In the previous post we wrote briefly about identification: “A state of Identification could be described in simple terms as the act of being the same with the object we are observing till merging ourselves with him, forgetting ourselves and considering ourselves as the object itself. A loss of identity that, in the most extreme cases, could result a clinical problem: a total loss of the perception of reality.”
I’m sure that many of those who read this post asked many times themselves about the concept of Identification. What is Identification? Why it exists? It’s a sort of God’s punishment?
Nothing of all that. It’s time to deepen a little bit this argument.
So, reading the above citation, we could say briefly that Identification means becoming the same of something else. If “identity” is commonly used to describe the “nature” of a person, then “identification” means to assume a new “identity”. It’s a human attitude present in all of us, who is deep related with the fragmentation of personality. It’s the habit to assume a false identity who prevents us to mantain the consciousness of what we are and to see the world in a more objective way. Most probably, even in this moment, while reading this post, you are identified with what you are reading.
But, before entering deeper in this argument, we must be sure we understand clearly what we are speaking about.
First example- an actor: if he is good in his job, he’ll be able to assume a rule trough a process of identification taking the necessary emotional states, attitudes and behaviours of the character he has to perform. The actor tries to identify himself with the needs, thoughts, ideals, fears of the character. In this way, he takes temporarily a new “identity” becoming the character itself.
In this case, the process of identification is voluntary, and it doesn’t make any damage; in the opposite, a conscious recitation permits a study of ourselves and a better control of our functions.
Second example- a child: when he looks a cartoon and his immagination is captured by one of the characters, he trasforms himself in the same character. But he plays. He dresses a personality and lives the emotions and thoughts of his “idol” as best as he can. Neither this kind of identification is dangerous; indeed, this “role playng” is part of the childs development: learning trough playing.
But, there’s another kind of identification we must take in consideration, and this is the argument of this topic: the adult’s identification. Such behaviour expresses herself trough the emotional participation to ideas, situations and characters who are accepted as a new “identity”. This is a common form of identification, and it’s totally unconscious. An adult does not play, and it’s totally unaware of the process. Identity changes automatically, under the influence of external situations who captures him emotionally, gratifying or horrifying him. This is not only an unconscious behaviour, but even taken very seriously by who is identified. Someone identified in a thought,emotion, political or religious idea, social role is so tremendously convinced about is this reality, and he is ready to defend it with all the necessary efforts. Until he’ll been caught from another identification. A person becomes convinced of something she was ignoring till few days ago. Because of the fragmented personality, the subject is convinced of being always the same every time he changes identity. Such identifications prevent any possibility of self observation because they drain almost all daily energies.
They are really dangerous because they happen automatically, depending from our momentary needs and bring us far from reality.
In such situation, captured by our convictions, we can’t perceive the reality as it is. Indeed, we create a image of reality in according to our subjective needs. And identification is exactly this: a creation of an illusory world, with all what is needed to make feel us temporary good- and we dress this image, acquiring al its qualities.
In the first period of his life, a child is not so much under the influence of identifications. He observes everything trough his physical senses- touching, tasting, smelling- and leave immediately the object of observation to focus to something new.
Once the emotional field is developed, the child begins to experience the environment trough the process of identification; he tries to acquire all the characteristics who could garant him attention, love, protection, fundamental skills who form the basics for survive in the material world. In this period of life, identification is an innate process trough which he learn the basics to survive. To learn something, he has no other means than transform himself in what he learn.
For example, it’s not rare to see a child imitating partents behaviours, speech, gestures. The development of such identifications are what will be in the future perceived as an “identity”.
Because our culture doesn’t have any effective knowing concerning the human psyche and his relation with the physical body and the environment, nobody will teach the child to distinguish the produced identifications, previously useful to learn the laws of the world where he’s born, and his unborn (natural) abilities and tendencies. So, the child becomes an adult totally convinced that the identification is the only mean to develop.
We can divide identification in two main groups with their own ramifiocatons. The first groups related with the identifications coming from the external environment, who totally depends from the others approval. A social status is one of these identifications. The second group is composed by identifications produced by our immagination; we litterally build an image of ourselves, a situation to evitate to face the reality, and then we are absorbed by the same image we built. Generally, such kind of identifications lasts for a short time and are suddendly repleaced by another one; somethimes they lasts for long time, and this depends from the number of “I’s” (vearious parts of the fragmented personality) who support such conviction- identification.