Who Am I?

I read somewhere that when men are asked “Who are you?” they answer with what they do rather than who they are. For a long time this caused me to wonder how the question should be answered, if not by what one does. At a personal level I’ve never found a satisfactory choice.

Today, May 30, 2023, I asked ChatGPT “What does the question “Who Are You?” really mean?” and it told me

The question “Who are you?” is a fundamental and complex philosophical question that can be interpreted in various ways, depending on the context in which it is asked.

In everyday conversation, the question may be used to get to know someone’s name, occupation, background, interests, or personality. In this sense, the question is usually seeking information about a person’s identity or self-concept.

In a deeper sense, the question “Who are you?” can be interpreted as an inquiry into the nature of a person’s existence and their fundamental identity. It can prompt individuals to reflect on their values, beliefs, experiences, relationships, and sense of purpose. In this sense, the question is more philosophical and existential, inviting individuals to explore the nature of their consciousness and the meaning of their life.

Ultimately, the meaning of the question “Who are you?” depends on the context in which it is asked and the level of introspection and self-examination that it prompts.

and I still don’t know how to answer the simple question “Who are you?” but I think I’ll create an answer for everyday conversation.

I am, to string adjectives together, an old straight, white, male, US citizen, retired and regularly dismissed as a Boomer. But being of the boom taught me that Boomers are as unique and varied as any cadre in US history, and other than identifying the slice of history I’ve experienced, doesn’t really tell you anything about me.

I’m Marty. I used to program computers for a living, but I’ve been retired since 2016, due to a disability. I was born in 1955 and grew up in Butte, MT, a horrible place I loved, hated and left in 1983 to come to California to work for NASA and get a PhD. Despite being accepted in PhD programs in mathematics, the source of my undergraduate degree, and computer science, I never got the PhD and I still live in California with my wife of 40 years, 2 dogs, and 2 cats. Is that who I am?

Besides programming computers, I play guitar, badly and sometimes try to create music that always turns out mediocre. But they’re things I enjoy so I keep doing them. The same way I enjoy using Blender software to create 3D scenes and images. I participate in social media but I don’t have followers. Every few years I remember that I have a blog and I write another flurry of posts, that I usually delete the following year.

I’m not good with people. That’s probably why I’ve spent so much of my time in the company of computers. These days that time is divided between blender and music. I’ve recently discovered VCV Rack and I also use Studio One to record my guitar playing and some other things.

You can a few of my creations on YouTube or SoundCloud and you might find me on Mastodon. But I still don’t think I’ve answered the question.

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