last night i had class so d was left to his own devices while my classmates and i considered hegel's notion of freedom. he concludes that freedom is "self-contained existence" (Bei-sich-selbst-seyn). in other words, for one to be free, one must recognize one's own existence as completely independent from that of others. this seems to mean that rather than saying, "i am somebody's wife/daughter/mother/son/teacher/boss/pupil/employee, etc." the free person must say, first and foremost, "i am mine."
what a conundrum. for what are we if not in total relation to others? i am a woman because there are others who aren't; i am a writer because somebody reads my writing; i am smart because there are others who are less so; i am stupid because there are others who are brilliant; and so on.
i know of a woman who was killed in a plane crash, together with her children and mother-in-law. i have since occasionally thought of her husband, a man who lost all of his familial identifiers in one moment: no longer a husband, no longer a father, no longer a son. in his case, being able to say "i am mine" is no accomplishment.
a friend asked me why i started this blog - she wasn't the only one - and i had a hard time coming up with an answer that wasn't totally pathetic ("because if i'm going to lead a pointless life i might as well write about it"). i think hegel would find it slavish to muse on one's private life in the public domain - talk about lack of self-containment! but i find myself looking forward to writing for an audience, no matter how infinitesimal or even imaginary.
even if i cannot say truthfully that i am mine - and i can't - i have something that is mine to share.