Identity and Community

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Identity and Community

The first human social organization was the tribe which encompassed both identity and community.  But as society scaled up to be too big for a community, identity and community separated.  In the modern world we have many identities and belong to many communities.  One can be Christian and belong to a church.  One can be American and belong to a town.  One can be a republican and belong to some local republican organization.  What is worth nothing is that almost all communities exist within the context of a broad identity and that members of those communities will identify themselves by the broad identity, not by the local community.  This is especially clear in religions where there are well defined sects as subsets of the broad identity, but members still identify with the broad identity.  A member of a Mennonite church will call themselves Christian, not Anabaptist or Mennonite.  Same with all religious sects.

Why is this important?  Because my old plan won't work because it isn't associated with any identity.  The Antony approach only worked because it was done in the context of Christianity.  Without an identity context, nothing works.  This makes sense because it is the shared identity that motivates people to cooperate.

My long struggle to organize some force for good in this godforsaken world has gone through several stages. First I tried to organize a community around the Old Testament (Mikraite).  That was a complete failure.  Then I gave up on community and came up with the plan I just mentioned.  I was right to give up on community but wrong not to think through identity.  Any successful group with a shared identity will eventually evolve into a community, there is no reason to force the issue.

There is an immediate practical application of this concept.  If one wants to move to a better place for organizing some force for good, then having a defined identity in mind can help one select the right place.  The right place would be wherever one thinks one would have the best chance of getting people to accept the identity.  This would be based both on what populations are in that place and what activities are allowed which would serve the identity (like religious service, schools, etc.).

An identity needs a label (a name) and needs a reasonably clear idea of who is a member.  The difficulty of obtaining membership varies a lot.  Becoming a doctor or a Jew (outside of birthright) is hard.  Becoming a Christian or a republican is easy.  The difficulty of obtaining membership should depend on the purpose of the identity.

I don't have a label in mind for an identity, but I do have a clear idea of the characteristics that I want associated with the identity.  These are:

1.  Conservative
2.  Intelligent
3.  Active (not passive)

The word "conservative" comes close, but this is typically considered political which isn't my meaning at all.  I mean conservative in terms of values.  But conservative isn't enough.  Being intelligent and active should be part of the identity.

This kind of identity is a social identity, not a religious identity or political identity.  Think "hippy" or "freemason".  By not being religious, this identity can coexist with different religions.  By not being political, it doesn't threaten political authority.

The best place to look for people to accept such an identity is in conservative religions.  One of the major activities of members would be educating children to be conservative, intelligent, and active.

Obtaining membership should be moderate, not too easy and not too hard.  To qualify, people should be reasonably conservative, not too stupid, and not too passive.  I actually have a simple 2-part test for membership in mind, but I will hold off describing this for now.

There are a number of things that inspired this post.  One is genetic concerns.  An identity that doesn't select for good genes will suffer from the general genetic decay of humanity.  Christianity is a clear example of this.  The other main issue is thinking about where to move, as I explained in this post.