On Being and Becoming
Updated: Jan 19, 2022
It’s an curious thing, the idea of becoming. Who are we now? Who were we then? The see-saw we totter on between Nihilism and faith is dry-rotted and squeaking. But it won’t break for a while, so we totter a bit longer and fill our time with these questions.
I respectfully disagree with the notion that we are always becoming. At face value, I’d like to say I think the same thing, but I don’t. To say that I am only ever becoming implies a perpetual state of incompletion, which lessens the concept of my intrinsic value. As a Christian, especially, what one might call becoming, I call progressive stages of being.
This conversation was first, and most notably documented between pre-Socratic Greek philosophers Heroclitus and Parmenides. Heroclitus insisted that the world is defined by becoming, from which we get the saying, “You never step in the same river twice.” There are few consistencies in life, less certainties, and scant assurance of an upward trajectory of humanity. Parmenides, however, offered the rebuttal that existence, specifically that of humanity, is defined by being. Aristotle, years later, synthesized the two on multiple occasions, with the use of the previous work of his mentor, Plato. But I suppose I lean into a radical view for no other reason than its appeal.
The insistence of my being rather than my becoming offers a verticality to my existence, as well as a validation of the version of me that God has instantiated right now. I am in the mind of God, there is nothing incomplete, only unseen. But some have ambition and drive only spurred by the notion that there is a complexity between versions of ourselves that must be explained. This is perfectly understandable, and I envy it. I think, were I able to believe in becoming over being, I wouldn’t be a procrastinator to the point that I irritate even myself!
There is a woman I look forward to being. I look forward to being well-loved because of my ability to love well. I look forward to knowing much, much more about anything possible than I do right now, even as I relish the fact that I am that person to my past self. I am not in between. I am now. I look forward to being a person with a life of contentment. I want to do enough and much more so. I want to be a person who people come to. I want to be the person who springs to people’s minds in trouble easier than thank you on the tongues of the needy. I want to act as the balm on people’s days when the sun is just too bright or the clouds too heavy. I want to be the me, not of my invention, but of God’s. I want to be the me of the future when she is the me of the present. I love this question and am open to changing my opinion. But at this point, I can only believe this: I am and I will be. I am not defined by a state of becoming, but by the union of the chronological versions of myself. I can’t wait to meet them all.