Stripped of all the variables that have changed throughout your life, what kind of identity are you left with? Is the need to be someone or something in particular–the very need to identify itself–predicating the decisions that you make about what you study and who you try to be professionally? Could it be that those who are very successful at a given thing are first and foremost athletes of identity-crafting? In other words, those of us who could just as easily see ourselves being any number of people are the ones who will always fall short of amounting to anything in particular? But, is this necessarily a bad thing–or is it only a bad thing in the eyes of all who would cherish a strong will toward particular identification?
Be a man, man up, strive to become all of the the ideals of a man where you are still lacking in expression of them. Or, if you determine you are incapable of living up to these ideals, you must inevitably declare yourself as strongly identifying with some subgroup in the queer community. The individual who wears their identity on their sleeve proudly and loudly is not so different–be he or she an ubermasculine fellow or a proudly transgendered woman. Of course, we have room for you if you wish to identify strongly as a man, but you don’t want to be an ubermanlyman–but you must identify strongly as man-as-academic or man-as-artist.
In all of these quests to establish a most firm and certain identity, I’ve discovered how easy it is to disrupt the flow of being that I sense moving through me and around me. I am trying to put a dam up against a powerful river and hold fast to my dam in the face of a river that will inevitably burst the dam or find a way to flow around it. Wherever and whenever I have tried to pin down myself as “I am this and not this,” I have felt the pull of the Other to see how the Other is being, and learn from them. Even if I can’t be black, female, gay, young, etc. in the rest of this life, I don’t hold any particular reservations about being such a person in a future life or alternate universe. What’s more, in all of my quests to figure out what it is about me that is most generically and globally human, where I could find common ground with any other neurotypical human being on the planet, I inevitably come across the persistent urge to push that aside and look deeper. For the thing that I thought was a global human characteristic was something merely local and specific to my given time, place, culture, etc.
For me, it is most definitely an imperative to remove my sexuality and procreative urges, as well as any socially-constructed sexual visions of self that manifest themelves before me when I am seeking to derive a common core self of connectivity with others. This is not to say that the experience of being a sexual being doesn’t have its relevance and importance in determining how I engage with other beings, but I don’t think that sexuality delivers an optimal reading of what it means to be a universally-connected being. Any hint of sexuality will inevitably imply that the Other who is before me is being considered over and against a sexual desire–if you are not someone I would ever care to know sexually, I will gaze upon you with significantly less attention and inevitably remove some of my spiritual love for you since you aren’t bringing something to the table that I desire.
This also allows me to begin to remove any sense of economics that I am still bringing to my relations with others. I merely want to know you to see if there is something I can get out of you. If I don’t see anything you can give me, sexual or otherwise, I am going to make you invisible and less than human. My sense of self worth is accordingly based upon what kind of intrinsic value I bring to the table when I engage with someone–what can I do for them? If I have nothing to offer them that they would need or want, then why should I bother with them because I know they will soon reject me once they discover I have nothing of value for them?
This series of engagements that we make with others multiplies itself until we have conveniently formed a society where someone can successfully obtain multiple resources at the expense of many others if they have created the illusion that they provide something more useful and valuable to the humans in their force field. When all of the emperor’s new clothes are removed, we see clearly that most celebrities, politicians, athletes, artists and musicians bring very little to the table that is of any great value to the health and well being of our innate selves. They gratify us, entertain us, and perhaps make us feel safe or more powerful than we really are, but they are actually just holding empty decks of cards that they’ve managed to convince enough people that these cards are of some value.
If identities we form for ourselves are mostly charades, and if most of the stuff we convince others has no real value beyond the value that others arbitrally assign to it, then who are we really, what do we have available to us in this life that is of real value?
There is, perhaps, very little “stuff” that is “out there” which is of any great value at all. If you are willing to accept even for a moment that your mind is really just a part of a greater, omniscient Mind, and that when you die, you will be reabsorbed into that greater Mind, then most any sort of knowledge of factual information holds little value, as it is already known and held by the larger Mind. If you can’t accept this, and think that you have to keep the fire of reason burning for you and your little family in the event of a major disaster that sends us into the stone ages, then you should be asking yourself if it’s really that important to continue to possess such knowledge, if there is no greater Mind or afterlife, and we are but one example of how nature can manifest itself to better know itself–the point is, somewhere in the universe another collection of sentient beings will reboot and become self-aware again and build repositories of knowledge. There is no need to frantically secret away scraps of information like a squirrel gathering nuts.
The only valuable thing that seems to really matter is the event of the engagement itself between to human beings who are truly connecting their selves together. In the moment of authentic engagement, love abides and petty self-preservation and self-aggrandizement dies. All of the other moments that happen, where you are merely stuffing yourself full of entertainment and food and drink, are simply you using the world around you to blindly maintain a self that will soon be dead and forgotten.
The best way to live out your life, then, is to seek out engagements with others that are authentic ones–where you are truly connecting with the other person and not just halfheartedly listening to them or nodding along to get whatever petty thing it is that you are attempting to extract from them to satisfy your flesh. Everything except authentic engagements between others will be forgotten. If you seek out a series of authentic engagements that are violent and destructive, then that is the kind of universe you will inhabit for eternity.