Saturday, 8 March 2014

Identity


The way a person rationalises in a contextual framework of significance and evaluates previous actions, feelings and thoughts is what provides them with an identity. The alternative is to be able to be aware of the present situation and to recognize they are the cause of experience and to have aliveness. This detachment frees you from what are identifying with. 

To do this you only need to be aware that you are the source of that with which you previously identified. Unfortunately so many people act with an identity that is a monument to their past. The person comes to view themselves and their life as the result of what has happened to them. This "point of view" gives them the illusion that they"know" why events occur and the "whys" almost always are seen as existing outside their control.

The funtion of "being" is based on the reality of the moment of existence.  Being is the awareness, the recognition and the attention to the experience at hand. Furthermore, it is at the cause of experience. It is to "be" something rather than to "have" or "do" something. 

The functions of mind and being are that as one dominates the other recedes, rather like those clocks that have a man and a woman taking turns to come out depending upon the weather. The point of view, once you have established it, tends to perpetuate itself so if a point of view about oneself or others is threatened by new information, the records of the old experience come into play, and determine the current behavior and limit any sense of being.

"It is the dominance of the mind function, the need to protect an identity rooted in past experience, that limits a person's satisfaction and sense of completion. For instance, an individual who views himself as an unhappy person will act to protect this point of view and, in order to be right (another function of the mind), will continue to be unhappy. The person as a mind or identity will justify, explain and find reasons to support his unhappiness. He will even find it righteous to be unhappy, and yet this activity will never bring the sense of satisfaction desired. His action will be grounded in the past, and it will deny him a full participation in the present."


EXAMPLES DETAILING IDENTITY DIFFERENCES


Some of the common attitudes and activities associated with the protection of identity include the need to be right while making others wrong, the need to dominate the situation while reducing the effect of others, the need for self-justification that results in the invalidation of the ideas of others and the sense of self-righteousness that provides an illusion of survival. Self-righteousness, for example, can take various forms, such as the attitudes that "I am poorer than thou," "I'm more stupid than thou," and "I'm more tragic than thou." It generates a kind of reverse superiority.


These are patterns of behavior that most of us demonstrate in our daily lives. They are not necessarily the gross examples that have come to be associated with cases of neurotic or psychotic personalities. The "point of view" is a function that we all possess, and it is that aspect of our lives that limits our ability to be authentic, to create new experiences and to see life as it exists in the present. Patterns of behavior that are expressed in the need for success-or inferiority or superiority-can dominate an individual's life, as in the case of the neurotic, or can be found in the everyday games played by normal individuals. In each situation the persuasiveness of the point of view limits the individual's experience of aliveness and likewise affects the relationships he establishes.


The example of a person who develops an attitude of inferiority based on early experiences will serve to illustrate the mind's dedication to its own survival as well as demonstrate the resulting pattern of personal relationships. If early experiences have diminished a person's feelings about himself, he will tend to act out these feelings in subsequent behavior. Reinforcement may come from old interpretations of new interactions and he may come to expect or create further personal devaluation. Over time this pattern, this point of view, becomes more thoroughly substantiated and the individual assumes the identity of inferiority. The individual also develops reasons to explain his feelings and behavior and these help to defend him against any threat from situations that do not support his concept of personal inferiority. Within this context the mind is dominant and behavior is automatic no matter how well explained.


For the identity of inferiority to remain whole and right the activities of those who attempt to help will be perceived as wrong, just as those who attempt to criticize will be wrong. The helper will fail in his attempt to change the individual; the critic will receive blame as the source of negative feelings. The person with inferior feelings ultimately considers himself right because "It's the way things are," and "I can't help it." Each attitude is controlled or dominated by the condition of inferiority; a condition based on a point of view developed in the past and defended to protect a sense of identity.


While this is an exaggerated example, it expresses the model for everyday situations in many of our lives. It demonstrates the purpose and methods involved in the way we deal with disagreeable situations, differences of opinion, upsets with others, disappointments and unfulfilled expectations and the infinite variety of circumstances perceived as threats to our personal identity. This identity is at odds with a clear perception of the present, with an acknowledgment of responsibility and a personal sense of aliveness and satisfaction.

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