Updated: Jul 25, 2020

If I ask you, Who are you? — and you intend to give me an honest and thoughtful reply... your response should be a clarifying question.

"It depends," you might say.... "When? Where? What time of day? Who's with me?"

Who are you? is a question that can only be answered with language in contextual terms. Identity resists simple quantification.

23 July 2020


Updated: Jul 25, 2020

I try to be aware of my own motivations as I engage with various arguments—those I might be inclined to believe and those I might presume to be dubious. This isn't so easy a task that it can be assumed or placed on auto-pilot. This requires a discipline and insight that easily retreats upon the onset of with emotion... because, of course, emotion is integral to human thought.

Epley and Gilovich argue in particular that our motivations in reasoning show up most notably in how we recruit evidence in our meaning-making.

"When considering propositions they would prefer to be true, people tend to ask themselves something like “Can I believe this?”.... In contrast, when considering propositions they would prefer not be true, people tend to ask themselves something like “Must I believe this?” (137).

The "Can I believe this?" measure requires much less burden of proof whereas "Must I believe this?" would seem to warrant something more like an overwhelming abundance of evidence to move one's thinking. It may be that neither motivation is inherently more valuable than the other; and there are times in which one motivation may be more appropriately suited than the other. But I would argue that we should always know—or at least have made the effort to know—whether we are engaging with a "Can I?" or "Must I?" perspective... because to engage in reasoning without awareness of one's motivations is to engage without the agency that allows for the discernment of truth.

22 July 2020

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Updated: Jul 25, 2020

The idea of Cultural Identity is both a subject and tool for analysis... which we should consider as holding potential for conflict.

Identity is complex... and dynamic... and in many regards, situational and also performative. It is a subject that resists simple measures. Further, Identity cannot be flattened-out to the singular expression of any one aspect of its cultural categorization(s)—nor should it be analyzed outside of the consideration of the social/opportunity networks in which it interacts and is subsequently (continuously) shaped and re-shaped.

We are all multicultural beings; our identities informed by the cultural fluencies we've acquired through our participation in various socially-indoctrinating spaces. Depending on the environment, we emphasize different aspects of our-selves in order to discern and convey meaning. Our authenticity in these spaces is measured not by any particular word(s) spoken or deed(s) performed but by a kind of internal truth—the integrity of expression. The words and deeds are mere containers.

The "integrity of expression" is a function of Identity as a tool for analysis... as in, the effort to interpret truth on the subject of Cultural Identity relies on the very Cultural Identity-lens brought to the subject. The lens, in an anthropological sense, is the tool. We make sense of Cultural Identity by employing some tool/lens of Cultural Identity. This, methodologically speaking, holds potential for conflict.

21 July 2020

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