Now the Lord God had formed out of the ground all the wild animals and all the birds in the sky. He brought them to the man to see what he would name them; and whatever the man called each living creature, that was its name. So the man gave names to all the livestock, the birds in the sky and all the wild animals. – Genesis 2:19
I think it was Robert A. Heinlein who said you don’t need names until you have two of something. Names are labels. They identify and/or describe things. Labeling things seems to be a natural human activity.
How many labels do you wear?
I wear a bunch of labels. First there is the name my mother gave me. Then there is the name she calls me. There is the name you know me by, and the one my RL friends use. My kids call me “Dad” which both identifies me and describes me. You have a bunch of those labels too but those are all labels that other people give us.
There are also labels that we give ourselves. Those labels define who we are, or at least who we think we are. The labels we use for ourselves and how we prioritize them control how we think.
For many years I was proud to wear a label that said “liberal Democrat”. That label was very important to me. Then about five years ago it was made clear to me that I was not really a Democrat. This information was quite traumatic because it came from the “real” Democrats, who let me know very emphatically that my feelings, desires and opinions were unwelcome in their club. Then I started wondering what “liberal” really meant.
The trauma and drama of 2008 was the beginning of a journey of self-evaluation and self-discovery for me. The journey continues, and one of the things I have been working on is freeing my mind.
“Free your mind” is both simple and profound. Three words, twelve letters, three syllables, one sentence. It is far easier to say than to do. Labels restrict our thinking. In order to free your mind you have to remove labels.
One of the primary labels I have now removed is that one that said “liberal Democrat.” I am neither. That must make me a conservative Republican, right?
I am not a liberal or a conservative. I’m not a moderate either. I am not a Democrat or a Republican. I’m not an independent because that’s a label too. I didn’t want to change labels, I wanted to remove some labels and not replace them.
(Now here comes some of the Tao of Klown.)
I refuse to define myself politically. I do not think of myself as anything. I am trying to transcend those labels by forcing myself to think in a completely different way.
I still have principles, but principles are not an ideology. I believe in liberty, equality and the rule of law, but I do not have a political identity nor do I belong to any tribe.
Here is where I stop for now. Like I said, it’s a journey, but I haven’t reached my destination yet.
Meanwhile, take a look at yourself. Are there any labels you could do without?
“I don’t care to belong to any club that will have me as a member.” – Groucho Marx