Thursday, 30 April 2009

What is Self?

Nicki's post "keeping inspired" resonated with stuff that's buzzing round my head just now about how we take the good things from western individualism but allow ourselves to connect, collaborate and be part of something bigger (a community, a planet) without merging, surrendering or smothering our differences. It seems to be a tricky struggle in our current culture, and I feel somewhat exposed to admit my need to belong and be part of something. This is what I came up with...

To be totally myself, in the absence of others…who am I but a reflection? What is me? A bundle of stories and conditions from the past, or an interface with the now? There are words I can use and feel solid in; woman, lesbian, feminist, anarchist, humanist, environmentalist, writer. These describe a space I occupy, but I’m not sure they’re me. It isn’t that I don’t feel solid, unique, but being human is also being part of something – not being the sound of one hand clapping. “Me” is simply a coalescence of thoughts, star dust, cells, events…I rub off and am rubbed off on. I am supposed to worship Western Individuality and the Cult of the Self but I hold being a champion of difference alongside being connected and in community. The importance of belonging is as strong as the need to express what is “me” freely, strongly and fully. So I slip towards other humans who occupy similar spaces and I feel part of something larger than just me, but the overall shape of the “us” is in harmony with the shape I occupy personally. And if I stand still amid the trees for long enough I can feel my feet throwing roots deep into the earth and I realise I don’t need to feel afraid of being connected to the whole planet.

No comments:

Post a comment