You are not your identity

Joi Ito writes: There is a lot of talk about identity these days. You MUST remember that identities are like names. You are NOT your identity. Your identity points to you. Everyone has multiple identities. Roger Clark describes this as the difference between entities and identities. You are an entity. Your name, your role in the company, your relationship with your child, they are different identities. Multiples identities isn’t just about having more than one email address or chat room nym. A multitude of identities is an essential component in protecting privacy and interacting in an exceedingly digital world.

One thought on “You are not your identity”

  1. Whether consciously or unconsciously, Roger Clark steals his notions of identity and entity from Gertrude Stein. The terms came out of writing she began doing in the summer and fall of 1935.
    She develops the terms most fully in THE GEOGRAPHICAL HISTORY OF AMERICA OR THE RELATION OF HUMAN NATURE TO THE HUMAN MIND, first published in 1936 by Random House. She presents the terms more succinctly and perhaps more accessibly in her lecture “What Are Master-pieces and Why Are There So Few Of Them,” delivered at Oxford, February 1936, and published in 1940.
    Here’s a quote from the lecture:
    “There are so few [master-pieces] because mostly people live in identity and memory that is when they think. They know they are they because their little dog knows them, and so they are not an entity but an identity. And being so memory is necessary to make them exist and so they cannot create master-pieces. . . .
    “It is not extremely difficult not to have identity but it is extremely difficult the knowing not having identity. One might say it is impossible but that it is not impossible is proved by the existence of master-pieces which are just that. They are the knowing that there is no identity and producing while identity is not.”
    (Gertrude Stein, WRITINGS 1932-1946 (NY: The Library of America, 1998), pp. 359-60)

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