It’s a cold one this morning with the temperature sitting at eight degrees Celsius (that’s 46 F.) and the sky covered with pasty looking clouds that seem to be undecided about breaking up or building up. The forecast was for sunny skies and warm temperatures. Needles to say it makes me feel a bit cranky and disappointed. Regardless of the weather, it is a good time to ruminate on identity. And, as you can see, write outside. Canadians are tough when it comes to dealing with cold weather.
As far as i am concerned, my identity is probably quite clear in terms of who people think I am. Yes, I am a naturist as the photos and the majority of the content of this blog site frequently show. And yes, I have had a career as a psychotherapist (among other paid activities) and an educator. From time to time, the Buddhist thoughts which have become part of who I am have also been on display, sometimes through images and other times through content. Not so well know is the fact that I am a parent of three adult children with a son and two daughters who are now married with children of their own. Of course the role of grandparent has helped fill out my identity though not as much as it could have been since I only have grandsons – no granddaughters. I am a writer (obviously) and a photographer (equally as obvious), skills which have made me comfortable with writing here on my blog site. I guess that you might say that I am stating the obvious, things that don’t really need saying about identity. After all, we all have roles in life from which we build our identities.
Yet, I am, as you are, so much more than these roles. There are intangibles that have as much, if not more, in carving out who we are in comparison to every other human being. We are all unique though we usually believe that truth. As individuals in collectives, we lose our identity to the community. We believe what we are required to believe as members of our communities whether those communities are small such as skateboarders or nudists, or large such as church communities and corporate communities. The collective unconscious is a very powerful force that takes people to places and ways of being that don’t necessarily fit with an individual’s sense of self. As individuals we know how powerful groups are – political groups, activity groups, religious groups, etc.
Still, there is yet something more vast that shapes us unknown to us, and completely beyond our control as thinking and doing human beings. We sometimes get hints of these things through our dreams, and through our unconscious responses to life, events, and others. What we think of as our identity, our sense and belief of who we are, is all provisional. If anything, we could say that we invent our identities in order to have some sort of tenuous foothold on life. For, when we look deep within and without, we get an almost horrifying glimpse of an unending cosmos, a formless chaos of shadows and light where there is no real separations; no I, no thou.