Monday, April 24, 2017

Learning Who You Are

I blew it.  Had a nice quote, I think from the novelist Zadie Smith, quoting something from I think Salmon Rushdie, to the effect that we learn who we are from our actions. But I lost the citation, by which we can conclude that my identity is partially that of a slapdash reader with poor note-taking skills and worse memory.

Still I'll riff a bit on the idea: 
  •  Identity comes after we act.
  • As I grow old, I discover more things about myself, as I reconsider my memories, including whether they can be trusted.
  • Or maybe it's not "identity" but constructing the narrative of your life, like a childhood puzzle with a bunch of numbered dots on the page, where if you drew lines linking them in order you'd see a picture.
  • Perhaps typically "American", focusing on action, the pragmatism of acting as if you believe, which creates belief.
[Updated: found it at the World Bank, of all places.  Here's the post.  The Bank is actually linking to a Financial Times report.  The text:

“There is a line of Salman Rushdie’s, I think it’s an essay, where he says: our lives teach us who we are.| And I think that’s the case. It’s not that you have a set identity, it’s that by your actions you find out what sort of person you are. And the news is not always…lovely.”  ]

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