If you could meet your true inner self, what would s/he look like, and what would s/he tell you?
This is probably going to sound weird coming from me (with all my talk about *soul searching* and *finding myself* and other excuses to be self-absorbed in my writing and thinking) but I'm not sure a "true inner self" exists. I believe in personality, sure, but obviously we're shaped to a great extent by our experiences. How can I say that a certain way of behaving is not part of my "true self", when there is obviously a reason why I'm behaving the way am, a reason that has been elicited by my environment and experiences?
Although there is the fact that I might not like the way I'm behaving, which would make me unhappy. "Finding oneself" could be thought of as determining those ways of being that don't lead to that dissatisfaction with oneself. For example, for me, I am unhappy with myself when I feel uncomfortable in a conversation and thus don't talk. Maybe this means that I am "naturally" more outgoing than that, so when I do converse to the level I am most comfortable with, I am being my "natural" self. In other words, my preferences for my own behavior reveal my character. Which means that I do have a "true inner self", in a way. Hmm.
This is always how I explained Harry Potter's being sorted into Gryffindor instead of Slytherin. We find out in Chamber of Secrets that he (*shock and horror*) "would have done well in Slytherin". But, as Dumbledore (ahhh I still love him so much <3) explains at the end, "It is our choices that show who we truly are, far more than our abilities." Some have argued that this means Harry was "naturally" a Slytherin, but because he rejected that and chose instead to be a Gryffindor, that is where he was placed. Thus, who he is is like a good deed that he should get credit for. However, I always saw Harry's choice as one that he didn't actually have. The fact that he wanted to be in Gryffindor and that he was extremely uncomfortable with Slytherin (based on what little he had heard about it thus far: that Malfoy was rude and entitled and wanted to be there and that many Dark wizards had been there, including You-Know-Who) shows that he truly belonged in Gryffindor. Obviously we can see parallels to Gryffindor and Slytherin being good and evil (not quite as clear-cut, but essentially that is the picture we get), and I think this reflects on Harry in the same way. [/endgeekysemi-relatedtangent]
Anywayyyy...(hahaha wow I haven't thought about HP in forever!)...I am really not into philosophy. At all. This is not how I think, and it's really not that important to me to figure out whether I have an essence or not. I know I totally didn't respond to the intent of the original questioner, but ohh well. You all know wayyyyyy too much about me and my "true inner self" anyway. ;)
Two more weeks!