What are we?

Posted: February 15, 2011 in Creative Inspiration, Philosophy
Tags: , , , , , ,
Stop! Stop I say!

Good creative people don’t read on any farther, until you speak aloud your answer to this simple question;

what are you?

You look funny...

I’ll wait………………………………

Huh? What’s that you say? The question’s not specific enough? Well OK then (picky, picky…), in that case let me rephrase… How do you define yourself? (I’ll wait some more, maybe watch a YouTube video…)…………… What!? Still to vague? Ugh (you sure are awfully persnickety today).

Tell you what, I’ll make it easier; circle those which fit you and I’ll just piece it together on my own:  Black, White, Smart, Dumb, Pretty, Ugly, Fat, Skinny, Blonde, Brunette, Redhead, Fun, Boring, Charismatic, Lazy, Active, Sleepy, Restless, Hippie, Druggie, Democrat, Republican, and/or other (and to the Blondes out there, please no writing on your computer screens – and if you already have, please use Windex, not white-out).

There, now was that so hard? So… this is you? A pessimistic, Skinny, Black woman, who’s fun, restless, a bit of a hippie, and a Republican? This is what you are? NO? So there’s more? Less? Sorry my clairvoyance must be in retrograde with this dang-blasted new moon…So you tell me! Come on then! Surely as an individual you must have a point of view – some perspective on the world that’s unique to you and you alone. So what is it? And no, at this point you are not allowed to phone a friend.

What do you believe? I believe you better get off my phone, I've got a bar to run!

Not such an easy thing to answer is it? (Nor should it be!)

Here’s why; even though we might be able to sum up our worldly allegiances with a few simple words (I.E. Democrat, Republican, optimist, pessimist, Vampire, Werewolf…), they are not, nor can they ever be, all the constituents that comprise what we are!

In fact I would argue that the very act of “Defining ourselves” undermines what is arguably the best quality that human nature has to offer: Learning and adaptability! For instance, and a very brief one at that, let’s say I’ve convinced myself, and tell others frequently, that I don’t like shrimp. It’s just me, I say. They’re slimy, and yucky, and weird, and taste awful, and I just plain don’t like them – never have never will – Ew! Now you tell me, who suffers in the end?

I do! ME! And (potentially), you!

Shrimp scampi is amazing. Butterfly shrimp curl up so nice and tender in the pan. Stuffed shrimp is to die for. Paella anyone? Gumbo? Stew? Stock? Amazing stuff we’re missing here! And we’ll simply never know, never get the experience of finding out (discovery is the best of what life has to offer!), because we’ve already made up our minds on the matter and now the issue is moot!

It’s called the burden of knowledge, and it’s as insipid as it is contagious. Tell yourself you know something, and that’s that! It’s all you know, and all you need to know. The only trouble is: that, is most certainly not that, and there’s always more to the story… Don’t limit your world (trust me, it’s small enough as it is)!

How many people do you know that make blanket assumptions like this?

Do these sound familiar?

Ker-Pow = Sense

Sushi is yucky; its raw fish! Leave him alone; he’s weird. Steak tar-tar should be well done, I’ll never eat that! I can’t understand it; it’s stupid. She’s this! He’s that. I’ll never. That’s gross! How can you? Why should you? Who would? How could? Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah!

When will it all end? Why should we miss out on life! Please creative people, please, never do this! EVER! (Seriously, I’ll come to your house and knock some sense into ya!)

Here’s another question for you, one more to the core of what I’m driving at;

~are we defined by what we believe, or what we do?~

This one’s a toughie, and (as always), the devil is in the details. Surprisingly it’s got a lot to do with the old saying, “Do as I say, not as I do”. Even though we all know this adage to be inherently duplicitous and disingenuous, who among us is not guilty of perpetrating its poor message? I know I am. I claim to be a liberal, but I do have some conservative ideals. I have been known to talk of atheism, but I do have to admit that there is an unusual amount of synergy to our world. I say I’m a lover of straight theater, but I do love a good musical.

Does this make me a liar? Does this make me a flippant? Does this mean I don’t know who I actually am?

~NO~

NO!!! ~~ Bad dog!

 

Not to worry good creative people. If you’re anything like me, and are guilty of this heinous crime, you’ve still got an out! There’s a shining path of redemption open to you right at your doorstep! In this blog we’ve spoken before about using one lexicon to define a term from another unrelated one, and how it’s imprudent and ineffective. Luckily this is another case of the same.

The trouble here is that “definition” is far too simple a thing to realistically encompass the whole of a life’s experience.

The trouble is; we won’t know who we really are until the bottom of the ninth, with two outs, and two men on.

The trouble is; when I ask you what, or who you are, there should be no easy answer.

The trouble is; action will always supersede belief.

If you’ve ever read this blog before, you might have wondered why I close each post with the phrase “Be observant, never judgmental”, and just what exactly I’ve meant. This is it, and today it is my message to you, as well as the interwebs as a whole. When we define things, or judge them, which is a perfectly natural thing to do, we put them into a neat little category so that it might be easier to comprehend. However, there is a difference between something being easy to understand, and being properly understood. Nothing is cut and dry like this. NOTHING.

You might say that you believe that abortion is wrong, but when your daughter gets knocked up by some ingrate the situation might change in a hurry. You might say hate blacks, or whites, or Asians, or… oh i don’t know, seahorses (this guy loves em!), but all it takes is that one golden soul/crustacean to turn your world around. Ask yourself: am i really a racist, a bigot, an alcoholic, an addict, or an (Insert blanket category here), or had I labeled myself as such out of convenience, but in truth I don’t neatly fit the mold?

Labeling yourself will do a lot for you. It can find you a group of like-minded friends, it can make you feel valuable, validated, and attractive (just to skim the surface), but if it’s all a lie, than what’s the point? Never fool yourself into thinking that you can know who you are, who your friends are, what the world is – merely be observant, have an idea of what you think is right, and aim toward that end. Althewhile being prepared to change what you know on the fly, as in this world nothing is for certain!

So what am I? What are you? What are we?

Human. Other than that I don’t know – and neither should you. But maybe, just maybe, if we shed our neat little categories, and bring along a little faith in ourselves and an open heart, we just might have a chance to find out someday through our noble actions.

~J

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Comments
  1. Interesting piece! I like your line, “In fact I would argue that the very act of “Defining ourselves” undermines what is arguably the best quality that human nature has to offer: Learning and adaptability!” So true. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Good one, Jared. Pigeon-holing oneself or the same by others can either irritate or ingratiate. So what am I; pacifist – liberal – socialist – creative- musician – artist – writer – ranter at the radio – agnostic – middle-aged – wiseass (to some) – procrastinator…………..or just trying to be a good person. It’s always changing,and you know what, when someone says to me “Oh, you are just a…………” or “Oh , your just like…………” and I think ” Oh no I’m not”. I then think, how the hell did they get there – must be something I did. The amorphousness (is that a word) is to be embraced. Embrace your emorphosity 🙂

    • I don’t think amorphousness is a word… but it should be!
      Ahem… ATTENTION, YOUR ATTENTION PLEASE! From this moment forward there shall be an added addition placed into any and every reputable dictionary — not only worldwide, but across the galaxy — and that word is: amorphousness. That is all! (Emorphosity is still under peer review…)
      I really believe that a lot of our problems worldwide can find their roots in the issues that arise from conflicting “teams of association”, I.E. labels. Yet individuals within these groups oftentimes disagree on particular issues, so really what’s the point? It’s nonsense! We are all much more alike than we like to think, and i can’t figure out why.

      • scottsinope says:

        Discordianism teaches us that the purpose of labels (including “discordian”) is to separate peoples, not to help bring them together. Labels are created by a ruling class to divide others allowing for easier subjugation (poor vs rich, workers vs intellectuals, followers vs leaders ect.) I don’t want to come-off as preachy, so I will just jump to the “atta boys” on this one. Thanks for the thoughts and the laughs.

  3. Posky says:

    I’m glad to hear anyone think critically about our role in life. It’s not easy to sum up and I think a lot of people sell themselves short by trying to decide where they fit. I’ve spent the better part of my life trying to carve out a place for who I already am and, frankly, it’s worked a lot better for me.

    It always goes over better when you don’t give people labels for them to make assumptions about you and I don’t like hearing them about people either. This is a great post and I’ll be sure to share it.

  4. breezyautumn says:

    Mmm, this was a very well written, insightful piece. You have given me something new to chew on and I damn well like it!

  5. fionaqiqi says:

    i wanna be a monster.

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