Is it necessary to know exactly what you are? 24 out of 25 of my colleagues, friends, and students responded with a nod. One said, in order for me to know what move should I take, I should know first where my starting point is. For me, I would be a hypocrite if I said that his answer is wrong. Firstly, everyone has the liberty to stand on each proposition. Secondly, somehow, his answer also made sense. But I followed-up with this question. Then have you successfully known exactly what you are? The majority became silent, some answered with, “I guess so”, “maybe”, “not yet”, “haha”, “don’t know”, “no”. So, I now ask you the same question, what do you think? Would you still give a nod?
One big question. How about those who really do not know what they are? Is it really that necessary? Before anything, let’s define first what the word “necessary” means.
Merriam Webster Dictionary definition of Necessary: absolutely needed; required.
Now, let’s substitute the word “required” for the word necessary from the above main question: Instead of “Is it necessary to know exactly what you are?” Let’s ask, “Is it required to know exactly what you are?” Since the majority gave a nod, it’s no longer a question. So, let’s try removing the word “Is”. The result would be: “It’s required to know exactly what you are”. For me, this ends in a scary possibility. If it is required but not met, then I believe many will be ended-up facing one of these two things: insanity or death. I’m not overstating, the conflict could push a person towards this scary pit called depression. One cause of depression is a situation that overwhelms the ability to cope, which may trigger a depressive episode.
A famous song lyrics by Westlife mentions: “Everybody’s looking for that something, one thing that makes it all complete”. Everybody means every person. That famous person you’re always rooting for in TV might not be as fulfilled as you imagine, he might have a huge void in his life. He might seem perfect laughing all the time and looking cool when he walks among his famous peers. Or that best friend you always thought to be so strong, you thought you knew him so well; in every furrow of his brows, you clearly know what it means. But one day, you were flabbergasted with the most startling news you could ever have throughout your entire life. The very tragic death of that friend, self-destruction ‘suicide’; cause of death ‘depression’. It sounds alarming because none of us are truly complete. We’re not perfect in the first place. It is natural to feel that void and natural to seek something to fill it.
Michael Foucault has a quote: “I don’t feel that it is necessary to know exactly what you are. The main interest in life and work is to become someone else that we were not in the beginning”. I totally agree with this statement.
I believe that Foucault in his quote does not admonish/stop anyone in knowing what they are. The thought was: “it’s up to you if you want to know what you are, but if you think you don’t need to do so, then it’s not really necessary”. Since the main interest in life and work is to become someone else that we were not in the beginning. Life and Work are the major factors in a person’s world. Eventually, we will change, there is no one who does not change. As an ugly caterpillar reaches a stage to lie in a deep slumber-wrapping itself with thick cocoon, knowing the law of nature, the need to undergo another death. To achieve its natural and beautiful metamorphosis.
Humans are also the subject of the same law. We choose to set aside what we are, for the interest of life and work. Humans cannot remain unchanged in this continually changing world. There will be no certain and there will be no final state. In every day passing, there will be a new experience; there will be a new understanding; there will be a new you.
You knew you are not used to being in the limelight; as part of your work, you were forced to hold that mic… You were the most unruly child in your whole family; due to your work, you become the well-mannered and most respected professor in a university. You always feel weak when you face heights; as part of your work, you manage to travel to many countries battling with turbulence every time you have a flight.
Every decision we make defines what we are, regardless of doubts. Tomorrow you will again find yourself making a new plan, and a new decision; that leads to another new you.
But remember, in every new you have never been an accident, and shall never be.
Like a mellow yellow leaf silently following the cool autumn breeze. No one knows when and where it will fall down to the ground. But there is a fact between the two elements: they do not talk; they do not ask; all they knew was it is how it is. An unpredictable rhythm of life, a beat of possibilities, a string of limitless possibilities.
Life is like a piece of an incomplete puzzle people have this attitude where we assume things, where we guess when we are uncertain. But only a complete puzzle is sure. No matter how well our plans; how sure we are with our conclusions, the future would still possibly surprise us with ironies; disappointments and rejections. So, what’s the real deal? Your ability to face what lies ahead; how open minded and courageous are you in dealing changes. Positivity and adoptability would help you overcome future challenges.
A picture will be captured only after the shot. A colorful and complete image of what you are. So why settle to a half mirage you, when the other half lies ahead of you. Henceforth, look straight ahead and walk not backward but forward; for this how we are designed. Leaving us with this saying: what I am today, might possibly not what I am tomorrow; what I think today might possibly not what I think tomorrow, for there is no such thing as constant in this world but only change.