Identity Games and the Role of Education

By Enriqueta

January 17, 2019

The Same Person in Different Circumstances

The identity issues tend to become “lingua franca” of international introspective communication and the question about what exactly identity itself is, though asked now and then by scholars and every men alike, tends somehow to be at the background of similar musings.

What is identity? Without a doubt, it is something that holds us together on different levels, something that doesn’t allow us to become disintegrated.  But how about these talks about switching identities and choosing the one depending on the situation?  In a postmodern world of ours it’s something that doesn’t happen by chance, but a surefooted regularity. Where does it come from?

School Education and Identity

Well, it comes from different milieus. First of all, the human being doesn’t feel comfortable at all with only one filler inside. Yes, identity is more and more likely to be considered a filler, as a usb flash drive you can have access to whenever you want.  At first glance it seems that that’s somehow an idea contradicting the very essence of child’s upbringing, be it at school or under parents’ auspices. However, whatever approach might be, every stage of child’s education / upbringing (we’ll see the difference between the two) ends in obtaining a new role, a new identity. Sometimes it happens naturally, sometimes it may be resulting from internal rebellion. From the very beginning the child succumbs to a certain system of self-identification proposed from outside : he’s a pupil (that’s why school is the place where he primarily belongs), he’s American (Frenchman, Briton etc.) and head of class (or may be some other role instead) . The child receives the essence of what might be called identities mentioned above, and processes it through his perception of reality that very often demands position-taking,  in its turn. As it turns out, traditionalist method of upbringing where, for instance, the identity of a patriot is served in a non-destabilized manner, might have some really threatening effects.

Education and Upbringing

It doesn’t come down to being a patriot, it concerns nearly every identity being nurtured artificially. We won’t be arguing about what is artificial and what is not, but the idea here is clearly about something being formed with a non-negligible help from outside. Obviously, it happens frequently with the complicity of some power institution, be it parents, school or State. Anyway, education and upbringing on the very first levels are doomed to coexist. It’s easy to imagine upbringing as an ideological membrane of knowledge that is unavoidably attached to it. It isn’t necessarily a bad thing, as it functions as a compulsory step in social integration and interaction. Being flexible in material feed is a different story, though. That’s the issue both of ethics and technique, and  that’s another topic for discussion. Anyway, the controversial cohabitation between education and upbringing is responsible for a number of trials and tribulations of our identities in our adulthood.

Identity/Image Correlation

Identities do wander, but always come back to something of a core look. In contrast, images are artificial man-made expressions of their identities. Every day we assume a whole palette of roles, be it at work, home or abroad, when we are taxi drivers or insurance company customers. The concept of a game here is visceral, as we are not only forced to play, but we were actually born to do it, and moreover learnt to take pleasure in it.  The risk here is leaving our identities far, far away and get too absorbed in playing with images. Sometimes we’re so absorbed that an invisible wall happens to be built between the control center (and that is our identity) and the ever-changing performers (our images/countenances). As oversimplified as it is, we can always say that identity is true and nowhere to hide from, whereas images hold a certain link with identity, and if not totally false, can easily fall under such a category, if necessary. And such a “necessary” happens oh-so-often to us, humans!

Neuroses and Identity

It’s something pretty conventional now to define the main cause of neuroses as identity crisis. No matter how you slice it and however intricate reasons behind it can be, it’s all about identity anyway.  Further research leads us towards the statement that we are all afraid of the future. The pledge of stability between our different selves is nothing else but the reliability of our identities, that’s our guideline through different kinds of challenges in reality we live in.  When our identity we naturally defend and deem highly of doesn’t coincide with other people’s expectations, the vacuum around us appears at a fast pace. We suffocate and start blaming others straight away. Sometimes the root of the evil should be found in the past.

Idea of Overcoming

In order to cope with a neurosis however complicated it may be, you’ve got to remember that you have to work on identity level. To become “different or “other” you must overcome the centre with its numerous fallacies and constraints. All of it is similar to moving from the centre of a sphere towards circumference to finally adopt a nobly marginal standpoint. Or remember Voyager and its famous shot of our Earth (Pale Blue Dot!). Proud distancing pointing at our real role and importance.  Neurosis is important in being a vivid example of reminding you who you are and an impetus for you to start looking for clusters out of place in the past. That’s a conflict between life material taken for granted, suffered for and accepted in full obedience at one time.

Blessing of Education

School education is often not to blame for neuroses later in life and instead of feeling gritty about its presumably negative role, try to focus on logic of reinforcing your identity through education or science. The thing is that identities built upon images of loving education and self-teaching (in the broad sense) are irresistibly modern in their charms and second-to-none in their ever-lasting power on nearly everyone around, and that’s one of those infrequent cases where materials from which images are made (materials are actually the core of our identity, although the reverse trend is sometimes also possible) is no less impressive (and what’s important, beneficial as well) than the coverage. But then again, it requires overcoming past experience in case it was a conflicting one.



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