Monday, 8 December 2008


There are all kinds of personal identity.

You can identify with something macroscopic, like a continent, and see yourself as African or European. Slightly smaller is the national identity where you feel you are American, English and the like.

Or you can see your identity as transcending borders but linked to your race, religion or social position. You can identify with a culture or you can come from a certain city and be identified with that.

You can identify with a sports team, a family, a social movement, an organisation or a job title. Closer even to home, you can identify with your name, your body, your personality or your sexual orientation. Of course, you can identify yourself as a man or a woman.

All identities, though, are false. Whether collective or individual, identities are all a form of ego. All identities are not really you.

Because we live in a world dominated by mind, we identify with constructs of the mind. We have got entirely lost in them, in the absence of knowing who we really are.

All identities are superficial and limit us to shallow understanding of ourselves and one-dimensional interaction with others, which will ultimately be conflictual. Identifying the self includes identifying the other as separate and different.

If we are identified with anything, we will defend it and be susceptible to challenge by people with other identities. We will then, in extreme cases, kill or die for things that are neither us nor real.

You are simply presence. If you experience yourself as such, you find freedom.

No comments: