Widening Conversational Scope: “Identity”

I’ve put this off for a long time. I once made the claim that I planned to say something that might possibly inspire feelings of hate towards me.

And then I got a bit scared and backed off from even saying it.

So, now I’ve given it its very own post, so that neither I, nor it, can hide. To wit:

Believing we “are one” [sic] has killed our souls as fierce, diverse, beautiful peoples.

Adhering to the annihilation of our diversity through all-consuming nationalities and hyper-evangelizing religions has smothered our wildness.

We need to narrow our sense of identity and belonging, down to the smallest and most human of scales.

We need to do this, because we need the “other”. We need the “not-us”. If we treat every stranger on the street as if they belong to that intimate circle of blood and village, than we leave ourselves wide open for abuse, consumption, enslavement. We also take away every opportunity for courtship, for ceremony, for sacredness and particularity of space and feeling.

The host needs a guest; the village needs the out-of-towners. To honor and welcome, to show off and out-do.

We need a human identity, not one married to a vast rapacious imperial corporation, that has created both the problem of the enemy nation “them”, and the solution of the national “we”, and the aw-shucks-what-can-we-do shrug at the need to consume the earth and everything beautiful to feed the slathering maw of that fiction.

As human beings, children of lineages that stretch back across great spans of time and trauma, we people a diversity. We do not belong to one “big love”. We belong to ourselves, our families, to the land that nourishes us, to the ineffable spark that enflames life.

We demonstrate our fierce and beautiful smallness, by welcoming strangers in our homes, into our villages, who don’t belong to our people, and for precisely that reason we can demonstrate how great a people the strangers have discovered.

If we can’t say who doesn’t belong, then our “welcome” doesn’t mean much.

We must identify with that which creates life; our unique nature, our family, our village of friends and families, however we arrive at that. And we must de-identify with the nation-state, with its politics of distraction, and begin to solve our own problems, so unique to our little group of families (or to our one little family), ourselves.

Maybe that doesn’t sound so bad, as I may have thought. We dwell in a crisis of identity; do we identify with the stories of Hollywood and the American nationalism (or pick your own country’s entertainment and governing fictions), or do we shrink our world down to right here, where life comes out of the ground, in this place, into the bodies, hearts, voices of our family and village.

Whether in the city, or the country, in an ecovillage on the dark side of the moon, or in the depths of a metropolis, we have a family, and we can create a village. We can do this by coming home to our true identity, something that only ever consisted of human and more-than-human relationships, real people that create life in each other. Not the imperial fiction that uses our allegiance as fuel to power the devouring of the world.

Discover your in-group, and then protect it fiercely; don’t let just anybody in, not without a fight, as any good village Grandmother will show you. Protect this in-group, so that then you can honor your out-group, the not-you.

Give up the “we are all one” religion. It has killed your soul. Let the diversity of peoples shatter oneness into countless billions of longings and courtship. Marry what you eat, court your neighbors, belong to yourselves and that which gives you life.

Tell your own stories, solve your own disputes. Identify with the life of your place.

Written by Willem