Thursday, August 25, 2016


Our sense of identity is what keeps all of us sane in this world of constant change. This sense of identity is the constant that is inside us which tells us who we are and how we can relate to each other.

Knowing oneself is the ultimate in self-development. Each of us tries to find out who we really are, what makes us at one with ourselves and at peace with ourselves.

This is important after all the indoctrination which we are all being subjected to since we were born. We are all taught from young the necessary skills of how to survive our immediate environment and the environment we may meet. The farmers tell their children how to farm their own plot of land, the fishermen how to fish in the coast just off their villages, the shopkeepers how to charge a few cents above costs, the coffee shopkeepers how to make coffee and soft boiled eggs, and so on. School masters teach their pupils how to read and write and count in order to be able to communicate with the rest of the world through books and how to deal with three-dimensional materials in a meticulous fashion.

Each creates a sense of identity that is immediate and local, familial and communal and parochial. There is nothing wrong with this. First you know who your parents are, then your relationships and friends and other people you come in daily contact with. Each does at a different job to complement those of others. Each tries to resolve a different problem facing the community in which they live, in order that everybody shall live happily with the least of the inconveniences of the mundane.

The competition for survival, which is the hallmark of modern life, calls for effort by each and everyone to increase each of our own capacities to produce and provide in order that more can be consumed by those who are less fortunate. The increase in efforts is required of all; if only one person makes the effort, he can only give but not receive in kind. But the reality is that everyone is gifted differently and what often happens in small local communities is that those who have will help out those who are unable to help themselves.

The sense of identity can of course be generalised in order to embrace more and more universal and even cosmic concepts. The king of a community calls for a sense of the identity of the state, and the king of a country calls for the sense of identity of the nation, and the president of a federation calls for a sense of the identity of the federation of different entities each of which may have little commonality with other of the composite. The head of an organisation calls for a sense of identity of a cosmic union with a principle or a principal, appealing to very ordinary and sometimes ignorant but simple people who merely wanted a sense of identity belonging to a family of sorts. The whole idea is that everybody in the group is the same in one or some ways, but not entirely.

When a sub-group within a group defines itself different and deserving of special privileges, then this is a demand for entitlement which the rest of the grouping must pay. This sets a lope-sided group which can only grow in a deformed manner and not rounded. The day when the special sub-group sees itself to be at one with the rest of the group will that group be set on the path to advancement.

It is inevitable that the history of society can be properly seen in generational terms. Each generation makes its own mark in society. Unfortunately for us, ours is marked by an insecure person who wants to reshape the world to please himself. But god will one day save us from him and we once again be free to be ourselves. We may be too old by then, but hopefully the children we are bringing up with close the wound for the whole nation.