An Inversion of Useful Selves

Whoever you think you are, you are probably (also) actually something quite other than that internal self-representation you hold so close. This realisation can be quite disconcerting, but also foundationally cathartic. Contrary to popular narrative mythologies of self, we can actually be very many things, simultaneously, not necessarily all of which need be (self-)identified, measured, normalised or institutionally known.

Any requirement or expectation of singular (or overarching) identity or purpose is perhaps more a product of a certain kind of rationality and its related production of socially and institutionally useful and functional selves. Economic and ideological systems reflexively generate and justify themselves through the implicit or assumed validation of those entities and identities they themselves produce. A psychological drive is cultivated as, and towards, self-identification on a contingent but pre-existent menu of choices. This logic of choice and taxonomy drives the production and economic utility of cultural identity, in some ways, but is always open and dynamic through the perennial possibility (and probability) of identity choice/list-element recombination and novelty.

A possibility for reconfiguration and growth is what stops the overall systems of production from collapsing under the burgeoning weight of their own (often stagnating) assumptions and endlessly recycled narratives and mythologies.

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