Identity: How do you define it? | INFJ Forum

Identity: How do you define it?

Discussion in 'Philosophy and Religion' started by PapillonT, May 25, 2020.

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  1. PapillonT

    PapillonT Community Member

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    Would you say that identity is more about that which is “given” to us in view of sociocultural constructions (including community belonging, religion, nation, etc.)? Or, is it rather something continuously evolving?
    Usually this topic relies on the line of questioning referring to “what” we are and "what" we become – could it be that the more appropriate approach is “how” our identity is forged?
    Is the issue of identity a matter of a choice?

    These questions are only hypothetical for exploring the topic – of course, you're welcome to reply from your own perspective :) Given that we all come from very different paths of life, it would be interesting to bring together different approaches and get better understanding of our personal views too.
     
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  2. philostam

    philostam Permanent Fixture

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    Interesting topic! (I will answer briefly for now).

    I feel that in my case the biggest factor is genetics and personal experiences. I read a study not long ago, saying that we might be overestimating the effect of parenthood on our personality.

    That sounds very wrong and counter intuitive, but I was convinced by it at the end. It still obviously agreed that bad parenting can make a lasting damage, but the claim was that if you have an OK-ish parents, then biology + your personal experience (friends in school, hobbies etc.) will make more of a difference than simply home environment.
     
  3. Korg

    Korg ▄ ▄

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    It seems our brains literally go through a period of time during our youth where it takes collected extrinsic (environmental) data and kludges it together with default / intrinsic (more genetic) data to form a starting framework by which we are able to individuate and interpret reality. I think a lot of the extrinsic data is effectively random:

    where you grew up
    your childhood best friend
    whether or not you had good experiences with the family dog
    the hair color of your first crush
    local religious influence
    the emotional disposition of your parents
    the first song you remember having an emotional reaction towards

    ...I almost think of these as random starting/seed values when your identity algorithm is first initialized. The intrinsic data I guess would be things like IQ, facial symmetry, aptitudes and so forth. All that data gets plugged into various parameters, the algorithm is run and ...there you are. Evolution is inevitable, even if you foolishly evolve in circles because you are ignorant of the process. The idea is to take control of said process and guide it deliberately, but also not over identify with the more arbitrary characteristics.
     
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  4. philostam

    philostam Permanent Fixture

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    Very well said, I like this!
     
  5. OP
    PapillonT

    PapillonT Community Member

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    Thank you @Korg and @philostam. I like your thoughts, and agree.
    How about setbacks?

    For example, if someone asked me ten years ago to explain this, I'd list what I do, where I come from, my beliefs, etc., but the one thing that truly shaped me is the awareness of own mortality (or better said reverence for life) brought by personal struggle with health and with grief. That is what drives my actions, and defines who I am at the deepest level.

    In our interactions as humans we rarely unveil that dimension of our identity.
     
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  6. Hostarius

    Hostarius Gimme that WOAD

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    I disagree with @Korg and @philostam, in that I don't think 'identity' is synonymous with 'personality'.

    'Identity', for me, is more clearly related to 'ego': that is, it's a class of self-perceptions and self-definitions rather than simply behaviours. It's the image we hold of ourselves that can negotiate how we operate in the world.

    If we have a behaviour that forms part of our personality, but about which we aren't aware (though maybe others are), then that is not 'identity', and this is the case for the majority of traits we've inherited genetically or acquired developmentally.
     
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  7. Ren

    Ren Pin's android / The Maker / ≅ INFP

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    Interesting view, Hos. Is this a purely personal conviction or would you argue it's philosophically grounded as well?

    It seems to me the main difference between your position and Korg's is that you adopt a subjectivist conception of identity, whereas @Korg adopts an objectivist one.

    I don't mean to say that one is necessarily better than the other, but that seems to be the line of disagreement here.
     
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    #7 Ren, May 27, 2020
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
  8. Hostarius

    Hostarius Gimme that WOAD

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    Yes, but the question is about subjective identity in the first place.

    The word isn't precise enough to distinguish on its own, so we'll just get into a Wittgensteinian circle jerk here over the limits of language if we make too much of that distinction.
     
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  9. philostam

    philostam Permanent Fixture

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    Yeah, I agree with Hos. Distinction should be made between identity and personality. The topic was about identity, but I replied talking about personality. I was actually aware of this error when writing, but whatever :grinning:
     
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  10. Ren

    Ren Pin's android / The Maker / ≅ INFP

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    :tearsofjoy:
     
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  11. Wyote

    Wyote Xenoi
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    I'm just here for the circle jerkle
     
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  12. Ren

    Ren Pin's android / The Maker / ≅ INFP

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    While I agree about the danger of Wittgensteinian circle jerks, I think the distinction between objective identity and subjective identity is actually quite clear. @Korg gives a compelling and exhaustive definition/description of objective identity when it comes to human beings, to me at least.

    That said, if the OP is talking about subjective identity, then I agree that self-perception is very central, though it does presuppose the background (*wink wink*) of objective capacities on which these self-perceptions are based. For example, if I perceive myself as a radical thinker, then that is part of my subjective identity, and although objectively I may not be a radical thinker, there is still an objectively factual context which the self-perception has to draw from—namely that I have a Ph.D, that I write philosophical treatises, that I use a specific kind of vocabulary, etc.

    So it seems to me there is a complex and fascinating interplay between objective identity and subjective (self-perceptive) identity.

    Another interesting question that crops up regarding subjective identity is: if we agree that self-perception plays the central role here, then how free are we to define that identity for ourselves? How free are we to cause our own perceptual experiences?
     
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    #12 Ren, May 27, 2020
    Last edited: May 27, 2020
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  13. OP
    PapillonT

    PapillonT Community Member

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    Hi everyone, I am sorry I wasn't clear enough, but I'll try to explain where my question came from.
    I've been reading some research that actually made me realize that while I usually tend to lean towards anthropological discourse, my way of thinking fits in "Western" concepts (and when I think of identity it is indeed in terms of self-perception).
    For this topic in particular, I was inspired by studies which, especially in non-Western context, reveal that one person has ability to embrace plurality of identities (so-called shared identities), whereas self is neither superior nor detached, but serves as a particular "framework" handling these multiple identities (which arise from experience and question who we are in relation to others - via kinship, language, community belonging, religious beliefs, etc.). That is also why there is the question of identity as a process and a choice.
     
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  14. Wyote

    Wyote Xenoi
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    How Jungian of you

    I do agree, this is how identity works on some level though ^_^
     
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  15. Roses In The Vineyard

    Roses In The Vineyard Community Member

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    One of the problems with all this is how people build them in the first place with the choices that are provided to them rather than having the freedom to explore and search out as they please instead are left with labels, isms, and little boxes both for themselves then for everyone else. One can always see how so many people end up being very similar or the same in some cases personal nuance and circumstances aside.
     
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  16. Hostarius

    Hostarius Gimme that WOAD

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    Have you encountered 'pagoda religion' in the anthropological literature?
     
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  17. OP
    PapillonT

    PapillonT Community Member

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    No, I haven't
     
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  18. hithere

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  19. hithere

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    Hmmm... Identity.
    I kind of identify most strongly with the part of me that I'd call the soul. That yearning part of me that just wants to experience life at the deepest level, the part that can sometimes feel this awesome oneness with the universe. The part of me that longs for more. For more depth, meaning, connection. But not a sad longing, more of a joyful kind of longing because I sense there is something bigger than me out there, and in a way I am part of that.
    Yes, there are other parts and I can get caught up in those. But I'd like to believe that there is this sacred core part of me that I have the ability to identify with. Even if it's only sometimes.
    (Ha, now go tell that to the people who see me in my worse states :().
     
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  20. just me

    just me GONE

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    The most known manner of identity data used is a fingerprint, though some use DNA nowadays. We are each unique.


    [​IMG]

    Don't lose your label, huh?

    [​IMG]

    If it looks like a duck, and swims like a duck,... We identify ourselves, while others label us.
     
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