Identity

Discuss the August 2016 Book of the Month, The Lost Identity Casualties by Kim Ekemar.

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Identity

Post by bluemel4 » 21 Aug 2016, 10:21

Dr. Braun said something interesting while removing the bandages from Matthias's face:

"As individuals we don't identify ourselves- neither our persons nor our souls, if you wish- with fingers or other extremities. No, the face we have is the image projecting who we are; our identity in every aspect."

Identity is such a complex issue, do you think using the face as the core of our projected self was said for Matthias's benefit? Did it put too much emphasis on what the face means in terms of identity? What about amputees that were once athletes, wouldn't they have a completely different set of priorities and definition of self? A marathon runner would rather save their legs than face. Their identity is built on the ability to run, in other words, their "extremities."
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Post by AuthoressofMystery » 24 Aug 2016, 15:24

I think that identity depends upon the person. As you said, the athlete would certainly identify themselves by their extremities. I knew someone who was truly wrapped up in their hair. Their whole life (days, weeks, months, years) were determined by their "Hair Day". I thought it was completely ridiculous for a man to base his whole existence on his hair, but that was how he identified himself.
A suddenly disfigured person may struggle with identity for a while, but can eventually learn that it isn't what they lost, but what they have had all along.
It sounds like Dr. Braun was using psychological triggers to possibly further trauma in Matthias.
Now the book sounds even more intriguing!
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Post by CatInTheHat » 24 Aug 2016, 15:30

Our face is the first thing other people see when they meet us, see us for the first time. It is very much a part of who we are and our presentation to the world of ourselves. Especially as we grow and can control certain things, like make up, hair style, etc, in that presentation to the world. For it to suddenly change would really impact me. I have other thoughts on this and will come back to it as I put them together ;)
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Post by bluemel4 » 24 Aug 2016, 17:22

I agree that there would be an impact but I feel like the doctor was really making the situation so much worse by phrasing how all encompassing a face is to identity.

After thinking about it I felt like this doctor had an opportunity to focus on other aspects of Matthias' identity and soften the blow. When I was younger, we always did these exercises exploring who we were and stretching the way we think of ourselves. We had to come put with a list of what makes us who we are. For example, sister, singer, short, aunt, optimistic, runner, gammer, etc. We are not only our faces, but our relationships, hobbies, and how we connect to the world.
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Post by rssllue » 25 Aug 2016, 10:22

Seeing my face all throughout the day as I catch glimpses of it in the bathroom mirror, or windows and the like makes it easy to put the focus on it for who I am. Being a Christian, I know that God has made me so much more than just my outward appearance. My spirit and mind are my true identity. If I would have woken up today with a different face, I would still have the same identity as before, though it would admittedly still be quite an adjustment to my new looks. Looks are somewhat a part of our identity, especially to other, but the core of who we are is our heart, mind, and soul. If we lose that, then who are we really?
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Post by psychopathycathy » 26 Aug 2016, 03:10

I too think that identity depends on each individual. I don't think that there's one physical feature we can all point to and say, "That's what defines us." It would be what each person treasured about themselves - just like how athletes would care about their physique, intellects would focus more on their brainpower.

In my opinion, the face would be an extra label saying what a person was, but not who they actually were.

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Post by Yelitzag08 » 30 Aug 2016, 16:01

I agree that some people base their identity based on another part of themselves other than their face. Something that comes to mind is a discussion I had with some artist friends of mine about our fear of losing or being unable to use our hands (especially our dominant hands). So, even though I associate my face with myself, I believe I would be much more devastated if I were unable to make art.
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Post by Pretzelsing » 09 Sep 2016, 18:54

Personally, my life quote is:

"Life is about recreating myself..."

For me, I can create and change and redo my personal identity, because I like to feel in control of who I am as a person. I know this may sound extremely egotistic and self-centered, but it's kind of just my stable comfort in my life.

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Post by Genaaa » 14 Sep 2016, 15:29

To me, what determines someone's identity varies. For an extremely vain person, they might determine their identity based of their appearances. An athlete however would determine their identity through sports and their ability to play; the same with a musician and their music.
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Post by Thimble » 17 Sep 2016, 22:17

I think the idea of identity changes person-by-person. I don't really think about it too much, aside from legal reasons. I feel like I am whoever I am, no matter what changes. I'm more of a whole than separate parts or abilities. It's dangerous to put all of your identity into one component of your life.

-- 17 Sep 2016, 20:19 --

As for what Dr. Braun said, I think he just really doesn't know how to talk to people. lol. I think if Matthias wasn't as strong-minded as he was, that could have screwed him up.
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Post by katiesquilts » 25 Sep 2016, 01:44

As soon as I read this passage it reminded me of something I read on the internet. It went something along the lines of: "We only ever see our face in reflections and photos, so we'll never be able to see our face as others see us."

If we are never able to see our face without it being altered by a distortion of perception, how can we say that it is our identity? In my opinion, our face is more like the identity by which we are known by others.

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Post by CaitlinE » 07 Oct 2016, 15:31

I think the face is how other people judge our identities, but how we perceive our own identities could come from anywhere.

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Post by MerryLove » 09 Oct 2016, 19:55

Unfortunately, faces are taken more seriously into a person's identity than maybe they should be. Many times they can keep a person from getting to know another. But while eyes or facial expressions can provide a window into emotions, they are certainly not a person's identity by a long shot. A person could have themselves made a completely new face, but it would not change their identity. Identity is made up of our choices and beliefs, and our actions in situations and towards others. It is not made up by our looks, even a part as descriptive as the face.
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Post by Jennifer Allsbrook » 26 Oct 2016, 22:33

bluemel4 wrote:Dr. Braun said something interesting while removing the bandages from Matthias's face:

"As individuals we don't identify ourselves- neither our persons nor our souls, if you wish- with fingers or other extremities. No, the face we have is the image projecting who we are; our identity in every aspect."

Identity is such a complex issue, do you think using the face as the core of our projected self was said for Matthias's benefit? Did it put too much emphasis on what the face means in terms of identity? What about amputees that were once athletes, wouldn't they have a completely different set of priorities and definition of self? A marathon runner would rather save their legs than face. Their identity is built on the ability to run, in other words, their "extremities."
I believe that Dr. Braun was wrong to say this to Matthias right before the big reveal. I think that saying this made Matthias even more conscious of the fact that he had lost his identity since a stranger was looking back at him from the mirror. Losing one's identity due to amnesia is one issue. Couple that with not being able to recognize yourself when your memory does return and the problems the individual faces increase exponentially. Trying to understand the 'what happened to me's' and the "why me's' would drive you crazy.
I agree with you that people may identify with other aspects of their body more than the face but I think those instances are few and far between. We look at ourselves and develop a self image which is hard to shake. Imagine getting up every day and looking in a mirror that only showed your body...would your image of self become your body? I don't know.

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Post by kileiah » 28 Oct 2016, 00:26

MerryLove wrote:Unfortunately, faces are taken more seriously into a person's identity than maybe they should be. Many times they can keep a person from getting to know another. But while eyes or facial expressions can provide a window into emotions, they are certainly not a person's identity by a long shot. A person could have themselves made a completely new face, but it would not change their identity. Identity is made up of our choices and beliefs, and our actions in situations and towards others. It is not made up by our looks, even a part as descriptive as the face.
I'm in agreement here that identity is too often correlated with appearance. When it comes to a face or body, something we are all born with and don't define for ourselves, it seems trivial to base a sense of self on how these things look. That said, there are things we can choose to change how these things look, like through how we dress, and a body is a physical vessel of ourselves in this world... but I'm not so sure that I would be a very different person because I had a different face.

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