Topic for Debate
Hello dear friends,
I'd like to know in our modern world where everything is changing such as technology, great building and even ourselves, of how much importance is IDENTITY in our life?

Roya Faghani Nia
The identity is ever changing as well... the only contant progression in life is `change'.
Maya Sanskrit
Yeah, I agree with the fact that the only thing consistent in life is change...

Coming to the topic, I think when one identifies himself, he never thinks of getting another identity. Every one of us is unique in this world and carries a particular mission to accomplish.
And it's when we identify ourselves and get a so called 'identity' which will be remembered among so many identities, when that particular mission is accomplished. Getting fame and being discussed is a different thing.
Sriraj Gokarakonda
Roya, salaam -

Personal identity, regional identity, cultural identity - what?

Please define your terms: I can tell you only one thing - identity is transient - in that each person will die eventually, and therefore is of little value. It is only what we leave which may (emphasize, MAY) define "us" - knowing that history is always re-written by victorious survivors and - opppositely (to the eternal) - what we do in the moment: whether we are humane, compassionate and caring individuals. Not to forget, also tolerant to whatever degree possible.

True, for some "personal identity" may be the only thing of importance - if only we could know what Allah might prefer...

I think spiritual and cultural identity are extremely important in everyone's life: whether their intent is to feel 'a part' of that, or 'apart from that' - even to their own family, their own cultural heritage.

The world may be modern and 'technology advanced,' but we, each of us ourselves are in actuality quite ancient - let us preserve the positive, knowing that all of us need reassurance of humane values, visually, architecturally and in many ways within our arts and our living. Not always easy to do!

ma salemah!
Anthony Stewart
Wisdom... only to some who seek and question the truth. Identity is a man- made persona which responds to certain particulars of time, e.g. economic, social, technological, etc. Identity changes with time, as a human has to progress to a way, ancient identity might perish, but the basic fundamental of a human with another human and gradually building into a society is the same. Identity is built after these fundamental aspects are achieved - then gradually, identity becomes more complex and begins to include aspects of class/caste. The identity of the so called high castes and lower castes is defined. Are these identities important to us? Of course they are. They allow us to survive in this world...

1. Define the meaning of identity.
2. Define the degree of classifications of identity - basic to unnessesary
3. Which properties of identity are constant and which are interchangeable.
4. How do we select our identity based on society, family, lifestyle, a system of beliefs, and preferences.

This is open for further discussions.
Maya Sanskrit
Dear Anthony,
First, thank you for your help. I agree with you, but I think regional identity, cultural identity, religious identity, etc, were separate several years ago but now they are mixed together. I think that, if we want to be international & have an international architecture, we have to accept that we shouldn't emphasize our own traditions in architecture, culture, etc.
In our world, everything has a short life, even the most certain theory is contravened sooner than you think, and you can't trust anything for a long time. I mean, we'd better forget something belongs to the past...the people and their identities are changing through time, so we can find a new identity that belongs to us now.
Roya Faghani Nia
Roya, salaam -

It is possible to become overloaded by stimuli in our modern world: When new things that we perceive override our own sense of identity and values, conflicts may result.

Certainly, I think any rational person longs for a world in which diversity of manner, art and disposition is joyful, not oppressive. In the beginning, 'international styles' were most probably intended to set a foundation for such a world. The problem arises, however, when one style or another, reflective of one philosophy or another, becomes dominant on the global stage, drowning out other voices who also have something beautiful to offer, also have hopes and aspirations for the present and the future.

It is not to 'discard' traditions of beauty in favor of a singular 'international' style - but to realize that all our planetary traditions are capable of incorporating new esthetic values along with technology.

Not one, or the other - the truth will transcend both in every instance.

You argue that everything has a short life in this new world: I would argue that this world is very old - but that the reality we live in is more than both dimensions, that architecture is our human language of balance. More than the past, more than the future, more than mere utility, more than sublime art.

By this art, we will earn our 'identities,' this understanding that, in my opinion defines ourselves as truly global people. I thank you for the opportunity to articulate my feelings on the matter.

ma salemah!
Anthony Stewart

Identity is the collective aspect of the set of characteristics by which a thing is definitively recognizable or known.

However, personality is different.

We all have three personalities:

1- How others see us.
2- How we see ourselves.
3- What we actuality want to be.

In any case, both change where circumstances apply.

Walid Yousif

Identity gives meaning to life. Think about the reverse. If no one and no where and no time had any identity, then there would be no difference and no reason to create difference. A bit like the movie "Groundhog Day," but without any change at all.

Also, with no identity, with no way of recognising one person from another, because everyone is identical, people would not be aware of themselves as individuals. In fact, people would be like a colony of ants or mindless robots.
Frank John Snelling
It seems like we need to narrow the scope of which aspect of identity we are talking about: one individual or one society; one race or one universe...

We need a focus.
Maya Sanskrit
Maya Sanskrit, salaam.

Before moving on, a perspective on architecture:

Buildings are to societies what bodies are to people.

In appreciating identity, I start with a premise based fractal theory applied to human development. It is never necessary to prove each and every case, only to recognize congruencies which occur from time to time:

At the smallest, most contained point, individuals reflect their society - this determines a great deal about their identity both real and perceived.

As individuals form groups - growing into larger and larger units until societies are formed - there are observable congruencies between basic neuro-biological systems and the seemingly 'manufactured' social constructs.

We may look at human society, with its vast spectrum of architecture, philosophy and value systems and see congruencies at every level between what seem very natural phenomena (particularly within neurochemical functions) and political, cultural, social functions on all levels: From the weekend garden club to the high level energy ministry and department of Defense.

Cultural identity is essential to stable societies. It is like knowing where your home is and who you parents are. It also is tied up with spiritual values, different from culture to culture but equally part of our human make-up. Even those who reject 'belief in God' are still caught because they must reference everything they do with respect to their disbelief.

Because I choose to interpret from a mathematical model, based on fractal equations and quantum physics - I am compelled to agree that 'identity' is just as important on a political, cultural level as on the personal, private level. I belief 'identity' is in actuality a 'function' in an algebraic sense.

Therefore, at the level of larger groups, tribes, villages, cities, megalopoli - architecture affects the identity of the culture in the same manner as identity will affect an individual. Is this making sense?

ma salemah!
Anthony Stewart


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