Dialogue and Identity
We are expected to form our own opinions, outlooks, stances to things, to a considerable degree through solitary reflection. But this is not how things work with important issues, such as the definition of our identity. We define this always in dialogue with, sometimes in struggle against, the identities our significant others want to recognize in us. And even when we outgrow some of the latter - our parents, for instance - and they disappear from our lives, the conversation with them continues as long as we live.
- Charles Taylor, The Malaise of Modernity
I love this quote. Especially now, in the age of "authenticity."
The author challenges us to redefine our narrow, narcissistic vision of authenticity, understanding that identity is not created in a vacuum - but rather is molded and shaped by the forces of our self in relationship with others.
There is no true self devoid of others. No internal conversation free from the external pedagogy.
In the same way, businesses cannot impose an identity through one solitary voice, but rather should nurture identity through the encouragement of diverse and independent conversations.