What do you do? (What ARE you?)
As a child, you are never asked this question, because it is irrelevant – the answer is simple: anything and everything. Childhood is still widely accepted as the period of experimentation allotted to each of us on our journey towards a fully crystallized adulthood.
As an adult, this question is undoubtedly one of the most common “ice-breakers”, where it is often answered with the phrase “I am a such-and-such”; a doctor, a teacher, a lawyer, a bin man, a lorry driver…and so on. But you are not your job (to quote Chuck Palahniuk), you are not a bug trapped in amber or a tick in a box.
This social classification seems to operate within a semantic fog, where we are all convinced that we each exist as definitive nouns; we have forgotten the arbitrary nature of our language and the way it shapes our view of the world. We can be verbs.
I have been fascinated by figures who defy classification, the experimenters and renaissance men and women who reinvent themselves, challenge themselves, refuse to be codified and neatly filed away by society.
One such inspiration is a man named Buckminster Fuller. Born in 1895, in Massachusetts, he spent a lifetime trying to solve some of man kinds greatest problems – housing, transport, sustainability… He refused to blindly accept established systems as the best, most efficient way of living.
He continues to inspire new minds to experiment, question and explore, via the Buckminster Fuller Institute.
Go check out his story and his legacy.