to the popular idea, freedom is not found in swimming against the
stream, freedom is in following the current, going with the grain
of the wood, being carried along by the wind, intuiting life. The
popular idea that is flawed is most fervently championed in America,
the quintessence of whose identity is Individuality. The cultural
chorus praises individuality and the associated notions of self-determination,
and impresses upon its cultural participants many varied recapituations
of this myth.
men are created equal."
liberty, and the pursuit of happiness."
me liberty or give me death"
rags to riches"
short, play hard"
I tell you that this is not the case. Myth is beautiful, and the
Freedom mythos should certainly be appreciated for its romanticism
and fatalism. That it is a source of inspiration should not be denied.
But Myth is not Reality, and gaining an understanding of both is
very important to leading an aesthetic lifestyle. Myth provides
the spirit which motivates Reality; it inspires Reality.
But the Freedom mythos is just that-- an inspiration. We should
not be so ignorant as to think that the life and principles described
by the Freedom mythos should be adopted as Letter; it should not
be regarded as a formula to life.
illustration of this is Feminism. The feminist movement seems most
to lament that woman lose their right to the pursuit of life that
men enjoy because they are born slaves to Motherhood. They are born
as slaves because their Mothers gave up their own lives to raise
the daughter, and prophetically, in so doing, the daughter is imparted
with these same dogmas of slavery and perpetuate a vicious cycle.
Feminists would like to break this cycle by choosing self-actualization
over motherhood. Certainly there is something heroic and admirably
tragic about this philosophy, and it can't be denied that this,
and all equal-rights philosophies, are born out of the Freedom mythos.
However, some are over-reaching in their literal interpretations
of Feminism. These women actively live their equal rights philosophies
to the letter, and achieving equality with men becomes a constant
obsession. In every situation they encounter, their modus operandi
and whole framework of understanding is geared toward the detection
of inequality. What should be understood is that this sort of literalizing
and obsession is in itself a form of slavery. The Spirit of everyday
life cannot be seen because it is crowded out by the dominance of
the Letter of dogma.
pathology of reifying Feminism in everyday life is that decisions
are made by dogma, rather than by intuition. In many of these freedom
movements, there is explicit instruction to mistrust intuition because
intuition is painted out to be cultural slavery since it is acculturation
which factors most into building intuition. This may be true to
a certain extent, but this type of overgeneralizing truism seems
to inoculate us to the real nature of intuition. It should not be
mistrusted in a wholesale way. Even if how we were acculturated
biases our intuition, we cannot simply throw out intuition altogether
because it's the best that we've got. Intuition is closest to the
essence of Self as is possible. Our unconscious and subconscious,
which should be regarded as much more unique and personal than what
is consciously accessible, speak to us through intuition. The communicative
token of conscious experience is language and abstraction. As Lacan
rightly articulated, we are "slaves of language." Language
is a socially controlled and manipulated system, and as our conscious
experience cartels in language, it may become unreliable. By contrast,
intuition is personal, and rather unadulterated, though albeit twisted
and bizarre. But we should not have any xenophobias about the idiosyncratic
nature of our intuitions. The uniqueness of our intuition accounts
for the uniqueness of our Self, and differentiates us from Other.
Intuition is the agency of freedom.
it's tempting to want to point out what will seem like an obvious
flaw to this argumentation: If we rely solely on intuition,
and our intuition is built up by acculturation, then isn't such
a philosophy for life a recipe for ignorance and not freedom? I
have just caricaturized possible criticism, but I urge you to be
forgiving and to not caricaturize what I have said. Of course there
are nuances and no one should rely solely on intuition; in fact,
that is not even possible, as anyone who does so is likely to be
making a conscious decision to rely on intuition. All of this is
merely meant to inspire you to be more intuitive, not meant to be
taken too literally.
back to why a denial of intuition is bad. Even though intuition
is a product of acculturation, it should not be ignored because
it's the closest thing that we have to a Self. Conscious experience
by contrast, is much more easily manipulated by present social phenomena
because it cartels in language, an externally constructed system.
Acculturation describes the past, which does not shackle
us. Our past does not traumatize and impress upon us in the absolute
for eternity. Memories change too, and as we reprocess our subconscious
memories and thoughts, we have incredible freedom to forget, revise,
and selectively highlight memories. Even in the most sinister of
past experiences, we can find truth, if we know where to look. Being
intuitive can guide us there.
what happens when someone overliteralizes feminism and uses it as
a recipe to life? What happens if she fights her strong intuition
to live and act in a manner that she thinks she should in order
to be Free? Hoping to not come off as too psychoanalytically and
theoretically detached, I'll simply say that every denial of intuition
leads to mental and emotional baggage. To deny things we intuit
in the long term is to repress our intuitive urges, packing each
instance into mental and emotional baggage. When intuition is denied,
it is because we have not adequately justified to our Self, an act
or decision we consciously chose. The discrepancy between what we
do and what we urge to have done is the basis of psychological baggage.
baggage is slavery. In psychoanalysis, it is said that repressed
memories don't go away, but rather, they reoccur with great frequency
and manifest themselves as disquiet and discomfort. And these discomforts
are most bothersome because they do not cease, and are not named
or explained, and thus cannot be solved (except possibly through
psychoanalytic therapy to untie these knots). To be truly free then,
is to not be weighed down by the psychological baggage which are
a product of the denial of intuition.
is ironic that Feminists and other freedom seekers, in their fervent
overliteralization of the Freedom mythos, are actually enslaved
by their attempts to escape their intuitions. Ideals are good to
have, but we must acknowledge that ideals belong to Myth and not
Reality, and must not overstep our expectations for them. The Freedom
mythos is a source of inspiration for our lives, but we must preserve
the freedom to deviate from that ideal if our intuition craves it.
Intuition, going with the grain of our Self, is perhaps closest
to Zen Buddhism. Being intuitive, like being Zen, means becoming
a student of Nature. We listen to our Self just like we observe
a flower, or the clouds with a quiet reverence and appreciation
that they are what they are. To let our intuitive Selfs be expressed
is to be truly free.
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