I want you to read this slowly: I’ve never met myself.
I can not pin me down. I have pictures, writings, even memories of some self I do not know as well as one thinks that one ought to know one’s self. Every instant that passes marks a change, a departure, from some former mind bound by familial relationships to others, and a social security number. It’s difficult to describe without sounding a bit odd, but that’s because it is odd.
It’s odd, in my mind, because it flies in the face of laws, contracts, obligations, accountability, and continuity. I have spent years thinking about my own identity, and have decided that identity itself, therefor any identity, is not continuous. Identity is constantly evolving, sometimes it rewrites itself identically bit for bit, but other times, probably just as often, it overwrites itself in new and novel ways.
You are not the same now as you were even thirty seconds ago. Your mental state and your molecular state have changed. Your mind and your body have changed.
That’s what’s on my (!) mind for the new year. And the implications of that idea make New Year’s Day basically worthless. New Year’s resolutions and projections are misguided – the hoopla surrounding the New Year itself is utterly misleading. The notion that, for some reason – today– the continuity of your life and your self are to be reflected upon falls quite short of the reality.
You see, today is not special as far as you are concerned. You will be long gone an instant from now, much less a day from now. You can make whatever plans you want for your future self, but that self shall do as it pleases, with the same volition that you have in this moment.
Of course, that isn’t entirely true, now is it? You can force a future self into submission under your current will with the help of unalterable (or not easily alterable) choices. The morality of that seems dubious in my mind, but that is a thought for some other day.
The point is this: you can reinvent yourself in every instant, at any time. In fact, you only exist a moment at a time. You would be better off spending today realizing that, than focusing on this once-a-year “opportunity” for self-modification.
Of course, those are just my thoughts on the matter. And, well, I’ve already left…