The subject of identity is both important and timely. In the last twenty years we ourselves have been so involved in the processes of alienation, myth-making and image-making that the recent concentration of thinking on the subject of “identity” is easily recognized as only one more facet to the same problem. The term “identity” appears in the title of several recent books on Latin America. The general themes of our two papers—religious movements and students—are currently very much in the fore when the subject of identity is discussed.
At first, the prospect of relating these two papers under the single theme “A Search for Identity” appeared to me unpromising; but as I began to extend my modest reading about identity, I became increasingly intrigued. I thought to myself: “Should I really take my courage in my hands and talk about identity with all the abstractions and the pitfalls that abstractions bring?” While trying to make up my mind, a day dream flashed before me.