Case of Identity

These few days, my colleague and I have been discussing on the subject of identity. The identity of the state, groups as well as the self. Our facilitator made an interesting point today that when a state defines a situation as a crisis, it reveals more about the nation than the crisis. Similarly, when we judge or say something about others, we say more about ourselves then the subject.

How we see things are often through a lens and the way we say things often just reflect who we are.

“You and I do not see things as they are. We see things as we are.” ― Herb Cohen

Mr Keith Chen said in his TED Video that how a language is constructed may have a relationship on the behaviors of a people. With strong separate of the future versus the present, the speaker tend to separate the two timeline, making the future a distance thing, thus reducing his inclination to save for the future. I take another step further to claim that, while language structures the way we think, speak and write, how we think, speak and write tells more about us than the subject. When a person is unclear about the concept he is trying to explain or worse, uses words interchangeably to explain complex ideas, it tells me that he obviously hasn’t thought through the subject. Does a person who constantly use vulgarities tell me more about his situation or himself?

One issue we were grappling is the identity of our unique group at work. Neither part of the main group nor really part of the service we work with, our identity is mainly made up of what we were not more than what we are. The higher ups now wishes to dilute our identity further by issuing a physical symbol to another group. Their argument is that (1) they wish to give the other group a sense of identity, (2) the symbol represents, not a vocation, thus it shouldn’t be limited to my work group. I find these two reasons contradictory. If they truly wish to give the other group of colleague a sense of identity, they should give them a unique symbol, not a carry on from ours. By saying that the symbol represents a skill set, not a vocation, they undermine the very reason the symbol is issued to them. While, at the end of the day, we submit to authority, they need to realize that they just made things worse for 56 personnel while raising the morale for 12. It also tells me that (1) they have not thought through this very clearly at all and (2) they don’t take us or this matter very seriously…


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