Identity is a specific, unique, fundamental essence of an existing consciousness or thing. It is important to note that the ‘identity’ of a living organism, whether in the physical plane or other, is a lot more complex than the ‘identity’ of an inanimate object. Objects and things have identities that are quite similar to each other: the distinction between an eraser, this eraser, or that eraser is subtle and is limited to characteristics such as shape, size, color, etc., as well as the things it has erased over the period of its existence. Each eraser’s identity is still the fact that it erases things. We can say that its purpose is nearly the same as its identity. Each eraser is unique yet still plainly identified.

Identity of objects also relies heavily on human perception of those objects. We perceive and eraser to look like an eraser just as we perceive a bicycle to look like a bicycle, to act and perform like a bicycle, and to essentially be a bicycle as we have created it to be. Without us, would a bicycle exist and if it existed, would its identity be the same as it is now?

To figure out the identity of living beings, in particular humans, we have to go more in-depth. We can start by stating that an identity of a human being (or human-realm entities such as ghosts, angles, and fantastical creatures) is the absolute essence of that being. It is the whole “I am” of a specific person. “I am” encompasses every natural and basic extract of a consciousness which means it extends beyond just one lifetime, one soul journey, one time and space constraint, etc. The theory of reincarnation suggests that each lifetime is only part of who we truly are. It implies that each of our lifetimes is a journey on which we learn lessons that, after physical death we absorb into our true spiritual form. This means that our identity is “assigned” to us even before we are born and is an innate part of our pure and true self. While we may forget the details of past lives, knowledge of where we come from, and experiences we already learned from, we still keep that initial core somewhere within ourselves – perhaps in our subconscious. This identity is what makes us the unique people that we are, because each identity is only identical to itself and can always only be itself.

The fundamental values and morals that we carry throughout our life, the basic “nature” that affects our decisions and leads us along our individual paths is our identity. Over our lifetime, we are exposed to experiences that may or may not be new to our individual identities. The characteristics that we pick up on the way, such as extreme friendliness, strong discipline, wittiness, or great sense of humor are all part of our personality. Some people are driven by emotions such as love, greed, guilt, anger, or desire to give back. Some are driven by past experiences such as childhood abuse or a lifetime of financial security, which are closely tied to emotions and personality traits. These are all part of our personhood, because these qualities are always changing. Our beliefs also change throughout our lifetimes and people who were raised atheist may come to find God while those raised through religion may come to denounce Him. When I refer to ‘values’ and ‘morals’ as our fundamental identity, I don’t mean the everyday choices we make between good and bad. Those concepts change with time and experiences just as our material likes and dislikes do. What I’m talking about is a more elemental principle of our pure selves: the central, pre-programmed thread that is the essential “I.” Aristotle makes this distinction through “accidental” and “essential” changes. The way I perceive it is those personality traits that we pick up in this lifetime (and possibly others) are precisely the “accidental” changes that he was talking about, while identity is the “essential” part we were first created with, or ‘became’.

We only glimpse our absolute, real identity (not a reflection) when our full being, our consciousness and soul, come together to make serious, sometimes life-altering decisions. When faced with challenging situations our identity springs to the surface to deal with the problems. Often people call this a test of your true character. We don’t know how we will react in some situations until we are faced with them, like having to choose between our life and the life of someone we love, or making a decision that may hurt a stranger over sacrificing something we want. Our core is the rudimentary drive that guides us through our lessons even when we are not fully aware of it.

Across the infinite number of multi-verses and infinite possibilities of identities each person has his/her own unique self, made possible by the free will we posses from Source (Creator, God). The characteristics that we pick up during our lifetime are only the human qualities that are subject to change with each new lifetime or even just new experience or situation. We can choose what traits to pick up in order to experience physical life to the fullest, but our innate self remains the same through all of space and time.