Sunday, September 2, 2018
Ancestry.com: Yes, I know who I really am, and the answer is "better than this."
"Do you know who you really are?"
Well, I could be super-philosophical here and reply that life is just a journey we all take to discover who we really are- and the answer is the combined thoughts, feelings, and experiences of each individual lifetime. The sum of our lives arrives at the very end, when we add up all those thoughts, feelings, and experiences. It's left to others to evaluate who we were and what our lives really meant. Ok?
Oh, I guess not Ok. Because all of these obsessive "Who Am I" celebrations of DNA-tracking and navel-gazing want us to focus not on who we are, but on who our ancestors were. What does this have to do with who we are? Oh, you see, you are who they were. Which means- you aren't really anyone. Just the product of people who came before. THEY were someone. Yay them.
So we have these teary-eyed jackasses with way too much time on their hands and money burning holes in their pockets discovering that they share DNA with people they didn't think they liked- one guy habors prejudice against Germans, then discovers that he's part German, so wow there's an eye-opener now he has to go out and find some other group to hate (maybe My Heritage DNA or Ancestry.com can help him with that. I'm sure they can.)
And at the end of all this unbelievably sad self-absorption the idea that we are what we do is totally lost to the much easier (it only takes a vial of spit and a credit card) theory that we're just a bag of chemicals handed off to us by our ancestors. And now that we know exactly what percentage Lithuanian we are, we can sit down, have a wistful, satisfied little cry over it, and find something on television to distract ourselves from the notion that we still haven't added one thing to our own legacies because we've been too busy trying to reduce the meaning of our lives down to the cellular level.