At what point do we attribute personal identity to a person or object if they are constantly in flux? Can we claim an infant has such and such identity even though it is in the process of growing and aging? When that infant becomes a man or woman, is that when its personal identity is asserted? When a vegetable seed is sown and it grows from a seedling into a fully fruit producing plant, is it at that point it is identified, or was it when it was simply a seed? At season’s end, when that same plant loses the capacity to produce fruit, yet its stems still grow and flowers or seeds appear upon it, is it at that point when we decide that this is absolutely the identity of the plant, that if it had been pulled from the ground earlier, when its fruit production had finished, we could not discover its true identity until it lived on and acquired new characteristics which contrast with its earlier stage of growth?
We only notice changes in identity in proportion to our perceptions. Should a mountain range, at some specific place, lose an inch from its surface due to years of wind, snow, and rain, we wouldn’t notice this change and continue to view it as exactly the same as it was before. However, a smaller object, as in an axe, should its handle become cracked and replaced, would still be identified as the same axe, but we would perceive its handle as being different and, perhaps, due to a newer, stronger wood, feel lighter and easier to swing. The true identity of the axe does not change. It is only our perception of it that changes.
If we see a person at a distance they seem diminutive. When they move closer to us they become larger and their features more pronounced. Which identity do we place on this person? One where they are miniscule in stature, or upon their approach, when they’re seen at a closer range? If we close an eye, their approach is coming from the west. If we open that eye and close the other, they are coming from the east. Which direction they approach from depends on what place we view them from. If two or more are seeing the same person at the same distance, slowly approaching, their view would differ and the true direction could never be exactly determined.
Our perceptions depend on our memory of cause and effect. The way we view objects is in direct relation to our self or person. Objects do not change as they are in themselves. Only our perceptions of them change. Therefore identity will always be the product of perception, and perception the product of the mind.
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