Sunday, October 03, 2010

A conversation with phatic

"I don't understand what 'identity' means," phatic said.
"OK," said I.
"One thing is when they stop you at the border and ask what is your identity. You answer your name, nationality and so forth."
"Yes, " I responded.
"I also understand what they say when they speak of two things being identical. If that's possible. But I understand the meaning of, say, 'this nail is identical to that nail'."
"Uhm," I nodded.
"Same with the verb identify. That's an easy one. John identifies with blue folks, say."
I was getting bored.
"Yes. Now what's the bottom line here?" I asked.
"Well, I'll tell you what the bottom line is. What do you get out of statements like, 'I have lost my identity' -- unless you're Jason Bourne, of course, and have literally lost your papers and registraton in public records. Or, 'We don't really feel like blue folks used to sometime in the past.' That's what I don't get."
"I see," said I.
"Or what about this quest to 'find one's identify'. Well, maybe you find the answer when you locate your passport, right?"
"Right," said I.