Are You an Onion or a Peach? A Philosophical Question for Self Discovery

Christina Tavella ’16
EE Staff Writer

Believe it or not, this is a question that philosophers often ask themselves. However, it does not deal with the actual food, but rather with the concepts they resemble.

The onion and peach analogies are used to describe the “self”- basically, who you are, how you respond to experiences, and how you grow over time. The onion is used to represent the idea that you change constantly over time, that more and more layers keep getting added on. An implication with the idea of the onion is that you are not the same person you were a few years ago, that your experiences constantly change you.

“The onion likes to see themselves as active participants in their lives,” says Mrs. Intemann, the only Trumbull High School philosophy teacher. “Onions like to feel involved in things, and I think they like to have the belief that they’re involved with others, and others are involved in their lives, and that there’s some kind of give and take.”

On the other hand, the peach represents the idea that humans have a “core” (represented by the peach’s pit) that stays constant throughout one’s life. The core can represent morals or beliefs engraved deep within us, which we do not think will change regardless of our experiences.
“People who consider themselves peaches like to have constancy,” says Mrs. Intemann. “They like to say they have something that remains the same about them. They like to have the idea of a solid soul or spirit inside of them that runs throughout their lives and does not change.”

There is a large variety of answers to this question, and no side is more popular than the other. Some people are stuck in the middle, believing they are a mixture of both. This is referred to as a “ponion” (pronounced pun-yun).

People who consider themselves “ponions” are people who think they have a core and that their beliefs will never leave them. At the same time, they also believe that they have layers that change over time, like an onion.

Though claiming to be a “ponion” is very popular among philosophy students, it is debatable if you can really be both an onion and a peach.

“A core is the supposed center of everything,” says THS junior Julia Evangelista.  “Having a core implies that your life is based on one solid thing inside of you, and claiming to have layers as well defeats the purpose of a core.”

Mrs. Intemann agrees with Evangelista’s perspective.

“I don’t believe that you can be both. However, students might want to have a core because they desire that solid core or ‘soul,’”says Mrs. Intemann. “They like to believe that they have that, and yet they don’t want to turn their backs on all of the experiences in their lives and say those have nothing to do with shaping them, so that’s why they choose ‘ponion.’”

So what does this all mean? Trying to define what your “self” truly is can be very tough, but attempting to do so helps you get a better understanding of yourself. Some students are confident with their views.

“I believe I’m an onion because although my morals have always carried a distinct principle behind them, they have evolved over time and I believe they are still subject to change as I progress towards individual living and adulthood,” says THS junior Olivia Nichols.

To further this theory, Evangelista says, “Describing people as peaches denies the fact that changes within us happen constantly, even without us realizing it. Life is a journey, and since changes happen all the time, layers must exist because many of the changes that occur in us are subconscious and gradual.”

There is problem with being conflicted about it, though. “The origin of the pit is a difficult concept to grasp, whereas the layers of the onion are easier to explain,” continues Mrs. Intemann. “Do you want to even try to explain what your pit is? Because it’s very hard to do and work through it.”

No philosopher can truly say with confidence that they were able to define their entire “self.” Furthermore, nobody can look within themselves to see what they truly consist of without having to consider what other people see. Once you begin to question yourself and who you are, you are on the path to becoming a philosopher! So what do you think, THS? Are you an onion or a peach?


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