Lose yourself, or be yourself …

TUESDAY, 7 SEPTEMBER 2004

00:40

If anyone should ask me what the result is of ten years of thinking and writing about “things”, I would at first want to mention several themes. In practical terms however it comes down to an increasing conviction that I now understand how things work, that I am ready to move on. Also, that the day-to-day struggle for survival, for satisfying needs is a game in which I do not really want to participate anymore. What almost seems like a suicide wish is rather what I now call withdrawal – to “die” as participant in this world. Although the idea, superficially seen, is attractive – no more arguments or explanations, no more conventions or rules, I still hesitate at the crossroads: withdraw, or get involved?

(And then there is the possibility that the last five or ten years of my life – my last year in Stellenbosch, two years in Korea, and so far almost six years in Taiwan, can in a way be seen as my withdrawal from the world.)

A few months ago, I said: Find yourself.

Now I say: Lose yourself, or be yourself for a good cause.

08:19

What would your personality, your identity, who and what you are, look like if it were not built on fear – fear of want, fear of poverty, fear of death, fear of pain, and fear of loneliness?

14:16

Again, if you eventually get to the point where you declare that you know who you are, and you know why you are this person and not someone or something else, you may also realize that the search for your “real, anonymous self” has only just started.

You then stand before a choice: reduce the necessity to be who you are now – for the sake of functioning in a particular environment – by withdrawing from the world (relatively speaking); or, choose and start fulfilling a role (with the conscious knowledge that it is a role), and apply your knowledge, your experience, your skills and your personality in a way that gives your life value in a particular environment and at a particular time in world history.

In other words: Be who you are (now), for the sake of a good cause.

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