PERSONALITY IS A MIND-MADE EXPRESSION OF CONSCIOUS SELF-IDENTITY
Conscious identity and the volitions of the self are all creations of the mind, a blend of cerebral cortex and lizard brain, mixed in colours defined by the senses and current neurological conditions i.e. natural and additional chemicals extant in your brain working their complex pattern gestalt (which we label as the “human mind”) and the ourobouros activity of that instant’s memories, feelings, mood and sensory experience.
One of the many things the mind does is to create the self. It strings together the neurochemistry of one moment into the next, with most of its substrate unchanged. This makes for a consistency inside the brain which translates into a self whose identity is persistent, from one moment to the next. In reality, the brain works a thousand angles concurrently, adapting and responding to the needs of the moment. The moment is met by the mind by having divided time into distinct blips, different brain-function operating at different speeds, e.g. low level reaction is faster than framing a conscious thought, decision to act is faster than physically performing the action, emotional responses blip quicker than conscious self-identity.
Conscious self-identity – your personality made manifest – is one of the slowest of the brain’s functions, the frame rate of its blip far lower than the various blips catalysed in the unconscious and the subconscious, all of which exert an influence on the ‘next’ frame of personality. We aren’t aware of the ‘gaps’ between blips of personality. All appears seamless. This blindness or non-existence between the frames is, in fact, a great strength insofar as our individual survival needs the continuity and the sense of personal agency (or free will). Let’s note here: free will as expressed by autonomous choice at the personality level is an illusion, patently, but free will in the mind as a whole is more difficult to dismiss.
PERSONALITY IS SEAMLESS BUT ISN’T; COGNITIVE DISSONANCE IS CHILDSPLAY
There’s a lot of complaint lately about cognitive dissonance and how it’s getting in the way of half the world being able to tell reality from fantasy, how two people can have the same experience yet somehow take different contradictory “data” from it that’s then used to build incompatible versions of truth. It’s a justified complaint but the surprise should be at cognitive dissonance NOT being far more prevalent. It’s built into all the substrates of our mind; it’s one of the main go-to techniques used by the sub-conscious intelligence to parse and reconcile the world.
Given the self is the product of dialectic informed by experience parsed into memory as woven stories. Think of a fact. It is presented. It runs contrary to the story. But it is only presented for a limited time. All the rest of the time, it’s the story that is extant and thus asserting itself as conditions of being akin to imposed fact. It doesn’t take long before the story has enough time to become more important than truth or fact. Cognitive dissonance therefore is the natural state.
ALCOHOL (AND DRUGS) HACKS THE MENTAL SUBSTRATES
Alcohol creates a divergence in the brain as the two versions of the consciousness blipvert grow further and further apart, the sum of the moments lived in the conditions of drunk or sober, united by consistency in each case; eventually a complete schism occurs. Then jeckyl and Hyde versions of personalities, blackouts to the sober self narrative because it needs cognitive dissonance made real to keep itself cohesive/consistent. Blocked out childhood trauma works the same way.
MEMORY AND CHEMISTRY MAKE DESIRE BUT ALCOHOL DISSONANCE EVOLVES
Consciousness persistence, chemical balance matters but if chemistry from moment A to A+1 changes little, the spell isn’t broken. Sudden changes to general brainchemistry will break it, though if state is thereafter consistent, spell reasserts. It’s only strong a associated memories that are parsed against current brainchemistry. If the memories evoke contradictory chemistry, it’ll feel wrong, artificial, unabsorbing. Orgasm makes a paradigm shift in brainchemistry, hence buyer’s remorse (!)? Drugs and alcohol can do the same, hence in part the allure. Addicts, see free will is a blipvert essay for details…
EXAMPLES OF CONTRADICTORY DISSONANCES INTEGRATED INTO PERSONALITY BLIPS
alcohol experiences become strong enough to influence personality when the alcohol is in the neurochemistry – it’s a by-product of the brain rendering the world on the memory-chemical substrate – so the sober personality and the drunk personality diverge Jeckyl and Hyde style.
drug experiences work the same way, depending on the drug’s effect and the brain into which they’re being added and the same dissonance is observed in habitual users, also typically unaware (at worst) or insouciant (at best) as personality blips are kept consistent with current conditions.
regulation of key brain transport chemicals, especially when their natural or episodic state is abnormal, can bring back together a split personality. Psychoactive drugs can be a route to an approximated sobriety so they reduce dissonance in the personality blips.
extreme sensory experiences will impact the neurochemistry and most people have experienced the changes in personality – even in self identity – made manifest by extreme fear or pain.
strong personality-simpatico experiences (and thereafter, in echoes, things remembered) affect the neurochemistry of the mind and personality blips respond to these changes. Think love-infatuation or blind-rage. Dissonance is often used to keep ‘reality’ consistent with the neurochemistry of these altered/non-sober states.
and so on and so on…