The term is used to refer to the distinct and unique personality that an individual has. Every individual has a different personality is this is what determines whom the person is and why one person is different from the other. Though the identity may be influenced by external factors like the environment where an individual lives, it is not possible for two or more persons to share an identity. A shared identity only occurs in rare occasions where individuals are adventitial twins although it does not happen to all the twins.
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This is the uniqueness of individuals that differentiates one person from another. Personal identity has everything to do with the persisting unit that is particular to each individual. The structure of the personal identity always appears to conserve itself from the former description in time after being modified. Mark S., (2003). Personal identity is therefore the characteristics of an individual that result from the personality through which an individual is known or recognized. This identity has its basis on the consciousness rather than the substance of the body or the soul.
How identities are formed
The formation of a personal identity is based on issues to do with how the conditions that make an individual have different personalities at different tines. This involves the following;
The mind and the body
This is the relationship that takes place between an individual’s body and mind. The personality of an individual’s perception is formed when a stimuli results to a change in the state of the mind that leads to a sensation. This is then sent to the body which gives the response that has been sent by the mind. These perceptions form the attitudes, beliefs, perceptions and desires among others all tat are part of the personal identity.
This is what determines on what personality an individual has at a given time. Hence personal identity is dependent on consciousness rather than substance. An individual is the same person depending on the extent to which the individual is conscious of the future or past actions and thoughts just the way that individual is conscious of the present actions and thoughts.
Control in forming and shaping our identities
The control of shaping as well as forming our identities is sometimes incurring control and at other times it is beyond our control. This is because the identity of a person is influenced by both the body and the mind. Mark S., (2003). An individual has authority and control over any stimuli response that comes from the body. However, the part of the mind that is responsible for controlling our identity is the subconscious. An individual does not have control over the subconscious mind. At this point then, it is not possible to control our personality.
How identity provides a link between the personal and the social
The link that an individual has with the social or with other people is dependent on a process of discrimination that is characterized by three main steps. Jonathan L., (2001). These are categorization, the process of identification and finally social comparison. The strength between the social and the individual depends on these three steps.
In this step, the individual puts the self and other people into category or classes. The individual labels the other people on the attributes that are perceived to differentiate one person from the other. Or example, the individual can form categories like Christians, soccer funs, actors among others depending on the person in context.
The individuals only associates with the people that seem to boost the esteem of the individual. This becomes the in-group while the other people form the out-group.
After the process of categorization and identification, the individual then makes a comparison on the various categories and chooses the people to identify with, this is the group that the person belongs to.
Single and multiple identities
Multiple identities occur when a person’s identity dissociates such that one individual has different existences within their identity. The person portrays different perception patterns, life histories, in a way that is different from the normal mode of the world. The single identity is where an individual has a consistency in personality and does not have any dissociates from their identity.
Creation of uncertainty and diversity in our lives
Diversity in our lives results from interaction with different environments within the course of life. Cim, J. & Sosa, E., (1999). The diversity results from the fact that individuals are not static beings and that the interactions they have with other persons can influence their personality to some extent even subconsciously. In the US, there is not likely to be any exceptions the US since the subconscious is the major determinant of an individual’s personality.
Personality is the concept that identifies a person or an individual. Every person has a unique identity that may change between times.
- Cim, J. & Sosa, E., (1999): persons and personal identity, Oxford University Press
- Jonathan L., (2001): The Possibility of Metaphysics: Substance, Identity, and Time. Oxford University Press
- Mark S., (2003): Personal Identity. Ashgate Publishing, Ltd., 2003