Who am I?

Don’t define me by my gender. Don’t define me by my age…my sexual orientation…my religion…my work…hang on, hang on, where is this taking me?

When we identify ourselves with a particular group, we are then identified with their views and outlooks. Which means that even if we hold some opinions that differ from the mainstream of that group, others will still assume that our views are the same as that mainstream.

This may mean that outsiders think we hold views that they are bound to disagree with, because of their perception of that group, whilst members within the group will often expect us to hold the same views as they do. Thus, we risk being shunned by those outside the group for views that we might not hold, or being regarded as heretical by members of that group who suspect that we do not hold these views as firmly as they would like.

Oh my goodness.

047

We might like to think that we are freethinkers, but as soon as we allow a label to be attached to us, we begin to voluntarily put boundaries on our own thoughts.

Don’t label me!

Don’t label me!

Don’t…

label…

me!

In Steppenwolf, by Hermann Hesse, the narrator comes to realise that his character is not simply that of an educated, cultured man, which is how he has always thought of himself, but is made up also of hundreds or even thousands of other personas; the wild and bloodthirsty wolf of the steppes, that gives the book its title, the philanderer, the ascetic, the drunkard, the heretic, the hero and the coward, each one, to a greater or lesser degree, is a component of his nature, and he has to learn to accept all of these different parts of what he is if he is to become a complete person.

The trick to life is learning to accept that we are complex creatures, so much more than just a label, and to be kind to all of our many selves.

The only label, therefore, that I should allow to be attached to me, simply says ‘Me’.

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6 thoughts on “Who am I?

  1. Yea, Mick. I hate it when gurus like Jeff Goins or Joe Bunting tell us we must create a platform, a ‘tribe’ or a ‘coterie’ before we can become successful authors. We must become tribal leaders! (And buy into their programs to discover how to do it.) Frankly, the last thing the world needs is more tribal leaders. They populate graveyards. They delude. The world needs 7 billion people who can think for themselves. Who are not ruled by the hive mind. That means, folk who do not define themselves or others by their ‘tribe’ – their social class, race, nationality, religion, gender or affiliation to a certain pop group.

    ‘Labels’ belong to the hive mind. I am I and you are you. Do we need to label each other further? (Well, yes. I tend to label folk in two categories: ‘Are they likely to buy me a drink or not?’ I think that’s licit…)

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Absolutely licit, and rest assured that should our paths ever physically cross, I believe it’s a pint of Merlot (or something like that!).

    No, I am naturally suspicious of any grouping, including those that I loosely belong to. We all know about crowd mentality, the herd instinct and the nasty places that can all end up. Anyone that tells you how you should (must?) be thinking should be regarded with a great deal of suspicion.

    * I have just edited this comment.

    Like

  3. That’s very true, Mick! As soon as someone feels they can stick a label across our forehead, suddenly they don’t bother asking what we think about issues but simply assume they already know. That’s when they start saying things like, “Oh, but of course you’ll disagree because you’re a (FILL THE BLANK).”

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sadly true, Bun. This is one reason why, although I have particular leanings towards certain political groups, I have never joined any. There are always some policies that I disagree with, and there is an assumption, both inside and outside of that group, that your opinions will exactly tally with theirs.And I don’t wish to end up defending views that I do not believe myself.

      Liked by 1 person

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