Posts tagged identity
22 Sep 2007
You're at a party. Talking to someone new. It's someone of the opposite sex. Thought goes through your mind (again): maybe this could be the one? Who knows? How could you tell? Nice weather, mmm. Really? I've been there too! What did you think? Small talk, small talk. But how to find out what this person is like...? Let's get beyond the superficialities. Ah!
What kind of music do you like?
As if that could matter! What a strange question! What about her background? What does her father do? Or her grandfather? Where has her family lived? Where do they originate from? What was her up-bringing like? What kind of school was she sent to? Is her family religious? Where do they stand in the social ladder? Surely these are the questions you should be asking if you want to find out what she is like!
Don't be silly.
Those questions have nothing - absolutely nothing - to do with what sort of person you are. They are about what you inherit by virtue of your birth, not by any fault - choice - of your own.
On the other hand, your choice of music - what you listen to on your iPod or other similar/superior device - ultimately has absolutely nothing to do with your birth. True, in childhood you may have been limited both in what you knew about and what you had access to. But that is no longer the case. Nor is your choice of music affected by anyone else. It makes no difference to them, and it's none of their business. There are no constraints on what you listen to in private. It is one of the freest choices you will ever make. And if you value your ability to choose, your choice of music will be very close to your heart.
You are most human when your choices are least constrained.
What you listen to is your own free and unconstrained choice, and therefore it is an indicator of who you are.
You are what you listen to.
Don't you think?
20 Oct 2006
I've been thinking lately about what it is that makes us tick.
There has been plenty of discussion in the media about what makes a person British - in terms of values and attitudes. After all, if we ask immigrants to become British, what do we mean? But it's worth asking that question not just for Britain but for the "Western" world as a whole. What is important to us in our (Western) culture - so important that if it someone tried to take it away from us we would be devastated and indignant? It's not an easy question to answer.
I think I've stumbled on something with this idea of choosing. I've noticed this not only in the amount of choice we now have, even before breakfast, but in the fact that we genuinely like to be able to choose. (This is different from being decisive!) People get really upset if you deny them their right to a choice.
Opto ergo sum, by the way, is Latin for I choose therefore I am. It's a take-off of Descartes, who said, Cogito ergo sum (I think therefore I am).
As my thoughts coalesce, I'll cough them up and deposit them here. So I invite you to watch this space - if you choose.