What five things about you most contribute to your self-identity?I like his answers, too, but they're not ME, so I'll have to do my own.
- Religion: Liberal Jew, steering a rocky and lonely course between faith, pride, action and identity, not to mention secular and Christian society. I love ideas, religious, ethical and philosophical, and words and the connections between things and people. A lot of that comes form my tradition and my faith. I hate it when someone tries to pigeonhole me because of religion.
- History: It is both a curse and our greatest resource for understanding ourselves. It is a profession, an avocation, a worldview, a tool and a bludgeon. I would include my love of speculative fiction and fantasy here: the best of it, like the best history, is an investigation into humanity, individually and collectively. I can't abide ignorance and I abhor distortion and deception. Truth, historical and otherwise, is essential to life.
- Participant in the public sphere: I've always believed that democracy is what you make of it, and that it must be a discourse rather than just an electoral process. I've been writing letters to editors, newsgroups, blogs, etc., for many years now. I like to think that I have something unique to contribute, but I actually don't care if that's strictly true: what I care about is that I care about the policies and values which make our society what it is, and that I participate knowingly in creating our culture. Apathy drives me nuts.
- Family: Like many, I haven't entirely figured out how to balance family with work with personal space/time, but there's no question that my family is what inspires me, drives me past my lows, and makes it necessary to be a better person than I am. What I know of love, I've learned by watching and doing, not by thinking.
- Regrets: I regret my failings. I regret my decisions. I constantly live with the fear of failure because I can't escape the memory of failures nor the reality of failure. What I do not do is voice my regrets, because it doesn't do any good whatsoever. If I regret it, I already know it was a mistake and do not need to rehash it to "learn from it"; if I regret it, it is something I cannot change, no matter how much I "talk it through." They are my regrets, my failures, and I will live with them forever.