existence, the serch for identity

Essay by Anonymous UserHigh School, 11th gradeA-, January 1996

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For centuries man has grappled with the riddle of what it means to be a

person. But the questions Who is man? and What is the meaning of life? are

still unanswered. Yet, while man is still a long way from arriving at any

acceptable definitions, there is deep within everyone the hint of an idea of

what it means to be a whole person, that is happy, functioning and fulfilled.

So, throughout history man has made a continuous search to find out what

makes him whole. Every person is different so the special situation in which

one person finds fulfillment can't work for everyone. But in the lives of those

who have found fulfillment there is a universal pattern. The universal pattern

is that those who have found fulfillment have had a willingness to accept

change and take risks. Conversely, those who have not found wholeness are

characterized by an unconquerable desire to be safe, to be out of danger and

to avoid risk.

The first step in the search for identity is to answer the question, How

do you see yourself? In the play No Exit by Jean Paul Sartre Estelle loses

sight of her identity. She says 'When I can't see myself, I begin to wonder if

I really and truly exist.' What a man sees himself as in the mirror largely

determines his actions during the day. Estelle had to look into the 'mirror' of

men to confirm her identity. A man is the number one determining factor in

discovering who he is. Each individual must understand that he is responsible

for his own pain, misery, unhappiness, or for his own joy. Man is not a

product of what people have done or are now doing to us. Man has the

power to become whatever he...