05-10-08 - 1

It really doesn't matter what you've done in the past (sort of), it doesn't particularly matter what kind of job you have, how much money. What really matters is the condition of your *self* - your body and your mind. That's by far the most valuable thing you have, and it's what brings happiness to your own mind and makes you valuable to others. Of course your "mind" encompasses many things, your intelligence, knowledge, your taste and humor, your ability to love, your courage and strength, etc.

If you somehow get to a good current state, that's all that matters, but of course your past strongly affects your current state. If you were a huge slut and slept around with lots of losers, that's fine in theory if it didn't affect your brain, but of course it does affect your mind in ways that stay with you. If you partied all through college and just drank and didn't study, okay, good for you, I'm glad you had fun, but of course that affects your mind in the present in a negative way.

Everyone's entire past is simply the road they have taken to try to build a perfect self in the present. Your past does nothing for you that's productive in the present other than contribute to the current state of your self (mind and body). Having fun memories is of course part of your current self and that's a valuable contribution, but it actually doesn't do that much to improve your present self.

I really don't understand people who make huge changes in behavior and talk about their past self as if it was a different person, they'll say "it wasn't the real me". Of course it was you, it was your mind. I don't believe that human minds really change very much. Your outward behavior and the portion of your mind that you choose to let control you can change dramatically, but the core of your brain doesn't change much at all. Anyone who's worked to try to change their brain knows how hard it is to even make tiny tiny changes in your fundamental personality.

Obviously people can make huge outward changes; this is most obvious in things like when an alcoholic goes clean. Their outward negative behavior was being greatly amplified by the alcohol in their system, so when they manage to go clean their behavior can in fact change very dramatically, but the basic thing in their brain that made them an alcoholic in the first place is of course still there, and the depressiveness and desire to avoid the real world and self loathing and whatever else made them turn to the bottle are all still there.

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