Identified as a Human

18 December 2020

Jeff McCarty

Every human being has an identity. That identity is the representation of who they are as an individual human being. Who someone is though is based on a variety of characteristics. Some of these are based on external qualities that people have no direct control over. Things like where you are born, what era in time you are born, which culture you are born into, and all the qualities that make up your physical form down to the gender you are born as are items that are out of our control yet will have a bearing in dictating our identity.

Aside from these characteristics, other elements constitute your identity. Things such as your values or principles will dictate the type of person you are. If you are not against thievery, your identity may become a thief. If you are one to lie, then you will be labeled a liar. This can work with virtuous principles as well. If you tell the truth and keep your word, you will be known as someone with integrity and who is honest. These are elements of one’s identity that transcend the external qualities that vary between humans. There are both good and bad human beings of every creed, race, nationality, or any other factor that one may want to utilize in the dividing and labeling of human beings.

All these differences that can be characterized between human beings constitute their identity. There are many combinations of identities across our global human civilization because of all these different factors that make up a person's identity. As a species, we have been in a long process of becoming more individualized in our ways of thinking and operating in our society. This has driven even more focus on each human being finding and establishing their identity. In a society where the contents of your identity are your' merit for how you may proceed into the world, then you have even more dramatic pronouncements of one’s identity. As more and more identities come about it becomes harder for one identity to take the main stage.

When steeped in the microcosm of identity this can be a good thing that no one identity can have complete control. When viewed from a broader perspective though one can’t help but ask, is identity hurting our ability to build a better society? The answer that one may provide to that question is of course a direct reflection of their identity. Some may feel that each human being must be granted the ability to find their identity and to ensure that it is represented in the grand scheme of society. Others may say that the splintering of human beings into identities has divided us as a species and caused a deadlock in progress.

Since each identity is different in its own way, each identity provides a different life experience for the human assuming that identity. With these varying experiences that each identity comes with, we find that each identity seeks to be validated and respected. Rightfully so, since many identities come with a long history of oppression. The question as of late is how identity is validated and respected by others while still doing the same for other identities? Unfortunately, many identities exist in a mindset that for their identity to be validated, the anthesis of their identity must not continue to exist. Furthermore, if these two different identities are to cross paths with each other, neither side is willing to or allowed to try and build a bridge by empathizing with the other side because each side will claim the other knows nothing of their identity’s plight, and in turn has no right to try and make amends.

Now, this is not a justification of any identity out there in existence. Some bad identities are out there based on hateful and discriminatory mindsets. Handling identities that are founded on this type of mindset is a problem all its own that we will not be able to solve within the confines of this post. What we can observe though is there is a clear clash between identities that will at some point have to accept their coexistence in this reality. Until all human beings can come to this acceptance, regardless of which identity they are, we are doomed to fail in positively progressing our civilization.

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