are we who pretend to be and how can we be anything else?

I just read an article in the New Yorker about a kid who was an honor student who turned into being a hitman for drugrunners and gangs. It’s interesting because of how he sees himself, how he views what he had done, and how he could, until the last hit, ethically account for what he was. The article talks about how nice, laid back kind of guy he was. He how viewed himself, his internal narrative, that after all that he was still a nice laid back guy who did what he had to do, until that last hit.

I’ve been thinking a lot about people who consider themselves nice guys, who try and paint themselves and their internal narratives as good people, even though they do things that are way outside the norm for what we consider nice and etc and etc, how do they keep their internal narratives intact? And how do they project themselves in such a way that people believe these narratives? How do we define we are, when against all odds what we do contradicts that so completely? Can we struggle to find absolution from the crimes of the past, or do (as Sartre says) our actions define us, that our actions make us who we are end stop no going back no changing? Do we constantly redefine ourselves and our narratives through actions?

I touch on this a bit in my review of Every Love Story is a Ghost Story for Zouch. It’s an interesting idea to me, how do we tell the stories of who we are, and how does are actions reflect that, and in what ways do we bend our truths to to further line up with this narrative? Are other people’s definition of us as important or more important than our own definition? What does being a good person really mean? How can we escape the actions of our past the actions of our future and not let them corrupt what we consider ourselves to be?

Makes me want to plunge into an idea again, about serial killers, road trips, and maybe somehow people who keep defining themselves in the light of who they want to be, no matter how often their actions contradict these things.

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4 thoughts on “are we who pretend to be and how can we be anything else?

  1. For Sartre, though, our actions define us, but our history does not. We are what we do, not what we have done, in short. It is not until death that the facticity of our identity becomes immutable.

  2. Ah, gotcha. It’s a line of thought I find appealing, so I just wanted to clarify.

    Also, “The Stepfather” is so relevant to this that it almost goes without saying, but I’m saying it anyway because Terry O’Quinn is a badass.

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