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22. Identity and Resolution of Conflict

No Internal Divisions

The last three articles of the Series conclude that:

  1. The porosity of tribal boundaries thwarts the strict applicability of the term “identity” to any ethnic group (article #19);
  1. There is a disassociation between underlying genetic structures and racial phenotypes (article #20); and
  1. Only one human culture exists. The varieties of cultural expressions found within the human species are appendages or outgrowths of that one culture (article #21).
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Concepts of “identity” influence discord or empathy in society

As a result of these deductions, we must question the majority of diagnostic or “judgemental” tools we use to categorise ourselves. If our outward systems of classification are suspect then it is imperative to disband them in favour of the one method that provides the most fundamental understanding of who we are: human genetics (article #16).

Article #19 of the Series states: The inherent “sameness” that defines the human species (ability to interbreed) is and was identical for every sub-set that can possibly be devised. In other words, every sub-set is permeable to the “other” through interbreeding. The unity within the human family, based on its common origins and ability to intermix, resists any notion of fundamental internal divisions. There are none.

One Happy Family?

So: we are one family. We can surly all live happily together.

Unfortunately, although our so-called ethnic, racial and cultural characteristics provide richness and diversity to human existence, they are often used to create enormous rifts, resulting in deep strife and hatred. With regards to intercultural and other relationships, it is clearly more difficult to accept any notions of underlying unity where two groups are in conflict. Clearly, human intermixing has not always been harmonious.

In Shelter and Shadows Raymond Keogh expresses this point as follows: The rosy picture of friendly interconnections between peoples rapidly derails where mutual respect is missing. Consider those who are in conflict with each other because of their different sets of cultural characteristics. How can they embrace the notion of accessibility to an opposing culture?

Or consider those who are being unjustly treated because of who they are; how can they adopt the concept of Universal Identity? Is it not totally naïve, therefore, to expect that any kind of unification can ever be achieved between groups that have been starkly divided through the whole of history and pre-history? [1]

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Fig. 1 Difficult to join conflicting parts in one identity

Blueprint of Cultural Conflicts

Raymond applied these questions to his own dilemma where he acknowledges that he could not reconcile the conflict between his opposing cultural inheritances (article #5). There seemed to be no way to break the impasse and join his disparate parts in one harmonious whole (Fig 1). It seemed to be impossible to meld the two conflicting traditions, which resided side by side in his household (article #13). That is, until human genetics came to the rescue.

He states: Our Common or Universal Identity is independent of the emotions we have towards each other. However, the realisation of its reality or existence can help to enlighten the perspectives we have of one another and see ourselves in a fresh light. When I examined the two principal sets of opposing cultural groups—the Gael and Old English—in my own makeup against the universal view, I realised that the clashing traits that drove my quest arose from the residues of conflict between two distinct human cultural appendages derived, essentially, from the same foundation.

This oft-repeated story, reproduced around our planet, is the blueprint of most modern cultural conflicts. The British had advanced faster in technological terms and took advantage of the developmental phase of the Gaelic tribes, which was at an earlier point along the social evolutionary trajectory. The two groups emerged from different territorial niches that were closer to or more remote from the sources of new technological developments. Those who happened to be closest to the springs of new knowledge advanced more rapidly than those who were more remote and their newfound knowhow gave them, for a time, the upper hand over those who were disadvantaged.[1]

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Fig. 2 Key to universal identity is our underlying genome

Key to Unity

The key to mental unity is to delve to a more fundamental plane of enlightenment or deeper level of kinship where the essence of underlying human communality reconnects our separate parts (Fig 2).

Raymond adds: At this point, and for the first time in my life, my sense of identity becomes whole. I now see the barriers that we have erected between us in the terms we use like Irish, English and British, as flags of convenience. These expressions cannot sustain the weight of meanings assigned to them. Their collective or traditional meaning, where this implies total separation and uniqueness, is bogus and obsolete.[1]

[1] Keogh, R. M. Shelter and Shadows. An Awakening to Our Common Identity. Our Own Identity here.

Coming Next

A Storm to Trump Identity Politics here