Adam Blatner

Words and Images from the Mind of Adam Blatner

Accepting Limitations

Originally posted on August 3, 2015

Early this morning when I was dreaming, in the dream I was at a sort of class lecture, and my eyes kept closing and sort of being glued shut. I tried to keep my eyes open with my fingers as I wanted to hear what the speakers were saying. Upon awakening I did a bit of amateur dream interpretation: In a way the dream “fit” with other things I’d been reading and learning about: Truth was that I consciously wanted to pay attention in case the speaker at that seminar I was at just might say something, but I doubted it. My unconscious knew better and wanted to close my eyes. The lids were so sticky. Forget-about-it! I do try to be good and do what I should but my unconscious is telling me that this effort just won’t work. Your body will nod off.

I know that’s right. My wife reads some profound commentaries on spiritual texts and I nod right off. I don’t consciously dismiss these words—they seem right, as far as I can gather; it’s just that they also seem irrelevant to my path, my duty, my set of ideas. Other things too—like the mid-part of an autobiography of Willie Nelson, the country Western singer—share this theme of being true to yourself even when you’re trying so hard to follow what others are telling you.

We are raised to respect our elders, and the experts in our community and our culture. Our elders, and our teachers, and so forth. At a certain point, respect and willingness to listen starts rubbing against our inner messages about how we must do our thing, witness to truth in our own way, whether it be in our singing style or our theories.

I’ve talked to God about this. Well, that’s who I address, but I strongly suspect that God’s management of a hundred billion galaxies each having at least a hundred billion stars, well, just maybe God’s a bit busy. So maybe this gets shuttled to the 77th assistant to the 77th assistant, and she answers thus: “Thus sayeth the Lord” (allowing for many translations and stepping down both of energy and profundity):

“My goal is to be everything. That doesn’t mean a bunch of people copying what they think their betters do. Everything means that each being makes use of the peculiar blend of temperament, ability, interests, culture, historical period, and so forth that makes for individuality. (Each category has innumerable sub-types, which also get combined in various ratios to make for absolute individuality. This individuality makes everyone, everything, every grain of sand or blade of grass, absolutely unique.” Thus S/He spoketh.  It’s mind-blowing, but it’s true. It’s divine, is what it is.

So, God says: “Do your thing. Your thing IS my thing, me doing my thing through you. It’s not as if there is a better thing and everyone or even a tribe should do that thing. It’s time for everyone to find his or her own thing. (Now I’ll include those in-between his and her—times have changed.) Find your think and do it. It can take a good part or even most of your lifetime.

Saying it another way, the idea of fostering true individuality while all this is balance with civilization is a bit of a trick. Too much individuality in the past has destabilized social coherence, and too much going-along with, conformity, with social norms is too oppressive. Much of the history of humanity up to now has involved narrowing the fluctuations here.

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