“Stop worrying about your identity and concern yourself with the people you care about, ideas that matter to you, beliefs you can stand by, tickets you can run on. Intelligent humans make those choices with their brain and hearts and they make them alone. The world does not deliver meaning to you. You have to make it meaningful.”
~ Zadie Smith ~
While I agree with what I have concluded to be the gist of this statement -only we are responsible for lending/creating/imagining/discovering/etc. a meaning to living, there are certain conceptualizations with which I am not in agreement. (There, of course, is a good chance that I am reading too much into the intended message of the assertion quoted here. Still, I am set out to indulge myself in some furthering thoughts. I want to hope you will bear with me.)
Firstly, the reference to “identity” seems to be rashly dismissed. Is it not one’s identity that -in its evolving states -is the most essential work we have upon us, for us? A look at the Identity Theory brings to our attention; or rather, re-introduces the concept of “Consciousness“. How would we arrive at the capable state of ‘concerning’ ourselves “with the people [we] care about”, if we were to “[s]top worrying about [our] identity […]”? Is it possible for an individual to achieve ‘consciousness’ regarding others, if s/he were not aware of the self in the first place?
Then, there is the reference to “[i]ntelligent humans” who are singled out in their ability to “make [t]he world meaningful”, but, who is intelligent, according to which standards, according to whom, where? “The world”, after all, does not comprise a singular entity. From various regions of the globe, sets of established communities of the field of psychology have had and continue to have ongoing debates on the subject of Human Intelligence. Under their work of expertise, multiple theories have been conceived, designed, refined and advanced upon. None is a closed case as far as evidencing unanimously, let alone throughout the entire world what ‘human intelligence’ is, nor can such finding be claimed when the numerous past decades are concerned.
I believe many of us would agree that [t]he world does not deliver meaning to [us]” and that “[we] have to make it meaningful.” However, the contention that such outcome depends on the intelligence of an individual appears to be an exclusionary thought process at its best.
Too psychological of a commentary? Perhaps. Then again, perhaps not. Would you like to spend some thought on it and then share your deliberations for all the readers’ sake but also for mine?