Identity Magic

The Identity Question

Identity. The what. The how. The where.

Lacan spoke of a space in language that exists between the point a word is spoken and the point it is heard. The speaker talks… there is a space of existence… the listener hears. This no-man’s land is where the language exists as itself. There is no meaning because it no longer has the meaning the speaker gives it, and has yet to receive the meaning the listener assigns it.

A point of no explanation. Of no identity.

As humans, where does this point exist? Where is the point of no identity? Is it what we project; the point the projection is received by others; or the point in between, the point which neither projection nor reception exists?

There are so many aspects of identity. We are any random thing at any random moment. Sometimes we are a child. Sometimes we are the parent. Sometimes we are a stranger, and yet sometimes a friend. It seems, as I write this out, much of identity exists as a way to define our role in the world.

We are a child in relation to another person; the same for a parent.

Those examples, among thousands, are identity structures that exist because the definition is in relation to someone, or something else.

But what if I turn that around?

I identity as heterosexual. Is this in relation to another? Or a way of separating myself from those who identity as homosexual, or bisexual?

And what about identifying as female?

Or identifying as Caucasian?

All of those things are to create an understanding in how I am different from others; or what my relationship is to others. Do these things, or rather, do these methods, help me to understand WHO I am, and if they do so, should they?

Should I identify myself with a method that separates me from others by assigning characteristics that are in contrast?

Our world is focused on how we are different. I am poor. He is wealthy. I am intelligent. She is stupid. When we identify, rarely do we identify in relation to similarities. Sometimes we do, when surrounded with the same identity structure — writing groups where everyone is a writer, or a church where everyone has the same belief system — but even within those social structures, we set ourselves apart.

Why is that?

It makes me think of that point in language, when no meaning is assigned. Is there meaning at that point? I don’t know; it is kind of like the question of whether or not a falling tree makes a sounds in the forest if no one is there to hear it it.

Philosophically, there are many different arguments and answers yet no truth in so much as there is no ability to prove anything.

Same as identity.

We spend our lives trying to figure out who we are, and where we fit in. We assign roles, identity structures, but for what purpose and reason? To limit ourselves? Or to create guiding principles?

What do you think?


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