Positive Cynicism v/s Identity Politics
I type this as an odd figure of 2:23 AM displays on my cellphone screen, and Nas' ‘The World is Yours' is playing at deafening levels in my earphones, either of which seem the least bit bothersome. This need, an urgency, if you’d like to call it that, to tell you — YOU! — what’s on my mind, will not, perhaps, let me sleep too well tonight.
Before I begin, though, take a minute to answer this: What do you like to identify yourself as? Are the titles and adjectives in your social media bios truthful and sufficient?
I wonder if the following words help fill the text in your answer: Atheist, Pious, Feminist, Anti-feminist, Liberal, Conservative, Moderate, Left-winger, Right-winger, God-fearing, Hipster, Sapiosexual, or something on these lines?
I have a big problem with all these words — all of them!
I cannot take a higher ground by saying that I’ve cracked “it”, but I’m getting a feeling that the urbane youth and the young adult is in the middle of an unrecognised shit-storm of a crisis called ‘identity politics’, and they are loving every bit of it, with an unidentified sense of masochism.
I feel glad at times that I have attributes and people around me that motivate me to do better — not in just whatever I do, but in who I am, and for me that “I” has been very important for the longest time. But I can’t say the same about most. The earlier mentioned lot has been trying to associate itself with the aforementioned badges, and such, in a miserable attempt at defining themselves, specially when these badges are almost always designed to be against something or the other.
One might choose to argue that the base tenets of these ideologies are meant to be peaceful, but yet in the media and consequently in the people around us we hear about how we’re always “fighting for” something; some of these people are rather vehement and, worse, enigmatically influential. Also, let’s just say you are defined by the (virtual or otherwise)company you keep.
Now, I haven’t gotten into enough fights in my little time on this planet, but, whenever I have, even in my “triumphs” I’ve felt like shit. Overall, the time spent fighting could have instead spent being productive and creative. But every time I see someone passionately defend an ideology, he/she has only come across as extremely insecure.
My real problem is that we’re letting these terms define us, as it is that convenient. It’s no surprise that the internet generation is so highly opinionated and further divided in factions, which stems from the ease that second-hand information provides us. We’re admittedly a lazy bunch, and the internet is not really helping us, but I wouldn’t blame it as much as ourselves for the lack of willingness to take some effort to do research. We’ve allowed others to form opinions for us in an effort to add meaning to our pathetic lives, because it’s easier, and in the process our thought becomes more and more caustic and anti-something.
I would sound like a total “guy” when I say this: show no commitment to any ideology, and use your reasoning.
As the great Bruce Lee says: the best technique is to have NO technique.
When everyone in this world wants to make you a resource to camps, I think it’s up to you to come to terms with who you are first and what do you agree with on an individual level, with all honesty. Learn from everywhere, but not belong anywhere. I suppose it’s then we’ll realise not only the insignificance of the ideologies we endorse, but also that of us as individuals which is only a good thing.
Personal irrelevance is surprisingly motivating.
The fact that in the grand scheme all the things that we do, say and associate with have little value to the world outside makes us define and revise our self-worth. I suppose Carl Sagan said it better, but it’s surprising how the most important and timeless message goes so unnoticed.
Instead of waging wars on people with opposing beliefs from the comforts of our couches, let’s contemplate our worth after we’re stripped off of all these petty titles. Let’s give us enough reasons to love ourselves first. I, for instance, am far from being modest about how good I am with the things that I’ve worked hard for, but I also know that a lot of effort is needed to be better than what I am, and I work towards it. This process becomes a loop that seems the least bit tiresome.
I don’t want to sound “awakened”, profound or flawless — fuck knows how many personal issues I’m yet to deal with, but it still is very much WIP. I suppose the only real takeaway from this would best be condensed in the following aphorism that’s rather misunderstood, despite it being a cliché: Just Be Yourself!