Are you still the same person you were yesterday or last week or just a subtle changeling? If you lose your reference points in life (relationships, job, home, routine, people who know you) are you still the same person?
It is the feeling you get when you are on vacation in some strange place you haven’t been before, and meet a person who is completely new, but you both totally understand each other. It could happen. Or you quit your job and get a new one and start interacting with a completely new group of people. Are you exactly the same around them as you were with the people you used to work with, or do you shift into a different self? And furthermore does any continuous you or me exist, or is it just an illusion that we are conditioned as members of a certain culture to maintain? I am sure that as a part of a different culture a certain person would behave and react to events differently, just as a person when placed in new surroundings and circumstances will change behaviors. Think of people who completely change when they get behind the wheel of a car, or at a party, or in the middle of a battle or intense competition. Which is the continuous person? I often hear people say, “That’s not like him at all!” Maybe it is more like him than the other stuff. I can’t even tell all the time about myself, so how can I know about someone else.
I am reading Blind Willow Sleeping Woman by Murakami, a collection of 24 short stories many of which deal with these and other questions of our supposed reality, and it is making me think about who I am and what makes me who I am. Very interesting? Maybe not? But I can’t help it. It’s probably just me.