The self is our only natural means to know the mind.
—Antonio Damasio, Self Comes to Mind
The most powerful force of the human psyche is that whenever we make a change or do something different, we inevitably return to our core identity unless we evolve that identify along with the behavior for a self-transformation.
Our minds synthesize an autobiographical self capable of reflective self-awareness and of continuously gathering knowledge. For this synthetic wisdom to be both understandable and transmissible, storytelling provides the crucible. A specific region of the left forebrain coordinates of our sense of self, specializing in personal self-narrating actions and thoughts. This interpreter function is the glue that keeps our stories unified to create a cohesive sense of self. The self consists of both the conscious and unconscious minds, of psychological self and body self.
The superordinate self invisibly integrates all components. We continuously evolve, change, and add new information. Whether something fits a personal storyline—the identity theme of the autobiographical self—determines its permanence. That which doesn’t fit the narrative thread gets extruded (not me; luck; circumstance), or more probably just doesn’t register on our personal radar.
Like the immune system that erects a wall between self and non-self, a new experience or behavior is a foreign body, a perturbation of the system that is initially cordoned off as non-self. This means that when we make a change, a critical component is to update our software—the model of how we see ourselves—our identity. Without that change of identity, we revert back to the default position. This transformation of our operating system by programming new identity makes change permanent.
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