About #identity (micro essay) (micro ensayo)

In my job I run a lot into the concept of identity. Of course, every person will have his own concept of what it is made of. But, as I have been finding recently –within myself and sometimes in the attitude of the others–, most of the values and mechanisms we humans are built with are enormously ambivalent. This is a nice way to call our actually contradictive nature.

Identity could be said to be formed up of the common beliefs, stories, legends, ways of life, acting, food, traditions, accents and a long etcetera, that are shared by a group of people. This sharing is usually linked to a certain geographical area by most of its population through a period of time, this means that it transcends. If we don't go any further, into more an deeper details: could we say that Identity is a good thing? Does it help every human group? Does it prevent conflict within and outside the communities? Does it facilitate people's lives through their history?

Maybe you first answered yes. But, don’t you know, or haven't you stopped to think about that it is also the existence of different identities the source of A FUCKING LOT OF CONFLICT, WAR, DISCRIMINATION, RACISM and, again, a long etcetera?

Identity works both ways. Or maybe it just works and the outcome depends on who –meaning what kind of person– uses it. It has the capability of joining people together. Sometimes only based on ideas or a sense of historical relation.

But, when you join with others to form a group, a community, how do you know where does your group end? Where does the neighbor's begin? What makes them "two separate entities"? I really don't want to get into discrimination and that sort of shit. So I might mention it but the issue I wanna question is other.

Truth is, identity can work for the achievement of some tasks or purposes. These may be abstract or quite concrete. From the idea of a new-born country –how it is and where should its people go– to raising money for any goal or cause. But, on the other hand, it sets your mind into separating the social groups, generating sterotypes, allowing in some way the competition between nations and even towns. This, the competition, can as well be good, in the shape of having motivation to improve, or bad, in the ways of corruption and cheating.

So I have to ask another cuestion: if a time would come, in which, let's say "globalization" –in the cultural way– was the way of life for the whole world, would the homogenization of populations' cultures be the factor that nullified the root reasons for conflict between societies? Could that scenario really allow a more generalized peace to exist and expand?

Cultures are interpretations of the world –its nature, landscape, climate, resources, life forms– by groups so different in their adaptation to such world. It is what makes humanity so diverse, and rich. And yet many people threaten that vast plurality. But, and I'm just making unconfortable questions: what if by losing such variety could facilitate us to live together and in peace? Disclaimer: NO, I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT RACE, NOTHING BIOLOGICAL OR GENETIC. I'M ALSO NOT TALKING ABOUT GENOCIDE OR THE SUPREMACY OF SOME GROUPS ABOVE THE REST.

I'm talknig about some sci-fi scenario in which races are left untouched but cultural differences have been left behind and humanity became one cultural entity in which, wherever you travelled, you would be understood and would feel always like home. Is there a value in that? Would that peaceful world be worth the cost? Is the root of our conflicts our natural differentiation?

I am just asking, because, of course I do not have the answers to such questions.

I just hoped, sometimes, that being human wasn't so contradictory and confusing as it is.

Photography taken by me at San Francisco Tepojaco, in the municipality of Cuautitlán Izcalli, Estado de México, México.


  1. Hey, congratulations for your english.

    Parece que se te facilita pensar en otro idioma, alguna ventaja debe tener eso. Ya había pensado en todo aquello que planteas y creeme, siempre termino prefiriendo la diversidad. El caos es más dinámico y divertido. Y también creo que cuando la cultura llegue a parecer ser solo una, surgiran subculturas buscando la tangente.

    Saludos broda.

    1. Bro! Coincido: yo también termino prefiriendo la diversidad. Es sólo que de un tiempo para acá me gusta hacer preguntas incómodas o darle la vuelta a conceptos que damos por hecho, como podrás ver en el resto de mis últimas entradas. Y, como dices, probablemente, aunque la cultura fuera una sola en el orbe, surgiría la naturaleza humana más básica: buscar un camino opuesto al predominante. Saludos y abrazo!


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