The Complex 'I'. The Formation of Identity in Complex Systems
The book is available from Amazon.
CITATION: Cilliers, P & De Villiers, T. 2010. The complex I, Wheeler, W. (ed.), in the political subject: Essays on the self, art, politics and science. Lawrence and Wishart. 226-245.
Chapters in Books
When we deal with complex things, like human subjects or organizations, we deal with identity – that which makes a person or an organization what it is and distinguishes him/her/it from other persons or organizations, a kind of “self”. Our identity determines how we think about and interact with others. It will be argued in this chapter that the self is constituted relationally. Moreover, when we are in the realm of the self, we are always already in the realm of engaging with and mediating differences – the realm of ethics. The position which will be developed argues that approaching identity as a complex system allows us to resist thinking of identity as an easily identifiable and static entity. Identity is always being constituted within a complex and contingent world, where we have to make choices based on contingent values rather than on universal knowledge or the outcome of rational calculations. As a result, we have to keep in mind that our daily practices always already have an ethical component, and our decisions need to be continually evaluated and re-evaluated in the light of our (and others’) varying identities.