I is Done

…’You have really thick skin,’ the Scholar noted in the calm aftermath of a heated argument.

‘Careful with your metaphors love,’ the Fool replied. ‘Maybe it’s more like I’m a ghost, and insults pass through me like daggers through vapor.’

 

“I am of old and young, of the foolish as much as the wise,
Regardless of others, ever regardeful of others,
Maternal as well as paternal, a child as well as a man,
Stuffed with the stuff that is coarse, and stuffed with the stuff that is fine, one of the nation, of many nations, the smallest the same and the largest”
― Walt WhitmanSong of Myself

 

As I’ve considered the messages I want to send, I’ve confronted the futility in attaching my personal story to them.  Reputation is vain.  I don’t want to boast of accomplishments for the sake of notoriety.  These articles are not a story.  I am not a hero to be rooted for, nor villain to be reviled.  The quintessential lesson that my life has taught me is how fundamentally same we all are.  All peoples, all animals, all life, all that is.

This is not a mystical claim.  No.  Examine the origin, the material, the history of anything and you will find, always, commonality.  Dig deep enough, objectively, unattached to doctrine and dogma, and you will eventually strike a sameness.  Strip away bias, sentiment, and cathexis, and differentness will too be stripped away.

So I don’t want to be the headliner subject.  My life, MY life is only a differentness that seems so special and important only to me and those close to me.  But underneath ‘I’ is a human life full of the same struggles to find meaning, love, belonging, friendship and some thrill before dissolving in the ground.  Beneath that is an animal life full of the same drives to find food and water, shelter and safety, and sex.  Beneath the facade, the layers of sameness are evident.

So I don’t want to be the performance.  I don’t want these words to be a script.  I want them to be the light shining down upon the stage.

Truth is the star.

These articles are steps on the path that I took.  Those steps, each a lesson, are more important than the one walking them.

I want to claw to the core of an experience, strip it of the trivial details of an individual, and polish it until is shines with a singular truth.  A reader ought to see value in these words beyond sentiment.

The author’s identity matters little; even less when you consider that that identity is constantly evolving.  In the months and years following a post, I, the writer, become a mere echo; a ghost expressing himself with incomplete wisdom, biased by a swell of emotion.

So I is done.  I is finished.  I distracts from the message of truth.  I implies that this individual is important.  But I am only a phantom mannequin onto which experiences are donned like vestments.  In reality those vestments are removed and replaced, or torn and muddied, or altered and refitted.

I, that word, constant and unchanging, holds people back.  I pins people to selfish motives.  I inhibits ascension to greater causes.  I seduces by what it sensibly references.  I acts as an illusory constant onto which labels adhere.  I is a false notion that drives people mad.

In the end, I is truly meaningless.  It does not matter who accomplishes a thing, who triumphs, who wins victory through impassioned devotion.  A thing is worth doing if it creates abundance, if it benefits the many, not if it attracts status.  A thing is worthwhile it provides value, not if it secures legacy.  What matters is the thing achieved and the lessons wrought.  What matters is the truth uncovered.

How deeply I penetrates the world.  In school, children read stories attached to names.  In history these names are only characters in the story of humanity.  The names are useful to distinguish one human who champions a cause, leads a revolt.  But it’s petty, vain, and arbitrary to credit them accolades, to apotheosize their individual characters at the expense of the broad effects their actions caused, and to marginalize the conditions in which that character was wrought.

Students learn formulas, elements, theories, and revolutions named after people.  They are unconsciously taught that breakthroughs belong to those who make them, and to pursue noble truths for the sake of fame, not the benefit all may reap.

In adulthood I underpins everything a person does.  It is an illusion on which to pins labels and credentials.  It is a construct to determine ownership and property rights.  The status of I motivates people to do much of what they do.

In this atmosphere overcoming the self seems like an unscalable mountain.  And those that do appear strange and wishy-washy.  But this is only because culture pervades identity so unanimously.

Ultimately eponymy is nothing more than primitive vanity.

So I is done.  A man can become tired of his story.  A man can read his works and cringe at all the self-reference.  The hipocrisy stares him in the face.  Identity and soul and self: ever-changing and ever-fluxing, construct and consequence of environment; what an impossible thing to cling to?  As brief as an ice cube in an oven.  Forever becoming, forever dissolving; what a foolish thing to refer to, let alone value?

Thank you for reading.

-C

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