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On Identity


Mar 29, 2010
Androgyne; they/them
Basic Beliefs
Natural Philosophy, Game Theoretic Ethicist
There seems to have been a shift in understanding on the subject of wat qualifies someone as being some thing. In the past, the consideration on things such as "what someone is" was unilateral and judged from the outside.: You would say "they are a man" or "they are a woman" or "they are a Scotsman". Then some time in the late 90's and 00's, there was a shift. I'm guessing it largely had to do with the Advent of the internet and online communities, wherein people could represent themselves as they pleased. And it was a radical change.

People suddenly got the power to prototype themselves independently of how others had seen them and in fact completely independently of preexisting judgements. Many even decided to take such prototyping outside of the strictly human. People started role-playing on a massive scale and figured out more than any other generation who they wanted to be.

But this antithesis of internal identities also has it's failings; after all, identifying to the world as a "sexy girl" doesn't change the fact that you are not what others might consider "sexy" or "a girl" within the old paradigm: if you are 300 lbs, your B-cups are entirely composed of bodyfat, and have six inches of penis hanging around in your folds of fat, it might be hard convincing Chad to stick his dick in you. But grotesque images aside, that doesn't change the fact that you do, in fact, have this identity. I can entirely understand why the old guard might entirely reject the usefulness of this paradigm, why they may view the new generation as simple SJW fools.

But there is a synthesis that gets both sides right: that identity is separate from the quality of how someone lives that identity; that being a 300lb owner of a penis doesn't make you not a "sexy girl", it just makes you a person who is very bad at being a sexy girl, that is, assuming you eat like a pig, get no exercise, and do none of the things the majority of "sexy girls" in good social standing do to live their identities. At least assuming that the context of "sexy girl" is not "big beautiful women".

And the fact is, this is a basis for judgement all on its own, to put no effort into living your identity. I personally have some small bit of derision, for example, for most people who identify as Christian... I have a much greater disdain for someone who identifies as Christian and does not help the poor, accept the foreigner as they do a citizen, forgive others their trespasses, or pay their taxes. It doesn't make them not-a-Christian. It makes them a shitty Christian.

This calculus, unlike the thesis of external unilateral identification, or of internal unilateral identification, captures both sides en-todo: that someone is allowed to identify themselves, and others are allowed to assess the quality of their life within that identity.
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