Is your inner life what makes you, you? Or is your identity about connecting to your community? How can West African philosophy help us think about the self? This week, we’ll be thinking about Akan Philosophy, specifically its conception of personhood.
Continuing my series of puzzles to distract you from the current crisis, this month I'm asking: What is an identity? I mean the kind of identity that makes you a member of a certain social group (call these collective identities, social identities, or group identities), though that’s a rough characterization.
How many times have you heard people advise others to let go of the past? Once you see that these painful, traumatic experiences are over and done, you supposedly achieve “closure” and can “get on with your life.” But trying to let go of past experiences is not really something you can achieve.
Is there such a thing as a self, something that makes you who you are? Or is the self just a convenient fiction? Would the world be a better place if we all stopped believing in selves? These are some of the questions we're asking in this week's show.
Imagination is one way we can get outside our own skin and get a sense of other people’s lives. But when we take imaginative travels, must we always imagine ourselves being part of these other worlds—or can we simply imagine these worlds without including ourselves in them?