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Social Identity

Conscience A moral sense of right or wrong; a sense of responsibility felt for private or public actions, motives, etc.; the faculty or principle that leads to the approval of right thought or action and condemnation of wrong; still small voice; a sense of guilt with regard to a thought or action; scruple, compunction, remorse, principles, ethics. Oxford Dictionary

Richard: A social identity is a psychological creation manufactured by society to act as a guardian over the wayward rudimentary self one was born with. All sentient beings are born with a biologically coded instinctive drive for physical survival which, when one is operating and functioning with a group of people, is potentially a danger to the survival of other group members. Hence the need for principles and morals and ethics to regulate the conduct of each person ... with appropriate rewards and punishments to ensure compliance.

In a well-meant but ultimately short-sighted effort to prevent gaols from being filled to over-flowing, a social identity – a psychological guardian – is fabricated in an earnest endeavour to prevent the offences from happening in the first place. This ‘guardian’ is programmed with a set of values and charged with the role of acting as a conscience over the wayward self. A conscience is made up of a sure knowledge of what is Right or Wrong and Good or Bad ... as determined by each society. By and large this enterprise has proved to be effective – only a small minority of citizens fail to behave in a socially acceptable manner.

Something can definitely be achieved in regards to this culturally-imposed social identity ... one can readily do something about it if one is suitably motivated to do so. One can bring about a benediction from the perfection and purity of the infinitude of this material universe by contacting and cultivating one’s original state of naiveté. Naiveté is that intimate aspect of oneself that is the nearest approximation that one can have of actual innocence – there is no innocence so long as there is a rudimentary self – and constant awareness of naïve intimacy results in a continuing benediction.

This blessing allows a connection to be made between oneself and that perfection and purity which is the essential character of infinity and eternity. This connection I call pure intent. Pure intent endows one with the ability to operate and function safely in society without the incumbent social identity with its ever-vigilant conscience. Thus reliably rendered virtually happy and relatively harmless by the benefaction of the infinitude, one can begin to dismantle the now-redundant social identity.

To end the separative social identity, one can whittle away at all the social mores and psittacisms ... those mechanical repetitions of previously received ideas or images, reflecting neither apperception nor autonomous reasoning. One can examine all the beliefs, ideas, values, theories, truths, customs, traditions, ideals, superstitions ... and all the other schemes and dreams.

One can become aware of all the socialisation, of all the conditioning, of all the programming, of all the methods and techniques that were used to control what one finds oneself to be ... a wayward ego and compliant soul careering around in confusion and illusion. A ‘mature adult’ is actually a lost, lonely, frightened and cunning psychological entity overlaying a psychic ‘being’.

It is never too late to start in on uncovering and discovering what one actually is.

Warning: It is an utterly fundamental proviso that pure intent be dedicatorily in place – as an overriding/ overarching life-devotional goal which takes absolute precedence over all else – before any such whittling away of the otherwise essential societal/ cultural conditioning be undertaken.

Richard: This social identity, which is otherwise known as a conscience (a moral/ethical and principled entity, with inculcated societal knowledge of ‘right’ and ‘wrong’), is overlaid upon the instinctual identity itself ... and its associated personae consist of (for example):

1. A vocational identity as ‘employee’/‘employer’, ‘worker’/‘pensioner’, ‘junior/‘senior’ and so on.
2. A national identity as ‘English’, ‘American’, ‘Australian’ and etcetera.
3. A racial identity as ‘white’, ‘black’, ‘brown’ or whatever.
4. A religious/spiritual identity as a ‘Hindu’, a ‘Muslim’, a ‘Christian’, a ‘Buddhist’ ad infinitum.
5. A ideological identity as a ‘Capitalist’, a ‘Communist’, a ‘Monarchist’, a ‘Fascist’ and etcetera.
6. A political identity as a ‘Democrat’, a ‘Tory’, a ‘Republican’, a ‘Liberal’ and all the rest.
7. A family identity as ‘son’/‘daughter’, ‘brother’/‘sister’, ‘father’/‘mother’ and the whole raft of relatives.
8. A gender identity as ‘boy’/‘girl’, ‘man’/‘woman’.

To briefly explain: each and every human being is genetically endowed, at conception, with instinctual passions (such as fear and aggression and nurture and desire) for rough and ready survival reasons ... which passions automatically form themselves, in a process somewhat analogous to an eddy or a vortex forming itself as swirling water or air, into an amorphous feeling being, an inchoate intuitive presence, popularly known as a ‘self’ or a ‘soul’ (or ‘spirit’) in the human animal, within the flesh and blood body.

Thus from birth onwards, if not before (which means prior to thought developing), an affective ‘self’ forms as the baby feels itself and its world ... and even when cognition develops the circuitry is such that sense impressions go first to the affective faculty (which colours the cognitive faculty) and perpetuates/ reinforces that feeling of ‘being’, that intuitive ‘presence’. Therefore the feeling ‘self’ (‘me’ as soul/spirit) exists prior to and underpins the thinking ‘self’ (‘I’ as ego) ... the thinker arises out of the feeler.

Put differently: the ego-self (an emotional/ passional-mental construct) who arises out of the instinctual-self (an inchoate affective ‘being’/amorphous ‘presence’ the instinctual passions automatically form themselves into) somewhere around age two is not the social identity/ cultural conscience ... by and large it is not until approximately seven years of age that a child knows the basic difference between what each particular society regards as ‘right’ and ‘wrong’/‘good’ and ‘bad’ and the parents’ attitude reflects this (as is evidenced in a parent taking the child to task with an oft-repeated ‘you should know better by now’).

I was the father of four children myself many years ago – so this is not something theoretical I am talking about – and I oft-times found it was expected of me that I would act as a probity policeman towards them so as to bring them into line with what was considered socially acceptable ... it is called instilling values into one’s children.

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