I have a very unassuming, quick-response question.
Don’t ponder the answer; just blurt it out. Ready? (Um, that’s not the question.)
Here we go: “Who are you?”
At first blush, it’s such an innocuous query and our replies come by rote. We provide our name. But, in reality, that’s not accurate, because my name is not WHO I am, it’s WHAT I am called; it’s a label.
Okay, take it down a level: Who is — in my case — Scott Marcus?
Well, I could reply, “a man,” “father,” or even “American.” Those are all true — and actually more descriptive than responding with my name. They deliver more detail, but are still painfully vague. One person’s “man” creates images of football players, while another’s is an accountant, neither of which fit me. Piling on additional descriptors becomes the next step, “56 year old speaker, writer, father of two sons, married, lives in Eureka.”
Certainly this constructs a more vibrant portrayal, but it is still soooooo scratching the surface. For example, should I move from my coastal community to the Arizona desert, would I then be a different person? Better yet, am I still the same person I was a few years ago, or do every 365 days establish a new being?
Circumstances change, but that alone does not mean we are no longer who we were; there is a consistency that remains our core. These modifiers therefore, no matter how many we use, are not answering the core issue. Something lacks.