Psychology is one of the most interesting sciences because it deals with humanity on a deeper level. One aspect of psychology that intrigues me is continuity psychology, which studies personal identity. John Locke, an English philosopher and physician, widely referred to as the Father of Liberalism, juxtaposed that a person’s identity – awareness and consciousness extended beyond his or her death. This type of psychology believes our identity has little or nothing to do with our body or soul but rather revolves around our memories and awareness.
This lends itself for several questions to be asked. If a person’s identity behoves on the memories and memories are stored in the brain; if you put Person A’s brain into Person B’s body, does Person B now become Person A? Do the experiences of Person B get lost and who is in control? Person A whose brain is in the body or Person B who has the body? Really trippy stuff.
Some experts of psychology believe memories can continue indefinitely in time; they explain that memories can continue in a consistent pattern forever however some psychologists disagreed with this ideology arguing that most people are unable to recollect certain situations that happened in past years. This forgetfulness then undermines the earlier theory that memory exists in a continuum.
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My family shares the story of how I burnt my cheek with a hot iron at age 5. As much as I have tried to recollect the incident, I am unable to since I was still quite young when the incident happened. Does the fact that I cannot recollect the incident make me any longer that person? If I am not the little girl because I cannot remember the accident, then why do I have the scar on my face still? If all we are, are our memories, then what do things like character, beliefs, thoughts, and desire make?
Talking about memories begs the question of what constitutes a memory. Now that I have shared the incident of my cheek getting burnt to you; you have that in your memory as well, but is this your memory? Does this belong to you? No. Because the memory belongs to me, I experienced that situation.
Another interesting question is if our memory exists outside of our physical presence (being alive) then does that mean we have lived before or there is life after death? And where are the memories from the existences outside of the current one we find ourselves?
There are many questions that I am not able to answer. However, this article by BetterHelp.com can give you more information on continuity psychology. I know for a fact I am not the only one who has wondered about our existence or questioned how the brain works.
I don’t want to restart the age-long question of who came first; the hen or the egg but am I the only one who wonders if memories make a person then a baby in the womb is not a person? Because when do humans start developing memories? It most definitely cannot start from the womb because none of us can remember what happened in the womb, but if memories exist out of the context of time does that mean babies have their own memories?
And if the baby does not have memories, then the baby must surely be part of the mother, so in effect, the baby is not a person. So when does the baby become a person? When they are born or when they start creating memories?