Monday, September 11, 2006

Defining ourselves

Mera offered a thought stream which got me thinking about deriving identity in activity—the idea that you are what you do. If you center yourself around doing N, who would you be if you stopped doing N?

(I am reminded here of the crises of people who, after working their entire lives at the same job, reach retirement and are at a loss as to how they should spend their time. The job had become their identity.)

This struck a chord with me because I do tend to derive a lot of my identity from what I do. In both Lives, I keep myself perpetually buried in projects, so that I will always have some activity to define myself in relation to.

I create, so I am a creator.
I teach, so I am a teacher.
I do, so I am.


Assuming, of course, that it is undesirable to be left in a state of doubt about one's identity, one should endeavor to prevent and cure such a state. Defining oneself in relation to only one or two things is risky; interests come and go, and the anchor that holds today may not tomorrow. A less risky option (and the one I am prone to do) is to grab hold of as many activities as possible, so that each matters less. If one fails, the others are there as backup. But there is a danger to this too, that of spreading oneself too thin, so that there is no meaningful benefit in anything.

No matter how we define ourselves in relation to other things and activities, there is always the very real possibility that we will lose or shift away from them.

But what if we define ourselves not in relation to something else, but as being ourselves, no matter how we change?

I am myself.
I look a certain way, act a certain way, and enjoy certain things.
In the future, I will look another way, act another way, and enjoy other things.
I will be myself then, too.


(We'll see.)

3 comments:

Akela said...

Jacek, please don't take this the wrong way, but you continue to impress me with the depth of your blogposts. Who knew that under the silliness of your in-world avatar lurked a thoughtful guy?

Mera said...

I am, and continue to be *myself*. Moreso in SL than anywhere else. The worry is, is that enough?

Malbeuf said...

You are Jacek Antonelli.