In search of ourselves

Originally published in the 1972 pamphlet titled “What are you learning?”

Most of us spend our college years in search of ourselves.

In our rooms, during lectures, with friends, our thoughts drift back to the questions, "Who am I? What am I doing here? How will it all fit together?"

The playwright Arthur Miller describes this search for identity, as it is generally carried out, as a process of self-assertion. In one of the Hopwood Lectures at the University of Michigan he said of the fledgling writer: "The trouble is that the writer has to win recognition almost before he is recognizable. Before, that is, he is distinct. He needs recognition in order to win it. He therefore has to invent it first in the hope that his invention will be pronounced a fact by the outside world. The effort to first invent one's own distinction, and then to get others to agree to it, is so strenuous that in a great many cases the man is exhausted just when he ought to be starting." Hopwood Lectures, second series, Ann Arbor Paperback, The University Press.

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