There is nothing until it is perceived. The thing itself is nothing until it is “discovered”. This Idealist concept can be applied to our own identities. We are not how we perceive ourselves to be, but how we are perceived to be when we are “discovered”. Nevertheless, we want to be known in the way we want to be perceived as being and not in a way that those who don’t really know us misconceive us to be. Freedom, therefore, becomes a struggle against mass-perception which is itself a molding force, an attempt to make the individual conform to the way it tells us we should be perceived.

Perception, and therefore identity, can be measured qualitatively and/or quantitatively. In an oppressive regime of imitation, the quantitative is promoted to the detriment of the qualitative. For example, it may be more important the number of likes or friends on your Facebook site than the depth of communication you have with those friends. Nevertheless, without depth of communication the quality of perception remains superficial and regarded as weak. To be superficially perceived has a reciprocal effect on one’s identity. My life is more meaningful and satisfying if I perceive and am perceived in a deep way than if I am conceived of in a wide-spread way. Nevertheless, that is not the trend. In the future we might measure the meaningfulness in our lives through the quality of information that arises from a Google search of our name. This sounds terrible, but the Internet has already become a determining factor in our being perceived and our quality of perceiving.

But if transparency is a vital force in our identity, how do we explain or qualify our fundamental need for privacy? Our need to hide ourselves for whatever reason: because we want to transgress; because we want the peace and silence of privacy; because we are tired of being misunderstood …?

Privacy, in this sense, is linked to freedom. A distrust is found of the way we are perceived because we are perceived in a way we don’t want to be perceived. Very few of us have the strength to openly flaunt our vices for fear of the judgement that will fall on us. De Sade is still the great hero of freedom: by standing naked before society he sacrificed his identity to society’s conceptions, relegating that identity to that of transgressor. In reality, he must be admired for his freedom, but un-esteemed for his superficiality and for the psychological and physical cruelties that his emancipation inflicted on his own victims. In fact, if we examine de Sade’s case closely, we see that freedom is intrinsically impossible. If our identity is always suspect to perception, it is forever subject to judgement.

We cannot escape perception in order to be free, quite the contrary, we have to confront it with our transgressions. With that which, for the eye of the perceiver, are our darkest perversions. The free spirit must inevitably dirty itself in order to obtain that freedom. In this paradox we find reflected the Faustian concept of a pact with the Devil. The soul can only be freed if you are prepared to stain it with your perversions. But who dares?

Can there be a better control mechanism than this?


5 thoughts on “IDEALITY AND IDENTITY … and freedom

  1. A very thought provoking post! 🙂
    One may bear their true self, express freedom while also conserving privacy in the way they see fit. But as you said, we cannot escape other’s perception and judgement but then the notion of an ideal world is a myth anyway and perhaps this world of ours is in fact the ideal world where positive and negative must coexist and that our only salve is to find a balance if we wish to seek some semblance of peace…

    • the notion of an ideal world is not a myth !
      but the notion of freedom is the myth > only a criminal mind wants freedom and privacy
      as far as I am concerned > the nsa can record all of my doings > as a matter of fact
      if they did so > may be they would learn some thing from me …

  2. ” and perhaps this world of ours is in fact the ideal world where positive and negative must coexist and that our only salve is to find a balance if we wish to seek some semblance of peace… ”

    >>> there is no need for any thing negative it all if you are in a positive society >>>

    >>> documenting a day in the life of > first planet first planet > at our very right > the sun > below left > what is looking like a tiny moon
    being the space ship > watching out for the safety ….. parked in geo stationary orbit over the settlement >
    with only the sensor doors open !

    we are seeing no lites an the planet be low !
    no sign of any settlement … or manufacturing >
    the only thing to indicating any population as of now >
    are the out rigger sail boats beached > the solar electric rovers > the river boats ….
    but there is an emergency plan ready to put all those under cover should any need arise !

    the camouflaged hydro electric plant at the river falls is not operating
    the lites for orientation in all the housing and control centers
    is being supplied by tiny local thermo nuclear power plants
    from the former uses on the roboter ships
    and planet rovers ….

    there is no other hind of any human population any where from here ….
    naturally … no broadcasting of any radio trans mission of this world
    can be received at any distance !

    as all communication is done > by quanta communicators >
    low power short distance equipment or through under ground lines ….

    we are now in the main command room > the display showing >>> automatic surveillance mode on >
    no space sensors > no space ships > now asteroid on coordinates 6 39 15.70 > 2 16 22.17 >
    received quanta message from planet two > but no frequency messages >>>
    since automatic mode started !

    the crew sleeping > like all residents be low on the planet ….

    out of >>>

  3. paul …. the condition on this planet is hopeless > because there is only one thing
    for the individual to do > to harm > to injure > to hurt > to do some damage !
    there while being some cherished some body … that is what is driving all those
    billions on > this is what this economy is all about > to creating some delusion
    about having all this …. military …. damage done !

    this freedom about doing some harm
    and nobody can do any thing about it !

    and what would be the solution ?
    we need reality to be shown as it is > real !
    so no delusion is possible …

    we need a public reality > a humane order >
    but how could we do this ?

    there is only one way ….

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