The effects of a change in parent

I have always meditated upon the possibility of what would happen if my parents had married someone else. Would I still be me? Whose child would I be, my mother’s or my father’s? Would I inhabit either of the bodies? Biologically speaking, I would be different than I am now. Spiritually, would I still be me? Which of those offspring would I be in control of, if any? This thought perhaps points to the verification of existance of soul, as we are all put in control of a physical domain but spiritually we are an individual, independant of our bodily limitations. Perhaps we would still be the same kind of person in a different body, or perhaps we would be different. This introduces science into the picture - for if my brain was different in another body, could I still be the same person I am today? No, disease or handicap would alter me. In absence of disability though, could I be the same person? Would I still feel that I am the same person, spiritually speaking?

Hello spit,

This question does come down to your beliefs on the existance of a soul. If you believe in a soul, this thread could go where the last thread on this topic that PhilosophyGirl posted. And that is… nowhere. The assumption of the soul is one that does not add any explanatory understanding to the self. It is a untestable catch-all answer. For the sake of delving into this issue, let us put the existence of a soul aside.

You say that no disease or handicap could alter you - this statement is false. Your “self” is dynamic and in a constant state of flux. Think about it on the lowest level, your neural network is constantly prunely unused nodes, new structures are being created - knowledge and experience are constantly being absorbed. Are you the same person you were when you were 5? 10? 15? 20? a year ago? 10 minutes ago?. I like the example of reading something you wrote in the past and thinking “what is this crap?” and then thinking “I cant believe i wrote this! what was I thinking”

You might reply to this argument by saying “No, not all of me was the same, but it was still me!”. There seems to be something instrinsic and essential that is preserved over time, the way we behave, our actions, our opinions on some topics, our thought patterns. But I tell you now, the only persistence is our identification of ourselves as ourselves - the belief that you are “you” is it - and that is not much at all. And I am not even speaking about who you are, whether you like gameboy or alfredo sauce or that you have a tendency to scratch your butt - I am speaking only of your opinion that you are now, have always been and continue to be “you”.

This is the clever illusion that brings many people to believe that there is in fact something persistent and unwavering about our selves (such as the soul)- but the only persistence is the illusion itself.

That being said - you are always changing - if you had different parents you would not be the same person but thats a moot point really.

Interesting topic. I also wondered if my parents had sex even a few hours earlier or later, would I still have been born?

I really doubt it… so it seems to me the possibility of being born is virtually fuck all.