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Bethany Patch

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In a modern globalised world, how do you build or adapt your identity?

Bauman (Identity in the Globalizing World; 2001) writes that 'needing to become what one is is the feature of modern living'.
What means do you use to become yourself? Are they represented offline, online, or both? How do you build your identity? Is it easier or harder to maintain an identity when so much of our lives is online?

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    Aug 20 2013: I believe Identity is how you as an individual is Identified. In order to build upon that, you must be yourself. People want to belong to something, whether it's a club or a gang, it gives them something tangible they can label. Where we get lost, at least I believe, is we tend to follow trends, giving way to imitation. People try so hard to be what they're not, that their true identity never surfaces.

    If we're to adapt our identity in this world, we must identify ourselves and take pride on our uniqueness. But from the world's view, we're identified by what we wear, our skin, our bank accounts and a whole list of other things.

    Ever saw an actor and thought to yourself that no other actor could play that role? That's that actor's identity shining through. They're not just being an actor, but his personality, his skill and his confidence shines through and that can only come from a place of knowing oneself.

    Identity is unique to every person. Why are we identified by our fingerprints? Because they're unique. Once we embrace that fact will we build upon it. Hope that all made sense! :)
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      Aug 21 2013: Thankyou so much for this input, Eddie. I completely agree.
      There are so many aspects of your identity at play at any given moment and I like that we can continually adapt and grow into ourselves, as human beings.
      From experience, the people who portray a sense of true happiness are always those who 'know' themselves the best.
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    Aug 21 2013: Your identity is what you really are and how much you have enriched yourself....
    simply saying... i feel a lil uncomfortable when people quote others as the next steve jobs or einstein or whatever ( in Elon Musk's case tooo ) we should be the next us..... believing that we should never categorize our abilities as our capabilties... coz i feel capability is a wrong etymology as it adds a ' cap ' to your ' ability ' ...... so it should be " infinitability " which truely defines a human, and the day when u really start believing the lines above, u create your identity..... inspiring millions of others to create their own.. :) Have a nice going guys...
  • Aug 19 2013: Intrinsically, we are what we repeatedly do. If we love what we do, then we are who we want to be.

    Extrinsically, communication projects who we are. If we speak and act exactly the same as what we think, then we are living who we are.

    Having said this, what we think, say and do shape our identity. Identiity = Think + Say + Act
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      Aug 21 2013: Such a great point, Alvin! Thanks for the input. I totally agree.
  • Aug 19 2013: I develop software and it is interesting to watch a program change as people realize the possibilities. Unfortunately this only happens once the project hits version 3. Version 1 and 2 are simply wrong because it is not possible to see version 3 until version 1 and 2 are completed. This is what I mean about being wrong and not knowing it.

    It is the same with people, they do their best but a lot of what they do is mistaken. The good news is that out all those mistakes comes order. The bad news is that right now most new projects and people are thinking in version 1 or 2.
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      Aug 21 2013: Hi Fraser,
      Yes I love this idea/comparison/analogy! Thank goodness we are able to learn from our mistakes. The realisation that you will learn something from every situation is a very important one, in my opinion.
  • Aug 18 2013: Individual identity is ever changing for the better or the worst of oneself however it is still a unique trait to that person. Outside influences do play a role in who we do become among the masses but if you are to dissect each individual there is always a unique , diverse aspects to that individual amongst that mass. We all have our own stamp or own imprint in this world which cannot be taken away,subdued .........maybe but not taken away.
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    Aug 16 2013: If one understands who they truly are and appreciate themselves....and clearly state what they want...need in life and out of life....understand the different patterns of relating with eachother and how the patterns affect them...then one can standout as himself...and can put a tag on oneself.....
  • Aug 21 2013: I sometimes heard my reputation from friends and it helps a lot to confirm my own identity. It could not be the all the things which consist of me but plays a big role because we, people, are always caring about others' thoughts and opinions.
    Plus, an individual is the combination of both onlie and offline. After reflecting those two aspects, we could say "know somebody well."
  • Aug 19 2013: when your a child your identity is adapted to your parents first, then to your family, later the children in your class and the teacher, first you form an identity on the community you live in. groups of people start to belong to each other and even cling to each other because the large world with so many people seems scary and you can't understand it. you do know and understand the people of your group they become your clan and you can belong to more then one clan. you can be a Christian and have a group of friends who are atheist etc. when you are lucky you learn to build an identity that is open to both your Christian brothers and sisters as to your atheist humans and sisters. in this way you are on your way to an identity that is open and is able to accept all groups and clans and believes and at the same time transcend all groups and clans and become your own being. When your an open and loving person who relates to the world from the heart, your identity will be open and flexible, when your free from everything you can build your identity so you can enjoy all kinds of people and relate to them from the hart. everything in you that is in conflict with something, someone or some group or believe in the world is because of fear and pain. transcend them and enter the ocean of love that connects all of us and all there is together. for me the self identity I have for myself is seeing myself as the space where life flows trough. able to enjoy all life and only connected to the field of love. my outer identity I show others is flexible and depends on the person of group I relate to at that moment. what their understanding and way of thinking is.

    steven why believes his identity is who he is and that it needs to stay the way it is. he is a prisoner of his views and believes. life is an ever expanding and changing ocean better go with it and become it than build your identity as an house,as property worth defending.because then you are in conflict with the globalworld
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    Aug 19 2013: Hello Bethany:>)
    One very basic belief of mine, is that the human life adventure is an opportunity to learn, grow and evolve as an individual, while contributing to the whole. So, wherever I am, whatever I'm doing, however I interact with people is an opportunity to contribute to that basic idea.

    I was born with a certain identity, and every moment of the life experience contributes to how I choose to use and expand that identity. The only way I choose to identify myself is as a human "being". I am "being" all that I can be in each and every moment, with curiosity, full engagement in the moment and intent to learn and grow. This is true no matter who I am with, where I am, or what the particular interaction is. I am who and what I am, and everything/everyone throughout the life experience has contributed to "me", which is always a work in progress.

    You ask..."What means do you use to become yourself?"

    I ask you...who else could I be?
    • Aug 19 2013: Who else could you be?... You've yet to discover the joys of MPD :)
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        Aug 19 2013: Who, or what is MPD?

        Which MPD do you refer to?
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/MPD


        Edit regarding comment below.
        You are correct "Steven Why"... I have not discovered anything in myself about Personality Disorders.
        • Aug 19 2013: Multiple Personality Disorder. But I think disorder is such a unfair characterization.

          If life is just a game of probabilities - think of it as multiple chances to succeed :)
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      Aug 21 2013: I love these ideas Colleen - such insight, it is very similar to things I've been working on lately with my own identity (I think yoga helps a lot, for me at least). Mindfulness is surely our responsible to all other people we are interacting with.
      I also love the idea that each moment is contributing in some way to your identity. For example, I have become highly conscious of each dollar I have been spending this year, in terms of environmental awareness of the foods I buy etc. If you look at each dollar and make it count, then you can change the world.
      If you look at each piece of interaction and experience you have as building on your identity, then you can change yourself for the better everyday.
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        Aug 21 2013: I love these ideas too Bethany, which is why I embraced them many years ago:>)

        I like yoga too, which serves to center oneself, stretch, strengthen and balance the body and mind. Mindfulness, to me, is simply living the human life experience with curiosity...constantly exploring.

        Good idea to become conscious of how we are spending, because as you say, it helps to focus our attention on how our spending impacts our environment and the foods we put into the body.

        I believe that changes begin with us as individuals, and as you say, with the change in ourselves, we are contributing to changing our world:>)
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    Aug 18 2013: Hi, Bethany. In my humble opinion, the fact our lives are online is not so fundamental for building our identity. We must know how to recognize ourselves, and we must always feel who we are, and where we go. It's (very) important to know how the others see us, be online or in other different ways. And I think this is because the relationship with other people is essential (and usually grateful) for humans. We need the others. It's part of our social condition.
    I think the building of our identities is a process lasting all along our lives. And adaptation is a condition, not only of survival, but also of a superior intelligence,
    So, I think our efforts must be directed to be poperly ourselves, feel as authentic, honest and truly people, caring of and growing up the better human qualities.... and enjoying while we do it.
    Greets.
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      Aug 19 2013: I completely agree, Sean. I think the debate of whether the online world changes who we are is an interesting one. However, I completely agree that it is not personally fundamental in identity construction, and that identity is a life long, adaptive relationship that we have with ourselves and others. Thanks for the input!
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        Aug 19 2013: Yes, Bethany, I also agree with you. In an 'online' world as ours, this debate is very interesting one. We all are implicated about the (fascinating) task of running it correctly. ;-)
        Good topic!
  • Aug 18 2013: Definitely the means to to become oneself are represented both online and offline and at the same time is attributed to no. of factors viz the society, background in terms of geographical ,lingual and vernacular dimensions ,and it is all like a body traversing in a 3D , we grow,we learn , we unlearn ,we adapt, all these processes get added to each of our Dimensions adding to our identity an array of characterization, with each observer at different locations,at different point of time and different set of conditions ,drawing perceptions accordingly,
    This is just like lot of colors coming together to form white light, and wherever necessary different colors coming out to serve different roles and purposes in this Colorful World.
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      Aug 19 2013: Thankyou Amaan, such a great perspective with some really interesting ideas!
  • W T 100+

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    Aug 16 2013: I think, like you mentioned to Scott below, that when we realize we have the choice to shape our identity, we can go about sculpting it.

    However, there are also external forces, our life experiences, which may affect the person we are over time.

    Take for example someone who worked, oh, let's say in the military.
    They may have given orders to soldiers for a very long time.
    This same individual, once he establishes a home life, with a family, may go about treating his family like soldiers.
    He may inadvertently forget that little Susie is a 7 year old girl, and should not be treated like a member of the armed forces.

    I think we all have deeply entrenched patterns, that we might be aware of, or we might be oblivious to them.

    Some of these patterns may be for the upbuilding of others.
    While other patterns wreak havoc on interpersonal relationships........like the person who gets into an argument with every one they talk to, and doesn't see that it's them who has the problem in communication.

    I think that overall, some people reach a point in their life, when they know who they are.....and are true to themselves.
    Others, are always looking for who they are, and get tossed about, like the waves of the sea.

    [edit.....to build and adapt my identity, I reflect and meditate on scriptural principles found in the Bible]
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      Aug 19 2013: Yes, I agree Mary. I like the idea that we have the power to adjust even the deepest entrenchments of behaviour. Knowing that you have that power is crucial in being able to use it. It's somehow refreshing to know that interpersonal problems one has with others might actually be something within yourself that can be adjusted to improve those relationships...if that makes sense. Thankyou for your input!
  • Aug 19 2013: You download ethics, you search for viruses in your actions, email yourself everyminute for better decisions ......
  • Aug 19 2013: "I am here as you are here as you are me and we are all together" wow, your question just re-framed the lyrics for me, thanks
  • Aug 19 2013: Why do I need to change? Because if I do, then surely I lose identity.
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  • Aug 19 2013: in this new world people had new thoughts , ideas any way of thinking , become more complicated issue come in surfs . the say about globalization " the world become small village " but in order to do somethings in this village you need to same perspective of the leaders in this village , to left identity you need to be smart enough to know how the people think so some say Identity became faint due to the integration of civilizations .
    unique and new ideas its kind of way to build or adapt your identity
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    Aug 19 2013: Hi Bethany

    I try to remain simple and truthful

    in what I

    think, speak and do.

    not always i succeed.
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    Aug 19 2013: I Yam whad I Yam!
  • Aug 19 2013: Hello, Bethany. For me, I think we just need to know who we are and what we want.
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      Aug 19 2013: I agree John. But how do you personally go about figuring out who you are and what you want?
      • Aug 19 2013: Hi, Bethnay. In my opinion, looking inside yourself, take your time to learn yourself, and then realize what you can do and what you really want to do. Just do it. Without doubt,we feels uncertain sometimes,Let's listen to your heart because God is there in that situation. My motto is, We already walked too far, down to we had forgotten why embarked.
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    Aug 18 2013: By being me, not being represented by a computer or an avatar and still be me as human as possible. :)
  • Aug 17 2013: Most of what we believe about the world and ourselves is just our current version of reality and therefore our identity. But unfortunately our current version of ourselves will be at least 85% incorrect when we look back at ourselves in a few years’ time - “Oh if I only knew then what I know now”. So don’t get hung up on your identity because what you believe is mostly wrong.
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      Aug 17 2013: well as modernity,culture and environments change so do we.....thus a call for redefinition of oneself as per that stage in time....we grow...we change...
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      Aug 19 2013: I don't know that it's so much about being 'wrong', but about changing our perspectives as we grow. I do not condemn my younger self for thinking the things she thought, but only know that I have changed so much since then and will continue to do so forever.
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    Aug 16 2013: Everyone is unique and one's identity comes from their own self. It is never found outside of us. So to find ours we must only look inside of ourself. (through practicing self observation and self awareness). The challenge is staying true to ourselves from the start and throughout our life.

    Here's one of the most exceptionally insightful pieces of wisdom on the subject for you:
    http://www.ted.com/talks/robert_sapolsky_the_uniqueness_of_humans.html
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      Aug 19 2013: I completely agree, Juliette! There is such positivity and happiness to be found from truly understanding yourself. Also, I'm not sure about you, but I have found that, by knowing myself, I can appreciate and understand others' points of view a lot easier. Thanks for the contribution.
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      Aug 19 2013: Also, thank you so much for the link Juliette, I love it.
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    Aug 16 2013: Hi Bethany,

    I am not sure I truly understand your question. How does a cow become a cow? If becoming refers to a destination, what is the point of departure?

    A cow is always a cow, because it does not pretend to be anything else, and perhaps, unlike us humans, it does not have the means to. But we do and this may be our downfall.

    The needing to become what one is? I just don't get it, I am probably getting old. I am already what I am, so the becoming, at least for me is out of the question. So I have no means to become something that I already am. Or are you talking about trading apples for oranges?

    And I don't bother building my identity either, there are others that see to it, and they let me know, hoping I will either praise them or blame them, according to the job they do. Everybody that I meet has an opinion about who I am, so much so that I get amused how people seem to know so much about me, even more than what I know about myself. That is why I will never write my own obituary, there will be others that will see to that.

    So there, my comment, for what is worth.
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    Aug 15 2013: i think it's the same as always - life is for learning and it is an ongoing thing. you need to look inside, not out at the world. know thyself.

    at the same time, i believe that, because of social networking and all of the dialogue it has created (as opposed to the neat little package we have been traditionally presented with by mainstream media in the past), people are beginning to realise that the world is very, very complex and the people in it are very, very different. I think this scares the hell out of a lot of people.

    i think identity comes with age. being young is wonderful and exciting but it does not offer a solution to this issue.
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      Aug 16 2013: I agree, Scott. Although, I am more inclined to believe that identity comes with time, not necessarily age. I think that, in order to build a secure identity (that you want), you have to dedicate actual time to sculpting it.
      I wonder how secure a person's identity would be if they hadn't spent any time intentionally sculpting it, and had just let it develop over time, until they were old.
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        Aug 19 2013: age is the combination of time and experience and it's the combination of the two that influence who we become.

        i applaud anyone with the discipline to sculpt their own identity but I don't believe it's as straight forward as that and I get the feeling that attempting to deliberately create oneself would create an inner conflict.

        so many people seem to build their identity based on the past - the whole, "you must know where you're from to know where you're going". i don't subscribe to that philosophy at all.

        "life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans" - john lennon