EDITOR — On several occasions I have heard qualified medical practitioners and religious leaders telling people to just be themselves.
“Don’t try to be somebody else” they say.
I need to warn people against such misleading suggestions.
No one really knows who they are, so when you say to a person “be yourself” you are not helping at all.
Stuart Hall, Chenjerai Hove, Simon During, Brandon Meekers and several scholarly authorities have written on the subject of identities but up to now no solid theory or thesis has brought coherence or finality to the matter.
Sometimes we spend our entire lives trying to find ourselves. We try to discover our sexuality, spirituality, mentality etcetera but without success.
Our behaviour is merely the sum-total of what we were taught, what we observed and what we were socialised to believe in.
So don’t tell me to be myself, who am I?