Intent and the future of identity

Title: Intent and the future of identity
Author: Philip Boxer
Category: Published
Publication Year: 1994
Where Published: In Richard Boot, Jean Lawrence and John Morris (eds) “Creating New Futures: A Manager’s Guide to the Unknown”, McGraw-Hill


The iconoclast is one who breaks or destroys the images of veneration – images which are used to communicate shared meaning. We need a new word for the times we face today: iconochasm – the lack of any image of veneration through which we might aspire to such ends. How do we approach this iconochasm? And how are our leaders to approach it? Where are the Visions and the Big Ideas to be followed? We seem to be living in a time when privatisation is all the rage – rolling back the state, creating internal markets and making space for free enterprise – in order that we can practice self determination. But although this process of ‘privatisation’ may be a necessary condition, is it a sufficient one? Can we be self-determining? Do we have freedom of opportunity, and do we know what to do with it? Historically we had our institutions which we knew we could depend on. Now we appear not only to have to negotiate our own relation to these institutions; we also appear to have developed a very considerable cynicism as to whether they can be dependable at all. Can our institutions ever be the same again? We are faced with a world in which we are being thrown back on our own resources: the world appears to be no more than what we make of it. If our sense of identity has depended on the roles created for us by institutions, where are we to look if we lose these? This is the question of the future of identity.


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