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We Are Not the Labels We Wear

Updated on June 22, 2019
ValKaras profile image

Val is a life-long practically oriented student of effective emotional and attitudinal responses to the many challenges of life.

A Matter of Silly Pride

I hope everyone would agree that we can't take a pride in something for which we can't take any merit. Sports fans cheer through a victorious game of their favorite team -- identifying with them -- and proudly yell: "We won!" Oh yes, by finishing a bucket of popcorns and a six pack of beer.

Likewise, a dude of a macho mentality is looking down on the "weaker" gender, as if he decided, while in mother's womb, about his own. For the longest time it used to be the "man's world", and in some parts of the world it still is. It's so silly when you take a little deeper look at it.

As male babies, and all through early childhood they are totally dependent on their mother, a "weaker female" -- and then they fluff their feathers as "more important" when they grow up. Just for being called a "man", not really justified to take any credit for it whatsoever.

As if They Picked where to Be Born

Likewise, those fanatical patriots with recognizable traces of a Nazi mentality glorify their homeland as if they picked it for their native country before being born, while talking about it as some sort of their own achievement that they can be proud of. Similarly to those sports fans, they ascribe to themselves everything that those able individuals in the society have made of that country.

People rarely think honestly about it. If they did, they would also notice that those best looking old palaces in their country are not a part of a "glorious past", but a shameful one, filled with occupying, exploiting, grabbing, even enslaving and massive killing.

And yet, they are passing by those "monuments of national glory" feeling somehow dignified, as if they themselves participated in all those unholy triumphs of greed.

Of course, this is not to turn us away from loving our country, but to put that love in a right perspective. On a certain level we are displaying quite a few characteristics of animals -- and our global coexistence will readily attest to that -- so it shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone that something like a "natural habitat" in a part of our still animalistic survival instinct.

And that, my friends, is the basis of our love for our country. If you still have any doubts, just ask yourself why Eskimo or those desert peoples never migrated to a more livable parts of the world. They are not "stuck" there, so what are they still doing in those horrible living conditions?

Well, that's exactly what it is -- their natural habitat, and to them it may be just as unacceptable to leave it as it is to a river fish to migrate to the sea water. Who knows, maybe they are also "proud" of their rough environment.

Believers by Inheritance

How about all that pride about the religion that we follow. When I was a baby, they had me baptized in a Catholic church, not allowing me to choose for myself when I grow up. Being a bit of a satiric, I sometimes get this vision of a cow getting branded, I don't know why. My parents and grandparents living in a Catholic community must have simply felt compelled to do it -- so they did my baptizing for themselves, not to become targets of rumors in the neighborhood.

Well, needless to say, I never grew up a Catholic, or belonging to any other denomination or organized religion. I believe in something like a universal consciousness with humans tuning into it -- but that's a theme for another article. So, I am not either religious, or agnostic, or atheist -- oh, man, how I laugh at any of those labels that would try to "define " me and my humanness, let alone my own version of spirituality!

It's a simple fact that the great majority of religious followers are that by "inheritance", not by their own "inherent" inner drive to have a god in their mentality. Am I mocking them for that? No way, being an individualist by intuitive choice, I honestly could not care less what other individuals choose to believe -- it's entirely their own business. I am merely expressing my own views, not being normative at all.

So, in my views, I just can't see the point of religious folks being "proud" of their religion, since most of them never contributed in its creation, they got it all "cooked and put on their plate". Moreover, many of them shouldn't be proud, because they are only "strong believers" by their words, not their deeds.

"Together We Are Strong"

So far I have been trying to impress you with some of many other examples of people using social labels for their identity. At the time of elections in the USA I happened to hear one of the candidates throwing a smart slogan at the voters: "Together we are strong". What a nice way to get under the skin of all those with insecurity issues -- which might as well be the whole nation at these times of terrorist threats and other uncertainties.

Indeed, what stands behind all this self-identification with labels is an inner need to blend with a mass -- to increase our own mass, because that makes us feel more secure. As if saying to some invisible and hypothetical threat: "You are not dealing with the little me, but with everybody-of-me, and look, I even got a god on my side".

Of course, nobody is thinking consciously this way, but it's a part of that 90-something percent of our mental processes that are going on under the scope of our awareness. We are mostly social beings out of a need, maybe not so much out of a choice.

Because, let's face it, we are all different enough, just eager to find that which we have in common with others, and that has escalated into thinking, believing, and feeling like everybody does. Out of something like a "collective consciousness".

Bees Got It, Birds Got It, Fishes Got It - and so Do We

When you observe a swarm of bees, a dense flock of birds, or a school of the ocean minnows, you can't but admire their navigational skill, as they move in unison, never bumping into one another. But is it really a skill, or a telepathically guided movement of all of them becoming one body - a phenomenon that I will call "collective consciousness", or "collectivism" where it refers to us humans.

On a certain, not thoroughly explored level of our nature that is default, or robotic, we are displaying our own version of collective consciousness, and it goes much further than picking up someone else's yawning.

Some spiritual teachers are taking it a bit too far by suggesting that "all of us are one", so they propose something like "selfless altruism" as a healthy and "normal" way of coexisting. Religion and politicians gladly joined that philosophy establishing a code of morality based on de-personalization in favor of a "higher good for all".

While it is true that we are all connected on a quantum level through an "entanglement" of everything in the universe, even the physical theorists are saying that it's up to our individuality how we contribute in that co-creation of our reality.

There is nothing uniform in this universe, which obviously insists on its principle of variety - so saying that "we are all one" is a major illusion propagated by those who benefit from it. Collectivism was a horrendous misinterpretation and exaggeration of our similarities, and in my opinion, a major cause of all suffering.

In the Core of Suffering

Maybe it's time to start recognizing what it is in us that's responsible for alienation from ourselves. Many spiritual, even some psychological views are blowing into that same trumpet about our need to "blend with everyone else in order to find a peace of mind".

Well, I am radically opposed to that view. In my opinion, collectivistic morality is responsible for much of the human suffering, while being the cause of our alienation from our true selves, from our spiritual signature and fingerprint.

By trying to be "like everybody else and believe like everybody else", we have become too dependent on outside resources of healing, happiness, and peace of mind - making obsolete our own mind power over these aspects of life.

Every discipline in self-healing and spirituality clearly means turning our attention inwards and finding all the answers and strengths in there, not outside, not inspired by some "role models". There is no one out there exactly like ourselves, and that should be a starting truism in our peeling off all labels from our sense of identity.

Many emotional and consequently physical ailments are directly or indirectly caused by our having lost the touch with who we really are on our deepest level of being. These ailments are a manifested inner outcry for returning to our essence, and stop being a bunch of labels suggested or imposed by the society.

When many self-actualized individuals join their efforts to co-create the human reality, they form a healthy society, with each of them contributing to it from a pool of liberated personal strengths.

So, here we are facing a choice between our status quo and a newly discovered sense of self which has nothing to do with any of those labels that we have attached to ourselves in the process of being historically brainwashed out of our own dignity.

© 2015 Vladimir Karas


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    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      3 years ago from Canada

      "We are a center of consciousness with a will".

      "Will" is a tricky concept. Most of the people would swear that they are acting out their own will - but that "will" is mostly in service of their "automatic pilot", their acquired program from social brainwashing. When you hypnotize a person and give him a posthypnotic suggestion, he will act it out totally believing that he is doing it out of his will. Moreover, he will rationalize it, defend it as "right and appropriate".

      So, "will, volition, intent" is only a tool being used by any mental force in our intimate hierarchy, conscious or subconscious, cognitive, emotional or even physiological. A psychotic or a madman also uses his "will" - so per se will is telling us nothing.

      Furthermore, the variations of mentalities is practically infinite, each person wilfully expressing their own, so we can't think of "one great consciousness" that you are suggesting - other than rules of coexistence and a paradigm of an epoch, which is the collective view of what world is all about.

      I spent most of my 71 years of life de-hypnotizing myself from suggestive advances from the culture-market, intuitively using my own mind. So, even though I have read over thousand nonfiction books on psycho-philosophy of living, I am not likely to quote much what "others" think.

      Even my own model of meditation is of my own make, an improvisation which intuitively felt the best for my particular mindset.

      I am still of opinion that the only way to get things clear is to separate "what is me" in myself - from "what is "others speaking and acting through me". In my own terminology, which is quite straightforward, collective consciousness is my default program of the human species - which includes banalities like "all humans seeing green as green" - not as a snake or a dog sees "green", which are different "greens".

      There is a "program of togetherness" which I respect and love in many aspects of it - so (again) I have nothing "against" collective consciousness or being a part of human community. But "I" am not "them", I choose my own thoughts, attitudes, emotions, beliefs - not waiting for an authority to tell me what is "appropriate for me" to think, feel and believe.

      By EXPERIENCING that distinction between "me" and "not-me" can I only feel free. There is no freedom as long as I feel only as a "particle of the human mass".

      I have healed some conditions in myself with my own mind/heart when doctor recommended either surgery or a very uncomfortable and lengthy procedure. And I can make myself feel ecstatic at will, even though it is not "normal" for people to do. These are little examples of what I mean by "being detached from ceilings imposed by the collective consciousness".

    • Tusitala Tom profile image

      Tom Ware 

      3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      I think 'semantics,' that is the interpretation and meaning of words, is the big hindrance to understanding our 'spirituality,' when we're attempting to put our viewpoints. Your interpretation of a Collective Unconscious appears to me to be different from mine - to some extent.

      However, I like Roberto Assagioli's, "We are a center of consciousness with a will." We could well be one great consciousness which is fragmented into infinite 'wills' within it. These two, in combination, creating our individuality..

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      3 years ago from Canada

      Hello, Tom,

      It's a rare pleasure to come across someone of a similar "vibrational signature", but, as you can tell from the couple of previous commenters - it does happen.

      Let me say a few words on your comment. First about the "divine dichotomy". If you remember I did say quite a bit about our "individual-" and "collective consciousness", the latter being that "glue" connecting us as species. However, I wouldn't go as far as saying that it makes us "one". On the quantum level we are all sharing the same source of universal intelligence (I don't call it "God" for a few reasons) - but we are all unique creatures with only the overblown significance of collective consciousness which may give us an illusion of being "one". We all have our social-image, our ego, or our "automatic pilot" similarly programmed for coexisting as "herd beings", and we further program it through the process of growing up with a useful arsenal of survival strategies.

      Now, nothing is "wrong" with our collective consciousness, as long as it doesn't make individual one invisible to us. "Awakening" - through meditation and spirituality is exactly about that "returning home" from the collectivistic state of alienation to ourselves. When I go deep into meditation, I feel that divine presence, MY presence in something unfathomably wonderful and mysterious - for which I have no adequate words. This very detail of being unable to be verbalized clearly means that it doesn't belong to that part of our consciousness that is common with others, since it's not communicable.

      The closer we are to our surface of everyday functioning, the more we are present in our collective consciousness and ready to interrelate. The deeper we sink into our essence, the more we are who we really are, unique creatures.

      At my present mindset, I succeed to switch back and forth to a "certain" depth from the surface without going into a trance. It gives me a sense of my complete identity, which is individualistic when I want it, and collectivistic when I want it. Who-in-me chooses? My true self, because it has a domination over the "social-me" consisting of all my social "roles".

      Of course. my ego got refined in the process, so it doesn't have the power to emotionally push me around with its needs for others' approvals, or by being suggestible to the suggestive advances of others.

      Tom, whatever I said here or elsewhere is my personal interpretation stemming from my own spiritualness which is ALWAYS a personalized experience. People can compare or get inspired by one another, but ultimately our spiritualness brings us closer to our uniqueness, not to our similarities. But, for a paradox, we are more loving and compassionate that way than by operating from a collectivistic mode of functioning, because being spiritual we drop that constant stressing up guard, drop our ego's need for power, for competing, and for using others to fill that void inside - meaning lack of self-love, self-awareness.

      It's only our vulnerable egos that can't swallow that apparent "verdict of loneliness". We can always bridge it in many intellectual and emotional ways, but we can't overlap.

      Again, it's just great to run across people like you, Tom. Be well my friend.

    • Tusitala Tom profile image

      Tom Ware 

      3 years ago from Sydney, Australia

      Wonderful to 'discover' you, ValKaras. Seems we have a lot in common. Though you're way ahead of me in your experiences in Meditation. I'm coming up to completing 30 years at the end of March (Vipassana, as taught by the late Mr. S.N. Goenka)

      One thing you didn't mention in the above Hub: The Divine Dichotomy: We are all separate AND we are all one.

      Many years ago I had what can only be called an 'epiphany' when, for around 8- to 10 seconds I was "Infinite Love, Infinite Joy, and Infinite Compassion' who stood 'outside' of and loved the human being that I am.

      Definitely the most profound moment of my life. It did not only reveal what I am in essence, it revealed the qualities. But it didn't take long to re-immerse - for the most part - in the status quo of ego-habit.

      Cheers, and as I said, great to have found you on Hubpages.

    • Aliswell profile image


      3 years ago from Iowa

      Just an update Val. Yesterday, I finally made the decision to forgo my medical procedure, and instead seek solitude in both a physical and mental state.

      Kauai, here I come!!!

    • Aliswell profile image


      3 years ago from Iowa

      Wonderful Words Val!! Thank You My Friend!

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      3 years ago from Canada

      Hello, Allen, my friend,

      One of the key words in my personal efforts to become my true self has been "FREEDOM". Freedom from that resistance-to-change that's sabotaging every such effort to create a more dignifying version of ourselves.

      When we contemplate on the spirit of that word, and feel it on our gut-level, we speed up that process of home-coming after a long alienation from ourselves. It's normal to expect that resistance at first, because it has taken a role of our "existence guardian", filtering our anything that doesn't "belong to its life script of the familiar". It insists on certainty, even if that certainty is making us strangers to ourselves.

      Freedom goes hand in hand with self-love, because that love inspires us to liberate ourselves from negativities that are compromising our health and happiness. So, in the days to come, think in terms of this liberation, loosen up every muscle. embrace every coming moment, make yourself flexible and flowing with the river of vitality in you. Breathe freely and just don't care. The more you care, the more you are tensing up. Just let go of all concerns, and that upcoming medical procedure will become a history before you know it. There is a true magic in freedom. Claim it as the most natural state of your being - Be well, my friend.

    • Aliswell profile image


      3 years ago from Iowa

      Many 'someone's and 'anyone's will find some inspiration from you Val!! I have put my logical mind into a state of perpetual illogical perceptions for a couple weeks now. No noticeable earth changing interventions, but I do somehow feel a little more aligned to what I read from you and others who I consider true seekers.

      I hope my upcoming medical procedure and recovery will become a little easier to accept if I can keep the mind still enough that I may indeed see the light of the real "I".

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      3 years ago from Canada

      Hello, Besarien, it's so great to hear from you again! My studious time spent with zen, yoga, Buddhism, and above all, those decades of daily deep meditation - has certainly done a number on my ego; so I don't know how to thank you for all nice words without sounding vane to any smallest degree. I'll leave it to you to imagine. Instead, let me thank you for your being you and letting me know about it.

      As you may have guessed, I am not counting age with my trips around the sun. At times my soul feels like thousands of years old. I felt it while touching the inside walls of the Mayan"El Castillo" pyramid in Chiche-nitza - somehow bringing that site to life and being one of those ghosts around me . And then again, in the next moment here I am at my sweet sixteen, willing to chase some butterflies, and lie in the aromatic meadow, chew on a blade of grass and gaze at the blue sky, with no care in the world.

      It does take a little discipline to have both ages coexist in my personal space without colliding. Serene joy is a cultivated construct of mind and heart, for which I don't take any credit - I just can't help being myself, driven from within, unfolding into something the seed of which I was probably born with.

      So, it doesn't fill me with pride, but with unutterable joy to see that someone, anyone found some inspiration in my expressing myself.

      Again, thank you, Besarien. (By the way, is this your real name or your code name?)

    • Besarien profile image


      3 years ago from South Florida

      It's no accident that many spiritual awakenings across time and culture occur after a person isolates from their society by circumstance or choice. I find your thoughts on pride- familial, religious, national, racial, sports, etc. - quite enlightened and wonderfully delicious food for thought. It will probably change the way I next watch the Olympics, which was not "the collective way" in the first place.

      I really do get a tingle of wonderment and awe seeing a person who is really great at doing something, performing at their finest. It is an affirmation of what passion, focus, and self-discipline can accomplish. Whether the person is performing a sport, an opera, a medical procedure, or fixing the plumbing under my septic tank, or is from Bengaluru, Beirut, Bangkok, Bonne, Bangor, or Buenos Aires, is all very interesting but ultimately not what is most important to me. I am also one of those people who will always root for the underdog or the Jamaican bobsled team, because "winning" really is a self-defined concept and perhaps a self-defining one, too.

      In terms of deadly sins, I have struggled most with familial pride, not of who my ancestors were or were not so much, but because my parents have both overcome and sacrificed much for my benefit. I am deeply proud of them and grateful, too. I am also deeply proud of my son. While I can't take credit for who he has become or for his accomplishments (both of which are entirely self-determined,) I am proud of the work, planning, and innovation I put into raising him. I am proud of not killing him somehow accidently, which I constantly had nightmares about until he was three or four. I am proud of all I could teach him and all the world I could reveal to him as he grew.

      Sometimes it is hard to separate a sense of false pride from the real thing, which as far I'm concerned has to do with appreciation for positive accomplishments whether my own or others. How can we all not be a little proud to be human when nearly anyone on this website can explore the greatest art in museums across the globe from a laptop or help provide aid to a remote village in need only seconds after a disaster strikes simply by texting?

      As a fellow human being, I am very proud of you! Your seventy years here seem remarkably well spent and now you are passing along your wisdom and experience free to anyone who can benefit. Now that you are a middle aged adult (middle aged for some of us at least,) what are you going to do with the next 50 years or so? I look forward to finding out!

    • ValKaras profile imageAUTHOR

      Vladimir Karas 

      3 years ago from Canada

      Hi Allen,

      It's always an honour for me to hear from awakening folks who are on a similar spiritual path as myself. In your case, it's also an age match, so both of us are facing some challenges of dealing with our level of health and vitality, as well as finding an ultimate philosophical view that resonates with our intuitive sense of what is true for us. .

      Thank you for the response to my article in the way that showed the depth of your thinking. Be well, Allen, and all the best.

    • Aliswell profile image


      3 years ago from Iowa


      First things First... Thank you for taking the time to write the very encouraging words!

      Now, to the Meat of Your article. Your words were like 'Armour Piercing' 50 Cal bullets trying to get through my Armour of 70 years!

      I hear your message, and Greatly respect your many years of absorbing the many different philosophical views of the human species.

      At the end of all that is, was, or ever will be... Every one will believe and act on that which makes he or she the Happiest!

      I struggle with making the move for the Long Haul!! Avoiding those who promise a solution that fits All, is my Only Political and Religous Mantra!

      Again, Great article and I really enjoy your slant on our purpose in this Realm!


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