In this fascinating and far-ranging work of cultural commentary, political scientist Walter Truett Anderson (Reality Isn't What It Used to Be) surveys the erosion of the modern self. Concepts of a family-rooted identity are swiftly fading in a world of increased mobility, cultural pluralism, and multiple meaning systems.
Anderson presents post-modern psychology's construct of human nature as multiphrenic, protean, decentered, and relational. He looks at how medical science is challenging our ideas about biological identity with plastic surgery, organ transplants, and new reproductive techniques. Then there is the chemical reconstruction of self and cyberspace's role as "a playground for self construction and self-transformation." The globalization of economics and politics has created startling new configurations of work, place, nationality, and class-all influencing the identify of the self.
"We are becoming a multicommunity people, inhabiting multiple and ever-changing life worlds," Anderson asserts. A full-scale assault on the self has brought on skirmishes with those resisting change, including bureaucracies and religions, even starting cultural wars. Anderson heralds the post-identity society as a new chance for ethics (community profusion and morality confusion), openness, and liberation (mystical selflessness). The Future of Self concludes, appropriately, with several alternative fictional scenarios for tomorrow.