Thursday, November 03, 2011

Re-Imagining Identity

Oh, my God! Exactly! is how my nephew, Augustin, subjected his GOOGLE+ email.
Since I refuse to sign up for Google+, I cannot answer any of his emails, and since there was actually no personal message from Aug beyond the subject line, I clicked the link.
So it was I came to the WIRED Magazine article:
You Are Not Your Name and Photo: A Call to Re-Imagine Identity

This sounded surprisingly spiritual to me.
I recalled my own blog effort, Your are not the Body.
It also played in to my increasing awareness of a generation gap and attempts to better understand what is going on, or going past me.

It was through Aug that I first learned about Burning Man.
Here too things appear to be about one thing on the surface, yet I expect this next generation’s deepest yearnings churn below in very interesting ways.
Professionally, Augie is also into netware design (apparently “bleeding edge” – rather than “leading edge”).
The Wired Magazine article is illustrated with an etching of Shakespeare and highlights a recent speech given at a web design conference by a 23 year old wiz regarding identity as it is used and created online.

Understanding and managing identity online is for all of us.
What’s more, there is increasingly little to no gap between our online and offline selves.
It’s not that online identity should reflect real identity; it is real identity.
Tim Carmody, Wired Magazine

Whoa! Online identity is our REAL identity.
What a curious new way to play out the whole illusion game!
Here I am toggling between realization of “no self” and being someone who cares to the point of tears over the smallest leaf… “Who am I?”
No one, Someone, Both?
So, I read on.

We’re all authors of our data; the question is whether we want everything we’ve written bundled together in a giant book with our name and portrait at the front and testimonials from our friends — as Facebook just introduced …
Or do we want something looser, more fragmented, less monumental, less final.
We could be like the Shakespeare of the First Folio, dead and memorialized; or the living, collaborating, experimental poet, playwright, actor and businessman.
He’s something of a mystery to us, but infinitely more vital than the capital-A Author too often used to intimidate schoolchildren.
Tim Carmody, Wired Magazine

Yes, a mystery, The Mystery is always more vital, living, experimental, collaborative.
It arises out of Nothingness and dissolves back into Nothingness and in between we pour our hearts into living breathing moments, that for the life of me, I cannot grasp or truly understand.
Seems to me this younger generation is coming to this Mystery uniquely in their own way.
Walking through the parking garage this morning I noticed a bumper sticker:
Design Can Save the World

That struck me as very curious. To me, until that very moment, “Design” smacked of vacuous world, of high fashion, the strutting model on the ramp and in the lights, twirl and fake and costumed.
This bumper sticker pointed to a new world of interpretations.
My eyes then landed on a second sticker affixed to the truck’s back window:
Design. Build. Transform.

Reminds me of the world created on Burning Man playa.
What a contrast to the slogan of my youth:
Tune in. Turn on. Drop out.

And yet perhaps they are aiming at the same goal… find yourself, save the world.
I have this working hypothesis consisting of two parts really.
1) If the world is to survive the present global crisis, we as a species must Wake Up, must become more conscious. And,
2) In response to this need of the time Awakening will become more available and occur more quickly for this next generation.
So, I watch and try to understand the twenty some-things.

I’m fascinated to see specific efforts put into design and the wording that is used.
Re-imagining identity.
I take these as examples, as evidence of how my hypothesis may hold, how the changes may unfold.
If one is to “re-imagine” does this not imply that identity was originally IMAGINED?
Doesn’t this invitation inadvertently imply that one’s casual identity may be a misperception, may not actually be REAL (online or off)? …
Are you getting a feel for this unspoken truth as you use and design the internet?

…the only way we come to our true identity is by seeing what we are not.
We have to see that we’re not the image we hold in our minds of ourselves, or the thoughts we have about ourselves–good, bad or indifferent–that we’re not all the various ways we identify ourselves…
a big part of spirituality is actually getting consciousness out of its trance state with the roles we play or have played…
Just a very simple questioning of is it true?
Anything I take myself to be, any role I’m playing, is it actually what I am?
It’s identifying the difference between a role and true identity.
Adyashanti, Vision Magazine interview

And perhaps, rather paradoxically, as this next generation designs, builds, and transforms they will also discover their true identity which is indeed:
The Mystery…
infinitely more vital than the capital-A.

I hope so.

FaceBook reports that you have one identity.
Who you are online is who you are offline.
Chris Poole, web2.0 summit

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Hi, Patty - great post. have you seen the documentary Catfish? I think it ties into some of your conversation here. Very much about the creation of an online "identity" and the strong impulse for finding a "connection" through that creation. I found it very moving - especially the last 10 or so minutes.

Hope you are well, Rebecca Frye