Identity-sense: sensing oneself in the world

In this blog I wish to consider the way that one realises one’s unique ‘way to be’ in the given world; put simply I wish to describe the way that the questioning being interrogates the world recognising that this is not merely a conscious and therefore rationalised interaction. This is a significantly human aspect of that being but there is much more interaction to describe. Indeed relevant to this claim is the fact that my phenomenological evaluation of human identity has found untenable the intuition of a unified Ego. I have however gained from Husserl’s later work the insight that identity is essentially intentional and intersubjective. Merleau-Ponty moreover, contends convincingly that ‘being incarnately’ is an essential ‘way to be’, supporting my view that human identity is essentially embodied intersubjective intentionality. It has, through the course of this thesis, become clear in addition that that the intentional lived body grounds human identity, and this speaking being spans subjectivity and objectivity.

Precisely because the lived body grounds human identity, one’s identity-sense is not reliant upon mental ‘self’-reflection alone but is, as an experience of one’s singularly embodied intentional presence, experienced holistically  in every aspect of one’s embodiment. I feel what it is to be me, and audit the success of my harmonising ambitions in all of my being. My identity-sense is also, as a result of indebtedness to the lived body, recursively acquired through my conscious, and my habitual, interaction with others and the world; though I may rationalise its perceptions mentally, my identity-sense is not merely a mental phenomenon nor is it only registered as such.

As with plant-like creatures such as the sea anemone, the questioning being assimilates the worlds  meaning sensitively in ways not necessarily reliant upon conscious thought.

As with plant-like creatures such as the sea anemone, the questioning being assimilates the worlds meaning sensitively in ways not necessarily reliant upon conscious thought. Sea Anemone, Image from image from http://deepbluehome.blogspot.dk/2011/09/sea-anemones.html Other dramatic images are to be found here.

In the posts that follow I will explore in detail the way that one’s identity-sense comprises an existential measurement of success. An audit, often tacit, which is constantly monitoring the explicit and implicit harmonising one inevitably attempts between one’s primordial desire for significance – capacity for purpose and the Lifeworld. That which is monitored is my appropriation of the world that forms my identity, an appropriation that occurs through the following mechanism. My capacity for purpose motivates me to take up and employ as useful the background of the world; in addition to this my desire for significance prompts me to confer to selected aspects of that world, value for me, in the hope that they in turn confer value upon me. By such an appropriation I bring the background of the world into my foreground and by this mechanism an accretion of meaning accrues to my life. As I have noted already, the auditing work that constitutes one’s identity-sense is not solely undertaken though conscious reflection. It is however, often assumed that memory is both the gatekeeper and the guarantor of my identity-sense. It is to evaluate this assumption that I turn now to the role of memory.

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