Sunday, September 30, 2007

Personal Choice In Chimeria: Don't Should On Me

There is literally no end to the number of people who are willing, even eager, to tell you how you should live your life in order to be a "better" person.

Better than what? I've heard one answer more than most: "Better than animals."

Dear, sweet Janus! We are animals! And the fact that we as a species belong to that club does not elevate the club, believe me!

No matter if you are a follower of any of the myriad religions, an agnostic, an atheist, or any other ic or ist, you have grown up with people who try to squeeze your individuality out of you by mouthing words like "sin" and "moral" and "should" and "hell" and...well, you've heard it, I'm sure.

Here's a link. Go look up your own favorite definitions for the words that are used to pummel you into a different shape by those who are not satisfied with the shape in which they currently find you. And keep in mind that all these words are completely subjective in nature. And then give some thought to the following guideline:

An It Harm None, Do What Ye Will. A slight variation on this is Do What Ye Will, Know What Ye Do.

Life in Chimeria is not going to be easy. You will, at all times, need to be careful that you're not handing control of your behaviour over to someone else to use for his own purposes.


Blogger shlemazl said...

You can't avoid defining yourself in one way or another. It's never perfect, but always helpful.

Say, you are not religious? Ok. Are you an atheist? No? Then you are agnostic.

Everything is subjective in nature. Everything reflects how you imagine the world around you. When you sit on a chair and someone put a needle on it... You should really scream "how awful is my imagination!"

Thursday, October 04, 2007 5:31:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

I want to ask, "Helpful to whom?" Who benefits from putting a label on someone? Why? And if one's religion (and degree of religiosity and/or lack of it) is strictly a personal and completely private matter, why should anyone else care? You're not going to be able to vote for someone because of their religion. You won't be able to hire/fire, or do business/not do business, or make any other important decisions because of someone's religion.
So why would it be important to know?

As to the needle on the chair...the needle, being an actual physical object, is not subjective, I'm afraid. However, the degree of pain one feels, and the personal expression of that pain -- those would be subjective.

Friday, October 05, 2007 1:46:00 PM  
Blogger shlemazl said...

Helpful to whom? For one thing it's fun. Imagine playing a hockey game where no player identifies the team he is on? Once you identify, you have a team. Teams compete. Competition makes the world go round.

I quite agree on this whole subjectivity issue. After all it depends entirely on your perception whether you are being fucked or being made love to.

Friday, October 05, 2007 7:50:00 PM  
Blogger Chimera said...

Not everyone is a team player. I'm not. And I hate being pigeonholed according to what someone else thinks I am. That someone is invariably wrong on several levels.

But not only do people love to put labels on other people, they also hate to admit they've jumped to a wrong conclusion due to laziness, so they add another gaffe to their own profiles: they get pig-headed and stubborn about it. Better to be wrong at the top of your lungs than to quietly retract and rethink, is the current attitude.

Pretty soon, it's a screaming match, and now the party who wishes not to be labelled is subjected to such epithets as "racist" (which is everyone's favorite piece of shit to sling these days, whether it's appropriate or not) and "lie-beral" (as if that were clever instead of tedious), and many, many other misuses of the English language.

I value individuality, rather than yes-men. I don't like kool-aid, and I refuse to drink it. I admire other people who also refuse to knuckle under to group-think and group-do.

And that's why I'm inventing my own country!

Sunday, October 07, 2007 1:18:00 PM  
Blogger Dez said...


Sticking labels on things is a distinctly human characteristic. A by-product of language; and used since Aristotle to define, list, categorize, and group-together everything in the world.

It only leads to failure, however, when we try to stick labels on each other. "gay black male", "single white female", "tall Asian lesbian", "Salvadoran cross-dresser", etc.

Can a simple 3-word label tell you everything you need to know about a person? Everything you CAN know?

Never. People are too complex to be defined with a post-it note, much less a sound bite. A dossier the size of an encyclopedia set would barely scratch the surface of most of us.

Yet, the use of labels continues to prevail. A lot of young people deliberately cater to them, believe it or not. Dressing and acting in order to be easily identified with the group with which they wish to belong. "I'm a goth" or "I'm a gangsta punk" or whatever. (Most of the time, to my aged eyes, it looks like: "My parents buy whatever I ask for, regardless of how stupid it looks on me." aka "I have no parents, but somebody is paying a lot of cash for me to look like this.")

I'll admit I do the same. My current style is "I'm just a blue-collar guy doing his job, please don't shoot me".

If people are going to label us on sight anyway, we can at least try to choose the most likely label they will use.

Monday, October 15, 2007 12:52:00 PM  

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