Sunday, February 26, 2012

Discussion Question 8


What is identity? Is there a core to your self-identity independent of how others define you? How difficult would it be to remake any given person into someone with a new identity?


Identity is a person's distinct personality by which they are recognized. It is through this difference that we mark an individual from the rest of the world. The problem with this sense of self is the complication of believing there is a true “self” independent of outside influence. This self relies on the categories by which we attribute to ourselves based on these universal differences. Some of them include gender, culture, sexual orientation, class, history etc. However the problem lies in that each of these categories are constructed by outside forces. There is no true quality we can call our own due to the universality of it. However despite this, there is an obvious strong attachment toward each of these categories, which we all use to use to explain who we are. Given our high regard of these categories, it might be difficult to remake a person however it isn't entirely impossible. For example in the Stanford Prison experiment, we see how a number of young men were stripped of their identities and convinced of a fictional reality. Their selfhood is taken from them and they believe themselves to be their numbers, falling into their roles of guards and prisoners. We prize our identity as a main core to our self yet it is not concrete and based heavily on the way in which the world sees us.

2 comments:

Heidi Systo said...

Identity is whatever makes an entity definable or recognizable, or the relation each thing bears just to itself. Yet how we define ourselves will always be different then how the people outside of ourselves might define; identity is subjective and depends on the perspective of the person defining said entity. As humans we mistakenly believe that we are unique and our identity comes from within ourselves. But when we look at different cultures we learn that who we are is determined by the society we live in. A person develops identity based on the environment they are raised in, so a person in America identifies themselves differently from a person in Brazil, and a person born in 1990 identifies themselves differently from a person born in 1890. It is not difficult to remake any given person into someone with a new identity. This is shown in the Stanford Prison experiment. People were simply told that they were either a prisoner or a guard, and each person immediately began to identify as such and defined themselves as the title they were given, proving that identity comes from external elements.

Unknown said...

If a person wanted to be made to forget the majority of their past in order to have a better future could it be done?