The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

Boundaries of identification

People have many ways to identify. We’ve been used for decades to identify people via nationality, gender, religion or alike. Communities ore groups which could be easily assigned.

When it comes to identifying ourselves this is often a bit more complicated. Describing our identity then becomes announcing that we assimilate with that group. Which is something which has become complicated to do nowadays. With social media sharing news fast, the debate on positions also comes fast. With social media allowing us to share opinions fast, commenting on a position has become accessible.

It makes belonging to an organization more complicated than before. It also makes leading an organization more complex.

Instead of being able to lead an internal dialogue and being able to rely on its result, leadership is regularly confronted with members disagreeing and taking a public position of disagreement.

Members confronted with a position they had not been aware of until then feel pressured to react to ideas they don’t agree with. Ideas they don’t agree with threatening their sense of belonging to the organization.

There seems to be no other place left to discuss then public space as provided through social media. Typically this is rarely the space to become vulnerable and move away from an anti to a pro position.

Identifying through belonging to a group is thus regularly under threat.

What has become more natural in this environment is to identify through the things we are not.

It amplifies the posture of us and them. It makes the boundaries of our identity rigid. It focuses the energy on defending against the things we are not instead of being able to rely on what we are.


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