The Self, the Identity, the Choice, the You

Literature or Something Like It

Imagine yourself in a cafe somewhere, waiting to meet your long-time Internet pal. You met her on a World of Warcraft quest and you enjoyed her company immensely that you decide to bring your relationship to a different level – the three-dimensional kind, non-virtual kind. You wait for her and imagine how you’d introduce yourself to her. Right now, you are more than just a game character. You are you.

Then it hits you, I am me, you think to yourself. I am a student, a dozen or so virtual game characters, a son, a lousy basketball player, a physics marvel. I am a lot of me’s simultaneously. How do I get all that across on the first date? Who am I really, generally?

You panic. you remember that you are also an extremely shy guy, and decide that meeting her wasn’t really a good idea after all. You start to head for the door.

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Very few are the instances wherein one can write about the self and not be tagged as vain or narcissistic. But we are here, you and I, with a tacit agreement not to talk about the parts of the self that needn’t be discussed at length, like what ice cream flavor goes hand-in-hand with one’s favorite episode of Bob’s Burgers on a cold night. We are here to discuss the deeper sensibilities of the self, the parts that are (hopefully) not meant to induce an aneurism to the most convenient human being around, which is (surprise, surprise) you. And so I write about the superstar of the self, the identity. She is that sensual lady with the red stilettos and the amazing curves that clings to the arms of the balding, middle-aged man of the self, who dictates how the world views the person she’s in, and how that person views the world, respectively.

Before that sensual lady becomes what she is in all her splendor, she was the adorable little girl.  The identity, like all things within the self, has to be nurtured and be taken care of.  Since it is an integral part of who we are as a whole, it is important that it grows and matures with us. There are influences that play a major role in the development of one’s identity, starting from one’s childhood. We’ll delve into these influences in another post.

The identity, like art, is also a tool for change. It may be used for positive and negative means. We see it all the time, this here truth, when a politician, corrupt and involved in drug trafficking, pays the local media to build him up to the masses as an all-saving superhero, who will deliver the country from poverty. His or her identity is being morphed into something bigger, something greater in scope, the development of a persona that will inevitably result in deception. But every now and again, a single individual decides to become an inspiration to those around him and molds his identity into someone worthy of being followed – of being thought of in good light; someone who is worth listening to and the end result will lead to positivity and progress. That person has served his identity well, and vice versa.

A person’s identity may be the result of traditional, cultural, situational and spiritual factors. It may arise and harden from conflict, from hardships, from trials. Whatever a person’s identity is, it will always be dependent on one key factor, which is choice. We humans are given the great gift of free will, or free choice, and our identities are tied to the choices we make.

Choice. It’s free and it’s beautiful. Prettier than the prettiest woman you know, it is.

So now that you have an idea about who you are, you may want to reflect upon it before you scurry out that door. You’ll see that you’re not that bad, and is worthy of becoming anyone’s friend. Extremely shy? This may help.  It’s about how faith can move mountains of shyness. If you have faith that you can be a very good friend even outside of a quest, then read away and take your seat. Your friend should be there any moment now.

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On Pat Robertson’s Definition of Death and a Requisite Infuriation

News, Events and Second Glances

About four decades and five years ago, you held her hand for the first time. Though she used to work a 16-hour shift at the diner and bustling tables hardened her hands, you still managed to grasp it with such love that it bordered on devotion.

Today, you approach her as she sits in a corner of one nursing home in Flushing. You hold her now thin, veiny hands that mirrors your own. You greet her, introducing yourself, saying that you are Tom, and that you are her husband of 45 years. You tell her that you have three kids, a teacher, a clerk, and a soldier. She withdraws her hand and says nothing. She asks you to sit down, because you are now, as she puts it, Mister, and she wants to talk to you about the woman who shares her room with her, because she woke her up today with her atrocious yelling.

You do this everyday. You plead to your knees and joints to not give you problems so that you can go to your wife, who’s probably just had her breakfast by this time, and see her and talk to her. Everyday you remind her of who you are, and tend to her needs with whatever it is that you can do. Mostly, you just want to be near her. Like the way you’d wait for her outside that diner many years ago. It’s that simple.


The story above is, of course, fictional. I do not know a respectable man named Tom nor his adorable wife. But then again, there’s always a possibility that this happened or is still happening in real life, with different subjects and a hopefully, a better, more “awww”-inducing plot.

Sadly, on the non-fictional front, a caller goes on live television to seek TV evangelist Pat Robertson’s advice about a friend, whose wife is stricken with severe dementia. The caller’s friend has blamed God about his wife’s condition. This is probably why he is now dating another woman.

Courtesy of abcnews on Youtube.com

Out of infuriation, I don’t know how to start with this one, so let’s just enumerate the important parts of Pat Robertson’s advice to his caller and make the necessary commentary, shall we? Quotes from Robertson were taken from this article.

1.     “This is a terribly hard thing. I hate Alzheimer’s. It is one of the most awful things, because here’s the loved one — this is the woman or man that you have loved for 20, 30, 40 years, and suddenly that person is gone.”

Okay. Rebuttal.

Is the person really gone? Granted, your husband or wife cannot remember who you are, or the things that you’ve been through. But the person you loved, and should still love, is not gone – he or she is there. The person may not be able to recognize you, but that doesn’t mean that their need for someone to step up and love them unconditionally is gone.

2.     “I know it sounds cruel,” but if he’s going to do something, he should divorce her and start all over again, but to make sure she has custodial care, somebody looking after her.”

Again. Rebuttal.

A preacher is a person who’s supposed to be the voice of morality and biblical wisdom. Pat Robertson claims that he is one, but his actions disprove this. True, the complete lack of memory of a loved one can be a major toll emotionally, mentally and physically, but is this enough to leave him or her for someone else? More importantly, is this enough reason to put the blame on God?

In my opinion, trying to forget the fact that your loved one, that one person you took a vow with on your wedding day, who has forgotten everything due to a debilitating disease, not only sounds cruel. It definitely is.

3.     “This is a kind of death.”

Yes. Rebuttal.

In this scenario, what is death? Robertson attempts to rationalize his saying that the caller’s friend should divorce the wife whose suffering from dementia. He says that this disease is a kind of death anyway. So according Robertson, the husband will not be committing adultery, because the wife may be considered dead.

In what universe does involuntary memory loss equates to a kind of death? How many kinds of death are there really?

Bro. Eli Soriano, a TV Evangelist who unlike Pat Robertson uses the Bible to answer people’s questions, expounds on the two kinds of death – the physical and the spiritual, on his blog post about how Adam died long before he actually died. Sounds confusing? Give this a read and you’ll find yourself learning who are dead in God’s sight.

I hopped from one blog to the next on his site and found some great topics that he actually touched. This one’s about marriage and fidelity and I find it to be apt in this situation, entitled Love is Lovelier the Second Time Around – With God. A piece of friendly advice to that man who has deserted his wife at her time of need, if your wife cannot remember you because of a disease that she did not choose for herself, be a man and make her fall in love with you everyday for the rest of your life.

My two-handed salute to the loving and caring partners of people suffering from Alzheimer’s. I know that what all of you are going through is not easy, but you are the small candles that light up the dark corners of a world where televangelists like Robertson condone infidelity for convenience’s sake.