There’s an overcorrection, common in the ‘sphere, that identity politics obviates ideas. This is only a partial truth. When we talk about “ideas” in this sense we mean that two parties agree on values (preferred ends) and have differing opinions on how to reach those ends (optimal means). So a libertarian and a conservative may agree that government is a necessary evil at best, but they may disagree on the implications this has for tax policy. In general these two men can be reconciled because, although they view each other as competition, they agree that the better man ought to win the better gal and live in the bigger house and the lesser man ought to settle for the lesser gal and the smaller house (similar values/ends). But some identities can’t be reconciled because one or both wants the other dead or celibate and servile. In this case, discussion of means is futile because they have mutually incompatible ends.
Now, I’d like to propose the idea that identity is a deeply held idea, hiding below conscious awareness. This is where that shadowy self-talk comes from which resists refutation, drives behavior, and shapes our lives, such as “I’m black” or “We’re all in this together” or “Everybody cheats a little”. Sometimes these subliminal priors are realistic (“I could do better”), sometimes they’re metaphorical approximations (“The world is made of lies”), and sometimes they’re detached from reality (“Girls ought to be sexually aroused by my intelligence”). These deeply held ideas are generally intractable because they frame the way we process new information, and so they produce behavioral fixations by the same process that repeated misdirection of the sex drive into perverted expression/neural activation reinforces sexual fixations (i.e. fetishes).
According to my theory of origin myths, these ideas can be inherited through genetics as emotional formulas, in addition to cultural transmission. Boys don’t need to be taught the Hero’s Journey because their male ancestors lived through the male coming-of-age story over and over until it was hardcoded into their limbic systems. I believe this is where group averages in temperament and behavioral fixation come from. Examples:
-As the dog returns to its vomit, so the Irishman returns to his feuds.
-As the fool returns to his folly, so the conservative returns to his armchair.
-As the woman returns to her abuser, so the Edenist returns to his neurosis.
It appears that deeply held ideas are relatively easy to form (in “formative” years) but quite difficult to change. The only phenomenon that appears to be able to change a deeply held idea is an epiphany. People don’t change overnight, except every now and then they do, as in religious conversions, near-death experiences, and psychedelic trips. Epiphanies are relatively rare, but they do happen, and I believe it’s possible to study them and create environments where they are more likely to happen.