A Dialectical View of Identity

Being an individual is not the same as having a unique identity that sets one apart from the community or the whole of society. Ants are individuals within the entirety of their nest, and yet they do not appear to hold any sort of personal identity. Human beings, on the other hand, stand out among eusocial animals because they are atoms in their respective societies and, at the same time, struggle to establish unique identifiers of their own. Individuals with a personal identity are individuals plus ultra, so to speak.

On the Use and Abuse of Identity

Identity isn’t something we can escape from. We can’t take a hot shower and hope that the color of our skin has been washed off in the process. Everyone: from a triracial Brazilian to a Finnish Laplander or a Trobriand Islander to an Alaskan Inuit is the result of untold milennias worth of biological history, each gene telling the story of some long-forgotten ancestor only half-remembered in some mythmoteur or in the yellowing pages of a family photo album.

The Faustian Soul

After Achilles had defeated Hector in battle, his chariot dragged his corpse by the heels. Such was the hubristic spirit of our Indo-European ancestors — warrior nomads who conquered and ruled peoples from Europe to Asia, millennia before anyone had heard of Alexander. But the same spirit which restlessly pursued immortality in fame and glory would not only cause their European descendants to circumnavigate the globe and conquer its poles but map the human genome also; not only has the White man needed to tower into the skies and conquer the moon, but that spirit has searched the depths of its own soul to master itself.