Identity is a crisis of the affluent. A peasant or slave most likely never worries about “who am I really?” But given time to think and a certain number of choices, a person worries about self-importance and being unique.

Mostly, in industrial society, folks do not want to be “just another brick in the wall.” Of course, for ourselves an inner perception of sanity requires me to be the most important element of my universe. But how do I translate that to being important in others perceptions _ at least as I perceive their perceptions?

Multiple answers. Brute force, social influence, wealth, moral probity. But the thing is _ none of them count for much unless others notice them.

Thus we arrive at the crux of the problems with the virtual age. In person, there is proof of identity required _ the wealth or force or beauty must be demonstrated. But in the virtual amorphousness, all that counts is how loud you shout. Not what you say or do or can actually demonstrate. 

Virtual mobs shout a lot. Virtual leaders shout loudest of all. And it does not matter what they are shouting about. Nor does it much matter when they inevitably quiet down and are replaced by the next ephemeral foghorn.

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