Tin Woodman of Oz
listen, Nimmie Amee!" said the astonished Woot; "he really is both of
them, for he is made of their cast-off parts."
"Oh, you're quite wrong," declared Polychrome, laughing, for she was greatly enjoying the confusion of the others. "The tin men are still themselves, as they will tell you, and so Chopfyt must be someone else."
Theosophic ontology claims to solve all paradoxes and uncertainties. The solution to all incompatibles and all undecidables is achieved. Or so it says. And it should know. In this book the story takes a particular interest in identity and memory. Who you are and why you are who you are.
This is my grandfather's ax. My father replaced the worn out head and I replaced the worn out haft. This is a very old paradox. Nothing of the original ax survives, yet, I claim it is my grandfather's ax. Am I right or wrong?
All the cells of our bodies undergo many replacements during our lifetime. Yet we consider ourselves to be the same person we ever were. To the extent that we can remember our childhood, we recall having different kinds of thoughts and making far different judgments than we do today. Not just differences of ignorance and information but real differences of attitude and personality.
Who are we really? Our past is a foreign country, and if we live long enough, our future will be foreign as well.
Theosophy says that our self awareness, our "I think, therefore I am" is located at the clear center and is a specific absence defined by eighteen different senses. Six external senses, six internal senses and six senses that are feedback senses between the internal and external. Turn the senses off one by one, and when the last sense is turned off we have nothing. No self awareness remains.
Some people who agree with this, claim that this means that we do not actually exist but are figments of our own imagination.
Theosophy disagrees with that most strongly. As the square in the note on specific absence is brighter than the background that forms it, it states that we are realer than reality. That once we have come into existence by the conjunction of adaptions, that we inhere, and if our adaptions (the equivalent of the corners of the square) are destroyed, we are not a function that then vanishes forever like the flame of a snuffed out candle. On the contrary, by replacing the adaptions, we are once more there. Just as much us as we ever were.
Nick remembers the circumstances of his en-tinment quite differently from the way he explained it to Dorothy and the Scarecrow originally. Captain Fyter remembers it much the same way.
Nick could be transformed into a tin owl but not into a meat owl. Yet as an owl he could talk to the canary, Polychrome, in the language of birds. Realistically painted straw could be used to stuff the scarecrow.
Did the piglets come from the island of Teenty-Weent or were they native Ozians?
In Oz, appearance is reality, not just a similitude. Yet similitudes exist in Oz which are not reality. What's the difference?
Theosophy states that who we are is mostly an interaction of our social matrix. Our beliefs, our morals, our ethics, our manners, our ability to reason etc. You can attempt to raise a chimp as a human being but it will remain a chimp. Change the physical structure of the chimp to be human, except for the brain, and it will grow up to be human. That really loves bananas.
Children have been born with most of their brains unable to function because of physical factors. No more than a small percentage of their brains show electrical activity. Yet they are more or less normal in intelligence and perception and physical capability. A few are above average in intelligence. Apparently a developing human brain can make up for the fact that it only has 10% or so of the neural network that a normal brain has.
Through regression two different people who were at the same event can remember all of it quite clearly as if they were there. And disagree on details.As far as Theosophy is concerned our brains do not store our memories but rather constantly recreate them to fit what is presently plausible and relevant. As we change and our past becomes less relevant, so our memories fade.
Theosophy claims that who we are is not who we think we are but that we are something else entirely.