Posted in quotes and advices by tpdr on March 2, 2009

The next part I got from a stand up comedy show, but it struck me as I like to think about this subject (‘identity’) too and this quote has come closer to my own thoughts than any other one I found. If anyway recognizes this quote, even though translated from Dutch, please let me know which dutch comedian has this in his show because I missed that info.

Identity is empty…it is just about what other people think of you or what you would like others would think of/see  you … Why not just act normal, the way you are? Because that is really scary…but it doesn’t hurt trying this when nobody is looking, just for the fun of it:)

Anyway if you live your live the way you would like to be or the way others think you should be…you will always be less than the person you actually ever could be.

Especially this last sentence was/is very interesting I think

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  1. sveng said, on March 12, 2009 at 2:15 am

    Ah yes, our own identity: a most precious and mysterious thing.

    “Identity is empty”, that would be my favorite sentence.

    In his book ‘Tarrying With The Negative’ (1993) Zizek expands on this topic of the subject as a void:

    p.40: … everything that I positively am, every enunciated content I can point at and say “that’s me” is not “I”; I am only the void that remains, the empty distance towards every content.

    This idea of the human subject as a void is definitely a Lacanian concept. The Real truth about ourselves is something which is forever out of reach, which cannot be captured or understood by the appearances produced by the so-called Symbolic order; the way we look, talk, act etc. Or THINK, for that matter. We cannot even ‘think’ of ourselves as a subject with a specific identity, because we are only ‘I’ insofar as we are unable to think of ourselves as an ‘I’!

    This is, in some ways, the death blow to Descartes’ motto “I think, therefor I am”. Because: to automatically associate the ‘I’ with the ‘Thing that thinks’ is already an assumption.

    Zizek states on p.15: The paradox of self-consciousness is that it is possible only against the background of its own impossiblity. (…) I cannot acquire consciousness of myself in my capacity of the ‘Thing which thinks’.

    So the next logical step would be: if we cannot find out who we really are (because the extent in which we canNOT think of ourselves is precisely the thing which defines us as human beings) then we might as well invent a fictional version of ourselves (which we have been doing all along, actually).

    Earlier in the book, p.11: Today, even the mass media is aware of the extent to which our perception of reality, including the reality of our innermost self-experience, depends upon symbolic fictions. (…) Suffice is to quote from a recent issue of TIME magazine: “Stories are precious, indispensable. Everyone must have his history, her narrative. You do not know who you are until you possess the imaginative version of yourself. You almost do not exist without it.”

    Conclusion: best of luck in ‘acting normal, the way you are’ – either in private or in the company of people. But personally, I don’t believe there is anything natural about ‘acting normal’. Most of the time it is either a rational choice on our parts, or we are driven by subconscious drives, or (if we also were to consider thàt) merely a randomly generated reaction.


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