Identity. Know yourself.
We live in an increasingly complex world made even more complex by/with systems and subsystems.
This is true of our family, friendships, relationships and marital structures.
It is also true of our household finances, and the national fiscus, the companies that we create or that we work for, and for systems of government and political structures, our religions and our society as a whole.
So, how do we keep at least a basic understanding of these complex systems and, perhaps, be able to see how they inter-relate?
One way is to understand the rules that dictate whatever it is that we are intent on studying.
If we want to know more about money and how it works, we must have a basic understanding of the different rules relating to money i.e. the laws and basics of taxation, finance, accounting, investing, debt, and budgeting.
To know a thing, I think that we must know how it became what we see and experience today. We must study the history of money, and of marriage, of religion, of education, and politics.
Whatever topic we want to understand, the lessons arise from the history of the thing.
It is the knowing of a thing’s history that helps you to see its patterns and be able to predict its future.
The thing that most causes our plans to succeed or fail is us the humans. We create the laws, we apply them, we manipulate them, we dodge and we frustrate them. And in turn, we frustrate ourselves.
To know the Human is to know its identity. And in this we observe the various incidences and interactions of religion, race, generation, culture, class, location, vocation, profession, and gender with which they identify. And more important is their name, and the name that their people are called by/to.
These are the constructs of identity.
To know someone is to know their identity. To know their identity requires knowing their history - how and why it came to be that the person that you now see and experience before you came to be.
This is true for all things, and it is not unique to humans.
These complex sub-systems and groupings of the human, which make us so complex and complicated are, at their root, groupings of singular persons which then take on a definite shape and common identity.
Each individual then leads to the formation of group, of a family, a clan, a tribe, a community, a society and a nation.
Therein lies the key, to know the group you must know the individuals that are within. To know the individual, you must know their story.
Once you know their story you know them and can relate to them from a basis of understanding of their honest identity.
Perhaps this ability to understand the self, and the immediate person is then the basis of relationship. One individual at a time. Starting with yourself.
In your self-scrutiny you could say, I am a male. I am a South African, I am a Cape Townian, I am black, I am a Christian, I am a mother, I am a professional, I am a policeman, I am a son, I am a banker, I am a collection of the things with which I identify with and which give me identity.
And some of these things you have learnt and worked hard in school and built yourself up to and they are dear to you in how you see yourself, like everyone else who is part of those same identity-makers.
And if the pages of our lives determine the people we are, do we then focus on knowing and understanding the stories of our lives or do we resort to judging, fearing or belittling those that are different from our own stories and history?