Who are you?
Author: Mohammed Nazari
Often we introduce ourselves with names and designations that 1. traditionally is used or 2. how we would like to be known E.g., I was born in Iran (now proudly Canadian), I do blogging on "Thinking 101", I am a Physical Therapist, I like running.
Although this is a very quick way of introducing myself, it is imperative to differentiate between:
1. Inherited identity (Iranian)
**The race, gender or religion we are born into, or history of our family and country; are factors that we have no control on. And although can "potentially" reveal some of our characteristic, it is not a definite ground for judging someone. After all as we grow "we decide" who we are and "not the factors that are out of our control or our surroundings"
One can't be proud nor ashamed of their Inherited identity since they have had no role in making it anyway. So you can't blame nor praise me for being born in Iran with an old history and crappy government.
Funny and sad enough wars happen because countries blame each other for what their previous generations did to each other.
Another example is the British Royal family. I do not understand why they and their children should be considered as kings and queens while they have not done anything special to be considered special.
2. Acquired identity (Blogging on "Thinking 101")
**This is who I am. The values that I have and my actions.
One should be valued or discredited for their own achievements, where they started, versus where they are and heading to. I chose to blog in order to pay my dues to my society. This is who I am, and should be praised or blamed for my values and own actions and not for the history of my country of birth or my name that was given to me by my parents.
One should mainly be praised or blamed for their 'Acquired and not Inherited identity"
3. Our interests (running)
**I enjoy running and find it healthy to the extent that I do it. But I should not be categorized as a runner. I am not an elite runner nor too crazy about it. I run only if the weather is perfect:)
4. What we do as a job/profession (Physical Therapist)
**I chose to become a Physical Therapist mainly by choice, and partly by luck. However I do believe in it strongly and am very passionate about it.
The type of sport, profession, body type, the way we dress, friends we have, type of car we drive, can partly express who we are as a person.
Very commonly we confuse the above four categories and draw wrong conclusions, treating people wrongly.
For example Muslims or even non Muslims who looked like Osama Bin Laden were treated poorly right after the 911 attack.
Or in a party I got to know this gentleman who was a serious cyclist, when he came to know I run, got mad at me because runners run on the street where it is allocated to the bikers, making it unsafe for them. He had a hard time talking to me and I believe he thought poorly of me and did not want to talk to me anymore.
In Iran where a strong class system exists, often people judge each other on multiple different grounds that are out of one's control e.g. the city they were born in, how rich of a family one has, their family history and a lot more. Valuing Inherited identity versus valuing Acquired identity. This has become a social disaster that I will explain in another blog.
It is recommended to be careful on how we introduce ourselves or view others, e.g. don't call yourself a runner unless you believe in all aspects of running including all its pros and cons. In my case I run as a sport and I am not a runner while I am a Physical Therapist by heart and believe in it as it being a very helpful profession in helping our society. I am not an Iranian, but was born in Iran, carrying an expired Iranian passport:) while the most important characteristic of me is my blogging.
I can be praised or blamed for being a Physical therapist or Blogger and not for being
an Iranian nor a runner.