New approach – commitment – accept yourself


A new approach?

I hear there’s cool Mexican hip-hop, but even if I buy some of it there will still be cool Uzbek music that I’ll never hear. And even if I get to listen to some of it, I’ll never be an Uzbek. And even if I marry an Uzbek woman and live in India, I will never be Indian. And even if we immigrate to America, I will never be a born and bred American. And even if I live in New York City for thirty years, I will never be a Frenchman. And even if I live in Paris, I will never live in Sweden. And even if I live in Stockholm for ten years, I will never live in Japan during the fourteenth century …

Precondition for commitment: Once you accept that you are a particular human being, you can commit yourself to a particular kind of life.


Accept yourself – even if it’s only to save time

I accept the particularity of my background. I think and write most of the time in Afrikaans, my skin is “white”, my facial features mainly dictated by the genes I have received from my mostly Germanic ancestors.

I can change how I look. I can even be difficult and abandon my linguistic background – because I have not chosen it, and force myself to think and write only in English. I can be even more radical and choose another language (other than English), master this language, and eventually think and write exclusively in that language. At the end of such a process – that will take years of hard work – I will be a splendid example of a so-called self-made man.

However, I am willing to forgo such a radical process for the sake of time and energy, and largely accept the particularity of my physical appearance, my mother tongue and cultural background as they stand, and to regard these things as good enough instruments to facilitate the process of self-discovery and self-invention.