Thursday, September 24, 2015

Anyone's Guess

People's personas only exist in the images  others have of them. We have no identity in reality.

I was convinced through my life that I would eventually find my ID, being of the Aries persuasion, but due to a twist of events, I  instead came to the knowledge that I don't actually have one. My personality is a product of imagination. Of vapors, gasses, and general hallucinations. Who I am is anyone's guess.


Blogger kadimiros said...

Hmm...Is that a problem?

What is this ineffable thing you term "identity"? ;-)

24/9/15 1:24 PM  
Blogger jm said...

Ha ha! That is the question.

Ineffable: incapable of being expressed or described in words

You got me there. You're the wordman. You give it a try while I give it some thought. Keep in mind that I'm referring to personality, not physical characteristics, such as fingerprints.

24/9/15 5:08 PM  
Blogger kadimiros said...

"You give it a try while I give it some thought."

Ha, identity is a question you have long posed to yourself; no fair handing it to someone else! I can hear teacher Saturn transiting philosophical Sagittarius saying nay, nay, nay. ;-) Or maybe it's neigh-neigh-neigh.

I will answer for myself only, for I can best speak to my idea complexes relating to the notion of identity. You may, and probably should, have your own way to relate to it. After all, you may mean something different by the same word.

26/9/15 2:51 PM  
Blogger kadimiros said...

"Keep in mind that I'm referring to personality, not physical characteristics, such as fingerprints."

Ah, so "identity" is without fingerprints. A crafty sort it is which leaves no physical trace behind. Hrmm, but so many things are fingerless. Like some gloves. Well, perhaps it has feet of Piscean clay, maybe even a glass slipper. We must not approach too directly, lest it vanish into the night like a frightened debutante, about to be unmasked, fleeing the surety of identification. This is quite the puzzle! Or, as Yul Brynner said in The King and I, "a puzzlement".

And here we scent a method to the madness of associative trains of thought. This is how it works. Let's look up the lyrics. I confess, I don't recall them.

26/9/15 3:07 PM  
Blogger kadimiros said...

And the king sang:

"When I was a boy, world was better spot.
What was so was so, what was not was not.
Now, I am a man, world have changed a lot.
Some things nearly so, others nearly not.

"There are times I almost think
I am not sure of what I absolutely know.
Very often find confusion
In conclusion, I concluded long ago"

He goes on to indecisively weigh the risks inherent in choosing international allies, and to inquire into the kind of leadership personality he should assume before them and his son. Identity, identity, but which identity?

Brynner was singing, "in character", as a man grown more complex and nuanced than he could communicate to his son or to his subjects, all of whom depended on him to foster order and protect their world.

Interestingly, his character closes the song by invoking Buddha in whose philosophy the self is illusory, and reiterating his puzzlement.

And, of course, since conversations here at the Jazzrap Cafe favor it, we must not neglect the astrological symbolism.

So we find that Brynner was born with Mercury conjunct Neptune, nigh upon the Leo Ascendant, and with Cancerian Sun in the 12th house and a Taurean Moon in the 10th house. Astrologers might think it most fitting that the real man projected those symbolized elements by way of a fictional character and not, say, as an actual head of state.

And Brynner himself was rich in character and personality. Besides performing as a famed actor, he was also a photographer, an accomplished guitarist, an author and director, and he served as a UN special consultant on refugees. Through words and images, he documented the lives of children in refugee camps, and advocated for their welfare.

Shakespeare wrote that "all the world's a stage." Like the character that Brynner played on stage, real heads of state too have more dimensions than they initially present to the audience. It has been noted that (with but one exception) U.S. presidents are more nuanced in speech when governing than when campaigning for office. Indeed, an increase in complexity of speech is associated with de-escalation of international tension, whereas speech remains simple and more extreme in periods leading to war and conflict.

Speech reflects identity, and identity can expand to include more of what was once considered foreign. It can also exclude. You can daily see the political contest between competing species of identity in their evolutionary struggle for survival.

There are many ways to explore concepts of identity. I like to think that we grow identities, as many as needed, not unlike an actor using her personality and its elements as a living artistic medium. And identities may contain identities. Though she may seem to leave one role for another, what the actor learns to be becomes part of herself, gives her depth, and continues to enrich her.

Then, identity is as illusory and as real as anyone is, and perhaps because it does navigate to and fro between both shores, between Is and Is Not, trading fresh energy across the sea of becoming, it can be both a most creative and a most worthwhile enterprise.

Now, some may object that surely there is something more essentialist to which one can point. And perhaps some identify that with a distant, idealized version of themselves, a more heroic self that maximally actualizes its potential. But who is it that entertains such thoughts and dares dive into the deep waters of time and space to explore what can be?

26/9/15 3:22 PM  
Blogger jm said...

"identity is as illusory and as real as anyone is"


27/9/15 10:30 AM  
Blogger kadimiros said...

If I may suggest so, let everyone be aware, though, of what their implicit ideas of "real" are, and why they prefer it to others. Through history, people and schools of thought have come down on somewhat different sides of such questions as identity and reality. I am inclined to be suspicious of the stronger schools of thought, when they seem to come down hardest on opposing sides.

For if one defines identity in contrast to change, then one (Vedantist) thinker will say that "what is real is unchanging" and therefore what changes is illusion and what is real is "the absolute"; another (Buddhist) might counter that all is transient or in process, and that therefore there is no real self and has never been; and yet a third, more modern, thinker could argue that consciousness exists, that it knows itself through action, that action entails development and individuation, and that though it expands consciousness is always itself and that the nature of time is simply poorly understood by the other thinkers. So we see such ideas evolve, and who is to say where they will end?

Perhaps we can at least say that we are all in the business of real illusions. We daily build mass hallucinations. The curtains rise — the act begins — and we performers learn by doing. Did we really want it otherwise?

Here is a question for each to consider: What are the themes of your play or performance of whatever kind? How may they evolve? And with that in mind, may you "break a leg" as the theatrical wish for good luck goes.

28/9/15 8:48 AM  

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