You gain strength, courage, and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face. You are able to say to yourself, “I lived through this horror. I can take the next thing that comes along.”
If you blinked you probably missed it in the 2013 Christmas Special The Time of the Doctor. One moment the man standing in front of Clara is the young looking Eleventh Doctor. The next moment he’s an older looking Twelfth. His regeneration was sudden and jarring, and as we’ve seen over the past few episodes with the Twelfth he’s changed more than his physical appearance. This Doctor has a darker and much less playful personality. This radical change in personality between regenrations has given his companion Clara and the Paternoster Gang whiplash as they adjust to the new Doctor. In the end though they acknowledge that he is still the Doctor and that his regeneration hasn’t changed who he is. But maybe they’re wrong. Maybe the Doctor is a completely different person than who he was before he regenerated. Maybe the Doctor is a completely different person than who he was even a minute before his every interaction with another person.
We hit 500 followers yesterday, and so we’ll wrap up our series on the Doctor, his regenerations and the question of personal identity. One moment he’s the Raggedy Man and the Eleventh Doctor and the next he’s a completely new person complaining about the colors of his kidneys. Maybe our identity undergoes rapid changes too, maybe we don’t even have an identity that stays constant through time. Our previous theories, Lockean and Existentialism, argue that our memories or our values make us the same from one moment to the next. But a pair of unlikely sources, the British David Hume and Buddhist Je Tsongkhapa, think it’s a mistake to believe there is such a thing as the identity. We’ll look at what that means for us and the Doctor tomorrow.