Monday, March 05, 2007

What Defines Us?

Photo: Sascha Hüttenhain

I attended a conference recently in Edinburgh where I had the opportunity to present some of my research. A frequent question asked of me on that day 'what is it you do?'. There was apparent confusion amongst the intellectual gathering when I gave the glib reply of 'well right now, breathing'. This was not the required answer or desired response as it didn't aid those making the enquiry as to my role, function or reason for being. I wasn't deliberatly trying to be obtuse but was somewhat annoyed that those in attendance need to establish some sort of credibility reference frame rather than just accepting the status quo at the time. Namely, I am who I am and I'm here because I'm here.

On the train journey home I began to think more about the question put to me and how my sense of belonging was being mapped out through defined descriptors attached to me by others. Is our existance given meaning by what we do, by what we own, say or look like. I would say that it is the intersection of these categories that may define us. I realise that this is far from revelatory and that there are dedicated sites for delving deeper into such topics. Its just an aspect of my persona that values the importance of learning, exploring, and widening my breadth of knowledge through sound questioning and reflection. Perhaps due to the fact that in the past, I was to busy try to find meaning in the 'what?' rather than the 'why?'.

Photo: Sascha Hüttenhain

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