The streets you‘re walking on, a thousand houses long, and that’s where I belong, and you belong with me, not swallowed in the sea.
Swallowed in the Sea
In an earlier post in this blog I briefly discussed the work of Viktor Frankl and his thoughts on the search for meaning. In the Christmas Eve episode of the podcast I discussed the religious quest for answers. As I was walking home from the library today, clutching three good books and a film that promises to be part of Monday’s podcast, I was contemplating my own quest for identity. There is a transition point in most people’s lives where they go from being a learner to being a doer. The Coldplay song I have quoted deals with that question by positing ways that a person could carve out their niche in the world. Others are always asking me, “so what will you do now? What are you doing now? What’s the plan?” and obviously I can’t answer them. I could say, oh I’m writing a blog, I’m making a podcast, I’m recording music, and I’m exploring the world as much as I can. That doesn’t get to the meaning of their question I’m sure, but it does speak to my current hunt for an identity. Although in the podcast I talked about the search for meaning as a fundamental experience of life, the quest for identity is arguably more important. I think most people can live without a meaning in life if they have a sense of who they are and how they fit. I guess the two ideas are intertwined in that in order to have an identity you must find some meaning in who you are, and vice versa.
The only reason I can really sit and question my own identity is because I have free time. Having nothing to do is the fertile soil in which philosophy grows. I’m sure if I had 100 things t accomplish I would not give myself a second thought. Things would just be as they are. It’s funny actually, because I spent many years studying other people’s ideas about identity and answers to the qeustion of meaning without ever fully developing my own. The tendency to ignore your own thoughts when learning those of others can be one of the challenges of education. It doesn’t have to be that way of course, and I would say that my experiments with writing and music stand as an example of my own seeking during my formative years. But can I find my identity in lines of melody and text? My girlfriend said to me the other day (in reference to some other band’s song), that she liked their music because it was clear what it was about. She continued by telling me that my songs were incomprehenisble and confusing, though she still liked them. I am open to that criticism and I’ve said before that the songs don’t always make sense to me at first. But I’ve lost my way a bit here. I think identity is something best understood in retrospect because in the moment it’s hard to see clearly what is really going on. Regardless it’s important to me that I look. How about you?