I have been wrestling with a problem with myself and it’s very much to do with this herd identity. This is very damaging as it creates a superficial ‘self’ to buffer against the trials of reality without denting the inner and often hidden True Self.
I remember in the 60s when the Hippy Movement first emerged. At the time, I was an art student. That meant that not only did I study art, but I also wore the clothes that art students of the time wore, listened to Art Student music, held Art Student views and so on. There were frequent clashes between ‘Mods’ and ‘Rockers’ (if you’re unfamiliar with these tribal groups, Google them as there isn’t the space here to explain). As an Art Student, I felt rather individual because I identified with neither faction. Of course, I hadn’t taken on board that the term Art Student didn’t just indicate what I studied but defined a specific group ideology to which I conformed to the letter.
With the rise of the Hippies, there seemed to be a general trend among art students to embrace this new culture. This I did recognise as ‘herd identity’ and decided that I did not want to conform to an idiosyncratic ideology… so I became a beatnik to show how individual I was. Such is the logic of a young man who wants to be ‘different’ but doesn’t want to be alone.
Until very recently (since joining AOAND, in fact), I regarded myself as an atheist on the strength of the fact that I do not believe in the traditional theological view of God. I’ve described much of this in a discussion on here about atheism. In that discussion, I relate the fact that I kept receiving unsolicited emails from what was described as a “growing atheist community”.
Now, this is interesting. It’s an ideology that has a number of followers yet the only thing that bonds them is not what they believe but what they do not believe. I realised that, by identifying myself as an atheist, I was setting myself in opposition to anyone who feels differently.
Somewhere within all these superficial ‘club’ identities lies the person that I am. I make no claim of having stripped away all the posturing and pretenses to reveal my True Self and I can’t honestly be sure that I ever will. One thing is for sure, however, I won’t find it among “like-minded” people. I might find the “like” but the “minded” remains elusive as ever.
So why am I writing on AOAND? Good question. I’m glad I asked myself that.
I am a rather opinionated person (perhaps I’m part of a growing Opinionist Community) and relish every opportunity to publish my views on any site that accommodates user input.
Why? Another good question (I’m so glad I’m playing such an active part in this). Because I want feedback. Opposing views can often help me look at things from another viewpoint. I might not agree, in which case, it doesn’t matter because this is not about who is right or who is wrong. But I also crave approval. I want someone to say “Yeah! Right on!”
What would that matter? If someone agrees with me, it doesn’t confirm that I am right. It simply confirms that I am not alone. It comes back to that old security of the herd again. The more people who share my views, the less I stand out and the greater the chance that I won’t get eaten.
I’ve read quite a number of discussions on AOAND. There are some I agree with, some have been enlightening, some I’m not sure about and some I take issue with.
Some, however, I feel simply seem to use the language of the New Age without saying anything that drifts beyond the boundaries of what has become (whether you like it or not) the New Age Ideology.
I feel there is a common purpose here but I also feel that it is being diluted into the herd identity. There is a tendency to be mysterious and liberally use terms that are not clear in meaning. When I read about ego, it is invariably from someone who has transcended ego. I want to read about someone who’s still struggling with it because that, I can relate to.
If we are going to be facing some huge, significant change that is going to affect our perception of reality, are we really ready for that? When we say we are one, what precisely do we mean? More to the point, do we really mean that? Being as one must surely be more than a chant of the New Age Movement. If it is to have any substance to it then surely that glittering prize of the Universal Singularity cannot be found by simply joining together. That’s just coagulation, isn’t it?
Being One with All must surely be something we can only arrive at alone because it isn’t something we attain but something we truly realise. We can’t become One with All. We can only discover that we are and always have been. Being One with All begins with being One.