Qui sommes-nous ? Comment se souviendra-t-on de nous ?
Autrement que par nos tweets et nos SMS, espérons-le…
« Si l’univers est rond ou ovale comme l’est la tête de l’homme ou le berceau de la femme,
jamais la somme des angles d’observation ne pourra le résumer.«
(added April 13, 2015)
Though influenced by others and contributing to the whole, I don’t belong to anyone else.
Though within my grasp, my environment does not belong to me.
The other day, a distant young nephew in meditation, who’s not very talkative when his draft opinions are being challenged, wrote a piece about adulthood. But what is adulthood ?
To a lot of people, it means identifying one’s goal in life, and then pursuing it relentlessly. Perhaps, indeed, if everyone were to look in the same direction, namely their own, they would at least leave other people be, and not try to impose their conception of life to them. But is this feasible on a planet inhabited by seven million souls and counting ? Doesn’t it automatically imply that, in order for some to be able to become what they want to be, others mustn’t be able to ? Would it still, then, be a satisfactory definition ?
If my goal is to become a weapons manufacturer, it will literally annihilate others, no matter the context. If my goal is to become a sectarian guru, I will force my views upon others. If my goal is to become a politician, and if I succeed, I will tell other people what they are entitled to do, and what not. Freedom and slavery, masters and servants : is this picture in any way compatible with being an adult ? Why would anyone – any adult, that is – want to rule over others : doesn’t such a goal reflect remnants of the worst aspects of childhood ?…
They also say becoming an adult is to start facing reality, and leaving behind all childish illusions. But what if reality itself, as it is commonly understood, were the worst illusion of all ? What if pursuing one’s goal merely procured a self-satisfactory illusion quickly compensated by the harsh, tragic, impression that, whatever we do, we cannot change the scheme ?
If being an adult is to know one’s limits, on the other hand, there’s room to talk. But what could knowing one’s limits mean ? Can the Golden Rule be of any help ? “Don’t do unto others what you don’t want others to do unto you”… it seems well-inspired, but is it also operative ? If, for instance, I’m a sadomasochist and my vis-à-vis is not, does that mean I’m allowed to whip him ? Obviously, the golden rule gradually became oxidized, as some societies progressed toward more openness : it was golden on the surface only. Basically, it’s a selfish rule, actually : under its shiny mellow mask, it denies the other his being, and glorifies one’s own ego. In order to know what others like or not, I have to know them in the first place. The gold-plated rule claims I don’t have to : all that matters is me…
Knowing one’s limits is twofold : one has to consider the other as distinct (detachment), and one also has to acknowledge the fact that oneself and the other are equally part of the same biosphere (attachment). This biosphere is not only the common habitat we call Earth, but also a common spiritual habitat in which each one of us might be viewed as a neuron. If there’s a meaning to the ‘Y’ in ‘Y-Generation’, that should be it.
The first wing of this paradigm implies putting an end to every form of colonization, an adolescence crisis of sorts by which some tribes, which considered themselves superior, felt mandated to conquer others, but also by which some groups, some societies, felt justified in dragooning people into their ranks, even if that meant trampling upon individual rights. The word ‘deviant’ only makes sense in the perspective of such an adolescence crisis.
Not only does the second wing of the paradigm, which is fairly new, compel us to read classical writers and philosophers in a different way, taking into account the fact they probably contributed to contemporary reality but their reality, nonetheless, was not our own, technologically speaking, it also has immeasurable implications as to the notion of ownership, whether it be ownership of goods or ownership of ideas.
In a mature society, based not on competition and survival of the fittest, whatever the means said fittest is using, but on common elaboration (which is the contrary of both capitalism and Soviet communism), ideas will be seen as floating, without ownership, for everyone’s benefit.
The individual would then be considered not as an oxymoronic selfish consuming prototype, but as a dual being, whose duality is composed of an identity answering to a logic of its own (a.k.a. what makes the individual one, or detached) and of a fusional aspect influenced by and contributing to the whole (a.k.a. social, or attached). One does not go without the other… Suppress the latter, and you’re left with nihilistic egocentrism. Suppress the former, and only tyranny remains. Cherish both as an ever challenging alchemy to be found, and colorful diversity will offer itself to you in a harmonious way, one that doesn’t require belonging to, only belonging…
By definition, this alchemy cannot be rigid : it has to compose. As a consequence, rigid adults, who have a blinkered view of things, confusing the part (in other words their own little goal) with the whole, are no adults at all.
To compose a serene human painting, pointillism is probably the best method, because, to some extent, pointillism involves doubt. And what better than doubt, whether on a scientific or religious level, can guarantee humanity’s much needed humility ?…
I believe ! I believe a plurality of plural singulars can prove to be a quite stunning singularity…