The Challenges for the Human Psyche

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One of the more difficult challenges for the human psyche is to understand what it is that makes us unique beings. Certainly we see physical uniqueness, biologically based, and can find similarities and differences based on family, genetics, and the like. But what are the qualities that make us unique human beings, with unique thoughts, actions, and views? Perhaps it is actually impossible to adequately define ourselves, since we are evolving human beings moving in such a rapid and unique way? Or, in a wry and ironic manner, American writer and Zen Buddhism interpreter Alan Watts noted, "Trying to define yourself is like trying to bite your own teeth" (Watts, n.d.). In a sense, this brings up some very complex notions who are "we?" Are we the sum of our parts or are we our brains and some electrochemical soup of materials that magically come together to form the "us?" What about our brain hemispheres? Derek Parfit is a British philosopher who specializes in issues surrounding personal identity, rational and ethics. He uses examples about the self that seem to stretch the boundaries about what is personal identity. In that he argues that there are no real criteria to base a definition of personal identity, because we cannot really exist apart from the components that make up our being (body, mind, and soul all of it). In fact, he seems to be saying that we should not really be spending all our time thinking about all the philosophical permutations of our own personal
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