What Defines A Person?

What defines a person?

A person is what he thinks? Not necessarily, a lot of people think things they don’t apply in real life. Plus you don’t always know what they really think.

A person is what he believes? Even more than the previous point, a lot of people don’t really live by what they believe.

A person is his religion? Nobody follows their religion with 100% accuracy, and even if they think they do, they more or less follow their own understanding of it, which makes it pretty undefinable.

A person is what he says? Ever heard of lying, diplomacy, plain old hypocrisy…etc? All that tells us we can’t use what a person says to accurately define them.

A person is what he does? I know a lot of people will disagree with me, but I personally think this is the closest to the truth of what a person really is: what he actually does.

Of course, nobody should judge people solely on what they do, everything has to be taken into consideration, and context is very important always, but in the end: what a person does, given what you know about him (thinking, beliefs, religion, what they say about theirself) is what really defines that person.

So if we look at it using numbers, I’d say what a person does accounts for 60-70% of what they are, with the other elements taking up 30-40%

  • http://tunisiajapan.blogspot.com momo

    And why do you want to define a person? What do you mean by defining a person? ;-)

  • http://madjerba.canalblog.com Mad Djerba

    I totally agree with you. The most important thing is not what you believe or say but what you actually do.

  • Janissary

    “If you take nothing else from this course, take this: the single overarching lesson of Western philosophy is that a man becomes that which he does.”

    the late Professor Robert J. McShea,
    circa…many years ago :)

    He was a former Trotskyite chicken farmer and political philosopher who’d suffered a lot during the Great Depression and later fought his way across the Pacific. Unlike so many of my professors Bob, he had character.
    http://www.temple.edu/tempress/titles/761_reg.html

  • http://www.subzeroblue.com MMM

    @momo: Well it’s not really that I want to define a person; I’m just asking what defines a person in general; what defines us? what makes us who we are in our own eyes and in the eyes of people around us?

    @Janissary: Thanks for the quote :)

  • http://tunisiajapan.blogspot.com momo

    Je pense, donc je suis. You see, we never had Descartes in Japon. The Japanese never asked such a question (no, I’m lying ;-)

  • Muslim

    Thought provoking post. Reminded me of a quote I once came across….

  • 8263

    Momo: people are going through PT or Rehab and have a lot of pain of depression and see themselves only by their problems.