Sunday, September 11, 2011

Identification With Form

Amidst all the shopping, it is easy to lose your identity and start assigning yourself to objects.

Pretty soon, Tyler Durden is right.

"The things you own, end up owning you."

We are not our smartphones. We are not our bank account, the clothes we wear, the people we fuck. We are not our jobs. We are not who we know, or even what we know.

The thing with identity is that it is entirely egotistical. All of it. We latch on to certain words and definitions, and we become it.

When I write about people - and most of my writing is about people or people-centric, I have often encountered the problem that 800 words cannot fully capture the essence of a person. Or 1000. Or 10,000.

Words are basically labels. How does one write the soul in shorthand?

How can you not include the fixed, glassy gaze as well as his CV in an article? Or the fact that at some point in his life, this person was both a villain and a hero to a seemingly insignificant little bug?

The tics. Not ticks. Tics. Facial expressions, the way the pupils go wide or narrow, depending on whether they like what they see, or remember? The tone of voice that carries with it a resignation to a well-rehearsed speech?

It used to drive me crazy. And I probably was. Probably am.

My parents are married for 46 years, and they do not know each other. 46 years. A lifetime. Longer than mine. If you can't know a person in 46 years, what hopes do 800 words have?

So we go back to labels. And words are just that, as I said just now. It is an entirely imperfect system.

Oh well. Time to restore contacts to my new Blackberry! Yay!