08 March 2008

Identity Pt. 2

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I somewhat left my series on finding identity aside for a while. On this post I want to talk about another aspect of identity, personal identity. As you may know, or recall from your school years, any number multiplied by 1 remains the same. For example, four times one is still four, ten thousand times one is ten thousand. In linear algebra, the matrices that have this property are called identity matrices. A matrix is nothing more than a set of values (numbers, whatever) set in rows and columns. Now, not all matrices can be "multiplied" by the identity matrix, you have to be a special matrix and to conform (the actual technical term) with the identity matrix in order to be "multipliable" (my term). For me, everything is a metaphor of something else, and when I learned this properties of matrices a million ideas came to my mind. The most striking one was that because there is no such thing as division among matrices, in order to get to the identity matrix you have to multiplied by a very special matrix which is your "inverse". No, it is not yourself, is your "inverse" you need to result in the identity matrix.

What a trip, isn't it? Who, or what, or where is this inverse matrix? Why is so important to become one or to become "identity". What is the relationship between conformity and identity? Conform is quite the verb... is tossed around in an Orwellian manner almost as a joke sometimes. Or is rejected as loosing part of one's identity. But to conform might be just to have some common characteristic with the other. You don't have to be identical, you just need some shared interest, or background, or point of view. I am starting to believe that without conformity there cannot be a relationship. And without conformity there would be chaos. Moreover, human beings are designed to conform. And you need to conform to find identity.

I keep transforming myself, rearranging the different aspects that make me unique, trying to fit, first within my own skin, then with my environment. I am after all one of the most difficult persons I know. It is impossible to please me. And thus I seek to please others. I don't know the other, what I know about the other is quite limited, particularly compared with what I know about myself. And there is a very high probability that whatever I know about you will match, at least in a minimal way, one of the aspects of my self. Let's take music, for example.

I grew up listening to music in English and in Spanish, with some French tossed for flavour. There was also instrumental music which I learned (to listen, never to play properly) in school. In family gatherings and parties there was sometimes a live conjunto, a musical band, which sometimes had a marimba, and sometimes it was only a marimba. I used to hear hard rock and new age, but I did dance to tropical music (merengue and salsa in the beginning, but eventually also reggae) and to "dance" music. When grunge came I was all over it. My first CD I ever bought was from Enya, the Celtic New Age singer, but the first CD that I put on my mom's brand new CD player was from Juan Luis Guerra. I fell in love with Nueva Trova in university as many university students do, but that is a love I have kept throughout the years. I have discovered French pop from Quebec, and I have heard so many different rhythms from around the world I can move my feet (because I am a lousy dancer) or bop my head to. In regards to instrumental music I don't like what is properly called "classic", preferring the slightly older (everything is relative) baroque and more recent impressionism. Recently I have had a reggaeton phase and right now I am going through a "nueva cumbia" phase. There is something to be said for CanCon regulations which have promoted Canadian songwriters, which have me in awe for their lyrics and their compositions. Yep, I have an eclectic taste indeed.

All of this just to say how easy is for me to "conform"... to take any of these or the many many more threads that make me who I am and match one of yours. And I will keep transforming myself, trying to find that inverse matrix that eventually will be multiplied by me and will result in identity.

Don't even get me started with angles...


AntiguaDailyPhoto.Com said...

Mano, don't listen to Reggatón... it's been proven that it causes brain cancer and other such deformities and abnormalities. Think of the whole egg and egg frying in the pan analogy.


AntiguaDailyPhoto.Com said...

it should read ... and the egg on the fryin pan...

Manolo said...

Rudy You are such an old geezer. I don't know that analogy in any case... ah... and lately I've been getting into something called Nueva Cumbia that I discovered through two of my favourite blogs:

La Onda Tropical