EF8 SHOW NOTES
Looking to play or download the episode? Click here…(EF8) S1-E6: Without a Compass: All Who Sail the Seas of Identity Are Not Lost (Season One, Episode Six)
Can You Change Your Identity?
The big question driving Episode EF8 is … Can you change your identity? Or the shorter philosophical classic, who are you? Although you know your name, vital statistics, and other necessary information — you likely still ask yourself from time to time ‘who am I?’ What do we mean when we ask this seemingly simple, but infinitely deep, question? And is it possible that the answer could change over time, implying that your identity can evolve?
We question who we are in the moments of doubt or self-disappointment. When nothing seems to go our way, for example, and you project failure into every aspect of your life. Because nothing seems to provide positive feedback to encourage us to feel good about ourselves, it this mental projection can become reality. But instead of discouraging you from taking the next step, should you take it as a warning instead, regardless of how unpleasant the challenge?
DEDICATION: Episode EF8 is dedicated to Isaac Asimov, a prolific scientist, and writer known for his dedicated work and the ability to create speculative stories of science fiction which continue to become true to this day. Asimov is known as one big three science fiction writers alongside Arthur Clarke and Robert A. Heinlein.
Asimov’s work kickstarted a whole new fictional genre that explores the future from a present point-of-view. It’s incredible that although his work is more than half a century old, it still leaves a lot of food for the thought. Many ideas born from Asimov’s mind and later put on the paper are only now starting to shape in real life.
Unlike with Orwell’s work, where for most of the ideas we hope they don’t become a reality, Asimov’s work is different. It’s hard to say if we want it to happen or not. He’s one of the true original speculative fiction writers to envision global video calls, self-driving cars, and, of course, artificial intelligence with questionable morality.
HOW ISAAC ASIMOV INSPIRES EF8
Although Isaac Asimov doesn’t inspire a particular character in EF8 as a person, if it weren’t for his work, EF8 might have a less interesting premise and name for the episode’s identity-changing drug.
A broken compass is the worst thing that can happen when trying to navigate through rough emotional waters. And is there a more dangerous open water than the ocean of life itself, where the compass of your identity is likely the only thing keeping your ship’s hull together? For the EF8 Episode protagonist, she’s way off course and the compass doesn’t seem to work at all.
I highly suggest you give Asimov’s fiction a read:
- Foundation Series, (1942).
- I, Robot, (1950).
- The Caves of Steel, (1953).
- The Naked Sun, (1956).
- Video Interview
INSPIRATIONS: Erik Erikson and Joan Erikson, a famous couple who developed the theory of psychological development. Also, Mr. Erikson is the man we can thank for the term “identity crisis”. Aaron T. Beck and Albert Ellis, developers of cognitive behavioral therapy that helped people around the World with their psychological problems. John Locke, a philosopher who kickstarted the idea of identity as a consciousness shower that’s always pumping waves of mental water. Pat Martino, a jazz guitarist who managed to fight a horrific tragedy and come back stronger than before. A prolific musician with an inspiring knowledge of music theory. Episode EF8 was further inspired by Sam Harris, Plutarch, Theseus’ Ship, Max Tegmark, Otto von Bismarck, Oscar Wilde, Eddie Harmon-Jones, Cindy Harmon-Jones. For a full list of data and references please see Episode EF8 Show Notes.
Episode EF8 Summary
You’re the sailor of the ship called you, and yet most people let their boats go into great disrepair and neglect. Feeling moored in the same spot for years with no clear understanding of the direction she needs to go, Lisa gets a unique opportunity to upgrade her identity boat with a chemical compass of sorts—a mysterious drug that will supposedly alter her complete identity—to supposedly better enable her to navigate through life’s rough waters. Could a change in your identity actually turn your entire life around for the better? Or are we destined to live with constant susceptibility to being lost in a sea of meaningless actions and emotions without any sort of compass to steer our ship?
What defines our identity? John Locke thought it is our consciousness and the daily actions that shape who we are. Similarly, Erik and Joan Erickson created a step-by-step description of the phases individuals go through. Finally, recent neuroscientific research manages to make a hard connection between various emotions we experience and our brain. Is there anything we can do to navigate the rough emotional waters of life any more effectively?
Eddie Harmon-Jones, Cindy Harmon-Jones, Affective Neuroscience. Nobaproject.com, nobaproject.com/modules/affective-neuroscience (accessed: January 18, 2017)
Erik H. Erikson, Joan M. Erikson, The Life Cycle Completed: Extended Version. 1998, W. W. Norton
John Locke, An Essay Concerning Human Understanding. 2007, Pomona Press
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