“I write to create myself.”
– Octavia Butler
In a high school philosophy class, I learned about Locke’s tabula rasa concept—the theory that at birth the mind is a “blank slate” without rules; sensory experiences shape who we are. It’s the “nurture” over “nature” argument. While I found it intriguing, I didn’t fully buy into it, given how many personality traits I had in common with my parents and even with grandparents and relatives who had passed away before I was born.
As I reflect on the nature vs. nurture debate decades later, I see it as limiting, and somewhat reactive. Yes, we are partly the amalgamation of our genetics, our experiences and our environment, but we are more. Rather than defining ourselves by others, we can chart new ground, creating a new version of ourselves in which we take ownership of who we are and who we want to be. Now I see a blank journal as a different type of tabula rasa: a clean slate from which to create our future selves.
Who are you? Who do you want to be? Launch your future self on the page.