Saturday, April 16, 2016


Personal identity has always been a social function. As individuals, we are nothing more and nothing less than the totality of our group affiliations.

Biologically, we carry the genetic residue of our ancestry, linking us to groups of beings long dead.

Psychologically, in the present tense, we are bound to those in close physical proximity by shared circumstance and the inertia of habit.

Societally, we are deeply embedded in a shared soup of culture and subculture, communally connected to various others through traditional norms, through roles (voluntarily embraced and otherwise) and role expectations, and through implicit or explicit allegiances (voluntarily adopted or otherwise) to abstract entities, for example nations, states, ethnicities, religions, political denominations, and corporate masters.

Civilization involves an intentional structuring of the affiliations that make up our personal identities so that our identities are made compatible with goals that have little or nothing to do with actual needs of human beings. And in the present digital version of industrial civilization, mass technology has become both the means and the ends of the identity structuring process.

Technology, once simply the means by which a clever species adapted to the challenges and opportunities of local environments, has become the environment itself; technology has become both the thing to which our adaptation is directed and the thing providing the means of adaptation.

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