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History Main / LossOfIdentity

19th May '16 11:05:34 PM WillBGood
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** When he has, thanks to AmnesiacDissosance, forged a new life, [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2013-03-14 it perplexes Seymour, who asks who he is.]]

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** When he has, thanks to AmnesiacDissosance, AmnesiacDissonance, forged a new life, [[http://www.sinfest.net/view.php?date=2013-03-14 it perplexes Seymour, who asks who he is.]]
19th May '16 1:57:28 PM Willbyr
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* Sasami of ''TenchiMuyo'' had this. After a major fall when Ryoko invaded Jurai, she was rescued by Tsunami and bonded with her. For over 700 years, she wanted to tell someone the truth, that she was nothing more than a vessel and that the real Sasami was dead, but always stopped because she was afraid that if she did, they'd abandon her. Thanks to a mistake on her part, the others learn the truth, but quickly reassure her that they'd still love her. However, when Sasami passes out from all of the excitement does Tsunami reveal the truth - she never died that day. The trauma from the fall and rescue caused her to think that. She reassures everyone that when Sasami's older and can handle the truth, she'll learn it.

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* Sasami of ''TenchiMuyo'' ''Anime/TenchiMuyo'' had this. After a major fall when Ryoko invaded Jurai, she was rescued by Tsunami and bonded with her. For over 700 years, she wanted to tell someone the truth, that she was nothing more than a vessel and that the real Sasami was dead, but always stopped because she was afraid that if she did, they'd abandon her. Thanks to a mistake on her part, the others learn the truth, but quickly reassure her that they'd still love her. However, when Sasami passes out from all of the excitement does Tsunami reveal the truth - she never died that day. The trauma from the fall and rescue caused her to think that. She reassures everyone that when Sasami's older and can handle the truth, she'll learn it.
17th May '16 12:21:22 PM GlassRain
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Added DiffLines:

* ''Webcomic/AwfulHospital'': Extensive use of someone else's identification can [[http://www.bogleech.com/awfulhospital/472.html apparently]] lead to this.
21st Apr '16 1:56:59 PM PistolsAtDawn
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Not to be confused with an AssimilationPlot, in which your identity is subsumed into a HiveMind. Compare SplitPersonalityMerge, where two personalities become one, and MentalFusion, where separate minds briefly become one. See also AmnesiacLover, who doesn't know how to love back after becoming an amnesiac. GrandTheftMe can happen if said identity was stolen. Living in a society where you can't have a real identity is IndividualityIsIllegal. See also QuestForIdentity. Compare LostInCharacter, where an actor becomes lost in a role.

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Not to be confused with an AssimilationPlot, in which your identity is subsumed into a HiveMind. Compare SplitPersonalityMerge, where two personalities become one, and MentalFusion, where separate minds briefly become one. See also AmnesiacLover, who doesn't know how to love back after becoming an amnesiac. GrandTheftMe can happen if said identity was stolen. Living in a society where you can't have a real identity is IndividualityIsIllegal. See also QuestForIdentity. Compare LostInCharacter, where an actor becomes lost in a role. If this is a characters a backstory it might be PreInsanityReveal.
1st Apr '16 8:46:56 AM ChaoticNovelist
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* Dementors essentially do this to their victims in ''Literature/HarryPotter'' - just being near them for a few minutes is enough to [[EmotionEater drain the happiness out of you]], and prolonged exposure leads to depression and the loss of will to live. Receiving a Dementor's "kiss", which steals your soul and leaves you with no sense of self at all, is seen as a FateWorseThanDeath.
** Memory charms are also a means of rewriting a person's memories, and thus (in extreme cases) creating new identities for them.
* Intercision in ''HisDarkMaterials'' separates a person from their daemon. At best this means they become incurious and weak-willed, at worst it means they hang around ghoulishly and then die.

to:

* ''Literature/HarryPotter'':
**
Dementors essentially do this to their victims in ''Literature/HarryPotter'' - just victims. Just being near them for a few minutes is enough to [[EmotionEater drain the happiness out of you]], and prolonged exposure leads to depression and the loss of will to live. Receiving a Dementor's "kiss", which steals your soul and leaves you with no sense of self at all, is seen as a FateWorseThanDeath.
** Memory charms are also a means of rewriting a person's memories, and thus (in extreme cases) creating new identities for them.
* ''HisDarkMaterials'': Intercision in ''HisDarkMaterials'' separates a person from their daemon. At best this means they become incurious and weak-willed, and at worst it means they hang around ghoulishly and then die.




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*''Literature/JourneyToChaos'': Mana mutation scrambled [[spoiler: Eric's]] mind and even after recovering from it he feels like a different person. Kallen consoles him by saying that everyone's identity changes as they grow older, and that his mutation did less to change him fundamentally than he thinks.

28th Mar '16 6:59:51 AM ChaoticNovelist
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* A related philosophical question is called "The Ship of Theseus": if each plank in the ship is replaced when it starts to rot, and over time one-by-one every single plank is replaced, at what point (if ever) does it stop being the same ship?
** The Ship of Theseus is also known as George Washington's axe (my grandpa replaced the handle, and my father replaced the head).
*** There's a Kerryman joke to that effect: a Kerryman boasts that he's had the same axe for the past fifty years - with the handle and head replaced, respectively, five and eight times.
** Specifically, this trope is about the [[ContemplateOurNavels philosophical problem]] of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_identity_%28philosophy%29 personal identity]]. The general notion is that people stay more or less the same throughout their lives, ''despite'' changes to their bodies (if these changes do not drastically change the way the body functions). Just ''what'' makes several iterations the same person, is central to the debate. The debate itself is notorious for the heavy use of [[AppliedPhlebotinum science-fiction]] examples, such as:
*** [[TeleportersAndTransporters Teletransportation]]: if a [[Franchise/StarTrek teleporter]] dematerialises you and reconstructs you elsewhere, are the iterations the same person? What if the original is never deconstructed, but a [[AlternateSelf duplicate]] is made?
*** [[BrainInAJar Brain]] and/or [[FreakyFridayFlip mind]]-transplants: are you still the same person when you have a completely different body?
** Not so much Philosophy but a real life example that I personally believe answers this question somewhat, in "Peopleware" a book about managing programmers a case study was made of "the black team". The black team had a strong cultural identity that survived after every original member had left. The second generation picked it up from the first, the third picked it up from the second.
** Hey, this was used in ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'' with the hereditary axe. Sometimes the handle needs to be replaced, sometimes the head, but it's still the hereditary axe.
*** And what if the old head, rather than being thrown out entirely, is reforged into a new head for a new axe? Is that ''also'' the hereditary axe?
** Keep in mind this also applies to people. Your entire body is completely replaced once per decade, give or take.
*** In addition, our particles are in constant flux. On the lowest observable levels, we aren't the same from one ''nanosecond'' to the next.
*** Even with the cells that stick around for a few years, the atoms that make up the cell won't be the same from one month to the next. Your entire body is only a channel for matter, all the atoms in your body won't be there within a few months, and as creepy as it is a lot of them will probably be in other peoples bodies and vice versa.
*** But keep in mind (no pun intended) that essentially going down to the molecular level all that makes you "you" is your DNA, the genetic blueprints and instructions stored within your cells. Individual atoms are not any different from each other, able to give perfect transfers of kinetic energy during collisions. The only means of differentiation at that level is the way the atoms assemble; that is what makes you "you".
*** This isn't quite the case - epigenetics is a massive field of things necessary for DNA alone to create a functional cell, and environmental effects always affect the organism during development. Case in point, picture how a fetus develops differently if the mother drinks heavily during pregnancy. Or if she's undernourished, lacks critical vitamins, or any of the other horrible things that can happen to you long after sperm and egg meet.
*** In ''Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz'' the Tin Woodman got his body replaced one piece at a time, including his head, when his enchanted axe cut it off. But since it was one piece at a time and not all at once, "he" is still Nick Chopper (his name pre-tinning) rather than some entirely new being.
*** On the other hand, in ''The Tin Woodman of Oz,'' the Tin Woodman meets his former head in a cupboard of the smith who made his tin body, and they have a not-very-interesting (or friendly) conversation. Who is the real Nick Chopper?
*** In a gross oversimplification hindered by linguistic equivocations, traditions descended from the Vedas such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism solve this problem by seeing self not as a permanent thing, but more like a moving wave. How can it be the same wave when no molecule of water is a part of it for long? Simple: the wave is ''organized motion through time.'' Self is usually described as unreal, but best viewed as action-through-time. A deeper discussion of this would probably be way past the scope of this page.
** Creator/DouglasAdams struggled with this when he visited Japan during ''Last Chance to See'' and notes that an important historical building looks far too new. A local explains that the original burnt down, and was rebuilt from all new materials (and not for the first time). Adams asks how it's even the same building, and is told "It's always the same building" as if the question is crazy. He concludes that ''someone'' is missing the point, but that it may well be him.

to:

* A related philosophical question is called "The Ship of Theseus": if each plank in the ship is replaced when it starts to rot, and over time one-by-one every single plank is replaced, at what point (if ever) does it stop being the same ship?
** The Ship of Theseus
ship? [[note]] This is also known as George Washington's axe (my grandpa replaced the handle, and my father replaced the head).
*** There's a
head). Furthermore, there's Kerryman joke to that effect: a Kerryman boasts that he's had the same axe for the past fifty years - with the handle and head replaced, respectively, five and eight times.
**
times. [[/note]] Specifically, this trope is about the [[ContemplateOurNavels philosophical problem]] of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Personal_identity_%28philosophy%29 personal identity]]. The general notion is that people stay more or less the same throughout their lives, ''despite'' changes to their bodies (if these changes do not drastically change the way the body functions). Just ''what'' makes several iterations the same person, is central to the debate. The debate itself is notorious for the heavy use of [[AppliedPhlebotinum science-fiction]] examples, such as:
*** ** [[TeleportersAndTransporters Teletransportation]]: if a [[Franchise/StarTrek teleporter]] dematerialises you and reconstructs you elsewhere, are the iterations the same person? What if the original is never deconstructed, but a [[AlternateSelf duplicate]] is made?
*** ** [[BrainInAJar Brain]] and/or [[FreakyFridayFlip mind]]-transplants: are you still the same person when you have a completely different body?
** Not so much Philosophy but a real life example that I personally believe answers this question somewhat, in "Peopleware" a book about managing programmers a case study was made of "the black team". The black team had a strong cultural identity that survived after every original member had left. The second generation picked it up from the first, the third picked it up from the second.
** Hey, this was used in ''Discworld/TheFifthElephant'' with the hereditary axe. Sometimes the handle needs to be replaced, sometimes the head, but it's still the hereditary axe.
*** And what if the old head, rather than being thrown out entirely, is reforged into a new head for a new axe? Is that ''also'' the hereditary axe?
** Keep in mind this also applies to people. Your entire body is completely replaced once per decade, give or take.
*** In addition, our particles are in constant flux. On the lowest observable levels, we aren't the same from one ''nanosecond'' to the next.
*** Even with the cells that stick around for a few years, the atoms that make up the cell won't be the same from one month to the next. Your entire body is only a channel for matter, all the atoms in your body won't be there within a few months, and as creepy as it is a lot of them will probably be in other peoples bodies and vice versa.
*** But keep in mind (no pun intended) that essentially going down to the molecular level all that makes you "you" is your DNA, the genetic blueprints and instructions stored within your cells. Individual atoms are not any different from each other, able to give perfect transfers of kinetic energy during collisions. The only means of differentiation at that level is the way the atoms assemble; that is what makes you "you".
*** This isn't quite the case - epigenetics is a massive field of things necessary for DNA alone to create a functional cell, and environmental effects always affect the organism during development. Case in point, picture how a fetus develops differently if the mother drinks heavily during pregnancy. Or if she's undernourished, lacks critical vitamins, or any of the other horrible things that can happen to you long after sperm and egg meet.
*** In ''Literature/TheWonderfulWizardOfOz'' the Tin Woodman got his body replaced one piece at a time, including his head, when his enchanted axe cut it off. But since it was one piece at a time and not all at once, "he" is still Nick Chopper (his name pre-tinning) rather than some entirely new being.
*** On the other hand, in ''The Tin Woodman of Oz,'' the Tin Woodman meets his former head in a cupboard of the smith who made his tin body, and they have a not-very-interesting (or friendly) conversation. Who is the real Nick Chopper?
*** In a gross oversimplification hindered by linguistic equivocations, traditions descended from the Vedas such as Buddhism, Taoism, and Hinduism solve this problem by seeing self not as a permanent thing, but more like a moving wave. How can it be the same wave when no molecule of water is a part of it for long? Simple: the wave is ''organized motion through time.'' Self is usually described as unreal, but best viewed as action-through-time. A deeper discussion of this would probably be way past the scope of this page.
** Creator/DouglasAdams struggled with this when he visited Japan during ''Last Chance to See'' and notes that an important historical building looks far too new. A local explains that the original burnt down, and was rebuilt from all new materials (and not for the first time). Adams asks how it's even the same building, and is told "It's always the same building" as if the question is crazy. He concludes that ''someone'' is missing the point, but that it may well be him.
body?
20th Mar '16 12:41:04 AM MetaFour
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Added DiffLines:

* Music/DanielAmos: The album ''Music/VoxHumana'' has a short story in the liner notes where the narrator reaches an unusual conclusion: loss of identity comes not from changing too much, but from [[StaticCharacter the complete lack of change]].
-->The person who doesn't learn and does not act, I thought, disintegrates within. It is the chaos of growth, of taking new forms, that is the shield against those who spend all their time earning, spending and amusing themselves.
16th Mar '16 12:41:51 AM Gonzool
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* ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'': [[spoiler:Mario gets his identity and body stolen in the middle of a boss-fight by a Duplight-Ghost called "Doopliss". It seems that this even rendered him unable of pronouncing the word "Mario", since Vivian can't understand his answer when she asks him for his name.]]

to:

* ''VideoGame/PaperMarioTheThousandYearDoor'': [[spoiler:Mario gets his identity and body stolen in the middle of a boss-fight boss fight by a Duplight-Ghost Duplighost called "Doopliss". It seems that this even rendered him unable of pronouncing the word "Mario", since Vivian can't understand his answer when she asks him for his name.]]
12th Mar '16 5:23:11 PM ZimFan89
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Added DiffLines:

* ''Fanfic/{{Ripples}}'' has this start to happen to Will once she's forced to accept that she's not in a LotusEaterMachine, but has actually been spending years TrappedInThePast. This is especially due to the fact that, aside from her own memories, there's no evidence for the existence of "Will Vandom", while there's plenty for "[[SecretIdentity Van Rivers]]".
5th Feb '16 11:04:47 AM ChaoticNovelist
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* Death of personality has replaced capital punishment in ''Series/BabylonFive''. A machine [[LaserGuidedAmnesia wipes the personality and memory]] of a murderer and [[FakeMemories replaces them with a new set]], letting them live out a life of willing hard community service [[ConvenientlyUnverifiableCoverStory with an assumed identity]] [[TomatoInTheMirror without them ever being the wiser.]] A telepath is present to perform scans before and after, so as to ascertain that the process has worked, but does not carry it out themself.

to:

* ''Series/BabylonFive'':
**
Death of personality has replaced capital punishment in ''Series/BabylonFive''. punishment. A machine [[LaserGuidedAmnesia wipes the personality and memory]] of a murderer and [[FakeMemories replaces them with a new set]], letting them live out a life of willing hard community service [[ConvenientlyUnverifiableCoverStory with an assumed identity]] [[TomatoInTheMirror identity without them ever being the wiser.]] wiser. A telepath is present to perform scans before and after, so as to ascertain that the process has worked, but does not carry it out themself.



* ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' - One of the Shen Gong Wu, The Monkey Staff, turns the user into a being with a similar appearance, strength, agility and balance to a monkey. However, if used too long, the user will believe that he or she is an actual monkey, and his or her human memories will be erased until the staff is taken away.

to:

* ''WesternAnimation/XiaolinShowdown'' - One of the Shen Gong Wu, The Monkey Staff, turns the user into a being with a similar appearance, strength, agility and balance to a monkey. However, if used too long, at a particular time, the user will believe that he or she is an actual monkey, and his or her human memories will be erased until the staff is taken away.
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http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/article_history.php?article=Main.LossOfIdentity