Identity

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Synsensa
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Re: Identity

Post by Synsensa » Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:59 am

Lexicus wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:32 am
I think identity is contingent and fluid, so I don't like to talk too much about what I 'identify as'. Who I am is a somewhat meaningless question, given that "I" am, at best, a temporary emergent phenomenon that's only usefully distinguished from "not I" as a matter of convenience.

I'm not even really sure what it means for a person to have control of their own identity. To the extent that identity is real, it seems we have no choice but to consider it a social phenomenon. If you identify as something, what does it matter if there is no one else around to acknowledge it?
I think it can matter even if you're alone since you're still an individual. It isn't like you cease to be a person if you aren't around others.

Lexicus
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Re: Identity

Post by Lexicus » Thu Jan 11, 2018 7:31 am

Well, I mean, sure. But, to state what I'm getting at more directly, if you're enslaved, identifying as free won't break your chains. I mean, the common things people identify as (and that come to mind when we hear the phrase "identity politics") all revolve around social structures. Race is a social construct, imposed on people by force rather explicitly. Gender is a social construct as well, and many gender identities came about explicitly as a reaction against the gender binary with its forced identity-pigeonholing.

I mean, even class is a social construct. But our racial, gender, and class identities are, to a large extent, imposed on us.

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endsjustifythememe
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Re: Identity

Post by endsjustifythememe » Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:27 am

Synsensa wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:21 am
Ugh... I have no idea who you are on CFC. Should I be thankful or indignant that you appreciated my words? No clue!!! For now I will be thankful with great suspicion. :P

That definition of intellectual is a bit broad, and I think most people would fall into that category in some way or another. It's rare that there's someone who takes everything at face value without looking deeper although it's certainly true that most are limited in that regard. What is your threshold for someone labeling themselves an 'intellectual'? How often do they need to 'look deeper' before they can reasonably claim the title?
I was being completely sincere in what I wrote, how you feel about it is up to you. Intellectualism is not about how often one looks deeper, it is about a general outlook on art (human endeavor). There is no clear threshold, it's about seeing things as more than just the sum of their parts: Paintings are just brush strikes on a canvas, music is just notes on a paper.. Television shows are just entertainment, Packaged meals are just consumer goods, political writing is just propaganda. Intellectualism is also about overcoming materialism, overcoming notions of "usefulness" and "uselessness".. As you can see I've crafted my own definition which strays very far from the commonplace definition.

"relating to your ability to think and understand things, especially complicated ideas" (Cambridge)

"of or relating to the intellect or its use" (Merriam-Webster)

"relating to the intellect" (Oxford)

These definitions are all completely subject to one's definition of "intellect", so they are, to me, absolutely useless. I think a relatively standard idea of intellect is "advanced pattern recognition". Is being an intellectual all about seeing patterns? I don't think so. Is it merely about knowledge? I don't think so either. Is it about complex problem solving? No, not really. I think "intellectual", as used commonly (also often in a derogative way) can mean "high brow", or, as I want to title it "art snobism". But that is also not a very satisfying definition. As lexicus rightfully mentions in his post, identity and labels are fluid, so we will never have a true treshold. I prefer defining the labels myself, instead of letting the labels define me :)
Lexicus wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 6:32 am
I think identity is contingent and fluid, so I don't like to talk too much about what I 'identify as'. Who I am is a somewhat meaningless question, given that "I" am, at best, a temporary emergent phenomenon that's only usefully distinguished from "not I" as a matter of convenience.

I'm not even really sure what it means for a person to have control of their own identity. To the extent that identity is real, it seems we have no choice but to consider it a social phenomenon. If you identify as something, what does it matter if there is no one else around to acknowledge it?
The point of this thread was not to adorne yourself with -isms, but rather to have a philosophical discussion on what constitutes identity, how labels emerge, how and why we use labels and how the usage of labels has changed with the advent of internet self-profiling.
aka brian emo aka der ewige lude aka mangoloid aka hera cleetus aka carl the youngest aka based evans

Lexicus
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Re: Identity

Post by Lexicus » Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:19 am

endsjustifythememe wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:27 am
The point of this thread was not to adorne yourself with -isms, but rather to have a philosophical discussion on what constitutes identity, how labels emerge, how and why we use labels and how the usage of labels has changed with the advent of internet self-profiling.
I'm at a loss to see how my post engendered this response. The text you quoted was me engaging in just such a philosophical discussion.

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endsjustifythememe
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Re: Identity

Post by endsjustifythememe » Fri Jan 12, 2018 11:43 am

Lexicus wrote:
Fri Jan 12, 2018 1:19 am
endsjustifythememe wrote:
Thu Jan 11, 2018 11:27 am
The point of this thread was not to adorne yourself with -isms, but rather to have a philosophical discussion on what constitutes identity, how labels emerge, how and why we use labels and how the usage of labels has changed with the advent of internet self-profiling.
I'm at a loss to see how my post engendered this response. The text you quoted was me engaging in just such a philosophical discussion.
Just misunderstandings. I thought you were questioning the premise of the thread, saying it doesn't make sense to discuss the specifics when Identity is fluid. I wanted to reinforce that, in fact, posts like yours are exactly what I wanted to conjure up with this thread. I didn't mean to sound negative or disapproving :)
aka brian emo aka der ewige lude aka mangoloid aka hera cleetus aka carl the youngest aka based evans

Lexicus
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Re: Identity

Post by Lexicus » Fri Jan 12, 2018 3:36 pm

No, it makes sense to discuss the specifics, definitely. I see it as a super-important part of how humans relate to each other.

Lemon Merchant
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Re: Identity

Post by Lemon Merchant » Sun Jan 14, 2018 3:37 am

A very good OP. It caused me to think a lot about what identity is. I could rattle off the psychological definitions, but I don't think they are applicable here. I did think about what my identity is and what I let people see.

I fit into a few stereotypical groups. I'm female, Irish, a lesbian, an orphan of sorts (my entire family disowned me when I came out), intelligent, caring and I'm a lapsed Catholic and I'm in fairly decent shape for my age. I'm also terrified of authority, but I don't let people see that. I try to project the aura of a strong, confident woman. It doesn't always work. Some people see through it. In RL it takes a long time for me to let my guard down with new people. I have trouble meeting people for this reason. A lot of that has to do with my upbringing. I'm heavily damaged because of my childhood, and I've suffered from PTSD all of my adult life.

Probably my greatest identity throughout my life has been one of caregiver. Being a nurse for 20 years is something I'm very proud of and though it had its difficulties, it was very rewarding work. My current job is even more rewarding as I get to explore the human mind. I guess I identify most as being compassionate, if you want to use that label.

I'm not a member of any political party or political movement, but I consider myself a conservative liberal, if that makes sense. I belong to a few organizations that I believe in, like Doctors Without Borders/MSF. I joined Mensa on a lark and never bothered to quit, but it doesn't really mean anything to me.

Beyond work and some forum activity, I'm pretty much empty. I mean nothing to anyone, and I'm OK with that.
Just a long cool woman in a black dress

Timsup2nothin
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Re: Identity

Post by Timsup2nothin » Sun Jan 14, 2018 8:57 am

I've given this some thought, but keep circling back to things I've thought about before that are based on what I do not consider "identity."

It always bothered me that people ask "what do you do?" expecting and usually getting an answer appropriate to the different question "what's your job?" I like that Lemon differentiates between identifying as a caregiver and having worked as a nurse. I don't like that my many people who are so embroiled in their employment that they would not only answer the question about what they do with "I am a whatever," but the question 'what are you? would only throw them of for a second and wouldn't prod them to think that a human being is greater than the sum of its employment. I take great delight when I happen to be around my oldest son when he answers the "what do you do?" question because he always says "A lot of things, but I guess I probably breathe more than anything else." Sometimes he adds "I play a lot of darts."

Anyway, the more mundane answers that I do apply would include;

Retired. I like to keep that one centered because it ends the entire 'identity as employment' issue.
Scottish. Actually, my grandparents were really Scottish. My mother never saw "the old country" until after I was an adult, and I never have and almost certainly never will. But I have the coloring, and the build, and I like the highland games as much as the next guy and probably more. If I had a sword it would definitely be a claymore and I feign offense when people say that bagpipe music sounds like cats at the pound.
Native Californian. This one is recognizably important to people in California, because it is actually surprisingly rare here. The vast majority of Californians came here, rather than being born here, especially in my generation.
Christian. That I don't generally identify as to other people, but I try to continuously live up to it myself.
Straight white male. Water to the fish stuff. As in I certainly am those, but they are such givens that I wouldn't think of them as "identity," which is obviously a luxury that only straight white males really have. I try not to brazenly take advantage of that pretty hard, but that doesn't change the baseline.
Addictive personality. Another element of my personal identity that I try to remind myself of but don't identify as to other people generally. In this case not because I want to live up to it, but because it is the glaring elephant in the room when it comes to making a mess of my life if I forget to compensate for it.

There are a lot of scars from things I've done, that I wear with varying degrees of pride, but just like my job (when I had one) wasn't "what I was" I try to keep a distinction between things I've done and who or what I am. Some real doozies though, including serving on a submarine that forced me to wrap my head around being part of the function "slaughter about a third of the humans on command," selling cars on pure commission for a living which forced me to wrap my head around "you make exactly what you earn day by day, no more no less," and getting a college degree through self education which forced me to wrap my head around "you are not passing yourself off now, and will never be able to pass yourself off as, just an ordinary guy, without a self induced chemical lobotomy."

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Cutlass
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Re: Identity

Post by Cutlass » Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:04 pm

I haven't really been able to think a lot more about what identity means to me. Except for one thing:

I'm a net person. And by that I'm a person who spends a great deal of their time, and has a great deal of their interactions with other people, on the net. And I have been for over 20 years now. This is where I live. And seems to me that is true, to a greater or lesser extent, with all of us here. :)

Timsup2nothin
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Re: Identity

Post by Timsup2nothin » Mon Jan 15, 2018 9:11 am

Cutlass wrote:
Sun Jan 14, 2018 9:04 pm
I'm a net person.
Better a net person than a gross person.

Sorry, couldn't resist. When I saw "net person" the first thing that crossed my mind was a sort of "identity as sum of all these parts" thing, and I had to adapt to "oh, that net" pretty suddenly about a dozen words later.

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