ones past self, or even another persons past self proud. One thing that I thought was funny was hearing another person saying “That will be future me’s problem.”. So in a way we really do take snapshots and project things onto them.

  • Illuminostro@lemmy.world
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    7 months ago

    Well, if it makes you feel any better, nothing really matters, on a universal scale. We’ll be extinct as a species in a million years, probably much less. Our solar system will be nebula after our sun explodes in less than 5 billion. There will be no trace we ever existed.

    Just try to hurt as few people as little as possible, and be kind to as many as possible. Leave the place better than you found it. That’s all you can do. Or don’t, it’s up to you.