The Body Is Always Changing

Transcript of the video:

Who are you? What is a person? Like most people, you’ve probably filled out all kinds of forms, answering questions about who you are. Institutions like hospitals or schools and oh, just about everybody is always asking who you are, okay? And they always give you these forms and you have this form that says, “What is your age? How old are you? What color are you?” And, you know, “What is…”, whatever other identities you’ve got, they want to know about them, okay. They want to know who you are. So you write down, “I’m 30 years old. I’m black. I’m a librarian. I’m female,” okay? All these different labels based upon your body, okay? Your body is 28 years old, so you say, “I’m 28 years old.” Your body’s black so you say, “I am black.” Or your body’s white, so you say, “I’m white,” okay. You have all these different labels on your body, okay. So when people ask you who you are, you answer according to these labels, right?

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Isn't that what people...
"How old are you?"
"I'm 28."
"Why are you 28?"
"Because my body is 28 and I'm my body."

In other words, most people identify themselves with their material body. They identify themselves with their physical body, okay? The problem with this is that are you sure that you are really your body?

What if I ask you, “How old are you?” and you identify with your shirt, okay, and maybe your shirt’s, you know, two years old, so you go, “Oh, I’m two years old.” Okay? I mean, (laughs) obviously, the question… your answering the question, answering questions about yourself will be dependent upon what you identify yourself as, okay?

So most people identify themselves as their physical body, okay? And then, in connection with that all the labels, all the different titles and so on, that, yeah, their physical body has got, that’s what they can consider themselves to be. But are you your body? Am I the body? Are we our bodies? This is really the beginning, the very beginning of the question, “Who am I?” This is the very beginning of answering this question, “What is our essence? What am I? Who am I?” Now, let me ask you three questions. First, do you know that you exist now, today? Do you know that you exist? Okay? Yes, do you know you exist? Good. (laughs/laughter) If you didn’t know you exist then you’re in big trouble. Now, do you know that you existed seven years ago?

Woman in audience: Yes.

Jagad Guru:Huh? Alright. Now, let me ask then a third question that is, “Are you your body?” Yes. (laughs/laughter) Okay. Most people identify themselves as their body. So you identify yourself as your body. You know that you exist today and you know that you existed seven years ago, okay? Now the problem with this, the problem here is that the body that you have today is not the body you had seven years ago. The body which you had seven years ago no longer exists, okay? But you still exist. If you think, “I am this flesh and blood. I am this body. I am this matter,” okay? And you thought the same thing about yourself seven years ago, in other words, you thought you were your body seven years ago, just like you think you are your body now, you thought you were your body seven years ago. But the body is gone, the body you had is gone. The body you have today is not the same body. The body is made up of countless numbers of material particles, okay, molecules which are made of atoms, okay. So every cell in your body is made of all these different particles of matter, okay? Now, the cells which make up your body, most of the cells which make up your body, are always changing also. Okay? They’re always changing. They don’t last very long except brain cells, nerve cells, okay. They last the lifetime of an organism. But the molecules which make up your body, the molecules which make up all the cells, the molecules which make up the brain cells and nerve cells, the bone cells, okay, the particles of matter which constitutes the body, that stuff of which your body is comprised, composed of, okay, changes constantly. It’s constantly being replaced with new matter from the environment, okay. Here, why don’t you read this quote here.

Woman in audience:

Dr. Paul C Aebersold of The Oak Ridge Atomic Research Center has reported that his radio isotope tracings of the numerous chemicals continuously entering and leaving the body, have convinced him that about ninety eight percent of all the ten to the twenty eighth power atoms in the average human are replaced annually. ‘Bones are quite dynamic,’ he declared, their crystals continually dissolving and reforming. The stomach’s lining replaces itself every five days. Skin wear and tear is completely retreaded in about a month. And you get a new liver every six weeks. As for how long it takes to replace every last neuron, the toughest sinew of collagen, and the most stubborn atom of iron in the hemoglobin, all of which are notoriously reluctant to yield their places to substitutes - it may well take years. But there ought to be some limit to the stalling of the final few hold outs. And my late friend, Donald Hatch Andrews, professor of chemistry at Johns Hopkins University, who seems to have given the matter long consideration, put it at about five years, after which one can presumably consider one’s physical body completely new, down to the very last atom.

Jagad Guru: It’s classic. (laughs) So, you know, it’s… for people who identify themselves with their bodies, this is really you know, really rough, you see. Most people think of themselves as their body and they think of their body as something which isn’t changing because the change is so hard to detect, you know. It’s so hard to see it. So it’s not that obvious, you know. But here, it’s describing that the bones… and the bones that you had, it’s not the same arm. Somebody once said to me, this guy, he said, “What about scars? I have a scar. I remember I had a scar when I was a little kid and the scar is still there. It’s still the same.” What? You can say the same thing about your nose. You can say, “My nose is still the same.” It’s not. Scar tissues also live. It’s also… it’s not the same molecules which make up that scar. Even that… the particles of matter which make up everything in your body, every single particle of matter. Unless of course you were shot or something, there’s a bullet somewhere in there. Okay? But still that doesn’t really solve any problems because… unless you try to identify yourself as the constant bullet. (Audience laughs) You know that, “I’m the bullet that’s in my body or something, okay?” Who are you? If your body is always changing, who are you? Some people say, “Well I’m the brain.” The brain… and some people say, “Well, all the cells in the body change, but the brain cells don’t. Therefore, we’re the brain.” Or they try to identify themselves as some part of the brain like maybe, you know, some little particle in the brain, some center in the brain, somewhere in the brain, some part of the brain. But, in fact, although the cells are not reproducing, there’s no replication, there’s no change of cells, okay - in fact all the matter which makes up the cell, every single molecule has changed. In fact, the change in brain matter, is more rapid than anywhere else in the body. The brain that you have today, that hunk of meat, flesh, blood, that matter that you have in your skull that you’re holding there - you know, if you were to take it out and hold it there - changes every three days. You wouldn’t be able to find one molecule, one particle of matter that was present in your skull, okay, a week ago. You wouldn’t be able find it in there today.

Jagad Guru Chris Butler - founder of Science of Identity Foundation