The mad race for identity

by Matheus Yuhlung

From artistic idiosyncrasies to philosophical inclinations, occupational preferences to educational choices; the existential notion that all that exists is meaningless until a meaning is explicitly assigned to it, seems to have gripped us more tightly than we’ve imagined. Is it really necessary that we should be constantly defined by what we pursue in life?

When Alexander asked a group of Jain philosophers why they were neglecting to pay any attention to the great conqueror (Alexander was clearly disappointed by these Indian philosophers’ lack of interest in him), he received the following forceful reply:

“King Alexander, every man can possess only so much of the earth’s surface as this we are standing on. You are but human like the rest of us, save that you are always busy and up to no good, travelling so many miles from your home, a nuisance to yourself and to others! … You will soon be dead, and then you will own just as much of the earth as will suffice to bury you.[i]

After removing Saul, he made David their king. God testified concerning him: ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart; he will do everything I want him to do.’[ii]

The first account is of a man who laboured all his life to earn an identity he desired most, and at the hands of a few he was ridiculed for this very achievements. The second is an account of a man, who laboured all his life trying to do the will of God. This second man is now praised throughout the world, not only as one of the greatest kings to rule on earth but, as the father of a lineage that Christ chose for His human incarnation.

What we pursue in life really does matter. No man can confine himself to the lifestyle of a recluse, as the very act of inactivity is an activity in itself. So, if we were destined to labour under the sun and if every labour of ours forms the very foundations of our identities, why shouldn’t we labour for Christ? Christ who not only laboured in His great love for us while He was on earth, but who is still even now labouring for us, by pleading our case to God[iii]. I believe He deserves all our sweat, attention, and the association of our identities with Him.

[i] Identity and Violence – Amartya Sen (Pg 54, Penguin Publication, 2006)

[ii] Acts 13:22 (NIV)

[iii] 1 John 2:1

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Acknowledgment: I’d like to thank Andrew from smallsmilingprincess for helping me with my grammatical mistakes. I’d also like to thank God for this blessing He has bestowed upon me through him.