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May 2, 2017 / Congau

Identity For Sale

”Be yourself”, we are told. That’s the common refrain whenever they tell us how we should be. Words and images are thrown against us from everywhere praising individuality and flattering us about how special we are. We only have to buy their product and we willingly do so, acting like everyone else and becoming like them. In this self-centered process of finding ourselves we blend in with the crowd. That is all there is to be found in the market place: an identity is for sale for anyone. You can choose it for yourself and it’s cheap.

All the talk about individual autonomy and freedom seems to allow us to pick anything we want including our own identity. But you are already your identity; you are what you are. Choosing, however, means taking something you don’t have already. The market place of identity is trying to lure you into something that you are not, or at least it is highly unlikely that you are what they offer you.

If everyone is unique – and everyone is indeed unique – why is everyone so similar? The times shape our outlook, the fashions lead us in one direction and then in another and most people accompany us on this way. The chance that the latest fashion really suits your personality and true identity is extremely small, and if the current one actually fits you, the next one will certainly not.

But we follow. Our way of thinking changes; our attitude to the world is not what it used to be. Well, the world has changed, you say. It has, but if there is something fundamental about you, something that is your true identity, it cannot be changed that easily.

It is better to be conservative then, never changing your habits and never adjusting your beliefs? No, you may have been wrong in the first place. But to find yourself you must actually look. Don’t accept the model that is offered you for the cheapest price. Resist the simplest solution, resist the time, resist the fashion. You must seek somewhere else. Where to search? That’s a part of the search.  It’s a struggle and it is hard work and it may not even pay off, but at least you don’t accept the lie. You are not what you are not.

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