My Identity, Your Identity

So much of politics, indeed, societal structure is based on identity. My identity is based on many things. It is defined by who I agree with and who I disagree with. I see a pathway through life based on my system of beliefs which is the sum total of my life experience. All my days of living, all of the things I’ve done and have been done to me has led to this present moment. My identity is unlike anyone else’s and yet much of it is, in fact, shared by by others. This is the crux. While my identity is unique to me; much of it is the same as a certain group of like-minded human beings.

Thus there are two minds within my brain. That which is my own private personal world and that which is shared with those I identify with. But more yet then this – there is an anti-identity as well. I am also defined by those I oppose. And this anti-identity is no small part of me; this is what I am not, what I am against, what I oppose, and most meaningful – those I oppose morally, philosophically and politically.

There are then these two components in us all: what we are and what we are not; the will and the anti-will; what we believe in and what we disbelieve. Two components forever locked in conflict and by extension two groups of which intense conflict absolutely must exist. This is so fundamental to being human: that we see both the good, which we identify with, and the bad, which in many ways we also identify with. This is no small thing, this anti-identification. And, for so many, sadly, there is hardly a difference or no difference at all. For these unfortunates there is nothing other than identification by opposition.

If all we have is what we are not, what we disagree with, what we oppose, then our path through life is dark indeed. We are without ideas. We create nothing. We are without love and in its place is the opposite: hate.

Dogma abounds. Dogma rules many lives and closes many minds. Dogma is an addiction of the spirit and a destroyer of free-will. It takes many forms and has many names. It can be the basis of hate and fundamentally evil. For those who choose not to think for themselves dogma is a ready-made, prepared set of beliefs. It is intellectual laziness for those unwilling or incapable of finding a path to an individual identity. And, sadly, there is so much popular dogma that defines itself not by what it is, but what it is not.