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Anonymous

Collective identity and the need to belong
    #1675142 - 06/30/03 10:37 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

Here's a tricky one. We've been discussing group identity in my philosophy class here at uni and the question was brought up, why do human beings have an inherent tendency to associate themselves with a group in order to form their identity? When people describe their identity they might say, "I'm black" or "I'm native American" or "I'm gay." They might also state how they're NOT something else, ie. "I'm not arab" or "I'm not Republican." People identify themselves in several ways but I'd say the most common are racially, sexually, politically, and geographically.

If you were to put 500 random people in an auditorium and observe them, you would notice that almost immediately people will start to congregate with others like themselves. First groups would form by age difference, then by gender, race, clothes/looks, et cetera. This is a very odd phenomenon that people don't often think about. There was even a story on MSNBC today saying that people look for mates who have similar qualities as themselves. There is something very comforting about being with others like you, but that's not the whole picture. Why are we comforted in this way? Do we all have a xenophobia that we deal with on a subconscious level, or is this an inherent trait in everything which is how Nature's makes order of things?


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Invisiblechodamunky
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Re: Collective identity and the need to belong [Re: ]
    #1675366 - 06/30/03 11:52 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

People identify themselves in several ways but I'd say the most common are racially, sexually, politically, and geographically.

I think this is quite simple: people choose to divide themselves through the above four methods because they are fearful of things different from them, be it looks, idealogies, or body parts. Fear breeds ignorance, insecurity, and a need to feel comforted from these feelings. Hence people almost automatically group themselves according to their belief systems to form their personal identity which will bring them safety, comfort, and a feeling of belongness.



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InvisibleBoppity604
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Re: Collective identity and the need to belong [Re: ]
    #1675371 - 06/30/03 11:53 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

>>Do we all have a xenophobia that we deal with on a subconscious level, or is this an inherent trait in everything which is how Nature's makes order of things?

I think it's 80% conditioning 20% inherent traits.  Many animals are social species...and personally I have to agree I like being around people (just not all the time).  :smile:  But as far as what we allow our mind to label and value as another trait in people that we choose to identify with has everything to do with the socialization we are exposed to and whether or not we agree with the values placed upon us by that process.

Love & Light,

Boppity

PS - What do you think the results of that same experiment would be if half of the group of people was blind and the other half was deaf?


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Anonymous

Re: Collective identity and the need to belong [Re: Boppity604]
    #1675431 - 07/01/03 12:17 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)

What do you think the results of that same experiment would be if half of the group of people was blind and the other half was deaf?

Well I think the deaf and blind would split up first of all, since it's very difficult for a deaf person to communicate with a blind person and vice-versa. I think the deaf people would be just like any non-deaf, non-blind people in that they would associate with people of the same race/look, but the blind would attempt to just fit with others of similar age and personalities while disregarding race/gender/looks for the most part.


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OfflineRhizoid
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Re: Collective identity and the need to belong [Re: ]
    #1675876 - 07/01/03 03:38 AM (13 years, 9 months ago)

It's not so complicated really. It's all about projection. Everyone has a strong tendency to identify themselves with their own body, and a lesser tendency to identify themselves with their immediate family. This is a direct consequence of the darwinian mechanisms that have produced our instincts. It's not unique to humans, it seems like it's the same for many animals.

But we humans, due to our great capacity for abstraction, seem to project this instinct, this "sense of belonging", to all sorts of groups that have nothing to do with genetical closeness.

I am convinced that this projection is a great source of evil, possibly the biggest problem that we face. It would be much better if people began to identify themselves with the people that they love, and to love people that are good rather than only those who are just genetically or culturally related to them, and ultimately, to think of all living people as the "special group" who they feel they belong to.


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OfflineMalachi
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Re: Collective identity and the need to belong [Re: Rhizoid]
    #1677476 - 07/01/03 07:02 PM (13 years, 9 months ago)

I think that this sort of thought is related to the diversity over equality debate.


--------------------
The ultimate meaning of our being can only be fulfilled in the paradoxical leap beyond the tragic-demonic frustration. It is a leap from our side, but it is the self-surrendering presence of the Ground of Being from the other side.
- Paul Tillich


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