• I believe we are a sum of all of our combined experiences in life; which is the reason we all tend to change (usually for the better) throughout our lives. Your question made me think of Pink Floyd... All that you touch And all that you see All that you taste All you feel And all that you love And all that you hate All you distrust All you save And all that you give And all that you deal And all that you buy Beg, borrow or steal And all you create And all you destroy And all that you do And all that you say And all that you eat And everyone you meet And all that you slight And everyone you fight And all that is now And all that is gone And all that's to come And everything under the sun is in tune But the sun is eclipsed by the moon
  • not completely, but i would say definetely somewhat. and some people more than others.
  • everything influences us everyday, but I think for the most part we are sort of born "pre-wired". How MUCH we are influenced is different for everyone and depends on timing in your life. People who live a secluded life are not neccessarily incomplete.
  • I think that there's 4 basic levels on which one can answer the question "who are we?". The most basic is "physical organism". Not very interesting, except in terms of physiology and biology. At this level, you are a biological system. It's true that you are that, but it's not the whole story, and not the most interesting part of the story from my perspective. The next level up is "personality / ego / conditioning" -- at this level, who you are is defined by the mind's capacity to conjure up a distinct and separate sense of self, normally called ego, which represents an "abstract self". The mind then focuses on trying to protect, comfort, and promote this manufactured entity in the vast game of social pecking-order placement and similar activities. Also this is the level where automated thinking and behavior defines you... i.e. you identify with certain things habitually because of past conditioning. As with the first level, while it's valid to think of oneself in this way, it's not the whole story, nor is it the most interesting level. But it's interesting enough to keep the vast majority of psychotherapists and self-help teachers busy. The next level up is what I think you're talking about: the self as integration and connection point of influences and experiences. At this level, who you are isn't so much defined by the mind's generation of ego, as it is by the combined flows of experience, memory, interchange with others, imagination, etc. On this level, there's often a sense of "channeling" an unseen source of creative energy or talent. Often you'll hear that kind of talk from someone who is very talented in some area: when they're "in the zone", it's as if their sense of self changes, and the become a radio receiver for a transmission of unknown origin... the transmission of their talent or special ability. Also on this level, a human starts to be come more "integrated"... i.e. the different aspects of being human start to relate to each other in less fragmented ways. This integration happens nonlinearly... i.e. things suddenly get associated and connected, there are sudden "clunks" of insight and change which rearrange the furniture and produce new outlooks, etc. This is a very interesting level, one can spend their life studying this level and not exhaust the interesting discoveries. The level above that is different than the other levels, it's the final and absolute end of the search for answers to the question. At this level, one recognizes oneself as the transmitter rather than the radio... that is, there's no longer a separation between the source of creativity and the medium of delivery for the creation. At this level, there's no separation between subject and object, there's no "me" distinct from the whole. The buck stops at this level, one does not look externally for where things are generated... one recognizes oneself as the creative source of being. This level is pure possibility, also -- a vibrant presence without specific form, which lends form to being but isn't constrained by anything. The level above that is full of plumbing and electrical conduit. Also, free parking.
  • Jeez, I sure hope not. So many of the people I meet are jerks and idiots. (Which doesn't mean that I am not! But I like to think that I'm at least in another class of jerkdom or idiocy.) But I think you're the sum of what you WANT to be from those meetings -- because I have also met wonderful people in real life, over the Internet ... and from BOOKS -- as well as a product of some things that you don't realize and are not consciously aware of from those meetings. So, yeah, there's a certain amount of good and bad that you take away from all meetings unwittingly, and another (hopefully larger) product that you take by choice. ("I want to be like Mike." To the extent that you can define what it means to "be like Mike" and can direct your life in those ways, you can be. Other than that focused and directed effort, some of us just stick our tongue out when we drive the lane, and aren't even aware of it.)
  • A famous motivational speaker by the name of Lou Tice once said this; "From the time that you are born, you are in a constant process of becomming little bits and pieces of everyone in your life. Your parentsm your friends, your peers, friends and teachers... We are molded by their thoughts, their opinions and their beliefs and we subconsciously either tke on these influences or base our opinions against them based on other influences that are stronger. In order to find out who you truely are as a person you almost have to disgard everything you have ever known, remove every opinion that you have about anything and with intent, re work your own thought process and purposefully and with mindfulness set out to either change or challenge everything you are. You only truely start living a life when you have been able to seperate everyone elses influences on you from your own core opinions on just about everything you have ever thought, felt believed or wanted. Nothing you are truely belongs to you, until you do this.
  • The erosion theory of personality?...with our own inner quartz crystals being shined or dulled by our 'weathering' of those we meet. Maybe it's more that way more when we are younger...later we get "set in our ways" a bit, and develop a specific point of view, that isn't always original, sadly, and hopefully we are still somewhat open to learning from others. I really like Hasn'tBeen's answer both for completeness, and integration of various levels of understanding and be-ing. Kind of like chakras applied to the soci-al/ologal animals that we are...there is the red level of basic existence, the orange level of sense (and sense-ability and sensuality), yellow for nurturing ourselves and extending out to others, green for love, connecting to others, and the planet, blue for giving voice to our elevated integration at that point, indigo for the first step in greater integration with the cosmos - the intuitive understanding of our places in the whole, whether of our 'hood or society or Gaia's ecosystem or the multiversal energy, then violet for gaining control of power to sync up with energy, and being able to turn matter into energy and back, and being at peace...white, outside, lastly for the ability to flow into collective unconscious...not sure this is completely do-able while we are alive.
  • you translate these things and that translation determines your reality. I for one cant seem to make friends cause I have learned that everyone is living so internally that to reach out would require a great deal of focus and inner strength, not to mention it would make my wife gealous.
  • Its a great thought. Its definitely huge, but not all we are. We are not just the mind, for instance. Everything absorbed through the human mind is just a fraction of what we are as a total person, soul.
  • Nope, we're more than that. Basically we're the sum of nature (how you're born) and nurture (education and all). When you socialize their is in addition what you ask and the answers to those questions. At the end remains only one question: "Where I go now?" Only God knows the answer in the Christion opininion.

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