Identity is a curse

by Meritxell Riera Prims


  Theater poster by Polish artist Wieslaw Walkuski

Identity is a mould, a frame that shapes you. It can also be your worst constraint. Either if it is individual or collective.

Individual may appear to be the worst of both, because if it’s too strong, too well-defined it might isolate you from the rest of people, and after all we all need others (perhaps not as much as we’re told to believe we do, which is funny in such an individualistic world as the one we’re living in… but we do).

I’m talking about personality, not about ego (although it’s easy to mix them up sometimes). Strong personalities are praised but also crushed by those who feel weak and fearful. Ego is encouraged and taught.

Most cultures actually act as collective egos. Extrapolate the “I” to the “we” (or the other way around).
“I am better than…”
“We are better than…”
In the words of Amin Maalouf, identities can be murderous.