Here is a test...
Take a look at the names below - what is the common identifying factor?
Jean Claude Van Damme
Unless you are not very familiar with cinema, your answer should be in the vicinity of saying that; they are all actors...or maybe celebrities. In this case the people can all be instantly identified by their occupation. Yet within that category, if I were a producer or casting agent, their identities as actors might travel into another sub-category, as you can't put any actor, in just any film. It is often cited that Jean Claude Van Damme is a very funny man in real life, yet with the exception of a beer advert, have you seen him in any comedy films? No. Why Because the audience’s initial and lasting perception of him, has been cemented with the identification of an action actor. For for him to switch genre now could cause career suicide, as the acceptance may not travel with his departure, from the expected norm.
In the question of who am I? One could easily fall into a perpetual, philosophical space, where the suggested answers are just ethereal speculation. But even in the clearest dichotomy in how we answer the question to ourselves, it is interesting to see what different spheres we access as most vital. Some would delve straight into the meta-physical - I am a spiritual being type of rhetoric and others might mention their role at work to cement a firm answer. But is there any right answer and is one label more significant than another?
I would not argue against a person not being able to define themselves, but how do you accurately judge the perception of yourself to a reality that others can be in agreement with? The problem often comes from what you feel inside, not necessarily matching what is being 'broadcasted' to the rest of the world and this can cause serious problems when these two perceptions not only, not match, but are diametrically opposed. Can one person get the world to agree with the identification they place upon themselves? If you; Jane Doe/John Smith see yourself as 'ABC' but the world at large sees you as 'XYZ' who is right? Does mass perception overrule the individual opinion because the response to you will always come from what people feel about you, rather than what you feel about yourself.
"Life isn't about finding yourself. Life is about creating yourself" Bernard Shaw
"In many court cases, the truth is destroyed by perception." D'Lambert Mensah
Are we, as a nation, guilty of putting too much credence in perception without investigation. It bothers me sometimes when I see a mass agreement about an issue and I don't see any individual thoughts being formulated to really come to the same conclusion. Instead it seems we are subject to regurgitated dogma, devoid of a personal thought, but spoken as truth.
“What you see and what you hear depends a great deal on where you are standing. It also depends on what sort of person you are.” C.S. Lewis, The Magician's Nephew
What are the main factors of identification? Personality, gender, physical build, facial features, social status, work status, country of birth, achievements, rank...have I missed anything out? Are these the true definitions of people? And how do we profile which of these is the most significant?
This very small example speaks to our need for security in label identification, as in by understanding what a person does, we think we know who a person is. By understanding someone's faith we think we know their ways. I leave it to you to find out what people label you as. Ask relatives, friends, co-workers and I think you will discover a few surprises in discovering; that we are one thing to one person, something else to another and then a multiple of identities to those we have more complicated relationships with. But in the end, the ultimate question will still remain, who are you to yourself? A good answer to have would be: true.
Having graduated from the Home Page, RC and IK are now embarking on their own blogging adventures to examine the world of social curiosities and romantic anthropology.