Identity - Who are we really?


People often confuse their possessions and things with who they are. For example, as Jerry Seinfeld joked about on his TV show, if someone gives you a compliment about your new car, watch or jacket, we often say 'thank you!' as if they are complimenting us! We are taking credit for the car! When in fact it is the car that is really getting the compliment! We happen to have found/bought/received the said item, and happen to be enjoying it, but so what? Does wearing or driving the said item make it part of you? Clothes that suit you well can be said to compliment your form well, but they are not actually part of you. They are more like the garnishing on a the side of a plate of food. A watch or clothes are worn by us, and are seen on us, in conjunction with our own bodies, but we may wear different things on different days, so in what sense are they really 'us'? If we are taking the compliment that one was especially clever, shrewd or cunning in finding the item or being able to afford the item, is it really that clever? Any 'idiot' can walk into an Emporio Armani store or a BMW retailer if they have enough money or even like to be in debt. How hard is it really to buy something? It is said that many people judge a person by appearances, and when seeking a mate or partner, we may seek someone who is not only compatible but also who displays 'fittness'. This could be in terms of appearing to be shrewd and independent, or perhaps wealthy, or whatever you personal criteria are for 'fitness'. We still have that animal instinct which judges a person on their suitability to look after us in hard times or to help us propagate our genes. If someone doesn't look like they make an effort with themselves or their own personality, then we may be concerned that they will not be able to 'grow' as a person with us, or that they won't bother looking after us either.

Does an attractive or stylish item of clothing make a person 'cool'? The whole concept of being 'cool' is really rather ridiculous. One may indeed buy fashionable clothes but to see this as part of one's identity is only conducive to pandering to the ego, which inevitably results in more disconnection from who we really are. Our exact relationship to our possessions is our own business, but it may be helpful to regard our clothes, car, watch as functional items, and if we happen to own luxury versions of such items, then we should appreciate the fact that they are luxury items, but not be defined by them or obsessed by them, and be just as happy to wear/drive them as we would wearing cheap, scruffy clothes or driving an old, cheap or 'ugly' car. One can argue that one should have self-respect and not let oneself go, so it is clearly a balance between external material objects not mattering and being able to express one's sense of self, sexuality and personality. Whilst presentation may be a 'sell' of oneself to the audience, we ourselves do make our impressions of a person in the first 10 seconds of meeting them. We are continually selling ourselves and our ideas to others, in conversation, to influence, so one could argue that it is important not to turn the other person off, either by being too scruffy or by being too 'bling' or 'show off'. Some people respect conservatism and understatedness whereas others find it boring and lacking in personality and conformist. If everyone has the same tastes, then things do become boring. If you see several people driving the same car or wearing the exact same leather jacket, then one doesn't feel as unique anymore. How important is it to have a unique combination of clothes and tastes?

Do you own your possessions or do your possessions own you? Do you feel more 'owned' by your possessions when you have more? And feel freer somehow when you have less, like you are less tied down? Conversely though perhaps a reluctance to tie oneself down and commit to a place could be seen as a lack of self-knowledge or belief, but this is slightly different, as one is 'not worth it now' and that one will 'do it properly later' - and tomorrow never comes. Do you notice that the more you have, the less you really appreciate your individual possessions and the more they lose their meaning? Do you remember how much more you appreciated your possessions when you had less when you were younger than when you have more when you were older? It is often said by some that if you have clutter in your affairs, office or house, you cannot think clearly - one aspect of Feng Shui. If you strip out the unnecessary, you feel freer. This is true for possessions, one may want to consider what is the value of keeping things that one has not thought about or touched/seen/used in say 2 years. Do we feel better knowing that they are there and that we 'could' enjoy them if we wanted, but that we never actually have done or would? At what point are we fooling ourselves into believing that we are free to pursue unlimited possibilities without actually ever pursuing them? Do we keep a certain buffer of such 'possibilities' to fool ourselves into thinking we are free to live our lives in many different ways but always tread the same path again and again? Although we may leave things out in order to 'process' or use them at some point in the future, often we never do, and it is only at first that we notice them, and after this we simply filter their presence out, or at least the trigger that instigates interaction with them. What remains is a cluttered environment that subconsciously exerts a stressful influence on the psyche (in many cases). By removing clutter from your working or living space, it allows you to focus on the few things that are there, to feel freer etc. Ever noticed how things feel different when you are out of your own self-imposed, restrictive living area, and area staying in a hotel that is not full of your possessions impinging on the useable space? You may want to strive towards minimalism in your living area, and try to create as many open areas as possible to create an atmosphere and freedom, clarity and of not feeling boxed in. When it comes to our possessions, many of our feelings towards them come down to perception and gratitude. Less is more! We are just our bodies, minds and spirits, everything else is just a distraction and 'not us'.

Anti-fashion fashions are just as guilty of their 'crimes' of superficiality as fashion fashion is. For example, rigidly dressing in one manner in order to dress differently from 'most people' often results in dressing the same as others who are like minded. And this creates a restrictive uniform that people see as part of their identity. Anyone who adheres too much to the fashion without embodying the general stance and attitude of that counter culture group, e.g. punk or goth etc. is seen as a 'plastic'. However, anyone who restricts their modes of self, emotional and artistic expression within certain confines of 'punk', 'goth' or whatever, are by definition not completely being themselves and being free and are inevitably 'plastic' or a slave to some extent. Of course, it is more common for children in their teens who are desperately searching for a sense of identity and who they are to cling onto anything that comes by, like clothes, a certain look, certain bands, certain lifestyle or certain political/moral ideas. Equally, making a big fuss about not wearing a certain style of dress as it goes against our identity, for example, wearing a suit at a formal function, points to a superficial and materialistic obsession and insecurity about who we are. These things are the ego working overtime, based on a lack of positive, empowering beliefs. One can see the many negative characteristics and tendencies of each personality type and how they pander to the ego on the personality types page. Clearly, each colour personality type has its ego inclinations, with red dominating and winning; blue trying to maintain control, obsessing with details, having to complete things and being right; white disconnecting from others and focussing on himself; and yellow being vain and selfish.

According to Anthropology, there is no scientific basis for the concept of race. Ethnicity is also on shaky ground as it is extremely difficult to define. The modern nation state has only existed for a few hundred years and many of our 'traditions' have only existed for 100 years or less. Do they constitute part of who we are?

So who are we? What we own? Our job? Our car? Our friends? Our house? Our clothes? Our hairstyle? Our bling? Our money? Our status? Our skin colour? Our nationality? Our ethnic group? Our sexual orientation? What other people perceive us to be? What other people think of us? What we used to do? What we are currently thinking? People often confuse these things with who they are. If you go down to the lowest base building block, we are a mainly carbon and water based organism, comprised of molecules, comprised of atoms, comprised of quarks, but which is ultimately just comprised of energy. We are basically on the quantum level just a mass of energy vibrating at different frequencies. Thoughts too can be measured electromagnetically and create different energy vibrations within our bodies. And affect how others around us feel, how the energy inside them vibrates. Normally the highest energetic state of energy brings lower energetic levels to the same state. For example, when we bring a candle into a dark room, it illuminates the room. The darkness doesn't snuff out the candle. In the same way, positive vibration conquers negative vibration, if the positive vibration is grounded well enough. Thoughts are energy. Matter is energy. Are they interchangeable? Can you think your way out of illness or physical impairment? It does happen. On a quantum level we are just energy. But in many ways, we are spirit, or a sentient essence created as a result of our physical bodies, depending on how you wish to look at it.

Often if we have been experiencing what we consider a bad situation for a long time, our ability to see beyond it and to avoid just focussing on it may become severely impaired. All we see is the bad situation. If we honestly ask ourselves if we want change or want to feel better or be healthy, we may think 'of course I do! It goes without saying', but if we don't think it and feel it with any intensity, we will stop believing it. Eventually we may lose our focus of what we really want and forget what we have been striving for for all these months or years. We accept the situation as normal or eternal. Clearly if you think of something so much, you must subconsciously want it, so you can feel significant or righteous about feeling injustice. Or on some level your ego must get a kick out of it, so it can feel injured, the victim, injustice or sad or any other related emotions. If you didn't want it, you wouldn't focus on it. Some part of you that you may not admit to wants the bad situation so it can react to it. Often we walk around just waiting to pounce on something to react to or react against. Like we are looking for it. If you are looking for it, you must want it on some level to give you a sense of certainty and familiarity. So although rationally we may dismiss this as nonsense and assume that we of course want the situation to be good, part of our psyche still wants it as it fulfills certain ego-driven wants and needs. If in our core beliefs we are not consistent and are conflicted, even if we don't rationally acknowledge this, then we are unlikely to be totally focussed on our goal and our actions are not likely to be totally consistent with achieving this goal. These negative ways of achieving significance and certainty, although they meet some of our human needs, will never fulfill all our human needs and involve an degree of sacrifice of many of our other needs, are not conducive to getting what we want or being happy. They serve the ego. The self-destructive part of our ego. They are driven by negative belief patterns and negative habitual psychological patterns (or 'software'). This is where focus and belief are critical!

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© 2006-2014 Fabian Dee