It is my philosophical judgement that human identity is a conferred descriptor whereby the inherited meanings and values of the human world are applied to the life of each questioning being. This accretion of meaning however is inevitably misaligned and indeterminate, for human identity is not a fixed proposition about any fixed thing but a ‘we interpret this to be’ directed at a fluid, changing, self-defining being. Nevertheless, the accretion of meaning which the world identifies human persons with is a accoutrement which must be tried on for size and made to fit.
The accretion of meaning that each human life acquires is not an objective and factual description derived from some abstracted a-temporal measurement, and nor can it be. Human identity conferred is essentially a witness to the desire for significance and capacity for purpose, that the lives of others are driven by, which are directed towards that individual. Meanings, be they regarding race or nationality, gender or sexual orientation, age or maturity, are situated temporal value-judgements and so, oriental and Japanese, female and gay, 23yrs of age and independent, are inevitably meanings loaded with variable connotations. To affirm as true any of these requires some explication as to what connotations are inferred.
Identity sense I have argued is an holistic measurement each questioning being maintains, whether consciously, pre-consciously or both. This existential audit gauges the harmony obtained between its own aspirations in the world, fuelled by and balancing its own desire for significance and potentially conflicting capacity for purpose, and the accretion of meaning its life acquires in the intersubjective world it inhabits. One’s identity sense is therefore an audit and curation of what significance the world imparts to one’s life, and the purpose for which the world procures one’s life. This is an ongoing, never completed endeavour, and healthy self-knowledge demands that the questioning being accept its auditing efforts will never ensure that it’s life aligns to its own aspirations any more than the world’s conferred identity does.