This is common knowledge to me, and may be to you too, but I thought I’d share it in case it may not be. All speculation is treated as fact to make the writing easier:
You and I are the same person. Exactly the same person.
The voice in our heads: they’re the same voice.
The person you accidentally made eye contact with? The same person.
You and your dog? The same person.
You and the squirrel stalking you from the tree? The same person.
I wrote some time ago how I struggled with the concept of comprehending the existence of other people. How can other people be real? How is that possible? If within me is an impossibly large universe of existence, how can it be that within everyone else is a universe just as large? I could not fathom it.
But what you are, what I am, what we all are, are processes. We are input/output machines. We struggle to understand from whence we came, and how is it this all works, but the answer is right in front of our eyes, if only we could parse it: Our source code is passed generation to generation, and is then fully contained. Do you remember the iguana/snake chase scene from Planet Earth II that made its rounds on social media some time ago? I watched it again yesterday after seeing that Planet Earth II was added to Netflix in full glorious HD detail, and it was unmistakeable: the instruction set is contained in the DNA, and it’s explicit. A newly hatched iguana emerges from the ground for the first time in its total existence, and immediately knows not only to start running, but to start climbing the rocky hills before it. How does it know to go up, if this is t=0.0001 for it? The instruction set is contained within. You just need the process of consciousness, coupled with a physical avatar, to execute it.
When you see someone else, and look into their eyes, you are looking into yourself, if yourself lived a different life. When you see someone richer than you, who dresses better than you, speaks better than you, and lives better than you: that’s you if you grew up in an affluent environment and were exposed to the same factors. When you see someone poorer than you, who dresses less fashionably than you, speaks less articulately than you, and lives a more difficult life than you: that’s you, if you grew up in that same resource-deprived environment. When your dog whines and moans, and scratches at the door at the prospect of heading outdoors, that’s you, if you were housed in a four-legged body.
A process. That’s what you and I are, and every other conceivable living thing. Look deeply into the eyes of an animal just once, and you will see that they are as real as you—nay, are you—and not some dumb excuse for a living thing.
So, be kind to you, whichever body you find yourself in.