Wednesday, March 31, 2004

On question, questioning and quest of identity in cyberculture

The question of identity and its quest with myself and other members of cyberculture has been mentioned many times in my blog as well as many other blogs. It was enlightening for me to listen a classmate's presentation about her research and the model of media systems which she applies. She classified "identity" under "Communication as Social Knowing", as opposed to the opposite group of "Cognition as Individual Knowing". Of course, we don't know who we are until we can relate ourselves to somebody, and we start from the moment we are born with our mothers.

The revelation for me was to see the classification. It rang a bell with a recent paper I found through google. Anthropologist Richard O'Connor questions the assumption of anthropology and its method and retheorizes culture and said let's look at the sense of locality of the Tais and its relations in the definition of their identity. It's obvious that they have multiple identities and paradoxically a single, consistent identity.

Serendipity, Sibylle, and googling "Sybil", (a probe of her name), I found this webpage - about identity, saying exactly the same thing, that "personal identity is not singular".

The insight I gained in this mini-journey, quest of identity, was being able to see the unseen, how we lock ourselves in with fixed notions of identity thinking we are "..." by nation, by geographically location, by our job position, our position in family. We construct a sense of identity with a border. So we invented terms like "schizophrenia" and applied these distortions to those that didn't fit society's definition of how that person should be or behave. It really isn't like that.

Something about McLuhan's method also recalls to my mind Carlos Castaneda's work on shamanism, and recently I've pulled out my old book "Woman Who Run with Wolves" as well.


No comments: