Thursday, November 18, 2010

Context Is Important to Identity

Rules/laws define and bring clarity and this is important for any society. Today, though, these rules or the laws in our Constitution are being dismissed because of higher, more alturistic goals. But, such thinking leaves little room for identification factors or for justice. Justice, in this context, means respect for the society that is defined by such rules and protection for the members/citizens of such a context. Justice is defined by protecting and upholding the "rule of law'.

Today's scientists wonder if one's identity is defined by one's environment, or one's universal mind via categories. If one's identity is defined by one's environment, then it is suggested that people need to be exposed, so that their identity can be expanded to be "inclusive". "Humans", after all, are all similar.

On the other hand, if it is suspected that the human mind holds the universal categories, then education is the answer to such questions. Education would inform the mind of its moral obligations to the 'human race". But, what of diversity of interpretation of such exposure, or the creative element of the mind? or coginitive affirmation of one's "religious frame"? Even though the mind can be stimulated does that stimulation bring about the same response, behavior, or understanding? How does previous experience impact how one interprests such stimulation?

What if 'universal identity is a undefined identity? What if the mind needs a context to define itself? What if the mind uses difference to determine identity, and not uniformity? Understanding oneself in opposition to another doesn't necessarily mean oppostional behavior. It would only help to clarify and distinctify and bring more understanding to the "table" in negotiation.

I think we have found that the religious hold to identification factors apart from "constitutional forms of government" or "self-identity", as a chosen identity. Constitutional forms of government' allow for a more definitive identity via religion. But, this is a problem for the modern mind that identifies with a nation-state, and a religious tradition that undermines the "humane laws" that the nation-state holds. How is identity to be expanded or informed without undermining the nation-state?  And should one consider such religious identity as a " human right"? Some don't believe that such identity can be changed. And this is why they call for America to take care of its own business.

So, which is it, environment or education that is to be the "enlightenment" of identity? And how does one know if the identity is internalized such that it would be highly improbable for the religious to re-identify? De-conversions happen all that time, but only within the context of a free and open society. So, what should we do? Should we be engaged with spreading democracy and constitutional government? Should we continue to trade with such environments? Or should we leave the religious alone hoping that they will leave us alone?

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