'Identity is in its lineage, for it can give itself in a gesture that relates the same to itself: “I am I” does not produce such a relation. At most is the relation of logical identity: “I = I.” What is immediately troubling in this equality is that equality states that all the “I” are identically “I.” “I” cannot be posited like an x identical to x, because the “I,” the very word itself, has already engaged the process of its identification. It will speak―or do something―that will be its identity. (This is already done the first time the child says “I,” or when he or she designates himself or herself by name.) However, in order to do this, he or she must return in himself or herself to a point prior [en mont] to himself or herself: to a point where, for instance, prior to any speech, he or she was already disposed to speak. But this is still too general: It is a return, a Platonic anamnesis that would not only be a return to the true Forms (or “Ideas”) but rather to the singular and proper form of this “I.” And this form is deposited nowhere, it is not given, it is not given to him or her: He or she gives himself ot herself to it, or gives it to himself or herself, which amounts to the same, and he or she does so by identifying himself or herself.'

Jean-Luc Nancy, Identity: Fragments, Frankness, translated by François Raffoul, publisher: Fordham University Press

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