Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Question of Identity

One of the questions which haunt us all through our formative years would be "Who am I?" I have seen people do all sorts of things to establish that. It makes for amazing study of the psychology of human beings. I have always been fascinated by the people around me. Just by being with them, following every action of theirs gave me a glimpse of what they are going through, what is bothering them and what makes them.

Trying not to be judgmental, I will put forth some of them which has intrigued me and still continues to do so and of course, what I think about them.

Academic Brilliance
This is actually a disease. A typically myopic, conservative, elitist aspiration. If we cannot be judged by how we look (though in reality, we are), why should we be judged on how intelligent we are? If I had the choice, believe me, I would look like Gregory Peck and be as intelligent as Einstein or even Dawkins. Some of my friends were simply paranoid about how they fared in an exam. And if it did not meet up with their expectations, it would be a shattering experience. Not because it would close certain doors where they would have liked to knock on, but because it puts their identity in question. Now, how ridiculous could that be ?!

Professional Excellence
Excellence in any form ought to be appreciated and applauded. But the extent to which people can harp on their outstanding performance and appraisal ratings, is to be heard to be believed. Frankly, I doubt whether anyone wants to hear how good you are at what you are doing. Its of the least consequence to mankind until and unless you are researching on the next HIV drug or the next nano-bomb. You are making money, and all of your energies and focus are in ensuring that you continue to make more of it. Just don't make a marketing project out of it and prove it to the world at large that you count. You do, by just as much as you would have, if you did not have a job.

Looking Ravishing
I must confess that I am biased towards this. I mean, who does not want to look at beautiful women? I have heard people say that beauty is subjective. Which is of course, a whole load of crap. And wonder of all wonders, this line is generally taken by the ugly ducklings. Talk of self-consolatory statements and there is no better example than this. We look the way we look. We cannot do anything about it. YOU KNOW whether you are beautiful or ugly. And hardly anything can change that. Except maybe, being in love. Which in a weird sort of way, makes everyone beautiful. But for people, who base their identity on how they look and I have had the privilege to be associated with some of them, theirs is a lot to be pitied. They are visually delightful but intellectually bankrupt.

Rebel Without a Cause
The most natural method of getting yourself be known. Do things which are disapproved by all and you get instant recognition. Plus - a lot of girlfriends. Transient - Yes. But at 14, who cares ? The problem occurs if you stretch it too far or start too late. For you to sustain it, you have to be a near genius. And genius, misdirected or aimless, can wreak havoc. Read this and tell me what you make out of it. Because I still don't know if living for oneself is the best way to extract the maximum out of life.

My Take
How would I like someone to establish his identity? I don't know. But over the years people who have followed these traits listed below are the ones whom I have come to respect and admire and I guess this is what I would appreciate most:
1. Being honest to yourself
2. Respect and compassion for all human beings just because
3. Pursuit of excellence without a loudspeaker