|who you are|
| When did you become you? According to the personhood argument, you became you when you became aware of yourself. Letís take a step back. Obviously, when you became aware of yourself, there needed to already be a self of which to be aware.
You were already you before you became self-aware. Clearly your identity did not depend on you becoming aware of it. It was already determined that you would become self-aware and that the self that you would find would be you. You did not choose your identity; you recognized an identity that already existed independently of you.
You didnít choose your existence. You didnít even choose to be a person; you make choices, because you are a person. You have no choice but to choose.
Letís look at things. Things reflect who you are, but they donít make you who you are. The things you say and do reflect you, but they donít make you you. Your physical body reflects who you are, but it does not compose the totality. Your physical body allows you to express yourself in this physical world, but you did not become a person when your physical body evolved to a certain stage. Your unique physical features reflect your personality, but they do not constitute who you are. If you had a birth defect, that did not change the identity of who you are. If you suffer physical disabilities, that does not alter the person that you are. If your physical body dies, it does not change that eternal identity.
The personhood argument, as strong as it is, focuses on the physical things as if they determine the identity of a person. When I was a little child, at some point in time, chemicals in my brain reacted in such a way that recorded information to the realization that I actually existed. However, that information had to exist before my brain recorded it; my brain did not bring that knowledge into existence. This materialistic explanation does not identify who I am, the person that I am. It does not really acknowledge a person for my brain to identify.
We record and transfer information on physical things, but the information itself is intangible. Right now, Iím transferring information from my mind into words on a screen. The words are not the information. These letters are symbols that represent information, intangible ideas.
The definition of a person includes something that must not change. In order to be a person, I must see myself existing in different places and different times. This requires that the person remain the same in different places and different times.
I wish I could think of a word for this unique identity. I could call it my soul. It is the who that I am that exists at different times and in different places. It distinguishes me from other people and things. It is that essential identity that, if it were to change, I would not be myself. I would be someone else.
A closer look at the personhood argument reveals that a person was already there before my physical body acknowledged the information. When I experienced the things that enabled me to see myself, I became aware of an identity that is eternal. Physically and spiritually, I grow and change, but my soul remains the same forever. Some day, my body will die and deteriorate, but the person that I am remains forever.