Sunday, September 13, 2009


Identity is about who we are. Wikipedia, in trying to pin down Identity, uses terms like "whatever makes an entity definable and recognizable" and "an individual's comprehension of him or herself as a discrete, separate entity". It's about what makes us unique, what makes us, us.

In one sense we all have multiple identities. I am Moonraven when I am on this blog, but otherwise I'm not. I am male, white, middle-aged, middle-class, able-bodied, cis-gendered, bisexual, polyamorous, vegan, pagan, a bicyclist, an avid composter, a beginning gardener, and a dedicated communitarian. These are all identities that I have, but they aren't me. Identity can also refer to the essential core of who you are, your 'self' so to speak.

I agree with Thomas Szasz, "...the self is not something one finds, it is something one creates." George Bernard Shaw said something similar, "Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself." Our identities are not a given but something we make of ourselves.

Unfortunately, some people make themselves into 'Characters', sometimes almost caricatures, in order to stand out. We should think about who we want to become. If we are creating ourselves, we should think about what we are creating.

We need to be able to become who we want to be. The need is for us each to claim our own identity. But we also need to be responsible for making our identity something that benefits more than ourselves. There is work that needs to be done. How can you be the best person to do what you need to do?

(And, in the end, as the Buddhists say, we need to be able to let go of our identities and just be.)

Eric Olson, "Personal Identity"--A philosophical survey of the concept of identity from the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy
Carl Rogers and Barry Stevens, Person to Person--Barry Stevens talks about her life and her reactions to papers by Carl Rogers and others; the subtitle is 'The Problem of Being Human' and the book explores the issue of what it means to be a person
Self: The Prime Mover--A page of thoughts and definitions around the idea of the self
Sunada, "If there is no self, then who’s sitting here?"--Meditations on the Buddhist concept of 'No Self'; becoming who you are by letting go of your identity...

Quote of the Day: "The one person the world seems hell-bent on my not living with is me." - Barry Stevens


ViolentLove said...

identity is such a key issue...

there is an art to being and becoming and it involves honesty and courage.


MoonRaven said...

Thank you for that clear reminder. Honesty and courage--you seem to have both. You model an authentic way of being.

Thank you also for hanging in with me.