Two things happened in the last seventy-two hours or so.
1.) I got a not fantastic grade on a paper and started rethink my entire future plan and my identity. As my dad would say, I am pathetic. But seriously, I am rethinking my future and my identity right now. This person right here? Is open to suggestions.
2.) I talked to somebody awesome I know who is slogging through one of those obnoxious periods of indefiniteness that engenders crises of identity.
I have to go write four essays (and hopefully ace these ones--crossed fingers appreciated), so this will be short, but I've been thinking--
Why do we even have identities?
What, on earth, is the point?
Why do we have to have ways of thinking of ourselves? Why can't we just go through life without thinking about who it is that we are? What practical use has your identity ever been to you? I really am asking, guys.
Because right now I'm thinking of scrapping everything. You know, once I figure out what everything even is. Mostly my identity makes me upset (when I don't do well at things I'm supposedly good at) and restricts me from doing things I might enjoy (like water skiing).
What's the point of identities? The only thing I've been able to come up with is that identities are mental short hand. We perceive ourselves as a certain kind of person so that we don't have to re-make decisions every time someone asks us a question.
Do you want ice cream?
I don't have to think about whether or not I'm really hungry, or anything else. I am the kind of person who like ice cream. I will take the ice cream (unless I'm really full, or it's strawberry) because I am the kind of person who likes ice cream.
My identity tells me that I am likely to like that person over there, tells me that I don't enjoy math, that I am much more likely to have fun reading a book than going to a party, and I probably won't ever change the world, or go to Scotland, but I will revert to dreams of both things when I feel small.
I don't really have to think through these things--do I want ice cream? do I like that person? do I want to do math for fun? should I go to the party? shall I change the world/go to Scotland?--because they are part of my preconceived perception of myself.
Is that good?
Are identities just cognitive laziness? And, if they are, is that bad? What if my preconceived perception of myself is totally bogus?
That wasn't a rhetorical question. I actually want to know. Is this good? Or bad? Is there an alternative?
Thanks for your thoughts, and your crossed fingers, and, you know, sticking with me through my professor's-kid breakdowns.
"It's a sin to kill a mockingbird."
3 weeks ago