Friday, August 7, 2009

Meaning of Identity

Webster’s Definition of Identity – 1. a: sameness of essential or generic character in different instances b: sameness in all that constitutes the objective reality of a thing: oneness 2. a: the distinguishing character or personality of an individual: individuality b: the relation established by psychological identification 3. The condition of being the same with something described or asserted 4: an equation that is satisfied for all values of the symbols.

I appreciate that there are multiple definitions for the concept of identity, especially the ideas that it is both an essence that remains intact as well as being individual characteristics or outward “identifiers” in each person. One idea is more interior, while the other more superficial. When we think about the idea of psychological identification, I believe the ego is involved. Instead of being truly in tune with our inner core, we attach ourselves to outside events and things, fleeting experiences, projections and constructs. Identity is ego driven, while the id, or true essence of someone, is truly constant but below the surface of outward appearances. Ego is how we want to be perceived and understood and what identifiers we’re attached to - our profession, aesthetic or appearance, talents and skills, interests, personality traits, idiosyncrasies, and values and beliefs. Identity crisis is then the death of our perceived self or the stripping away of ego. But the id always remains, and this is what we can remember and gain strength from.

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