This is a bit more on more on who I am from a worldly perspective…
Accident of Birth
Well, by accident of birth I was brought up a Christian, white, male, English-speaking, etc. So my identity must have been flexible enough to adopt those aspects rather than if I had grown up in a different environment such as Africa or Siberia.
My identity was constructed somehow and it continues to grow since I can tell I am not the same person I was when I was a child.
If I look at an old passport photo that is perfectly obvious. Oh, that haircut and those weird clothes.
Nor am I a single identity.
For example, the person I present myself as to my wife is not the same person I present myself as to colleagues in the office.
People often give the advice in public speaking of “Be yourself”, but that certainly would not work. I need to act the role as presenter not as a husband or as a father.
You See Me but Not Me
I don’t believe I am the same person that you see me as since I have many private memories, thoughts, views, experiences, desires, preferences, and beliefs.
I feel that I adjust who I am many times during each day to enable me to conform to society’s norms and enable me to relate to other people successfully.
I also have conflicts in my head regarding who I am. From Monday to Friday, I hold business objectives in high esteem, while on Saturday I am supporting my family. Then on Sunday, I am drawn to go to attend church and hold God in my mind for a short time.
No wonder I get confused.
There are many more of these conflicts in my mind, such as on the one hand, I am a scientific person, but on the other hand, I love the feeling when I experience awe and mystery.
One of the problems I feel is that I present myself as one thing but in my heart I am often something else.
For example, I present a Singaporean passport, and returning from a trip abroad, I am greeted by immigration officials with the words, “Welcome home”, but in my heart, I remain totally English.
Then again, being English is no more than an accident of birth that I have adopted. It cannot really be any part of who I really am.
Look at the Evidence
When I look in a mirror and see the objective evidence that I am a bald, fat, grumpy old man, I cannot accept it. Surely that is not me.
That is not who I am. Help!
Likewise, 45 years ago when I looked in a mirror and saw myself as a hairy, lean, happy-go-lucky young man, was that not me either?
For if it was, then that would be the end of my Quest!
And I hope there is more depth to me than that.
No, I think that proves it, our identity is a pure fiction and a construct of our minds.
What do you think?