When people ask me who I want to be, besides the cliche answer I want to be myself, Fernando Pessoa would be my choice.
Pessoa is a trilingual writer, poet, translator, publisher, and philosopher. If he had Twitter, he would have the most followers in total with his 80 heteronyms
sharing his 25,000+ manuscripts of poetry, prose, philosophy, criticism, political writings, horoscopes and various other English, French and Portuguese non-stop.
He didn’t travel much in his short life but created many characters that explore the whole universe on his behalf. His famous heteronyms included Alberto Caeiro
, a self-claimed the greatest poet in the world; Alvaro de Campos
, a bisexual writer who has a similar style and substance to the work of Walt Whitman; Ricardo Reis
, a classicist and physician whose works focus on fate and destiny.
Most of his heteronyms interactions with each other, exchanging letters and literature critics. Rarely has anyone known those identities are not real until the public discovered this fact after Pessoa’s death. So Pessoa wasn’t gain much burden from the fame and had the freedom to create and live comfortably.
Pessoa constantly examined human existence through observation and reflection, ignored the limitations of time and space, and freed himself from the prison of physical form to create something from nothingness. He never tied himself with one identity and would rather be nobody and live a life of obscurity.
People in his generation probably had zero clue about his motivation for creating numerous identities. However, our generation has a better understanding of his pioneered pseudonymous identities
. And his thought and behaviours couldn’t be more applicable to today’s censorship and cancel culture.