Today I ought to be redefined. I ought to be a graduate with a first class degree in Politics and International Relations. Perhaps the most surprising yet simultaneously obvious fact about this is that: I have not been redefined. Bare with me because I’m about to get philosophical a little (a lot) boastful and somewhat emotional.

Charles Taylor (my latest favourite philosopher) talks a lot about identification as a basis for belief. In short his message is this: your mind does not exist in the same way as your heart or liver does, however your mind is quite inexorably your own. What does this say? Well, that you define the objects in your life, as opposed to them defining you. I am not changed as a person due to my hard work, perseverance and intelligence. I am not defined by my CD rack, car, preference of blue over pink, or exceptional distaste for belief. I am defined by my own perception of myself.

What does a fat exhaust define?

I therefore happily admit that although I know a lot about Politics (Philosophy, Governance, Surveys, Statistics) and International Relations (History, Life, Human Rights, Decision making, Diplomacy, Propaganda, Fear, Security, Units, Actors, Belligerents, Strategies, Theories [the list keeps going so I’ll stop]) I am far from defined by this knowledge – in fact, I define this knowledge.

However, when I stare into Jesse’s eyes, and when my beautiful, young, vivacious wife steps through the door after a long day at work, I begin to realise that I am being redefined all the time. It has been my relationship to my family that has pushed me to these dramatic heights. I begin disagreeing with Charles Taylor at this point, because he limits himself to the person. Of course my heart and liver are my own and yet are objects that I define. They cannot be compared to my mind, which can redefine my environment at the hint of a revelation. However Taylor hasn’t grasped something that I know today, that I should have known yesterday, and that I’ll celebrate forever:

My family are in my head, they are the reason I remember to breathe, they nudge me as I slide into the horizon, unhindered by vanity and identification. I am me, I am Jesse, I am Kathleen. This isn’t love, this is life. This is what Ayn Rand called ‘shared values’. If you want this, you have to just let go of everything and take what’s left in your hands as softly, but firmly as possible. You don’t buy it, believe it or achieve it, you define it.