In terms of “Essence”, concerning how, if at all, personality fundamentally changes, Neil Remington Abramson commented as follows; e-mail correspondence reproduced with permission. I first met Neil when were both six years old.
It’s an interesting question, probably unanswerable with any accuracy, but I have thought about it, sort of.
Am I the same person I would have been, if my father hadn’t been murdered when I was 1.5? How can I know how I might have been? It’s an alternate reality I never knew.
My mother in total grief: would she treat her infant differently? And would a step-father treat his stepson the same way the other dead father would have? Freud says the person’s self is fully formed by age 2, so 1.5 is still a critical age.
My mother used to send me to psychiatrists when I was a kid. She must have worried there was something wrong. Certainly at a private level, and possibly also publicly, I was pretty withdrawn.
Maybe that’s why you and I got along so well for years. We went our own ways together, not making a lot of social demands on each other. We allowed each the other the freedom to be as we were, and would be anyway.
And I suspect my mom was an NT (intuition and thinking type),but also likely an INTJ (intuitive and rational, but also introverted and judging); see Myers-Briggs Type Indicator or Keirsey Temperament Sorter. I think she wanted me to be an intuitive and rational type but I was a bit more NF (intuitive and feeling type). Maybe that was a problem requiring therapy? So now I think I might be intuitive and sensitive, but my wife thinks I am more intuitive and rational. Certainly I am both, depending on mood. For example, I sometimes feel a cool breeze flow over my empathy, and will become a lot less sensitive, all of a sudden. Maybe my mother managed to make me other than I would have been? Dunno.
My wife thinks I have been changed by Christianity and faith. She sees me as different from what I was 15 years ago. But am I? Or has the “really me” emerged from my mother’s influence, and the great resocializing experiment called an Ivey MBA? As well, after my mother and stepfather were both dead, I told my wife that now I didn’t have to try to live up to their expectations anymore. Maybe I live up to my murdered natural father’s expectations, and don’t know it? Or am I now what my mother worried that I might become?
These are all questions for an intitutive and feeling person; self-identity stuff. These are the kind of questions I would like to pursue, instead of the questions I write publishable papers about.
I believe Neil is still the same.