A video journal about my particular journey through life.
Let it be insightful for you, if it feels right.
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A NOTE TO FORUM POSTERS
If you have a post that you particularly like, write me. I can put it on the front page.
The study of how human identity is moulded is a big concern of social science because nations continually manage their rhetoric that “we are one national identity”. They know that being identified with something gives commitment toward that object of identification. Or at least they know that not feeling part of a social structure or a social process is the cause of much dissension.
A field that has studied identity is called Symbolic Interactionist Theory. It posits that without a relationship, without that human mirror, there is little that we can know about our own identity. Maybe in a non social situation (in isolation) identity is meaningless, or at least useless. Can we say that we have no identity in that situation?
What are these identities? They are centred in action and reaction and are based in thought, speech, belief, emotion, level of conviction, repetitive or non repetitive patterns, our seemingly closed or open attitudes, and how the other perceives that these identities impinge upon them. The identities are also in a hierarchy of importance to us and those not so important to us, (by how much we are identified with them). Another classification could be that they are “core identities”, which we may or may not be able to articulate, or social identities, group identities, roles that we play, or our own self image summed up from the recurrent patterns of all of the above.
(Or we go to any absurdity to escape a feeling.)
Let’s consider a few attributes of identity that are often separated as independent (or a semi-dependent) systems.
- Our bodily control system. The body functions pretty much by itself.
- Our bodily reporting system, pain, heat and cold, feelings of dis-ease, and other layers of feeling emotion, fear or alarm.
- Thoughts and the explanatory system.
- Memories and the repetitive system.
- The feelings and emotions that are evoked by thought and memory
- Our various calls to action and/or to hesitation, or to prudent avoidance of default action.
Actually our identity is the process of all these systems functioning together. Some system might be dominant for a period. We might try to deny certain of these partitions. (I call them partitions instead of parts, because that is what we are investigating.)
So many of our forum discussions are really about identity, and we have many theories and much to say about it, which we defend adamantly.
First let me address those who insist that there is no identity. I view that first as a discourse, and second as just another identity. Just look around at how you live life. If you are a no-identity person and need some easy demonstrations, you function through many discourses of identity, and never function as a no identity. In fact no-identity is non-functional in the life that we know.
Because you continually use identities, they are your truth. Kind of like “what you see (do) is what you get (who you are)”. At least you are not separable from an identity, so you might as well engage fully with it.
1. Perhaps it is more accurate to say that we are born into a discourse of identity. We are born into a family, society, often a religion, maybe our nation is dominant in our lives, especially if it is repressive, or at war. In our formative years we are rewarded if we imitate the prevailing discourses of identity. Our family want’s us to behave in a certain way. We must memorize (and practice) the tenants of our family religion. We get educated (or don’t) according to the habits and traditions in our area. We are continually told that we are the identity that is transmitted by that discourse.
What really distinguishes the non-duality crowd is that they are willing to deny what is absolutely most obvious to all 8 billion of the outsiders to this group. From their detached point of view they rely on logical constructs instead of empirical constructs. Here I won't go into how that might have occurred. "No doing, no doer, no time, no process, all appearances are projected mind”) Although I am not so sure that all of this is non-duality. Whether they deny process, or just deny “my process”, and it is true that all appearances do have A COMPONENT of projected mind. That’s the interpretation fraction. Even if that fraction is very big, who can know that is all there is? But non-duality is not saying there is nothing “out there”. It is only saying that it may be unapproachable in any pure state? This part gets confused.
Let’s investigate what ground of beliefs could bring someone to declare something that flies in the face of their own perceptions of every moment of life.
First is the notion of NOW. Now is a useful term when contrasted to the abuses of my childhood (the past) and my fear of next year’s tax returns, (the future). But I am sure that NOW is not very useful when speaking of one second gone by, or the next second approaching (or even micro-second).
We might believe that there are many varied motivations that inspire us to do what we do, and especially if we hold ourselves in high regard we may think that our personal motivations are very sophisticated and honorable. Thus we complicate and obscure the most simple. (If you're personally convinced that there is no "you" to be motivated, go to point six.)
I would find it of great value to bring the motivation equation down to the most simple terms, or to the lowest common denominator.
- First we are motivated into action by a feeling.
- If there was no feeling, nothing would appear on the radar of our awareness.
- (In this regard, our status quo is also a feeling.)
- We find ourselves acting to satisfy that feeling, to prolong it or to make it go away.
- Therefore I think it can be said that we act only to fix our lives. At least try this definition on for size while reading this post.
- Then the different “tastes” of action become defined from our belief structures.
Let’s just pull in real tight so that we have a concrete example, and talk about what motivates us to post on this forum. We read a post, “Oh, is that what he thinks about that? Interesting.”
For 8 - 10 years I have maintained a public platform where people can exchange views on what might be new ideas for them, (this Never Not Here). I have never really investigated my own motives for doing it, and perhaps they are as simple as “I can do it”.
You might say that you are breathing, and there is no verbal underpinning to that. It is just happening. I am not talking about that level of action.
Take engagement with non-duality as a good example, (teaching it, or being taught). The verbal underpinnings that are accepted by both parties are three.
- There is a such a thing as personal awakening that can appear as an event.
- I teacher, declare that I have it.
- I teacher declare that you will some day have it too (or someday know that you have it).
"My life experience as a teacher and my point of view, (perhaps a view from no-point) is assuredly more complete than yours. I know because I used to live like you."
Wow - is this a useful construction? Let’s see what its effect is.
Some things became apparent when people started suggesting that negating is a way to find your “true self”. I wouldn’t know about that. I do know that negating is the preoccupation of billions of the world’s people, and for them it has only brought them the world as it is. Anything that is life affirming, seems to be counter balanced with something horrid somewhere else in the world. I should just say “juxtaposed” not to intend an actual balance with any equity.
Do we need a personal event to start to shift those gears? Of course my first and most consistent action point is on myself. I have values (or I don’t) and I can apply them to my actions where I now can. I can also investigate them to see if they are truly life affirming, and change them accordingly. Values and the conscious stopping of my negating is in my hands, but only if I want to define it as a worthwhile pursuit.
!!What other possible way can the world shift, except by you shifting yourself!! I have never found one.
I think that I had a copy of this gita about 5 years ago and certain passages gave an open feeling. The one’s that I liked at the time (one by one) demolished everything.
1. I won’t repeat his letter, but I will address his points. First he relates to Exodus in the bible when “God” says “I am that I am”. "This is Advita where the knower, the knowledge and known are one."
Do we need to reach for these connections? Do they really have any significance, other than to prove someone’s point?
2. Then he finds that St. John of the Cross has adopted Neti Neti, which proves the universality of establishing yourself in the Godhead by negating. This one is not a harmless option.
Of course Christians (and Jews?) were completely ruled by guilt and shame, so negating is not a far stretch of the imagination. Is that how you want to run your life??
Negation has a heavy consequence with your feelings and in mis-directing your attention. You will always find yourself ruminating on thoughts and concepts and twisting and turning to avoid paying attention to what is your real and honest gift, your day to day life. (Where else can life be but day to day?)