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hominid's avatar

Do you identify with the "you" found in old videos, photos, writing, and memories?

Asked by hominid (5721 points ) February 7th, 2014

When you watch an old video of yourself or see photos, do you easily identify with who you are seeing? Does it feel like “you”?

The person you are witnessing in the video likely has a different understanding of the world, opinions, experiences, physical features, and yet this person is supposed to be you. Sure, it’s easy to talk about how much we’ve grown or changed. But is it fair to say the person in that video is you?

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17 Answers

nebule's avatar

No, I think you are on the money with this question… In many photos and videos I am not the same person as I am now. We like to think of ourselves as continuous beings but if we dare to venture outside that we can appreciate the many lives we can have inside one illusion. But… I like to think there is at least one thread holding all my selves together!

JLeslie's avatar

I do. I’ve change and matured, but I am still me. I remember being young, I remember what I did, how I felt, how I dressed. Sometimes I see a photo and I am a little taken aback by a hairstyle I don’t remember, or some situation I don’t remember well, but I just take it as a failure of my own memory, but I still identify myself as me.

Cruiser's avatar

I do easily identify with that 22 yr old wearing 32” waist blue jeans that were too big on me…hell time flies so fast it seems like yesterday and my memory has not deteriorated enough to have forgotten about yesterday! I was a wiseguy party animal 30 years ago and still a wiseguy and smart enough to have dropped the party animal part and only dream about fitting in 32’s again. Getting close though! Never say never!

Cruiser's avatar

C’mon @JLeslie…show us some big hair pictures from the early 80’s! lol

anniereborn's avatar

I’d say I do with anything at age 12 or older. In younger photos, I can sorta Identify that person as more like a ‘daughter’. I’m not sure if that makes any sense.
I have a very good “emotions memory”. So generally that’s how I can find myself in photos and videos.

flip86's avatar

Luckily, there are no videos of me. I hope it stays that way.

JLeslie's avatar

@cruise I miss the 80’s. Search on fluther and you will see many answers where I say I miss the hair and the clothes. My hair needs to be frozen into place with goop and spray or it will wind up a stringy mess. So, for twenty years my hair has not looked great. I can’t wear it smooth flat because it is very thin and I have a biggish nose. Typical Jewish girl nose. We need some height in our hair. At least that was what my mom always told me that or a nose job. Not 1950’s height, but some fullness.

thorninmud's avatar

Not much, no. They do trigger old associations that may not have been triggered in a very long time, so there’s an element of recognition in that. But that in itself reminds me of how contextual I am. I’m not an encapsulated being that moves through time and circumstances intact. Who I am at any given time is integral with that time and that circumstance. Revisiting old circumstances through artifacts, I feel echoes of the version of me that arose in response to those circumstances, old conditioning still intact.

But as circumstances change (and my circumstances have changed a lot), the old mental habits that served me well in former contexts become, more often than not, hopelessly maladaptive. They appear strangely out of place when briefly reanimated by an old relic.

Cruiser's avatar

@JLeslie My wife’s sister has the same exact hair as you except somehow in the 80’s she was able to make her hair larger than Marge Simpsons! The pictures are priceless! lol

nebule's avatar

I mean my avatar is like 4 years old and I’m a lot fatter now…I don’t know who that person is and even if I got back down to that weight, I wouldn’t be that person

KNOWITALL's avatar

Oh yeah, I identify with my 18–19 year old self on video, but I just want to tell myself I’m not as smart as I think I am.

Blondesjon's avatar

Yeah. It was me.

janbb's avatar

Oh yes, that is recognzably me at 4 years old sitting barechested on a rock in a stream looking like a mischievous waif. And that is me me looking all of twelve years old, smiling like the cat who ate the cream on my wedding day. And that is me with a baby in my lap and smooth skin and clear eyes.

And this is me, tan arms and legs in late summer holding Frodo on the day I brought him home. A mixture of sorrow and whimsy, still seeking, still perplexed. Older, maybe a bit wiser, but always inextricably me.

cookieman's avatar

Frankly, I barely identify with the “me” found in the mirror.

hominid's avatar

^ no kidding. It is quite alienating.

LornaLove's avatar

I do yes, but I am acutely aware of how many more experiences I’ve had and how they have changed me.

keobooks's avatar

Someone posted a video of a perfomance I did in 94 or 95. I hadn’t realized that I was a bad actor yet. It was very painful to watch it. I remember thinking I was genius onstage back then. I look at the video and cringe at not only how bad it was, but how good I thought I was back then while it was happening.

I miss all the energy I had back then though. Sometimes I feel like thats a stranger in those pics.

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