Thursday, May 05, 2005

Who are you?

Something that needs to be rescured from the memory hole.

Who Are You?

My name is Peter.
If you went to Nicaragua, you'd be called Pedro. Are Pedro and Peter one person or two?
One, because I am only who I am.
Are you a name?
No, of course not.
Then who are you?
I am a man.
You mean you are not a woman?
No. I mean that I am a man.
But you are only a man because you are not a woman.

Who are you?
I am an Englishman.
If you went to Japan, would you be a Japanese man?
Because I was born in England and I speak English.
If you had been born in England but raised in China, would you be Chinese or English?
I would be English.
Oh, then, you are not a person, rather you are a country.

Who are you?
I am the grandson of a famous Arctic explorer. He returned from the North Pole with a frozen polar bear in the hull of his ship.
And which do you think you are defined more by, your grandfather or the polar bear?
How could I be defined by my family? I'm just me.
Then you are more like a polar bear?

No. I am an intelligent, accomplished man. That's what everyone says.
Now, let me see: you are Peter who is intelligent and accomplished and special because your grandfather was a famous Arctic explorer. What else sets you apart?
My youngest daughter is a world-class gymnast and my mother died when I was a child.
Ah, you are Peter the tragic, Peter the successful. Which would you say is the real you: a motherless son or the father of a successful daughter?
Both are within me.
What do you mean?
When you say they are within you, are they closer to your head or your toes?
Closer to my heart.
It's a feeling?
How big is it?
I'm not sure.
What color is it?
It doesn't have a color.
A form?
But it's inside you?
If we cut open your heart, could we see it?
I don't suppose so.
Then where is it?
I don't know.
Are you sure it is inside you?
Where else could it be?

Come here. Look in the mirror. Do you see intelligence? grandfather? accomplishment? gymnast?
Do you see English?
Do you see Peter?
I don't know.
Good. Now we can begin.

Who are you?

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