Being 2.0: On Culture, Belonging, and Identity

After 3 years of work, I am happy to announce that my new book, Being 2.0, is out.

The book, more than a project of personal nature, is the result of years of reflection upon various themes that I hold close to my heart. Identity, evolution, culture, being, relationships… are all facets that we experience permanently, that we create and recreate over time. Paradoxically, if they constantly change, they are also the same.

The project started a few years ago, while I was contemplating various ideas and themes, and reflecting on my life. I thought about my parents, and unexpectedly,  a wave of feelings struck a deep cord in me: I didn’t fullyunderstand my parent’s history, and its impact on my life, as a son of immigrant. How curious. Born in France, I found myself to be in an interesting predicament: neither fully Algerian, nor fully French, I was sitting on an in-between, lost in the interstices of my own confusion. For I was born on France, how could I not relate to it fully? Ongoing conflicts between these two countries is something real, something which has been going on for 188 years. And if this conflict is not fully mine, how could I feel a need to understand it? Why did I need to grasp the meaning of an ideological battle that sublimated the will of the Algerian people, and the war waged in the hopes of putting an end to their rampant submissiveness?

This opened up a lot of questions, and a certain uneasiness in me. This profound malaise didn’t leave me, it only started to make sense the moment I was able to articulate the very first lines of this current book. And these first lines opened on deeper questions, which were all previously locked in Pandora’s Box. I wanted, first and foremost, quench that growing sadness and desolation, but also, to a certain degree make sense of my own narrative, and its influences.

Questions like Where do I belong? What is my place in the French culture? started to emerge and shaped much of my reflection. I found myself immersed in a quest for understanding, but most importantly, for closure. There was a deep grief in me, yet, I couldn’t really name it, let alone approaching it fully. My life was imbued with the idea that I was “just fine” about all that, and there was no need to spend time thinking about my relationship to my parents, nor my life as it relates to the perception of cultural differences. However, from the depths of my denial, as this grief emerged, I found alongside a void. With only a thread of hope was I able to understand the metaphysics of my being, and strangely, how much the language barrier between my parents and myself was the same barrier between me, son of immigrant, and myself, a human being.

I think in a way that the sense of loneliness related to this grief is, at any rate for me, a feeling of inner disconnect, as if there were a gaping hole in the centre of who I am. This feeling was one that I had been carrying around for most of my life, but had come to the centre of my experience as a result of such grief. I see this feeling of inner disconnect as a need to feel like I belong somewhere. As the process of grief was taking place, it amplified a need to deconstruct my place and role in society, the ideological structures that pervade cultures, and the nature of the relationships between people.

I offer in this book, as a result, a transpersonal experience. More than my simple autobiography, the book is the story of an entire generation of people whose parents emigrated from various countries, with the hope of a better future for their progeny.

This is not my story more than it is everyone’s story, a voice for each individual who struggle to find their place in society, and have this forever longing for belonging.

The book has been reviewed by Laura Leavitt, on Foreword. You can read the review here.

~ You can buy the book on Amazon and Chapters.

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