Posted : Friday, Oct 18, 2019 at 7:46am

Who Am I?

reflections of a human

At some point in one’s life one learns that they are human. Physiology is one reference to what it means to be human but we soon learn that there is something which separates one human from another. This is what one calls their identity.

Human Doings

So I have noticed that often when we meet new people, after stating our names the follow up question is normally: what do you do?

Of course as one becomes an adult, in this and any subsequent stage of life, most people have an occupation. This question maybe asked in order to find a topic of common interest but I can’t help but wonder why this one question has gained such importance. I am not saying it is a bad thing to ask this question. Rather in terms of my identity: am I what I do?

We tend to allow titles to make us feel like we are worthy of something. Is our worth as humans tied to what we do? Furthermore if I do nothing with my life am I now worth nothing? If so then does that mean that every human life has a price tag attached to it? I know these questions seem immoral especially in a world that has had (and many argue still does have) slavery. However one needs to be as honest as possible when exploring such topics.

One cannot deny that one does feel good when doing something they love. Often we do projects, we study and even work because it is something we feel within ourselves that we have to do. We attach objectives to each task; a goal we call our life’s purpose and if this is true then is what one does with their life not a part of their identity?

On the other hand I find it problematic if what one does becomes the ‘be all end all’ of their life. If we live in a world where many people specialize, then what happens when one is unable to carry on with one’s life work? Does this mean that you have now lost yourself; that you no longer have an identity? My answer is no because with or without work I am still me. Therefore the core of my identity does not rely on what I do.

Human Beings

The term ‘Being’ has two main definitions:

1. existence
2. The nature of a person
[Oxford English Dictionary]

This means that you are who you are by virtue of existing. Therefore as a being your existence is not necessarily reliant on what you do. However there is still the question of one’s nature.

‘Nature’ in the context of the topic at hand is defined as: the typical qualities or characteristics of a person or thing.

This means that without having to do anything your identity lies in who you are. This takes us back to the first part of this article but I believe this was a necessary step to show the thought process of one gets to this point.

I have often seen this question being thrown around and it is as follows:

‘Who are you when no one is watching you?’

This question is relevant because it shows that the essence of ones being lies in something much deeper. It means that more than what we do, more than who our friends and family are, there is something much more truthful about who each individual is and finding this truth is the true answer to the question one might ask themselves, the answer to:

Who am I?

back to posts