Wednesday, April 7, 2010

How Do You Identify Yourself?

Identifying self with forms is how many in our society live their entire lives. It essentially means taking stuff from the outside to make us who we are. Examples include material objects like money, things, cars, expensive clothes, good looks, etc. The intangibles include things like popularity, accomplishments, strength, intelligence and many other things.

The problem this identity in form subjects us to is that all these things are fleeting. What happens when the essence of who you are (assuming in this case your identity is in things outside yourself) comes to an end but you still have yourself? Who is yourself at this point, with nothing to define you? The only thing that will not fade is the “I am” within you. And this is the you detached from all the stuff in the world that might currently define you.

Now there exists another type of identity with form which is especially insidious because it is unconscious to most. This is identification with ideology. Ideology is nothing but “thoughts”. What you believe and whether you are “right” or “wrong” for that matter is inconsequential to who you are. But many identify themselves with political beliefs, religious doctrine, world views and sports teams nonetheless.

Be forewarned: identification with ideology can be and often is dangerous. Imagine your identity, the essence of who you are, enshrined in your political and religious beliefs and ideas. If one disagrees with your beliefs, he is not just saying your beliefs are rubbish, he is saying you are rubbish. Them's fightin' words! It is a personal attack. And this is commonplace in our society today. People so often become their beliefs (religious, political, etc.) so much so that it leaves no room for constructive criticism not of people but of beliefs and ideas.

I like beliefs and ideas being criticized. It helps all of us grow and learn, or at least should. And maybe, just maybe, we will be better able to see other viewpoints and not be so blinded by our own “correct” viewpoints. Beliefs and ideals are fine. But they are not you!


  1. I agree with your view that we are not ideology. I think ideology is but an emblem someone can where only on the surface or furniture for our brains. I think people are not human beings but human becomings. Change/movement is necessary thought, action and interaction. There is nothing that really defines what a person is, but we can know what a person does.

    I think Jean-Paul Sartre was right when he said humans have no essence. I would be bad faith in his philosophy for a person to think they must act one way (not recognizing their freedom), to not claim responsibility or ownership of their actions or body, or to think that past actions define who we are.

    I think you should have broken this post into paragraphs. I agree with it, but a well organized argument should be broken off into points/paragraphs. Just so your readers can easily reread it and know what your main emphasises are.

  2. I made a bunch of grammatical mistakes in that last post. "where" to wear. Insert for between "necessar" and "thought". Stuff like that.

  3. Thanks for the critique. I will definitely look into that. I've never heard it said like that before about us being human "becomings".