Every day we remember who we are. We always pick that one delicious tea blend. We have our trusted opinions on the daily news. Sure, it is nice not to have to think about the steps we take. However, it also makes us passive. Which is why we sometimes need to take those first steps again – e.g. by trying out a different tea blend or exploring a new idea.


Researchers preaching to the choir. In these final days of 2016, Erasmus Magazine has completely submerged itself in the topic of ‘religion’. What role does faith play in academia, what influence does it have at Erasmus University and how do scientists and students deal with their own faith and the convictions of others.

We can only take such new steps if we forget who we are for a moment – if we let go of our long-cherished opinions and try to look at the world with an open mind. If we do so, we may choose to try sencha tea rather than Earl Grey (quite an improvement!), or follow the German elections rather than the American ones.

Games are a truly excellent way to learn to see the world in a new light. When we were younger, my sister and I used to play a lot of the computer game Mario Kart Racing. Once the third lap began, we started playing a game of our own, in which we turned our cars around and drove across the circuit anti-clockwise. That way, I learned that the race did not matter to us. To us, the game was about going on an adventure together in a different world, where winning and losing simply did not matter.

By letting go of familiar things for a moment, you give yourself room to find out what matters to you. To me that is my identity and the autonomy I wish to have when constructing my identity. This process takes more than one game of Mario Kart. It takes a continuous exploration of everything you find on your way, again and again and again. If you like playing a certain game, be sure to explore all its options, so as to learn what makes it such fun. What will stay with you?

Beautiful memories and thoughts – these are the things you will learn from. And you will not find them unless you look at the world while briefly trying to forget who you are.

Samir Azrioual is a research assistant at the Erasmus School of History, Culture and Communication.