atheoryof.me

Casey S. Schroeder

Tag: identity

The Quest to be Yourself

Some of you have always been yourself. You live without any adopted affectations which are necessary for others to move fluidly in social situations. There is no need for hours in the mirror. There is no need for pinching pennies. Instead of investing discretely in a social appearance, which may persuade some you mingle in circles, you simply invite dilatants to your home to flirt with dignitaries. Others just don’t care for games of status. They come from family which valued work and friends and family and personal eccentricity and you have been capable of happily playing small games of little consequence and much reward for most of your lives.

Others were happily themselves as children only to have found their genuine selves vanishing with age, while running into conflicts or disappointment which later pushed them to affect manners, behavior, or appearances which were not true to their personalities or lifestyles, striving to be people they deemed successful.  They may desire to be elite or even desire to be more grounded.  Others were not allowed to be themselves even as children and strive to discover who they are, as much as they may try to flourish as themselves.  In such cases it can be very difficult for you to say who you are, or how you get there.  I don’t believe it impossible, but certainly it is very difficult.

Personally, I have always sensed that I was a little too old a little too early and a little too quickly. My parents did their best to preserve who I was so that I may live as I was, but the world caught up with me and led to the death of a child by a thousand tiny slights and a few verifiable stabbings. At some point in your life, you realize what is happening, and you fight against it, preserving for our children what you once had or wished you had or wish you had again. It is why people tend to, if not become conservative, then at least respect the conservative position with age.

I have identified the self with something independent of affectations.  The validity of this may be debated.  But to me it is clear that the more you know, the more affectations you must have, and it is much easier to withstand the onslaught without losing the vitality of life, if you were allowed to be yourself when you were young.

A Delicate Network

We are a delicate network. Your identity to that network is not always clearly defined. It is so undefined that there is some temptation to give yourself up to that network, to become only a node in the net which moves with the waves and takes what comes. But for the strength of that network itself, your identity has to be more.

It means that each node is strong and is not easily undone. A person is undone when they have lost their integrity. Integrity is that which makes us decidedly an individual and those without it have given themselves up to the waves.

There are two basic forms of integrity which a person can’t give up – ethical integrity and logical integrity. Ethical integrity is compromised when we act and speak in ways which would conflict with our ethical principles, upon reflection. Logical integrity is compromised when we are unable to reason from principles (including ethical) and beliefs, in a logical manner, to other beliefs and actions – we are not capable of effectively reflecting.

We cannot do as much about what comes our way. In many ways, we can only choose good friends, do our part to stay out of trouble, and hope for the best. But we can do something to live within ethical principles and use logic to effectively reason about what to do, say, and believe. This site is intended to journal my struggles in maintaining that integrity against the currents that attempt to compromise it.

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