December 31, 2003 14:12 | Bits / Culture / Technology / WebBlogging / WebBlogging


We have relationships with every person we meet/know.
We have relationship networks which connect all these people to us and to each other.
We manage relationships by being nodes and establishing identities (identity facets).

So if we think of ourseleves as a node in a network... Liken the node to an atom. The atom has neutrons and protons... The node has facets...

We can be multinodes in multiple neworks, each node with multiple facets.

Interesting idea came up tonight in conversation with a friend. Do networks have a tendency to draw unto themselves? Sorta like maybe surface tension? Pulling everything to the center? Or how magnetic fields between .. Err... (forgive my lackadasical knowledge of basic physics.. Sheesh!) protons/neutrons.. Or planets... If so, do identity facets have a natural tendency, or "desire", to collapse?

Relinquish the Ego on The Way...

I'm just wondering.. Is there any evidence of this concept in any existing human belief system? The Buddhist "letting go of self and other/multiplicity" for example?

Just thinking out loud... What do you all think?


You just made me wonder where my copy of "The Tao of Physics" is.

There are various ways in which identity is faceted, some of which are so subtle. Do you have a little child in your family? How do you talk to that person? What do you expect that s/he knows? You most likely use different language, metaphors, structures than when talking to me simply because we have different experiences on this planet. Why do you choose to blog in English instead of French? Are there differences between how you interact with people in English/French? Do you make different jokes?

This is not about duplicity or deception... this is about how we understand our identity within a context of which node we are, in which network, connected to whom.

And yes, there's always a desire to "collapse" facets when you can sense that they are limiting what you can see. This is the goal of seeing the backstage of anyone. For example, if i know that you are saying different jokes in French, i want to know what you are saying; i want to bring those two facets together, even though you don't even realize how subtly different they are...

Um... danah? I am not concerned here with deception/duplicity (why am I thinking of Ayn Rand's "The Fountainhead" all of a sudden?) nor the level of conscious awareness of facets... and I must say, having been mildy stung by your comment, that I think I have an abnormally high conscious awareness of "identity perception/expression/management"... I have spent a lifetime consciously managing and toying with people's perceptions of me (and vice versa observing others across environments/mediums), regardless of medium (be it language, behavior, or what have you), until I got bored with it and now just let it be.

I think that since we ALL "do this" (to varrying extents), we all have inate/subconscious awareness of these factors, and as such I am now further wondering if this awareness has manifested itself previously in human expression, be it in art, literature, theology, et al...

And looking to the future, I am also wondering how we can best implement these systems of I/O into the communication technologies that you and I are implicated with... ;)

Now I wish that MT had threading because I want to respond to zephoria instead of the previous post.

I apologize if I misread your comment, but I think you interpreted boris's post to mean that he is writing about collapsing other people's identities so he can see their backstage. When we were discussing this, we were wondering if there is a natural desire to collapse one's own identities - to show one's "backstage" to everyone.

That doesn't sound right ;-)

Are you positing a Grand Unified Theory of relationships?

If so, the analogy (poor as it is) would be for the strong force, weak force, electromagnetism and gravity.

In social networks, there is the strong force that binds friends, lovers, etc. together. The weak force is what pushes them apart. Electromagnetism (EM) is the photon packets sent between people (communication, flirting, humor, fashion?) and gravity...well, maybe that's social influence. The more influence, the more social gravity a person or group imposes on the social fabric, the more people tend to be "in their orbit!" A person who's socially isolated could be seen to be a WIMP - a weakly interacting massive particle - wavering between things, because they don't interact strongly with the rest of the social universe. A complete sociopath might be a "neutrino" - that doesn't interact with people at all.

No AJ, I am not. Actually the analogy was, yes, a poor, last moment, cobbled together image which obviously failed miserably. But thanks for expanding on it. :)