We decided to add a “navigation bar” (image below) to make the Series EASIER TO FOLLOW.
We are reminded, however, that exploration of “Identity” does not lend itself to easy solutions.
The Series is framed round Shelter and Shadows (book link here) which describes the lifetime quest of one individual to resolve his cultural dilemma and discover his true identity. The prime focus, therefore, is on the individual—but the narrative moves swiftly to grapple with the meaning of identity at other levels too.
The discussion weaves along the following trajectory: (the individual) > (parents-family) > (society-culture-nation) > (geographical [DNA] links) > (human origins). Any individual can follow his/her links into and along this gradient. We are all “… part of the living rim of a species that traces its origins, through the dead spokes of its ancestors, to a common hub” (Shelter & Shadows).
The Power of Contradiction
The key to understanding the Series’ entire course of exploration is–paradoxically–CULTURAL INCOMPATIBILITY. Incongruity gives the whole process impetus. It generates the questions. It animates the quest. It prompts the deconstruction of falsehood. It—eventually—proposes a solution to one of the most stubborn dilemmas facing humanity: What is “identity” at the personal and communal levels?
Cultural incompatibility within the family (as per example in Shelter & Shadows) forces the narrative to be expressed as two conflicting lines (Gaelic and Old English) running parallel to each other (top image), rather than one harmonious process. The ESSENCE of the entire struggle of the Series is to try and resolve the dilemma of—apparent—split identities and, out of this, re-create a unitary line. The final solution is surprisingly simple but has extraordinary consequences for us all.
The purple arrow marks—in rough terms—where the discussion is at. This will change as new Articles and Links are added.
In the top image is the (female) > ([Old]-English) > (fleur de lis) line. An early solution to the dilemma of cultural incompatibility in Shelter and Shadows was simply: IGNORE IT!
In facing a similar dilemma, the young Irish State went one step further: it latched onto the convenient 18th century catch-phrase which indicated that the descendants of English colonisers became … more Irish than the Irish themselves (Article #4 here).
Old English castle
But, as we see from article #4, many characteristics separated the Gaelic Irish from the Old English. This leads to the conclusion that: in any new quest to re-define the concept of “identity”, it is prudent to be skeptical of easy solutions.
How Things Fit Together
An interpretation of how the Articles fit in with each other, up to this point, is provided in the NEXT POST (below).