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Comment on Manifesto for the Forthcoming: Part II

Rourke Wed, Jan 9, 2008
Your words about identity made me think of the work of Julian Jaynes, a name I have seen elsewhere in Space Collective. Did our ability to identify ourselves as independant entities with thoughts that we claim as 'ours' emerge from our ability to build metaphor? Simply put, is even human identity a consequence of language?

Studies on people from Eastern and Western cultures show divergent ideas of identity. It's no surprise, as Eastern spiritual belief concentrates on the cycle of reality rather than its flow. To locate the self as existing at this point and project that feeling into the future is very much a Western tendency and explains a lot about the function our mythologies usually take.

I like the idea you ponder of a more forward looking myth. We need to recognise that catastophy (such as unmetered climate change, or nuclear holocaust - all the cliches basically) is inherent in our idea of change. We see these things as ultimate conclusions, perhaps justifying our collective response to these problems as ultimate means would give us enough focus to move on together.

People need purpose in their lives. There is so much we need to work on together, and so much that we can achieve as a collective that it seems strange that our more popular grand narratives don't already take the forward looking, positive approach on board.

It's obvious that we talk about these collective objectives in such grand, narrative fashion, yet rationally/scientifically focussed communities rarely alter their language to do this consciously. I think of the grand drive that put men on the moon, or the collective identity which was engaged during World War II. Only by using the right language in the right way can we achieve the collective identity we need to strive onwards.