SUNDAY, 4 JULY 1999
Why is identity so important? You are an individual entity with an awareness of its own self. To be part of any community, you need to know yourself. You have to make choices in a variety of situations, and you should at least have somewhat of an idea why you make those specific decisions. This decision-making process affects your personality, and your personality is an essential part of this process. The development of a pattern is also revealed. Tomorrow you have to make the same type of decisions, or you have to make similar choices. So as to not completely estrange yourself from other people, there must be some degree of consistency between you-of-yesterday and you-of-today.
Identity is also a useful tool in the process of distinguishing between yourself and your environment. You are, after all, not a tree, and you’re not a dog or a garbage truck. You must know how and where you fit in your immediate environment, and in the greater reality, otherwise you won’t know what steps you need to take for the sake of self-preservation and survival.
Consider the situation in a theatre – people in the audience and the actors on stage. The individual members of the audience know the rules of the situation. They know the limits they can go to, and they know their place in the immediate vicinity (the theatre where the play will be performed). They won’t, for example, put their person in danger or put themselves in an embarrassing situation by jumping on stage and start slapping the actors (unless it’s an awful piece and you feel you’ve wasted your money).
To experience a sensation that you belong in a certain place or among a certain group of people means that your identity is most likely acceptable to others in the area. To feel that you belong somewhere also makes you feel safe, and it gives you a sense of self-worth.
On a more personal note, if it is so important for the individual’s well-being to feel that he belongs somewhere, I am doing myself great harm by keeping myself from fulfilling this need. In other words, if the conscious withholding of life-sustaining elements – such as to disrupt the flow of oxygen (by gassing yourself) or blood (by cutting your wrists) – amounts to suicide, then I am slowly choking myself to death, so to speak.
SUNDAY, 11 JULY 1999
A few points:
1) Working hard and knowing there’s cash in the pipeline promotes a sense of well-being. It also makes you unaware of certain things, or it reduces your awareness of it.
2) Rome was not built in a day. If you buy a house, you don’t automatically get closets full of bedding and piles of ornaments and children and a dog and a lawnmower. What will ultimately be a warm and pleasant home is built over a long period of time.
3) Success does not necessarily follow a chronological order of events. In many cases it is two steps forward and one and three-quarter steps back. But in the end you have visited all the important places on the journey, and when you open your eyes one day, you find yourself in a more pleasant situation.
Don’t worry if you don’t always follow a well thought-out plan. Just starting somewhere and then moving from one completed task to the next is better than deferring action until a perfect plan has been formulated.
Lastly, if your mood is already on the pale side, make sure you at least have clean underwear.