Identity, identity, identity!

Warren Kinston 4. February 2012 16:59

identity - who am I?

I am who I am.  But who am I?  And the same applies to everyone.  Identity means being the same.  But social life is about everyone being different.  We do grow, but in many ways we stay the same as we grow.  That is why we feel we can be ourselves and are stressed if a situation seems to make that unsafe.

THEE has a particular take on identity.  It could be viewed as an identity-specifying taxonomy. Overall, it is about our identity as human beings.  But in every part of it, we find that there are sharply different ways of being human. Inquiring, prospering, deciding, communicating—all these everyday activities and more have an identity stamp.

As a result, we want to do something  in one particular way.  We may not even notice that.  But others notice. Anyway, if we try to be other than we are in response to social pressure (which is so common, isn’t it?), then things feel wrong and go wrong.

These musings have been sparked by reading young bloggers from the Bay area of San Francisco, and elsewhere in the US.  This rather clever group are obsessed by the digital revolution and are talking about how wonderful it is to be an entrepreneur and develop wonderful things for mankind.

If anything marks out these youngsters is that they are preoccupied with being self-aware and have an idealistic and communitarian streak.  They are self-conscious about being creative.  Good for them.  A lot to admire there. 

However, these interests distract from the name of the game: making money by being aware of actual or potential markets.  Everything they write makes it clear they are not primarily market-centred—they are advocates for entrepreneurialism, not entrepreneurs.

The essence of entrepreneurialism is an extreme of market-centredness . This extreme is characterized by a low concern for self-awareness—not an inability or unwillingness to be self-aware, but rather a low focus on it as being critical to commercial success.  And idealism, of course, is liable to be a near-death experience for business: being hard-headed will never go out of fashion.

It was nice to read a successful AGI researcher Ben Goertzel acknowledge as much.  He notes (p.151) that when he was creating his failed enterprise (WebMind Inc) in the 1990s, he said he was in it for the money as much as the research.  Now he knows he was not nearly so interested in the money: his real interest was AGI.  Why not?  

But one look at THEE’s Interacting-for-Benefit framework and that could have been blindingly obvious, both to him and his investors.

I suppose I’m just showing my age—I probably deluded myself at that age, just like Ben and the young Millennials.



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Warren Kinston is the creator of the THEE-Online website as an open forum for the further discovery and development of THEE. He writes this blog as an escape valve for the excitement and frustrations of the work. More info here.

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