Identity is increasingly fluid as we are living in an age of uncertainty. We are currently living in an era of digital convergence, where we can create a whole new identity, a pseudo identity in fact.
But what is identity in layman’s terms? What is self-identity?
From a personal viewpoint, you are what people think of you, yet you are also how you define and create yourself. Simply put, there are two ways to view identity: how you think you are and how people think you are. One is an internal retrospection and another an external perception. They may at times overlap each other, but they both define you as a person.
Let’s begin with a basic identity layout. You are your name, your birth date, your age, your sex, your nationality. Building on that basis, we continue with the idea that you are what you consume and create.
What is critical here is that consumption has transformed from a means of meeting material needs to a method of creating a personal identity. Identity then becomes a question of choice from the abundance of alternative offers, where an individual alone constructs his/her identity in today’s multicultural society marked by globalization, consumerism, and new technologies.
This is what Karl Marx would coin: commodity fetishism.
Currently, consumerism fuels on individuality by inscribing certain value on the items. Every purchase becomes a statement. You are the things that you buy. You prefer one over the other. That tells something. As minimalism states, you own stuff, and your stuff owns you. Identity is a two way street. Read more interesting minimalist point on consumerism through a character in the movie – The Fight Club, here.
Of course, consumption does not stop there. The intangible things such as experiences are also a way of consumption. But now, even experience are commoditised as we could purchase experience. Someone who loves extreme sports and heights may pay to go for a skydive. Travelling is also a experience that people would purchase and the act itself also indicates a person’s capital.
We can own many stuffs – experiences, clothing, brands, music. We are a lifetime accumulation of both intangible and tangible things. However, knowing your identity does not only hinge on consumption but also what you create.
The question of the day:
What are you creating? Or are you just blindly consuming?
Sources: agymlife.com; theminimalists.com; Google Images;