You probably know that bacteria live on your skin and in your stomach, but do you know that you are outnumbered 10 to 1? This holds true when you compare your cells with bacteria cells OR your genes vs those of micro-organisms. It would be more accurate to say that you live in colonies of bacteria, than the other way around. This is a quite recent discovery and has not filtered through to the whole health system and doctors. You need the win-win relationship that you have with bacteria. They consume your dead skin cells, form a protective barrier against pathogens, digest certain parts of your food and produce essential nutrients.
DNA. You might think that you are all the cells with your DNA, but it turns out that even that is false. Having cells with another DNA is much more common that people realized. Women who have been pregnant are especially likely to have cells in their body with their children’s DNA.
What about the physical atoms? Well, depending on which part of your body, they are replaced in anywhere from 3 days to 7 years. 7 years from now all of YOU will be replaced with other YOU. You will literally not be composed of the same atoms. But you’re still the same person right?
What about your thoughts? Are they independent? Not really. Your whole frame of reference is rooted in the culture and environment that you were brought up. Test it for yourself: quickly think of something without using words. Nearly impossible right? And you certainly can’t tell me about it without interpreting it with a pre-defined set of concepts and words. Russians have separate words for light and dark blue, and in Chinese (Mandarin) there is no colour pink, only light red. Westerners have a more contrasting way of thinking while Japanese interpret how things relate to the whole. People from different cultures do not even see colours in the same light (pun intended), so to assume that other things are universal, such as whether it is good manners to promote yourself or how to relate to your parents, is naive.
So do you still think that you are an individual?
To happiness, and beyond!