Who Are We And Who Are They?

The sun's glint beams on the South Pacific Ocean
The sun’s glint beams on the South Pacific Ocean by NASA Johnson is licensed under CC-BY-NC-ND 2.0

There is perhaps no part of the human experience than the search for identity, for meaning. Our over-achieving species of apes have collectively advanced to the point where we can look up at the stars and wonder if we are alone. We also have the tools to look back on the past and answer questions that were once unanswerable. In this vast and lonely universe, it is only natural that we ask ourselves what the meaning of all of this is.

Our search for meaning and belonging leads to us creating religions and cultures to define ourselves, as well as languages and borders. While we may like to think that we in the 21st century are enlightened and are beyond such petty concerns. The reactionary authoritarian forces at work in America and the tragic war in Ukraine say otherwise.

Our need to define ourselves brings with it a need to define the other. In doing so we create excuses to inflict horrible violence and deprivations. All of this, however, is a choice. We can choose to craft an identity for ourselves that is inclusive and welcoming, or we can choose to build a life founded on violence and hate.

I think it is because of this central search for meaning that I am so interested in the history of Eastern Europe. Us westerners can say with confidence that we all belong to countries that are at least a century old. Much of eastern Europe cannot say the same, their borders have been drawn and redrawn over the past two hundred years.

Because this search for identity is so fascinating and so central to the human experience it is an idea that I am working to explore in my own writing. You can follow my Worldanvil account if you want a look at the setting as it unfolds. And please reach out on Twitter if you like these short burst posts. I have a lot of fun writing them.

What existential ideas are you incorporating into your projects?

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