Some time ago I was asked whether I consider myself a poet. My reply was quite an instantaneous "no". Writing poems does not make me feel necessarily a poet. Moreover, I don’t think it’s up to me to decide if I am a poet or not but rather to those who end up reading my writing and then go on to generate an opinion about it. One of the people I was talking with at that time said she also agreed with this view, as she also did not consider herself a Philosopher just because of her Philosophy university degree.
But was this all? Is to be recognized by others with a title, official, unofficial, or alleged, all that is required to consider myself a poet, an Engineer, or anything else I think I am or I would like to be? Since that moment, I have spent some time thinking about it. What is the essence of being a poet? Or even an Engineer? Is some length of training or a degree a requirement? Or is it more a question of attitude, of mindset, of quality, and of constant dedication to a chosen art or profession that is also needed?
I’m tempted to think it’s the training and dedication. But then I think about my life, and looking back at my experiences and memories I see all the efforts and lengths I went through to convince the world to look at me in a certain way and conclude it is the recognition that is important. I think it is in our human nature to want to feel recognised by others for what we do or what we would like to be, otherwise, it does not feel as real, or as true.
Unfortunately, this need to feel recognised tends to come at those particular moments when I have doubts about the quality of my skills, and my identity is more vulnerable. I now focus on building a strong self-identity, enough independent of what the rest of the world can think of me and I hope to always be able to stay passionate about my work, regardless of whether a title comes with it to not. For me the important thing is to stay touched by the harmony of life and the world, before trying to write anything about it.
Pietro Bonizzi, Assistant Professor at Data Science and Knowledge Engineering