What is “Identity”? Why do we spend all our lives searching for this something called “Identity”? How do you measure yourself ? How do you define yourself ? These are some of the questions that have constantly nudged me from time to time. These unanswered questions have given me breathless nights, leaving behind an inexplicable hollowness inside me. A hollowness so deep, that I couldn’t fathom when did this all started. When was the first time I experienced this so called “existential crisis”, I really don’t remember that. But one thing I am sure about is they are lying behind me, these very thoughts have sheltered inside my body and it’s impossible now to get rid of them. I would have to live bearing this load of existence, like being aware of it every time, its subtleness and ephemeral nature and trying to make something out of it( In other words Identity Search).
Ever wondered the things around us play such a pivotal role, in how we define our Identity and how we see it and how those things shape our identity. Ever thought the things we use in our daily lives, that make our lives so convenient, play such a significant role in defining us? One of such things is: Mirrors. We decorate our houses with these pieces of glass, ignoring the power they hold.
Do you remember your first encounter with the mirror? When you stepped forward and saw a creature, the fine details, before which you only touched it and felt it, but didn’t know how it looked in front of eyes. I think neither anybody remembers of this first encounter nor the feeling of seeing themselves in person for the first time. It was just by seeing ourselves again and again, seeing that creature grow and noticing subtle differences with time that we became aware the truth. The truth of life and aging. Initially, as a child those encounters awed us and the mirror was just an object to play with, which in no time turned into finding oneself, and facing the reality in front of it. The world called us with different names but in front of mirror we were just “I“. “I” such a short and minimalistic word that defined our entire existence. We started measuring and judging ourselves with “I”. It was in every sentence: “I am beautiful”, “I am ugly”, “I am the best”, “I am a loser” and the worst case scenario came when we started saying “I am not good enough” , “I am less/more _____ than him/her”.
How much simple it could have been, if there were no mirrors? Imagine no mirrors and every body could see others but not themselves. That major obstacle of “self-consciousness” would be eradicated, people would be addressing the beauty and sadness of this world, nobody would be comparing themselves with others. The limits we set for ourselves would not be there. Our idenity would be simple as well as mysterious at the same time just like a white paper which is blank but holding so many possibilities at the same time.
The only spectators of our existence would be the other people. This shows how much our existence, our idenity depends upon the objects and people surrounding us. The things and people to whom we give importance play a very important role in defining us. These things whether it is a mirror, would either hold us back or would set us free. It’s now our choice, of who we give preference to and how much?
p.s. I am leaving this post till here. Still there is so much to talk about, I would be editing this post from time to time. Till then, what do you think about “Identity”? Tell me your views in the comments.