Our identities are fundamentally made up of semiotic matrices. That is to say, in part, that our identities have meaning; they mean something to us.
Often they mean a great deal to us and from them we derive the semiotics of motivation, intention, life-plans, many of our central interests, and so on.
Identities have strong emotional components, to be sure, but our emotions are ambiguous or diffuse if they are not positioned on a semiotic matrix and focused or defined by that matrix.
Identity is usually tautological in that its components, interests, and associations tend always to lead back to a few central elements. Often these elements have been inculcated in us by training. Some, we learn on our own. These elements are our values and beliefs, and also how these values and beliefs are understood and pursued.
The semiotics of identity must mean something to the person identifying with them. In this sense, they are almost always tautological. I do what I do because that is how I learned how to do it, think it, feel it, perceive it.
Most people are more adept at moving the parts of language around than they are at moving semiotic elements around. For many, semiotics are either an unknown, unconscious level of being or abstractions that belongs in scholarly journals.
To think like that is a big mistake. Semiotics are very real and they affect us constantly on many levels.
When semiotics are unconscious, they act like a vortex pulling perception, emotion, and understanding always toward the center of the identity. I think this is another way to say, in the Buddhist sense, that the self is empty; that it has no “own being.”
We can pursue an understanding of an empty self through Buddhist thought and practice, but I believe we will get better results more quickly if we add a practice that deals directly with the semiotics of our identities.
Since there is no book you can go to to look up how your unique semiotics of identity works, you have to see for yourself how it works. You can do much of this on your own, but eventually you will need a partner because there is no way you will be able to get an objective perspective on yourself acting alone.
FIML practice is the only way I know of to fully see into and through the semiotics of your “identity.” Beneath identity there is a sort of artesian well of pure, undefined consciousness. FIML helps us experience that well while keeping us from rushing back into the tautological matrix of identity, or static self-definition.
FIML is able to do this because FIML is process. FIML itself has no definition, only a procedure. It is not a tautology because it has no semiotic boundaries.