"Problems with Identity" – Chapter from Forgotten Connections

In the final chapter on identity, Mollenhauer embarks on what I believe is a tour-de-force conclusion to his book Forgotten Connections. Building on Sartre and others, Mollenhauer defines identity as our often challenging relationship with ourselves, and illustrates the characteristics of this relationship through a final cultural, historical sequence – this time of self-portraits, creations through which artists have recorded and interpreted themselves, and thus given expression to their varying self-relations over time. Again, this sequence of illustrations does not progress along an upward narrative arc, from confusion to clarity; instead, the sequence shows how the risk involved in engaging with our identity, of working on being other than who we are, has increased, rather than decreased, with time.

A version of the chapter is available here [PDF].

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