On Identity: The ‘space for one more’ principle

by | Dec 9, 2020 | Identity


The conversation about identity, especially digital identity, can, at times, have a static, definitive quality to it. This is who the person IS. However, who we are is always evolving, never static. Who am I? is an age old question, which takes a lifetime to work out. Octavia E. Butler wrote:

All that you touch
You Change.

All that you Change
Changes you.

We tend to forget the second sentence in our identity conversations. Identification documents are snapshots in time or about a part of our lives or from a particular angle. Identification documents are always a part, never a whole.

And perhaps, when we work with identification documents, we need to insist on two principles. First that the document can be changed/updated (most of us already design for this). This is a nod to our evolving nature.

And second, that wherever the document is stored, there is always space for at least one more document beside it. The ‘space for one more’ principle reminds us we don’t have the full picture, and therefore to be humble. But it also creates the expectation that there is more to discover.

Approaching identity of others with a sense of awe, wonder, and discovery might help us raise our heads up and think beyond just the technology.

Our approach is up to us.

Photo by sarandy westfall


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