Thursday, 3 March 2011

I am whatever you say I am...

In a previous post, I referred to a comment relating to the assertion that women are 'hard-wired' to be unable to read maps and are self-centred; that these are particular and specific attributes directly linked to the female gender alone.

This line of reasoning is a very sticky issue.  And is absolutely demonstrative of the dysfunction of human behaviour.  It's this whole 'venus' and 'mars' thing.  The very core of it is the belief that 'I' am a separate fixed entity; fixed in time and space with a definable outline containing specific qualities, characteristics, behaviours, traits, shortcomings and talents.  The core of it is that what 'I' am is absolutely definite. It concretises and attempts to hold that position come hell or high water.

But, of course, this isn't just about gender - it encompasses the entire spectrum of classification of humans. Identifying someone as being of a particular race, culture, age, gender, size or intelligence is essentially inaccurate and dishonest. 

It's an attempt to make sense of this glorious mess. To understand what life is. And that's understandable.

So we make distinctions: male/female, young/old, black/white, fat/thin, European/non-European, stupid/intelligent.  Yet these distinctions are abitrary - and society is that mechanism that agrees to accept these arbritrary definitions and comparisons and hold them as true.  And in that acceptance is the bondage that sees us defending our definitions and setting up the whole me/non-me shebang.  "I'm soooo not-you, dahling!"

When we label, we make a comparison and with that comparison comes our dishonesty. If I can define you as being something different to me, I can excuse my own inability to be honest about what I am.

Then we take it further and say that we're a product of our culture, our society, the times - but they're concepts.  The whole thing is fluid.   But because of the uncertainty and and chaos of this fluidity that is life, we want to section it off into chunks. 

It's very, very limiting.  But here's something ...... not neccessarily limiting for the person who's being defined, but limiting for the 'Definee' (new made-up word!). The definee is writing off what someone else has said or done as being a product of a system that has fixed rules and qualities. 

Therefore, we get to the premise, for instance, that women think in a 'certain way', so communicate in a certain way; and men think in a 'different way' and so communicate differently and this escalates into the belief that women and men can't fundamentally understand each other. But is this true?  Who decides whether men and women think in a different way?  How can that even begin to be proven?  You would need a set of exhaustively, comprehensive tests to map all thought processess of all women and men - and that is clearly impossible.  So what we end up with in the absence of that is pseudo science making generalisations about assumptions of opined trends.  How sketchy is that!

But the really sad thing is that by categorising and trying to prove differences, we overlook the process that produces this.  And fail to see that there is nothing fixed. There is no definable cause of a person; to how they act, reason, process information and communicate.  Any thing that any one does cannot be fixed to a specific cause; a person is part of that writhing, fluid, changing movement. (As Carl Sagan said "If you want to make apple pie, first create the universe".)

So when we write off what someone says or does as being specific to a condition (gender, race, age... whatever) we fail to listen and see that what they are is what we are.... an expression.  And we fail to see the truth of that expression, not only in them but, more crucially, in ourself.  And that's why its so damaging - if we can't see what someone else REALLY is then we can't see what we REALLY are.  So, sadly,  when we ignore another we are ignoring ourselves.

And therein lies the human tragedy.

And yes, we can't help it.  Compartmentalising, labelling, chunking, describing, measuring and trying to make sense are functions of the human brain.  But if you can see it as just a function of being a human being, then you can drop all the crap about the ism's and the limiting beliefs and see that what you are is NOT something limited and definable.

What happens is a reaction that happens in that moment - that's all - and it can't be attributed to one single cause.

Venus? Mars?  Nah, we ain't from either.... Where did you come from baby, dear?  Out of the everywhere into here.

1 comment:

  1. In the existential test tube,we call reality all the alchemical reactions are in essence cause-less or in other words you can never arrive at a distillation of a singular essence.If you take yourself to be a separately existing entity this can be unnerving and cause for alarm or fear.On the other hand,if you see that there is NO you to exist separately then this realization is cause for joy and peace.Bottom line,there is no bottom of this there never is a problem to be solved only investigated...