Wednesday, March 25, 2015

The predicament of identity: to join or not to join them

Cultures are defined against each other. As long as you define yourself as "belonging to" this or that culture, you set yourself in opposition to all others, driven by a subliminal urge to flock that you are hardly aware of, except for its external consequences. In human groups, this dynamic becomes a social fact beyond the control of the individuals comprising the group. Individuation, in the Jungian sense, helps the individual become aware of their place in a group as a fully realised individual: it becomes an ongoing conscious decision-making process to cooperate with others without succumbing to the "herd instinct".

Most branches of anthropology and sociology look into purely social facts, knowingly or unknowingly ignoring psychological facts. They are sciences of group cultures, not individuals. I personally am interested in a holistic, philosophical understanding of the human condition, rather than in lining up social facts in the most rational way. That, perhaps, makes more biased towards individuated persons, as I'd rather find out how an individual finds sense and purpose living among other humans, rather than research the infinite variation of the basically same human activity: flocking into groups, creating intra-group social difference and engaging in inter-group relations.

No comments:

Post a Comment