Identity is a trap.
Identity is an illusion.
People are a lot like protean blobs. One moment they are a triangle, the next a square, and the next a dodecahedron.
Whenever you ask people “Who are you?” you get a range of replies. Some say they are what they like “I’m a music lover” or “I’m a fan of someone or other”. Some say they are activities “I’m a carpenter”, “I’m a philosopher”. Some say they are beliefs “I’m an atheist”, “I’m a Christian.”; others say they are morals “I’m good”, “I’m bad”.
The thing is that – besides the fact that they are all things that are either behaviours anybody could do or things that anybody could say of themselves – none of these fit the range of who you are in your concrete, daily life. They are like the shapes the protean blob takes.
It’s like you have this protean blob before you constantly changing shape. It says to you “I’m a triangle!” and you point at it and say “You were for a bit but now you’re a cube!” Well a human being claiming to have an identity is doing the exact same thing.
The thing is our actual nature is protean. The illusion of identity is an attempt to fix in one shape that which is unfixable.
When you are a child and your granny says “You’re a good boy!” she is trying (in most cases unwittingly) to give you an identity. To shape you into an image she finds acceptable. That of being a good person (whatever good may be; given your social milieu).
The thing is that the child rapidly realizes that it isn’t always good. That it doesn’t always have good urges.
This is because of the unchangeable changeable nature of our being.
In some cases the young man will suppress (that is hide away) the characteristics he has that don’t fit the identity he was given. He toes the line. The other case is the rebellious teenager we all hear so much about.