Fingerprints identify with 100% accuracy. They spell on your flesh the mark of you. That you are indeed unique.
But we have not been formed in a vacuum. We not only have traits and predispositions genetically inherited, but also the customization of time and place which form and mold us as well.
Much of the family, religious and cultural influences that had molded me by the time I entered young adulthood were part of a self-structure I tried to dislodge. These influences felt like clamps bolting me in an intolerable juxtaposition. Their pressures did not contain me in a temperate way, it seemed; rather, they stifled in a way that punished my individuality.
I revolted and attempted, so to speak, to break out of jail, not only in personal sense but in public sense. Drugs smashed the gates of inhibition which denied pleasure the fullness of its enjoyment. I lived on little and learned the lifestyle of the poor. I joined in protest which seethed against war in Vietnam.
Did I go too far? Did I attempt to ordain a new self without that which had been given by cultural influence? These inhabited my character. How could I dispense them as if they were not an indissoluble part of me? We must work with what we have been given. We cannot strip ourselves of all that we are save the biologic and genetic. However, with mallet, chisel and stain--- we can carve and color the fusion of inside and outside material into a work of our choosing.
The Greatest Generation deserves respect, but less so for finding no fault in the system their children eschewed so universally, so markedly. The civil rights and counter culture movements generated the modern era push to replace hallow ideals with realities of liberty protected by law. People today have been released from social stigmas in ways unheard of 50 years ago. Does not the boomer generation deserve credits of respect for this? I think it does; but less so for its all-embracing and singular contempt at the time for the Establishment; i.e. heaping scorn on the war with scant differentiation between soldier and policy. A sign of the fracas of conflicting hot emotion, few realize hippies were also at times thrown in jail on no ground except the length of their hair.
As ought an individual to accept and modify, to work on the genetic and the nurtured parts of his makeup to shape himself for the better, so ought society. Congress abolished slavery and re-united the country only after the bloody work of the Civil War. The Civil Rights Act was enacted only after the works of march, protest and politics garnered support for its passage by most of the public.
Let the United States accept its constituencies. They represent aspects of our nationhood that appeared in the cultural and historical matrix of generations extending far into the past. These aspects represent what we have and need to work on to improve our society.