Identity is a weird thing. It is totally exclusive to its owner. Just like a fingerprint, they are shaped by a kaleidoscope of factors. Which seems kind of random at times, like why should seeing a scary movie about boats as a child make me scared of them for 10 years. This random event made me miss out on things that would have Further developed my identity, like seeing Murder Boat XIV: Return of Bob the Blood Boat™ with my friends or going on that boat trip with my family. So, what has my identity done? On that note why do they even matter? Why can’t we all be biological machines completely devoid of any sense of identity? It is our anchor. In a turbulent sea that is life, an identity grounds us somewhere. From there we can branch out and develop relationships with other people. Soon entire groups of people kept afloat in the sea of life altogether.
So, what is an identity? In my opinion, it is the sum total of all your experiences, relationships, likes, dislikes, thoughts, origins, and, surroundings. Now it is entirely random which one will have the greatest effect on your personality and most of the time it varies from person to person. Mostly it matters on what they take away from these pieces that make their identity. So, for instance, if someone really values being the type of person who likes the color aquamarine and builds their life around it. It will affect what kind of experiences they have, how they interpret their origins, and, what they dislike. It’s so hard to say what has an exact effect on how someone identifies themselves. Because someone could just choose to disengage with a massive part of their identity like how they hate their origin, but is that really disengaging from that part of their identity or increasing how much of their identity that is define by it? Does this mean that we can shape a lot of our personality or does this mean that our personalities shape us? there’s a quote from why identity is a lie that really works with this. “I think we run into dangers when we allow our identities to push us around, to make us do things we don’t actually want to do or need to do, just because we feel that’s what a black person would do or that’s what a white person would do or that’s what a Republican person would do. These identities can make all sorts of demands on us, and often that can overwhelm who we are as unique individuals.” (Illing). The question oppose is interesting who’s in control. The individual or the factors that make us up?
Ok so, what do identities do for us. Well, I said previously I think they anchor us to the world. It’s a survival strategy essentially. If we have a fear of losing ourselves it makes us more invested in our lives. It gives us a reason to feel emotions and to change things. So, we have this cumulative process of building on ourselves by which we can extrapolate purpose. Therefore, gets me anything losing sense of it could be so detrimental to people. Like in the article called Toast where the subject of the article, Giulietta Carrelli, has a medical condition that causes her to have episodes in which she can lose the sense of herself. “When an episode comes on, she describes the experience as a kind of death: Sometimes she gets stuck hallucinating, hearing voices, unable to move or see clearly; other times she has wandered the city aimlessly. “Sometimes I don’t recognize myself,” she says. “I get so much disorganized brain activity, I would get lost for 12 hours.” (Gravois) Identity are not just random tidbits about someone or accidental coincidences growing up. We are our identities and they drive us and Losing that is detrimental. Even when Carrelli losses her self for a couple hour it can uproot anything she has build up until then. It shows How vital identity is too our survival.
Illing, Sean. “Why Identity Is a Lie We Can’t Live Without.” Vox.com, Vox Media, 2 Nov. 2018, www.vox.com/identities/2018/11/1/17980384/identity-politics-kwame-anthony-appiah.
Gravois, John. “How Did Toast Become the Latest Artisanal Food Craze?” Pacific Standard, Pacific Standard, 13 Jan. 2014, psmag.com/social-justice/toast-story-latest-artisanal-food-craze-72676.