V. The Truths We Live: Who We
The sense of innateness we create
‘Who We Are’ is a line drawn in the air, like a comet slowly trailing off as it arcs, in our care, toward completion. Its function as a line–who we are–is its most significant quality. Its purpose, after all, is to orient us in a vast space where Everything would otherwise run together like a painting on the wall that never dries. We stand within its boundaries, and as the world flows, attain a semblance of stability in Time.
Who We Are is a reason for all sorts of things. Though we create it, it serves as a causal force, a truth, for why the world “is” the way it is. I am like this, because that is how I am! I do this, because that is who I am! It makes action innate.
It does explain the world, however, inadvertently, in that, because we believe in it, act to reinforce it, the idea of it determines what we will try to do.
Figuratively speaking of course, in some places it starts toward a square, while, in others, a trapezoid is the ideal.
It would seem, then, that our truth, the story we spend our lives perfecting, depends. When we go somewhere else, we start to try to draw a different sort of line, and still somehow, at whatever point of it we have yet reached, who we are, like a painting that has tastefully ceased to unfold, is a claim of something fundamental. In the way that a whale is always a whale and not sometimes a cat, we use terms of permanence in the vastness, like clouds trying to be forever.
It would be easier to say: people change. This, after all, is another one of the Things We Already Know. But, the sense of permanence is where the idea of who we are starts. It is only on deeper consideration that the explanations for why people do what they do are placed in a more complex context than ‘its how they are’.
The places–the definitions–at which our thinking usually stops is the intellectual plateau on which policy is drafted, on which allegiances are decided. It is only sometimes that people remember that it depends, when humans will do this or that.
The lines we draw in the air of our imaginations to explain everyone are motivated by instincts other than clarity, that shape so much of what we do.
Like the bigger truth waiting behind the image of each person, we don’t see these motivations, our motivations, by default. We root ourselves amidst the motion of time, and think, with our portraits, we are upholding reality.