Friday, December 10, 2004

Who am I?

The question of identity is the question of our age.

This began with Romanticism, and its emphasis on the individual qua individual. It became what it is today when the idea took root in early 20th century Europe that we were fundamentally sexual beings. That is, that what we are is sexual first, and everything is explained from that. Now it brings us down to the question of sexuality, and everyone has to ask him/her-self: are you heterosexual, or homosexual? Who are you?

Identity, however, is never that simple. Identity comes from other people: family, friends, community, nation, heritage, "race." The sources are as various as the categories we apply to ourselves and our relationships. So who am I is first defined as "not-you." But where is the boundary? At what point are you you, and not-me?

The boundaries, of course, are fluid. Which is what scares people. If the boundaries are too fluid, if the line between homosexual and heterosexual is an extremely thin one, then who am I? If we are supposed to talk openly about sexuality and matters of sexual conjugation, does that mean I have to consider the mechanics of homosexuality? (Which, for many, is the "ick" factor,a and may explain the violent reaction to homosexuality and homosexuals in American culture.) But if I am primarily a sexual being, then shouldn't sexuality be natural, whatever form it takes?

But what if I am primarily a spiritual being? What then?

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