Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Problem of Mis-Identity


An alien is someone who doesn’t belong: someone who is out of place. In every country and culture a person is either considered “one of us” or an alien. Citizenship is an official acknowledgement that we belong and agree to contribute to and benefit from what a given society offers.

Ordinarily we flock together with birds like us and tend to consider other birds as aliens. We conduct ourselves this way because of how we understand ourselves. To an extent we identify with those who share what we value and think the way we think because we identify ourselves in that way. We put on ideologies and embrace particular values as we might put on and change a suit of clothing. And of course we prefer sharing our time with those who dress like we do.

But underneath this suit of ideas and values lays the true us, naked as a jaybird. That bird is without discrimination but the one we can see is all about looking good and fitting in with our flock. Since we can’t see the naked us, we mis-identify with what lays on the surface and become obsessed with keeping our kind in and the aliens out. The result of this unfortunate loss is that we not only find ourselves opposed to others but also never come to know our true nature. The consequence is hostility, defensiveness and alienation. What we can’t see is what truly matters but what we can see causes divisiveness. Sort of explains the nature of our conflicted world.
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