I am not, what you therefore think I am

Because I am not a ‘Being’ but in the constant flux of ‘Becoming’ which precedes my ‘Being’
"Being and becoming is relational and not a situational or a locational process. It is a dynamic exchange of fairness not necessarily a business of good and/or bad."
"Being and becoming is relational and not a situational or a locational process. It is a dynamic exchange of fairness not necessarily a business of good and/or bad."Special arrangement


Being and becoming has been a question engaging the thinkers and philosophers, both religious and non-religious alike, since times immemorial.

But one might ask what relation does this question have with our everyday living? Starting with ancient philosophy, longwinded with who got it right? Parmenides’ -”what is-is” Or Ephesus’--only things of permanence in this world are change and becoming? It’s easy to get tangled up in these questions, but engagement with these basic questions do have effects on our daily lives and our awareness.

In short one would ask what is important ‘being’ or ‘becoming’? By being I mean opinionated and by becoming, I mean the cause of being as said by Jean Paul Sartre.

Moving straight to Rene Descartes who is well recognised for his axiom, “I think, therefore I am”. But one wonders, is the mere act of thinking significant or the nature or the calibre of that thinking, when we talk of everyday thinking, that has direct and proportionate relationship with our ontological and epistemological being or becoming.

By ontological I refer to the position in society like student-senior/junior, researcher, or citizen for that matter. By epistemological, I refer to source-based understanding/awareness of my existence and society in general thereof.

Being and becoming is relational and not a situational or a locational process. It is a dynamic exchange of fairness not necessarily a business of good and/or bad.

It is the process of constant and consistent dialogue. To use the phrase of famous historian, Arnold Toynbee, it is a “challenge and response interaction.

My existence is a mere battleground of my becoming-“learning and un-learning is wrestling there—like a challenge and response-- that will ultimately decide my being and becoming too, and the story will then get completed. Till then, please bear with me or instead evaluate me and suggest how to improve myself because I am becoming which precedes my being.

I wish I could turn back the clock to interact with my seniors qualitatively and not quantitively as that would have shaped or unshaped me more potentially.

I have retired those days and I don’t want my youngsters to follow the suit instead ask me which books I read and challenge my understanding of the readings with yours because you are fresh and dynamic with ideas and neuro-divergent too and I, on the other hand, am neuro-typical like a particle of dust on the ground. Enlighten with me a source-based understandings and I will respond with source-based responses.

This way you will not only be helping me with learning and but also unlearning, and therefore my becoming. Please don’t ask when I graduated or why didn’t I qualify NET or for JRF?  one of my acquaintances said that these questions are lowering her IQ!  but my dears my IQ level is not as fragile as, to come down to the ground just by questions. Questions are the keys of unfolding behind which treasures are hidden. But these questions will not help my growth and development as a learner or un-learner but may make my becoming more fragile and society thereof.

I have high expectations of my seniors. Dears you are very kind and compassionate, and I must thank you for that. I owe you a huge respect. Please be a little kinder with ‘me’ I will be highly obliged.

Your academic kindness is due episteme of my being and becoming. If I have not read what you have read. Don’t rush with your opinionation but just do me academic piercing and generate my interest.

If there is something called Sadq-e-Jariyah (stream of rewards), then there can also be Gunah-e-Jairah (stream of un-rewards). Please don’t fake your academic kindness as it will be doing more damage than being unkind. Karma says that what we do in society will come back to us and because with us is also being and becoming of society, and society is all of us taken collectively

We all owe each-other something as members of a society, that something is kindness and only kindness.  I am not an island I exist in milieu-society- that society is yours as much as it is mine and of everyone else. With us is also society becoming and the continuum.

Ontologically help me to be kind, compassionate and humane. Epistemologically help me grow intelligent, scholarly, and advanced. Being is perhaps always disappointing because we always feel lacking one thing or the other whereas becoming is always brimming with hope -the hope of not being opinionated or orientalised at locale but the hope of improvement and abundance. Being is optional and becoming is essential.

I always ask myself a question, on daily basis. Who am I? Am I what my friends understand I am or what my adversaries, if any, think I am? Or does their understanding of me, of whatever nature, have any relation with my being or becoming or ‘I’ am just what ‘I’ think ‘I’ am? I think I don’t fall among  these the categories because these categories look at me from their standpoint and  share a relationship with my being or becoming since they focus on my being-situational and not on my becoming- causal.

Let’s put it this way, am I good or bad? And what criteria should one apply to decide whether one is good or bad? Do I have any scope to prove my friends, adversaries or even to myself that yours is just an opinion? It is just a story and Chimamanda Ngozi Adiche,  African-American writer analyses the stories of African people in America which she discussed in her Ted-Talk titled.  ‘Danger of a Single Story’ which, she says, is dangerous because it robs its characters (Human beings) off its basic human dignity.

That is called ‘Orientalisation’, reduced to locale. I am neither good nor bad- but something beyond that--Fair.  i.e., I am ‘who’ you will make me or ‘who’ I will not allow you to make ‘me’, and that story is not complete yet, therefore it is dangerous. Hence, I am not, what you therefore think I am.

Great Persian Sufi, Hafez said that “Though my beloved (Rival) thinks of me as dirt and dust, my rival’s trust and her status won’t stay like this” That is everything is ‘becoming’. And being is illusion.

Mohammad Asif is a doctoral candidate at the Department of History and Culture, Jamia Millia Islamia,New Delhi.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the personal opinions of the author.

The facts, analysis, assumptions and perspective appearing in the article do not reflect the views of GK.

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