How much of the way you live your life is because of the environment you live in as opposed to being true manifestations of your identity? How many of your beliefs and personality characteristics are simply necessary due to the world we live in? It’s a weird question, so let me try and help using myself as an example.
I enjoy nice things. I drive a 335i. I carry a William Henry knife. I wear a Submariner. I’m also proud of my career in information security, and of the skills I’ve attained in that field. And I love mixed martial arts.
Is this me, or is this me as I think I need to be given a crude, primal world?
How would your personality be different if you were not competing for a mate? What if you didn’t have to work, and were free to do whatever you wanted with your time? How about if there were no violence in the world? Or if we as humans weren’t such emotional animals.
If the answer is that you would be different, and perhaps to a large extent, then are we not living a false identity? Are we not 95% external-interface and 5% real? Think of the waste this causes in terms of creativity and exploration.
Who are you, really?
I think I’d be far more intellectual, and far less aggressive. And it bothers me that my identity is based on my surroundings. I mean, sure, that’s just reality. We are forged by our surroundings, but I don’t like when it serves as overhead to true progress.
Ok, final thought: make a list of attributes that describe you (or you wish described you). Here’s mine:
- male / masculine
- aggressive / strong
So the game is to start taking things away from this list, least-important to most-important, until only the most core things to your identity remain. The things you decide to keep say a lot about who you are, or at least who you want to be.
The question then for yourself is, “is that the person I should be trying to be?”.