Identifying Features

I can be defined by certain characteristics, but are they characteristics that define who I am or what group I belong to? I am white, male, long-haired, left-handed, green eyed, Southener/English/British/European/Human, an anglophone and (partially) hispanophone, 5′ 8″, a druid, an artist, a conlanger, an environmentalist, etc.. Do these characteristics belong to me, or do they denote what group I belong to?

If what we identify with controls us, and that identity connects us with a group, then any common characteristic can become apertures through we we can be controlled by that group. It’s said that humans on their own are more intelligent than humans in groups. And no surprise, if one individual has to drag about the weight of a group identity with them! And yet groups and relationships also provide ways to hide the blind spots we have of ourselves, so as long as we remain in self-ignorance they will persist in this manner.

But perhaps what we really need is acceptance, and belonging to a group often facilitates this: some groups will overlook our shortcomings as long as we are “one of them”. I’d be uncomfortable being accepted like this in a group (hey, that sound familiar: Groucho Marx maybe? lol). So perhaps, on the whole, it is better to be accepted as an individual with a constellation of characteristics (some shared, some not) I call “me” than to be accepted just because I am in “the club”.

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