Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Self-identity meme: Five Things

Articulate Dad has invented, in response to the false clarity of traditional self-identification categories, a new Self-identity meme:
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.
That's a good start. I might regret my choices later, but you'll never know.... Oh, and I don't tag people. If you want to do it, do it. If not, don't. But it's an interesting exercise, I'll say that.


ArticulateDad said...

Thanks, Ahistoricality. I agree about not tagging. In keeping with the original Dawkins/Blackmore formulation of the concept of meme I'd say it either takes, or it doesn't. No use belaboring it. What we share of ourselves, and learn of others is the reward.

White Rabbit said...

Aaahhh.....regrets. Everyone tells me life is far too short for regrets, but you are absolutely right - you cannot escape them. It's impossible, once they become part of you. Just as long as they don't rule you!

Sour Duck said...

"I constantly live with the fear of failure because I can't escape the memory of failures nor the reality of failure."


This is probably the heaviest thing I've read here.