My intention today was to consider "identity" but I'm pretty confused, so I'll just make a list of the forces that used to give us a sense of ourselves but don't anymore.
- Nation. Our existing countries are transcended by international corporations who enable preying on each other with the collaboration of governments reduced to tools of the company. As the former empire broke up, government became prey to forces from the indigenous people but also to the local strongmen and new invaders.
- Family. The genetic basis for families has become theoretical. The ag-based family in which the children are participants is rare. We reject the past as old-fashioned. Too many people, the cost of raising children, and the necessity of women working away from the home press against having more than a couple of children. Living alone is a more possible option. "Attachment" which some call "love" is overwhelmed by status so that families will eject members who are trouble or low-status. Drugs are meant to compensate for lack of attachment, but in fact prevent attachment.
- Sex. The assumed universality of the male/female binary has been debunked so that there are a plurality of genders, not all of them equipped for fertility or with temperaments for child raising. At the same time the mixture of cultures around the world has redefined proper gender behavior and roles, so there is no one way to act even if one's physical biology is accepted. It is recognized that once one's sexuality is determined, it can change over time.
- Religion. People either claim they are "not" religious or say they are a mix of two, or have an identification that doesn't include regular participation, or have discarded a childhood belief system.
- God. The general social consensus is split: Someone will claim to be the only representative. Many say God is dead, not because of revolution but because He just dissolved.There are arguments over God's nature.
- Wealth. No longer defined by the ability to do good in the world by enabling institutions or helping the social net. Not even signed by fine living and high arts. No support for libraries, ballet companies, or opera or intellectual pursuits. The idea now is bookkeeping and the actual "money" is siphoned off to be hidden somewhere. Sources are so bad that the "money"has to be "laundered." "Fine living" is replaced by vulgar ostentation.
- Art. Once admired for beauty and representation, art now is hard to understand and must be accessed through "curators" and auctioneers to understand the value. Art is assumed to be a practical way to capture money in a time when legal tender is volatile.
- Race. An imposed concept on top of the tendency of people to develop a sameness of appearance and genetics if they stay in one place together for a long time, this has become a pry-bar between blurry categories that are not separated dependably.
- Education. The idea of tolerance for differences has corrupted into ignoring significant distinctions and cancelling the concepts that define democracy and citizenship, the obligations of those with advantages. Anthropology's interest in alternative ways of organizing communities and commerce has collapsed into "anything goes". The hierarchical protection of the learned is breached by gender and oppression. Things that are "hard" or require special skills are rejected as unfair. Far too much status and control is given to expensive institutions.
- Science. We are now aware of how small we are, how vulnerable to disease or famine. Technology tells us we're computers and hypnotizes us with the Internet. Too many people don't have the knowledge to participate and are intimidated.
- Great leaders. Once we looked for exceptional people who could tell us what to do. Now the process is confused by charlatans.
- Crime. Besides the usual outlaws and berzerkers out there killing people, stealing, and so on, there are international criminal organizations with more reach and potency than the legitimate normals. We don't seem able to cope with them.
To sum up, we are in a time of confusion between old ways and new ways that haven't quite "gelled." This is not the first time it's happened. Wars push us into this. Major changes in the nature and amount of resources can do it. Pandemics are effective. So is major depression. We've staggered our way out of it before and will again, though predications are probably too early.
This is not 1,000 words yet, but I'm going to stop anyway. Maybe I'll come back later or start a new list with ideas for surviving this chaos between things to believe in and identify with for the sake of well-being.