I haven't been around general chat for some time, so I figured I'd come back with some of my thoughts that need a bit of sorting through. Lately, I've been thinking about what people attribute to themselves. In my time thinking, I've come up with a few different categories of things that people identify with. People define themselves based on what they've done in the past People define themselves by what they engage in presently People define themselves by what they have planned for the future People define themselves based on what they wish they could be Not everyone factors these in equally, or even at all, but I think that it is interesting to think about how identifying with these factors causes a shift in how people interact with the world. For example, I identify myself primarily by who I wish to be. I think my self-image is built like 5%, 10%, 35%, 50%. Because my sense of self has only a little bit to do with my current lot in life, I think that I'm less prone to beating myself up over a failure. But also, it means that my sense of self might be quite different than the way people view me. Until I have the chance to communicate a detail as intimate as the way I view myself and my place in the world, I feel quite distanced from the people around me. I started to think about this from the perspective of my RP characters. I think that it is common for characters to identify with their past most strongly in the beginning. This is because it is an easy source of conflict in the absence of a collective narrative. As the RP goes on, characters shift towards the identification with the present. It is sort of our way of empathising the way that the events of the RP have made an impact in the way the character views themselves and the world. But also, many characters define themselves based on an internal conflict between their present and their future. But that is where I started to look at this from a society perspective. In particular, I'm talking about the rise of SJWs, political correctness, and fantastic identity. I think that as a society, many people have moved into this fourth category, and they are experiencing the downsides of using this for identity. While previously, people identified most closely with their present state of affairs, now people want to identify with their ideal selves. We like to identify by how we would like to be rather than what we currently are. With this comes the natural dissonance between reality and fantasy. People more than ever need to have their identity reinforced because in the lack of social support, it might not hold up. When I thought about what caused this change, I sort of pointed towards the internet. On the internet, people know you mostly by symbols that you can control. You aren't really held accountable to reality. Even though I'm a male, I can have a female avatar. I don't have to ask to be called a girl simply because people will assume it of me simply because that is what my behaviour suggests. I don't have to fear people rejecting me like I would in real life. The dissonance between the way I am and the way I want to be doesn't exist on the internet. Because the ability to identify as something you are not has become easier, more people have gone this route. But what they lack is the level of confidence and stability that people in this category traditionally had. For many, they will never take the time to resolve the conflicts in how they identify themselves. The result is intolerance. If someone causes them to doubt in themselves, they cut that person out of their life. They form elaborate rules about how they should be addressed, and consider those who don't take the time to understand as contributing to an environment of oppression. These people do not understand their part in the problem. They don't understand that they are attributing the inner turmoil they experience to the actions of other people when no such motive exists. It is frustrating to watch people do this, because I remember going through something similar in my early phases. When I first found myself wanting to be treated as a girl, I was a fragile little thing. I was already ashamed of myself. I had no idea how to cope with the difference between who I was and who I wanted to be. I sought out people who told me what I wanted to hear. I kept my cards close. I felt alone. I felt such a longing for people to understand the way that I was feeling when I myself did not understand. I think the critical difference that allowed me to grow past this, was that I didn't blame other people for my circumstances. I didn't blame people for not understanding. I knew how hard it was to understand. How could I blame a person for living a life that was more understandable or relatable than mine? And this brings me back to the starting point. The way people identify themselves says a lot about how they interact with the world about them. I wanted to think more critically about the nature of this interaction. Sadly this post ended up being more like a blog than a discussion, but I wanted to know what people thought on this topic. What do you have to add on the subject? Do you think I got something wrong or left something out? Would you enjoy an RP with the exploration of identity being the central theme? I want to know what everyone has to say!