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Answer obsession?


Am I Question or Answer? (Part #2)


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Philosophy has emphasized "Cogito Ergo Sum" -- "I think therefore I am". Here there is an implicit (and possibly unseemly) haste to answer the question "Who am I" in relation to a thinking process. The challenge dates back to Pythagoras at least [more]. This may or may not involve any questioning dynamic, indicative of self-reflexiveness, or of the potential processes of self-reframing to enable new understanding. This dimension is for example a characteristic of the practice of gnana yoga (cf Ramana Maharshi,. Who Am I?) [more]

More generally, in practice, there is urgent need, in many circumstances, to supply answers to those asking "who am I". Examples of those seeking clear and immediate answers include:

  • national identity and citizenship registers: identity based on a combination of name, birthdate, etc
  • tax authorities:
  • social security authorities
  • licensing authorities
  • immigration authorities when travelling
  • banking authorities
  • property owners, notably those concerned with provenance
  • employers
  • relatives and friends
  • peers
  • opponents in any process of disagreement
  • pets

It is appropriate to ask whether those for whom a well-defined identity is sought need themselves to be rigorously defined to the degree implied by the needs of the questioner. How closed does such a definition need to be -- whether for the definer or for the defined? Is there, for example, a case for something that might be akin to an "open source identity"? May there be other ways of understanding "identity"?