Both right-wing and left-wing identity politics involve maintaining identities by psychological projection. Both compel people to comply with limiting and often pathological ideas, expressed as strong certainties about the nature of the world and who they are in it.
Conservatives draw their boundaries of identities along nationalist lines, whereas liberals often mistakenly maintain that historical scores can be settled by attributing fixed identities to groups of people who have been the unfortunate victims of historical oppression. Their historical “oppressors”* are also compelled to wear an eternal and fixed identity as evil-doers.
The principles of intellectual shamanism run counter to this contemporary ideology that rules the world. Intellectual shamanism urges that a robust sense of identity is only possible when one does not to attach any meaning or value to claims about whom one is essentially.
Intellectual shamanism considers “identity” to spring from anything or everything in the natural world. It is so subject to change in exactly the same way natural environments change over time. Therefore, there can never be a nature or an essence that can eternally define one’s identity. Rather, one was born to move naturally within an open field of experience.
Positioned in a hostile relationship to shamanistic notions of freedom are those who use guilt and shame to manipulate others. They use identity politics to shift their disgust with themselves onto those whom they believe to be less worthy — often onto they believe to be moral inferiors for not playing their game.
Everyone must pay a price for the short-term psychological benefits identity politicians gain by making others pay for their inadequacies.
Making matters worse, historical injustices are not even redressed, as promised, by these weird machinations.
* Sometimes the apparent evil-doers are not at all oppressors, but people who happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time
My memoir was written as a tacit critique of identity politics, suggesting that life is far more complicated than having to do with easily identifiable identities.