In episode twenty-two of Thoughts, I talk about the concept of identity, what it is, what it means, where it could come from, and what we make of it. Enjoy!
Identities! Also known as personalities made from a collection of memories. I’ve written about the concept of identities in bits and pieces throughout my blog, like in Duality and Perspective, but I think it deserves it’s own work down. Would the ninth grade version of yourself even recognize you? Are you still you if you undergo amnesia? What’s up with multiple personality disorder? Or the concept of reincarnation? It begs the question, what is the point of the soul without memories? It is culturally evident that identity takes the main stage in certain countries like the U.S. and China. So to expand on that, country identity has to do with government systems and how people are rooted in their historical philosophies and cultures.
China is housed to the creation of the concepts of Confucianism, Daoism, and Legalism. These are the top three, arguably. Confucianism is from the man Confucius, who derived his teachings from Legalism, and is in a nutshell: Xin – Honesty and Trustworthiness. Chung – Loyalty to your work, the state, et cetera. Li – includes ritual, propriety, etiquette, et cetera. Hsiao – love within the family, love of parents for their children, and love of children for their parents. Daoism, or Taoism, is a philosophical or religious tradition of Chinese origin which emphasizes living in harmony with the Dao. The Dao is the source, pattern and substance of everything that exists. And finally, Legalism, or Fajia which literally means “House of Administrative Methods”, is a philosophical belief that human beings are more inclined to do wrong than right because they are motivated entirely by self-interest. Today, the driving structure of China is Communism.
America, or the Western world including Canada, was founded and subsequently ruled through the religion of Christianity and the philosophy of Manifest Destiny. While most know about Christianity, with their testaments and beatitudes, Manifest Destiny was the idea that white Americans were divinely ordained to settle the entire continent of North America. The ideology of Manifest Destiny inspired a variety of measures designed to remove or destroy the native population, horribly. It was a widely-held cultural belief in the 19th-century and drove its settlers to expand across the land. Today, the driving structure of America is Capitalism.
If you grant me some more wiki definitions here, Communism is a philosophical, social, political, and economic ideology and movement whose ultimate goal is the establishment a socioeconomic order structured upon the ideas of common ownership of the means of production and the absence of social classes, money and state. Capitalism on the other hand is an economic system based on the private ownership of the means of production and their operation for profit. Characteristics central to capitalism include private property, capital accumulation, wage labor, voluntary exchange, a price system and competitive markets. One can see just by reading their definitions, how individuals raised with either idea can form their identities based off of these ideas. They are both very practice-based and communal. Generally, Americans stereotype China as a country full of drones that work and die, and Chinese stereotype Americans as egotistic overweight blowhards. While everyone is an individual, statistics do show behavioral patterns among people under certain communities. But is there anything wrong with that?
Well the concern is all in the mind of the viewer. If we take a step back from nations and look at humanity as a whole, there are things we all do. We all want a purpose, want love, have good food, entertain ourselves and continuously grow with the people in our lives. When individuals like psychopaths, sociopaths, the morbidly depressed, or those with identities issues such as individuals who believe they are robots or animals in human bodies, go against common connective tropes, we as a society reject them out of fear.
As we all know, we don’t chose who we’re born from, what brain chemistry we’re born with, how we’re born, when we’re born, or where we’re born. These are important markers of our identity that we had no say of from the get-go. It begins to paint a picture of how identity works and what it really is. Could our personal identities be an illusion? I can say with certainty that no, regardless of if we have free will, it is certain that everyone, no matter how entirely they are influenced by external forces, is an individual with their own fingerprint of a mind. From a biological standpoint, even identical twins that look to be the complete same person, have different DNA.
So now we can talk about how individuals can go through identity crises. It’s known as a period of uncertainty and confusion in which a person’s sense of identity becomes insecure, typically due to a change in their expected aims or role in society. If you’re experiencing an identity crisis, you may be questioning your sense of self. This can often occur from advancements through life stages, be it childhood, school, or work. So many things are out of our control. How many people wish that they could just be a kid forever? People take care of you and you have no responsibilities, like a pet! Not to trash people who actively wish this, but it is important for one’s own sake of sanity to strive in their CURRENT situation. It is unhealthy to wish one was living a different life. It doesn’t mean you shouldn’t want to change your life situation because there are many legitimate reasons one could want to do this, but while having a desire to depart one’s current life one must still make the most of their situation. Happiness is predicated off of it.
There are accounts of individuals who live to be fifty or older before realizing or admitting they have gender dysphoria. There are people who remain closeted homosexuals their entire lives. These points of perceived, or real, relationship expectations that repress one’s true identity are tragedies against all of humanity in my opinion. People are who they are. We shouldn’t have to hide that. There are outliers like serial killers and pedophiles, of course, but aside from those that would bring harm to others, we as a society are doing our part, individual by individual, to accept people of every possible identity. We are all our own people, and we are all one, however paradoxical that may sound. I am Joseph Van Landschoot, born of Jane and Carl, and you, reader, are you, with your parents, and lineage, and beliefs, and hopes, and wants, and dreams. We are all fellow humans beings, and we are all worthy of love.
Thank you for listening, and see you next time.