Who are we?

I hope it is now 2023 everywhere, even in your backwater country so we can get back to business of writing, reading and occasionally shitting.

If you have worked in someone’s office or company and had to go through an interview, you must have been asked tell us about yourself kind of question and depending on how prepared you were, you told them about your training, your achievements and maybe even your interests. In a sense, this is easy. There are even resources one can refer to these days to ace this question.

This question is more difficult to answer when a stranger asks us about who we are. We are not in an interview so we are not going to wow them with what we did where. So do we tell them we are a husband, wife, or whatever our fancy, or do we talk about our likes? Do these, our likes, describe us? Are we to talk about our work? Or do we describe our lineage as our forefathers taught? In this last case, I would onyango son of, who is the son of, who was the son of, and from Asembo Kogiri. In this way, I would have given my true bonafides as a true son of the village, but is this all who I am?

Or would I say I am onyango an avid cyclist and hiker ( things I like) an architect and project manager (my training) a husband, father, uncle, friend ( societal obligations) and a PhD student (my current engagement). Would such a description be complete? What is missing, what would you add?

So friends, tell me, is this something you think about? And how do you answer this question?


About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

20 thoughts on “Who are we?

  1. Barry says:

    As for myself, I just give my name, rank and serial number.

    Kidding. Just my given name. If others want to know more, including family name, they can jolly well ask as I have absolutely no idea what kind of information they might want. This is perhaps a very autistic trait, and one that non-autistics don’t seem to appreciate. According to some sources, autistic folk often describe themselves in terms of their values and ethics rather than their relationships with people, but as I’ve met so few autistics outside the internet I can’t vouch for that. On the internet, we don’t seem to specifically introduce ourselves much at all. We go straight onto the topic at hand. Personal information may or may not be provided in the course of discussion if it’s relevant.

    It seems to me that how we introduce ourselves depends very much on culture. For example Māori introduce themselves by describing their relationship to their hapū and iwi (subtribe and tribe), the land and their ancestors. Pākehā tend to introduce themselves in terms of mutual friends, interests and family, and seldom, if ever, mention what they do for a living. Japanese introduce themselves by referring to their company and their position/role within it, or if that’s not significant, the company of their spouse or parent and that person’s position in it.


  2. shelldigger says:

    I’m not going to get too personal with someone I’ve recently met. My name and roughly where I live is about all you will get out of me. Maybe the time of day if I don’t sense you’re an asshole. 😉

    Now once a meaningful rapport has been established, and I’ve known a person for a bit, I’ll open up a little.

    But, I will chat with just about anyone, anywhere, anytime. I’m friendly enough, but I’m not spilling my guts out to someone I don’t know at least a little bit. Anyone who has known me, the half ass blogger, you know more about me than most, already.


  3. jimoeba says:

    When you finish your PhD do we have to call you Dr, or will you make up your own pronoun?
    I can’t answer who I am because people generally roll their eyes and start to get sleepy by the time I’m done

    Liked by 1 person

  4. When I was younger I always tried to find an answer that would impress. Having been around the block many time now, if I do open up, to save time I try to make clear just how much of a nerd I am, one who can talk about science, philosophy, history, sci-fi, but who is an utter imbecile when it comes to sports, music, and most other cultural matters people commonly make casual conversation about.


  5. renudepride says:

    My personal response is contingent upon the situation. For example, if I know that the group or individual is a fellow bare practitioner, I reply with similar interests, associations, etc. If the group or individual are fellow educators, the same applies. Fellow bloggers: identical. If I am totally unaware of any particular, we can always discuss food and weather (yawn)! LOL! Naked hugs, my Kenyan brother! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Nan says:

    I don’t think I can recall some stranger asking me who I am … ??

    Personally, I’ve found that conversations with folks I don’t know are mostly chit-chat. Of course, within that chit-chat, one might share their activities, background, marital status, etc. … but much depends on the connection that’s formed between the two “strangers.” Agree?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Ubi Dubium says:

    In my area of the world, the first question someone might ask is “What do you do?” I don’t like the idea that our jobs define us, because my job is pretty boring, and is just what I do to earn money to support the more interesting parts of my life.

    A little south of here, the first question is more likely to be “Where do you go to church?”

    Liked by 1 person

    • makagutu says:

      I don’t think I have been asked the question of where do you go to church but I know of some who ask where did you go to school to determine whether they want to continue to have a discussion with you.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. To find a workable concept that might stand for the self, life must be interpreted from the position of a realised individuality, which means one must first be engaged in the experience of existence.
    I have been writing of the “self” for a few years, but I have not come closer to defining that self. Does anyone have ever seen it in its own form? What is that self a part of; my mind, my body, my experiences, or does that self stand entirely on its own?
    When I look into a mirror, I see an object, my body. I might add a gesture, a voice, but it hardly would constitute myself, as a robot could do the same.
    So, where do I stand?
    I can sense that when I have an experience where I feel completely immersed and connected to all my senses, I think most ‘ of myself.’
    So could I say, in experiencing life, how I exist does constitute that elusive self?


  9. nannus says:

    I think this question cannot be answered completely, in principle. One main characteristic of human beings is their creativity. By that I mean the ability to move out of the scope of any given description. We can change ourselves, our ways of thinking and being, both as individuals and as groups or even as a species. So if there is an answer, I would say: we are the ones who do not have a fixed “who”.


  10. nubianikigai says:

    Lol…I teach english as a foreign language and this is exactly the kind of question I prepare my trainees for. To make life easy I tell them to ‘compartmentalise’. Split things into personal (name, hobbies and interests)and professional (job title and responsibilities). Golden rule say no more than 5 things and you must be comfortable with what you share and be ready to discuss in a conversation 👌🏾👍🏽😉


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