Anonymity

So, if you’re wondering why I keep my identity anonymous, you might be disappointed to know it’s not for any big secretive reason. I’m not some super famous person (yet), nor am I using this condition as a big ego-trip. Frankly, I think exposing my ethnicity and background would only serve to color people’s perceptions of my musings here. I mean, sure I’ve dropped some hints (you know I’m a dude, right?) but anything more would probably alienate some people. Not that I care what other people think of me, but at least this way opinions are almost exclusively based on my writing.

For the same reason I don’t wax politically here (at least not too blatantly), I don’t like to wear my agenda on my sleeve. You could figure out who I am, but what would that prove? Too many people write with agendas or slants or self-interest in mind. Not that I don’t, but I find anonymity is a nice way of leaving it behind temporarily. It allows this blog to exist apart from me. I don’t tell my real life friends about this blog nor point them toward it. For that I have other ones I write on, which are more closely linked to what I do in my day to day life.

Anonymity is a unique gift of the internet. And it is disappearing rapidly. It exists now under only a thin veil, one which can be seen through if a person cares enough to do so. Every time I post a comment on another blog, the blog-owner can find out where I am from and who my internet provider is. Furthermore, the provider knows what network my address is on and to whom it is registered. Of course, I am drawing attention to myself by not agreeing to provide adequate identification on this blog, are I not? It may seem like a draw or catch to pull people in, but it isn’t. I am quite happy if anyone finds this work to be of value. But what I value is a potential of anonymity itself. For does anonymity not also represent that phase of infinite potential from which all definitions and identities arise?

Furthermore, the recent protests against Scientology by an internet group of nerds, punks, hackers and so forth, calling themselves only by “anonymous”, has proven the necessity of non-identification in a society where more and more people fear the consequences of open dissent against unjust institutions. Whether or not this is the renegade group’s intention, to raise the ethical question of identity in a society afraid to combat its own shadows, the case has been opened. Too much of society is falling under the control and mandate of a higher institution. The only thing that protects people from unjust law is the ability to make mass decisions as a group. Outliers and independent thinkers bring attention and calamity upon themselves. In other words, the only anonymity is in fitting in.

In older times, identification was not easy. Indeed, passports were not necessary to travel abroad until after World War I. There were not as many people in the world, and yet people were not easily identified. The only people easily identifiable by appearance would be the noblemen and aristocrats financially worthy of a portrait or photograph. Even these images were in limited circulation.

The role of identity in the modern world is a static and drab one. Modern market-driven society aggressively seeks to define us and demands us to define ourselves in relation to it — largely through the products and goals it has predetermined for us to entertain. We have been fooled into thinking our identity or uniqueness is our ability to consume products we “choose”, that our tastes have any real substance, that Myspace or Facebook are anything more than a precursor of online monitoring or electric eyes. The government does not need to ostracize and label outlying citizens as heretics, for often society will do it voluntarily. Within the younger demographics of today’s modern society, it is a lack of presence on such online social networks that is strange, and which raises questions.

The world and its power structures are always trying to define each of us, to identify and categorize us — as an investment or a threat. Fortunately, the true fabric of identity comes from the imagination and the mind. Thus an adept can change their identity as they see fit. External appearances are necessary, but manipulations of appearance are easy and only a shallower layer of illusion (although some of the most shallow things are the most broad, a haha!). Identity may be the cause of suffering, but that gives no one else the right to impose identity upon us.

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