Your question is an ancient one, and people of all ages have asked
this question. It is a question of self identification, that could be
posed to you by yourself (either if you suffer from amnesia, or that
you want to enquire deeper). The answers could greatly vary.
1. Functional answer: I am a human being; I am a man/woman; I am X
(enter a name instead of X and see no. 5) - this answer relies on the
fact that explaining ourselves is hard, and we usually escape to the
functional to explain the facts of life. In this case, I have a small
story I've heard. In a family who lives in Germany, the mother is of
Russian origin, and the father is of Angolan one. During a discussion,
the father related to something and said "but of course, I am an
African". Later, their 3-year-old is asked "who are you" and answers
"I am African" (like dad). So the "Russian" aunt asks the kid, "but
you are also Russian, aren't you". The kid insists that he's African,
and maybe also German, since his mother is German (wrong!) (and maybe
also because the whole conversation takes place in German). Next
thing, the Russian aunt asks the kid's mother and granny "you are
Russian, aren't you?" The mother and granny answer that they are. The
kid is then asks again. He thinks about it for few seconds, and says
"Ich bin ein Mensch!" (I am a person) if you insist on the original).
2. Who-am-I is an educational programme, meant for intercultural
learning, as you could learn here
http://www.kidlink.org/kie/nls/teacher.html It is the top result in
Google for the query "Who am I", and thus could be considered as the
most popular answer (at least in the most popular Search Engine in the
World) to this question).
3. Another functional answer regards the physical consistency of
oneself. This answer is rejected by Bhagavathe Sri Ramanaya : "The
gross body which is composed of the seven humours (dhatus), I am not;
the five cognitive sense organs, viz. the senses of hearing, touch,
sight, taste, and smell, which apprehend their respective objects,
viz. sound, touch, colour, taste, and odour, I am not; the five
cognitive sense-organs, viz. the organs of speech, locomotion,
grasping, excretion, and procreation, which have as their respective
functions speaking, moving, grasping, excreting, and enjoying, I am
not; the five vital airs, prana, etc., which perform respectively the
five functions of in-breathing, etc., I am not; even the mind which
thinks, I am not; the nescience too, which is endowed only with the
residual impressions of objects, and in which there are no objects and
no functioning's, I am not." (Source: Bhagavathe Sri Ramanaya "Who am
4. Indeed, many religious organisations and movement, who realise that
this question leads to a dwelling into the self, into what consists of
the spirit, seek to explain this and to answer this with "you are a
soul, spirit, etc.". Read, for example, this post "Now we can
investigate the question "who am I?" For when we ask this
question we are in sense asking ourselves and we are hoping to break
of the intellectual concepts associated with asking questions. I dont
think that I wrote that below but who am I and what is the
between _me_ and _you_? Who am I am I you or am I me? What do i mean
you or me? Arent You and me simply concepts and thoughts? I have a
and I type out the word but the thing is there is no i that is typing
as soon as i think of the I then i cant type anymore. I think about
the concept I, and the thing is that I cannot find out where this I
is. Where is the eye is it in the head or is it in the mirror I am
looking at is it possible that I is simply everything? So, in a sense,
I read that below and it has my name on it and I dont recall writing
ish i shoud not be surprised I simply have _realized_ what the
_before y ... the original face before the father and mother were
_means_. What is our original face? Isnt it writen that when one
became enlightened when he looked at every one elses face it was as
he was looking at his own, so in a sense, when I read your messages I
think that you are enlightened. I think I am enlightenned but if I
I am enlightened then that means there is a diffrene bbetween me and
you. If I sit here and say "I am enlightened because whenever i look
someone or read something i think it is my very self_ then i am
... ... what do i then say about you, for it means that there is a
difference between you and I. I suppose there _is _ a difference
you and I ant it could be that I am indeed enlightened but you are not
you are still suffering in t ... you are still suffering the caves of
samsara should you believe in the wheel of samsara.
So the question is "Who, or what, am I?" This is a good question and
is great to give it a decent and long winded answer because people may
have a tendency to think that there is some special answer to the
what am i. I lok up at the wall and touch it with my hand and I feel
hard it is. In fact I didnt actually do this i just thought about it.
now look at myself in the mirror. This is who I am I am this
of life, this thinking, this acting, this imaging and so on, I am what
read I am what I think myself. I am all and I am you and you are I.
you following me here I am not trying to weird you out but rather I am
trying to answer the question_ who am I_ and I think we are getting
smoething here... that is, I tihink we are getting somewhere here.
follow me along here in this thought and I think you too will realize
there is _no attainment and there is nothing to be attained, that
enlighten .. that enlightenment is not about some special state, that
dont need to train at a zen monastery to find yourself for there you
now reading this message and observing the wo and observing the words
you are reading. THAT ACTIVITY THAT ACTIVITY NOW YOU READING IS YOUR
ORIGINAL SELF. Again, so if we are interested in answering the
"who am I" we have to begin withth ... if we are interesetd in
the qu ... if we are interested in answering the question'who am i' we
have to begin at the source, the activity that is occuring now. Now
outside my window there is rain and can I say that that is "me"? It is
in a sense for as WAng Yang Ming says the eye has no substance of its
but rather the substance of the eye is what it see sa and the ear has
substance of its own the substance of the ear is what it hears. So I
have an ear, well i have something phsy ... i have something physical
which looks like what I think of as an ear but my real self, my real
is the rain that is falling. Who am I? We can go on and on like this
I would like to but I just want to ... I just want to raise the issue
_how do we communicate in words the concept or the question "who am I"
I ... I am too busy listening to the rain to be intersted in
such a question any longer. I bid you a food good evening and hope
you have enjoyed reading these words. David, Seth.
Source: Juan Matus "Who am I?" alt.zen 2001-03-31 04:44:02
5. "Who am I" is a popular riddle question, as well a spiritual
question. The riddle usually gives clues on the identity of the
person, and asks for his name. For example, see in the News-Shopper
regular riddle "Who am I"
There is high probability, in every such question, that the answer
would be Zhang, John or Mohammed. Actually, this sort of expected
answer is so popular, that the riddle answers might be second or first
in line of popularity.
6. Some answers could be behavioral, rather than functional or
spiritual. For example, a popular answer could be "I am intelligent"
"I am a sports lover" (football, in your case). Social Psychologist
Ronda Priest wrote, that "If more of your responses fit into category
one, you see yourself more in terms of your Role Identities. You also
probably prefer team sports as opposed to individual performance
sports; and seek occupational positions that offer social rewards
(e.g., status, prestige, friendship). If more of your responses fit
into category two, you see yourself more in terms of your disposition
(a Dispositional Identity). You also probably prefer individual
sports such as swimming and running over team sports; and seek
occupational positions that offer rewards such as personal growth and
self-expression. If you had both type of answers, more or less equally
split, you see yourself in terms of both Roles and Disposition".
She recommends on reading the following:
Furstenberg, F. and Cherlin, A. (1991). Divided Families. Cambridge:
Harvard University Press.
Snow, D. and Phillips, C. (1982). "The changing self-orientations of
college students." Social Science Quarterly, 63: 462-476.
Zurcher, L. (1977). The Mutable Self. Beverly Hills: Sage.
(Source: Priest, Ronda, "Who am I"
7. Different answers vary also on the situation. For example, writes
Priest, people tend to define themselves as a separate unit from their
environment. In a family, a kid might define himself as "a son" or "a
rebellios teenager"; outside, they would identify themselves as part
of the family "I am a Smith" and when in a culturally different
environment "I am Black". Now you could understand better how sweet is
the story of that 3-year-old. He is a person, no matter where he is.
8. In computer world, You are who you're logged on as. For example,
you are QPet-ga, and I am Politicalguru-ga. But we all know that we
could invite new user names, and log with them, right? If you are on
Unix, try what Ricardo has tried:
"html-dk-1:/usr/home/ricardo > who am i
ricardo ttype8 Jun 20 15:43 (ricardo.psd.demo)
html-dk-1:/usr/home/ricardo > why am i
bash: why: command not found"
(Source: Ricardo, "who am i" Everything 2
Boldera, on the same site, adds, that "Whilst running whoami can be a
enlightening experience, unfortunately most modern unix systems lack
the far more useful whereami and whatamidoinghere commands. These two
commands are the ones I always look for just after I've closed all my
browser windows, returned to my shell, and tried to work without
thinking." (same URL),.
9. A biological answer to this question is naturally also available.
This is the total opposite to no. 3 and 4. You are a certain
combination of DNA, cells, etc. See, for example, the BBC article "Who
Am I?" (Friday, 8 November, 2002, 17:09 GMT)
10. It is also a name of a film. The answer in this case is Jackie
Chan. See http://directory.google.com/Top/Arts/Movies/Titles/W/Who_Am_I/?il=1,
but then again, the question is actually "Ngo si sui" .
See also http://www.shiftup.net/java11/quiz/data/score0.html - Who am
I top 100 (the whole site is in Japanese and contains user names.
However, it is the top 10 for "who am I", technically, anyway).
Think about the question posed at the first. The top answers? We
should hope that there are at least 6 billion answers to this
question, not counting animals and other foods, since each of us is
unique, and no answer could be similar to the other.
I hope that answered your question. Please feel free to contact me if
you need any clarifications on this answer. In order to answer it, I
just asked Google "who am I" and was amazed at the results.