Recent events in the U.S. reconfirmed my belief in the importance of reinventing yourself; if reinventing is too radical a word for some people, improving or getting better may be the appropriate expression instead of just changing yourself, especially, for an occasion.
It has been in my mind for over 40 years and is one of the main focus of my life, now. The huge issues of the moment, gun control, and immigration reform, clearly indicate the sea change in the American attitude and subsequent change in the policies.
It is clear that a major immigration reform is coming, and some form of meaningful gun control is possible. This is the U.S. reinventing itself. Right now, reinventing is happening all over the world. The only thing is that it is happening more quickly and smoothly in the U.S. than any other country in the world. The sad and horrendous contrast is the North Korea where, for over three generations, unheard of in human history, committing crime against humanity continues. There is no reinventing for the better humanity.
Some of the articles I have read recently made me to think through what it means to reinvent yourself. The most gripping one was what Nagisa Oshima, who died on Tuesday, 1/15/13, at the age of 80 near Tokyo, said about Japanese cinema. I quote Dennis Lim who wrote the obituary quoting Mr.Oshima.
"His documentary "100 Years of Japanese Cinema" (1994) concludes with the hope that Japanese cinema rid itself of its "Japaneseness." Rid itself of its Japaneseness was something I could agree with Mr.Oshima. This was the opinion I have come to watching the recent elections and disasters in Japan. Japan has to get over the barrier of 'Japaneseness.'
Another story of reinventing yourself belongs to Mao Zedong who many contemporary Chinese intellectuals consider one of the worst leaders, if not the worst, in the Chinese history. I just hope they find the clear image toward which they can reinvent themselves.
I was reminded of the attachment of the British people to their history by a recent book review of the earliest British history. The memorable phrase was it was "about longing and belonging." It is not quite about reinventing yourself, and that was the interesting point about the contemporary British, at least one aspect of them. This is more so in view of the contrast to what a famous Briton is supposed to have said. "Happy is the nation that has no history."
Reinventing yourself can get traumatic and complicated because it requires going beyond what made you a you. Your identity is shaken, many times, not just stirred. Many times you long for "longing and belonging." But, at the same time you know the importance of the quote that "Happy is the nation that has no history." Reinventing yourself is a must in the 21st century.
Well, it is an interesting and exciting part of our life. That is why, right at this moment, there is a certain hope and optimism in the U.S. Because of this reinventing yourself for the better.