This is a philosophical statement. It is intended to spark thinking and examining.
And so it is that we have an “Identity of Identities” a myriad of identities that make up our “singular” identity, though identities that, for all that “singularness”, will sometimes (often) in a set of situations make manifest a different “singular” …
And given that we are always “me”, and “me” is always experiencing everything in that moment at the same time it is “me”, it is very difficult to see when a different “me” shows up…
And so it is too that there are so many different things that can become part of our identities, from region affiliation (and all the shared social constructs and opinions and traditions that go with that) to values to things to fiction to activities to culture to ad infinitum…
So then, where is it that we take on and become these identities? How do they become part of us?
Truth is, while we certainly have chosen some of our identities, we also inherit many aspects of our identities. We take them on, you could say, through osmosis. We build our identities out of the culture around us, out of what we experience and see and hear (and the subtexts inherent within them) and because that’s what we experience we take on that’s how it is, and how it should be. We didn’t plan on becoming that identity, we kinda fell into it. It’s what we know. It may be all we knew; we may not have had experiences that presented any other options.
Many of our identities were also cemented during times of intense emotion, when options seemed to be slim. We can point to them, and feel that certain events forced or guided us to be a certain way – this happened to me, so now I’m like this. It is a different kind of inherited, an identity foist upon us.
The real mind noodler is to consider that even those identities we feel we chose, we may not have been as free, or as insightful, or as clear, or as experienced to what is available, as we thought we were in the moment when we chose them.
And lo, do we then walk around with this gaggle of “accidental” identities and take them on as “me”.
Interesting thing about identities: they are not empty skins. They come as a package with a whole world that includes views, truths, attitudes, behaviours, manners of speech, likes, dislikes, ideologies, accoutrements. And so many of them come with a certain amount of baggage… and many of our hidden biases originate from these hidden identities and the views contained therein.
It’s why our identities can sometimes show up quite unexpectedly: I can’t believe I’m like my mother/father!
We often take for granted (and operate from) that I am me, and I showed up whole cloth, so please accept me. Who I am is inherent. Yet it was a process, one from which we were largely absent. We did not choose them with intention.
However, as a process… it’s never ended. We are not fixed objects, set in stone. We can choose. Anew.
Still more still to unfold! More next week…