Are You Really?
Most of us have driver's licenses or ID cards that
prove our claim to
identity. Damn shame, really. Knowing who you are can be
Let's look briefly at the reasons:
-It limits your options. Consider various performers: Amy
Grant is Amy
Grant. She knows who she is. Everybody knows who she is.
therefore, make sexually frustrated religious pop (think
Tori Amos in a
convent). Prince, on the other hand, has no idea who he
is. His very
name changes every so often--even the alphabet is unable
to contain his
nomenclatural fluidity. Thus, he has been able to change
and his direction several times--hell, he changes them several
album. The only thing one of his identities has in common
with the other
is that they're all horny. In this regard, he is like David
Bowie, who also
slips & slides between identities (even media--seen
his online stuff?).
No fixed identity=no fixed expectations with respect to
-It makes dodging blame difficult. Corporations (in essence,
people, often with unimaginably huge amounts of money) often
subsidiaries to disconnect themselves from their own dealings;
when they are caught doing wrong, they can deny responsibility.
the clouding of identity is even more subtle with corporations:
officers can commit many different types of crimes [like
legally get away with it, because the crimes the responsibility
corporation, and the corporation is a fictional entity.
Aren't you jealous?)
In another arena, those who have a very loose self-concept
referred to as schizophrenic--and are exempt from responsibility
their actions by reason of insanity.
-It makes you a target. Remember grammar school? Who got
Those who had a fuzzy notion of who they were changed color
they remained part of the crowd abusing the weird kids.
The weird kids,
on the other hand, knew exactly who they were: weird kids.
grasp of self made them fair game. Odd personal peccadilloes
acted as excuses. In a similar vein, in the recent election,
and a Republican contended for the office of president.
Both were the
favored sons of well-placed national politicians; both made
money in oil; both "served" in some light-duty
posting during the Vietnam War; both were obsessively pro-big-
business; both supported right-wing jurists; both dug executions;
the list goes on. It hardly bears mentioning that the challenger
actually differed from them--who had a discernible identity--was
attacked from all sides, and from no side as fiercely as
claimed to support the positions he advocated. Again, a
case of the
weird kid who knows who he is inflaming the rest of the
kids who just
aren't too sure yet.
-It makes you easy to find. This is related to the point
you have a fixed identity,the next thing you know, you've
got a fixed
address. After that, junk mail and the IRS will find you.
-It interferes with your innate superheroism. Peter Parker
Wayne were never too clear on who they were as people. They
be; it would interfere with their respective nocturnal rope-swinging
activities. The concept of "identity" is at its
best when modified by
the adjective "secret". Whose ego would not improve
with some altering?
This all runs counter to the prevailing wisdom, of course.
will encourage you to tell them who you are, and will be
you don't commit to a specific identity. In Through the
the Red Queen advises, "Speak French when you can't
think of the
English for a thing--turn out your toes when you walk--and
who you are!" Well, nowadays, we all know that dropping
French is seen as pretentious, walking with your toes pointed
give you shin splints, and remembering who you are means
able to deny trading arms for hostages.