IIndividuality, based on the definition presented by Marion Webster’s, is the aggregate of qualities and characteristics that distinguish one person or thing from another. From birth, one’s family stresses the importance of creating a distinct identity. To begin, the parents select a name for their new child, in hopes that someday, the child will represent the name with honor. This name defines the child. This name separates the child from the rest of the world, creating an identity. As the child grows and develops, his or her identity becomes more defined, but can only go so far. Due to the ever-changing society in which we live in, it is becoming more difficult for one to completely fit in. Social norms and acceptance are overpowering the will and beliefs of some individuals and true independence is being questioned. The world is beginning to view things as black and white, with very little gray area in between. If an individual does not fit into the black and white areas, expression of identity becomes difficult. On the other hand, the world need’s some guidance in order to function efficiently. In a liberal society, one has the choice to be who they want be and a right to express who they are. With these desired abilities comes a price. These prices, or constraints on identity presented by society and the world, greatly affect ones ability to express self-authorship, whether it is beneficial or not.
Life is very unpredictable. For most people, trying to figure out one’s purpose in life is an adventure in its own. Ever since I was a little girl, I have always dreamed of becoming a veterinarian. It was the only thing I ever thought about. I spent countless hours treating my “sick” pets, often wrapping up legs in toilet paper making makeshift casts. Once I hit high school, I loaded my schedule up with challenging classes, taking all but one of the science classes offered. When people asked, “What do you want to do in life?”, with out hesitation, I would say, “Easy. Treat Animals”. After I graduated from High School, I was very fortunate enough to attend camp at The Wilds, working under one of the best Veterinarians in the state. My resume was expanding at great speed. Once I reached college, I set the bar extremely high for my self. This was the life I have chosen and I couldn’t imagine it any other way. I strive for nothing but the best. As an aspiring equine veterinarian, I have willing accepted the long work hours, countless farm calls, and the arm-length plastic gloves. When I am given my degree, I am taking an invisible oath, promising I will carry out my duties to the fullest. Because of this, I am required to practice safe medicine by law. This is an example of a positive constraint. If this constraint was not present, a veterinarian could decide not to work on a patient or ignore aseptic techniques in the operating room, introducing new infections. This constraint keeps both pets and owners safe. In the book, The Ethics of Identity, Anthony Appiah points out, “… A plan of life serves as a way of integrating one’s purpose over time, of fitting together the different things one values. The fulfillment of goals that flow from such a project – or what we might prefer to call ground projects and commitments – has more value than the satisfaction of a fleeting desire” (13). According to Appiah, one should be the creator of his or her life plan. This is a form of expression of identity. When one chooses his or her own life plan, they are fully accepting the constraints present. These constraints could possibly affect ones ability to express individuality, but, one cannot put another person’s life in danger for the benefit of their own. There are many different ways for one to express his or her identity safely. Creating a life plan is one of them. Appiah states, “… the life plan is an expression of my individuality, of who I am: and, in this sense, a desire that flows from a value that itself derives from a life plan is...
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