Thursday, July 10, 2014

non-identity identity

digital painting
Lohbado and Nora had an interesting discussion about identity. They concluded that identity is a transparent dream-like abstract phenomena based on infinite regress.
Could you have an identity independent of the stories you tell yourself about yourself? The consciousness in the mind is based on an abstraction of the process of looking at or reacting to images and stories in one’s mind. One takes the schema or resume of one’s experiences and projects them into a timeless realm, the transcendental world of definition. Lohbado, a loose heap of adventures, tried to find a pattern. On the basis of the pattern, he projected an identity.

The patterns he chose to represent or summarize his identity were influenced by many factors, such as his state of body and mind at the moment when he went on an introspective journey, or reflected about his past. 

Reminiscence formed the basis of his identity. Each session of reminiscence could produce a different story or image. After many sessions of reminiscence, Lohbado ended up with a heap of stories and images. From the heap of stories and images, he tried to choose an identity.

The moment of choosing an identity from the heap was influenced by his state of body and mind at the time of making the choice. He sat down several times to make such a choice. He kept a careful record of the choosing session results. From the results of choosing sessions, or the choice of identities selected from the results of reminiscence sessions, he tried to make an ultimate choice, to find the ultimate essence of his identity. He also had to take into account that much of what he experienced was forgotten, or what he had forgotten, could one day be remembered.

The process involved infinite regress. He was unable to find solid ground from which to select an identity. The stories and images of himself were in flux. The stories and images changed, like in an endless slide show or infinite video. Whatever he selected would be a random choice from the arbitrary moment when he stopped the projector to choose a story or image. His choice of identity today could be different from the choice he would make in an hour or two, or the next day. The choice could be influenced on whether he was hungry or full, drowsy or agitated, stressed or relaxed and so on.

This doesn’t even touch the infinite regress of the difference between one’s “self” and the story that one tells about oneself. Once you tell a story, it takes on a form of it’s own, like when an author writes a book. The book becomes an independent object which exists in separation from the author. The story one tells about oneself exists in separation from whatever one’s self might be. To mention identity is to open a can of worms. It’s not so simple as it seems.

And of course, whatever story one tells about oneself occurs in society and involves others. The stories one tells about oneself could be quite different that the stories others tell about you. It sometimes happens that a person harms another. The person tells himself a story to justify causing harm. Then the person acts genuinely surprised when the people he harmed are upset. It never occurred to him that others got hurt. He couldn’t feel their pain. He only felt how the situation benefitted himself.

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