The Failures of Identity and Personality

Analogously, this period is like the time when Kinsey recorded the sexual behaviors of the population. The first people to be exposed were thought to be perverts — and then slowly everyone realized that everyone was a pervert, those shouting down others at the top of the pile. We will realize as privacy further erodes that none of us are perfect, and we will lament that we lashed out so harshly at some simply because they were the first to be found.So what can be done? How do we turn back from our descent into the politics of identity and aim toward a politics of ideas and actions? How do we turn our back on the culture of personality and aim toward a culture of character?

The answer can’t be policed. It won’t be forced on you. The answer needs to come from within yourself.Each and every person in this country has a choice — do I trust this person based who he or she is or what he or she says and does? Do I decide to hire this person because I like them in one interview, or should I hire people on for a trial period and see how they actually perform? Do I reject this date because he or she doesn’t fit what I’ve created in my mind to be the person I’m seeking, or should I learn who they actually are?

We’ve gotten ourselves into a situation where we hire/vote for/reject/associate with images — not people themselves. The things we judge may not be real, but the people they affect are — including ourselves. It’s time for the culture to change. Not for it to be changed, by some company or some media blitz or some hashtag campaign. For it to change. For us to change. For us to try to see whole people — to try to close all this distance that’s been growing, even as technology forcibly connects us to people we’ll never actually meet or know.

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