Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Identity Crisis

One day, I was having an identity crisis, so I decided to Google myself. There, split like a bunch of atoms into letters, was my name, and entries that seemed to
pertain to a person by my name.

But, factored into the mix were items that had nothing to do with me. There were other "Jayne Stahls." One could fill an entire ship with nothing other than the others who share my name.

It was then I wondered about this mysterious pronoun I've spent the better part of my life trying to avoid: "I." In this age of social networking, I wondered what will happen when there no longer are personal pronouns, when the whole world moves from "I" and "you," "us," and "them" to a simple "we."

Ultimately, isn't nationalism about a country's identity crisis? Would North Korea attack South Korea if there weren't a north and a south, a mine and yours? Would Sunnis and Shi'ites be at each other's throats if not for "mine" and "yours?"

And, when there is no other, how is it possible for a country, in the name of international nationalism, not to come up with one. Cannot every Afghani say, "I am the Taliban?"

Any quest for identity that begins and ends with how others define us is one that is destined to fail. Identity isn't about "I," it is about all of us.