Personal identity and human society

Zsolt Hermann
2 min readAug 23, 2022

Question from the Internet:

“How can you relate your identity to society and culture?”

As we are learning today, we exist in a fully integrated and interdependent human society. We also know that we are the product of the environment — whether we agree or not — since what we do and covet, how we dress, speak and behave, and what values and goals we follow all come from the society we live in.

And if we decide to “go against the flow”, we are still influenced by society, except we relate to it in a negative manner.

Culture is just an actual, external expression and summary of the habits, values and aspirations of a given society.

So our personal identity is mostly defined by society, while our genetic inheritance, upbringing and education (which is also mostly in the hands of society) might give this identity some “personal flavour or colour”.

At this stage, this identity is false and flawed since the society that creates and influences us is also false and flawed since everything we want and do is based on our inherently selfish, egotistic, subjective and exploitative nature.

If we want to find out who we truly are, we would need to build a different, Nature-like, finely balanced and mutually integrated society. In this “perfect” and Nature-like society, each person would change their inherently self-serving and self-justifying intentions to intentions “for the sake of others”.

If we all start acting like healthy cells of the same living organism and we all find our most optimal, mutually responsible and mutually complementing contribution to the whole system while also receiving everything we need and deserve in order to maintain that crucially important mutual contribution, then we will find out who we really are, and we are truly worth to the whole collective.

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Zsolt Hermann

I am a Hungarian-born Orthopedic surgeon presently living in New Zealand, with a profound interest in how mutually integrated living systems work.