I always try to take everything in with a grain of salt. I don’t like defining anything or jumping to conclusions, especially moral conclusions, and in that way I feel that I am somewhat of a rare bird among the populace. What I’ve inferred in my life is that we, as humans, feel most comforted and in control of our lives when our world is defined – when we have a grasp on the controls, how they work, and the process that we need to follow.
In this way, becoming an adult is extremely difficult. We are no longer children being told what is expected of us, or the right path to walk. Being an adult is learning to interface and make choices and decisions every day that impacts this “defined human experience” that we have been laying, brick by brick, over the centuries. Building upon what we know from our past, putting each step in front of the other, layering in our understanding from that of our forefathers and foremothers.
Making these decisions everyday is tiring and draining. No wonder we cling to belief systems or social constructs to provide us with a welcome relief of not having to question every little step we make!
I am one of many that indeed loves a defined process (especially at work!) and loves knowing that I need to do X to achieve Y. Or that in doing Y, you will also achieve Z, and so on. Like a workbook.
But life does not give you the equations; we do not receive any workbook, apart of the ones we give our selves. We only figure things out as we go, in our experiences and by building off the experiences of those who came before us.
But what if we are building off of experiences and stories of our past that are not true? That are fruitless? Clinging to constructs that are not sustainable or beneficial to our well-being?
What if we are processing our lives, day in and day out, in automaton-mode, making decisions and placing our steps in front of us because that is what we have been told to do – like when we were children – because that is what our mothers and fathers did?
In this way, I see that much of humanity finds solace and happiness and peace in defining their world. In creating a box of rules of which they operate out of conveniently and pleasantly, and then finding family and friends whose personalities and ideals also fit the box. They continue on with their lives in enjoyment and happiness because things are “figured out” and “in place.” They feel safe and happy because their values and morals are justified and supported, and therein their choices in life are also justified and supported.
But I do not think life is that cut and dry. Black and white. Light and dark.
I think it hurts us to build the boxes in the first place.
I feel like I am a minority in a majority that does not like to define things these days. That enjoys the grey between the lines and the possibilities that lie there. That is always skeptical, but passionately curious nonetheless. I figured this out for myself a few years back, and in this idea of “undefined” I found my own convenient and “pleasant” truth: That in defining things, and assigning them this or that, we put up walls. We start building the box around us and inviting only this person or that person into our box by default, until there is no way out. We box ourselves in; and in doing so, if someone were to question our box and why we were in there, we would shiver with indignation. “How dare you insult my box! My box keeps me safe. It helps me to define the world. Of course I need it!”
I want to strive everyday not to put worldview or religious boxes over my head. I do not want to have everything defined and neat and orderly.
If we keep putting boxes over our heads, when we run into other boxes we will not know how to relate to anything outside of our own box. We won’t know how to live a limitless life because living within the defined boundaries is all we’ve ever known.
If we stay in our boxes, we will perceive everything outside our boxes as a threat to our safety and destruction of our self-concept. Thoughts or people or ideas that differ from our defined constructs will be treated as a threat to our safe and happy life.
Can we live without the boxes? Can we reach beyond the constructs of our understanding to realize that we built the boxes in the first place, and that we can also remove them?
Is “definition” in itself really just an illusion?