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      §14. As to the second part of the Question, Whether the same
immaterial Substance remaining, there may be two distinct
Persons; which Question seems to me to be built on this, Whether
the same immaterial Being, being conscious of the Actions of its
past Duration, may be wholly stripp’d of all the consciousness of its
past Existence, and lose it beyond the power of ever retrieving
again: And so as it were beginning a new Account from a new
Period, have a consciousness that cannot reach beyond this new
State. All those who hold pre-existence, are evidently of this Mind,
since they allow the Soul to have no remaining consciousness of
what it did in that pre-existent State, either wholly separate from
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Body, or informing any other Body; and if they should not, ’tis
plain Experience would be against them. So that personal Identity
reaching no farther than consciousness reaches, a pre-existent
Spirit not having continued so many Ages in a state of Silence,
must needs make different Persons. Suppose a Christian Platonist
or Pythagorean, should upon God’s having ended all his Works of
Creation the Seventh Day, think his Soul hath existed ever since;
and should imagine it has revolved in several Humane Bodies, as I
once met with one, who was perswaded his had been the Soul of
Socrates (how reasonably I will not dispute. This I know, that in the
Post he fill’d, which was no inconsiderable one, he passed for a very
rational Man, and the Press has shewn, that he wanted not Parts or
Learning) would any one say, that he, being not conscious of any of
Socrates’s Actions or Thoughts, could be the same Person with
Socrates? Let any one reflect upon himself, and conclude, that he has
in himself an immaterial Spirit, which is that which thinks in him,
and in the constant change of his Body keeps him the same; and is
that which he calls himself: Let him also suppose it to be the same
Soul, that was in Nestor or Thersites, at the Siege of Troy, (For Souls
being, as far as we know any thing of them in their Nature, in-
different to any parcel of Matter, the Supposition has no apparent
absurdity in it) which it may have been, as well as it is now, the
Soul of any other Man: But he, now having no consciousness of any
of the Actions either of Nestor or Thersites, does, or can he, conceive
himself the same Person with either of them? Can he be concerned
in either of their Actions? Attribute them to himself, or think them
his own more than the Actions of any other Man, that ever existed?
So that this consciousness not reaching to any of the Actions of
either of those Men, he is no more one self with either of them, than
if the Soul or immaterial Spirit, that now informs him, had been
created, and began to exist, when it began to inform his present
Body, though it were never so true, that the same Spirit that in-
formed Nestor’s or Thersites’s Body, were numerically the same that
now informs his. For this would no more make him the same Person
with Nestor, than if some of the Particles of Matter, that were once a
part of Nestor, were now a part of this Man, the same immaterial
Substance without the same consciousness, no more making the
same Person by being united to any Body, than the same Particle of
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Matter without consciousness united to any Body, makes the same
Person. But let him once find himself conscious of any of the Actions
of Nestor, he then finds himself the same Person with Nestor.
Locke Hum II, 27, §14, pp. 338-339-340