When was the last time you were lost in a moment of thought and said, “Man… Times sure have changed”?

Only too soon, I guess.

Let’s take some time here and see what we meant by that sentence, shall we?

I bet those words came out of you on beholding an improvement around you. Well, saying “improvement” might be wrong. Let’s call it a change for now and we’ll decide whether its an improvement or not after we are through discussing.

Now, what is the change that you saw? I bet that either it was something eccentric (which will not be the topic under discussion here) or something that doesn’t blend in with the surroundings. But here, since we are talking on, “times sure have changed”, the change that you felt is based on time. And as such, the ‘surrounding’ here are the times that we live in.

In short, something that is not related to the “times” has happened before you that triggered a feeling of change.

Now, what does “time” actually refer to? It can’t be anything that is going to happen since the future is unpredictable (in the sense, the when and where’s cannot be known). So it has to be something that has already happened.

What has already happened is the past. And we have witnessed a change that doesn’t blend with the past. But where has the past’s knowledge within us come form? From the heritage and traditions that we have been following throughout our life.

The ideology of whether those traditions are good or bad is debatable. But the point we are stressing upon is that those traditions are not practices that came in about a span of 10 to 20 years. Those were followed and practised over decades and maybe even centuries. As such, those who held true to those practices were known as those who held true to those practices. And to keep it short, they had an identity.

So summing up, it is when we see something contrary to our identities that we say, “Man, times sure have changed.” Now let us keep pushing the limit and see where this leads to.

What is the change that you saw? Was it something that was readily acceptable or was it something that made you uncomfortable with its existence in front of you? In which of the necessity, comfort, luxury categories does it come under?

Well, my GATE examination time is almost up and I have to cut this short. I hope I have been able to touch upon the point of what identity means and where it plays a role. I’ll be coming back with lots of thought on the questions asked at the end.



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