But the words ran together
Leaving him without their meaning
A scrambled egg and a mother’s milk,
Some caffeine to jangle the sensibility;
One screaming head line
To act as spur
Set him afoot and restless in our
“Would we really know ourselves?”
Here, shake hands with the devil.
His hoof is heavy on my foot.”
Identity. Although we can see its outlines in five year olds beginning to mix and match themselves with their kindergarten peers, it’s not until twelve or so that we begin to engage that notion with some serious attention.
At that point we have some personal history that we can remember and recognize as our own. Heading into later adolescence and young adulthood the question occupies more and more of our mental and emotional space.
If, however, we could observe ourselves in that process of discovery we might make a reasonable case for declaring that our identity is the interactive sum of what we think, and what we do: that is, for the most part, ideas and habits.
From that perspective the glitter looses some of its shine. Ideas and habits? Is that really all there is to it? How personal is that? Personal? Personality? But what is Personality beyond what we can assess in one of the very many standardized Personality Assessments, and what exactly is being assessed?
Perhaps personality describes the “interactive” process, the what and how we do whatever it is that we do with our ideas and habits? Is that the process that determines what we value?
H.M. nibbled at his breakfast, the egg, turned once over light, the toast, covered with a thin veneer of creamy peanut butter, and a bit of raspberry jam. The coffee, strong, with sugar and cream.
Sometimes he felt that he could literally look ‘into’ the day. Almost like a movie, he could visualize his office cubicle, the other people, his would be colleagues, jiggling the financial information provided by potential home buyers.
At sixteen, he would have bet his life that he would never be earning a living this way. ‘I guess I lost that bet,’ he thought.
And then the wondering, rambling, twisting synapse clicking process would begin again, and his cubicle became a raft, the floor of his office, a quiet bay, like the bay where he had spent summer after summer as a boy.
The thought, the memory of the warm sun, the hot sand, the water shallow enough to let him turn his raft upside down and splash along, pushing it, kicking and laughing, softened his mood.
He was ready, to get ready, to go to work.