Sunday, April 14, 2013

identification, please!

Curious to think how very, very hard anyone might work in this lifetime to gather and glue the bits of identity. I don't mean this in some self-serving, I'm-immune, dig-my-analysis way ... just that it seems to be true: So much very hard work: Employment, marital status, manufacturing skills, athletic ability, analytical strengths, joke-making capacity, love of animals, amassing money, wielding power, painting pictures, singing arias, dressing up, mathematical equations, shooting rifles, solving problems, making improvements, baptizing babies, medical breakthroughs, dealing drugs, speaking foreign languages, believing in God, skipping rope ....

It takes a lot of hard work -- sometimes really really hard work. And as often as not that effort is used as a means of identity -- all those bits and pieces, all that sweat, coalescing into an identity that informs others and, more important, perhaps, informs me.

If, without imposing judgment for a moment and without applying some sounds-good spirituality, this is more or less true...

Then it strikes me as sad somehow that all that hard work is not accompanied by a curiosity to find out or a willingness to examine who or what, precisely, is being identified. Without settling that matter, wouldn't life be infused with a sort of sub-rosa desperation or sense of dis-ease? Who or what am I identifying?

Maybe spiritual discipline can help in such matters, but I'm not inclined to think there's any necessity to shoehorn the question into some identifiable 'spiritual' cookie tin. The question is personal. Not good, not bad ... just, perhaps, sensible because not looking into it leaves a lingering, half-formed doubt and uncertainty ... the very elements that identity was used to fend off in the first place.

It's like a family secret: My identity collapses without you; your identity collapses without me. But "collapses" to where or what or who?

I don't think there's anything wrong with identity.

I do think there's something unsettling about not finding out who or what is identified.

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