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Tuesday 8 July 2014

Can I have your identification, please (Part Two)

Dear Friends,

As I stated yesterday or the day before yesterday, the post on “Identification” was going to be a long one.  Part one talked about personal identification at the individual level and how – if you are misrepresented or mislabelled by yourself or others then there is conflict. Internal conflict. Between what you want or believe you are and what you actually are and/or how others see you or view you and thus label you.

In this (second part) of this post, I want to talk about how this can happen at a broader, even national level and how this can lead not to interpersonal conflict, but real-life war conflict.

Let us witness the current, recent situation with Ukraine. Ukraine is not one unilingual, uniracial country. It is mixed with Russians, Germans, Jews, Armenians, Tatars, Georgians, Greeks, etc., etc.,

Recently I discovered a youtube video celebrating the diversity (multiculturalism, as we call it here in Canada) which was made a few years ago.

Ukraine is seemingly struggling between East and West, yet is made up of multiple “identities”, yet they are all Ukrainian.  The series of videos ends with the Ukrainian national anthem (sung in different languages) and a slogan for national identity: “We are all different, but we are all one!” Similar to Shakespeare’s line that “One man plays many parts”. In one particularly interesting video in this series, there are a group of people all gathered for a picnic out in the country and quite clearly all of different ethnic backgrounds: Greek, Middle Eastern, African, etc.  and yet they all come together.

Here is the video:


This is most intriguing, given the current push and pull of national politics lately in that country: “Do they identify as Russian?” “Do they identify as European?”  “Are people in the east of the country really anti-Ukrainian or secretly pro-Soviet?” or “Are the people in the west of the country really covert Nazis or anti-semites?”

All of this bickering and backing and forth-ing (is "forth-ing" a word I can use?) can be construed as internal national conflict: People who on the outside speak, look and act like Russians but IDENTIFY as Ukrainian, even if they don’t speak Ukrainian. Or, conversely people, particularly in the west, who act, speak, look and identify as Ukrainian but NOT anti-Russian, anti-semite or anti-peace.

So this, dear friends, both on a personal, individual level and even on a larger, national level is why identity is so important: when you know who you are and are happy with who you are there is no conflict, distress or anxiety. And you probably know why you are here on this planet. And most distressing is probably to be identified and/or labeled as something you personally feel you are not and does not reflect your internal (i.e. emotional) experience.

Many Canadians, for example, in my own country resent being mislabelled as “Americans” when abroad. Many Welsh, Scots and Irish similarly dislike being labeled as “English”. And certainly those persons who are Basque, are not fond of being called “French” or “Spanish”.

 And why, ultimately is identity and how you identify so important? Because your identity is a question linked to a big, fancy word called: “existentialism”, which is basically the question of: “Why do I exist? And What is my reason for being on this planet?”.

With luck, I will tackle this question in another post.

But for now, think about who you are and what you do. How do you identify yourself? And if you lost your job or career or significant relationship with someone else (or your country, yikes!), would you be a blank?

Consider and treasure all that you are and the relationships you have right now at this moment, for they define and identify you as you are now. And if you wish to change something, then, like plastic surgery, you will become your more authentic self as you grow and evolve towards that which you want to become.
I welcome comments, questions for clarification and dialogue respectful to this post and any others.

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Take Care,

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