Let us state at the outset of our investigation that, viewed from a certain angle, we all are subject to two basic drives: one toward identity, the other toward diversity. Neither in ourselves as persons, nor in the nations through the course of history are these drives always the same in their intensity and in their balance. How do they manifest themselves? We can all experience a mood during which we feel the desire to be in the company of people of our own age, our own class, our own sex, conviction, religion or taste. It is quite possible that this drive toward conformity, this herd instinct, is something we share with the animal world. This strong identitarian feeling can rest squarely on a real herd instinct, a strong feeling of commonness and community directed in a hostile sense toward another group. In race riots and demonstrations of ethnic groups this collective sentiment can manifest itself with great strength. This sort of conformist herd instinct was the driving motor of the nationalistic gymnastic organizations of the Germans and the Slavs,l so potent in the first half of this century and engaging in enormous, carefully synchronized gymnastic performances. When five or ten thousand identically dressed men or women are carrying out identical movements, the onlooker gets an overpowering impression of homogeneity, synchronization, symmetry, uniformity.
Identity and identitarian drives tend towards an effacement of self, towards a nostrism (“usness”) in which the ego becomes submerged. Of course, nostrism (a term created by the Austrian Nazi Walter Pembaur) can be and usually is a clever multiplication of egoisms. Whoever praises and extols a collective unit in which he participates (a nation, a race, a class, a party) only praises himself. And therefore all identitarian drives not only take a stand for sameness and oppose otherness, but also are self-seeking. There is an identitarian (and nonsexual) aspect to homosexuality (“homoeroticism”) coupled with the refusal to establish the sometimes difficult intellectual, spiritual, psychological bridge to the other sex. And in this respect homosexuality is a form of narcissism, of immaturity and implies the limitations of the “simpleton.”