It’s that time of the year again.
That glorious time for self-discovery, reflection and – if we’re lucky – improvement. I thought I’d take bigger risks this year and really try to comprehend myself and what I represent.
I didn’t get very far, or did I?
The desperate pursuit of uncovering my innermost self as an integrated fully-formed entity with fixed characteristics and passionsremained futile. If anything, the certainty that everything changes, hence consequently we change, further cemented my notion that the concept of absolute ownership and permanencejust doesn’t exist.
We are but fleeting caretakers of both the tangible and intangible over transient periods of time.The objective nature of constant change inevitably collides with our character.The identity cannot and is never fixed. Praise the Almighty, I am no longer the same person I was a year ago, in possession of the same naivety, and discomfort within myself.
Which leads me to an all-important conclusion. How many times have you heard somebody say they’ve always been bad at math, or that they won the genetic lottery which in turn led them to possess prodigious talents. Whether the aforementioned characteristics are of the positive or negative variety, succumbing to a false notion that one is simply born with traits is both limiting and deceptive.
For the majority of my life, I’d like to think I have been gentle and sensitive to others needs; I’d also like to not simply explain my behavior as a function of immutable traits I was born with. I am a product of choices I have made. This said, two entirely separate people would see me very differently. For instance, to my mom, I’m a sweet, kind-hearted individual, yet my former beau might remember me as a borderline insane, prone to hysteria, horrible person. I’m not going to crack the paradox. Instead, I’m going to accept the impermanence and different perspectives.
This Ramzan break has also allowed me to take to take stock of the various activities I sometimes robotically partake in,throughout the year. Which leads me to my next realization.
How many of us have desperately attempted the mastery of new skills, and adoption of new hobbies in order to find our ‘true’ passions in our relentless pursuit of “self-discovery”? anything to help inform “who we truly are.”
I find that as a result, the precarious, frenzied hunt for passion as a qualification to discover the essence of our being can be devastatingly disappointing. It remains an elusive idea that we zealously strive for – a holy grail that answers little but places an insurmountable amount of pressure on a person.
I switched attention to ownership. Perhaps, that could shed some light on ‘me, myself and I’.
I reached the conclusion that owning things, whether it be material items or firsthand knowledge or experience, can only make one feel as though they are beginning to know themselves, when in reality, one never does.
Material possessions are often a vehicle that individuals use an extension of their identity. I’ve already established that in my humble opinion, there is no absolute solid identity and therefore by definition there cannot be a concept of absolute ownership either. We are but temporary custodians of tangible goodsby virtue of death being an inescapable and inevitable reality.
My mom has jewelry which she hardly wears, yet plans to pass onto me – generational inheritance is the reason she got that jewelry in the first place, which strikes the question – is that jewelry really hers? Was it really my grandma’s jewelry, either? Will it really be mine? Or are we merely serving our roles as caretakers of said jewelry?
Therefore, it is the false idea of ownership that is harmful to a person’s character. Change the definition and the character traits will consequently change organically.
As members of perhaps, one of the most materialistic societies known to man, the emptiness and nihilism that comes with capitalism is familiar to us all. As Plato asserted, this in turn festers an identity crisis. Most of us unwittingly use a patchwork of images and products to frantically conceal how fragmented and alienated our lives really are.
I believe that between the conviction that true ownership does not exist and the varying degrees of how it affects human behavior lies a third distinct possibility – Parmenides, the father of meta physics and ontology was of the view that a myriad of existing things, their altering forms and movement, are visual manifestations of a single eternal reality, subsequently effectuating the Parmenidean principle that “all is one.”
I find comfort in the idea that since all is one; it is the one force that has absolute ownership and is therefore the constant ‘Higher Power’.
I recognize that ‘Higher Power’ more than ever in this month and that helps me, be me. It helps me become ‘one’.
It’s that time of the year again.